This spring calls for lilies

This spring calls for lilies

Last year after the chaos of moving into our new house, we immediately shifted gears and started the chaos of selling our old house. The house didn’t need any major renovations, but we painted, cleaned, and replaced the roof. As usual, I let Tom take the reins for all the time-consuming, labor-intensive stuff while I focused on

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Backyard bouquets

Backyard bouquets

For the past few weeks I’ve been watching flowers bloom my yard with what can only be described as sheer delight. We haven’t lived here for quite a year, we moved in after the azaleas had faded; the daffodils were a distant memory. Because of the foliage I knew to expect irises (but I didn’t know

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Bumper crop

See those two tomatoes? You’re looking at our entire tomato harvest. I planted five tomato plants in the spring. Most of them died after squirrels climbed up the stalks and the branches broke under their weight. Vine borers demolished my squash, my basil is dry, and I have no idea what happened to my jalapeno

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Spring

SPRING IS HERE! Let’s all pop a Claritin and go roll around in a bunch of pollen because it’s not going to snow again FOR AT LEAST SIX MONTHS! The transition seasons are wonderful — capricious, but wonderful. And while the chill of fall if foreboding, the warmth of spring is exciting. The only thing

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A gutter garden upgrade

Two years ago, Tom and I planted a vertical gutter garden on the side of our shed, and we love it. You can read about more about how we did it here, and see them growing here. Last year we didn’t plan them because last spring I was really pregnant, and at that stage in my

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This happens every year

This happens every year

Every year, as spring approaches, I start to get excited about gardening. I plant a lot of seedlings inside, try to figure out how to jam as many veggies in our small garden plot, and count down the days until the last frost. It happened last spring. The spring before. (The spring before that we

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Also getting bigger every day

Also getting bigger every day

I took these photos and wrote this post two weeks ago. In that time the garden looks totally different, we’ve already made a batch of peppers and my butternut squash plants are so big they’re growing over the fence and into the neighbor’s yard. By now this is more of a look back than an

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Our fall garden

I would classify our garden last year as only quasi-successful. We dealt with a lot of pests (like squirrels and chipmunks) and lost most of our squash to vine borers. After all that, I didn’t really have steam to plant a fall garden. Instead, we planted a sort of fall garden. I’ve never had a ton

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Today’s PSA: bring your plants inside

Remember my resilient gerbera daisies? We had a few really cold nights in the middle of November, and I had every intention of bringing my plants in. But then David got sick, then I got sick, plus it was annoyingly cold outside, so we just hunkered down and ate chicken noodle soup for three weeks.

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Oven-roasted tomatoes

Since I posted about squirrels eating all my tomatoes, we haven’t had any more squirrel problems. I can’t believe I wasted so much worrying about how to get rid of squirrels when all I had to do was threaten them on the Internet. Now, at the end of the season, we’re finally harvesting tomatoes. Our

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Five years and counting

Four year ago, for our four-month anniversary, Tom gave me an orange gerbera daisy. A week later, my mom gave me a pink gerbera daisy for my birthday. I re-potted both plants and have had them ever since. In the winter I bring them inside and sort of forget about them. All winter they sit

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How to get rid of vine borers

Tom says gardening seems to be 10 percent planting, 10 percent harvesting, and 80 percent getting rid of pests. I’d never really thought about it before, but this year those numbers seem about right. We’ve been having trouble with our squash plants since spring when I couldn’t get my zucchini seedlings to sprout. Once they

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Turf wars

Today at the grocery store I bought two tomatoes. I have 10 tomato plants in my backyard, but apparently that’s not enough to feed all of our neighborhood squirrels and also my family. Every time I go outside, instead of ripe, red tomatoes, I see tomato carnage. See that stub? That’s where tomatoes should be.

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Jalapeno poppers

Jalapeno poppers

Even though we have a small garden we seem to be overwhelmed at harvest time. What we want is the exact amount of basil called for in the recipe I’m making, not a basil bush that will bolt and turn brown at the fall breeze. In the spirit of overwhelming fresh produce (I know, what

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Don’t be a sucker

Check out my new tomato plants. They’re actually not new, they’re suckers I pinched from my other plants. My first year gardening, I sent my parents a photo (below) of my tomato plants and my dad took one look and said, “Amanda needs to get rid of those suckers.” And I responded, “What are you

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It’s working, it’s really working!

Aside from the harvest, this is one of my favorite stages of gardening. When you go outside and notice a handful of cherry tomatoes that seemed to appear overnight. Or tiny jalapenos dropping from the stem. (I noticed a half-eaten jalapeno on the ground. I hope it was hot enough to teach the chipmunks a

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Finally, planted

Our vegetables are finally in the ground. Most of my seedlings didn’t survive, so I had no choice but to fill in the gaps with plants from a local greenhouse. It is humbling to admit that here on the world wide web. It’s also humbling to admit that buying seedlings rather than growing plants from

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When will our garden grow?

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the last frost date in Richmond was April 6. That means our garden is two days from being a month late. The gutters are still doing great, but the only thing growing in the ground is grass and our neighbor’s liriope (which doesn’t seem to respect the boundaries of our

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A little gutter update

It’s been almost a month since we built our gutter garden, and a few days ago we had our first salad from early greens. Check it ouuuut. See the sugar snap peas climbing up my make-do-with-what-you-have trellis? It doesn’t look pretty, but the peas don’t mind. This is something I inherited from my dad. Why

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Vertical gutter garden

Spring is just around the corner, so we’ve started some seeds indoors and are planning our garden. In our last home our backyard was small, but it was perfect for a garden. The term “full sun” was invented for our backyard; there was only shade when the sun was down. In the summer it felt

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