New Garden Beds (with soil)

I finally have some photos of our new raised beds, now filled with soil. We had about four tons of a topsoil and organic compost blend, which was more than enough for the two new beds. We were able to give the other beds a soil “top off,” and have used the rest to freshen up the area where I removed the hosta plants.

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It’s still a bit early to plant out, but I’ve started seeds several weeks ago in a miniature greenhouse with a heat lamp that should be ready in May.

Transplanting Hostas

With all this great warm spring weather, we are tackling many outdoor projects left by the wayside. Unfortunately when we bought our home we inherited a lot of yard projects, and we’ve had to undo much of the previous landscaping that was either neglected beyond repair or ill-suited for the space.

My most recent project was thinning out and transplanting a patch of hosta plants that just didn’t work. We have hostas everywhere in our backyard. Along both sides of the the fence, at the top of the hill, framing the stairs…everywhere. We moved in during the fall of 2015, and the following spring didn’t expect to see so many hostas popping up. I managed to transplant about seven plants before I called it quits because we had so many other projects. Fall of 2016 slipped in a wink, but this year I went into spring with a plan to finally deal with these plants.

Some background on hosta plants. They love the shade but do not fare well in the sun at all. Aside from that, they are pretty hard to kill, and with minimal care will come back every spring and last through late summer. In the fall you can just cut down the leaves once they wither (or don’t, all depends on your aesthetic preference). But after a few years they can get too big for your space and may need to be thinned.

Fall is the ideal time to thin and transplant hostas, but you can do it in the spring if you’re like me and just didn’t get around to it. The catch is to work with them in the window of time when they’ve started to produce green shoots, but have not yet unfurled into broad leaves. Beware, that is a small, small window. You can practically watch these plants grow in the spring once the weather has warmed up. You can see a few of my plants are already looking leafy, but I think they will be ok.

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Chipmunks!

We have about five or six chipmunks that live in and around our backyard. They are cute, but can be little stinkers. A few weeks ago I left a ripening tomato on the vine just a day too long, and one of them decided to save me the task of picking it by having it for breakfast! For those of you facing a similar dilemma, deer and rabbit repellent seem to be dissuading them from a repeat performance. However reader be warned, this stuff stinks! The active ingredients are garlic and putrescent eggs, so don’t plan on hanging around your garden for a few hours  after applying – especially if you spray on a hot day!

And if all else fails, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. So I’ve been feeding the little fur-balls bits of nuts and crackers. I guess I’m just a sucker for critters. Well to my amazement, and my husband’s exasperation, here’s what happening on a daily basis…

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…and I started giving them names. This one is Muffin.

Eggplant!

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Happy to say the Victory Garden is successfully producing Chinese eggplant! I used these beauties to make Khatte Meethe Baingan, or eggplant with sesame seeds and tamarind, for dinner tonight…

13782125_762229933949_4051503625531214654_n …and it was delicious!