A Garden in July

It’s been so long since I’ve done a garden update. We’ve been picking strawberries and pulling carrots for several months now and the tomatoes are finally starting to ripen. We have cucumbers growing and lots of herbs and Jeff over did it this time with the hops. They are growing everywhere! Ellie and I enjoy being out in the garden daily, tending to everything and watching the bugs we find.
We spend so much time outside these days, I thought it would be fun to start bringing some art into the garden too. We painted rocks for the garden the other day and they bring a pop of color out there!
We also found a lovely little caterpillar friend in our milkweed plants a few weeks back. I thought it would be really neat for Ellie to bring him in and watch him turn into a butterfly, so we bought a butterfly house and made sure he had plenty of fresh milkweed. Well, after watching him turn into a chrysalis, yesterday he finally came out! It was really neat releasing him in our garden. We watched him fly around for a while and then he flew away.

What’s happening in your July garden?


The August Garden

sunflower blooms

the whole garden


jack be nimble pumpkins


more tomatoes

hops glorious hops

amazing hops

more hops


ellie in the garden

The August garden is finally providing. We have tomatoes galore! (Ellie ate about 12 that she had picked herself today). The kale just keeps growing and growing. It seems we’ve finished our corn. Now I’m looking into what to do with those dried husks. We have a little bit of swiss chard for those morning omelets and lots of herbs still growing strong and keeping the honey bees happy. The Jack-be-little pumpkins are almost ready to be picked and the hops! Those glorious hops! I caught a glimpse of them in the afternoon sun the other day and had to run out and photograph them. Lush and green (even in this brownish land of California) and reaching all the way up to the top floor windows of the house. It’s a fun, full of life month in the garden. And as you can see, Ellie’s library sunflower finally bloomed. She’s one happy gardener.

July’s Garden

fairy home

Fairy Gourd home, tucked in between some peach branches.

pumpkinsPumpkins, here, there and everywhere! I’m so surprised at how well these little Jack be nimble pumpkins are growing.

the hop

The Hop plants are growing steadily…

hop up up up… up, up, up.

corn in the sunblightCorn in the afternoon light. We are having so much success with this little bunch of corn. This week, Jeff picked our very first homegrown corn husk and we had a corn snack!

delicious corn

corn for EllieWe boiled up the cob and Ellie, Jeff and I enjoyed some corn, from farm to table.

the whole shebang

the whole garden!

flower garden

But can’t forget the flower garden (which needs a little more tending to).
lemon tree

Or the lemon tree! We have a lot of lemons!!

The July garden is lush and full of fruit. We’re still waiting on tomatoes to ripen, but we’ve pulled several lettuce plants out and I’ve planted more carrots (because the other ones did so well). It’s really neat watching this space evolve and grow.

Late June Garden and other bits

june garden

The garden is flourishing. All of a sudden, things just seem to be taking off. We have corn (that we are attempting to pollinate by hand), lots of kale (once again), tomatoes that are finally showing some buds, a few carrots and some broccoli and pumpkins galore! Plus, Jeff’s hop vine is growing pretty steadily too.




garden late june

As you can see, I pulled out all that kale in the first garden box. It now has a new home with a man who traded us for the flower box. It’s so much fun eating from the garden. Tonight we had home-grown swiss chard, kale and spinach tossed into a pasta dish. The best!
miss rumphius

I just finished making another story telling set for my etsy shop. It’s one of my favorite all time children’s books, Miss Rumphius. It was so much fun making this little set. I almost want to keep it for myself.
miss rumphius too


She even has a pocket on the opposite side to peek out of (or to keep your lupine seeds).

belugaI’m lucky to belong to a few wonderful online communities of incredible artisans of children’s toys and lucky enough to sometimes get toys for trade. Ellie received a beautiful wooden Beluga whale in the mail this week. I’m as smitten with the whale as she is. It’s a beautifully handcrafted toy and Ellie has been thrilled that her fish and mermaid have a new friend. You can check out Allison’s shop here. There are so many fantastic artisans out there. I’m hoping one day to be able to make these little wooden creatures too. They are just so magical.
fishy friends


baby beluga

She also made the connection that her beluga whale was in a book too. We’ve been singing lots of Baby Beluga around these parts.

So that’s what’s happening in these late days of June…. Tomorrow is my birthday and then next week I go in for some oral surgery to hopefully fix some tooth aches as well as a lot of sinus trouble I’ve been having. Wish me luck. I may not be in this space very much next week but I’ll try to at least make it for next week’s portrait project.

The Garden in Early June

the june garden

Things are really starting to grow now in the garden. We have an overabundance of Kale as you can see and not only have we been using it up in almost every meal we make, we have so much of it, we’ve been giving it away for free!!

free kale

fairy homes

There was a large peach tree in this space when we moved into the house. We were all really excited about the prospect of fresh peaches, but sadly during a storm a while back, the tree (which turned out to be very sick), completely fell over in the night. We had to have the rest of it chopped down. So, now it’s stumps are being used as a play space and for building fairy homes. Ellie and I painted some gourds from Halloween and will be working on creating a little fairy villa for our magical garden guests. (If anyone knows the best way to cut into a dried gourd, I’d love some tips- We want to make openings for our fairies).

raised beds

We had to buy tomato seedlings at the farmers market when all of our tomato seeds failed to thrive. So we’ve planted those in the back, then we have broccoli and yes, I made the mistake of planting MORE kale. And it’s already growing like crazy.


The hops (after being dug up twice by our dogs, thus the pen around it), are now growing at a steady speed. Looking forward to seeing those lovely vines trickle up the line.

library sunflower

We planted Ellie’s sunflower from a library craft morning in one of the beds, to give it a little more space to grow.

ca poppies

And Ellie and I sprinkled handfuls of California poppy seeds all over the garden and in empty containers throughout the yard. They are just now popping up! It’s been delightful to see those bright orange bursts of color out there. It’s been hard keeping Ellie from picking them.

So that’s my garden update for Early June. Looking forward to seeing how everything grows throughout the summer.



In The Garden

I finally got around to taking photos of our garden this season. We’ve added two new raised beds and planted seeds pretty early on. We’re growing swiss chard, spinach, a few types of lettuce, corn, beans, tomatoes and broccoli. We’re kind of trying it all this time, seeing what grows best in that space on our side yard. It’s been hard to really get into gardening this year with so much else going on but Ellie and I try to get out and tend at least once a day (if we don’t, Daddy at least waters once a day).

ellie waters

more watering

and more wateringEllie loves helping to water with her watering can. She gets all the herbs on the deck and helps me with the raised beds too.
kaleOur kale has just skyrocketed. We eat kale around these parts at least once a day if not more. I’m running out of kale recipes. If anyone has anything else I can do with kale, please let me know, because as you can see we have A LOT of it!

discusting pumpkinsWe set out our Halloween pumpkins in the garden to decompose back into the earth but they are certainly taking their time.
one bed

two bed

hopsJeff’s hops have come back up and this year Jeff decided to plant them right into the ground on the side yard. I’m not quite sure what we will do when we move (we’re renting) but Jeff assured me we would somehow take our hop plants with us.
the whole garden
So there you have it. The spring garden of 2014. I’m hoping we have better luck than last year. We’ve already taken kale off our shopping list which is nice and we’ve substituted kale for pretty much every leafy green these days which helps us a tad budget wise too. Hoping we’ll get some more home-grown produce goodness soon. There’s nothing quite like a veggie homegrown.

An Anniversary Garden

For our anniversary this year, we thought we would stick with the “traditional” fourth year gift of flowers and plants. We both wanted to do something special and so we decided to pull out what was left in the planter boxes and plant an herb garden for the winter. This past weekend we finally got to the garden center and the weather was perfect for some anniversary garden planting.

a peek

new flowers

the garden

side view

other side view

This is our first time growing herbs in a larger space. Usually we stick them in smaller containers but now that Jeff is cooking with them more often, we thought devoting a whole box to many different types would be fun. Our own winter kitchen garden! It was also one of the best anniversary presents. Our whole family got to pick out the plants together, be outside together while planting them and we will all get to enjoy them when they are roasted on the chicken, stirred in with the soup or even mixed in with the homemade bread.

July’s Garden

It’s almost the end of July and I’ve all but given up on our garden this year. The climate here in Ventura is something else. It’s mild and sunny one day, freezing cold the next and overcast and humid the next. The garden seems to be reflecting the strange weather patterns with a lackluster production. In Orange County’s blistering summer heat,  we were seeing lots of tomatoes by this time and my container garden was looking lush and full. Things are growing here but very, very slowly.

julys garden


The mint and parsley are finally doing well. We are catching little caterpillars chewing through some of the mint, but it’s made a recovery since I planted it a few months back.

black pear tomato

Our Black Pear Tomato. The only tomato plant that seems to be doing anything. This is the first tomato that’s ripening, ever so slowly.

lackluster strawberries

The strawberries are not doing much, sadly. We have gotten one nice-sized strawberry from these plants and that was that. I’ve noticed strawberries will grow for a few days and then wilt up. Not sure what’s happening but I’m very disappointed in our little strawberry box. (It also looks as if it needs some weeding).

what is it?

The question of the day… is this a cucumber or a squash? I seem to think we planted squash here but Jeff thinks this is a cucumber. It looks a little bit like both? Seasoned gardeners, please tell us what we have growing?

pumpkin vine

pumpkin green

We have pumpkins in the box vineing all over the place and one little pumpkin has started growing too, which is exciting. But, we are fighting this strange yellow fungus (?) on some of the leaves. We’ve been cutting back yellowed leaves and spraying the others with an organic copper spray. It doesn’t seem to be working. Hoping this pumpkin continues to grow.


The hops are growing rapidly and probably the best out of everything in the garden. They are beautiful, green and viney and I love watching Jeff tend to them every day. Jeff pointed out a fresh cone growing off of one of the vines. He’s pretty excited and I am too. At least there is some good news in the garden.

I have to keep in mind that gardening is always a learning process. You win some, you lose some. You try again next year. This is our first year in a new climate and the first year growing in a raised bed. Next year I will plan better and hopefully have a helper in Ellie who seems eager already to get her hands in the dirt.

June Garden Update

We took pretty much everything out of the raised bed and put in new seedlings and this is the result. It’s looking promising so far and I’m excited. We have pumpkins, tomatoes, squash and lettuce growing in the bed. Last year’s cucumber surprisingly came back in one of the planters and our black pearl tomato is already flowering. I would love to plant more out there, we certainly have room for more beds, but Jeff hasn’t gotten the chance to build any more and so our garden remains small this year. But, this is California and the growing season is quite long so there is still time…

raised bed

pumpkin growth

cucumber came back



What are you growing in your garden?

-joining Amanda today! Hoping to be back next week with Making + Listening.