June and July have been even hotter than usual here in northeast Oklahoma, already reaching 100+ F temperatures, and this week we are forecasted for a 110 degree day, so a daily watering is definitely order for all of the plants.
After today’s watering I got a few garden diary pics: a ripening tomato, a flowering lotus, and watermelons in the shade of the leaves. The squirrels have nabbed a lot of the plants from my “vegetable garden,” leaving only watermelon and one little pepper plant. And I’m pretty sure they ate my first baby watermelon! Hopefully the new watermelons can grow big enough to elude the neighborhood wildlife.
When my daughter was young, one of my favorite books to read to her was First Tomato: Voyage to the Bunny Planet by Rosemary Wells (and my blog subtitle is a little nod to this book). It’s about a bunny named Claire who is having a terrible wintry day, and finds solace when the bunny queen takes her to the bunny planet:
“Far beyond the moon and stars,
Twenty light years south of Mars,
Spins the gentle Bunny Planet.
And the Bunny Queen is Janet.”
On the bunny planet, Claire has “the day that should have been” and wanders through her mother’s wonderful earthy garden to pick the first tomato.
We love this book and my daughter and I have read it together many, many times.
Now, our first tomato came on the heels of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which my daughter, now 22, discussed with me this weekend. I don’t get on Facebook much because I don’t really like the platform but I do have one because some of my family members like to keep in touch on there and for events and site-related things. I have some distant relatives who were celebrating the court decision, and even though my daughter hardly uses Facebook, she asked me why I didn’t unfriend them, saying “how can you be friends with someone who doesn’t think you should have rights?” As usual, she had a very good point.
In real life, now that I think about it, I don’t have friends who don’t think I should have rights (and it applies to more than this situation). How can they denigrate women so much that they don’t trust their instincts about what is best for their own bodies? How can they stake a claim on such a personal issue? Pregnancy choices are complex, deeply personal, and private issues that should not be violated. The reality is, people will still have abortions, only the rich will find safe means and more poor people will die because of this.
Strange that my first tomato came at this sad time, but I still hope for “the day that should have been,” a day when women will be respected, and a day where all of our rights cannot be dropped alarmingly with a snap of a finger.
The balmy, rainy weather we’ve had here in northeast Oklahoma lately has been perfect for my new plants. Yesterday was cooler so I spent some time pulling weeds (though it’s never enough!). Also, I have my first fruit of the year, a baby watermelon; I am so excited 💚
After a week or so of heavy downpours, most of my new plants are thriving, especially my tomatoes, which were only about three inches high when I first planted them a few weeks ago. So I placed some stakes in the pot for them to climb on.
My herbs also look beautiful. First, I think I need to start utilizing all of this wonderful dill that’s growing so quickly in the back!
Some of the plants in the vegetable garden look like they had a rough time in the storms (or with the dogs), but most are faring well.
And my Columbine and Moonflowers have started blooming! 😍
April has witnessed another spring metamorphosis in Oklahoma, when everything turns green and blooms with pops of color, and when the sky shifts from sunny to dark grey, and pops with thunder and lightning, and then to sunny again.
And once again my good friends and I did our annual garden shopping, which is an exciting time for me! This year I got a bunch of herbs and tomatoes for front porch containers; shishito peppers, gherkin cucumbers, zucchini, and two different types of watermelon for the raised bed vegetable garden; and a few lovely flowers for the front yard. We went to a farm at Robinson Ranch and Southwood Garden Center to shop for plants.
My wooden raised beds deteriorated this year, so I bought a metal one and put it together a few days ago. Then I covered the ground with four layers of landscaping ground cover (because one layer never keeps out the grass here), placed the raised bed on top, and surrounded it with landscaping stones, which also covered the landscaping cover on the sides of the raised bed. I bought soil for vegetable gardens and a few bags of mulch for the garden. I mixed it with mulch to improve drainage. And finally, I planted my beautiful little veggie plants in it.
For the herb garden, I did something different and placed all of the herbs on one big container. Here we have three different types of basil, dill, cilantro, mint, and lemongrass.
And finally, flowers for the yard, with a fresh layer of soil and some mulch. This year I planted gorgeous columbine and moonflowers.
And now we are about to get a warm rain, which is exactly what my little plants need after being introduced to their new homes 🌧️
This week the idea came to me to start noting odd things that make me very happy, in case I forget them when I’m in a bad mood (another of the many things I feel the need to journal). Apart from the obvious, like spending time with family and friends, so far I’ve remembered two things that make me very happy: decluttering and visiting plant nurseries, the latter of which can also get expensive if I’m not careful!
Today I went to our local Raska Nursery in Broken Arrow, my favorite place to shop for plants, and found a beautiful little blue juniper evergreen to replace the evergreen that died in this last winter freeze. I was advised to plant it a bit raised because we have a lot of clay soil in our region and if you plant trees too deep here, they can’t drain well in the clay soil.
In other news, my little tropical/succulent garden is doing well. The tropical plant is flowering like crazy in our rainy, hot summer! Some of the succulents are starting to form new buds, too.
I’ve also planted about 100 watermelon seeds in the backyard raised beds and I think all of the seeds sprouted and they are growing fast! On dry days I mist the garden for about 20 minutes and they’re thriving! I hope we have lots of wonderful watermelons soon!!
Two weeks ago I bought six plants for the succulent garden, and this morning I went back to my local Ace to shop for more, and saw the six-packs of succulents were on sale for $3.50! So I bought another pack and planted them today. The soil in our yard is pretty dense, so I also bought coconut peat potting mix and pebbles to mix into my succulent area for better drainage.
I tilled the soil a bit, and then placed the coconut coir peat potting mix blocks in a circle around the central tropical plant. Then I planted my six new succulents around the last six I planted. After this, I soaked the coconut coir blocks to loosen the soil, then spread them around all of the plants. I had bought a small bag of pebbles so I just tossed those around the garden and mixed them in with the coconut coir for extra drainage.
Coconut coir comes from the husks of coconuts, and when used as a peat, it has several advantages:
Makes dense soil more breathable
pH neutral so it quickly adjusts to any type of garden
Absorbs moisture and slowly releases it to plants
I love coconut, and use it as much as possible. In fact, all of the soaps in my Etsy shop are made from coconut oil and coconut oil/coconut milk combinations. I hope my wonderful little succulents love it, too!
Few things are as gratifying to me as spending a long weekend at home, which is exactly what I did for this Memorial Day weekend. This entailed planting some flowers, taking down the blinds and putting up new curtains, catching up on some crochet, and enjoying some backyard time with the dogs with the new fence that was built this week.
Tulsa’s 2021 deep freeze winter wiped out everything in the front yard except for the plants closest to the house, so I set out filling those spaces this weekend. I started with some pretty daisies for the pots, and a tropical and some succulents for our little circular “garden” area in the front yard. I spread a few of the succulents out in the hopes they will multiply on their own and fill out the area. I probably should have mixed some pebbles in with the soil for better drainage for the succulents, but didn’t think of it at the time. Perhaps that will be my next project.
Inside, I finally took down our old blinds and replaced them with curtains. It feels like I sprained my knee somehow while doing this; I’m getting old. I shopped around but always came back to Target’s super cute curtains – here are the owls I got for the kitchen window.
Another indoor project I worked on was my temperature blanket, which I really need to catch up on since I’m only on February 8th! This is a good project for me to do while watching TV, and the pets love it when I relax and crochet; they feel like they can settle down, too, and they nap around me, which explains the dog and cat hairs that are an inevitable part of this blanket.
Speaking of pets, I couldn’t be more excited to get a new fence in our backyard for several reasons, but most importantly so the dogs can run free and I don’t have to worry about them jumping the fence! My daughter bought them kiddie pools to celebrate and they loved it all!
Now it’s starting to rain and the plants are getting a nice shower 🌧️
As we are drawing out of our freezing mornings here in Oklahoma, I’ve been very excited to get some new herbs, fruits, and vegetables for the garden! Last week I bought some blackberries, cilantro, chives, and lemon verbena for the front porch. I had planted blackberries in full sun in the yard last year, but I think the Oklahoma full sun was too much for them and they didn’t make it. Hopefully potted blackberries on the shady porch will work out better for them.
I also bought some butter lettuce, and have cleaned out one of my garden beds for them and planted them in the garden this morning. They usually enjoy the cooler months, so I’m hoping to get a good yield before it gets very warm here. Last year I had filled the garden beds with Sunshine brand soil, which is supposed to be excellent, and mushroom compost, so this year I only had to clean out the weeds and leaves and the soil was ready.
Yesterday, I got some more vegetables for my other garden beds, which still need to be cleaned out. I’m pretty sure that in the past I’ve overcrowded my garden beds with too many of each vegetable, so this year I just bought two of each kind so they can have much more room to grow. It also saves me work and money that way. I got two tomato, squash, cucumber, zucchini, and strawberry plants. One garden store that we went to even had a nice food can drive where they gave out free plants for cans.
I think I have found the best fertilizer for them in my new hobby, too. My sister’s husband got me fascinated in aquariums over the holidays, and I have already started two this year. Well, I started giving my plants the aquarium water from when I would vacuum beneath the gravel to eliminate settled waste material, and so far my plants seem to thrive on it! I’ll be hauling buckets of it out to the garden once I get everything planted!
My friend and I went to a backyard chickens class yesterday at our favorite local garden shop, too, and I was so tempted to get some. Yet I already have enough animals and hobbies as it is! 😅