Yard to pollinator garden!

Just 2 years ago I got a slightly crazy idea. I threw it by the Mr. because he’s really good at telling me when my idea is a little too much. My idea was to cover all of the grass by the garage with cardboard and wood chips. Then, take that area and turn it into a bunch of flowers; therefore, turn it into a pollinator garden!

Here’s the area as just a grass patch:

Next up was the part that made me wonder if I made a bad choice. Turns out that just wood chips isn’t a great look!

But, I planted out what I could (mainly seeds) and slowly the area was starting to show some small blooms and green plants!

By the end of the first season, I had lots of ideas for next summer. Overall, I thought it looked pretty great though! And, I also was able to have this area registered as a certified wildlife habitat!

Over the winter I started more plants from seed, and I was excited to see that lots of flowers came back up the next season!

We were able create lots of nectar and pollen sources for the bees and butterflies!

Cosmos
Bee on bee balm

Sulphur cosmos

After giving the planted milkweed a second year to grow, we also had this area certified as a monarch waystation. And I don’t know if the butterflies read the sign (ha, ha), or really liked the 3 varieties of milkweed (swamp, butterfly weed and common) but they have showed up in huge quantities this year!

Butterfly weed
Monarch caterpillars
Male monarch
Monarch on a cosmos
Swallowtail
Tagging monarchs!

And here is how it looks today! I can honestly say that I’m very glad that I had a crazy idea and just did it! I love feeding us with our garden food, and I love being able to feed our bees and butterflies too!

August 2019 Goals Update

Hello all! Can you all tell that I’m an elementary teacher and August is my crazy month!? Getting a classroom ready is a ton of work!! That ‘s where I have been!

And now, the goal updates:

1. Sew my first quilt– The craft that I wanted to try was making my first quilt. Everything is sewn and I just need to quilt and bind it! ** When momma feels up for it, we will quilt it!**

2. Keep doing good for our community. The little free library has still been being utilized by many and I added some lollipops that have been disappearing! Plus, we have been releasing lots of monarchs and we even invite the neighbors to watch!

3. Can and save money on our groceries: We have canned several canners full of green beans and even started freezing some. Plus, I made some salsa and canned it too! It’s going to taste great this winter!

4. Use that camper some more!: The Mr. and I enjoyed a Ravens game! It was our first NFL game and I enjoyed it! (Even though professional sports are not really my thing!)

**so here’s the change: I have lots of traveling with being the teacher of the year, so I don’t think that we will be doing much traveling this summer.

5. Compost!: We are still getting some food scraps dropped off, and we are prepping for those jack-o-lanterns! But the best part is that even when we grow something that isn’t great, the chickens will help us out!

Tigger melons after chickens!

6.Little free library/seed sharing- The Library has been having more guests, since the garden cart has been out so much!

7. Grow some new plants: The ground cherries have been growing very well! Plus we got our first tigger melons, rainbow carrots and moon and stars watermelon!

Tigger melons
Beautiful carrots
Moon and stars watermelon

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. That swing set was reassembled by a friend for her adorable twins. We are still harvesting zucchini, purple tomatillos, green beans, carrots, luffas and peppers too!

After!!!

9. Keep reducing our trash We are now on bag 3, and it will be changed in September for sure!

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-It happened! We have a monarch waystation! That habitat is being loved and used by so many pollinators! We are still finding caterpillars out there. We have released almost 60 in August and just tagged a couple in the beginning of September!

Monarch waystation!

Our first tagged monarch

11. Teach the teen life skills– the boy is growing up way too fast. He will be in high school next year. I want him to be ready to be an independent adult when he decides to leave the nest many years from now!

*he has become a master at putting away the ducks and chickens for the night! I probably don’t want to know how the rooster ended up in the duck house!

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– We decided to use the money made from the garden cart to go towards the teen going to Disney with band. We are slowly making a little bit at a time! (the cart is gaining momentum with this harvesting season!)

August always flies by! (That’s why I haven’t posted this sooner!) We will be getting some honey soon!

Our first watermelon!

Keep blooming friends!! 🌸❤️

July 2019 Goals Update

Where in the world have I been?! In the garden! I’m constantly harvesting, watering, pruning, weeding and mulching. But, I’m not complaining at all. I love this time of the year!

And now, the goal updates:

1. Sew my first quilt– The craft that I wanted to try was making my first quilt. Everything is sewn and I just need to quilt and bind it! ** When momma feels up for it, we will quilt it!**

2. Keep doing good for our community. The school garden is starting to produce little cherry tomatoes. And, the farmer’s market in town is doing amazing!

3. Can and save money on our groceries: We had a decent harvest of cucumbers, so those were turned into pickles. Plus the green beans are all being canned for winter too!

4. Use that camper some more!: We were able to have a nice day at a local lake. It was perfect!

**so here’s the change: I have lots of traveling with being the teacher of the year, so I don’t think that we will be doing much traveling this summer.

5. Compost!: We are still getting some food scraps dropped off, especially watermelon leftovers! The chickens love it! Plus, all of those composted pumpkins have regrown some volunteers for us!

6.Little free library/seed sharing- The Library is open and we have sooo many books! And check out that beautiful flag holder that the Mr. forged!

7. Grow some new plants: The ground cherries have really taken off! The bird egg gourds are going to look adorable in the spring, once they are dried out. And I’ve harvested a couple delicata squash!

Ground cherries
Bird egg gourd
Delicata squash

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. That swing set was reassembled by a friend for her adorable twins. We are starting to harvest a good bit from this area!

After!!!

9. Keep reducing our trash We are now on bag 3. We are continuing to watch what we throw out, and I’m thinking bag 3 will be leaving the house in August.

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-Last year we made a wildlife habitat area and we will continue to add to it! That habitat is being loved and used by so many pollinators! The monarchs have been laying so many eggs. We have released almost 10!

11. Teach the teen life skills– the boy is growing up way too fast. He will be in high school next year. I want him to be ready to be an independent adult when he decides to leave the nest many years from now!

*he was washing and waxing cars a lot last month. The waxing was with our personal vehicles and the washing was for a fundraiser!

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– We decided to use the money made from the garden cart to go towards the teen going to Disney with band. We are slowly making a little bit at a time!

July was a great month for gardening! Mostly working in the garden and taking in the summer warmth!

Panorama of the garden
Tomato jungle!

Beautiful zinnias, black eyed susans and milkweed

Hoping to do a walk through the garden Wednesday! Keep blooming friends!! 🌸💚

Wednesday walk through the garden 7/17

The weather has been HOT!! When a rainstorm does happen, the plants grow right in front of my eyes! We had a nice harvest this morning! And, the flowers are blooming!

A few of the beautiful flowers blooming!
A jalapeño!
Tomatillo
So many green beans!
Bird egg gourd!
Red cherry tomato
Corn is tasseling
Dickinson pumpkin
Noodle beans
My first ripe ground cherry! It was delicious!

The garden is growing less weeds and more food!!

What are you harvesting from your garden? Growing some beautiful flowers?

Keep blooming friends! 🌻🌱❤️

Wednesday walk through the garden 7/10

The hot weather paired with the rain showers have made the garden pop! We have been harvesting lots of zucchini and a couple dragon tongue beans.

Here’s how things are growing:

Grow pumpkin vines, grow!
Corn!!!!
Dragon tongue beans
Beautiful tomato
Tomato jungle!
Baby jalapeño
Tons of tomatillos!
Ground cherries!
Yellow zinnia

I spent a little bit this morning teaching littles about beekeepers and pollinators. They lived the monarch caterpillar that I brought and I left them with a butterfly weed to plant.

Keep blooming friends! 🌸💚

June 2019 Goals Update!

June went by as quick as a flash!! We made our way to Ocean City, so that momma could have some fun this summer. School came to an end, lots of time was spent in Baltimore, I had an interview for MPT and spent the last part of the month attempting to get rid of weeds!

And now, the goal updates:

1. Sew my first quilt– The craft that I wanted to try was making my first quilt. Everything is sewn and I just need to quilt and bind it! ** When momma feels up for it, we will quilt it!**

2. Keep doing good for our community. The school garden is looking better by the day! I was able to finally meet the hometown healthy coordinator and we will be getting our own farmer’s market here!

School garden tomatoes!

3. Can and save money on our groceries. Even though I had to buy the strawberries, I did get a few jars of jam made! And it is delicious!

4. Use that camper some more!: The boy and I enjoyed our trip to Ocean City! And I spent around a week in Baltimore too. I’m hoping that our family of 3 get to go on some sort of trip this summer!

**so here’s the change: I have lots of traveling with being the teacher of the year, so I don’t think that we will be doing much traveling this summer.

5. Compost!: We are still getting some food scraps dropped off here at the house. And, we are continuing to compost our food waste too! Thanks to all of that compost from last year, we had a great garlic and potato harvest this year!! Around 60 pounds of potatoes and 80 heads of garlic!

6.Little free library/seed sharing- The Library is open!! I love watching people stop by and grab a book! So far this is my favorite goal! (and we have been receiving lots of book donations too!)

7. Grow some new plants: This year we are hoping to grow ground cherries better, and we got a lot of volunteers! The purple tomatillos are growing great and the purple potatoes look great!

8 ball zucchini
Purple potatoes

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. This year, we want to took out our huge swing set that hasn’t been used in such a long time and start getting rid of grass. The yard to garden is coming along!!!

After!!!
Beautiful fencing!

9. Keep reducing our trash We are now on bag 3. We are continuing to watch what we throw out! And we are participating in plastic free July and tracking how much trash that we are producing.

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-Last year we made a wildlife habitat area and we will continue to add to it! The butterfly weed is blooming, along with so much else! Plus, we are not collecting and raising monarchs in my new outdoor cage!

Chilling on the butterflyweed
Lady monarch on milkweed
Totally upcycled monarch cage!

11. Teach the teen life skills– the boy is growing up way too fast. He will be in high school next year. I want him to be ready to be an independent adult when he decides to leave the nest many years from now!

*he really stepped it up when I was out of town. He got himself out the door to school. Plus he has done his own laundry this month and has been putting the chickens away some nights.

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– I’d love to eventually break even on all of our gardening! We have only sold a couple dozen eggs so far, but the garden cart will be opening this month with some produce!

(No garden cart sales yet! But hopefully soon!)

June was a busy month! Lots of trips and then lots of work getting rid of the weeds when I got home.

After all the weeding!
End of June garden!

Keep blooming friends!! 🌸🌱💚

What’s blooming around here?!

It officially feels like summer here! With all of these hot days, the flowers are starting to bloom everywhere. And, the pollinators are happy!!

Bumble on bee balm
Swamp milkweed bloom
Borage bloom
Purple and white coneflowers
Marigold
Purple cosmos!
Zucchini bloom
Dragon tongue beans bloom
Before (top) After weeding (bottom)

I have been doing a ton of work getting rid of those pesky weeds in the garden. I used a lot of cardboard and tons on mulch on top. Hopefully that suppresses them for a while!

What’s blooming in your garden?! 🌱❤️