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Garden Update- August

Whoa! Where has the summer gone?! I skipped a July update because there wasn’t a ton going on in the garden. We still haven’t gotten our shed (coming in September!), we haven’t added any more beds or barrels, we don’t have the path done (waiting on that shed), and the beg situation was the same as in June. But August has been a food and flower explosion!

The Dahlias completely filled out their barrel, and I think I’m going to split them up early next year. I wanted the barrels to be full and happy but not overcrowded, and they’ll probably be happier as neighbors instead of housemates.

One single black-eyed-susan bloomed! I crowded these guys too, along with nasturtiums and some other things in a pot. Hopefully this guy will survive the winter and move into it’s own barrel next year- or landscaped ground area!

I planted marigolds in little boxes next to a couple of the big beds and they JUST started blooming in early August. They’re in full force now but I will definitely have to start them in the basement next year and get them out and blooming sooner. They’re lovely!

All of the asparagus plants are doing their thing: sprouting more and more tiny asparagus ferns!

The bean, tomato, and purple pepper bed is going strong. Looks a little thirsty here but I’ll take care of that tonight when the sun isn’t out in full force.

I didn’t check the beans for 3 days and went out to find monster beans waiting to be plucked. For the first time ever, we have enough to go with a meal without needing to buy some extra at the store!

So many little tomatoes!

I left the oregano alone and it flowered! I don’t know if it still tastes ok (I have a bolted lettuce that tastes horrible but looks fascinating) but I’m excited to try collecting seeds.

I added some more lettuce plants, an arugula, and some spinach to the lettuce bed, and removed the kale. Something keeps coming and eating the tops off the new baby lettuce so I think I’m done with that for the season. The spinach and arugula seem untouched though so I still have hope for them. And the cucumbers are doing amazing!

They’re pickling cukes and there are a million of them.

The carrot / broccoli/ green onion bed looks half happy and half sad because we picked most of the carrots already and the onions aren’t doing great.

And there’s a few broccoli heads ready for picking!

I honestly cannot believe how full my veg basket is. Might have to look up a sauce recipe to take full advantage of this tomato crop!

In other news, our grass has NEVER looked nicer. Of course, the year we decide to start eliminating and covering it has to look better than ever. Norm keeps saying it’s mostly weeds, but they’re green!

Next month will include the shed (YAY) and maybe the start of planning for next year!

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By special request…

Historically, The Tragic Whale has been my creative outlet. And while I’ve entertained suggestions and occasionally taken on special orders, I’m mostly in this for me. I make what I want, when I want. I develop new items that I think are a good idea and at my own pace. And it’s worked out overall. But if I’m going to continue to grow as a business as well as a person, I need to be open to more of a push than just what I can give myself.

I started with a baby step earlier this year when I introduced PUL-lined bags to the shop. People have been asking for them for AGES, and in true-Kerry fashion, I waited until I was fully ready to explore this new and wild material. Why did I wait so long? I have no idea. It hadn’t previously worked into my “bigger picture plans” and didn’t seem like a good way to spend my time. That was 100% WRONG! The snack-size bags I’m making are selling excellent at events, and multiple people have asked to special order a print they loved in person but with the easy-to-clean PUL as a lining instead of cotton.

Another baby step is to buy fabric with the customer in mind. Why? Because they are the people buying things from me! This is a “Duh, Kerry!” moment, I know. A lot of people are asking about bee fabric, so I started scooping up every one I come across. They don’t last long in the shop and sell even faster in person, so instead of buying more bees after I sell out of all my bee bags, I’m actively seeking it out and consciously picking designs that I haven’t see elsewhere. The idea is that 1) I won’t run out and 2) I’ll have especially fun bees to offer.

My last baby step is to make more in prints I already have / self designed. My shark print is pretty popular and people ask for more size options. And I’m over here like, “Well I *had* that in a small and I sold it. So I don’t anymore.” But it’s MY fabric and the whole idea is to buy more when I need it. Why am I waiting to sell out before thinking about the next bag? I made some shark bags last week, and some sheep bags (which is another frequent request)! And I’m currently working on a restocking list for the designs I’m running low on.

What’s next? Well, these baby steps all come together to form a shift in focus for me. I’m planning to add a Made to Order section to the shop within the next year (probably sooner) where people will be able to select bag size, outside fabric, zipper color, and lining. I’ll only offer them in my own prints, because I can restock on fabric when I run low. I still have to work out some details, such as turnaround time and pricing, but it feels like a natural next step and I’m excited about it!

Have any suggestions? Noticed a change in focus in your life recently? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Garden Update: June

Things are really starting to grow over here and I couldn’t be more excited!

View from above:

Do we still have a lot of work to do? Yes. Are we happy with what we’ve done so far? Yes! It won’t be long before all the grass is covered or gone mwahahahaha

Let’s start wit the aparagus bed, the square one at the top of the big picture. They look like tiny trees! There’s a lot of tiny weeds moving in, which is only weird because it’s the highest of all the raised beds. I also think a colony of tiny ants may have moved in, but they don’t seem to be bothering the asparagus so I’m not too worried about it.


The first bed I planted is still doing well (left rectangle in the horse shoe), with purple bean plants, a purple tomato plant, and a purple pepper plant. Last year, my peppers didn’t produce anything so I’m hoping to at least get a tiny little pep. This is also my first time with tomato since middle school.

We have a groundhog that lives in our back rock wall, and he rolled out one day and ate almost my entire kale plant! I started spraying it with a mix of water and mashed up hot peppers (thanks, internet!) and he hasn’t been back for more. The kale made a full recovery, and it’s lettuce neighbor is growing like a weed! I was worried that all the lettuce would be ready to pick at the same time but they’re coming along at different speeds.

I just added a couple of cucumber plants in with the lettuce, and a couple of little pepper plants. The cucumbers are just poking up now.

The back bed in the horse shoe has carrots, broccoli, green onions, and a couple other small pepper plants. My first broccoli plants didn’t make it, so I got these in the ground right when they started poking out of their peat pots and they’re looking good and healthy and not wilty and sad.

Around the raised beds (and what will eventually be the other side of a path) we have barrels of flowers. I got a couple of Dahlia plants:

These things:

I don’t know what they are or if they’ll come back next year but they were pretty. I mixed in some nasturtiums with some of the pots and in some of the veggie beds because I read that they can help keep beetles and other pests away. Also, I can’t pronounce their name and I keep calling them “the nast-things.” And then I have a couple of small, long beds with marigolds in them. They’re just fluffing out now, I’ll start them earlier next year, but they’re also supposed to help with pests. And they’re pretty (when they bloom):


What’s next? Well, a shed! In the far back corner, near the compost barrel, we’re going to put the shed. We’re ordering one so that some strangers can assemble it in a few hours for us instead of having to spend a weekend + who knows how long putting one together. And we’ve mapped out a path with sticks and string. It’s going to lead from our front steps to the shed, and we still have to dig up the grass for it.

And once the path is in place, I’ll start planning more flower beds, bird feeders, and a second bird bath.

The Breakfast Nook

We had a dining table and corner bar that we mostly used to hold cookbooks, junk, mail, and occasionally actual trash. It was a wasted area that we didn’t enjoy, and Fluff was nice enough to scratch the back of one of the dining chairs to shreds. I love me a good restaurant booth and always opt for one when we go out, so Norm and I talked about how amazing it would be to have a restaurant booth at home. Then we set about crafting something long those lines.

The table and benches came as a set from Wayfair, and we purposely stuck everything in the corner to 1) open up the space and 2)make the wall seat more booth-like! That’s my side (in the not-winter. In the winter, the wall makes it VERY cold and I will not sit there).

We got the hanging lamp from Ikea, and ordered a push button switch for it from Amazon.

I ordered what I THOUGHT was green fabric from JoAnn’s to make the curtains, but the blue turned out to complement the green lamp. We had floor to ceiling sheers but we wanted something a little more “window-at-a-pizza-place.” And the hanging planters have basil and a jade plant, just out of Fluff’s reach because she is a plant snacker.

We set the table with a napkin holder we had and Mrs. Salt and Mr. Pepper shakers that we got for our wedding! We try to keep the water pitcher full so we never have to get up for more water during a meal.

 

The space was complete when we added the Norm & Kerry Lego painting- also a wedding gift, from Norm’s high school friend, Joe! His work is incredible and I’m so happy to have a piece for our home.

And of course, since everything in our house is a cat toy, Fluff has a lot of fun with the napkins!

First Trip to York

We spent the weekend in York, Maine to celebrate our friends’ wedding! Usually we stay in Ogunquit so it was nice to have a reason to try somewhere new. We stayed at the Union Bluff Hotel and had a great view of the water and the beach.

We got salt water taffy from The Goldenrod, had pizza at Woody’s, and grabbed ice cream from Wicked Good Ice Cream.

Our friends rented a house right on the water for the celebration. It had a million rooms, a million and one balconies, and ocean on 3 1/2  sides. It felt like the edge of the world. It was magical.

It was a super fun weekend and we’re already talking about going back!

Garden Update- May

We got the raised beds started! We didn’t get enough soil, and that square one in the back doesn’t have a permanent home yet. But we have a pallet of soil waiting in the driveway, with a couple of cedar flower barrels for some perennial flowers.

So far, the green beans, carrots, and broccoli have moved into the front beds. The beans are THRIVING! And the carrots and broccoli look very dead. I started more carrots in peat pots, but I also have enough seeds left to start a row right in the soil, and thin them out as they pop up. I’m going to give them a couple of weeks and see what happens.

None of the peppers I started sprouted, and all their peat pots molded! Out of everything, they are the only ones that got gross so I don’t know what I did wrong. They got the same amount of water and same amount of light. I started a few more and I’m hoping a couple of them take. A local farm (J&K’s Good Thyme Farm!) has a plant sale coming up so if mine don’t sprout I can shop local and get some there!

We added a bird feeder to the front, moved the strawberry plants into the back yard raised bed, and I relocated my Lily of the Valley again.

And we’re planning a shed for the front corner of the yard, with a path to it from the front steps. If all goes according to plan, we won’t have any front grass to worry about by next year!

2019 Garden

Last year, I had a little 4×4 raised bed in the back yard. I tried my hand at carrots, beets, cucumbers, sweet peppers, and green beans. I didn’t thin my carrots so they ended up in jumbled clumps, I only had 3 bean plants so we never had enough to go with a meal, the pepper plants didn’t grow above 3 inches, one of the two beets died, and the cucumbers were amazing!

(oops)

I’m excited to step up my game this year. The front yard has the best light, and we hate the grass, so the plan is to fill the space with raised beds and flower pots, eventually. It’s something that I want to build up to, adding a little every year JUST IN CASE I lose total interest in this hobby. I don’t want to invest in a full-yard garden and then next year be like, “Oh, I’m actually onto swim aerobics now and don’t have time for plants.” We decided to start with three 6×3 raided beds and put them on the flattest part of the yard, and then get some half-barrels to start perennial flowers. We have a terraced area next to the fro

 

nt steps currently full of weird bushes that I’m going to replace with a few Lily of the Valley (snagged from my parents’ yard, which my mom snagged from her parents’ yard). Eventually, they’ll spread out and fill the whole area with beautiful white flowers in the spring, and then lush green leaves for the rest of the summer. Plus, they’re very low maintenance!

I ordered a grow light and started my seeds in the basement this year.

Last year, I started them on the kitchen table in late spring as as soon as they started to sprout, Fluff started to snack on them! They’re much safer in the basement, albeit colder, and when it starts to warm up I’ll move them to the deck. We already have a few little sprouts: broccoli, malva, lupine, and some beans are starting to poke through.

As for the small bed in the back yard, I don’t know if I want to try asparagus, which seems like a fun challenge, or do some kind of terraced strawberry area. Luckily, I have some time to figure it out before I start digging in the dirt.

 


Hello, I’m Kerry! Maker. Sewist. Fan of all things bright.

October 2019
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It's Fluff! Curious, master napper, likes to try new veggies.

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