Uncharted

Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

Garden Update July 30, 2014

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 8:33 pm
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We’re almost coming to a close with summer. How did it go by so fast? August 1st is already this Friday! One way that I’ve been able to tell summer is coming to a close is all the growth in our garden.

In the south garden: we’ve reaped two jalapenos and there are more coming. The peppers did pretty well in their new location of our yard. The six plants have grown and are looking great! We hope to get at least another 6-8 peppers by the mid September. One obstacle in the new spot was the mulberry tree. It definitely blocked the sun and layered the ground with mulberries.

Peppers!

Peppers!

What I’m looking forward to the most from this garden area are the tomatoes. We lost three plants due to decapitation from Porter’s lead. But the other five plants are thriving. Within the next few weeks we should have about 3-4 tomatoes ready to eat and hopefully more throughout the end of August and September. The only question is who will get to them first – Matt or myself!

Tomatos

Tomatoes

The last plant in the south garden is my basil plant. I cannot believe it’s almost as tall as the tomato plants! I’m wondering if there is a way I can transplant it to a pot to bring it in for the winter. Any gardeners out there with ideas on transplanting herbs? Suggestions are most welcome.

Basil

Basil

The west side garden is dismal. Due to a tree branch that punctured our gutter, I didn’t foresee an oncoming direct deluge of water into the garden. Needless to say there is a bit of a divot in the garden from all the water from the spring rains. Unfortunately, I lost the majority of the cucumber seeds and green bean seeds I planted there. But low and behold, I noticed about a month ago that it appears that a few green beans and cucumbers might actually make it. I’m thrilled that we might actually have a few. And yes, we fixed the gutter to the best of our ability for now so the plants have a chance.

Green bean!

Green bean!

It will be interesting to see what all we’ll end up with from our gardens by the end of the season. It’s been a good year, definitely better than the drought of last year. At least none of my plants died….well at least by my hand. Paws on the other hand….

 

Luxurious Grass June 30, 2014

Filed under: Kate — Uncharted @ 1:46 pm
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This past weekend, Eric and I decided to take on one of the larger projects on our list of improvements for our house… ripping out what we have been fondly referring to as, “The Weed Garden” or on occasion, “Oakley’s Poop Patch” and instead putting in some grass and flowers. Though it is a small area, it was a ton of work and took us several hours to complete.

First, we had to rip out the weeds. Eric started with a weedwacker to make it a little more manageable.

After the weeds were wacked.

After the weeds were wacked.

Then we had to till the dirt. This helped us get the bulbs from the ground cover out, as well as pulling all the roots from the weeds. Tilling is also important for when we put your grass down, it has some soft ground to grow its roots.

Edging around the tree and tilling the dirt

Edging around the tree and tilling the dirt

Last, we went to our favorite store in the whole world, The Home Depot and bought some sod, which is surprisingly cheaper than I thought. We also picked up some callalilies to add a punch of color. An interesting note: callalilies will die over the winter in this climate, so we’ll have to dig them out in the fall and replant the bulbs in the spring. In the end, the hard work was worth it… and Oakley approved of the changes. While she was rolling around the luxurious grass, she even said, “Thanks Mom and Dad! I didn’t even know I wanted this grass patch here, but I’m so happy you did this all for me!”

Yay Luxurious Grass!

Yay Luxurious Grass!

 

A Weekend in the Mud May 14, 2014

The guys

The guys after the race “stretching”

This weekend was quite the mash up of events. Saturday, Matt, our friend Ross and his friend Ryan competed in their first Tough Mudder. Matt was so stoked for the race and blared 90’s music all the way up to Genoa City, Illinois. Luckily I was able to stop and pick up a cup of coffee to help make the drive a little more tolerable.

We met up quite easily with the rest of the group which consisted of Ross’ wife Deanna, his parents, as well as Ryan’s wife and sister in law. All three guys started and completed the race together. They got caked in mud, dosed with arctic water and electrocuted and loved it. So much that they all signed up for next year’s race immediately upon finishing.

The entire event was run very smoothly. Check-in was easy for spectators and for the competitors. There were plenty of volunteers to ensure the lines kept moving. The transportation was awesome. Buses were lined up at the parking area and at race grounds. We never waited more than 5 minutes to board a bus.  My only request would be to have more maps available to spectators in easy to find locations. We had to borrow another spectator’s map to figure out our designated route. Luckily he had two and we were set to make sure we saw all of the obstacles open to spectators and cheer on our guys.

Sunday was recuperation/get ready for Mother’s Day. We both woke up a little off – Matt sore and me with a sinus headache (darn allergies!). So we took it easy and waited for medication to kick in before we got the day started. I wanted to finish up my planting my gardens so I headed off to Home Depot while Matt helped to clean up the house.

Perennials were on sale for 3 for $10. I picked up 6 beautiful large perennials for pots to frame our front door as well as to fill a basket in our backyard. A few vegetables also managed to find their way into my cart.

Flowers

Flowers Before

 

Flowers After

Flowers After

Flowers After

Flowers After

For the final part of my garden, I picked up two roma tomato plants, and eight large tomato plants along with 4 green pepper plants and 4 jalapeno pepper plants. I spent the rest of the early afternoon planting before it was time to head over to my parent’s house to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Veggies Before

Veggies (tomatoes/basil) After

Veggies (tomatoes/basil) After

Veggies (peppers) After

Veggies (peppers) After

We had a great time cooking out ribs and catching up with my mom and dad. Naturally my dad had a few projects for Matt…including installing a ceiling fan. My mom loved her presents as well as having someone else cook and clean up. Oh, and also of course spending time with Porter, even if he took her slipper more than once!

A busy weekend but a great one for the books and the mud.

 

 

Getting My Green Thumb Ready April 30, 2014

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 7:38 pm
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Matt and I have been getting our backyard ready all of April. With this winter who can blame us wanting to spend our nights outside by the fire pit! We’re ready for s’mores and beer outside above 70! But even though we haven’t quite hit the 70’s yet, it’s been nice enough to get outside and get a little dirty. One area in the backyard I wanted to work on specifically are my gardening areas.

Last year I tried my hand at tomatoes, peppers and a few herbs. Regarding the herbs, I planted chives which are annuals and they came back wonderfully. So great that we’ve already snipped a few for meals.

Chive Plant

Chive Plant

 

As for the rest from last year, the peppers did well but the tomatoes not good at all. This was because garden location number one is next to the house and is primarily in shade and tomatoes love sun. This year I’m planning to move the tomatoes to garden area number two.

My first order of business two weeks ago was to remove any debris left from the fall, mostly leaves and twigs that were covered by snow. I couldn’t believe how many leaves we still had in our backyard! We filled up 6 full leaf bags and I promise, we raked multiple times last fall. With that complete I put down a weed killer to kill off anything that already had started to grow and to discourage future weeds. We purchase RoundUp because it does the job well and is reasonably priced at our local hardware store. All you have to do then after you spray is wait.

This past weekend, was step two in getting the gardens ready. Out from the garage came my gardening gloves and small spade to finally destroy and remove the dead weeds. Once that was done I tilled both gardens to make sure the soil was ready for seeds. In the area last year where I planted the tomatoes and peppers, I’m trying out cucumbers and green beans.

IMG_1297[1]

Garden Area #1

With the cooler weather this week, I’m waiting until closer to mother’s day to plant the tomatoes, and whatever else I find that sounds like a good idea at the gardening store. Or, let’s be honest, whatever else is on sale!

Garden Area #2

Garden Area #2

 

May Flowers! May 6, 2013

(10) Plant my garden (and flowerboxes)

I crossed another thing off my list of 28 goals for 2013! Hurray!

When Eric and I first bought our house, it looked like a jungle outside. There were random bushes and trees everywhere that were unkept, half dead or overgrown. We spent an entire weekend last year tearing almost everything out, cutting off dead limbs and creating a blank canvas so we could do our own thing with the yard. Unfortunately, it got too late in the year to do much else, so we waited.

 

Before

Clean Slate

 

Nothing but the perennials

Nothing but the perennials

Now THIS year, I got to plant my garden. Before buying my plants though, I had to do some research. We have a lot of wildlife in Barrington: DEER, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, fox, etc. and each of these animals have their favorite plants they like to eat, so I had to spend a lot of time researching what I wanted to plant and what needed to get stinky anti-animal spray. Here’s what I came up with:

Hydrangea (low risk of being eaten)

Marigolds (keep rabbits away)

Daffodils (these are already in because they are perennials, but I kept them and nobody eats them)

New Guinea Impatiens (low risk of being eaten… and they spread so they’ll fill in a whole section) – side note on these – we heard the regular impatiens are actually not going to do well this year because of some plant disease… that’s why we went with the New Guineas

Daisies (good in the sun)

Rononuculas (sp?) (I know nothing about these, except that I liked the way they look!)

Celosias (Eric loves these)

Hedge of Boxwoods

So after 2 full days of gardening, everything is planted and ready. Now I just have to remember to water them! What are your favorite flowers? Any tips on how to keep my garden looking sharp?

Amazing difference!

Amazing difference!

Flowerboxes!

Flowerboxes!

 

 

Growing A Garden June 13, 2012

Filed under: Karla — Uncharted @ 9:22 pm
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As a child, I grew up helping my mom with our family garden. Each spring we would pick out different vegetables to plant. We always had the usual staples: tomatoes, radishes, carrots, lettuce, pumpkins, raspberries and strawberries. I have so many great memories of spending time in the side yard with both of my parents. I never had a problem getting my hands dirty and helping my mom dig neat rows for the vegetables. And of course I would volunteer to help water the plants with my dad…but sometimes I think we watered each other more than the plants.

Over the last three years since Kelly and I have been in the apartment, we’ve basically kept to potted flowers. Last year we tried our hands on one tomato plant. I think we got one tomato from the plant and the alley squirrel took the rest! We haven’t had time to go get our flowers/plants for this year due to Kel’s surgery and me being a little busy. We’re holding out for some excellent end of season sales. 🙂

So until Kelly and I go shopping for our plants, I did receive an opportunity to expand from pots. Matt offered a strip of already open dirt for planting in his backyard. And of course I took him up on his offer. When Jill was in town a few weeks ago, she helped me pick out a few herbs and vegetables at the Oak Park farmer’s market. I ended up getting three tomato plants (two “beefeaters” and one roma), one yellow pepper plant, oregano, basil, chives and french thyme.

I was a little worried about the plants because I didn’t have the chance to get them in the ground right away. I think the oregano died, but amazingly the rest of the plants are doing great since they’ve been officially grounded. It’s amazing how they can bounce back with a little water, some fertilizer and a lot of love.

The mini garden

I’m really looking forward to how the garden does this summer and fall. Keep your eye out for posts on the first tomato and pepper from the garden. I might also do a few recipe posts using ingredients from the garden or even from the CSA. Stay tuned!

 

Herbage. July 13, 2011

I know that’s not a real word, but it describes what I’ve been projecting lately.  On Sunday, Jonathan and I decided to explore the Pearl Street Farmers Market to see what it had to offer.  Let me just say, we will certainly be returning, since the variety and cutesy-ness of it all was almost too much to handle.  We started at the far end of the market for a quick brunch at the Pajama Baking Company, where the brunch was not only delectable, but surprisingly affordable {always a plus for me}. 

Inside Pajama Baking Company, a repurposed garage

 

We browsed the market, finding everything from handmade soaps and shampoos to your typical home-grown produce to homemade pestos and sauces.  One of the most unique things we saw at the market was the ‘truck garden,’ there to promote growing your own herbs, fruits, and veggies…even if you don’t have a backyard!  That got Jonathan and I thinking, we should start growing some herbs to use while cooking.  We have really deep windowsills in our apartment, and the bedrooms get an unreal amount of sunlight, so we knew we could make it work. 

We started by picking up some herbs we knew we wanted to grow…basil, garlic chives, and rosemary.  We thought we would want to add dill later {they didn’t have it at the market}, but I later found from my neighborhood greenhouse owner that most of Colorado doesn’t even try to grow {much less sell} dill because it’s too ‘delicate’ and herb to survive the lack of oxygen and water that most parts of Colorado experience.  So instead, a unique ‘hot and spicy oregano’ joined the mix. 

Our entire collection of goodies from the day

Then we got a plain wooden expandable planter {I was pulling for this particular planter to be our winner, since I knew it would be easily customizable to our space}, and took everything home.  I painted the planter a simple beige, adding some spice with white polka dots…we went with neutrals so we can move the planter when we feel it’s necessary so our herbs can get all the right sunlight,  but it won’t clash with the decor in any room.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Once we had purchased our final addition, the oregano plant, I went to getting my hands dirty and putting our little herb babies in the planter together.  I hope they grow, and I can’t wait to use them in many recipes!

Our complete mini herb garden!

 

 
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