I'm Tonia and this is my family. There's Hubs, my wonderful partner; Bug, my darling daughter; and Boo, my charming son. We are the Collins clan. We are a homeschooling family who try our best to live out God's will for our lives every day. There are lots of stumbles along the way, but we love each other and this little life we're carving out for ourselves. Recently we found ourselves called to make some big changes in our lives so we're packing up the McMansion and moving out to a little farm in need of a lot of TLC. We have tons to learn and tons to do and we invite you to share the journey as we turn our not-so-new heap into a home.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Phase One

I was a bit late getting the garden in, but it's been planted and going strong for a couple of months now. As with everything out here, there are some high points and some, well, less than high points.


Three weeks ago I had cucumbers, tomatoes, popcorn, zucchini, onions, spaghetti squash, brussel sprouts, okra, and herbs growing.  We were just starting to get some good zucchini and a few cucumbers. There had been some minor squirmishes with bugs, but nothing a little peppermint spray hadn't taken care of. I was feeling good.


The corn seemed to be thriving.

I was delighted to find a sweet little baby spaghetti squash starting to grow.

The tomato plants had a ton of flowers and I spotted the first fruits taking shape.

And the apple trees had a ton of beautiful, healthy fruit on them.

It's easy to forget how fast things can change out here. In three short weeks we've had numerous rainy days and even more sunny days. My plants have either grown by leaps and bounds or they've met their untimely demise- all in the blink of an eye.

The cucumbers have taken off and I have already canned enough pickles to feed a small army. I'm only partly joking when I tell my family pickles are to become the standard veggie for every meal.
The tomatoes are as tall as me and have put on a ton of fruit, though nothing has ripened yet. I'm still holding out hope for jars and jars of spaghetti sauce and salsa.
Once one squash bug showed up my precious squash plants quickly started to decline. The zucchini is pretty much toast and the spaghetti squash is barely hanging on. It remains to be seen if the spaghetti squash can hang on long enough to allow the few good sized fruits to finish ripening. The amount of eggs and adult squash bugs in my garden boggles the mind. This is definitely one of the areas I must reevaluate for next year.
The corn is starting to flower. I'm hoping there are enough plants for successful pollination to occur. If we're very lucky we'll have popcorn to harvest in the fall.
Both the okra and the brussel sprouts have battled caterpillars and while still alive they are very stunted. I have managed to get rid of the critters with peppermint spray, but I'll just have to wait and see if the plants can catch up and put on some fruit.

The apples are still growing and starting to put on a lovely pink blush. I'm beyond excited that we're going to have some apples. It looks like we have one red variety and one green variety so I should be able to can applesauce and apple pie filling both.
This year's garden is just phase one. I have plans to expand into the other half of the fenced area next year and to put in a berry patch. This fall we will plant three more apple trees, too.  I still have a ton to learn about maximizing harvests and minimizing bugs and loss. Eventually, I will have two more 25x25 garden areas and lots more veggies. I'm grateful for the successes and the failures- they're helping me learn!


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