Gardening Tips For A Good Summer Harvest
I’ve been gardening most of my life. We had a greenhouse when I was a kid and I love spending hours in there. Before having kids I liked having a pretty yard. Now I like having fresh and organic fruits and vegetables. The grass in my yard is now all gone and instead I have woodchips and raised garden vegetable planters with fruit trees mixed in. Each year that passes teaches me more of the plants that grow well, the bugs that like to eat the plants and gardening tips and hacks I pick up online and from other gardeners. Sharing gardening ideas is something I enjoy. This year I planted 21 tomato plants (each one a different type) in my backyard. Some are tiny, a whole bunch will fit into a spoon. Others a handful. Red, orange and purple too. I can’t wait to start canning with them. Going to try tomato sauce and ketchup. Fresh salsa, of course, too. Stay tuned for the recipes. Still waiting for an abundance of tomatoes to ripen.
Here are few must-haves for your own successful garden
Tomatoes like to climb. Offer them tall stakes or trellises and they’ll climb 6-8 feet high! These ones are already over 6 feet. Take the branches that are hanging low and twist them up into the different bars so that they are off the ground, away from pests and mold and grow taller. Some plants do fine on the ground and can grow on a trellis too. Cucumber, squash, even gourds. If you get the vegetable off of the ground there is less chance of rot, sitting in water and they are higher up away from snails and slugs.
When planting make sure you put trees and plants in areas that require the same amount of soil. Fruit trees usually require a lot. Dragonfruit (on the left) is a cactus and needs less. Don’t plant them next to each other. In warm climate, like California, it is best to plant in the late fall. That way trees can get a good root system established before it gets too hot. If you plant late spring or summer trees will require six times as much water.
Also, plant trees facing the south without another tree too close to block out the sun. This way they get enough sun all day. Some trees, like avocado, like partial shade from other trees is okay.
Natria Neem Oil. Great for rosebushes (in my front yard) and fruits and vegetables. The spray is for organic gardening and helps with aphids, whiteflies and spider mites. I know aphids really like my rosebushes and artichoke plants. Natria also makes insecticidal soap and Insect, Disease & Mite Control spray. Keeping bugs off my plants is important for me so that I have more to harvest.
Have the kids help! My front yard is all a drought-scape with lots of butterfly-friendly plants. It is hard on my wrist to dig big holes but the kids can do it easily. I love having them help me in the yard too. Make sure the holes are deep enough and mix a little planter soil with the dirts at the roots.
I’d never put fruit trees or ground vegetables mixed with the drought-tolerant plants. Some would end up overwatered and others not watered enough. Milkweed, sage, lantana, popcorn trees and other plants can be found in the area in nurseries that need less water and can take full-sun. During fall-spring I don’t have to water these at all. In the summer I only water once a week, or less.
Don’t forget to thin out your plants. I always overplant. Especially when I plant from seeds. These seedlings were tiny when I planted them and I wasn’t sure all were going to make it. They look great (always good news) so I need to thin them out and plant some elsewhere. Left to right: tomatoes, eggplant, melon and two types of cucumber. I’m going to thin these some but than going to let them go crazy and grow out the sides of the vegetable planter too. Around it is only wood chips so there is lots of room. But, in general, it is advised to thin out crop so each plant is about 6-10 inches apart.
Summer Reading Programs & Contests For Kids
Encourage your kids to read with these fun reading incentives. Earn books and prizes online or your local bookstores. I’m sure there is more to this list, so please comment if you know of other places having reading programs. Local libraries often have a reading program too. Some give prizes by how many hours read. Other how many books. If you have a few libraries nearby you can join a few. Great for reluctant readers and a way to give kids some quiet time during the day and off of multi-media.
- The 2017 Summer Reading Adventure by Dogobooks. Sponsored by Beauty and the Beast. Runs May 26th-Sept 15th.
Sign-up at www.dogobooks.com and create your avatar!
Select books to read from a Reading List of 45 books
Read books and write reviews of 30 words or more
2. Barnes & Noble. Kids grades 1-6th earn a free book. Runs May 16th-September 5th.
The Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program is here to help you on your way, encouraging you to read books of your own choosing and earn a FREE book, simply by following these three easy steps:
Read any eight books this summer and record them in your Summer Reading Journal (English or Español). Tell us which part of the book is your favorite, and why.
Bring your completed journal to a Barnes & Noble store.
Choose your FREE reading adventure from the book list featured on the back of the journal.
3. Half Price Books. All ages. Runs June 1-July 31st.
The Half Price Books is called Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program.
They have two sections. Ages 14 and under and Teens. Read 300 minutes and earn Bookworm Bucks.
4. Scholastic Summer Reading Program works with kids, parents and teachers to earn books. Runs May 8th- Sept 8th.
Simply go to Scholastic Books and register. For ages 0-young adult (parents can read to kids that are not able to read). You have to read from their reading list.
5. Chuck E. Cheese Reading Program. *Runs all year long.
Chuck E. Cheese gives kids 10 free tokens for reading, doing chores and other tasks. Parents can print reward sheets to fill out.
Hot Products For Babies & Toddlers This Summer
I love discovering new products on the market. Some are a revamp of colors and others are products I’ve never heard of or are totally new designs. Right now seems to be the time of year when everyone I know is giving birth so I thought I’d share some hot new products on the market. Check out some of these fun new baby and toddler toys, clothing and gadgets and let me know what you think.
- This is a really cool 3-in-1 Gymotion Robo Playland by Yookidoo. My first time hearing of this company. It is great for infants up to sitting-up-age babies and in between too. Great for the park to be able to put your baby down while being entertained. It has a musical mobile, a buggy that moves back and forth on a track, mirrors, things to grab and touch. Even some tummy-time entertainment. I love its red, white, blue and black colors too.
I love educational toys. Especially when they are so fun kids don’t realize they are learning! This is called TotBot. Kids can stack (or unstack) pieces sorted by shape, color and size. Add on the robot’s head and twist them all together. Great for ages 2+ to count, identify shapes and colors, use fine motor skills for the little rachet and for building.
Tried and true! Baby Magic and Boudreaux’s Butt Paste are great for babies. I gave the butt paste (yes, weird name but works great)to my neighbor for a baby shower gift and they said it is the only brand they use! Keep babies clean and their bottoms dry. Baby Magic Hair & Body Wash and lotion are great for people with skin sensitivities since they are hypoallergenic and leave the skin smooth, clean and soft. Sometimes when something has been around for generations there is nothing to change!
I absolutely love this adorable lion shirt by Little Goodall. They have clothing for ages newborn-9 years old plus a few cute adult jackets. This shirt is called Lion in My Pocket and has a vintage look to a fashionable shirt. I can’t wait to see this on my nephew. He’ll look simply dashing in it!
Princess fans all over can enjoy this monthly subscription box from JamBox! Each month you get a new set of pajamas. Cute summer ones. Long sleeve. All sorts of designs to choose from. You can sign up for one, or one a month. (Too bad they don’t have adult sizes). I love these cute summer ones with wands, diamonds and crowns. Perfect for hot nights.
New York Strip Steaks with Basil-Arugula Pesto Recipe
This is a delicious recipe to make for your family! Perfect on the barbecue. Especially with the heat wave we have going. Just one of over 125 recipes from Weber’s Greatest Hits by Jamie Purviance. From grilled pineapple to twice-baked potatoes and lots of recipes with chicken, beef, pork and lamb. Weber even has an awesome Bluetooth meat thermometer from iGrill2. Make sure your food is cooked all the way through and to the right temperatures. It comes with two Pro Meat Probes and can read temperatures from -58 to 716 degrees Fahrenheit.