Thursday, August 12, 2010


I decided to create a blog as a type of diary to keep track of my cooking/canning/food preserving/gardening adventures.

My husband and I have been living in our house in the south-eastern suburbs of Milwaukee county for about 5 years.  We have a 10x30 foot garden in our backyard that has been an adventure/challenge in itself.  When we purchased this house there was a big rectangle of dirt covered with inches of woodchips.  The previous owners kept a swingset on top of our garden!  My husband put a lot of sweat equity into turning that play area into my garden.  He got rid of all of those pesky wood chips and eventually shoveled in 5 yards of beautiful dirt into my new garden.

This first couple of years were interesting.  We grew tomatoes, hot peppers, bell peppers and dill.  I'm sure we grew more, but that's all I can remember right now.  The dill came back like a weed, and I vowed to never grow it again!  Of course, after I took up canning this year, I changed my mind.  Dill is on my list for next summer.  I battled with the weeds over and over, and always seemed to lose the battle at some point in August.  We didn't have much of a garden to speak of the last 2 summers due to my pregnancy and trying to figure out how to be a mom.  We started the garden back up this year.  In the previous years, I used lots of Miracle Gro.  Boy!  Did that make for a lovely garden.  However, my worms seemed to disappear.  This year I decided that our garden would be chemical-free.  So far, so good!  I've been using an organic fertilizer with duck poop in it.  I'd have to say that the results have been similar to those of the Miracle Gro (except that my lovely worms are still here!), however, the smell isn't as pleasant.  I learned that I should not fertilize the garden a few days before we have people over for a cook out in our back yard.  To my family:  sorry about the smell on Father's Day!

After deciding that I did not want to lose another battle with the weeds, I chose to get some landscaping fabric.  I covered the garden with the fabric, and the weed war has been a breeze!  I think I may be winning this year.  But, it's too early to tell.  I also decided to test out this red plastic mulch for underneath my tomato plants.  I honestly don't know if it was worth the money.  Plus, it's on the flimsy side, so I probably wouldn't buy it again.

I planted about a 1/2 of a pack of sweet peas and 1 pack of pickling cucumbers.  I learned that I needed to plant more sweet peas next year.  Apparently you can never have too many (and my son LOVES them).  I am amazed at the amount of cucumbers I've been able to grow.  I would estimate I've gotten about 120 pounds...and they're still coming!

We also have hot banana peppers, cayenne peppers, red bell peppers, mucho nacho jalapeno peppers, green salsa peppers, 1 zuchinni (which is 1 too many), 2 watermelons (which is 2 too many), and 6 tomato plants (roma and globe) and 2 cherry tomatoes.  There is also a variety of herbs.

giant zuchinni blooms = giant zuchinnis

Another gardening experiment this year is my attempt at blueberries.  I bought four blueberry sticks plants and put them in pots.  I got the blueray and patriot varieties.  I read that you will get a better yield if you plant more than one variety.  We'll see in the coming years.  The reason I planted them in pots is that I do not have the correct soil for them to survive.  They need acidic soil with great drainage from some sandy soil.  Guess who's got clay soil?  This girl. 

Then there are my gardening dreams:  cherry trees and chickens (do chickens count for gardening???).  So far both have been shot down by my husband and chickens aren't exactly legal in my city (yet).

This is just the beginning...there's more to come.  I'm debating on whether or not to type up my canning escapades thus far.  And, I'm sure you'll be in for some laughs for my adventures in cooking.  There are always lots of disasters in that area.


  1. Hey Adrienne, it's macmama from the PR. I'm loving reading about your gardening stuff! I've wanted to start a garden for a while now, but the thought is so overwhelming. And now we're not sure how much longer we'll be in this house, and I don't know if only 1-2 more summers in this home would be worth all the work it would take to get the ground ready and/or build raised beds.

    Then too, like your most recent post says, if and when I start really gardening, I'm going to have to learn how to can! Augh, it never ends! ;)

  2. Great blog, I can't wait to follow along your canning experiences I start trying it out myself!


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