{Home & Garden} Garden Update Part 5 ~ Almost there!

Time for the real work to begin on the garden.

In Part 1, we removed the old garden.

Part 2, we marked out where we needed the new boxes and moved out the old plants we were keeping.

Part 3 was more of a funny update, as I realized how many of the Little toys we were using in preparing for the new garden!

In Part 4, a WHOLE lotta dirt got dumped onto our driveway.

Which brings us to this update.

This is when we are REALLY glad we live near family!  Hubs went to work on the irrigation. We had sprinklers in this area for the grass (that was removed in In Part 1). Hubs did a little self teaching after speaking to a local John Deere supply warehouse on how to build a drip system, tapping into the current sprinkler lines. I’m honestly so lucky to be married to a “self-starter-gotta-figure-it-out-and-do-it-myself-guy”!

Grandpa (AKA “Farmer John” to us these days). Moved our exisiting artichoke plant to its new location.  I like this move for a number of reasons. For one, artichoke plants are HUGE, and it used to shade other plants a little too much.  In it’s new home, it has more room to grow. Also, the taller it gets, the more it hides the stuff on the wall!  Win-win!

Addie got busy with her digging.  This was a whole family affair (I particularly liked my jobs: Take photos & feed people.  DONE!)

Along with the irrigattion, Hubs was also tasked with moving the existing trees to their new locations.

Hi Honey!  Need any help with that??

These are citrus trees that we already owned. None of them had done very well in their old locations, but after seeing the lemons popping through the trellis in these photos, I was convinced we could do something to cover the ugly cinder block wall.  So these have all been moved against the wall and we are training them to grow along it. (AKA Espalier)

Hayden helped with the digging too.

And then the girls danced inside the new raised boxes.  Entertainment, I tell ya, pure entertainment around here 24 x 7!

Then it was time to place the new boxes.  We chose to make these a little taller than last year’s in hopes that caring for everything would be a little less back braking. I’ll let you know how that goes. (‘Cuz carrying around 3 little toddlers does NOTHING at all to my back already, nope, doesn’t bother it a bit…)

The girls tested the boxes out and thought they would work just fine.

Piper: “I’m Queen of the Woooooorld!”

Addie: “I can help! I can help!”

Though there were no plants in the boxes yet, watering the new soil helps to compact it and also makes sure that new plants and seeds will feel welcome in their new home. (Or so I’m told, remember, we’re only 2 years new to this…).

Then that big pile of dirt started finding it’s way back to the new garden. Thank goodness!!

Addie went around to all the boxes and double checked Dada’s work, tightening things up as she went along.

Hayden too. Hubs is so lucky we have these little helpers to keep him in check!

Piper?  Well she supervised!  She was part of my work detail. Entertain and keep everyone happy. We had a really tough job!

If you know my dad, then you KNOW his Farmer John outfit was in perfect form for the day. When my dad gets involved with a project, he researches things completely and then immerses himself in full detail!

Love ya Dad (AKA Grandpa, AKA Farmer John!)

Hayden followed up with Hubs and Grandpa and made sure the dirt was all transported from the driveway.

And soon it was time for a well earned Margarita!!  (I mean seriously folks I’m not sure about the work the rest of my family did, but taking pictures is EXHAUSTING!).

The next weekend we planted.  It was a HOT, HOT, HOT weekend, but the satisfaction of seeing the garden was awesome!

OHHHH, and then there was the fence. I saw it in a magazine. Strategically placed said magazine photo under Hubs nose. The next weekend we (read = HE) built a fence. Lord love that guy!!

Stay tuned!

how does your garden grow?

So a few weeks ago I posted this photo on Facebook and asked people to guess what we were building.  The responses were great…bunk beds? Chicken coop? A fort? A playhouse?

But what we (read = my fabulous husband) was actually building were vegetable beds. We decided that we just didn’t have ENOUGH stuff going on, that it might be fun to add ONE MORE THING to our lists.  I actually take full blame for this project as I thought it might be fun and asked hubs ever so nicely (I think he might have rolled his eyes at me…) if he would build them for us.

I had vegetable garden envy after seeing my neighbors and then my parents.  I had just decided I would wait a year to add this “4th child” to our lives, (since we had NEVER GROWN VEGETABLES, EVER,  and I have a black thumb…).

But then my dad tells me, “It’s easy!  We live in the perfect climate for it. If you water it, you’ve done your job. The sun will do the rest!”

This is their garden around Mother’s Day….
They live in a fab empty nester condo,
so this should show you, you don’t need a backyard to grow veggies.

A few hours later we’re building vegetable beds.

I’m at Home Depot with hubs and am on my iPhone checking out P-Dubs vegetable box tutorial.  We didn’t actually follow hers, but it’s a good one if you need some direction.  Hubs already had in mind how he wanted to build ours, and my only requirement was making it child proof.

I know, I know…I should just let kids be kids and teach them about gardening.  Chalk it up to  – I just don’t want to protect one more thing from being “interesting”. And the fact that I have a 2 year old, 1 year old and a 3 month old. I may have eyes in the back of my head, but I would need them all over by entire body to keep up with this crew. So hubs devised special sliding gates which is what makes the photo above look possibly like a bunk bed or chicken coop!

He and the girls got busy with the building….

I mean seriously, this is just one of the many reasons I love him!

I can’t even fold laundry with the girls “helping” and he’s using power tools!

You go girls!!  Girls can run construction crews too!

Hubs making one of the secret weapon gates…

Then it was off to the backyard.

(Please ignore the ugly and embarrassing cinder block wall….)

Piper chilled in the pack & play for about 2 hours while we did this,

love that kid!!

Addie & Hay were MESSSSSSSSSY! But boy did they have fun with the dirt!

We sort of cheated, but people remember I just said we had NEVER done this before! Lowes ended up having the best assortment of starter plants, including lettuce.  Most of the plants came in great little containers that you planted directly into the soil.  The containers then absorbed into the dirt.

Kinda felt like we were being green for a minute!

This is the girls “job”.  We actually already had the trees planted ~ lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, avocado, and a cocktail fruit tree (no – drinks do not grow on trees, I wish, its a mix of fruit – peaches, plums, apricots). Watering the trees is a good safe job they can do in the garden without ripping apart the beds, and they love helping!

This is the second bed with Artichokes, Heirloom Tomatoes, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, & Cucumbers.

See the fab secret weapon gate??  All 4 sides actually slide out.  Man, I love my hubs!

He put this “groovy” groove in each post for the gates.  They do get a little sticky, but we’re going to try the wax trick that I used to use on dresser drawers in my past life. (Rub a wax candle down the tracks that need to run through each other and it helps everything “slide”).

The photo above is 1 of the boxes the day we planted everything.  About a month ago. The photo below is from this past weekend.  Check out the corn stalks on the back right!! And we did actually grow some things from seed. The front has a row of carrots and a row of green onions behind the carrots.  And I promise, I’ve done nothing but water everything (and live in sunny southern California!)  This past weekend was the first time I’ve watered them with fertilizer.

Basil, Parsley, Beefsteak Tomatoes

Green Peppers

Chives (Corn, Green Onions, & Carrots behind)

In the other bed Zucchini…

and Cucumber.

This past weekend we finally got the pumpkins in the ground.  You plant them at different times during the spring, depending on the climate region you live in, for an October harvest.  I’m guessing you might have another week to be able to do this here.  I read somewhere that it’s good to plant pumpkins with companion plants.  Have no idea if this is true or not, but we planted nasturtiums and sunflowers.  And then hubs had the wild hair idea to plant more corn, so that cinder block wall you saw above should have corn all along it this summer, and then pumpkins and nasturtiums (poppies) all fall.

My tip is, try things you wouldn’t normally try. Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know.

I’m selfishly trying to do more things at our house (so I don’t have to venture out as much with the Littles, it’s just A LOT of work right now!) I would rather spend the energy having fun with them all (rather than getting them in and out of the car and chasing them down).  So I’m looking for projects we can do at the house, even if it means more work, as it gives me something to do with them, that also teaches them something, and is a great, fun project for us all!

I’m planning on giving garden updates along the way. Do you grow one? Any tips & tricks??

Happy Thursday All!!

Flat Belly Diet ~ Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cobb

From the Flat Belly Diet Family Cookbook ~ p 223

4 Servings / 199 Calories / MUFA: Canola Oil Mayonnaise

This is a GREAT alternative to butter and salt!  I served this for a Memorial Day dinner, so YUMMY! Perfect for summer BBQs.


4 ears of corn (Pick up some fresh corn at a Farmers Market or produce stand, LOTS of extra flavor!)
1/4 cup canola oil mayonnaise (I used Best Foods Light)
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high.  Remove the outermost husks ans silks, but leave the tender inner husks on the corn.  Soak the ears in cold water for 15 minutes. (For a pretty presentation, I used one of the peeled husks to tie a knot around the inner husks once I had removed the silks.  EASY. Took a few extra seconds each.)
  2. Combine the mayo, lime juice, and chili powder in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Grill the ears of corn over direct heat for 10 minutes, turning to prevent charring.  Move to indirect heat and grill for 1 minutes longer, or until a kernel pops easily when pressed.  If the corn appears dry, it’s overcooked. (You can also wrap each husk in foil, or use a piece of foil on the grill to prevent burning.)
  4. Peel back the husks and spread 1 teaspoon the reserved mayo mixture over each cob.  Dust with 1 teaspoon of cheese and serve hot.