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Garden Update 6/4 ~ We have Berries!

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garden updateIt rained almost all week last week and a lot of Iowa is under water. We had tornado sirens several times – they sound them also for severe thunderstorms which drives me batty. I usually ignore the sirens as a result, but we headed to the basement Thursday afternoon for a while. Better to be safe than sorry, I suppose.

I heard talk last week of the Coralville Reservoir spilling over again this year – which is a 500 year flood. It spilled over in 1993 and again in 2008. If it does spill over, I’m guessing we need to reassess that 500 year flood criteria.

Luckily, my garden is not underwater. In fact, the ground is cracked out there on top again because it is just so stinking windy out here. But it’s had plenty of water. The weather has been cool the last few days and is a welcome change after the humidity and storms of last week. I’d take a nice week in the low 80s. I think my garden would welcome some calm, warm weather too.

Despite less than ideal weather, though, I’ve got lots of fun things happening in my garden. Take a look!

potato flowersMy potatoes are starting to flower! They are growing very nicely and I’m excited to try to rob some new potatoes in a few weeks. I won’t fully harvest the potatoes until the plants die back in the early fall or late summer, but I’ve got so many plants that I will try to carefully dig out a few new potatoes in a few weeks. We love potatoes! I can’t wait to eat them.

pea podsWe picked our first few pea pods yesterday! My peas are pretty spotty. I’m sure the wet weather rotted the seeds in the ground. I believe fewer than half the seeds I planted have grown at all, and I have planted them twice already! So my 4 kids got to split 5 peas yesterday, and I had none. Meh.

san marzano tomatoMy tomatoes are looking really good! This is a San Marzano tomato I am excited to try! DSC_0758This is a volunteer tomato plant I found. I’m digging it up and moving it over to my “stake” garden to replace a tomato that died. It’s always exciting to find plants that grow with no effort from me!

DSC_0760Last week, my son and I transplanted sunflowers. I had a whole patch growing in the middle of my potato patch and I finally dug them up. We moved 12 of them to a different area of the garden and I’m excited to see that they seem to have made it. A few of the leaves died back, but you can see here new leaf growth in the middle yay! More free plants that grew without effort from me {except the muscle to move them}. Love it. 🙂

DSC_0762But the biggest shock in my garden I found over in my berry patch! Check it out! A strawberry bed in dire need of weeding and mulch…but look what I found! Red strawberries!

DSC_0763While I was excited to find a few red strawberries, I was upset to find that half the red ones have been eaten! I guess it’s most likely birds eating these berries. I was bummed to see that.

DSC_0770But I still found a nice little handful to pick. Considering the organic strawberries I saw at the grocery store this morning were $5 a pound, I guess I just saved myself $5. Lol!

currantsI was also excited to find currants. I hope we get to eat them this year. I think I will have to make cages to put over my berry bushes because all of my berries vanished right before they ripened last year. Dang birds.

blueberry bushBlueberries! Also eaten by the birds last year. Must. make. cages. 🙁

Clearly, I have a lot of work to do in my garden this week. Here’s what I hope to accomplish:

1. Replant zucchini and a few more cucumbers as they did not all come up.
2. Weed and mulch strawberries.
3. Build cages for my blueberries and currants.
4. Finish mulching paths in my garden.
5. Make a homemade insecticide for my beans, and mulch the beans as well.
6. Continue weeding in the garden.
7. Transplant volunteer tomatoes.
8. Plant a couple more pepper plants to replace the two that died.
9. Add basil plants to my garden.
10. Plant eggplant and okra.

 That’s what’s going on in my garden. How is yours growing? What’s on your to-do list this week?

Linking up: TGP; Tuesday Greens; Backyard Farming Connection; From the Farm Blog Hop; Homestead Barn Hop;

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About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long time green living enthusiast and rural Iowa mom of four. An avid traveler, Michelle has lived on three different continents and has driven all four kids across the entire USA (by herself!). She loves sharing farm-to-table recipes, their family travel adventures, and gardening and homesteading tips on her popular lifestyle blog, SimplifyLiveLove.com.


  1. blankKristiM says

    You’re garden is looking beautiful! And the tornado sirens turned storm sirens also drive me crazy. 🙁

  2. blankWen says

    Thank you for your update — Your garden’s progress & wonderful photos inspire me to work hard in my own little bit of garden!

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