Friday, June 10, 2016

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Spring and summer are exciting times here at the Ritchie farm. Winter often feels like it stretches on forever and it's common to catch us all daydreaming of warmer temperatures, evening walks to visit neighbors (or our equine NEIGHbors) and getting our hands dirty with some outdoor projects. 

This year's project was one of those that didn't really HAVE to be completed - but one that we knew would be a major game changer when it came to our summer garden. Last summer, our first as official "farmers," we breathed new life into some raised garden beds that we inherited when we bought our land. To keep all of the critters away, we put a small chicken wire fence around the beds and called it good. The fencing proved to be a very effective roadblock for rabbits, but unfortunately it also made it extremely difficult to include H and Maxo in our gardening adventures. It wasn't long before our daydreams turned to expanding the space - not only to include more beds, but also to create an area that was a bit more family friendly.

Now, those of you who know my husband know that he functions on a 'go big or go home' mentality. He gets an idea, he plans, and then he takes off running.....sometimes underestimating the magnitude of the task at hand. Yet regardless of how big and/or overwhelming the job, my Mathew always amazes. Our new garden fence was no exception. Holy Beautiful.
Two months have passed since the great fence was erected and to say that we LOVE this new space would be a tragic understatement. The beds are so much easier to access and even more importantly, the boys have freedom to explore! They love being able to help plant seeds and pull weeds ;) and thanks to the gate they can come and go as they please.

Thank you, Mathew, for turning this daydream into a reality!

When we planned our 2016 garden, Matt and I both knew that we wanted it to contain lots of peppers. Remember that 'go big or go home' thing I mentioned before?? I'd like to introduce you to our 30 pepper/chili plants. I 'm literally drooling at the thought of all of the homemade salsa and roasted red pepper soup in my future. NomNomNom!
 Zucchini, kohlrabi guessed it! Another pepper.
 This is one of my favorite beds - mostly because it produces some pretty rapid results! Sweet peas, radishes, carrots and green onions are all big hits on the Ritchie farm.
Our first harvest of the year!

 For a girl who doesn't cook with onions much...I sure planted a lot of onions! They'll come in handy for that salsa and soup I mentioned earlier, not to mention all of the tomato sauce I plan on making. 
 "Crunchy beans" for Harrison the veggie lover. We'll be lucky if 50% of the crop makes it back to the house uneaten.
A few weeks ago weeks ago we pulled the last of our homemade spaghetti sauce out of the freezer and I've been in a state of mourning ever since. Here's hoping that adding a few more tomato plants to this year's garden will mean fresh tomato sauce year round.  

Temperatures are soaring this week in Nebraska and so far the garden seems to be loving it! Our peas have flowered and I had my very first teeny-tiny tomato sighting this afternoon. 
This girl is straight-up giddy! Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary ain't got nothin' on me.

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