Category Archives: Arkansas

Dreaming of Working in My Greenhouse

As our temperatures here in Greenwood, Arkansas start to decrease as we move toward Fall, I’m starting to dream about working in my new greenhouse.

Since we built it this past spring, it’s been WAAAAAAAY too hot in there to even think about spending more than a minute or two inside.

 

We put a regular thermometer in there (the kind with the red mercury in a line up the center) and it got so hot inside the greenhouse that not only did the thermometer not read correctly, the top blew out of it! We literally had to clean up the table and the floor around it and throw the poor thing out. We replaced it with the kind of thermometer that only shows a number, and it went right to 120 degrees F. and stayed there, giving us at least a minimum temperature in there.

I had a folding chair out there that burned my generous nether end through my jeans in the time it took for me to sit on it and then leap back up! Needless to say, I have not spent a lot of time out there, waiting to organize it and start planting seeds until at least mid fall.

 

You’re looking through the open doorway to the greenhouse here. You can see the exhaust fan we mounted in the end. With the door open, the exhaust fan on, and the people fan on, soon I should be able to work in there.  This picture doesn’t show all the ‘stuff’ I’ve moved into the greenhouse – starter trays, a trashcan full of Mel’s Mix, water sprayers, planting tools, etc.

This morning I harvested a bunch of seeds from tomatoes we grew. They are drying on a paper towel on top of the microwave. When they’re completely dry, I’ll put them in a  baggie in preparation for planting them in the greenhouse. I’m hoping to plant lots of things in the hope that the plants will be ready to transfer to my square foot planters outside in the spring.

I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas morning, standing on one foot and the other waiting for the cold front tonight, and hoping that we are, finally, on the way to cooler temperatures and I can start to play. I’ll do a lot of reading and planning, plus get the greenhouse organized and set up for lots of seed starters. I have two tomato plants I plan to dig up, put in pots, and put in the greenhouse at the first threat of frost. I also plan to winter-over a couple of non-hardy plants, – an  elephant ear and a pretty purple plant my friend Laufrain gave me. I already have all the seeds I need, so I just need to exercise a whole lot of PATIENCE now…

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Arkansas, Childlike Fun, Dreams, Favorite Things, Gardening, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

“What a Difference a Day Makes…”

John Greenleaf Whittier

Yesterday the high was 92 degrees F. Today it’s 62.

Yesterday we worked in the yard wearing sweat bands. Today we worked in the yard wearing light jackets.

We’ve been using the attic fan for the nice, cool breeze to help us sleep better. Last night I almost froze my rear end off, getting up to turn off the attic fan, shut the window, and turn on the electric blanket for a bit when the temperatures touched 46 degrees.

Amber is in heaven today. I think she thought that having to pant much of the day was just the way it was. Today the cooler temperatures energized her to the point we stood and laughed as she ran round and round the house, then turned and ran full out the other direction several times. We also played ball for quite awhile this morning, and my husband is out with her right now.

We started to have the doors open this morning, and then closed up because we were too cool in here!

My husband went to the basement to get us some jackets to hang up.

It’s only going to be this way for a couple of short days, and then we’ll have Indian summer, with temperatures in the high 80s again, but what a lovely dose of fall we’re having!

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Filed under Arkansas, Changes, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Shoot!

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We usually go bowling, and then for ice cream, on Monday nights – the night the bowling alley makes it affordable for us. We go with up to three others, and have been doing this for several years now. We can catch up with what’s been going on with our friends, get some good exercise, and then celebrate or console ourselves with delicious ice cream from Braum’s afterwards.

We had to cancel it for tonight, due to a significant cold front and the prospect of severe weather right when we would be trying to go for ice cream and then take everyone home.

____________________

After a mostly sunny and warm Monday, (92 degrees F.) a cold front will be marching through our area Monday Night. Not only will it drop our temperatures BY OVER 40 DEGREES, it will also bring the chance for some showers and storms (rain, wind, hail, flying hairballs, possible tornado) overnight.”

____________________

kfsm

We are just southeast of Fort Smith, in the darkest green blob.

So, although we’re disappointed we had to cancel bowling and ice cream with our friends tonight, we’ll be thankful we have dry homes to “weather the weather” tonight.

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Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Feeling Guilty

It’s all my fault, I guess. I’ve been hoping for more rain, and it looks like it’s imminent, with the skies outside very dark and forbidding-looking, leaves blowing around, etc.

I really do want the rain, but NOT until this evening!

We were planning to go to two things today –

The annual fall festival in Greenwood at Bell Park (looking kind of like the one above) , and

 

The 1st annual Farmers Market in the parking lot of the local Tractor Supply Company, looking similar to this picture.

I feel sorry for the people who spent time and money getting ready for today’s events. I would imagine that with the weather forecast and the look of the skies outside, many opted to simply stay home, rather than having to worry about their products getting wet.  The tents are usually a problem because they hate the wind – trying to become kites no matter how hard one works to keep them weighted down.

We have some errands we need to do before 1pm, so we’ll go out, regardless of what’s happening with the weather. We’ll drive to the park and the tractor supply place while we’re out, unless it’s actively raining, hoping we can support those brave people who set up anyway.

It’s one day a year, and I HOPE the people sell enough in whatever time they have to make their efforts worthwhile.

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Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood

Mary, Mary…

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This is the view as you walk toward my square foot garden. You’d think I was specializing in marigolds! I planted them in several squares in each box, hoping they would help keep the insects down. I don’t see that they helped much, but they made the garden look happy. When the spring crops finished, the marigolds were still going strong, so I just left them. Now they’re overflowing.

The parts of the boxes not overflowing with marigolds look like this. My strings that we strung to demarcate the squares in each box were killed by the combination of water and sun. I’ll use a different kind in the spring. I just went out and sprinkled seeds for the fall garden and hoped for the best.

I also started a seed starter tray with peat pellets in the house. They sprouted, but were looking anemic, while the seeds in the garden were looking better. I decided to try putting the tray out on the deck where the seedlings could get more sun and maybe some rain. That turned out to be a mistake. The seedlings croaked, so I cleaned out the planter tray and put it back in the greenhouse.

The greenhouse, by the way, is still showing 120 degrees inside today, so it’ll be awhile before I try starting anything in there.

The raised bed square foot garden box above shows one single spinach plant, radishes, and two types of lettuce.

Only one plant resulted from the spinach seeds, but it looks good. I’ll try to plant some more around it, just to see if they’ll come up and produce, now that the weather people are saying we’re due for cooler weather next week.

 

This is a closeup of the Simpson Lettuce.

 

Radishes

 

New celery plants

 

Celery plants that grew more celery after I chopped the whole top off out in the garden!

 

Carrots

Bibb Lettuce

The only other veggies I have going for the fall garden thus far are two tomato plants offered several weeks ago. They still seem to be doing fine.

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Morning Flowers

Our hydrangea has been looking really sad for quite awhile. Even though we have an automatic irrigation system, it has been too hot for the sweet flowers. The blooms fade quickly and the branches with large leaves droop all day long – kind of like me!

Since the weather has started to give us a bit of a break (80s rather than 90s and not quite so much humidity), the hydrangea has started to perk up, as if they’re saying, “Ahhhhh!”

We brought these in this morning. As you can see the hydrangea is blooming nicely now. The iris is twice-blooming iris, blooming in April and again in October. I feel rich!

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Dancing in the Rain

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We had a wonderful rainy day yesterday. It rained enough that my husband was finally able to burn our trash. We had been holding it in the shop, the pile multiplying, for over a month, waiting for rain to make it safe to burn.  Amber went out to ‘help’ my husband while he burned all the boxes. He said she had a good time, running all around, wanting to ‘help’ him each time he added a box to the barrel.

We then had a list of errands to run, and of course, the rain decided to really come down the minute we pulled out of the garage. We drowned every time we got out of the truck and then returned, but I smiled the whole time. I would have used an umbrella if we were going to be out walking in it for awhile, but just getting out, rushing into the store and out again, it would have been only a hassle, and I would have drowned anyway.

By the time we got home, my hair was dripping. I toweled off my head after letting Amber out, then got thoroughly wet again trying to both clean off her nose and feet from the mud she picked up digging somewhere in the yard, and also trying to dry her off enough that I could let her inside. It took one washcloth and two towels. I used the 2nd towel on me after I let Amber in. Why is it that animals become so lovey when they’re wet and/or yucky?

We had lunch and read good books while listening to the rain. We had doors open when possible and a ceiling fan. It was WONDERFUL.

It’s really cloudy outside this morning, but we haven’t had any rain that I know of. As dry as we’ve been, I hope we get at least one more good rain before our chances go away.

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Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Respite

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Mother Nature is giving us a bit of a much-needed break. It started during the night. We had our bedroom window open with the attic fan on when suddenly we were awakened by an ear-splitting alarm from the gadget my husband built that sits on the window sill. It’s quiet until it gets wet – and then it shrieks so that we both get up furiously trying to get the thing to be quiet. I threw the gadget to my husband to get him to dry it off while I hurried into the hall to shut off the attic fan, turn on the ceiling and bedside fans and shut the window. Soon after I finished, my husband got the gadget dry enough to shut up.

This morning we’re enjoying a very light rain off and on. We’re hoping for a lot more, since we had the driest September – and driest month EVER since things like this have been recorded – with a TRACE of rain for the month. Thankfully, we have several reasonable chances to get rain this week. I’m doing a rain dance.

Amber had been playing in the rain this morning when I called her to come in. She immediately began to rub herself all over me, trying to get dry, I think, though maybe there was a bit of love there, as well. :0)  We had to encourage Molly strongly to get her to go out and take care of business. Both doggies are spread out on the floor beside me now, looking very comfortable, co-existing quietly.

I won’t complain if we drown the rest of the week, trying to get errands done. We’re happy that Mother Nature has decided to smile on us.

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Community Yard Sale Goodies

Yesterday and today were the annual Greenwood Community Yard Sale. There are products outside the stores marked way down, there are fund-raising sales by non-profits for various causes, and garage sales all over the city and county.

We went to one sale yesterday put on by a storage facility where someone apparently went too many months without paying their bill. I got the wicker and macrame (?) thing in the pic above. The duck is large enough to serve rolls or biscuits in, or to put a stack of napkins, or in the bathroom to hold washcloths, etc. You could put a votive candle in the ‘bottle’ with the handles, or aroma sticks with nice-smelling liquid, or…. The macrame basket with the rope handle just spoke to me. I have no clue yet what I’ll do with it. :0) ALL for $4.00.

 

I found this wonderful guy today. He’s BIG – some two feet tall, but he squashes down quite a bit for storage. I simple love snowmen, though I’m not fond of driving in the snow. He’ll have a prominent place on the buffet from Christmas through the 1st of March. He was just $5.00.

We also got a nice water hose, a roll-around chair for the office, and a square for the shop – all three for $23.00.

My husband likes auctions. I would rather be shot in the foot than go to an auction. I don’t have the patience needed for the item I’m interested in to come up for auction, only to be outbid, after spending half of the day there waiting. I love yard sales where you can breeze in, walk around, seeing what the price is for each thing, either grab it or pass it up and then get out of there quickly.

I told you my husband and I are opposites, not even using the same salt. This is one of the many examples of why it’s amazing we haven’t killed each other in the 48 years we’ve been married. We’re certainly never bored, though.:0)

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Delightful Surprises, Greenwood

Serial Seed Killer Tries Again

Since I wasn’t able to find plants that I wanted for my fall garden, I planted some seeds and will hope for the best.

I planted some inside in a big planter starter thingie with a plastic top and it’s living on one end of our dining area table where it can get some sun. The others I planted directly in the garden, again hoping for the best.

I planted Bibb Lettuce, Simpson Lettuce, and Spinach inside, and planted those, plus radishes, carrots, and 4 celery plants I started inside. There isn’t anything to see yet, so no pics.

Since I’m aptly named the ‘Serial Seed Killer,” I may not get much, or anything, but I’m hopeful that ONE of the methods I used will be successful. Here’s hoping!

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, Gardening, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Today’s Harvest – Veggies and Flowers

This is the last of the spaghetti squash harvest. I pulled out the vines today. I could have gotten a few more, since there were still flowers on some of the vines, but I need to get things cleared out to try to get a fall garden going.

I’m still really pleased that I was able to save the seeds from one spaghetti squash I bought at the store, planted two seeds in pots in the kitchen and put them on the window sill. When they got large enough, I transferred them into my raised bed, square foot garden. I had no clue whether they would grow or not. The vines ended up taking up two of the 4×4 foot planters. The plants weren’t very ‘pretty,’ but I think getting at least 8 spaghetti squash from this experiment could be called a success. :0)

 

This is today’s harvest of tomatoes. I should get a few more. I’ve cleared out the plants in the ‘nook’ planter, but I still have four plants left in the 8 foot planter to the east of the house. I planted one new tomato plant on each end of the planter last week. I have no idea if we still have enough time to get to harvest with these, but it’s fun to hope.

On the first session in the garden today, I brought Amber. She was good until she got bored. She then decided to try to dig some holes under the planters. My husband brought her out – on the leash this time – on my second gardening session. The most significant thing in the square foot garden right this minute is marigolds. They’re everywhere.  My husband said I should cut some and put them in a vase for us to enjoy inside.

He saw some wasps climbing around and into the pipes that form the framework of our garden. He decided to spray them – so instead of just having to be wary of them, we actively had to dodge the really angry wasps! It was easy to decide the second gardening session of the day was over.

So here are today’s flowers – marigolds and zinnias.

I think I’ll wait until later this evening or tomorrow to finish getting the square foot planters ready for a fall garden. My chair and a cold drink are calling to me….

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Cleaning Out the Garden for the Fall

The Best Years in Life

This weekend I’m cleaning out our raised bed, square foot garden planters, getting ready for the fall garden. I harvested some more spaghetti squash, and I’ll show you pics of those later.

Amber went out with me to ‘help.’ We discovered she likes to play with grape tomatoes! I would throw one to her every once in a while, and she would happily treat it as if it were a toy. But then, after half an hour, she got bored and started to dig under the planters. I couldn’t allow that, so we came in.

I’ll cool off for a bit, drink some cold water, and then head out there again. I want to be ready in case we find some lettuce and spinach plants in Fort Smith when we go on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, if I can get the garden cleared out, I’m planning to set out 4 new celery plants, and plant some carrot and radish seeds. I’m pretty sure the radishes will do well, but I haven’t had any good looking carrots yet.  I’m not going to plant a lot this year. I told you recently I started two new tomato plants, in the hope that they’ll produce before it freezes. If I can get those, and some spinach or lettuce and radishes, I would be happy.

We’ve just had too many projects, plus trying to spend lots and lots of time with Amber, to try to do a large garden.

Are YOU growing a fall garden?

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Glorious Weather

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I’m feeling especially bad about Hurricane Harvey for a couple of reasons –

  • My husband’s name is Harvey, so it seems a more personal responsibility, somehow
  • Our weather is ideal for this time of the year. The sun is shining, but a cold front came through, brought us rain, and now it’s dry and NOT HUMID like it’s been for so long.  I feel guilty that we’re enjoying such beautiful weather when others are in for a really scary, awful time with the hurricane plus SO MUCH RAIN over the next 5 days or so. :0(

We’ve been trying to get outside each day to do all we can to get caught up on our outside list. Yesterday we mowed and weed whacked a bit. I worked in the flower planters, but mostly spent time with the two planters we’ve converted to square foot gardening and are raising tomatoes in.

I harvested the tomatoes above. As you can see, they aren’t as pretty as the ones we were getting earlier. I spent about an hour on the 8 foot tomato planter, pulling off dead stuff, cutting off some limbs, etc.  We found some Early Girl tomato plants at Yeagers yesterday. We bought two and I planted them in that planter. They’re supposed to produce within 50 days, which would put us into October. We’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope.

I tried to clean up the plants in the nook planter, but they were just too far gone. I finally ended up pulling the plants out.

The suckers I tried to grow in water on my window sill didn’t make it. I’ll try again if I can find some more good suckers.

This morning, while I was out with Amber, I found a BIG spaghetti squash HANGING down outside one of my raised bed square foot garden boxes in the garden!  I got one of the plastic bowl thingies with the pointed thing in the middle that allows you to set growing melons on them, raising them up out of the soil and giving them support – and used it for the spaghetti squash. This will be squash # 4 grown from two seeds in a squash bought at the store.

Today I plant to

  • clean out the hummingbird bird bath we built,
  • work in garden on my veggies
  • work in the flower planters some more.

Tonight we plan to grill burgers on the deck. Such glorious weather! I wish everyone could enjoy it with us!

 

 

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Filed under Arkansas, exercise, Gardening, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Playing with Flowers

Viral Sprint

We had rain overnight-into-this-morning that has cooled things off. It’s a nice day (77 degrees F.) and overcast now – perfect for me to play with my flowers. I have lots of flower planters, but I’m going to concentrate on three end-to-end 8 foot long brick planters that run between our driveway area and our front yard. They are totally overgrown with all the rain and sun we’ve had and need all kinds of attention.

We don’t have any errands to run and we wore ourselves out yesterday with projects, so today is a quiet day, with a reward at the end of a grilled steak and some salad. Ahhhhhhh!

I hope the weather is nice where you are, and that you’re able to get outside and enjoy it.

Happy Wednesday!

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Filed under Arkansas, exercise, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Hope for the Future

Planet Natural

Today I processed the latest harvest of tomatoes. I froze some of them and harvested seeds from the rest.

Right now it looks like someone had a bad accident on paper towels on my counter in the kitchen. I’m in the process of trying to dry the seeds. I’m not sure how smart people do it, but I gathered them in a sieve and ran water over them, picking out the bits of tomato that were left and then blotted the blog of ‘stuff’ between paper towels. I’ll monitor them and get them out in the air as soon as possible to fully dry before trying to store them.

I’ll go out this evening and see if I can get more suckers to plant in water. I transplanted one sucker that had sprouted some tiny roots. I’m a beginner at all this, so this will be a fascinating, challenging process before I can get the hang of it.

I’m enjoying all the rain we’re getting, but it will be nice when I can simply crab about how hot it is, rather than having to dash out in the morning or evening between storms to try to get a bit done outside. I’m getting a list as long as my arm of what is waiting for me to do out there….

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, Gardening, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Mother Nature’s Gift

We were out walking Amber last night just before dark and saw this sky. I went in to get my camera because this is really unusual. These pics are taken pointing EAST. The last I heard, the sun RISES in the EAST and SETS in the WEST.

Anyhow, the sky was spectacular and I wanted to record it and share it with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Delightful Surprises, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Today’s Harvest

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With the heat index, it feels like it’s 106 degrees F. here this afternoon. I came in dripping from just gathering the ripe tomatoes when we got home from Lunch Bunch and errands.

The tomato production has really slowed. We haven’t had anything but green ones for quite a while. Today, though, some had ripened. They aren’t as pretty as the previous ones, but they taste just as good. We’re coming to the end of the season now. I’m trying to get some tomato suckers started in the house that I can transfer to the greenhouse later, but it’s a challenge.

 

 

 

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Yesterday’s Harvest

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August 12, 2017 · 5:55 pm

Foy is Still Working

This is Foy Brown driving the tractor up and over the edge of the civilized part of our back yard yesterday. He told us he would be back this morning, and my husband said he would help him air up a low tire on the tractor before starting. He’s out there working in the hot as I type, trying to finish up our fire break today.

Up on top of a ridge line, we don’t have to worry about floods – flash or otherwise. We don’t have hurricanes here, or storm surges from the ocean. We do have to worry about lightning, tornadoes, high wind, and wild fires.

We do all we can to protect ourselves from lightning strikes. One year we lost our whole entertainment center plus a couple of appliances due to a lightning strike nearby. We’ve since built in some better protection.

Wild fires are the next most likely threat. About 7 years ago we hired a nice man to run his bulldozer over things to create a break. He died, and we hadn’t been able to find anyone who had equipment or interest in helping us redo the break until now.

Our view will be opened up, which is a truly enjoyable thing. The peace of mind that we’ve lowered our risks a bit in the event of a wild fire is beyond price.  When Foy is finished, I’ll follow up his good efforts with the weed killer we got recently. It’s a concentrate, and we have a good 3 gallon sprayer to use. Foy did mention he saw a copperhead in the rocks – so I’ll be sure to wear boots and pay attention.

Amber has been upset that she lost her good, high grass for taking care of business; but with 8 acres, we think she can probably find several other good spots…

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Progress on the Fire Break?

Our good “man-for-all-sorts-of-difficult-jobs” Foy Brown came over at 8:30 this morning, tractor part in hand. He had to order it from Kansas City and it took all week for it to arrive.

His tractor looks similar to this one. It also has an 8 foot wide brush hog attachment on the back.

At the beginning of last week he brush hogged our side yard, around the greenhouse and over the place we need to construct the ham radio tower. He started brush hogging a fire break for us in the back, but broke a hydraulic part. He and my husband went all over Greenwood, and then Fort Smith, trying to find a replacement, but were unable to. So Foy ordered it.

He’s out in the back now, trying to install the part and get the tractor going.

His wife, Judy, was sitting in the car when I came out. I invited her in for coffee, but she had her little dog, the newspaper, and seemed quite content. She said she would stay until she heard the tractor going – after making sure Foy has his bottle of water, hat, etc.

Hopefully he can get the tractor going and get the fire break done today. It’s too hot to be spending days outside around here. We’ll watch to make sure he takes breaks and is all right.

Fingers crossed he can get the tractor going!

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Tomato Harvest 7-18 – 2017

Well, I pruned the tomatoes in the nook planter, taking out a LOT of particularly the plant on the left side of the planter. Then I moved to the 8 foot brick planter to the east of the house where the other tomato plants are, pruning them. I got pretty ruthless, because I want all the nutrients and energy going to the parts of the plants that might actually produce.

The plants don’t look pretty now, but it looks like they’re responding to the pruning, fertilizer and Seven I put on them about a week ago.

Here is today’s harvest. We’re really pleased with our crop this year. We’ve been oohing and ahhhing at lunch and dinner, eating a BUNCH of sliced ripe tomatoes at every meal except for breakfast. We particularly enjoy giving people we like bags of tomatoes, since we have more than we can eat. (I now know how to can, but I hate to give any of them up when I can eat them fresh off the vine.)

Our friends Laufrain and Dave (our friends and bowling buddies) were telling us last night how pretty the tomatoes were and how good they tasted. :0)

We also gave some to our driller and brush hog master, Foy, and his wife, Judy.

Who can ask for more from a bit of work to grow them?

Sheer luxury!!!

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Filed under Arkansas, Favorite Things, Gardening, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Mid Summer Tomatoes

This was a harvest of a few days ago. I harvested again yesterday, but I didn’t get a picture of them.

Each year I’m learning that I don’t know anything about growing tomatoes.

It’s basically a matter of luck. Sometimes I lose the plants because of wonky weather. Other times tomato caterpillars eat them. Sometimes they just die for no reason I can think of. Sometimes things start out great and then ‘something happens’ cutting the season really short.

This year we’ve been lucky so far. My husband and I decided that if  ‘something happens’ and this is the end of our crop for the year, we’ve had a good year. We’ve had delicious tomatoes to enjoy with lunches and dinners, plus more that we could give to some of our friends. To our idea, it doesn’t get any better than this.

  • I learned this year that I’m not supposed to let any leaves of the plants touch the ground. I think cutting off the lower branches helps in disease control.
  • I also learned from my friend, Laufrain, to find suckers. Before the season is over – when my greenhouse will stay some reasonable temperature and not cook me and my plants, I’ll try to get the suckers to grow. Maybe I can have tomatoes in the fall!

A giant came and sat in the middle of my two tomato plants in the nook planter beside the porch. I can see no other reason that there was a huge depression suddenly in the middle of the plants and things were turning yellow.

I decided that I needed to prune all the dead and dying parts off. What was left I fertilized and then sprinkled with Sevin. Since I was harvesting tomatoes yesterday from these plants, and there are more trying to ripen, I’m hoping that my actions yesterday will save the plants and keep them producing. Fingers crossed.

 

This is the nook planter. As you can see, I had to prune a LOT of the plant on the left.  This is the best I know to do for the poor plants that were looking good only a week ago!

 

These are the tomato plants in the 8 foot brick planter to the east of the house. If you look carefully, you can see the greenhouse in the background. :0)

I’ll prune these plants tonight. They’re not looking bad, as the nook plants were, but they have leaves on the ground and have limbs hanging all over the place.

I’m learning a lot of what NOT to do again each year. This year, though, I’m beginning to learn more of what TO do!

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Lucky

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We had several impressive rain storms yesterday, into the evening, and overnight. Our greenhouse is still standing. We just had a leak on the back porch. People in the Rye Hill area of Fort Smith, AR weren’t so lucky.

The adjuster came early this morning to check us out. Our roof is fine, thank goodness. There is some hail damage on the wind turbines, but no problem with that. After careful looking inside and on the roof, the adjuster said he thinks that some FlexSeal – or similar product – sprayed heavily along the seam where the main roof meets the roof of the porch will stop the leak.  The damage inside isn’t much and we may just ignore it.

The poor adjuster has a long day ahead of him. He had 14 calls to make today. He said he would probably be busy with the calls they got last night for the next couple of months.  At least he has job security…

 

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Good, Rainy Morning!

Richard Parker via Daily Mail

It’s a gloriously rainy morning here in Greenwood, Arkansas! It has been really hot lately, so today is a welcomed reprieve from what may be a record summer. The forecast is for storms off and on all day and into the evening, with some of them being possibly severe. I can do without the ‘severe,’ but welcome the water and the cooler temperatures.

This will be a good test of the solidity of our new greenhouse, too. We couldn’t figure out a way to really protect it from gusty winds. It has nice, heavy corner posts with the foundation boards screwed into their angle iron. The ribs of the greenhouse have two clamp thingies screwed into the foundation board on each end. The greenhouse cover ends are rolled up with lengths of board screwed into the foundation – but no guy wires, nothing really from end to end. If the winds are robust and gusty enough, my beautiful greenhouse will be history. :0(

I’m amazed we still have Internet right now. The skies are really dark. I just visited Amber on the porch and the rain is really coming down hard. I sat with her for several minutes while she fought with her squeaky purple and pink pig, running around, trying to shake it and break its neck. The fact that she wasn’t even phasing it didn’t seem to bother her. :0)  I’m happy that she doesn’t seem to mind storms, and am hoping she’ll react the same way with the coming fireworks. We’re planning to sit on the deck and enjoy the show that our valley neighbors put on each year.

I hope you’re enjoying the weather where you are today.

 

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Tomato Plants From Suckers – Take 1

These two tomatoes were ready to be harvested this morning. We have one harvested a couple of days ago, so we’ll feast on sliced tomatoes tonight!

Yesterday I tried to plant suckers in order to grow new tomato plants.

“Tomato suckers, or side shoots, are the growth that appears in the crotch between the stem and a branch. (See photo above.) If left to grow, they will become another main stem with branches, flowers, fruit and more suckers of their own.”

I carefully gathered several suckers, went to my greenhouse where I had pots of Mel’s Mix ready, moistened the bottom of each sucker in water and then stuck it in rooting hormone  (shaking off the excess) and put the suckers in the pots. I then watered the pots. It was really hot in the greenhouse so I left the thermostat-controlled exhaust fan on.

 

This is what the thermometer in the greenhouse showed this morning, although it didn’t feel that bad. The exhaust fan is set to start and run when the temperature inside the greenhouse is 90 degrees F. or higher. It was off. The outside temperature is 77 right now.

 

As you can see, Trial 1 was a failure.  I chose and cut the suckers carefully. The fact that I planted in the heat of the day, rather than in the morning or right before dark may have been a factor. I read the directions on the rooting hormone and followed them carefully, so I don’t think that’s the problem. The fact that the thermometer is reading so high vs the exhaust fan being off may be a factor. I may bring the thermometer in and see if it’s working correctly. *

*It’s now about 45 minutes later. I brought the thermometer inside and my husband shook it. It has red dye now in the bottom of the package. Apparently, the temperature in the greenhouse blew its top off. We’ll hunt for a different style today while we’re out.

On a happier note – I harvested the first of the experiment to try to grow celery from the bottoms cut off stalks bought at the store.

 

 

I cut off the bottom of the stalks of celery I bought at the store and put each in a glass of water. These need to grow a bit more before they’re ready to be taken out to the garden and planted. (If you look carefully, you can see that in the glass that’s second from the left, I’ve put the end of a head of lettuce in a glass, just for giggles.)

 

The celery plants are bushy, rather than looking like what you get at the store. I cut the largest stalks, leaving the smaller ones to hopefully grow.

 

There is a LOT of greenery on each stalk. I washed everything, then cut off the stalks into usable pieces, washed them again, and then took the bowl of cut celery to my husband in the living room where we each tried one. Oddly enough, they taste like celery! :0)

I’m like a kid at Christmas. After several tries and several failures, I’m actually growing edible celery! Woo HOOOO!

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Filed under Arkansas, Delightful Surprises, DIET!, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

And How Does Our Garden Grow?

Huffington Post

 

This is one of the celery plants in my garden that I started from the end of a stalk I bought at the store. I’m going to cut some of the stalks today and see if they taste good.

 

This is one of two spaghetti squash vines I have growing right now. I grew this from a seed I saved from a squash I bought at the store. It’s a bit larger than a softball now.

 

We have lots of green tomatoes, and this one ripening one. It should be ready to bring in in a couple of days.

 

 

Here are two celery plants that have been growing in water in my kitchen. These are ready to be planted in the garden.

 

Can tomatoes be ‘cute?’ If so, I think THESE are. These are grape tomatoes and this is today’s harvest. It may be awhile before I have enough for a salad….

And finally, this is the first thing I’ll do in my new greenhouse – try to grow tomato plants from suckers.

A ‘sucker’ is a sprout from the juncture of two branches. If you look carefully at this picture, you can find the juncture of the tall vertical branch on the right side of the picture and the horizontal branch going out to the left at the bottom of the picture. The ‘sucker’ is the smaller branch with leaves growing right out of the juncture.

 

In the next few days I’ll get some glasses in the greenhouse so I can put the suckers in the water and see if they’ll sprout. Fingers crossed!

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Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Too Darned Hot!

Dumb Photos

It’s supposed to get to 95 degrees today and the humidity is 64%. According to my heat index calculator, that’s 117 degrees F. Too darned hot!

I want to work in my new greenhouse, trying to get it organized reasonably, and I also need to cut down what we call, “Weed Trees” that line up across the back of our yard and cut off our view.  We’re going to Lunch Bunch very soon, but after that I’ll work in short spurts, coming in to enjoy the air conditioning, drink lots of water, etc.

This will be at least a 2-shampoo and shower day…

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, exercise, Gardening, Greenwood

1st Tomato Harvest

Yesterday the first tomatoes were ripe enough to pick. I saw a couple that will be ready in a few days, too. We feel rich!

This is a wonderful time of the year for us. We LOVE going out to test the tomatoes to see if any more are ready to come in and be devoured.

We ate three of these with our dinner last night and may finish up this first harvest this evening. I guess that people who have grown up having gardens know all the veggies and fruit that homegrown tastes so much better than what you can buy at the store, but the only one I personally know about is tomatoes.

I wish you were here so I could share with you

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Favorite Things, Gardening, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

“Love is the Flower…”

“Love is the flower you’ve got to let grow.” – John Lennon

 

This nice bunch of lilies is almost finished for the year. It looks like a lily bouquet to me, and I love the rich color.

 

Last year, once the summer was in full swing, I sprinkled a bunch of zinnia seeds in the planters. Not many of them came up, so I was really surprised to see volunteers all around the planters and across the front yard!

 

I don’t know what this plant is, but it’s perennial and it seems to really like it in this planter.

 

Phlox and periwinkles.

 

Two colors of impatiens, plus phlox about to bloom and iris.

“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

 

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood

Tomato Plants

Huffington Post

One of my husband’s and my favorite things in the world is home grown, red, ripe, sliced tomatoes with a meal. No matter what else we try to grow, tomatoes are the main thing.

We built a raised bed, square foot garden for our other veggies (though I AM trying some grape tomatoes in two of the squares this year), but we moved our tomato plants to the east side of the house. We have a brick planter in what we call “The Nook” beside the porch at the end of the house, plus an eight foot brick planter on the east end of the house.

 

This is the 8 foot planter. We have six plants here. We planted two plants every two weeks.

 

This is “The Nook”. There are only two plants here, planted two weeks apart. As you can see, we have really large plants that are difficult to keep supported.

 

Here is a closeup  of some of our green tomatoes.

 

And here are more.

 

And HERE is the first ripening tomato! Whooopeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Encouragement, Favorite Things, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Onion Harvest

The last storm made all of the tops of my onions break and bend over. They looked awful, so I went ahead and harvested them. THEN – not having a clue what to do to them to get them like the ones we buy in the store, I went to my “Square Foot Gardening Book” by Mel Bartholomew to find out.

He said to find an old window screen or chicken wire fencing to put the onions on that allowed a bunch of air circulation so they could fully dry in the sun.

I didn’t have either of those things handy, but the side of our trailer had a nice grating stuff on it, so I put the onions on there. Happily, it’s not supposed to rain here until Tuesday, giving them several days to dry. Then I can store them either in net bags or a large bucket of peat moss until they’re all used up!

He also pointed out that I COULD have simply cut off the broken tops, allowing them to stay where they were in the garden to keep growing. That’s good to know for next time.

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds