Category Archives: Arkansas

So Lucky

Williams Sonoma Raised Bed Planter – $179.00 plus shipping.

This is typical of what is called a “raised bed planter.”  It’s wonderful because you don’t have to worry about building up your soil or heavy duty weeding as you do in typical gardens. You can grow a good amount in a much smaller space, and it’s up from the ground. This is a nicely made one offered by Williams Sonoma.

When we first started square foot garden, this is what we did. We had two rows of raised bed planting areas –  The thing is, I still had to either bend over double to plant, weed, and harvest things from this. It was good, but it didn’t go far enough.  I’m old and I can’t do a lot of kneeling or bending over double anymore.

 

We decided, when the wood was beginning to deteriorate, that we could do better.

 

When we decided to break down what we had and redo it, we made metal table-like supports for boxes to ‘sit’ in. They are at about chest level on me, comfortable to stand up and be able to reach any side of the boxes with an easy reach. I have six 4’x4’x8″ wooden boxes on my supports, with hoses stretched down each row of three boxes for automatic timed irrigation. I can spray weed killer under the boxes or around the perimeter of the whole garden without bothering my veggies.

I stretch string across the wooden boxes to create 1 foot planting areas. Then I can plant according to the advice of Mel (the square foot gardening expert), either one plant in a square (cauliflower, broccoli, etc.), 4 plants in a square (lettuce, spinach, etc.), 9 plants in a square (carrots), or 16 plants in a square (radishes.)

I can plant standing up or sitting on a tall stool. I can pull weeds or harvest without kneeling or bending over double. The Mel’s Mix (peat moss, vermiculite, and as many different kinds of compost as you can find) has all the nutrients needed for the plants, replenished when you harvest all of a plant when you add a bit more. The soil’s consistency is such that pulling weeds is easy. The planting plan makes it easy for a beginning gardener like me to see what is a ‘good plant ‘vs a ‘weed.’

I’m really lucky that my husband spoils me rotten, figuring out how to tackle things like building the square foot garden in the first place, then improving it when we needed to pull up what we had done after several years. We also built the new greenhouse recently so that I can hopefully grow my own transplants, rather than having to depend on what is sold in stores locally. I’m hoping I can get a jump on the spring season, plus have more transplants growing in the greenhouse, ready to plant in the garden at the proper time.

Trying to grow some of our own veggies, plus flowers around the yard, is one of my favorite things. There is never enough time or energy – or cooperating weather – to do all I’d like to do. :0)

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

Mulching, Matilda….

I just finished spreading two of the four large leaf bags of mulch I made recently. I wore Targa 2  “Racing” Goggles we had on hand while I did it, not wanting a repeat of the eye scratches I got when I made the mulch a little over a week ago.

The next step is cleaning out more brick flower planters. THEN I can probably distribute the rest of the mulch.

Exciting, huh.

Actually, I DO find it exciting that I can make my own mulch, cleaning up many of the leaves in the yard as I do, and not have to pay for bag after small bag of mulch I used to buy at the local hardware store each fall. As I remember, it was about $3.00 or so per bag, and I used about 20 of them one year. So I’m saving money, cleaning up, recycling, and mulching my plants for the winter!

And, between the weeding and cleaning out of my square foot garden, plus distributing the two 39 gallon trash bags of mulch, I’ve gotten a good amount of exercise and fresh air today.

If the weather is cooperative tomorrow, I’ll try to get more planters cleaned out, working my way around the yard.

 

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Filed under Arkansas, Bright Ideas, exercise, Gardening, Greenwood

Garden Update 2017-11-26

Amber went out with me to finish cleaning up the garden today. She tried to eat some big faux terra-cotta pots, but that was the only behavior I had to warn her about. Otherwise, when I took a break, I called her. She came every time, knowing she would get a small treat. :0)

 

5 of the 6 raised bed square foot garden boxes are now cleaned out, ready for the winter. I still have two kinds of lettuce and one spinach plant in the 6th box. When freezes threaten, I now have only ONE box I need to cover with a sheet.

In the spring, I’ll mix a bunch of Mel’s Mix (peat moss, vermiculite, and as many different types of compost as I can get or make (I’m using some I made, cotton boll compost, mushroom compost, and barnyard compost). I’ll fill the boxes up to the rim and then use string (that hopefully won’t deteriorate in the sun as the stuff I used this year did), and I’ll be ready to plant.

I took this to give you a close up of the Mel’s Mix, and part of the irrigation system for the garden.

I’m going to rest a bit and then see if I can get the trio of brick planters between the civilized part of our front yard and the driveway filled with mulch.

I hope you’re enjoying your Sunday.

 

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

Gardening Odds and Ends – 2017-11-25

When I went out to the garden this afternoon, I had prepared myself for everything to be gone, as we had two freezes while I was in the worst phase of my eye injury. To my delight, my lettuce was still going! I took two pictures because I put the two kinds of lettuce, plus a few leaves of spinach, in the same pile to be washed, dried, and put into two gallon storage bags.

 

There is Simpson lettuce, which is the frilly, lighter green lettuce; and there is Bibb lettuce, a darker shade of green with more leaf-like shape, and finally the darkest green, the few leaves of spinach I harvested today. I was so pleased that in our Thanksgiving salad, about 2/3 of it was from the garden!

 

I splurged and bought this mainly for the seeds and plants I’ll have in the greenhouse. I wanted a good mister, and this one got some of the best reviews I saw, plus it’s a burgundy/light purpley color that makes me smile every time I see it. :0)

Besides the harvesting, I cleaned out three of the six raised bed boxes in the garden today. If the weather is cooperative, I’ll try to clean out two more, leaving the one with the lettuces and spinach to cover for the next freeze. I’ll try to get some pics of the garden when it’s cleaned out tomorrow.

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

Before the Rains Come…

I just realized how MANY times we’re rushing around here, trying to get things done ‘before the rains come.’

 

Today I was planning to get out and work in my flower planters, trying to get them pruned and cleared out so that I can add mulch. Today is much too windy to actually put mulch in there, but there is a lot of work to do before the planters are ready.

Of course, my husband said, in a pained voice, “Do you have time for me?” Since I spoil him unmercifully, I stopped what I was doing and was sucked into a “paint the outside trim on the house” project. We each had a some paint in a throw-away bucket. While my husband was getting the paint and the buckets, I used a scraper to get the loose, peeling paint off the wood around the garage door. He painted one side while I painted the other. He finished before I did and went around to the back. When I asked him if I should tackle the inside wall of the back porch, he agreed that I should. So he was painting on the outside of the porch while I was working inside. I painted over all the places where our dear puppy. Amber, had chewed the wood, regardless of Bitter Apple spray or Louisiana Hot Sauce. The wall was originally painted white, but there were SEVERAL places where it was down to the bare whatever-it-was that was supposed to be solid wood. Is anything actually made of real wood anymore? Anyhow, when I used the paint on these places, the rest of the wall looked yellow. So I ended up painting the whole wall.

My husband announced that it looked like his patience and his paint would run out at the same time. We agreed that since we couldn’t get everything done today, particularly since part of what we need to do requires a ladder, we would stop when our paint ran out. Mine lasted JUST long enough to finish painting the porch wall.

We got our paint brushes cleaned up, threw away the old plastic buckets and closed up the paint. We’re using a new stuff you spray into the bucket of paint to keep it from drying up. It would be great if it works, because the gallon of paint we got is really good and EXPENSIVE.

So, now my husband is cleaning up the shop, and I am going to finish my coffee and then take the dog out to help me clean up a flower planter or two ‘before it rains.’

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Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Mother Nature

Fog

 

I took these pictures early this morning, but it still looks mostly the same out there now. 
It's 57 degrees, foggy and rainy today. As you look at the valley below our house, this is the leftmost 
part. Farther to the left is my husband's ham radio tower and my greenhouse. 


This is the center of the back. I love the other-worldliness the fog creates. 


This is the rightmost part of the view. Beyond this, is our propane tank, the shop, and finally, my garden.


Fog

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Carl Sandburg

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Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, Mother Nature

“Listen to the Rhythm of the Falling Rain…”

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We awoke to an easy, quiet rain this morning, just as our weather forecasters said we would. They are saying we’ll have rain off and on through Friday. It’s a very good thing I pushed myself to do leaf blowing and mulching yesterday. I spent 4 hours, filling TWO 39-gallon bags with mulch. So many more leaves have fallen since I cleaned up that it’s hard to tell where I worked!

I’ll wait until the leaves dry again and try to do at least one more good session of mulching.  Meanwhile, if the weather will cooperate, I’ll concentrate on cleaning out the flower planters and filling them up to the brim with mulch for the winter. Happily, I have more and more perennials each year. The mulch helps them get through the winter here and happy to bloom again in the spring.

Later today I will try to harvest some lettuce. I’ll plan to show you pictures.

 

Life is full of beauty. Notice it.
Notice the bumble bee, the small child,
and the smiling faces.
Smell the rain, and feel the wind.
Live your life to the fullest potential,
and fight for your dreams.
– Ashley Smith

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Filed under Arkansas, favorite poems, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Maniac Mulcher

I THINK the leaves are dry enough today that I can blow them into piles and put them through our leaf mulcher. If they aren’t, I’ll have to wait until NEXT week, since the rest of the week here is supposed to be rainy.

I just finished unhooking and gathering the extension cord we’ve been using for the greenhouse. This was a job, because we had TWO 75 foot HEAVY extension cords linked together to get from the house to the greenhouse. I THINK I have the greenhouse ready for winter now. My basic book for using a greenhouse says that I can extend my growing season in the spring by starting seeds for hardy plants, such as broccoli and cauliflower, in mid February, and most other early spring plants, such as lettuces, spinach and such at the beginning of March. Until then, things will be idle out there, though I’ll get out and try to organize for seed planting soon.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to do things like final weed whacking, clean up, mulching, pruning, etc. to get ready for winter.  I’ll also harvest lettuce from the raised bed, square foot garden. I have two kinds of lettuce, Bibb and Simpson, carrots and celery left.

Right now, we have so many leaves in the front yard, you can hardly tell there is any grass under there.

This is our mulcher.

 

We attach a 39 gallon trash bag to the bottom part (orange). We dump the leaves in the top and run the mulcher to put the mulched leaves into the bag. Then I run the bag full again, because the first time doesn’t get nearly as small as I would like. Then the bags go into the garage until I have the flower planters cleaned out, and then I’ll fill them up with the mulch we’ve made.

This time of the year, it’s all I can do to try to get everything outside done, so I’m not doing yoga or my elliptical trainer until things are under control.

I hope the weather where you are is cooperating with your plans today.

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

Heavy Mist/Light Sprinkle

When Amber and I were walking this morning, I saw a beautiful sight – everything in the yard was covered in stunning drops of water. It was completely still, so the water beaded up as if all had been waxed. I tried to get a couple of pics to give you an idea of what my world looks like right now.

 

Even the GRASS had droplets of water sitting on the blades!

 

Like a fairyland, except a bit too cool – at 42.

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Filed under Arkansas, Delightful Surprises, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Brrrr!

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It was UP to 32 degrees this morning at 8:30, when I went to uncover my plants. We still had the a/c on a couple of weeks ago! I bundled up and took Amber out to the garden with me to uncover my veggies. It LOOKS like they came through the freeze last night and this morning, but lettuce, in particular, is fragile, so I’m not sure yet. PLUS, it’s going to do it again tonight.

I brought in my two newest tomato plants and put them by the window in the dining room. I’m learning from my good greenhouse book that the greenhouse won’t protect my plants from freezing without a heater  (DUH) – something we just can’t afford. We won’t put a/c out there, either, so it looks like what I’m going to be trying for is the longest regular growing season I can get – maybe from mid or late February through the next December or January. I’m getting lots of good, practical information, and I’ll be sharing that with you as I use it.

I gathered up the sheets I had put over the plants in the garden, plus the one I put over my elephant ear and exotic purple plant that my friend, Laufrain, gave me. The sheet for the flower planter was fine, so I just left it on the ground to be put over the plants tonight.

The sheets I put over the garden plants, though, were thoroughly soaked, with a thick layer of frost still on the sheets at 8:30! I’m running each of those through the dryer so I can use them again tonight.

If we can just make it through tomorrow morning, I think our weather is due to go back to more fall-like temperatures with no freezes for a bit. Hooray!

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Bathing Suit or Overcoat?

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Last week it was in the 90s with air conditioning.

Yesterday it was in the 80s with doors and windows open.

Today the high will be 53, with a cold front and high winds bringing it down into the 40s with freezes tonight and tomorrow night.

Ah, Arkansas!

I’m as ready as I can be with two newest tomato plants dug up and repotted in the greenhouse, sheets and clothespins ready to try to protect veggies in the garden and tender plants in a planter. Irrigation systems have been turned off and drained. Hummingbird bird bath emptied, turned off, and drained.  We repaired the greenhouse and generally tried to batten down the hatches.

I was going to try to gather leaves and make mulch, but yesterday’s 30 mph gusty winds discouraged that. Same for finishing my pressure washing. Same for weed whacking.

As you can see, the freezes will last only long enough to kill a bunch of my sweet plants and then we’ll have more fall-like temperatures again. :0(

I’ll TRY to quit my ‘whine and cheese’ act,  but my nose is pretty out of joint this morning. I’m glad we can look forward to seeing our good friends at Lunch Bunch in about an hour.

May YOUR day be just the way you like it best!

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Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Getting Ready for the Freeze

Arkansas doesn’t do a great job of winter.

We have a short fall, going from 90+ degree weather a week ago to a projected freeze Friday night and Saturday night, and then returning to fall for awhile longer, while threatening bad ice storms, rather than pretty snow throughout the winter.   I hate this sudden short weekend of freezes because it kills my flowers. I cover up the raised beds in my garden and a couple of other things, but there is no way I can protect everything. :0(

 

Since my flowers will probably be gone by the end of the weekend, the first thing I did today was cut some of the twice-blooming purple iris and some of the hydrangea blooms, bringing them in so we can enjoy them for a few more days.

I then went out to the garden. I had stored old sheets and clothespins in a tall trash can that just fit under one of the raised bed planters. It occurred to me last night that ‘something’ could have gotten into the trash can, since it doesn’t have a lid, and that I might not want to encounter whatever it was.  This morning I brought the trashcan out from under the planter box,  dragged it out of the garden and dumped it on its side quickly on the ground. Nothing showed up, so I grabbed the bottom of the trash can and shook out the rest of the contents, throwing it on the ground again, staying well away. I lucked out. No critters, No snakes. No insects or nests – just sheets and a bag of clothespins. I’ll put the sheets out tomorrow night and Saturday night, and then put them back in the trashcan, but I’ll move the can into the shop for safekeeping this time.

I found four tall stakes that I can put in the planter that holds the purple plant and the elephant ear plant. I put a sheet and some clothespins in the planter, ready to cover the plants tomorrow night.

I dug up the two youngest tomato plants after finding two large pots. I replanted them in the pots with Mel’s Mix and left them on a table in the greenhouse.

 

While I was out there, I heard a ‘CRACK!’ which turned out to be the plastic PVC pipe holders breaking that hold the wood at one end of the greenhouse to the curved PVC rib of the roof. The whole horizontal piece attached to the two vertical pieces was FREE, moving in the gusty wind! I put one of the tomato pots on the table up against one of the vertical pieces of wood. I put a tray and a full gallon jug of water against the other vertical piece of wood until my husband got home. We took a ladder out there and replaced the plastic holders with metal ones, fitting them over the PVC pipe of the rib and screwing them into the vertical wood uprights.*

*NOTE – Don’t EVER use the cheap plastic PVC pipe holders for ANYTHING. Always get the metal ones.

I then spent about 20 minutes securing the sheeting that is stretched over the ribs where it was coming loose. Since we’re having gusty winds, about 30mph this afternoon, this will be a good test of the greenhouse. Fingers crossed.

I think I told you that I finally got the book on starting my greenhouse. It’s called Gardening in Your Greenhouse – Greenhouse Basics,  by Mark Freeman.  I’m learning a TON. This was just the book I needed.  I particularly love the sections about starting seeds. He does it a completely different way than I have, using the same seed starter stuff I’ve been using. Since my nickname is the “Serial Seed Killer” I need all the help I can get!  I’m making a list of things I want to get to use out there, plus I’m getting ideas on how to make the best use of my space, and a realistic idea of what I can do – plus my limitations – so I have a better idea of what to expect.

As I try to implement some of Mark’s good suggestions, I’ll try to share them with you.

I still have a to-do list as long as my arm of things I’d like to do outside, but I really don’t like trying to gather leaves for mulch in a gusty wind. Except for the actual covering of what I can cover tomorrow night, we’re pretty well as ready for the freezes as we can be. We’ll regroup after and see where we are.

I’m going in to put my feet up and read more of my greenhouse book. I hope you’re having a wonderful day.

 

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

My Yard Before the Frost

I’m feeling a bit sad, having to cover up as much as I can in the garden and the yard, digging up plants to try to winter over in the garage, digging up the last of the tomato plants to TRY to winter over in the greenhouse, so I took some pics to share with you in case we have an abrupt end of season. The frustrating thing is that the frost will come Friday night and Saturday night, and THEN the lows will be in the 40’s the rest of the week. :0(

Two colors of impatiens in the planter to the left side of the front porch. (Amber attacked and demolished the others on the right side)

 

Here you can see the impatiens as above, plus the volunteers below the porch from seeds from last year! (You can also see why I pressured washed the front porch, porch pad, and front sidewalk a couple of days ago)

 

Gerbera Daisies

 

This is the completely root-bound, overflowing iris planter I dug out recently, now replanted.  I have two buckets full of rhizomes to plant elsewhere in the yard, sometime after we have our frost.

 

This is the metal duck we made to perpetually fly over the iris planter.

 

Here you can see the whole planter, with the pole and the duck on top. You can also see my new greenhouse and my husband’s new ham radio tower recently erected.

 

Our hydrangea plants are just now reviving after the 90 degree + weather we’ve been having until about two weeks ago, and now they’ll probably be stopped dead in their tracks by the coming frost. I’ll try to bring in some more blooms before the weekend.

 

Also, some nice white.

 

Twice-blooming purple iris.

 

I thought I had pulled out all the zinnias, but more volunteers arrived. I haven’t had the heart to weed whack them.  The shovel bird is standing guard.

 

More, with a hint of phlox on the left.

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Mother Nature

Protecting my Fall Garden Plants

preschoolgarden.blogspot.com

Isn’t this a cute picture? He looks like he’s having such a good time.

 

We usually have a freeze in the fall that kills some things and threatens others. When I had my first fall garden, I missed the freeze warning and lost all my plants. Now I listen carefully to the weather reports and cover my garden plants with sheets. Most of the time this will bring the garden plants through and I can continue harvesting until we get a truly hard freeze.

Here you see my sole spinach plant. I’ve harvested 4 leaves so far and cut them up with fanfare in our salad the other night. :0)

 

This is the Simpson lettuce. I’ve been harvesting this for salads most nights.

 

My husband is only interested in head lettuce. I started this one from the core of the head I bought at the store. I don’t know if it will do anything before a hard freeze or not.

 

These are carrots.

 

And this is Bibb lettuce. You can see where the recently rain was hitting the Mel’s Mix so hard it splashed up on the lettuce leaves.

 

usethatherb.com

I’m lucky to have raised beds, but this gives you an idea of what the garden planters will look like with sheets over them. I’m hoping for another couple of months of harvest time after this first frost.

 

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

We’re Going to Have a WHAT?

We’ve been enjoying a reprieve from the 90 degree weather lately. I was just breathing a huge sigh of relief and then last night the weather man was talking about the first chance of an area-wide FREEZE will be Saturday night into Sunday.  WHAT?  WHAT!  We’ve only had three days of fall!

So – added to my outdoor list for the week is

  • emptying out and storing all the parts of the hummingbird bird bath
  • getting out sheets so I can cover up the veggie garden plants and some of the more tender plants in the yard planters Saturday night
  • digging up the two late tomato plants and putting them in the greenhouse
  • digging up the elephant ear and purple plants to store them in pots of peat moss in the garage for the winter

Anything else I get done will be ‘gravy.’

I hope you have a good day today.

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

Garden Progress

We have a LOT to do outside.

We have a lot of HAVE-TO’S – where we’re acting like grownups, making sure we’re ready for the coming cold weather. In this group, my husband is turning off the irrigation system that automatically waters everything in all the planters around the house, plus the deck planters.  In doing this, he found that two of the three outside faucets leak. This isn’t surprising after 30 years, I guess, so we went to Yeagers and got some replacement washers and he’s trying to get them installed in all three faucets. He finished the one for the well house, and is now working on the two on the back of the house. To do THAT, he has to shut off the water to the house.  Always happy to do my part, I immediately wanted to get a glass of water from the tap and go to the bathroom…

We also have the group of things that SHOULD be done to show that someone cares what things look like up here. In this group is weed whacking, weed and bug killing, cleaning up the beds around the house that are now full of leaves, pruning, etc. I did some of the pressure washing this morning. This afternoon I’m doing some of the weed whacking. I’ve been at it for a couple of hours now, so I’m taking a break and drinking some water. I’ll heck on my husband’s progress, armed with more kleenex and band-aids, and then I’ll do another hitch. None of the ‘should’s’ will be finished quickly. I figure if we try to do a bit each day, eventually we’ll get things under control or run out of good weather.

Finally, we have my real LOVE, working in my raised bed square foot garden. The fall garden is small, but is coming along fine. I’m still waiting for my book on the basics of getting my greenhouse organized well and running right. I’m supposed to get the book by Halloween or before. I’m watching the weather forecast for when we’re due for frosts or freezes, and I MAY have to go ahead and dig up a few things before I have a clue what I’m doing. I have some sheets ready to put over the garden plants at night, so hopefully I can keep that going until we have a deep freeze.

I love this time of year, thought I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by my to-do list. I keep reminding myself – one day at a time…

 

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

Planting Finished for the Day

I just finished my planting for the day. I planted two celery plants from the bottoms I started in the house. (These are easy. Just cut off the bottom 2 inches of each bunch of celery and put them in a dish of water. When they have leaves showing well, transplant them to the garden.) If you want them to look like the bunches you get from the store, tie the little branches together with string. I just let them grow naturally, harvesting individual stalks when they look large enough.

 

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I told you that I dug out all the iris plants from the new iris planter in the back yard. The planter was totally root-bound (though I’m not sure that’s what you call it with iris). I don’t know how many rhizomes I dug out, but they filled two large buckets. Since I started with 15 plants two years ago, I again chose 15 rhizomes to replant. I’m going to choose several other places before winter to relocate the other ones. My husband wants more up and down the driveway. We’ll also plant some on the way to our shop, plus I want to have at least a couple of iris areas in the back yard. We’re not in a big hurry to do this, as I want to concentrate on weed whacking, lawn edging and weed killing, plus cleaning up flower planters first.

 

gardenerspath.com

I decided to try to start a head lettuce plant in the same manner I do for celery. I slammed the lettuce on the counter to make the core pop out, then put it in water. I planted the seedling, which looked much like these, except smaller, today. We’ll see how it does.

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

Harvest – October 20, 2017

I took Amber out to the garden this morning.  I tried to harvest while she ‘helped me’ by trying to move two large plastic pots from the corner of the garden, take them under one of the raised bed planters and chew on them. I discouraged that, so she found some of the black weed barrier under some of the wood chip mulch and managed to pull some up. At this point, I thanked her for her help and put her on the other side of the fence to roam around until I got to a stopping point.

I harvested some of the largest leaves of the Bibb lettuce and Simpson lettuce.

 

I pulled up all the radishes. I’ll plant more later today, plus two celery plants and one head lettuce plant I started in the kitchen.

 

The lone spinach plant is doing very well, giving me 4 nice leaves today. I’ll take some spinach seeds out and plant them, as well today.

Also on my schedule is to re-plant several of the Iris rhizomes I dug up and separated this week. I’ll just plan on getting the one planter done today, taking my time on finding good spots to relocate the other iris around the yard.

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

Digging Up Iris Project – Take 2

I’m going to try to finish digging out my iris plants today.

 

We devoted a square brick planter in the back yard for new iris, with the plan  to redistribute them all over the yard when it was time to divide them. We made this bird to “fly” over the planter.

 

This is the actual planter. You can see that this has really gone nuts in the past two years. I have dug out approximately half of the rhizomes now. I plan to get out there in a few minutes and see if I can finish getting the plants dug out, and the excess roots and leaves cut off. I have one plastic basket in the garage already of the half I dug out recently.  I’ll plant some back in this planter, but most of them will go in spots up and down the driveway, out to the shop, and in groupings here and there around the yard.

I started with 15 plants in this planter which is almost 4 feet on each side. I can’t believe how many plants I have now, or how difficult it is to get them out carefully. I have 5 different colors – a bright yellow, a yellow with a brown striped ‘beard,’ a pretty blue, some small purple, and I THINK a fuchsia, though I’m not sure.

I have a really nice day to work outside, so please wish me luck on finishing up the digging out today.

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Fall Garden Pictures – October 2017

Here are 2 celery bottoms, one of which has sprouted a bit, and a core of head lettuce, which is also sprouting. I’ll move them to the garden soon.

 

Bibb lettuce, started from seed. I can start harvesting some of the leaves for salad soon.

 

Carrots. I need to read my square foot gardening book to figure out what to expect here and when.

 

celery plants. I’m harvesting separate stalks, since I didn’t tie them together as I was supposed to do.

 

Newish celery plants.

 

Radishes ready to harvest.

 

Simpson lettuce.  Some is ready to start using.

 

My sole spinach plant. I don’t know what happened that the other seeds didn’t make. I keep meaning to plant more, but the days get away from me.

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

Fall Square Foot Gardening

Everything is coming along in the fall garden. I have several celery plants, with two more, plus one head lettuce plant, almost ready to go out to the garden. The radishes may be ready to harvest. Two types of lettuce, Bibb and Simpson, are almost ready to start harvesting for salads.  Carrot tops are getting taller.

 

Meanwhile, I just ordered a book that I hope will answer my never-ending questions about how to get started in my new greenhouse.

 

We visited with our friends, the Taylors, last night while bowling – and eating ice cream afterwards –  and I found out that I’m supposed to wait until the elephant ear leaves die, then cut them off and dig up the bulb, putting it in a pot of peat moss and storing it in the garage. Same with the pretty purple plant she gave me. I’m watching the lows on the weather forecast, planning to bring the two fall tomato plants into the greenhouse to put in large pots of Mel’s Mix. I have no idea if they’ll make it over the winter or not, but it’ll be fun to try.

Otherwise, I’ll wait to get my greenhouse book, then prep my seed starter trays, some with Mel’s Mix and some with peat pellets to see if there are different results. I’ll try to plant seeds of all the things I want in my spring garden.

I’ll try to get some pics of the fall garden and post them soon.

 

 

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

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!

zazzle

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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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…

30seconds.com

 

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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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