Category Archives: Favorite Things

Saving Our Flowers

Lilies

This is why we were working so feverishly trying to figure out why our irrigation system wasn’t working the way it should. All of these flowers were really thirsty and wilting from the heat. I’m grateful that my husband figured out the problem and FIXED it! :0)

 

Wave petunias

 

 

 

Periwinkles

 

 

 

 

We’ll go out tonight at 7pm when the front part of the irrigation system is supposed to start and make sure all the plants are getting watered, and then we’ll move to the back and check things out.

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Decision: Miracle or Euthanasia?

iStock by Getty Images

As Lynn Moody – my wonderful massage therapist – and I walked up to her spa location, I asked her if there were any upper age limit on who could get a massage. She laughed when I told her that I felt at least 180 years old this morning and that everything I had hurt. I asked her to either perform a miracle or euthanize me –

My husband and I have had a labor-intensive week or so, with my  spreading 16 large bags of cedar blend mulch on the ground under the raised bed planter boxes in my square foot garden after several sessions of weeding; our hauling bricks, laying bricks and then shoveling potting soil into the finished planter, our doing yard work, etc.

Adding insult to injury, one of our cats tried to jump in my lap while I was sitting at the computer yesterday, missed, and grabbed my hand with her claws on the way down. When I FINALLY was able to detach her claws, her back claws stuck into my leg. Both my hand and my leg are slightly swollen. For some mysterious reason, my right ear lobe has also been swollen – though I can’t blame THAT on the cat, AND I had a crick in my neck.  I was actually moaning a bit trying to get onto the massage table…

Happily, Lynn not only found the really sore spots I knew about, but also the ones I hadn’t realized hurt! At the end of my hour-long massage, I sighed in relief. She had, indeed, performed a miracle.

I’ve been drinking lots of water since I came home, trying to increase the chances of my relief lasting as long as possible. If I can get a good night’s sleep tonight, I will be a happy camper tomorrow.

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Harvest 5-17-2019

Last of the broccoli, though I left the roots just in case they do something more. I’m planning to make broccoli soup on Sunday when it’s raining. The last radish I’ve planted so far.

5 heads of lettuce. Not as large as the first ones – I think because our weather suddenly got warmer. I’ll take these, plus leaf lettuce, to friends next week.

Last of the leaf lettuce. Guess who is going to have a big ‘main meal’ salad tonight for dinner?  :0)

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Filed under Favorite Things, Gardening, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

It’s Still ‘Monsoon Season’ In Arkansas

The Guardian

Yesterday I went – armed with my umbrella – to see what is happening in my garden. We have really had an unusual spring here in Arkansas. Cooler than usual, and that is very welcome, but also MUCH more rain than usual.

Some of the trees in the driveway are hanging down toward each other with the weight of the water in their leaves, creating almost a canopy through which we drive. It’s no problem for us, but the UPS and FEDEX drivers may say a few ripe words as they make their way up and down again. I’ve also already told you about the amazing results in my garden. For the first time ever I’ve been able to share the veggie wealth with my friends. It’s a delightful thing and I hope to be able to continue.  I harvested the very first-ever heads of lettuce I’ve been able to grow, plus all the radishes I planted.

Today I wanted to show you what I found yesterday –

This is the celery end I planted a couple of days ago. It seems to be happy. :0)

This is zucchini squash. I planted several plants because I can process this for zucchini noodles, freeze it, or dehydrate it.

My ‘mystery weed’ turned out to indeed, be spinach!  Woo Hooooooo! I have several plants now. :0)

I’ve never had onion tops this tall. They are over my head!  I don’t know what this means in terms of the growth of the actual sweet red onions. Only time will tell.

One head lettuce plant. I’ll get leaf lettuce, too, when I harvest the head.

Another head lettuce plant.

More zucchini.  You can also see that the broccoli is going to blossom – signaling the end of it.

This is cantaloupe!  I have no clue what I’m doing, but the plant seems happy at the moment. I have some plastic ‘bowls’ with legs and lots of drain holes to put under any melon while they grow – assuming I get some. I’m like a kid at Christmas!

The tomato plants on the opposite side of our house are doing fine, too.

It’s raining all day today. The high will only be in the low 60’s. I’m hoping that we can go to the local stores in the coming week to see if there is more we want to try. Otherwise, once I eat my way through a lot of radishes, I’ll plant some more. They can be planted most any time of the year, so I’m hoping I can get at least one more good crop.

I’m planning to get out and weed this week , assuming the weather will cooperate. Looming on the horizon is my husband and I rebuilding our two brick planters which collapsed.

I hope you’re having a wonderful Saturday, too!

 

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Happy Roses!

I cut our three Rio Samba rose bushes, plus a red rose bush WAAAAAAAY back, quite ruthlessly before winter. They were all in sad shape, having some kind of fungus and having grown out of shape, having some branches that died, etc. I figured that either my severe pruning would work, or we would have to start over and get new plants.

Happily, my pruning seems to have given them all new life!

This is the red rose bush and you can also see one of the Rio Samba bushes further back in the trio of planters.

We love Rio Samba roses because they start out bright yellow. Then they develop coral edges on each bloom. Finally they turn coral before it’s time to prune them off to encourage new blooms.

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Ready to Plant More!

This picture gives you a good idea of how our raised bed, square foot garden is set up. You can see the six boxes. Each is 4 foot square. Each has a sprinkler in the center with hose connecting the boxes to one master control that irrigates the garden each morning for 10 minutes. Each box is divided into ‘squares’ by running wire in two directions. You can also see that there is fencing around the garden to keep out large critters. It also has chicken wire running around the bottom for little critters.

The rains lately caused an explosion in the garden. The plants were spilling out of the top over the sides. I couldn’t see the squares anymore. It took me three days to get things harvested, washed, and either put in the fridge or distributed to friends. I finished cleaning up the garden this morning so it’s ready to plant some new things. My husband and I will see what is available in the coming week that looks interesting.

We have about 5 heads of lettuce that might still make. The green part of the onions is over my head. :0)

I think this is zucchini squash. I also have some cantaloupe plants.

The jury is still out on whether sweet little plants like these that are dotted around the garden are weeds or spinach. I’m hoping for spinach. Time will tell.

This sweet little guy is celery, transplanted from sprouting in the kitchen. I cut off the end of some celery I bought at the store and put it in water. It’ll be fun to see what happens.

I keep telling you about Mel’s Mix, the soil alternative I use instead of real dirt in my garden. I buy peat moss, vermiculite, mushroom compost, barnyard compost, and cotton burr compost from the local co-op and put each ingredient in one of the garbage cans. I then put the ingredients in the correct ratio into our portable concrete mixer.

This is easy to use and mixes things SO much better than I was doing before with a shovel in my wheelbarrow. When mixed, the mixer will move down to dump the ingredients into a bucket, the wheelbarrow, or whatever, and I transfer it to the garden boxes.

I’m hoping we’ll find something fun to plant next week. Fingers crossed!

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

Day Three of Harvest

I tackled the last of our six 4’x4′ wooden raised boxes in our garden today. I got 4 heads of lettuce, leaf lettuce, and radishes. This finishes the harvest of the food that suddenly grew after all the rains we’ve had. I still have some heads of lettuce and other things in the garden. I’ll clean up the last box after the harvest.

I’m really new at this, not having a clue what I’m doing, but I have so much FUN trying to grow some of our food!  Today, after harvesting, washing, and bagging up the produce, I called several friends and asked them if they would like some of it. I had some extra one other year, but this is the first time I’ve had such good-looking produce, and the first time EVER for actual heads of lettuce! :0) I spent about an hour driving around and spreading the wealth!

This is the last of the radishes I planted. Radishes are wonderful because they produce quickly and can be grown directly from seed in the garden in any season except for the dead of winter.

 

I can’t believe how much leaf lettuce I got! Since I harvested the large heads, I also processed the leaves around the heads.

Usually our weather is too ‘something’ (too hot, too cold, too much water, too little water, too much sun, too little sun) for a nice crop. This year we lucked out and I couldn’t be more delighted.

I’ll try to get pics tomorrow after finishing the cleaning up. I’m hoping we’ll find other interesting things we can try to plant at the local stores tomorrow, too!

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Flowers Add Quality of Life

After the rains I walked around the yard, delighting that so many flowers are happy right now. I wanted to share them with you.

These are Rio Samba roses.  They start bright yellow, then slowly turn to coral.

 

Impatiens like the shade of our front porch.

Camellias

My husband’s clematis.

Wave petunias on the deck.

Periwinkles

A new color of iris blooming that I’ve never seen before!

When we first married – almost 50 years ago now – my husband wasn’t into flowers.  He didn’t mind them, just didn’t care about them one way or the other and tried to make me happy by taking me to the local nurseries to find things to plant.

Now he actively works at getting our wisteria to grow up a tree, weeds his clematis, notices and remarks on the roses, LOVES the deep purple iris – now his favorite flower.

Flowers are a quality of life thing – and we’re rich in them!

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Working in the Garden

We have two planters of tomato plants. We converted the planters from being regular planters – filled with regular and potting soil – to square-foot planters, filled with Mel’s Mix (peat moss, vermiculite, and compost.) The planter above is 8 feet long by about 2 feet wide. Last year I planted six plants in this planter and they soon grew to be a dense ‘jungle.’ This year I’m planting 4, trying to give them more space. I also read that I should prune them more to encourage fruit production, rather than greenery. I have to admit that this scares me a bit, but I’m going to try it, limiting their vertical growth in particular and trying to prune any large sideways branches. We LOVE sliced fresh tomatoes, and could eat our weight in them daily, so I’m HOPING that this experiment is successful…

 

This is the second tomato planter. It is in a ‘nook’ formed by the back of the house and our back porch. It is shielded from the elements more than the other planter, and sometimes results in the only plants that do well. These actually have some yellow blossoms!

 

And THIS – is a really nice weed, or SPINACH!

I am finding several like this, right in the middle of squares of Mel’s Mix in the garden planters – as I harvest and weed around them. I was unable to get the seeds to sprout in the greenhouse for some reason, and I was unable to find ANY spinach plants being sold locally, so in desperation I finally just planted some seeds in the middle of several squares in the garden and kept all of my appendages crossed. As you can see here, I put a popsicle stick in the soil showing ‘spinach.’  Appendages – including my eyes – are still crossed, because I’ve never seen spinach at this early stage, so it looks different from the plants I have purchased.

Since it is not raining right now, I’m planning to get out and tackle the last of the six 4’x4′ wooden box planters in my raised bed, square foot garden today. It’s so full I can’t tell what is there. I’ll report back, and then plan to see what exciting things the locals may have for me to plant to take the place of the things I’ve harvested. I’ll try to get pics of what’s out there now. I’m still stunned that so much needed harvesting already!

I plan to call friends and share the veggie wealth this weekend. :0)

I hope YOUR weekend is fun and productive!

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Day Two of Harvest

Yesterday I harvested a bunch of radishes, two heads of lettuce, and some broccoli. Today I harvested MORE radishes

And FIVE heads of lettuce!

I’m going to call some good friends to see if I can spread the wealth over the weekend.

My husband fixed our new-to-us riding lawn mower this afternoon and got the lawn mowed while I worked in the garden. I just listened to the weather and it sounds like we may have just finished in time for the heavy rains to start. They’re supposed to last all evening into tomorrow morning, so it was good we could take advantage of a break to get some things done outside.

I hope you’ve had a wonderful day, too.

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Today’s Harvest 5-2/2019 – So FAR!

This is actual head lettuce!  I’ve only had one other head form like this is the past several years, being content to enjoy cutting off the outer leaves as long as possible and enjoying them in salads. I think there are several more heads out there NOW!  Woo HOOOOO!

My broccoli isn’t impressive to look at, like the nice heads you see at the grocery store, but it’s nice and tender. Since my husband isn’t overly fond of broccoli, I make soup from it for myself. :0)

 

These are absolutely the best radishes I’ve ever grown. They are large and perfect – no spots or anything, and better than you see at the store! I’m like a kid at Christmas!  I enjoy eating lots of raw veggies and some dip for my lunch, so my mouth is watering in anticipation!

I’ll do another session in the garden after we have some lunch. I have a lot more to harvest, and then there is a LOT of weeding to do. (The weeds love Mel’s Mix, too.) Mel’s Mix is the soil alternative we make to go into the planters. It’s a combination of peat moss, vermiculite, and as many different types of compost as you can get (I’m using mushroom, barnyard, and cotton burr, plus compost I make on my own – when it works. :0)

I recently planted some zucchini squash and some cantaloupe. I also tried planting some spinach seeds directly into the garden, since I am still a serial seed killer on the ones I’ve tried in my greenhouse. I’m eager to see what’s what – WHEN I get things thinned out enough to tell!

I certainly don’t save any money trying to grow some of our own veggies, but I LOVE the planning, planting, care, and harvesting – plus I know our food is healthy. Since we eat a lot of raw veggies and salads, this is a truly fun thing to do.

I’ll let you know if any of the spinach seeds have sprouted and will take more pics as I get the garden back in control.

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My Garden Exploded!

I’ve told you we’ve had non-stop rain the past day-after-day-after-day around here. I haven’t been able to even THINK about getting out to the garden. The rain has stopped for a minute, so I went out there, not knowing whether my sweet little plants would have been washed out of their little squares, totally inundated with water and lying sadly dying, or what.

What I found amazed me. My garden is happy, healthy, and has exploded! :0)

This first post is to show you the raised bed, square foot garden as a whole.

My husband and I made six 4’x4′ wooden planter boxes and then mounted them on metal support ‘tables’. We have irrigation hoses that attach to a sprinkler in each box. We have a timer on the main hose so that the garden is watered daily (except for lately – since Mother Nature has no idea when enough is enough!)

I had one lettuce plant in each marked off square. I also planted one broccoli plant in each of other squares. I planted 12 radish seeds in each of several squares, and then I planted a BUNCH of sweet red onion sets in one whole box, since they won’t be harvested until the end of the summer or the fall.

As you can see, it’s hard to tell where one plant ends and another starts!

Apparently, the plants really love the too-much rain (we made drain holes in each square.) and the intermittent sunshine.

 

As you can see here, the broccoli is blooming. That’s bad, and it means the probable end of the broccoli crop. I cut off the blooming part because I have read that sometimes, when the main broccoli head is gone, the side shoots will produce heads.

In the next post I’ll show you what I’ve already harvested today. There is MUCH more out there, plus a LOT of work to do, harvesting more, weeding, etc.

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White

“Explosion in White” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

“Intense White” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

“Spring Sonnet” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

“White Daffodil” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

“White Magnolia” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

“Ornamental White Flowers” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

“White Flowers” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

“Bow for Eternal Love” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Perfect Day for the Annual Greenwood Classic Car Show

It’s 73 degrees F., a bit overcast, a hint of raindrops – the perfect day for a car show. In the past we’ve gotten sunburned, even though we wore hats. We’ve had downpours that basically rained out the show. We’ve had bad winds that caused havoc with the tents. Today was perfect.

The Greenwood Car Show is an annual event. I believe this is year 30, but don’t hold me to it. We love attending this. The main thoroughfare is kept open, but the rest of the square is roped off, filled with incredible cars of all makes, sizes, shapes, years – all ones you almost never see. People come to show their cars from the surrounding states. Prizes are given. Proceeds are given to various charities. Food, fun, music, and wonderful cars! The music was from “our era” which means the songs were older than dirt. Several of the people showing cars were Marines, so my husband had several nice chats with guys.

My favorite car – a 1932 Deuce Coupe –

wasn’t there this year, but we had plenty of wonderful cars and motorcycles to drool over.

Isn’t this amazing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was my personal favorite this year.

 

 

This is a Maserati. It had a 200 mph sticker in the window.

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After the Storms – New Annuals

Impatiens in two saucer planters and in the side brick planter in the shade of the front porch.

Purslane – Yubi – Portulaca in concrete planters at the end of the garage, by the driveway, and beside the shop door.

Periwinkles all over the place – here on the other side of the driveway –

And four of the “Emu” planters beside the driveway –

And on the back deck

Wave Petunias on the deck

More periwinkles on the deck

Wave petunias.

Impatiens

And more impatiens.

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Whew!

LifeBuzz

I am really bushed.

After Lunch Bunch today, my husband and I went to a local nursery and bought 1 flat of impatiens, 1 flat of portulaca, 2 flats of periwinkles, and 1 flat of wave petunias.

When I checked the weather website, it said 100% chance of heavy rain all day Saturday, so I got busy, doing three sessions of planting. I just came in a minute ago and I can happily report I’m finished – both planting all the flowers and depleting my energy. :0)

 

Impatiens – Burpee.com

I planted impatiens on our front porch, and to the side of the porch, since this area is on the north side of the house and receives little sunshine.

 

Periwinkles – commons.wikimedia.org

These went in several places – on the back deck, in the ’emu’ planters to the side of the driveway, and dotted around for color otherwise.

portulaca – purslane – yubi

We have four concrete planters that live in places hard to include in our irrigation system, so these flowers will handle getting dry much better than others. We take a sprinkling can around to these. We have two outside our garage, one beside the driveway, and one beside the door to the shop.

 

Wave Petunias – Burpee.com

I planted these in four large matching planters on the deck, hoping they’ll spill over the edges and grow down the sides of the planters.

When the plants have hopefully survived the ‘heavy rain’ tomorrow and possibly Sunday, I’ll try to get around and take some pictures.

I hope you had a great day, too.

 

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Sharing Spring – Wisteria

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Garden Progress-4-11-2019

Planet Natural

The past couple of days I’ve spent a lot of time outside.

 

The radishes are finally sprouting. I have several squares of them, in this and other planter boxes.

The broccoli seems to be doing well so far.

I’ll probably start harvesting (and EATING!) some lettuce leaves next week.

The sweet red onions are looking good.

No spinach sprouts yet, but I’m still hopeful…

Today I’m trying to get some flower planters ready to plant. It used to be that I was the one who loved the flowers, but now we both enjoy them.  We’re going to start with wave petunias, periwinkles, purslane, and impatiens. If we can get them planted, we’ll see if we need more.

My husband says that deep purple iris have become his favorite flower. They’re blooming in several places in the yard right now.

I really love this time of year!

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Your Dose of Purple for the Day – You’re Welcome :0)

“Purple” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Spring View from our Back Yard

We live on top of a ridge line outside of Greenwood, Arkansas. We basically own part of the top of it. Our property goes all the way down to the street in front and about half way down in the back.

One of my favorite things is to watch the seasons change in the valley below the house. Here you can see things are really beginning to green up. The red buds are enjoying their last hurrah and our purple iris and wisteria are beginning to bloom.

Here you can also see the dog we made, plus the “peacock” hanging onto the leftover ham radio antenna section we mounted on some concrete.

 

When you own the top part, you can pretend that you own all you can see. I’m moving from right to left across the back yard to give you a feel for our nice view.

There are the loveliest people who put on a 4th of July display each year.  We’ve driven down to see if we can figure out where they are so we can thank them, but so far, haven’t been able to locate them.

You can also see one of the mosaic gazing balls I made a few years ago for the bird bath.

Another view farther to the left. You can also see the ‘weed trees’ with greenery right at the top of each stalk. I carefully negotiate the rocks, brambles, stickers, etc. trying to get rid of these each spring.

To the left a bit farther is our ham radio tower and my greenhouse. There is also three evergreen trees growing together just to the left of this which is the home of lots of cardinals and other birds who frequent the feeders hanging from our deck.

I spend lots of time walking around out here, enjoying the changes as each season progresses.

 

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The Garden is Started!

I planted sweet red onions in this planter about a week ago. I had to cover it with a sheet because of a cold snap, but they seem to be doing fine.

This picture is taken from the other side of the garden. You see the onions, plus most of the other raised bed boxes, plus the area behind the shop where the cement mixer is covered by a tarp to protect it from sun and rain, plus the covered trash cans containing the ingredients of Mel’s Mix.

 

A little different view.

 

I bought 18 head lettuce plants yesterday and planted them in the garden. It’s really hard to see the wire marking the squares, but if you look carefully, you can see I planted one lettuce plant per square. Mel Bartholomew of Square Foot Gardening says you can plant 4 plants in one square, but my experience is that our garden does better much more spread out.  I planted the plants in every other square. This is the way we ‘rotate’ our crops in Square Foot Gardening. I keep track of where I planted everything last year, and plant them in different squares this year. I also plant something different in every other square – I’m hoping to find spinach plants, so that any problems (bugs, disease, etc) don’t spread as badly from plant to plant.

 

If we have a cold snap, I can cover these three planters in a row with king-sized sheets, hopefully helping them survive to the next morning.

I have a call in to our wonderful co-op about spinach plants. There is a chance that the plant guy will bring some before the weekend, so I’ll call on Monday of next week. In the interim, I’m starting over planting spinach seeds in the greenhouse. Fingers crossed!

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Square Foot Garden Progress!

Messy Motherhood

I filled up all the rest of the wooden raised planters, and then my husband came out and helped me stretch wire across in two directions to designate the planting ‘squares.’

You have to look carefully to see the wire in the picture above.

 

We have two rows of three planters each. You can see the onion sets already planted in the far planter.

This photo shows the faucets to which the hoses are attached. When we start irrigation, we’ll attach the hoses that run from the garden all the way up past the shop and attach to the outdoor faucet. We’ll have a timer on that faucet so the garden will be watered each day for a specified amount of time.

The picture above shows my cement mixer. I measure out the ingredients for Mel’s Mix into the mixer, then mix for several minutes and dump it into a trash can propped under it. We have now put a tarp over the mixer and the motor so the sun and rain won’t cause damage to it.

These are my trash cans that hold the ingredients for Mel’s Mix: vermiculite, peat moss, mushroom compost, barnyard compost, and cotton burr compost.

Here you can see the garden as a whole, with the exception of the brick planters on the other side of the house where we grow tomatoes. You can see the garden is surrounded by fence, with a layer of chicken wire around the bottom to keep critters out. When I get things planted, I’ll string some surveyor’s tape around the garden to help the deer see it. To the right in this picture is our shop, and to the left is a shooting target we made, called, “Falling Plates” where we practice shooting pistols a couple of times a year. I can kill a plate quite well with a bit of practice. :0)

I’ll take pics again when I get some plants in.

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Making More Mel’s Mix

Bored Panda

I started topping off the six 4 foot x 4 foot wooden raised planters in our garden the other day and ran out of one of the ingredients, so had to stop.

Mel’s Mix is a creation of Mel Bartholomew, author of Square Foot Gardening. He has created a mixture that plants love, allowing people like me to bypass my poor, almost non-existent soil on top of our ridge line and grow veggies.

We took his suggestions to the next level, since I’m getting long-in-the-tooth, and built planter boxes at my chest level, filling them with the mix so I don’t have to bend over or get down on my hands and knees. Ahhhh!

Mel’s Mix is a combination of peat moss, Vermiculite, and several different types of compost. I’m using cotton burr, barnyard, and mushroom – plus the compost we make ourselves, from time to time.

I was going to try to finish getting my planters ready yesterday after we replenished our supply of Vermiculite. Amber, our 94-pound lab ‘puppy’ changed my plans by running into me full speed, knocking me flat on my back into the gravel and grass between our house and the shop. Since we were going bowling last night with friends, all I did yesterday was put one of the bags of Vermiculite in the lidded trash can and then nurse my wounds and rest.

I’m going out now to make more Mel’s Mix and see if I can finish the additions to each of the six planter boxes that make up our raised bed square foot garden. Our newest tool addition is a very used portable concrete mixer. I dump all the ingredients into the mixer, then turn it on and let it mix everything up, then dump the mix into a trash can to take to the garden and put into one of the planters. I used to put everything in a wheelbarrow and use a hoe to try to mix it up, but it didn’t work nearly as well as the new system.

When I finish adding the Mel’s Mix, I’ll stretch wire in two directions to make the ‘squares’ for planting. I’ll try to get some pics then to share with you before I start buying and planting plants.

I still hold the name “Serial Seed Killer.” My efforts at getting seeds to sprout were unsuccessful. I’m going to start over, only trying to grow spinach, since I have real trouble finding any spinach plants at the local stores. Fingers crossed.

 

 

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Gorgeous Waterfalls

Du Hua Liu – LinkedIn

 

Roland Imhof – LinkedIn

 

San Rafael Fralls – Ecuador – Jeff Jett

 

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls, California – Jeff Jett – Linkedin

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Greenhouse and Garden Update

Today is the first day it has been warm enough to check on my onion sets in our raised bed, square foot garden and the seeds I was trying to get started in the greenhouse.

The onion sets are looking fine, thank goodness. I had covered the 4 foot x 4 foot square with a king-sized sheet anchored with clothes pins, hoping for the best with the awful cold snap we had. Our lows were down to 16 degrees F. – and I was worried I would have to start over.

I watered the onion sets and then weeded another of the planters. I have six planters, three more to go before I can think about planting for the spring.

 

Things weren’t so great in the greenhouse. Nothing had sprouted, so I started over. I now have the flats planted again – one of spinach and two flats of lettuce, two different kinds. Since we have nice sunshine, I sprayed the seed starters with water and just left them without the tops on them, continuing my experimentation. The thermometer showed it was 70 degrees in there this afternoon, so all appendages are crossed that the new seeds will sprout soon.

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All the Pretty Flowers

“Flowers of the Field” – Theo Van de Goor – LinkedIn

 

Theo Van de Goor – LinkedIn

 

“Flowers” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

Max Blanchard – AlhenaMaxPhotos

 

“Snowdrops – Taste of Spring – Clive Agate – LinkedIn

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Progress in Planting

Raised-Bed Square Foot Planters in the Garden:

Yesterday I weeded one of the six raised bed square foot garden planters. It’s 4 feet x 4 feet.

Today we bought two bunches of Sweet Red Onions and I got them planted. Since they’ll stay where they are until they are ready for harvest (August or after) I planted them without stringing strings across to make ‘squares’ for planting. I just tried to give them room enough to expand to be good-sized, small sweet onions. I spread some fertilizer in the planter and then watered them.

I think they’ll make it through any freezes we have between now and spring, but, just in case, I can spread a king-sized sheet over the planter for protection.

I’ll try to weed one planter each good day, so hopefully they’ll all be ready to receive plants soon.

 

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Greenhouse:

 

Two of the covered seed starters had water beading on the inside – a good thing.

 

This one was dry, even with the cover. I sprayed the plants with water again and used a different cover. Hopefully, it will hold the moisture in.

I’m not sure how long it takes for the seeds to sprout. I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas!

I’m planning to cut back our rose bushes today, plus give the wisteria some phosphorus fertilizer.

 

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A Perfect Day!

The weather is absolutely GLORIOUS in Greenwood, Arkansas today! Sunny, no wind, and currently in the low 50’s F. Perfect weather to be working outside, especially since I can be comfortable in a sweatshirt and no jacket. :0)

I used the opportunity to check on the seeds I planted yesterday in my greenhouse. The wind was blowing so HARD yesterday I was a bit worried we would have damage to the greenhouse, but it was fine.

I planted seeds in three seed starters yesterday.  There are places for 72 plants in each starter. I put Mel’s Mix in the starter containers (Mel’s Mix is Vermiculite, peat moss, and as many different kinds of compost as you can find or make.) This flat has Iceberg Lettuce seeds.

I did another starter of Spinach seeds.

And a third starter of Simpson Lettuce.

I sprayed them with water/fertilizer mix yesterday, so I sprayed them down well again and this time added the starter covers to help keep moisture in.

 

While I was out there, I did some cleaning up of the greenhouse. Although, I have to tell you, I have found that if it’s really NEAT and CLEAN, no one is trying to grow anything in there. (Same thing for my art room. The only time it looks really good is when nothing is happening. :0) )

We  have tables on three sides with storage underneath. This picture is of the end of the greenhouse opposite the door. The exhaust fan up high comes on automatically when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees (when the electricity is hooked up).

This is the right side of the greenhouse as you come in the door. As you see, there are lots of supplies.

I try to keep the tables on the left side of the greenhouse for plants and prepping. I have a trash can in the corner filled with Mel’s Mix and bottles of water stored underneath.

While it was so nice out, I went out to my raised bed, square foot garden. They are selling onion sets in town and I’m planning to get some tomorrow.

Unfortunately, the weeds love Mel’s Mix, too, so all six of the raised planters looked like this when I went out.

 

I don’t have to make ‘squares’ with string in order to plant onions, so this is ready to plant now.

Hopefully I’ll have a successful year for growing veggies!

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Setting Up in the Greenhouse

Right now it’s 60 degrees F., so I used the opportunity to go ahead and get some seeds planted in my greenhouse.

It’s REALLY windy outside, so I propped the open greenhouse door against the side of the greenhouse and put a chair up to it so it wouldn’t blow closed and lock me in. :0)

I prepared three flats (72 plants each) and planted one flat of iceberg lettuce, one flat of spinach, and one flat of Simpson lettuce. It was 70 in the greenhouse, so I’m HOPING that even if it gets to freezing in the mornings, it will stay above that in the greenhouse. I’ll check on the flats tomorrow. If this is successful, I’ll take pics so you can share the sprouting.

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It Feels Like Christmas!

I found a super-good deal on a set of acrylic paints a few days ago. They arrived today, and I feel like a kid at Christmas! There are 14 tubes of paint in the set and I have paid more for 4 tubes – plus shipping – than I had to pay for this set with FREE shipping. Woo HOOO!

For some reason I haven’t been up to my art room in quite a while. I felt I needed to accomplish more on my purging project to go through 30+ years of STUFF we’ve accumulated and really don’t need.

I’m beginning to figure out now that the more I go through things, donating a bunch of things to others, throwing away a bunch of things, and then reorganizing and cleaning before putting what is good to keep again, I’m in a never-ending job. The more I DO, the more I SEE to do!

I’m going to give myself permission to take a bit of a break from all the work and play in my art room this week.

 

I don’t know if I’ll come up with anything, but I’ll have a wonderful time dreaming, experimenting, and playing!

keetonsonline.com – via Sherry Dellaria McGrath

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Chomping at the Bit!

It’s too cold outside yet, and I don’t have a heater in the greenhouse, so I can’t start any seeds yet, but NEXT month I’m hoping I can get a head start on the spring planting season.

I’m going through my seeds, thinking I’ll start with lettuce, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower this time.

 

I would really love to have some healthy plants grown in my own greenhouse to transplant into our raised bed, square foot garden this spring, instead of having to buy plants locally. I’m reading everything I can get my hands on about greenhouses. The problem is that most of the information is written by people who live in pretty cold parts of the U.S.

My experience so far is that unless I have a heater (and we would have to keep it running 24/7 with a 350 foot extension cord running from the house out to the greenhouse) it’s too cold to start anything there yet. We tend to go from winter to way too hot in rapid succession, and then I have trouble – even with the extension cord, an exhaust fan, and the opposite people door open, to keep it COOL enough! So I’m scouring the net trying to find information that will help me deal with the extremes we have in Arkansas.

 

I’m hoping to start some plants the 1st of March. I’ll post pics of my efforts.

 

This is a picture of my spring garden last year in the raised bed planters my husband and I made. There are SIX 4’x4′ planters held up by angle iron ‘tables’ about my chest height. They allow me to weed, plant, and harvest without having to get up and down a million times or get down on hands and knees.

 

This picture gives you another view of the planters. We also used some netting at the end of July and through August when the sun tries to boil plants right in the ground. You can see the hoses and the sprinklers we use to water the plants automatically. They are attached to an outdoor faucet on a timer.

The planters are filled with Mel’s Mix (combination of peat moss, vermiculite and as many different composts as you can find.) We mix the ingredients together in a portable cement mixer and then bring the mix into the planters to top off. Then we stretch string across in two directions to make the ‘squares’ for planting.

I’m starting to plan where the plants will go.  It’s best if you rotate crops in this set up, just as you would if you were planting in the ground. We follow the Square Foot Garden book by Mel Bartholomew, where he suggests how many plants to plant in each square. He suggests one plant per square for things like broccoli, 4 per square for lettuce, 9 for other plants, and 16 for radishes.  We space them wider than he suggests, having healthier plants that way. (He tends his garden every day, sometimes even more. Since we’re not that conscientious, wider works better for us.)  He also suggests that you place like plants away from each other – such as one broccoli, then lettuce, then radishes, then cauliflower in a row to avoid transmission of bugs or any other problems from one plant to another.

I made a grid and I fill them in with what I’m planting where. I use the old one to figure out a new plan for the next ‘crop,’ trying not to plant the broccoli in the same squares as I did the last time.

We have converted two brick planters on the other side of the house to be tomato planters.

I’m at the stage of being excited and doing lots of research and planning.

If you have a greenhouse or do square foot gardening and have tips or suggestions, I would LOVE to hear them!

Can you tell I’m ready for spring? :0)

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