Category Archives: Gardening

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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Nothing

Sun-Gazing.com via Cathy Ruggiero

I used to want to have ‘something to do’ each day – somewhere to go, people to see, activities. I realize that wanting the opposite is definitely a sign of old age, but I’m embracing it.

Today there are no scheduled appointments, no ‘have-to’ errands, no commitments. AHHHHHHHHHHHH!

_________________

Yesterday my husband and I both worked most of the day in the hot sun.

My husband was trying to relocate a microlink to our computers in the shop. This is not a thing we HAVE to have, but it used to work and yesterday it wasn’t. In order to get it to work again, my husband had to move the equipment on the house end from the front of the house to the back and mount it on the window bars. This involved a lot of cable making, stapling inside the wall of the garage, welding and painting for the piece that mounted to the window, testing of cables, switches, and links, etc. It took my husband all day, but he got it working. Now he just has to put his tools away and cut down several branches on a tree between the house and the shop for a clearer line of sight.

In the garden, I planted two celery plants, pulled out the last of the spinach and lettuce plants, pruned the plants that were left, and weeded the raised bed planters. The only thing remaining in the garden to spray the weeds on the ground with weed killer.

I took some stuff out to the greenhouse in preparation for starting some tomato suckers, but the thermometer showed red all the way to the top – over 120 degrees – so I just put the stuff inside and came out again.

I dumped the water from the kiddie pool, washed it out, and refilled it.

I cleaned Amber’s porch up, hosed it out, then squeegeed and mopped.

I mowed the yard on the riding mower after helping my husband with the microlink several times.

By the time we finally stopped for dinner, it was almost 9:00. I cooked, we ate and watched a movie.

Whew!

____________________

There are things I’ll do today, but I’m concentrating on doing things INSIDE while the sun is at its hottest – as we SHOULD have done yesterday – and OUTSIDE when the sun is going down, with only the finishing touches on dinner to do.

I’m going to also take time to read more of my latest “In Death” series book by Nora Roberts while I’m relaxing.

Because my back is letting me know I overdid yesterday, I’ll try to work in a session of yoga.

 

Funny-Pics.co

AHHHHHHHH!

 

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Filed under Attitude, Changes, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Lewis projects, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Fashion Statement?

Hotel for Dogs

Arkansas got the ‘summer memo’ about 3 weeks ago. We’ve been in the high 90’s with uncomfortable humidity since then. I have to tell you that spring and the 60s are where I am comfortable, so I visibly wilt as soon as I go outside.

We have a lot of sweat bands we keep on a special hook thingie on the back of the door to the garage. I grab two of them routinely because my husband needs one, too, but never seems to remember to get one. He wears a ham radio hat and I wear a hat that makes me look like a squashed mushroom to protect us from the direct sun.

I’m getting so that it FEELS as if I’m wearing a sweat band even when I’m not. It’s a regular part of how I look during the day and evening when we’re home working.

We grab a sweat band and head out the door. We come in, throw the sweat band in the washer, regular as clockwork.

I doubt if we’ll start a fad, though. You definitely need a sense of humor up here on top of our hill.

Today is a several-sweatband-day. I’m going to

  • plant two celery plants in the square foot garden and cut stalks from the largest plant out there
  • sweep the pooled water from the latest storm off the floor of the greenhouse
  • prep for putting tomato suckers in water out there
  • cut down some weed trees
  • prune stuff in the trio of brick planters between the driveway and the front yard
  • mow this evening when the sun is down a bit

I hope that you’re having a good Tuesday.

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Volunteers

Second only to perennials, which come up year after year with no effort from you, I love ‘volunteer’ flowers. These are annuals which come from seeds planted elsewhere, planted last year, or just replant themselves in the yard somewhere. This year I have some wave petunias in a clump just off our deck, some impatiens along the edge of the house behind a brick planter, and zinnias in spots along the front yard and beside some planters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Weed Trees

We have what we call, “Weed Trees” running all the way across the edge where our ‘civilized’ back yard meets the downward slope of the valley. Each year we’re fighting them, having to cut them down to open up our view of the valley below.

Last year we paid a nice guy to come when he could – around a full-time job with the city and some 26 or so people for whom he mowed lawns – to cut them down. This year I decided I would try to do it.

Today I spent a couple of hours lopping them off and throwing them into a sloppy pile.

I started on the far left, right by our trio of large evergreen trees. You can see, if you look carefully, where the brown of the tall grass that’s left is. It took me two hours to clear this much. There are HUNDREDS of weed trees between us and our view of the valley, but I figure if I try to do some every day, I’ll make it across the yard one day…. I’ll keep taking pictures of my progress.

 

 

I also took half of the onions I harvested that have been sitting in the sun for several days on the grating of our trailer and put them out on the porch table so that Amber could feel that she was helping.  At first she wanted to EAT the onions. And then she decided that they didn’t smell that great and she just looked at me with interest from time to time.

I got one mesh bag of them cleaned up and will do the 2nd bag later or tomorrow. I’ll take pics of them, too.

Finally, I just wanted to tell you that I checked on the greenhouse after the gusty winds and the rain and it was FINE. Hooray!!!!

I hope you’re having a good Saturday, too.

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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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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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“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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Almost Ready to Bite!

This tomato is in the 8 foot brick planter to the east of the house.

 

And these are in the “Nook” planter between the house and the porch.

They’re still too firm to pick, but in another day or two, we BITE!

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Phlox

This is one of our newest phlox plants. I just love the color!

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Welcome to My Greenhouse!

 

The construction of my greenhouse is finished!

We did the last of the stapling this morning. We also arranged for electricity, a thermostat to control when the exhaust fan comes on, and a people fan.

Here is Smoke checking out the greenhouse. She likes it! She went right in and got under one of the saw horses. She didn’t want to come out.

We’re deciding if we need a light or a hose later.  Right now I’m concentrating on getting all my supplies out there, getting them organized so I could actually fill a seed starter and plant something, have a place to throw things away, etc. I did take a folding chair out there today.:0)

the thermostat that controls when the exhaust fan comes on.

 

I’ll need to fill a big trash can with Mel’s Mix so I have my good planting medium out there. I bought a nice bottle for spraying the plants. It has a pump on the top and then it sprays out a nice, fine spray for starting seeds. (If I get to the point the greenhouse is full of growing plants, I’ll think about a LONG hose with a mister attachment.)

Here is a jumble of ‘stuff’ I need on one of the tables to plant seeds. I’ll organize it little by little.

 

 

A gloriously empty table!

 

Here you get the feel of the three tables, the storage underneath, and the empty corner where I’ll put a large trash can full of Mel’s Mix and other tall stuff.

I wheelbarrowed several loads of ‘stuff’ out there yesterday and will continue doing that today. I’ll use early mornings and evenings when the sun gives us a bit of a break to try to arrange my ‘stuff’ so I can actually plant some seeds for the fall garden.

I’ll be doing a LOT of reading – on

  • what temperature should be the trigger on the exhaust fan coming on
  • when to start seeds for my fall garden so that I have good plants to transplant into the raised bed garden
  • tips on using a greenhouse most effectively
  • etc

One funny ‘problem’ is that the wind blows under the door when it’s shut and causes the weed barrier to form a big bubble in the center of the floor. I’ll need to figure out a way to either pull the excess out farther under the main foundation and then put rocks on it, or I may end up putting bricks end to end right beside the foundation wood on the inside.

Now that the building is finished, I can concentrate on what I’d like to plant in the fall and when I should start the seeds. :0)

 

 

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Greenhouse Progress

 

 

 

Welcome to the greenhouse!  We have a door and an inside and outside now.  Come in!

 

This is the exhaust fan end of the building. As you can see, there is a lot of work to be done to stretch and staple the film on.  The plans we got say, essentially, ‘wad it up and staple it.”

 

This is the outside. You can see we need to gather up excess film. I plan to fold up the largest pieces to hopefully use if we need repairs.  We also need to get rid of the excess black weed barrier sheet on the exhaust fan end.

 

We cut 4×8 sheets of plywood lengthwise to make 8 x 2 foot ‘tables.’ We also cut up two of these to make the tables 12 feet long. We put 2×4 on the edges underneath to keep the tables from sagging in the middle. We put the plywood on sawhorses.

 

We’re really amazed at how sturdy everything is. It’s not all completely level, but life is never perfect. You can see the mounted exhaust fan in this picture. We’ll add some electricity to the greenhouse and a thermostat so that the fan comes on to air things out when it gets too hot inside.

 

Here you can see the opposite side table. It’s a nice “U” shaped space with storage for tall stuff in the corner and lots of place to put things underneath the tables. I’ll have a wonderful amount of space to grow seeds in their various stages until they’re planted either in the square foot garden, the tomato planters, or in the flower planters.

We worked on the film on the exhaust fan end this morning. I’ll take more pics today to show you.

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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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State of the Garden

Here is celery I started inside by cutting off the bottom 2″ of the stalks I bought from the store, putting them in water, and then transplanting them to the garden.  I’m not getting neat ‘stalks’ like you buy at the store, but the plants look healthy. I’m not sure if I should cut off individual stalks as they grow or what. It sure is fun watching them grow, though.

 

This is a grape tomato plant. If you look carefully, you can see the yellow blossom at the top.

 

Here’s a second plant where you can see the tiny green tomatoes growing.

 

I managed to save a few romaine lettuce plants and one red leaf lettuce plant.

 

I feel like a kid at Christmas. This is a spaghetti squash grown from a seed I removed from one I had bought at the store and cooked. Isn’t it cute! :0)

I’ll try to get pics of my tomato plants to show you tomorrow.

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Inside and Outside!

We worked HARD last night from 6 to almost 9pm, getting the film out and unrolled, each of us taking a corner and trying to get the sheet pulled over the top of the greenhouse skeleton and down to the ground on the other side. If you look carefully along the foundation wood in this picture, you can see that we split the film between the ribs of the greenhouse, stapled on a 1×2, rolled up the film, and then screwed it to the foundation wood. We did this on both sides. Thank GOODNESS we both had stools or our backs would have broken.

 

We put a few staples on the film to hold it to the exhaust fan end of the greenhouse.

 

And the door end of the greenhouse before quitting for the day.

Today we got more wood for the tables that will go inside!  We split two 4×8 sheets of plywood into two strips each. We put 2×4’s on the ground in the shop. We added one 8 foot strip of plywood, plus a shorter piece on either end, making 12 foot x 2 foot long ‘tables ‘to go inside the greenhouse. We bought sawhorses that the plywood will sit on inside the greenhouse.  We’ll make a “U” shaped group of tables, leaving one corner empty for storage of a big trash can for Mel’s mix and other stuff.

We put the ‘tables’ into the back of the truck and carefully drove around to the greenhouse. We got them off the truck and just put them on the ground beside the greenhouse because the sun was really strong. The temperature wasn’t bad and the humidity was supposedly low, but we were still broiling.

We started stretching the film on the doorway end, but didn’t last long. We’ll go back out and do as much as we can tonight. As soon as we have the doorway end finished, being able to open and close the door, we’ll probably drag the tables and sawhorses inside.

It’s coming together!

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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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Plans

This picture doesn’t show that we finished the framework of the greenhouse, adding the exhaust fan to the doorway on the opposite end, some structural supports, etc.

Here is the opposite end of the greenhouse, showing you the exhaust fan that will be controlled by a thermostat and the support framework.

Our plans are to start putting the film on tonight at about 7pm when the sun gives us a break. We looked at the local weather website and it shows that today and tomorrow we’re having reasonable temperatures (unless you’re working in the sun as I was this morning) and reasonable winds.

We’re hoping that we can get the two sides done this evening and then we’ll tackle the ends tomorrow.

The PLAN is to unroll the large sheet, with each of us taking a corner at the front and drawing it up over the top and down to the other side. If our sheet is large enough, we should be able to put some rocks or something on one side while we work on the opposite side.

The plan is to put the edge of the film on the ground and then spread out our 19″ 1×2’s along the edge between the pvc pipe attachment places. I suggested we fold the film over the 1×2’s and put staples in-between the sticks, holding them in place. Then we can screw the rolled film and 1×2’s to the foundation boards. When the first side is finished, we’ll do the opposite side. At least, that’s the plan.

This is a big step in the greenhouse and a bit much for two old  folks, but we’ve been trying to mentally prepare during the day and will hit the ground running in about an hour and a half.

I’ll share pics of what we hopefully accomplished tomorrow.

Wish us luck?

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How Does My Garden Grow?

simply u photography

I just spent an hour and a half in my raised bed square foot vegetable garden. The fact that I can work in it without having to bend over a lot, and can plant, weed, harvest, and pull – a ll at about chest level  – is really, really nice. That said, I’m still old and I still get really hot working in the sun. :0)

We had a really odd combination of a cooler than usual spring with lots and lots and LOTS of rain and not much sun followed by blazing sun and 90 degree temperatures. This has resulted in my lettuce bolting, my spinach doing the same (both shooting up to about 4 feet in height and going to seed on the top.) The only thing to do with the lettuce at this point is save the little bit that I can and pull the rest of the plants. At the beginning, my plants were looking really good. Even with the best growing medium and supplements, square foot gardening, etc., some years your plants simply don’t do as well as you would hope.

The last storm also made the tops of my onions bend over and start to yellow. I looked at things today and decided to go ahead and harvest them. I pulled them all out, cut off the tops, and left them in a few piles on the planter while I came in to rest.  I’ll read up on how to dry them for storage.  I have 4 of the six planters cleaned up, pulled up, or pruned. I’ll try to finish in another session out there today.

It looks as if I’ll actually get at least a small spaghetti squash or two! I have a long vine with blossoms and two actual squash bulbs. I spread it out, allowing it to go where it will and do whatever it wants. I’ll take a pic later.

My celery plants are still growing, but they don’t look a thing like a bunch of celery you would buy in the store. I have no clue what I’m doing, but the plants look great! :0)

Our tomato plants on the opposite end of the house are looking good and we have lots of small green tomatoes now. We’re keeping all appendages crossed that we have a good year for red, ripe, sliced tomatoes at any meal we like…

I’m hoping we’ll get the greenhouse finished soon and ready for me to start seed for my fall plants. It’ll be such fun to try to grow plants to transplant out into the garden at the proper time. Again, I have a LOT of reading to do as to when to start the seeds in order to have them ready for the fall.

This spring I’ve learned a lot about what NOT to do next time. If I live long enough, one of these times I’ll know what I’m doing!

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Too Darned Hot

It’s not officially summer yet, but our temperature right now is 93 degrees F. – much too hot to do a lot of work outside as we had planned.

We’ve decided to rest up this afternoon, and then dash outside when the sun starts to go down. I’ll use the riding lawn mower and my husband will get what I can’t with the self-propelled mower and we’ll get the lawn reasonably under control again.

We have a big light on the corner of the shop that we can turn on later so that I can at least do SOMETHING in my garden. I need to pull out the lettuce plants that have bolted, see what’s what otherwise, and plant one celery plant.

We also want to put up the last of the framework on the greenhouse so we’ll be ready to install the film over the greenhouse, hopefully starting early tomorrow.

We just went out onto the porch to play with Amber, and it’s lethally hot out there. Amber doesn’t seem to mind it, and she is in the shade with plenty of water. I’ll also take her for a walk in a bit and see if she wants to get into her kiddie pool. (I may join her!)

I hope the weather is nice where you are, and that you’re having a wonderful day.

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And the Building of the Greenhouse Officially Begins!

It might not look like much to you, but this is beautiful, as far as we’re concerned.

Our good dirt and driveway guy, Eric, came over with his tractor today and smoothed our really bumpy driveway and then proceeded to clear land for the greenhouse my husband and I are going to build.  It’s to the east of our house, on the extra 2 acre strip we bought to add to our land several years ago. It’s the only halfway level spot we have on our almost 8 acres of land…

The cleared space we need is supposed to be 15 feet x 15 feet in order for us to build a 12 foot x 14 foot greenhouse. The first step is to drill and then pound in the corner spikes. My husband cut 2 foot pieces of pipe, then we got big, heavy angle iron to weld onto the spikes, making corner posts to which we’ll attach the treated wood to make the perimeter of the greenhouse.

This is no small step. We had to use explosives in order to be able to dig our basement, put in our septic system, and prepare for the swimming pool we never built 30 years ago. We have a cement drill that we’ll use to drill holes down as far as possible. Then we’ll use a sledge-hammer to pound the spikes with angle iron into the ground.

I’ll take pics as we do this.

I’m really excited to have the plot ready to attack!

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“The Earth Laughs in Flowers” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I don’t know the name of this group of burgundy lilies, but we’re really happy to see it each year. All the buds open and it’s like a huge bouquet.

 

Here it is from a different angle.

 

We’ve had so much rain this spring that a cactus in the wild part of our place is blooming!

 

We have a pot of these impatiens on either side of our front door.

 

This is one of a trio of brick planters that divide the driveway from our front lawn.

 

This lone sunflower is blooming between the house and the shop. The bloom is opening more each day.

 

We love these yellow lilies!

 

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Extremes are Pounding My Garden

My poor square foot garden is reacting to the cool weather, then hot, then too much rain, then the cycle all over again that we’ve been having over the past several weeks.

 

This is my square foot garden, minus the tomato plants we have on the opposite end of the house. We have six 4’x4′ planters at about chest level inside a fence and reinforced around the bottom by chicken wire. As you can see, my lettuce is starting to bolt.

For those of you who are beginners, as I am, ‘bolting’ lettuce is bad. It means the plants shoot way up high and start to go to seed. Usually this happens when the weather gets too hot.

 

When this happens, the leaves start to get bitter-tasting. I’m going to harvest as much as possible during the coming days, but a lot of work has gone to waste. :0(  This is the red leaf lettuce.

 

And here is the Romaine.

 

My Georgia sweet onions seem to be doing well.

 

My celery plants look healthy, but nothing like what you would buy at the store. I have no clue what to expect here, but I’m having fun trying.

 

More celery.

 

I’m trying to get the spaghetti squash plant I grew from seed to spread out as much as it likes. It’s blooming, but again, I have no clue whether I’ll actually get a spaghetti squash or just a lot of leaves and blooms.

I still have some spinach, but it doesn’t like the hot weather, either.

My tomato plants on the other side of the house are still looking pretty good. I’m hopeful we’ll start getting ripening tomatoes soon.

Each year I feel like a complete beginner again. Every year I’ve had a square foot garden, the results have been completely different. Each time I feel I’ve learned something, Mother Nature laughs at me.

I love the process of planning, planting, and hoping, though. The greenhouse we’re building will hopefully help me do some laughing myself! (The progress of the greenhouse is slow because the first step is clearing some land. Our weather has not been cooperating, so we keep having to move it to another week. This forecast shows you what we’re dealing with.

 

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

Harvest May 24, 2017

I’m still mainly doing cleanup from our recent storms, but I got a nice batch of spinach today.

 

Our weather has turned really warm and humid (except for today) and the lettuce is starting to bolt. I’m hoping I can harvest a lot more before the plants are done until I plant more for the fall garden.  This is red leaf lettuce.

 

Romaine lettuce.

My husband wants me to plant iceberg lettuce. We don’t get the plants in this area for some reason. When we get our greenhouse finished, I’ll plan on trying to start some iceberg lettuce seeds for the fall garden.

Meanwhile, we have some delicious, fresh-from-the-garden goodies for a big salad tonight.

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

Quick Walk Around the Yard

Red impatiens. We also have some really nice fuchsia ones.

 

Cluster of Rio Samba roses.

 

There are two clumps of these yellow lilies, one on either end of the planter with the tulip tree in the center.

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New Green Tomatoes!

QuartoKnows

I’m hoping we’ll be like this cute little boy soon, picking fresh, ripe tomatoes off the vines to slice for a meal!

 

It’s kind of like treasure hunting now. You don’t see the tomatoes until you get up close, and sometimes you have to search a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

I worked out in the square foot garden for about an hour yesterday, trying to undo the neglect due to too much rain, then my husband’s cataract surgeries, and then the new puppy. I’m basically down to tomatoes, onions, two kinds of lettuce, some spinach, some celery, and one spaghetti squash plant I grew from seed in the kitchen. I’ll try to get pics of the garden tomorrow. I’ve been using a push weed-whacker, trying to go around the outside of the garden today. It’s hard work for an old lady. I ran into a tough something-or-other, snapping off the whacking cords. My good husband put some new ones on, so when the sun is a bit lower, I’ll do another hitch out there.

I hope your day is good.

 

 

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

Quick Trip Around the Yard

Since we adopted Amber and my husband had his 2nd surgery, I have spent very little time in the flower beds, and no time in our square foot garden. I noticed, though, that we had some pretty things doing well in spite of my neglect and I thought I would share them with you.

We have a trio of 8 foot long brick planters between our driveway and the front yard. I’m trying to get these to the point that most of the things are perennial, and then I can simply add some color with annuals. Here we have iris, petunias, gerbera daisies, and some phlox, plus a shovel bird.

 

In the same trio of planters, we have some lilies, a yellow forsythia plant, the new ‘evergreen’ foliage with small blue flowers that I’m hoping will spread throughout the three planters and a ‘mama snail.’

 

These lilies are in a planter in front of the house. They fill up the bottom of the planter around a tulip tree.

 

This is a planter on one side of our porch. We have some orange impatiens, some fuchsia impatiens, some phlox, iris, and more.

 

And finally, we have some portalaca that really loves the hot weather we have in the summer. This is one of four planters we have on either side of the garage door, by the shop, and on one side of the driveway.

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Meet “Sedona”

I told you awhile back that we lost one of our three Rio Samba rose bushes. We went to the local nursery to get a replacement to find that of the 15 plants they had gotten in, none was left. We walked around the variety they had, both deciding we liked this one. It’s called, “Sedona.”

 

It started its first bloom today, the buds opening quickly this morning. It’s a nice contrast to the yellow and coral Rio Samba and we hope it’s happy with us.

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Harvest May 8, 2017

Families Online

Cold temperatures and nearly torrential rains for over a week followed by intense sunshine wreaked havoc in my square foot garden. I spent an hour weeding, pruning, and harvesting today, and another hour cleaning up what I harvested. I’ll probably do one more session out there before the day is gone.

Just at the wrong time for the broccoli and cauliflower. I found a bit of harvest-able broccoli, but the cauliflower was granular-looking and dry. The rest of the main broccoli plants had bolted, so I had to cut those off and hope for some more shoots off the main plants.

 

The romaine lettuce really surged, showing me that next time I plant this, I’ll only have one plant per square. When they touch another plant, the outside leaves get yucky and croak. I have a lot of pruning to do to get these plants happy again.

The spinach went nuts, as well. I harvested a bunch today, cleaned it, and froze it.

The red leaf lettuce plants look like small BUSHES now. I’ll tackle them tomorrow. I harvested the rest of the radishes and will start another two squares of seeds soon.

I’ll need to try to either get up earlier and get right out to the garden, or plan to work out there right before sundown. The sun is really intense and this old lady gets more than enough in an hour’s time.

I feel bad when the garden isn’t at its best. It’ll probably take another day or two before it is under control again. My goal will be to have it done, plus the weed whacking of the yard finished, before the rain comes again Thursday.

 

 

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Happy Saturday!

Bored Panda

Good afternoon!

It’s a happy day at the Lewises in Greenwood, Arkansas.  The sun is shining brightly and the day is full of possibilities.

We’re going to check into the cost of materials for building a 12′ x 14′ greenhouse on the east side of our property.  Our friends, the Taylors, are building the Taj Mahal of greenhouses. It’s 2 stories and build onto the back of their house.

Ours is a DIY plan with wood, pvc pipe and sheets of plastic. I would love an area that is protected from our cats and the weather to start seeds, nurturing seedlings until they’re ready to transfer to the garden, etc.

My husband found some plans, loaded them onto his Kindle, and then was able to print the pages so we could put them into a binder.

How to Build a Backyard Greenhouse – A DIY Practical Guide by Tristan Trubble.

 

Care2

This picture isn’t our plan, but the picture gives you an idea of what we’re thinking about doing. We’re buying all the materials, rather than a kit that is MUCH more expensive.  Ours will be made of wood, PVC pipe and plastic sheeting. We’ll have 9 ‘ribs’ of pvc pipe, rather than the 7 you see here.  We ordered an exhaust fan on the net this morning, whose vents open when the temperature is 74 degrees F., and open FULLY at 104 degrees. There are a lot of details not really covered in the plans, but we’ll work them out as we go.

We wandered around our land, rejecting spot after spot due to the fact it wasn’t flat enough, or caused problems for one reason or another. We settled on an area to the east of our tomato planter and the clematis plants on the east side of our property. We can run water and electricity to it without much hassle.

My husband, as usual, wanted to go ahead this morning and start buying parts at our local Yeagers Hardware store. Since he’s going to have a 2nd cataract surgery hopefully May 16th, I pointed out that it would be at least June before we would be in a position to start this.

So far, we bought the fan and also called the wonderful guy who helps us with our 650 foot driveway when it needs to be bladed. We left a message on his answering machine that we want him to clear a 15 x 15 plot of land to the east of our house for the greenhouse, plus blade our driveway when he can arrange to do it.

I’m going to type a list to give to the guy at Yeagers, and then another list for all the other stuff we need to get for the project. I’ll also read the manual that goes with the plans, ask my husband to read it, and then hopefully we can iron out any problems before we actually do much more on the actual construction.

I would love to be able to give serious effort to growing seeds well before the next season starts, having plants ready for transfer for the fall garden, for example.

Wish us luck!

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Tomatoes 5/5/2017

Since the rains came and the sun started shining, the tomatoes have really grown. I spent some time today tying up branches, trying to get them to climb the trellises my husband made. This is the smaller tomato plant in what we call “The Nook” beside the porch and behind the house.

 

This is the larger of the two nook tomato plants, planted about two weeks before the smaller one.

 

Here are the two together.

 

We have six more tomato plants in the brick planter we also converted to square foot garden plants, with Mel’s Mix. We bought these at three different times, again trying to expand the season and spread out when the tomatoes ripen a bit.

 

You can really see the difference between the plants here.

Finally, I just planted two grape tomato plants in the main garden a week or so ago. I’ll take pics of those when I start repairing what the rains did to the plants out there tomorrow.

My mouth is already watering! I saw some sweet yellow blooms here and there today…

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