Category Archives: Gardening

The Garden Survived!

Pixir Tutorial

We had several HARD storms yesterday afternoon, evening, and into early this morning. There was a lot of wind and DRIVING rain. I was afraid of what I might find in the garden with my tender, new plants.

 

 

 

The part of the garden that had the hardest time was my labels! They’re all dirty – I guess from blowing rain and Mel’s mix. I’ll have to clean them up at some point, but today was too busy. Here you can see the three raised bed boxes on the north side of the garden. The plant that had the hardest time was the red leaf lettuce. Some of it looks pretty beaten down, but I’m hoping they’ll perk up.

 

The Georgia Sweet Onions are doing well. The empty square will hold more spaghetti squash plants soon, I hope.  I planted three tomato plants today, plus one celery plant and three spaghetti squash plants today.

 

My spinach plants and Romaine lettuce plants are doing fine, so far. I’ll be able to start harvesting the outer leaves soon. On the right is a new spaghetti squash plant I transplanted today from the window sill.

 

I started two squares of radishes.

 

I have broccoli and cauliflower plants. You can see some of the celery plants on the upper left of this photo.

We have more forecast severe storms coming Sunday night into Monday morning, so fingers will be crossed again.

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

Playing in the Garden

Delightful Children’s Books

 

I’m very happy that our garden is alive at all right now. Our weather has roller-coastered between hard freezes and a high of 90 today. We also had a timer malfunction on the garden irrigation system, so the plants were really badly overwatered at one point before we figured out the problem and replaced the timer.

 

Now I THINK we’re finished with the hard freezes. Our temperatures are still roller-coaster-y, though. 90 today. 60 tomorrow. 80 the following day….

 

I need to take some sharp scissors to clean up the plants. Some have bad leaves. I did get out a few arrogant weeds today, though. :0)

 

Here you see red lettuce leaves and spinach.

 

As you can see in this, and the next, pictures, some of the celery is doing well. Some has croaked.

 

 

This is the south side of the garden. I’m growing Georgia Sweet Onions in the back, red lettuce and spinach in the middle, and broccoli, cauliflower, and celery in the box closest to you.

 

Romaine lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, and red lettuce in the planters in the north row.

 

Spinach sprouts on the window sill.

 

One celery plant and two spaghetti squash sprouts here.

Hopefully, things will settle down now and my plants can grow in peace.

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

Wisteria Bloom

We’re having a really nice display this year. My husband has been trying to get the wisteria to go all the way across over the woodpile, and then climb the tree on the other side. I was standing close to the wisteria yesterday so I could breathe deeply and enjoy its glorious smell, when I realized I was seeing some wisteria in the tree on the far side of the main part of the plant! I brought my husband over so that he could see that his efforts are bearing fruit. He was really happy. He doesn’t grin ear to ear often, but he did this time. :0)

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood

Busy Saturday!

I didn’t even get time to write anything on the blog yesterday we were so busy!

The first thing we did was put the shutter back up that blew down during the storm before last. Yesterday was the first day we’ve had where it wasn’t too windy to be up balancing a 2 foot long shutter on a 2-story ladder. I HATE it when my husband has to do this. I am height challenged in two ways: personally in being too short for a lot of things I want to do; and secondly, I’m afraid to go up a ladder, be on the roof, etc.  I CAN get up there, but I freeze after I do, making me useless.

The holes for the shutters in the brick are wallowed out. I suggested we put the screws in the shutter, hold them on with mollies, then use liquid nails in the holes. We could then screw the screws in as far as they would go and hopefully the liquid nails will harden and hold them in. Amazingly, my husband thought my idea was a good one! We got it finished. No one broke any appendages. We didn’t yell at each other. All is good.

The next big thing we tackled was getting the irrigation system going. We THOUGHT the one to the garden was working, but discovered that the timer for the system died suddenly, and our veggies were being watered continuously. ARRRRRRGH! We got the water shut off, went to Yeager’s and got another time. We programmed it, installed it, and tested it. All is good there, too.

Then we started with the irrigation system that handles watering all the flowers in the planters around the house. We spent at least a couple of hours finding and repairing breaks in the front yard. We had trouble reprogramming the brains of it, which live in the well house, but we THINK we finally got it right. We tested the system in the front, found and fixed more problems, and called it a day.

Another good thing about working in the yard yesterday was that I logged over 7400 steps! That’s amazing for me!!! WOO HOOOO!

We will probably tackle the irrigation system for the back yard today. We’re thinking about changing the tires on the truck this afternoon, from the snow tires to our regular ones. We’ll see how we fare after other have-to’s have been accomplished….

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Housekeeping - Maintenance

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Ashevillage

 

Here is one row of our garden. You can see three ‘boxes’ from front to back tied together by the irrigation system, which is on a timer we can control. Most of the garden is in now.

 

This is the second row of the garden with another three boxes.

I just went over and hugged my husband again, thanking him (1) for the idea of our building a raised garden (when he saw how very hot, tired, and achy I got getting up and down, planting, weeding, and harvesting the garden on the ground), (2) for all the time and energy he spent building and installing the boxes, cutting and welding the support tables that hold up the wooden boxes, designing the irrigation system, (3) for encouraging me to spend what I needed to get – and keep – things going in the garden.

 

I visit the garden at least once a day – covering or uncovering the plants in protecting them from freezes, pulling the weeds that install themselves even up in the air, pulling off dead leaves on the plants, taking pics, and – the best part – when I can actually start harvesting what we’ve grown!

 

I’ve planted Georgia Sweet Onions, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Red Lettuce, Romaine Lettuce, Spinach, Radishes, celery, and spaghetti squash. Probably next month, when the stores have a good selection, I’ll get three tomato plants. In another three weeks, I’ll get three more, making a total of six. We have two brick planters on the east side of the house converted to square foot gardens, filled with Mel’s Mix, ready to receive the plants.

 

We’re off to a good start!

Do you like to grow veggies? I would love to hear from you, comparing notes on how you do it.  I would love to hear about tips you have on getting a healthy crop, suggestions you have so that I can do a better job. I’m a real novice and appreciate all the help I can get. :0)

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

Sharing Spring – Take 2

I feel sorry that so many people I know – and even more I don’t know – are having snow and even blizzards this week. My heart goes out to them, even though they might be more used to what I call ‘bad weather,’ and not consider the current weather a huge deal, as I would.  I hope that the blizzard doesn’t cause too much havoc.

Here in Greenwood, Arkansas, I’m like a kid at Christmas, anticipating real spring. We’re having a good taste of it, and for that I’m truly grateful.  I just checked on the garden and it’s still doing well, thank goodness. With these overnight freezes, it’s one day at a time around here.

On the inside, I can’t lay down my well-earned moniker, “Serial Seed Killer,” yet, though here is the latest batch of spinach sprouted from seed. These are in pots made of peat, filled with Mel’s Mix, so if they live, I’ll plant them, pots and all, intact, in the garden. Maybe I can add, “Persistent Planter” to my moniker? My husband describes my efforts as, “Even a dead hog finds an acorn now and then.” :0/

 

Also on my window sill is the orchid my good friend, Nora, gave me a couple or three years ago now. I’ve thought it was dead a couple of times, but kept watering it and keeping it in the sun. Lately it bloomed!

 

 

Meanwhile, things are beginning to green up around here.

 

 

 

Everywhere I look, I see something sprouting. I LOVE this time of year!

Hopefully, once this ‘last gasp’ of winter is over, we can ALL think happy thoughts of renewal.

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

The Little Garden that Could…

Conscious Life News

Last night, since we still had a really heavy mist going on, I opted to pretend I was in Florida spraying my plants with water before a freeze. I went out this morning to see if I had to start my garden over because all had frozen or what. Happily enough, my little garden looks like it’s going to be okay. Now we have clear skies and sunshine, meaning our temperatures are much more likely to plummet this evening and the next day, too. I’ll cover things up right before dark tonight and tomorrow night.

My sister-in-law in Charlotte had snow last night and this morning, so I’m trying to send some spring in her direction, plus others in the path of the reminder-it’s-still-winter storm.

 

One of our azalea bushes is budding out and starting to bloom.

 

I cut back our forsythia bush severely last fall, tired of it trying to encroach and cover up everything else in the flower beds. I wasn’t sure it would bloom at all.

 

Our tulip tree’s delicate pink and white blooms are gradually changing to light green leaves.

 

Here you can see the change more easily.

 

Here is some phlox leafing out.

 

And a hydrangea bush.

 

The daffodils are fading, but the deep purple twice-blooming iris is still going strong. We’re beginning to see some we planted beside the driveway.

 

Here is the iris bed of ‘new’ colors of iris we bought and planted recently. I’m hoping that I can thin these out at the end of the season and start planting them in different places around the yard.

If you’re having another blast of winter, I hope this gives you hope. I still have no clue whether our early spring will be cut short by the last gasp of winter, killing everything, so I’m trying to get pictures while I can.

Spring is officially here March 20th!

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Redbuds

The Redbud tree is the state tree of Oklahoma, but we love it here in Arkansas, too.  After a long, drab winter, the sight of redbuds in bloom makes your heart swell.  We are lucky to have several growing on our land. Each year we cut down things around them, trying to give them the best chance of healthy growth we can.  I guess you can buy and plant them, but the only ones I ever see grow wild all over the place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our Wisteria is ‘wissing!’

I’m not sure how hardy wisteria is, but I’m hoping ours will make it through this cold spell. It started blooming, (my husband says it’s ‘wissing,’) a couple of days ago. While I was taking pics of the garden, I took some pics around the house that have lifted my spirits –

 

 

 

We have kind of an L-shaped area from the intersection of a row of brick planters and one of the firewood holders we made. We planted the wisteria plant in the end of the planter closest to the woodpile. Over the past few years, as it grows, we keep trying to anchor it so that it will cover all the way over to the driveway.

 

This is a more close-up picture of some of the blooms. I’m hoping this is just the beginning of a really pretty sight in our yard.

 

 

I just love the look and smell of wisteria. I’m really happy that it seems to like the place we planted it.  It’s hard to think anything but happy thoughts when you have the opportunity to look at this.

Happy Spring!

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood

“To Cover or not to Cover – THAT is the Question!”

The BQB

My square foot garden veggies made it through the night. I don’t know for sure if it got down to freezing or not, but the sheets were really wet and it was 40 and windy while I uncovered the plants. One of the sheets had almost completely blown off one of the planters, so I’ll change my technique next time. Meanwhile, the dryer is going steadily, trying to get all the sheets dry for tonight.

My husband just got the mail, saying we’re having a ‘heavy mist’ right now. The weather people are saying that it will get colder during the day, raining intermittently – MAYBE  changing to ice or snow! – OH, NOOOOOO!”

I’ve been trying to find out what to do about trying to protect my sweet veggies tonight. If they’re WET, will covering them with dry sheets help or hurt? I’m not looking forward to being outside in the cold wind and rain, trying to cover up the plants – but I will if that’s what I should do.

The articles I’ve found on the net so far are telling me to put hay or mulch all over the plants, but my square foot garden book definitely says not to use them. They will contaminate the Mel’s mix. I have two books by Mel Bartholomew, the creator of square foot gardening, but he just says to wait to plant until after the last frost. (That would be April 10th here, and there are very few veggie plants still  being sold in April, with the exception of tomato plants…

SO- I’ll keep looking on the net to see if I can find out a better answer to my problem. I may just cover them anyway – hoping for the best – and that I don’t drown while trying to secure the sheets!

123RF.com

Fingers crossed that the rain stops and we don’t get ice or snow!

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

Garden Update 3/10/2017

It’s 6pm., andI just finished covering up all my new planted veggies in preparation for a possible freeze tonight. This is the first of three or four nights our weatherman suddenly decided (after I checked the next 10 days to be sure a freeze wasn’t predicted) that we’re supposed to have in the coming week.

I took some pictures of the almost finished spring garden I wanted to share with you –

 

I have no clue whether these plants will actually make or not, but it’s a fun experiment. I have the celery plants, plus the spaghetti squash plants that I started inside on the window sill.

 

 

This box has romaine lettuce and spinach.

 

 

 

 

Here you can see the north side of the garden. I have broccoli, cauliflower, romaine lettuce, and spinach.

 

I also have red leaf lettuce. I finally got most of my labels made yesterday.

 

This shows a view of the whole garden looking to the west. There are six table-like raised bed planters, 3 in each row here.

Right now the garden looks like mis-matched wash fell of a laundry line. I spread five king-sized sheets of various colors over the  plants and secured them with clothespins. I hope that this will be enough so help the little plants get through the freezes.

The forecast also is for rain all day tomorrow and tomorrow evening with a freeze again. My plan is to get the sheets off the plants in the morning and dry them in the dryer in preparation for securing them over the plants again tomorrow…

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

Our Garden is Officially Started!

This is the first time we’ve had all six raised bed square foot garden boxes in our garden! We have SIX 4′ x 4′ x 8″ boxes on legs connected by an irrigation system so that we can water everything on a timer. Each box has a sprinkler in the center. The timer is between the house and the garden, and we can either just turn it on to water manually, or use the timer so that all gets watered for a specific amount of time daily.

 

We have fencing plus chicken wire around the garden to keep critters out. The pink tape is to keep deer from running into the fencing at night. We can put bird netting and shade fabric over the top of the garden, if needed.

 

I found SPINACH plants!  Hooray!!!!!!!

 

 

These are romaine lettuce plants.

 

This is red leaf lettuce.

 

Georgia sweet onions.

 

Cauliflower.

 

Broccoli.

I have moved some of my window sill plants to the back porch in preparation for moving them out to the garden. I have some celery plants and some spaghetti squash plants. My spinach seeds have tiny sprouts on the window sill now. I may have some more spaghetti squash plants.

I’ll probably get more plants tomorrow. I want the local co-op guy to REALLY know how much I appreciate his getting spinach plants this year.

We have some issues with water pressure right now on the irrigation system. After messing with things for quite awhile this afternoon, we think we must have a hose blowout somewhere between the well house and the garden, but we were too tired to tackle the problem today. Tomorrow is another day…

 

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

If You Have

Marcus Tullius Cicero via Om Times Magazine via Cathy Ruggiero

 

I’ve told you about some of the books I’ve been reading lately – ones about the White House written by people who worked as support staff for a gazillion years. It’s very interesting to me to get impressions of our presidents, first ladies, and their families, plus what was happening while they were in the White House by people who were loyal to the country and the ‘house,’ rather than one party or another, having to change with each new administration.  I’m on my third one now.

I’m also into Nora Roberts – writing as J.D. Robb – in her series of “In Death” books. I have avoided them for years because when I really like an author, I don’t usually enjoy the things they do to ‘cleanse their palate’ before they write another of their more usual style books. I was told by a good friend that this series was one of her favorites, so I bought a used book from Amazon – the first in the series. Now I’m on #4 and hooked. The main character is a strong female detective who impresses me with her character and tenaciousness, as well as her guts.

I told you recently about an author new to me, Douglas E. Richards. He wrote The Cure, and I almost couldn’t put it down. All I can suggest is that you don’t start it late at night if you want to get to sleep any time soon. Since reading that one, my husband told me that he had several of Richards books on his Kindle. Since we have a sharing set up, I was able to ‘deliver’ the other books my husband had to my Kindle Fire. It makes me feel rich to know they’re waiting for me. :0)

Today I’m going to get more plants to put in our garden! I told you recently that we had finished converting our square foot garden into a RAISED BED square foot garden. This was a LOT of work for these old folks, but well worth the struggle. I now have SIX 4’x4′ x 8″ deep boxes on legs, like tables, about my chest height, filled with Mel’s Mix now and marked with string to make the squares. The only thing planted right now is some Georgia Sweet onion sets.

I’m going to get a good number of plants today, since it looks like our area in Arkansas MAY be free from more hard freezes (although the average last frosts aren’t over, according to the books, until April 10th.). I’m going to risk it and get some plants into the ground.

The main thing I want to grow is as many kinds of lettuce and similar plants as I can. I love to go out and cut leaves for our salads at lunch or in the evening. I’ll also be looking for spinach plants, although I usually have trouble finding those. I’ve started some seed on my window sill, but I don’t know if I’ll be successful.

I have celery and spaghetti squash plants I started inside that I’ll transfer to the garden after they’ve spent a few days on the back porch getting used to the outside temperatures. I’ll be looking for broccoli and cauliflower, and I’ll be starting radishes. That’ll be a good start.  I’ll take pics to share with you as things come together.

“If you have a Garden and a Library, you have everything you need.”

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Filed under Attitude, Book - Movie - TV Reviews, Favorite Quotes, Gardening, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

A Tour of My Refurbished Window Sill

I told you that during a severe thunderstorm last week, one of our dining area windows we didn’t latch blew open, carrying half of my plants and other goodies off the window sill and onto the floor, all in a heap.

I have re-potted what I could and planted more.

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Two celery plants: the one on the left was undisturbed. I re-potted the one on the right with fingers crossed.

 

 

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Three more celery plants.

 

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The large leafed plant is a spaghetti squash that was dashed to the floor. I think it MIGHT live! The other plants here are celery plants.

 

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This is a long-lived plant that I started years ago. Happily, it was just to the left of the window that blew open.

 

ws-orchid

One of my dear friends gave me this orchid a couple of years ago. It was looking sad, and suddenly it had these two blooms!

 

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A newly started group of spaghetti squash. No action yet.

 

 

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A newly planted bunch of spinach seeds. No action yet here, either.

I’m hoping I can transfer some of these plants to the garden mid month. I’ve never had celery grow before, so I’m excited to see if I can actually do it. The spaghetti squash is an entirely new try, too. I saved the seeds from the squash I bought from the store.

I haven’t found ANY spinach plants locally, so I’m especially eager for the new seeds to do well. I was really sad when the ones I had growing were thrown onto the floor. They were about 2 inches high. Fingers crossed!

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Iris and Daffodils

irisanddaff1

I brought these in today. We have deep purple twice-blooming iris and daffodils blooming in the yard right now. Every time I come into the kitchen, my spirits lift.

 

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Spring is such a wonderful time of the year with the return of beloved flowers that bloom year after year, bringing hope for a new birth of all living things.

 

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Soon these will be gone, but other sprouts are up, promising more beauty to come.

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Where Does the Soil Go?

Funderland Amusement Park

Funderland Amusement Park

I just spent an hour and a half mixing batch after batch of Mel’s Mix and trying to get my raised bed planters topped off so they’re ready for planting.

The thing is, when we finished putting up the last planter, I filled all three new ones with Mel’s Mix. Now, when I’m getting ready to plant, the mix is down by a good 3 to 4 inches!

I wouldn’t gritch if piles of dirty clothes or dishes did the same thing… Or stacks of magazines, waste baskets, or piles of bills… if YOU know what happened to all the Mel’s Mix, I’d appreciate it if you would let me know!

I use a big trash basket to mix the components of Mel’s Mix (2 parts peat moss, 2 parts vermiculite, and 1 part each mushroom compost, barnyard compost, and cotton burr compost.  Occasionally I mix in compost I’ve made from our yard and food scraps. Then I carefully drag the trash can over to the garden and even more carefully lift up the trash can and distribute it on the raised bed box. Then I move the mix around, delighting in the joy of playing in the dirt until I pronounce it done, and then repeat the process. After an hour and a half of this, I’m taking a rest.

Also in the mix of my day is working on a mosaic on a glass bowl in the shop. I do it one narrow band at a time, carefully propping the bowl between a bottle of water and a scotch tape dispenser to keep it from rolling. If I do too many tiles, the slope of the glass causes the tiles to quietly slide down, coming to rest in a spot I didn’t intend. I’m taking my time, doing one ‘row’ a day until the bowl is covered. Then I can do the grouting all at once. I’ll share some pictures of it when I get the tiles all glued on.

In my art room I’m working on some presents I’m making for next Christmas. I know it’s a bit early to be thinking about NEXT Christmas, but I’ve always bought things I like for people when I find them regardless of the time of year. Particularly when I’m trying to MAKE something, I want to do it when I’m excited about the project. :0)

My sweet husband is in the shop, slaving away to get our new used riding lawnmower ready to be used. As he works, he’s finding more things that need his attention. (We’re discovering that, although the guy who sold us the mower told us about the leaking tire, he got creative about the things that were ‘new’ on the thing; the air filter, for example.) My husband just bought what he thought was a spare filter, discovering that the filter that was on it was in the worst condition he’s ever seen. It starts well, though, and my husband likes the way the mower is  laid out. It’s not nearly as difficult as some designs to work on. He found a manual online that shows him good exploded diagrams so he can see what parts are there, and it makes sense to HIM about how to do what it needs.

He bought a new mini-tire changing tool because the tire we bought is too small for the one we have.  Even after he made a stand to bolt it to the floor in the shop, it took both of us to get the old tire off and the new tire on the wheel. It turns out that tubeless tires are difficult to get onto the wheel with a good seal so they don’t leak.

It’s time for lunch. I’m going to go out to the shop, roust my husband, and then figure out what’s up for the rest of the day.

 

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Before the Storm

Our weather people are forecasting possible severe storms this afternoon, this evening, and overnight. UGH. We really do need the rain, but I can do without the ‘severe.’

Our blooms made it through two nights of hard freezes, amazingly, but I’m not at all sure they’ll make it through high, gusty winds, blowing rains, etc.  So I’ve taken some pics to share with you, just in case we lose a bunch of the nice blooms we have right now.

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Here’s our front yard in a picture taken from the driveway. It makes me happy coming or going to see the lush daffodils almost everywhere I look, plus the tulip tree.

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Here’s a close up of the tulip tree. Most of the time it has green leaves and looks quite ordinary, but right now, its ‘tulips’ are wonderful.

 

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We have some redbud trees around the property. Right now this one is looking pretty nice.

 

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We have several groups of twice-blooming iris. They’re our favorites. We love the deep purple color.

 

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Here’s a close up of some of the daffodils. We started with one group beside the well house. Each year I dig some up and plant them elsewhere. This year I’ll try to get some going across the back yard.

Today when we went out to the shop, my husband said, “If I lived by myself, I wouldn’t have any flowers. It wouldn’t occur to me to plant them. I’m glad you did. THANK YOU.”

(Now he tends ‘his’ clematis planters, and tries to get our mandevilla to climb up the trellises to the roof of the deck.)

HAPPY SPRING!

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No Hard Freeze!

daffodils4

I’m so happy that we didn’t have the hard freeze forecast for this morning, so all the blooming things are still alive and kicking! Every time we leave the house or come back, the daffodils all over the place this time of the year make me smile.

 

iris

As I walk around the yard, I find more twice-blooming deep purple iris. I just can’t get enough of them.

 

 

tuliptree

Our sweet tulip tree blooms are very fragile. The wind is already blowing the petals down, but they look so pretty for a short time each spring. I love the furry little buds, too.

You CAN’T feel down when you’re surrounded by Mother Nature’s beauty. :0)

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood

Fingers Crossed!

123RF.com

123RF.com

We have our fingers crossed that we can get a used riding lawn mower we found on Craig’s List this week.

We’re getting a little bit ‘long in the tooth’ in our family. We have plenty of opportunities for exercise with our square foot garden and flower beds without having to play ‘crack the whip’ with the self-propelled mower we have now. I usually have my husband do the edges of the yard, then do several rounds of mowing, having to plan WAAAAY ahead not to be ruthlessly whipped about before I can hand the reins back to him.  The mower is really too much for me, but I don’t want him out fighting with the yard by himself. Our quality of life would be much improved if we could ride while mowing.

The picture below gives you an idea of what we’re trying to get for about half the price we would have to pay for a new one. We’re going to meet the seller in Fort Smith this afternoon. Wish us luck!

lawnmower

 

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Sproing!

Spring has definitely sprung here in Greenwood, Arkansas. Accordingly, since a lot of things are blooming, we’re due for a hard freeze both Saturday and Sunday, probably killing everything. :0(

Our daffodils are abloom all over the yard, more lush than I’ve ever seen them.  Here are a few examples –

 

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Our tulip tree is abloom, as well.

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We’ve also had several purple iris blooming. Here’s one that’s gorgeous this morning –

 

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Mother Nature sometimes has a nasty sense of humor, particularly in Arkansas. I’m hoping that these sweet plants – plus my Georgia Sweet Onion sets – will survive the hard freezes this weekend. If not, we have at least gotten to enjoy them for a bit.

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Official Start of Growing Season in Arkansas 2017

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I just finished working in the garden for the moment. I planted the bunch of Sweet Georgia Onions we bought recently. Here you can see crop rotation, as it is in square foot gardening – You don’t plant the same plant side by side. It would actually be better if I didn’t plant them cat-i-corner to each other, too, so they’re less likely to spread disease or bugs. I keep track of where I’ve planted things so that I don’t plant them in the same squares NEXT time.

You can also see the irrigation system. We have a sprinkler mounted in the center of each box, attached to each other and then attached to the main hose. We have them hooked to an outside above the ground faucet on which we have a timer so that the plants are watered each night during the main season. It isn’t hooked up now, due to possible freeze, so I just watered by hand today.

 

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This is another view of the raised bed garden we finished in the fall. There are six 4′ x 4′ wooden boxes (two rows of three boxes each) mounted on metal support ‘tables.’ We use string to divide each wooden box of Mel’s Mix into 16 squares. I planted the sweet onions in 8 of the 16 squares in this box today.  I can’t describe what a pleasure it is to simply walk into the garden, putting the plants and the implements needed on top of a square, then planting things at chest height, not having to bend over double, till the soil, try to get all the weeds out for planting, then get down on hands and knees to plant, and then finally water.

We decided last year I was definitely too old to do all that anymore. We built the boxes and the supports, then stored them beside the shop under tarps until the spring garden was finished. I went ahead and planted the fall garden on the ground as usual and we installed the new raised bed boxes on the side of the garden that wasn’t being used. When the fall garden finished, we installed the last three boxes.

Today we strung the string on the three newest boxes. I need to mix and add more Mel’s Mix (1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 equal parts of however many compost types you can find. – I used cotton burr, barnyard, and mushroom.) Then the whole garden will be ready to plant when the danger of frost has passed.  In the above picture, you can see the trash cans beside the shop where I keep the components of Mels Mix ready to put together.

Meanwhile, fingers are crossed for these sweet onions, even though our average last frost date is April 10th…

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Wonderful Rock Garden

Recipes from Heaven via Ann Gilstrap

Recipes from Heaven via Ann Gilstrap

I absolutely love this. I think that if ‘I’ were doing it, though, I would put down black plastic and maybe some shot-crete on that before building my design to keep weeds from growing up between the stones. It’s gorgeous, though, isn’t it?  Thanks so much for sharing it with me, Ann.

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Thursday Thoughts

Whatsapp Status 77

Whatsapp Status 77

It’s a beautiful, sunny morning here in Greenwood, Arkansas. We stayed up very late last night/this morning, binge watching part of the past season of “The Magicians.” The new season has started, but somehow we got lost and didn’t watch the whole season last time. We rented Discs 1 and 2 and got interested again. We watched 3 last night and are expecting 4 to be in the mailbox today. Once we get caught up we’ll try to pretend we’re normal again. :0)

It’s supposed to get to 66 today! I really find it hard to believe. It’s really too early for this. It has snowed many times on my birthday in March, so I’m expecting that the daffodils that are blooming profusely and the iris buds that are trying to bloom will be cut off by a blast from Mother Nature soon. My spirits are lifted looking that the beauty, though.

Today I’m contemplating two things: spreading “Weed & Feed” on the lawn and planting Georgia Sweet Onion sets in my raised bed square foot garden.  It’s not SUPPOSED to freeze in the 10-day forecast, so I’m hoping that if I hold my mouth right, all will be good on the onion sets.

 

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I now have 7 celery plants in soil on the window sill. Here are the youngest.

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These are the two middle plants.

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These are the oldest. I’m planting to move whatever is still alive to the garden around the 10th of March.

 

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I finally have a few spinach sprouts!  Who knows if they’ll live, get brothers and sisters, or what, but my fingers are crossed and hopes are high.

My efforts at Weed & Feed for the lawn are because we decided that our lawn was really terrible due to moles, voles, gophers, and whatever other burrowing animals are in the area. They seem to have sent out a memo, inviting all their friends and relatives. We were happy with our lawn care folks, but even they said that they didn’t really have anything that was effective against these tiny creatures. We’ve killed the grubs they feed on, but that didn’t seem to make much difference. Since our lawn is a mess and I can use the exercise, I’m just going to spread weed killer and fertilizer myself and hope for the best.  Picture me doing the ‘mole-stomping-dance’ all over the yard as I crank the weed & feed pellet distributor.

I’ll take pics when I get the onion sets planted.

I hope your day is productive and that you do something you truly enjoy.

 

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Sign of Spring!

purpleiris

If you look carefully, you can see TWO iris spears with deep purple iris buds! Whoopeeeeeee!

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Potted Cat

pc2

This potted cat is definitely ready to harvest. I don’t know why Abby loves to sleep in a pot under the table on the back porch, but she does it every time we’re enjoying airing out the house, as we are today.  We could have saved a LOT of money on cat  beds.

In other plants, the celery is continuing to do well. I now have seven plants in soil on the window sill. I’m planning to move them to the garden mid-March, if they’re still alive then.

My spinach seeds still weren’t sprouting. One of my books suggested putting the seeds in water before planting for about 30 minutes. I did that this morning and then put the pots on the window sill. Fingers crossed.

I’ll plant my Sweet Georgia Onion sets this week some time. I’m hoping, but don’t really believe, that we’re past killing freezes yet.

Meanwhile, I was checking this around the yard and had a big surprise. My daffodils are not only sprouting – they’re BLOOMING!

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I’m really ready for spring. We’ve had a wonderful winter, with hardly any ice. I would love it if we could simply sneak into spring now, allowing the sprouting plants the longest possible life without getting zapped. These sweet daffodils really raised my spirits today.

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Spring Chicken and Georgia Sweet Onions

Crafthubs

Crafthubs

I’m not feeling like a spring chicken today, but I’m MUCH, MUCH better. This is the first day since Sunday I haven’t headed for the Ibuprofen upon awakening, followed by a direct route to my recliner and heat pad, plus the use of a pain patch yesterday.

I’m still old, but I’m definitely kickin’. I’m planning to do some careful, slow yoga stretches on my own this afternoon to see if I can loosen myself up and take the last of the back pain away. (Thinking that the firmness of my mattress may be a factor (and being grateful we have a Sleep Number Bed competitor) I made the mattress more firm this morning and will try that for the next few nights.

I studied my All New Square Foot Gardening, 2nd Edition book, by Mel Bartholomew, for what I can plant when in my totally raised bed garden this year!

We live in Zone 7 and the average last frost date is April 10th. My books say I can plant onions, broccoli and spinach four weeks from the average frost date, or March 10th.  My husband (who thinks the average frost date data is nuts) says HE thinks I should plant next week. (My husband and I don’t even use the same SALT, so we have some lively discussions around here.:0) )

We’ve decided to go ahead and plant the one bunch of Sweet Georgia Onion sets we got NEXT week and see what happens. If we get a killing frost, we’re out $2.00 plus my time in planting. If things continue to go well, I’ll get some broccoli plants and see what else I can find…

Meanwhile, I can’t find anything at all in the book about celery, so I’ll look for information elsewhere.

 

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These photos were taken this morning. The above are on the divider between our kitchen and dining area. I’m changing the water daily and delighting in each vestige of green that emerges.

 

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These two plants were moved from glasses to tsoil on the window sill about a week ago.

 

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These two plants are the oldest. If they survive, I’ll plant them in the garden about mid-March, I think. (I may change that when I find information on the net.)

 

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Nothing at all is happening with the spinach seeds yet. Not one teeny sprout yet. They’re on the dining table where they get sun most of the day. I’ll just wait and hope.

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Growing a Child

Two Women and a Hoe via Cathy Ruggiero

http://www.motherofahubbard.com via Two Women and a Hoe via Cathy Ruggiero

I was born in Chicago, Illinois several years ago. :0)   We then moved to Long Island, New York. I have only vague memories of the house we lived in.  When I was 5, we moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma.  My family didn’t grow things. My earliest memory of a plant was the cactus my mother planted by the house. I became aware of it intimately when I was trying to get our cat to come to me. I was bending over in the foliage around the house, lost my balance and SAT on the cactus plant. My mom was upset with me for sitting on her plant…

The Lewises lived on the next street over. In second grade I was in love with one of their sons. My best friend was in love with him, too. We had a fight on the playground over him and ended up in the principal’s office. There was a contest for 2nd grade king and queen. He, of course, was king. My friend and I vied for ‘queen.’ The prize went to another friend, whose name was prophetically Linda QUEEN…

I met my husband-to-be, the oldest Lewis son, when I was 14. When we were dating, I visited his parents often.  His mom had a vegetable garden. I recognized the tomato plants, which happily had nice red tomatoes growing, but I was totally ignorant, otherwise. I felt like a child at Christmas, looking in amazement at actual plants that became ‘food.’ I KNEW, of course, where vegetables came from (in general) but I had never seen any of them growing. My mother-in-law-to-be gave me a tour of the garden, showing me which group of plants was which. I’ll never forget my fascination.  I just couldn’t get enough. I decided, while I was in the garden, that I really wanted one of my own someday.

Umpteen years later I finally am enjoying my chance. I’m still fascinated watching things grow. Right now I’m trying to grow celery on the window sill.

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This shows you two stages of trying to grow celery indoors. The two glasses in the foreground are the newest. I cut them off the stalks I bought at the grocery store Sunday and put them in water. The one in the back has been growing a few days now. (I had to throw one away. Sometimes the bottom of the stalk just seems to ‘sog.’)

 

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This is one of the two planters on the window sill. The little plant on the left side was just put into the soil last night.

 

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These plants are about two weeks old. I LOVE watching them grow. I still have no clue if I’ll actually get celery or not, but it’s so much fun to watch!

 

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Several days ago I started some spinach seeds in little peat pots and put them on the table in the sun. Nothing at ALL happened. I’m not sure if the seeds were too old, the peat pots too old, or I was “holding my mouth wrong,” but nothing was happening. I gave up on them and started some seeds this morning, using Mel’s Mix in three larger planters. I’m just hoping SOME of the seeds will sprout. I don’t care if I end up planting CLUMPS of spinach in the garden. I’ll want to harvest them individual leaves at a time, so it doesn’t really matter. Since I have a really hard time finding spinach plants to purchase in the spring or fall around here, I would be really happy if I can get some of these to grow. Maybe THIS time…

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Celery Plant Experiment Progress Report 2/4/2017

celeryplants2

I told you recently that I decided to play during the winter, since I can’t start anything outside for a good while yet, trying to grow some celery. Someone on Facebook, I think, posted a video where you simply cut off the end of a bunch of celery you purchase at the store and put the bottom in a glass with some water.  When it sprouts well, you then transfer it to soil.

The idea thing would be to transfer it to the garden. Since it’s February, I transferred it to a planter with Mel’s Mix in it and put it on my window sill.  So far I have three plants in soil and three more in glasses of water on my divider.

The plant above was transferred two days ago.

 

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These are the other two plants I’ve transferred to the window sill. They’ve been in the soil for over a week now, maybe closer to two weeks. They seem to be happy so far.

I have no clue whether these will continue to grow or not. It’s fun to watch them, though, and I’ll continue to try to grow them inside or outside, when spring comes. :0)

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Celery Experiment Continues

celery-new

This is celery I started two days ago. I cut off the bottoms of celery I bought at the store and put each end in water.

 

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These are two other bottoms I showed you a few days ago.

 

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These are the same plants today. I put the water glasses on the window sill for a couple of days. Today I put the plants into the soil. The planter is on the window sill. I got to this point before and then the sweet plants croaked. I have no clue if they’ll be happier this time, but I intend to keep trying until I find something that works. Fingers crossed!

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Hope for the Future

celery1

I’m trying to grow some celery from packages I bought at the store.

The idea is to cut off the bottom of each bunch of celery and put them in water to sprout. When they are forming roots, you transplant them to a soil-filled container or the garden. Since I can’t grow them outside now, I’ll transfer them soon to a planter I have on the window sill in my dining area.  It’ll be fun to see if I can actually grow a plant from here.

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You’re as Young as You Feel

Viral Spell

Viral Spell

I feel as if I’m 108 years old right now!

I’ve just come in from getting the front porch and deck ready for winter.

The last freeze we had killed the impatiens on the front porch and all the remaining plants on the deck. We’re supposed to have rain tomorrow (much needed) along with a cold front and much cooler weather, then a couple of days in the 40s followed by another, stronger cold front. I decided to use this last remaining day of temperatures in the 50s to get the last things taken care of.

I moved the deck furniture onto our screened back porch where they’ll avoid the worst of the weather. I emptied all the planters. I moved the smaller ones onto the porch and covered the rest with trash bags and duct tape. It now looks kind of forlorn on the porches and the deck, but I’m hoping that I’ve protected things enough they’ll come through the winter without harm.

I’m going to go put my feet up after starting another pot of coffee. When I get rested, I’ll put a meatloaf and salad together and call it a day.

I hope YOUR day was productive and fun.

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