Category Archives: Gardening

SPOILED!

This is this morning’s harvest.

My husband and I are totally – delightedly –  SPOILED, having ripe tomatoes for lunch and dinner every day. I don’t know how long our luck will hold out, but we are grateful for every bite!

I haven’t been out to the garden yet – just to the tomato planters beside the house. I’m trying to figure out a ‘suit of armor’ – since hosing down with Deep Woods Off didn’t keep the fire ants from getting me two days ago.  They apparently LOVE the stuff, drinking it like a wonderful, rare wine before they bite/sting me. :0(  My arm is almost back to normal now. I can wear my watch loosely today. My arm is still pink and a bit swollen, but the welts are gone.

I would like to get the garden under control today. I know it needs weeding…

 

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I’m Going to Murder Some Ants! :0(

oncecellonelightradio.wordpress.com

This picture is a bit over the top on what I’m actually going to do, but the motivation is there.

I went out to finish weed whacking around our burn barrel this morning. I then hauled all the weed trees I cut down a couple of days ago, putting them in a pile we will burn later.  Then I went back and weed whacked some more, trying to give us a good margin of safety.

While I was doing that, I apparently ran into an ant pile. All of a sudden I noticed I had ants on my arm around my watch. I stopped everything and brushed them off, but not before they had bitten/stung me.  Since I came in, I have put on Benadryl and then some anti-itch ointment. My arm, plus the top of my right foot,  are now pink and swollen, with raised welts. Oh, joy.

I wouldn’t be surprised if I hadn’t practically bathed in bug repellent spray before I went out there.

Later on today, I plan to mix up two gallons of Eight, the spray I use to kill all kinds of what I consider bad bugs, and plan to murder as many ants as possible. I don’t know that ants do anything important in our ecosystem. If they do, they’ll need to transfer their operations somewhere else.

I will also spray the area around the burn barrel with KillsAll, the stuff that is wonderful at keeping growth of greenery down. This is an area we can’t mow, and don’t need to have any grass or anything.

Picture me as Arnold Schwarzenegger, armed with a KillAll  sprayer in one hand and an Eight sprayer in the other – taking on all comers!

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Good News and Iffy News from the Garden

Good news and iffy news from the garden today.

GOOD NEWS – more ripe tomatoes and it looks like lots more to come.  The radishes and sweet red onions seem to be doing fine.

IFFY NEWS –  I have a lot of ‘greenery’ and blossoms from my zucchini and cantaloupe plants, but the actual veggies and fruits are looking wimpy.  In three days of my concentrating on other parts of the yard, the weeds are trying to take over. The heat index is 105 today, so I’ll have to wait until dusk to do anything out there. I’ll weed as much as I can and then put some extra fertilizer over things and see what, if anything, happens.

I absolutely LOVE trying to grow veggies and fruit. I have a wonderful set up, with chest-high wooden 4′ x 4′ planters filled with Mel’s Mix (peat moss, vermiculite, and several kinds of compost) and an irrigation system for consistent watering. I have unlimited hope and enthusiasm, but little expertise, though I’m reading and learning what I’m supposed to be doing on a regular basis. Thus far, the list of things NOT to do again is growing much faster than the successes, but my motivation is still strong.

Each lunch and each dinner features fresh, ripe tomatoes from our own garden. I ‘spiralized’ (made spaghetti-like stuff with the aid of my kitchen gadget) from one pregnant-looking zucchini from our own garden and my husband pronounced it ‘yummy.’  Next year I plan to grow yellow squash, too. We’re spiralizing that, too, and my husband is shocked that he enjoys both of these. He did say, though, that he’ll TRY some as a substitute for actual pasta, but doesn’t hold high hopes for the idea yet. I’m hoping I can convince him. :0)

 

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Whew!

Steemit

I have just finished about an hour and a half of weed whacking in the yard this morning. I have probably one more session of weed whacking and then the leaf blower to clean off the sidewalks and garage pad before I’m finished.

My husband mowed the lawn yesterday, so the grass looks good. All the edges around everything were ragged, though, so I decided to get outside early this morning and see if I could clean things up.

With the heat index, it’s ONLY 95 right now. Since the index is supposed to get to 105 this afternoon, I decided it was best to get out there while it was COOL. :0)

The new-to-us riding mower we got recently from a wonderful friend and neighbor does a really good job. When the civilized part of our yard is freshly mowed, weed whacked and blown, we actually look pretty good!

With all the yard work this morning and bowling with good friends tonight, I’m not even going to feel guilty about not ‘exercising’ today. I’ve learned that the work I do uses different muscles than the ones used for more traditional ‘exercises,’ but when I’ve worked and played this much in a day, I’ll call it good enough.

 

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July 6th Harvest

 

After we got back from relocating the raccoon this morning, I went to check on the tomatoes and the garden. I harvested these from the larger planter – the plants I thought were going to croak earlier because the leaves were turning yellow and falling off. These plants still don’t look ‘healthy,’ but they are producing delicious tomatoes. The nook planter beside the house has only two plants in it and they are HUGE, green, and leafy. I’ve only gotten two ripe tomatoes so far. There are lots of green ones, though, and lots of blossoms. There might be a lesson here somewhere, if I can just figure out what it is. I would appreciate some opinions from people who know what they are doing in the garden.

In the larger square foot garden, I couldn’t do much because the irrigation system was going. I have large, leafy-looking zucchini plants now with large yellow flowers and a few actual zucchini!  I harvested one pregnant-looking one so far. I have several now that might get large enough to harvest.

I also have the cantaloupe plants whose arms are spilling out over everything with lots of blossoms. There is one small cantaloupe that I have supported by a plastic round thingie with legs and holes in it. I have no clue whether we’ll actually get anything worth eating, but it’s great fun to watch the progress. \

The onions are expanding, even though their tops were so damaged in several storms I elected to cut them off.

I need to do some weeding out there and then I’ll take pics to share.

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Tomato Harvest July 1, 2019

I’m feeling spoiled and rich after going out to check on our tomato plants this afternoon.

We’re enjoying sharing one or two (depending on their size) for lunch and again for dinner each day. I already feel that our crop has been worth every penny we paid for plants, cages, food, bug spray, bone meal, etc.  How could one feel down when looking at such a beautiful sight!

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I Want One of These!

Avantgardens via Marianna Bellantoni

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

This is our garden, minus two tomato planters on the opposite end of the house. It’s a raised-bed, square foot garden.

“Raised bed” – because we built six 4’x4′ wooden boxes, put them on top of metal supports (like tables) at about my chest height, so I don’t have to get down on my hands and knees, or bend over double to garden.

“Square foot garden” – because the only ‘soil’ we have up here on top of our ridge line was trucked in so we could have grass around the house. We tried to have a regular garden, enriching the soil, etc. and it was a dismal failure. After several years I was delighted to find Mel Bartholomew and his book, Square Foot Gardening, where he explained that we could ‘create’ a growing medium much like soil ABOVE the ground and grow veggies!

We surrounded our garden with fencing, since we do have deer running around. Usually I have bright neon-colored tape running around the outside to warn the deer so they don’t run into the fencing. The rains and sun deteriorated the tape and I haven’t put more up yet. We have chicken wire around the bottom to deter rabbits and other cute critters from breaching the fencing, although I would think it would be difficult for them to climb up the metal legs to get to the veggies. Our garden door is looking a bit sad these days. We’ve had so much to deal with after losing so much of our electronic goodies in the recent storms that I haven’t bothered my husband with it. You might get a giggle out of the sign on the door. We did that when we first got the CNC set-up in the shop, where we can do computer-guided cutting of sheet metal. That was one of the first things we cut out. The poor thing is rusted now, but it’s one of my favorite things.

 

This sweet, oddly shaped thing is probably the world’s smallest cantaloupe. I have no clue whether we’ll actually get anything edible, but it’s fun to try.

 

I’ve never seen zucchini growing before and I’m fascinated. We may not get much of a crop, but I’m eager to check what we have each time I go out.

 

With all the rain and strong sun we’ve had, I can’t keep the weeds out of here, but I’m trying to keep them down as much as possible so the sweet red onions have room to grow.

 

This is the latest group of radishes. I’m hoping they do well. The last crop was better than I’m able to get at the store.

 

Here is today’s harvest. I was so pleased to see more ripe tomatoes. And these, except for one, all came from the plants in the long planter that had yellow leaves and were looking spindly recently. I added bone meal and some tomato food, and they have responded well, although they don’t look as healthy as the two plants in the planter beside the house. MAYBE it’s a good thing to have much less greenery – leading to better production of tomatoes….

And this is my first zucchini!  I have no clue why this one looks pregnant. The ones at the store don’t look like this. It’ll be interesting to see if it tastes good or not.

I was planning to spend more time outside this morning, but the wind picked up, the skies darkened, and I heard rumbling thunder. I hurried inside, closed the garage door, and prepared for the coming storm. My phone was even sending me messages about lightning and heavy rain right outside of Greenwood. We didn’t get the storm! NOW the sun is out again. Go figure.

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Tomatoes!

 

Last week, before the awful storms hit and we lost so much stuff, I was telling you that I was worried about the tomato plants in our long brick planter at the side of the house. They were really sad-looking, with yellow leaves and dead branches. I put bone meal into the soil around each plant and then gave the whole planter tomato food and crossed my fingers.

With all that has been going on, today was the first time I went to look at the plants. This is the first of what I HOPE will be a really good harvest. The tomato cages were bent over, so I went back and got some rods and anchored them, hopefully making it so the plants will stay upright. I cut off more dead stuff, but the plants were looking much healthier. There are lots of green tomatoes on those plants, plus the two really lush looking plants in what I call the nook planter between the porch and the back of the house. I guess the difference in the amount of sun the two planters get is the difference on what the plants look like. It’ll be funny if the puny looking ones produce more tomatoes than the lush looking ones…

Guess what will be part of OUR dinner tonight!

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A Storm is Coming

It’s as black as night outside right now, ready to storm. Before it got dark, I got out and took some pictures in the yard I wanted to share with you.  This is one of our Rio Samba rose bushes with Impatiens around the base.  We have two other Rio Sambas, but for some reason, their leaves are turning yellow. I’ve sprayed them with fungicide plus all purpose rose bug killer, hoping that will help them.

 

I love the red roses on this bush. It seems quite happy at the moment.

 

This is one group of phlox. I love these. They come in a lot of colors. We have  a lighter pink shade and this one. I’m afraid if it rains hard, these will be beaten down.

I have to tell you about my stupidity of the day

I checked my veggie garden and noticed the plants weren’t getting enough water. My husband came out to help me trace the water from the outside rural faucet we have out to the garden. It turned out that I had forgotten about a “Y” connection of hoses we have and it was turned the wrong way. The water wasn’t going anywhere, much less to the garden! We fixed it and tested it. On the way back to the house, Mother Nature rained on us….

 

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Feast or Famine

All spring it has either been heavily raining or SUPER hot with strong sun. Nothing in-between. Today I was only out for about half an hour, and came in huffing and puffing, wiping my head and face, and wanting to glug water.

I found these yellow leaves on my tomato plants yesterday. My friend, Laufrain, and I looked up the problem last night. It suggested bone meal and fertilizer. I just added both of those to the planter and watered. Fingers crossed they like it. I have nice green tomatoes and am hoping for a good crop.

 

This is our other tomato planter. As you can see, the plants are good and healthy. I have no clue what’s going on with the longer planter.

 

This is my first trial at growing zucchini. I have several that SEEM to be doing well.

 

Sweet red onions.

 

Radishes I just started a few days ago.

 

And THIS  is the excitement for the day! It is a cantaloupe!  Ta DA!   If it doesn’t croak and continues to grow, I have a plastic bowl thingie with lots of holes for drainage and legs to keep the cantaloupe up off the ground. I’ve never grown one of these before. This was my husband’s choice of what to grow (other than head lettuce), so I’m really hoping we grow at least one and that it’s good.

On my way back in, I stopped to take a couple of pictures of the flowers on the deck. They make my heart soar every time I see them.

Now I’m very thankful that we have air-conditioning!

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On the Way Back from the Garden…

One view of our deck. We usually plant mandevilla in the 4 large pots, but we think the wave petunias this year are wonderful.

Another view.

 

 

We’ve enjoyed spending time out here, mostly watching it rain so far.

 

The roses I pruned are starting another bloom. (Plus, you can see the second planter we’re going to rebuild and the pile of potting soil waiting.)

More roses

Roses and phlox.

Stella d’Oro lilies.

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Could You Hear My Skin Frying?

My great day continues with listening to Steve Earle on YouTube while writing this. :0) I just came in from checking on the garden and planting a few more radish squares. I was actually FEELING the sun frying my neck, so I prudently decided to cut my time out there short.

Here are 3 of the 6 planters.

The remaining three planters. I planted 4 squares of radish seeds in the planter closest to you in the picture.

 

 

 

In the foreground is celery, and the rest of the picture is ONE cantaloupe plant vine.

Even though the onion tops are pretty trashed from recent storms, the bulbs are looking good.

Zucchini – there are 4 so far on this one plant.

This plant only has one zucchini. I have no clue what I’m doing, but I’m having a great time.

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The Tomatoes are Coming!

I’m hoping that we’ll have a good tomato crop this year. We have some good looking green tomatoes now. One of our very favorite things is sliced ripe tomatoes.

With all the rain we’ve had and then some pretty warm weather, the tomato plants in our nook planter really took off. I’ve given up trying to ‘control’ them. I’m just propping them up the best way I can and hoping for the best…

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A Truly Stellar Day

We’ve gone from torrential rain, to “pea soup” humidity here. Last night a cool front came through, taking the humidity with it. Right now it’s 80 degrees F. outside, bright sunshine, and absolutely wonderful. AHHHHH!

I took a walk around the garden and yard to celebrate and wanted to share –

GARDEN

You can see the HEIGHT of the zucchini plants here – well over my head as I stand at the planters.

Lots of vines, greenery, and blossoms. No cantaloupe as yet.

The zucchini is producing nicely.

 

The tops of my sweet red onions were trashed during the last few storms we had. I cut off the broken tops and trimmed the bent ones. The actual onion bulbs are looking okay, though.

FLOWER PLANTERS

Lilies

Phlox

Roses and Impatiens

Roses and Phlox

Clematis

I’ll show you the deck and our view in another post.

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Eau de OFF!

Home Guides – SFGate

The rain finally stopped!  I’ve just spent an hour tying up tomato plants for better support and then weeding in our raised bed square foot garden. I used “Eau de OFF!” spraying myself heavily from stem to stern before heading outside. I forgot to wear my sweat band, but I’ll remember that for session 2 today.

I finished two more of the six wooden box planters in the garden. I still need to finish the onion box and then things will be pretty much under control again. I’m planning to take radish seed to get more started in several squares.

__________________

Finished session 2.  I’m still working on the onion box. I asked my good friend Reagan Opio from LinkedIn what I should do about the damaged onion tops. He said, “Leave the ones that are only bent. Cut off the ones that are broken.” So that’s what I’m working on now. As I type here, though, this old lady is huffing and puffing and guzzling ice water. So the rest will have to wait for session 3.

I wanted to share with you the progress on the zucchini! I’ve never grown it before, or seen it grow. The only thing I figured was that it was a vining type plant and would probably take up a lot of room.

The zucchini are almost like a ‘bouquet of bloom.’  There are actually FOUR zucchini growing on this plant.

More on another plant.

And two more here.

And three more here!

I’m about to head out to finish cleaning up the onion tops a bit, and then that’ll be it outside for the day.

I hope YOU are having a fine day, too!

 

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Weed War

Wild Abundance

Our weeds aren’t QUITE as bad as these, but I’m having to really work to try to catch up. Our monsoon-like rains here have resulted not only in a pretty stellar veggie crop this year, but also ‘weeds as high as an elephant’s eye’ (“Oklahoma” musical paraphrase).

I just came in from pruning our rose bushes to encourage more blooms and weeding and cutting back in our trio of brick planters between the front yard and the driveway. There is always more, but they look as if someone cares now. :0)

Yesterday I spent about an hour weeding in our veggie garden. The sheer volume of weeds won. I’ll go out in a few minutes (wearing a sweat band and having sprayed with OFF!) – I DO learn from mistakes! – and I’ll see if I can finish weeding the boxes today.

This year it seems as though we’re always trying to get something done ‘before the day’s rain.’ Today we have a 50% chance of heavy rain. 80% tomorrow. 50% Friday…. you get the idea.

I told you yesterday that I would try to get pics of our tomato plants. I forgot, so I’ll go out and get some now.

It’s been a couple of days since I checked on the tomato plants. We have some green tomatoes!

 

We have 4 tomato plants in this planter.

And two more plants here. (These were so large I had to string wire to hold them up!)

This is one green tomato from these two plants.

Did I tell you I’m having trouble keeping up with things with all the rain we’ve been having?!?!

Heading out to the veggie garden to see if I can finish weeding there.

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Changes in the Garden – June 4 – 2019

With all the rain we’ve been having, the weeds have gone nuts in my garden. I just spent about an hour pulling out spent broccoli plants and weeding. I forgot to wear a sweat band AND forgot to spray myself for mosquitoes, so came in hot, tired, wiping my forehead while grabbing a cold bottle of water, and scratching bites…

If you’ll look carefully, in the center of the picture is a cute little zucchini! My first!  I’ll have to read up on what to do, but I’m excited. :0)

The main part of this photo is a celery plant, grown from a stalk I bought at the store. I’ll continue to try to grow some. I’m not sure when, but I’m supposed to bind the little stalks tightly together so they look more like what you buy in the store. More reading!

More zucchini vines and blossoms. They will soon take over the boxes.

Technically, it’s too warm for spinach, but I’m still hoping.

 

My husband wanted me to try cantaloupe. Since we both love it, I was happy to accommodate him…

 

This gives you a better idea of how LARGE these zucchini plants are!

I guess the hard rains we’ve had did a number on many of the green parts of my sweet red onions. I only weeded a small amount of the box these are planted in, but it looks like the actual onions are okay. I’ll work on it some more tomorrow.

I’ll also see if I can share pictures of our tomato plants tomorrow.

 

 

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And the Lilies Bloom!!

We have a really good chance of more severe weather this afternoon and tonight, so I got out and cut some of the lilies that are blooming in one of our planters.

Here are more of the yellow ones in the planter.

 

And I HOPING that this beauty won’t be harmed by the storms.

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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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A Productive Day

Animal Wallpapers – Desktop Nexus

We got up this morning, intending to start rebuilding the second brick planter, but looked at each other and decided we felt too old and creaky. We agreed to think about it tomorrow – like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind. :0)  We went grocery shopping instead and plan to take it much easier today.

Yesterday we accomplished a lot –

  • We figured out why our irrigation system wasn’t working in the back. After my husband looked at the switches and the control box in the well house, he followed the hose from the well house to the ‘tree’ of hoses that go to the back.  He found a “monster” kink in the main hose. We don’t know HOW it became kinked, since that is in the woods and not mowed, but he was able to splice the hose where it was damaged and the water flowed again!
  • Oh!  I have to pat myself on the head a bit. My husband asked me to reprogram the control box. I looked and looked, but couldn’t find the paperwork on how to do it. I finally went out and pushed buttons, hoping a main screen would come up. It did! I was able to reprogram year, month, day, time, and watering durations for the front and back!
  • I mixed up a 2-gallon canister of KilzAll and sprayed all around our garden and around our shop – hopefully murdering lots of weeds.
  • We cleaned up the work area around the first planter we rebuilt. We had extra concrete to shovel, bricks to haul away, etc. I took a chisel and a hammer and cleaned up the front of the planter as much as I could. I have to tell you, it looks pretty bad. It is sturdy and it holds the potting soil, so we’re declaring it a win. We’ll attach the PVC pipe set up for irrigation and then it’s finished. We’ll try to do better on the second planter. AND we keep reminding ourselves that we’re not having to come up with $700!

So – a much more laid-back day – probably with a bit of weed whacking will suffice.

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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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Garden Update

One of my sweet spinach plants!

One of several zucchini plants.

One of about 5 remaining head lettuce plants.

My cantaloupe plant for my husband.

One group of tomato plants.

And the second tomato planter.

Things are going well. There is not enough time in the day to get to everything I want to do. I’m busy and happy and grateful for all of it.

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Sharing a Beautiful Day

I just enjoyed walking around the yard, taking stock of what’s what while marveling that it wasn’t raining! Right now it’s 70 degrees F.!  Just gorgeous.  I wanted to show you the results of my trying to create a bit of order from the chaos created by Mother Nature recently. Here is one of our Rio Samba rosebushes. I pruned the three we have so they’ll bloom again in a couple of weeks. You can also see the tarp that is hopefully preserving the potting soil we removed from one of the two planters that collapsed. We are trying to gear up for rebuilding these ourselves, since the only estimate we’ve been able to get from an actual bricklayer was WAAAAAY too high.

Here you see one of the planters I weeded, cleaned out, and pruned.  You can see I need to weed whack next….

The second of the trio planters between our front yard and the driveway.

And this is the third planter. These are end-to-end .

Another.

And another. We have 14 planters we built 30 years ago. We live on top of a ridge line, so what soil there is was trucked in when we had the house built.  With the potting soil and an irrigation system, we are able to grow the flowers we love.

This is one view off the deck. We have lots of wave petunias and periwinkles on the deck this year. You can see our view in one direction. We love to pretend we own all this.

Here’s a view the other direction.

Some Impatiens on the front porch.

and more. You can see this planter needs some work.

And finally, I my travels around the yard I found –

Amber

Molly

Smoke

and Abby, all enjoying the screened porch on this lovely day.

I hope it’s really nice where you are, too!

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Gardening for Mother’s Day

My husband and I were talking last night about how much he has changed since we married almost 50 years ago. He mentioned that if he were by himself, he ‘wouldn’t have any of it” – referring to the 14 brick planters we built, the raised-bed square foot garden, the greenhouse, the deck…. I asked him if he would miss any of it now. His answer kind of startled me. He said an emphatic, “YES!”

When we had our home built, he started doing all this because it was important to ME. He wanted me to be happy, so he not only went along with, but suggested things to encourage my love of flowers, veggies, and working outside. Now he considers it a quality of life thing. He loves the flowers almost as much as I do. He looks for ways to make my gardening easier, since I’m getting a bit ‘long-in-the-tooth’ now. He WANTS to go shopping for plants and takes a great interest when something blooms.

Yesterday the second part of my Mother’s Day gift to myself was several sessions out in the yard, trying to uncover the flowers in a trio of planters that go between our front yard and our driveway. He not only helped me, he sat and kept me company while I worked.

We only have one red rose bush in our yard, but I brought these in yesterday so we could enjoy them inside.  I pruned the three Rio Samba rose bushes so they’ll hopefully keep blooming. (A wonderful lady at the local nursery taught me how to prune. You take the spent bloom in your hand and find the next group of five leaves on the branch. You cut in a diagonal above that group of leaves.)

I only finished one of the three planters yesterday, so I’ll be out there today, continuing to try to make sense of the huge growth of greenery. Wish me luck? I’ll post pics when they are finished.

 

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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished – Or Amber’s Playtime

birstall.co.uk

I’ve just come in from hour # 2 weeding in my flower beds. I’m going to try to get out there for one more session, but this may be it for the day.

I’m making reasonable progress out there, but the monsoon season has made for monster weeds. I can’t tell what’s in the planters at the moment, so I’m having to go slowly, pruning everything and then figuring out what is good and what to get rid of. Slow going.

Earlier, after my first session, I discovered that Amber had black, yucky STUFF on various parts – mainly her stomach, legs, and hips. I rushed to get her back outside, too tired to do anything more than that. After I rested, I used a couple of micro-cloths to clean her up.  I felt good that she was now presentable enough to join us inside.

My husband came out for the second session to keep me company while I weeded after he sprayed weeds around the yard and cut back the wisteria which had grown like a weed in all directions. As we were talking, we noticed that Amber quietly walked over to one of the collapsed brick planters and plopped down in the middle of the watery stuff. As she stood, we saw THAT was where all the yucky black stuff had come from. She was covered AGAIN and quite delighted with herself!

I was so tired by that time, we took her around to the back and hooked up the hose. She wasn’t cooperative about turning as we needed her to as we sprayed, but she didn’t freak out, either – a really good thing. My husband changed the washer between the hose and the sprayer and changed out the sprayer because we got as wet as Amber did. :0)  I used a dog towel to get her as dry as possible before letting her back in. Since it continues to rain off and on most every day, I’m not sure what we can do about Amber’s love for ANY type of water….

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Help! I’m Buried!

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Our planters don’t look QUITE this bad, but I just spent an hour going from one flower pot to another, pulling out huge sunflower plants from the seeds we feed the birds – happily overpowering the wave tulips and periwinkles on the deck, then moving from one place to another pulling out TONS of really tall, healthy weeds in the planters around the house. I still have the trio of brick planters to weed that are between our front yard and the driveway.

Since it’s Mother’s Day, I’m going to play some more in my art room and THEN go back out and do another session. I’m having the best time painting two more tees for myself. I’m a slob, getting spots that won’t come out on tees that are perfectly good, otherwise. It makes me happy to give them new life with happy designs. I’ll post pics when they’re finished.

I approach Mother’s Day with mixed emotions. I’m happy that I’m lucky to be a mom. It’s one of the most challenging and rewarding roles that one can have. If you’re very lucky, it’s a gift that keeps on giving your whole lifetime. I had the best chat online with our son this morning. He lives across the world from us, but we can almost forget that since he’s such a wonderful communicator. We chat almost daily, sending music, pics, jokes, etc to each other, plus talking almost as much as we would like. When we can arrange it (there is a 12-hour time difference) we chat on a conference call where we can actually see each other and talk.

I say ‘mixed emotions’ because my own mom, and my husband’s mom, are both gone, as are our dads. We miss them all and wish we could hug their necks and tell them once again how much they have meant to us in our lives. Mother’s Day hurts a bit, too, because my daughter lived two months and one day, and died many years ago now, leaving a hole that never heals. It makes me extra grateful that I have a husband I treasure and a son we are beyond proud of.

Today I feel I am a super lucky lady, with a bright sun shining, warm temperatures, and the gift of having the day to spend working outside AND in my art room – two of my favorite things – PLUS watching “Game of Thrones” tonight! :0)

I hope that you are spending this Mother’s Day doing things you love, too.

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It’s Still ‘Monsoon Season’ In Arkansas

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

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