Category Archives: Gardening

The Ant Assassin Strikes Again!

This is an old picture of one of the raised beds in our square foot garden. We don’t have the shade fabric over the top anymore and the beds are looking nice and clean in this picture. REALITY Is lot of old plants that have given up the ghost in the relentless sunshine and weeds all over the place.  :0/

I went – ARMED – carrying the 2-gallon sprayer filled with EIGHT bug killer that will kill the bugs, but not harm plants, animals, or people.

I pulled out a bunch of the plants, then quit when I got overheated. I went out again, prepared to pull out the remaining two large plants. I pulled out one and was IMMEDIATELY attacked with a SWARM of fire ants overflowing out of the box. I brushed them off my arms as soon as possible, then grabbed the sprayer and hosed everything down, assassinating as many of them as possible. I then came in the house, washed off my arms, took two Benedryl tablets and then put Benedryl ointment on both arms where they were still stinging.

I’m HOPING that I have now gotten being attacked by fire ants and the treatment of it down to a science now. My arms are still stinging, but I only have a couple of welts. (My whole arms would have swelled previously.)

I’ll rest a bit, then go out again, hose down the box again, and see if I can finish clearing that box out.

I remain open to lists of what good things fire ants do – and why I shouldn’t murder them – but have to tell you it’ll be a hard sell.

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Thoughts on a Saturday 9-14-2019

Sven Zacek – http://www.zacekfoto.ee via Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

We are having a very pleasant morning – doors open, front and back, ceiling fans on – so we have a nice breeze going through the house. It’s quiet. My husband is already enjoying a nap. We’ll have to close up and switch to a/c later, but it’s wonderful now.

 

COSMOPOLITAN South Africa

 

Apparently my yoga practice yesterday was a bit TOO exuberant. I woke up with a super sore back today. My good husband slathered some muscle gel with Arnica on me first thing, and then I took two Tylenol to top it off. I’m better now, but still very aware that I overdid. I’ll practice SUPER ‘Gentle Yoga” today to see if I can finish the relaxation process.

 

Yesterday on the way back from Lunch Bunch, we had a very nice, nature-filled bunch of sights. On the road there were two deer. We only saw one of them on the road, but I saw another as we passed. Such beautiful animals!

Richard Johnson – Mass Audubon

 

Later our son came and got me so I wouldn’t miss the roadrunner that was perched on top of our deck cover. I wish I could describe the sound one makes. Truly unique.

 

Nat’l Audubon Society

 

My husband got a second hummingbird feeder to put out. Before you give him total kudos on providing for our feathered friends, I have to tell you that his REASON was that we have one hummingbird who sits, guarding the feeder, daring the other two hummers to come and try to get some food. My husband put the new feeder on the other end of the deck so that he would go nuts trying to guard BOTH of them.

 

Mother Nature Network

 

Finally, there was a praying mantis on the screen outside out dining area window!

 

Tree Hugger

My only plans for the day are to start clearing out our square foot garden. Even with daily irrigation, it has just been too hot for the plants to survive. This will take several passes to accomplish, but I’ll try to get started today. I’ll go armed with bug killer spray in case I encounter aggressive ants in the boxes. I’m hoping that our onions are still doing well out there.

Happy Saturday to YOU! Have a wonderful day.

 

 

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Filed under Gardening, Amazing Animals, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, exercise, Thoughts on a ________

Thoughts on a Thursday 9-12-2019

I’ve had a productive morning.

RK Preserve Carpet Cleaning

I vacuumed the carpeted parts of the first floor this morning, vacuuming up at LEAST one dog’s worth of hair, and maybe a cat, too. It amazes (and disgusts) me how MUCH hair I vacuum up each time, even though I’m vacuuming more these days than I ever have before. It’s a miracle that we actually have two dogs and two cats left AND that none of them is bald! I’m liking our 4 goldfish more and more – THEY don’t shed!

 

Jolly Gardener

I’ve told you that we had 2 of the 14 planters we built around the yard 30 years ago collapse. We rebuilt one of them, and had the second one rebuilt by someone who knows what he’s doing. (It’s beautiful.)  My husband worked to make and attach the PVC irrigation system stuff we needed in order to hook the two planters up to our system in the front yard. (It was when he was attaching the PVC pipe to the newest planter that he fell and skinned his leg badly. I put it on my list to use bags of potting soil to fill up the newest planter.

It was the morning after he fell on July 22nd that we discovered he had suffered a stroke. Obviously, we have had other priorities since then, and I’m happy to report that my husband is essentially back to being his normal ornery self now. This morning I decided I would fill up the planter. I filled the wheelbarrow with four 40-pound bags of potting soil and trucked them over to the planter. Our driveway detector went off, and my husband came out to see who was here. He slit the bags and we dumped them into the planter, then got four MORE 40-pound bags in order to finish the job. Now both rebuilt planters are ready to receive new plants, probably in the spring.

 

We drove down to get the mail (we have a STEEP 650+ foot driveway down to the road where our mailbox is.)

 

After we got the mail, there was a truck coming down the road the other way. He stopped, obviously wanting to say something to us. When we pulled up next to him, he said, “I’m happy to see you two. I just wanted to tell you I LOVE yawl’s mailbox signs. I come by here every day looking to see what you have up there next. Yawl are really creative.” I thanked him, telling him that he had made our day – week – month – year – and maybe life – with his kind words.

This was about an hour ago. Can you see me STILL grinning? We never pictured ourselves creating things together. We have had a blast fighting over what to create, how to make it, how to paint it, etc. We have SUCH fun with this. We change the decoration twice a month, so are getting ready to put the next one up on the 15th, weather permitting. Now, each time we change the decoration, I’ll picture this NICE, NICE man who took the time to tell us we give him a smile when he passes our driveway. :0)

What a WONDERFUL morning!

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Thoughts on a Sunday

Jayanand Govindaraj via Robert J. Bennett – LinkedIn

 

Hello!

I’m getting a late start on blog posts today because our Internet keeps going on the fritz.

My main thoughts today were to play ‘fruit-basket-upset’ with my priorities for the day.

We got groceries this morning, and I put a roast in the crock pot for tonight.

THEN, when the Internet wasn’t cooperating, I went up to my art room – a thing that got lost in the shuffle yesterday – and started painting another tee!

NEXT, I’ll get my yoga practice in for the day, and

THEN I’ll tackle the weed whacking and clean up after my husband mows later.

Anything ELSE that gets accomplished will be gravy.

 

I hope that YOU are having a great Sunday, too.

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Filed under exercise, Gardening, Housekeeping - Maintenance, playing in my art room, taking care of yourself, Thoughts on a ________

The Heat Index Died

Iowa Environmental Mesonet-Iowa State Univ

Our actual temperature right now is 91 degrees F. The humidity is 63%.  That means we’re between the “Extreme Caution” and “Danger” areas of the chart. Oh, JOY.

 

Dump a Day

I am drinking a glass of ice water after Session 2 outside. I cut down a BUNCH of weed trees across the front yard, but I kept the session short due to the heat vs my ‘age seniority.’ :0)

 

Dump a Day

We don’t actually have window units in our house, but I couldn’t resist the picture of this kitty trying to cool off.

I have one more session in me today, and I’ll cut down as many more weed trees I can.

Otherwise, I’ll save more exercise for my yoga session this afternoon.

Did I tell you I’ll be one of the loudest voices cheering when fall finally arrives?

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Fighting with a Tree

Home Guides-SFGate

I just came in from half an hour fighting with a tree.

We have a used (new-to-us) riding lawn mower. My husband does the mowing and I do the other associated stuff, like weed whacking, edging, leaf blowing. We have been TRYING to get outside and walk in the evenings (though it’s only about 50% successful thus far). We were on one of our walks and my husband griped about a tree that is off the edge of the part of our land we mow, but whose branches encroach into the area, making my husband have to duck each time he goes under it to mow that part of the yard.

Today I grabbed some really big loppers (longer and larger than those shown in this picture) and attacked the lower branches of the tree. Some of the branches came down easily (usually on my head!) Others – even with the wonderful loppers – it was all I could do to bring the branches down.

I lopped off everything I could reach, tossing the branches down the slope into the uncivilized part of the ridgeline.

We’ll see how successful I was. If I need to do more, I’ll take a high stepping stool we have next time.

I’m wondering if he’ll even notice, since he won’t have to duck. :0)

NEXT up (after I rest a bit more) are the weed trees that have sprung up along the civilized part of the FRONT yard!

 

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Toward the End of Garden Harvests

I just came in from taking a quick look at the garden, and then to the other end of our house to the tomato planters. This is today’s harvest, but it’s obvious that the super-hot weather lately has brought a halt to most of the harvests now.

We have had a wonderful time this year. We had a LOT of lettuce, radishes, and tomatoes, and were able to share some of each of these with our friends. The zucchini made big plants, and we harvested several zucchini, but I’ll read about how we can do better on these next year. I also want to plant yellow crookneck squash next time.

The cantaloupe was fun, but all we have are either green or yellowish small ones, all hard as a rock with vines spreading everywhere. I have no clue if they’ll actually continue to grow and ripen or not. Another subject for a lot of reading.  The red onions are still looking good. As soon as the weather gets a bit cooler, I’ll start looking to see if any are ready to come out of the ground.

 

Beautiful World

Of course when I was the farthest away from the house, the rain started. I toweled off when I came in, but it’s a very good thing I’m not water-soluble. :0)

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Crabbing About the Heat

Brightside

I just spent half an hour or so trying to prune roses and weed flower planters. I’m embarrassed that some of the weeds are taller than the flowers!  Of COURSE it’s hot outside – it IS August and this IS Arkansas, but the humidity makes the heat index 103 and it is still morning!  So, I’m TRYING to spend a bit of time outside each morning to try to get things under control. So far, the weeds are winning….

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Poor Plants

DripDepot

When I went outside to check on the tomatoes and weed a bit in our flower planters, I noticed that everything suddenly looked really wilted.

I got my husband and we turned on each section of the irrigation system, and went around to all the planters, making sure all was getting water. Some weren’t getting anything at all, others were getting too much – it varied all over the place. Once we got the back finished – with a lot of the things you see in the picture above, we switched to the front, where it’s mainly actual hoses and controls.

We think we got everything going. We are inside now, drinking ice water and resting. The heat index this afternoon is between 106 and 110. We’ll stay inside until at least dinner time before trying to do anything more out there.

I hope that YOU and your PLANTS are getting enough water today!

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Reprieve?

Animal Wallpapers – Desktop Nexus

Mother Nature is giving us a reprieve today – the heat index is ONLY 100 right now.

SO – my husband is out mowing the lawn and I’ve been weed whacking around the garden and behind the shop where his riding mower won’t go. It’s going to take several sessions to do what I need to do today. I work for 20 minutes to half an hour, then come in, rest, and drink water. I’ll keep doing that until the job is done or I decide to give it another day. The sun is behind a cloud right now. As soon as I go back out there, the sun will show its face again…

I hope the weather where you are today is comfortable, or that you have a good place to rest.

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Ant Assassin!

I’ve just spent half an hour or so assassinating fire ants after donning my cape, goggles, gloves, and mixing 2 gallons of EIGHT bug killer in my sprayer.

These are the odious fire ants that are the bane of my existence for the past couple of years. I never really thought about them before until I happened upon them in one of my garden boxes (about 3 feet up in the air) and they swarmed all over me. biting/stinging me and causing my poor body to turn bright pink, swell up, ache, and itch all at the same time for about three days before starting to subside.

I have since looked up information, thinking that, before I set out to murder something, I should at least know if they do anything good for the environment.

According to extension.org, “Beneficial Effects of Fire Ants. Collectively, ants are beneficial insects in our environment. Their nest-building activities reduce soil compaction and help aerate the soil. Many ant species, such as imported fire ants, are omnivorous (they eat just about anything).”

I’m sorry, but the fact that also eat ME make aerating the soil a very low priority for me, particularly since we don’t need that around here.

 

I read a nice article by a lady who suggests that you pour a teakettle of boiling water down the hole of the mound and that will take care of the problem. That may very well be true, but I don’t think she is trying to treat a garden of veggie plants who would be upset at having boiling water poured on them or almost 8 acres of ridge line rocky soil. The EIGHT spray works well. The fact that the co-op guy in town recommended it highly, after me telling him I was planning to spray it on things I hoped to later feed to myself and my family, and that I didn’t want our pets hurt, went a long way to convince me.

There is Ant-Man from Marvel Comics and the super hero movie genre, but I don’t think he is murdering ants. I’ll just have to fill that gap.

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“No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”

Gardeners Path

This quote by Clare Booth Luce is said fairly often around here.  So many things that should be good things seem to backfire or cause us harm.

The latest was yesterday when I was working in our square foot garden.

I’ve been feeling guilty because I haven’t been taking care of things out there as well as I would like to, so I made a special effort to put in some time, pruning dead leaves off our zucchini plants. I lifted one last plant up to get to some dead stuff and was suddenly covered with fire ants.

I rapidly brushed them off my arm, pulling off my weeding gloves and getting away from the source as quickly as possible, but ONE got me.

I rushed inside, took two Benedryl tablets, washed the bite and slathered Benedryl ointment on it. It still swelled up, but not as badly as I have in the past. I DO learn from mistakes….

Priority on today’s list is murdering fire ants. I don’t care if they perform some wonderful service to us. I want them gone. I will mix up some EIGHT spray and hose down the whole garden area, plus any ant hills I find, plus our tomato planters today.  The EIGHT is really good at killing bugs, but is safe to spray on veggies and other plants and won’t harm our pets. I can’t say enough about this product.

 

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Garden Progress

I’ve been working on our garden, trying to get it cleaned up after I had to neglect it for about a week.  My husband came out there with me today – a rare and delightful thing – and we did a good amount to prune and clean up. I have another session to do out there, but it will wait.

 

There is always more to do in the garden, but we improved things a lot today.  I pulled up my radishes a couple of days ago, the last time I was out there. For some reason, they didn’t make successfully this time. I was disappointed, because I got spoiled with a really super crop with the last batch I planted in the spring, having enough to give to my friends and having lots for me to enjoy.  I’ll concentrate on trying not to be greedy. I’ll plant another group soon.

The zucchini plants are still looking healthy, although I’m having to read everything I can get my hands on to figure out what I’m doing.

We have lots of these small cantaloupes!  I didn’t know they start out green, but we made sure each one is now sitting in a plastic bowl to keep it out of the dirt, as I read they like. Fingers crossed that they actually grow into something delicious to eat!

 

Red onions.

Our weather has been really different this year. Our tomato plants are looking pretty sad right now. I have no clue whether we’ll get more or not. We’ve had such a good crop this year. I hope I can extend the season some.  I took bags of ripe tomatoes to our friends at Lunch Bunch this morning, and then another bag to our hairdresser on the way home. I love it when we can share the wealth!

Obvious Fun

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Monday’s Harvest

It’s been about a week since I’ve been able to get out to the garden. Needless to say, there is a LOT to do out there now.

I did some weeding and harvested this zucchini and some tomatoes. I’ll go back out there later and prune a bunch of stuff and do more weeding.

We have some cantaloupe!  I used several plastic ‘bowls’ with holes in them that allow the cantaloupe to grow while keeping them off the soil.  I have no clue if we’ll actually get anything edible, but I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas watching them grow!

I’ll try to get some pics of the garden later to share.

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Wednesday Tomato Harvest

Our ‘nook’ planter (the planter between the porch and the back of the house that we converted to a square foot planter) is providing us with a wealth of tomatoes now! My husband just asked me to cut a cold one up for him for a snack.

We have been extremely lucky this season, even though it has been a weird one weather-wise, and we feel truly wealthy in tomatoes. :0)

If you come by the house in the next few days , I’ll be happy to share them with you!

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Tomato Harvest July 22 – 2019

Today’s tomato harvest with more to come tomorrow!  We are truly rich in tomatoes this season. We’re enjoying them for lunch and dinner every day. From a really shaky start, when I thought that the long tomato planter’s plants would die when they suddenly turned yellow, and that all we would get was greenery from the plants in the nook planter, we’ve had a wonderful season.

 

This is what is in our fridge now. I will share these with friends this week. :0)

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Victory

 

I can finally declare victory for the day in the project of shoveling the saved potting soil back into the newly rebuilt planter!

I had just hauled the bricks that held the edges of the tarp together to the area behind the well house when my husband fell. (He is doing better – though his leg is pretty skinned up and we found a new little cut on the bottom of his big toe). He has rested this afternoon, eaten, had cold tea, read a whole book, and is now thinking about taking a nap.)

I decided – since the weather forecast is for possible rain tomorrow morning – that I wanted to get the potting soil into the planter by the end of the day. It took several short sessions, with lots of panting, water drinking and resting in-between, but I did it. I had just taken the tarp out to our burn barrel and was walking back to the house when my husband came out with both doggies.

He didn’t know I had been shoveling, and so was properly surprised that the job was done. The tarp you see in this picture is now gone, and a bare spot on the lawn is all that is left of the ‘save-the-potting-soil’ project. I still need to weed whack, since we couldn’t do a very good job without damaging the tarp, and I need to add a few more bags of potting soil to top off the planter, but basically it is ready to plant!  We have leftover bricks from the project, but we’ll decide what to do with them later.

I’ll take more pics when we’ve found some good things to put in the two planters.

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Good News!!!!!

I told you that two of the 14 brick planters we have built up on top of our ridge line collapsed suddenly. We knocked the rest of the bricks down and tried to prepare ourselves to rebuild them.

We found that 25 years or so makes a huge difference in our stamina and ability to work in the heat. We ended up mixing one bag of mortar each day, laying one layer of bricks with it, then cleaning up for the day. We did this for five days, finally completely the first of the two planters. We put the potting soil we had saved back into the planter. My husband recently redid the plastic PVC pipe irrigation piece for the first planter, so technically it’s ready to plant. With a heat index of 105-110+ degrees, we have ignored the problem.

I’ve been trying to find a real brick layer to rebuild the planters. We had the bricks and the mortar, so it was their time, labor, and expertise we were paying for. The only man who came to give us an estimate knocked our socks off with how much he would charge for the two planters. We told him, ‘no thank you,’ and built the first one ourselves.

 

As you can see, it looks pretty awful.  It DOES hold the potting soil. The picture doesn’t show the new irrigation piece, but it’s ready for planting now.

 

This is the second planter. We have been mowing and weed whacking around this the whole spring and summer, hoping to find a brick layer.

FINALLY, yesterday a wonderful man named Jose Aguirre came up and looked at things. He rejected the mortar we had bought, both the sand version and the one with small pebbles, and gave us an estimate. I was overjoyed that it was reasonable, AND we can do it!!!!

He will come out tomorrow at 8 in the morning to do the job!

I can’t tell you how relieved I am that my husband and I don’t have to do it. I was trying to gear up for it mentally, thinking that when we start getting up at 6am each morning  (trying to adapt for the school year with Alessandro, our 16-year-old soccer playing student from Italy comes to live with us and go to school this year, starting August 6th) – that we could get right out and lay one row of bricks each day while the temperature was still in the 80’s.

If our wonderful luck holds, tomorrow we will have a newly rebuilt, good-looking planter to enjoy!

I’ll take pics. :0)

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

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

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

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

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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Filed under Favorite Things, Gardening

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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Filed under Gardening, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds