Category Archives: Gardening

Hope for the Future

Hope via Cindy Bassnett Thurman

I, aka “The Serial Seed Killer”, have had some successes with seeds lately!

  • I started some spaghetti squash seeds I scooped out of one I bought at the store, dried, and then planted. I have several plants that got large enough to be transferred to the garden and are still alive. I’m not sure if I’ll actually get a spaghetti squash – or just a plant with leaves – but I’m having lots of fun hoping.
  • I also planted several celery plants in the garden. I cut off the ends of celery bought from the store and put them in small glasses of water. When they had a nice looking – though tiny – little green plant, I transferred them to the garden. At this point, some of them have lived and some have died. Again, I have no clue whether I’ll actually get celery stalks or not, but they make me smile each time I check on them. (Too cool and rainy today to check)
  • The latest hope for the future is that I planted what are advertised as “Hummingbird Flower Seeds” in small pots and put them in frisbees (to catch the water) on the end of our dining table closest to the window. I’m hoping they’ll live to be transplanted into larger pots on the deck for the entertainment of the hoped-for hummers.

Here you can see the little fragile seedlings of the hummingbird flowers, plus two more celery ends I just put in water yesterday.

It’s a good thing we didn’t have to depend on my luck in getting spinach seeds to grow. The ‘serial seed killer’ still is alive and well in that area…

 

 

 

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New Plants!

Yesterday I told you I spent the afternoon and early evening planting new plants, mostly on the deck.

We have two of these pretty burgundy wave petunias.

 

 

 

We have these impatiens planted on both sides of the front door.

 

These are electric orange wave petunias. I planted two of these in the planter to the left of the front porch.

 

 

I brought these blue iris in yesterday, since we’re supposed to have lots of rain and possibly severe weather today, tomorrow, and into Saturday.

 

This is the new ground cover I planted in the trio of brick planters between the driveway and the front yard.

 

A pretty purple wave petunia. We have two of these on the deck.

 

This rose is called “Sedona.” We liked the color of the roses a lot, and thought it would be a nice addition to the Rio Samba rose bushes.

 

 

We have two white wave petunia plants on the deck. We’re hoping all of these will spill over the sides of the planters.

 

And, finally, this is the official hummer welcome area. We have two feeders out right now, plus the bird bath. My friend, Carla, told me the hummers are due around the 12th. I’m hoping for sooner…

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Filed under Arkansas, Favorite Things, Gardening, Greenwood

Playing in the Dirt

learningandyearning.com

I’ve decided that, for the past week, I’ve been paying for ‘SOMETHING’ I did wrong – first, the wisdom tooth that needed to be extracted, and just as I’m almost over that, a really bad earache kept me up all night. I tried the heat pad, but that didn’t work. I tried some ear drops, and they didn’t work. I got up at 4:30, found some Sweet Oil and some Advil, got under my comforter in my recliner and read,holding the heat pad to my ear until I was sleepy enough to drop off. My husband came down to find me this morning, still asleep, light on, book and glasses on my chest.

The pain is mostly gone now – I think.

This morning was a really good time for us to test the new-to-us riding lawn mower we bought recently. When we tried it the first time, we found a tire was flat. After testing it carefully, we discovered it had cracks in the sides, so we ordered another one. The second test it ran a little bit, and then stopped. We discovered the clutch wheel was completely sheared off on one side and the gas tank was leaking. We ordered both of those.My husband put those in yesterday. My husband also filled another tire that was flat yesterday. When we checked it this morning, it was still good! We had a little bit of trouble starting it, but we finally did. My husband went around and around and then pointed to me.

YouTube – (ours isn’t NEAR as shiny as this one.)

I’m always intimidated by new stuff. I’m afraid it will bolt, or I’ll do something stupid. I got on, it bolted, but my husband showed me how to slow it down. I mowed the rest of the front lawn and the back, gritting my teeth most of the way. It doesn’t turn quickly, so we’re adapting to that. Our weeds were really high and the mower wasn’t too happy with that, but the yard now looks as if someone cared, sometime. At the end of my turn I came too close to the tarp we have over a pallet of potting soil. The tarp was quickly taken into the blades of the mower. :0(  My husband had to cut it out. Thank goodness, it all came out and things were fine again.

We’re planning to mow again with the level lower after the rains come and go this week and the yard has a chance to dry again. We need to order a starter solenoid now, so it will start more easily, and a new muffler would be nice. Since the model we have is selling at WalMart for $1900+, and we got ours for $400, having to replace some things doesn’t seem that bad.

We rested a bit and then piled into the truck to go to Sharum’s, our local nursery again. Today we bought a replacement rose bush for the Rio Samba that died. This is something completely different. I’ll take pics when we get it planted.

We also bought 7 Wave Petunia plants for the deck. We got purple, burgundy, red, and white. We also brought some plant that has glow-in-the-dark bright neon orange flowers I HAVE to put somewhere. We got two large pots of impatiens for the front porch. I’m going to rest a bit and then get out and get planting! I love this time of year!

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Sharing

The West Australian

Yesterday when our good friend came over to get some help with a toy she had bought for her grandson, I had the wonderful pleasure of filling her hands with some things we had grown when she left.

I gave her a bright yellow iris, a pretty blue iris, and then some goodies from our garden – spinach, romaine lettuce, and red leaf lettuce.

The damage from the hailstorm is gone. We actually found some very small heads of broccoli in the garden! No actual veggies on the cauliflower plants yet. The radishes will be ready to harvest soon. I have one spaghetti squash plant that’s looking good, at least healthy leaf-wise. The onions are progressing. The tomato plants are all looking good.

One of the distinct joys of gardening is sharing with friends. Carla said she was going right home and fixing a salad. :0)

Life is great!

 

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

Our Garden is Recovering!

Natural New Age Mum- Little Miss from Gardening for Kids

Not long ago I posted pics of our garden, battered by a hail storm and eaten by ‘someone’ other than us. Happily, the garden seems to be rebounding! We’ve still had too much rain for me to start really trying to combat the insects, but I cut off and cleaned things out, bringing in what was good to eat and composting the rest.

Here are some pictures I took yesterday of the garden –

These are the tomato plants in what we call “the nook” – a planter we built beside the back porch behind the easternmost part of the house. The plants are more protected here from the gusty winds we get, so sometimes, these are the only tomato plants that do well. My husband built some super-sturdy things to which we’ll tie the plants as they grow, since the medium grade tomato cages collapsed with the weight of the plants last year.

 

The is the brick planter to the east of the house that we also converted to be a square foot planter. We now have six tomato plants, planted at three different times, hopefully to expand our tomato eating season.

These are newly transplanted celery plants. I cut the bottoms off celery bought at the store, plopped the bottoms in glasses of water, and put them on the window sill.

These are older celery plants. I have no clue if I’ll actually get celery to eat, but I’m sure having fun trying.

This is the largest spaghetti squash plant, also grown from seed from one I bought and put in soil in a pot on the window sill. Again, who knows if anything will come of it, but I’m like a kid at Christmas…

The romaine lettuce and spinach have rebounded. We’re still enjoying the harvest of broken leaves I gathered after the hailstorm, but the plants seem happy now.

The broccoli and cauliflower plants look pretty good. I don’t know if I’ll actually get much from them. Last year I had good-looking plants, but not much actual broccoli and cauliflower to harvest.

It has lightened up outside now, but the wind is really whipping our tree branches around. The forecast is for scattered showers (80% chance) the rest of the day today and into tomorrow, so I won’t be outside again, probably, until Tuesday, when I hope to get more flowers!

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A Productive Day

We built 3 brick planters to divide the driveway area from the front yard. (Seeing this, you can see what my first job with the power washer will be this year…)

We went to our local nursery because I saw some ground cover that had little blue flowers on it that was gorgeous. I called, and they said they had it! When we got there, though, they only had one, and it was in the same family of ground covers, but wasn’t what we wanted. The lady guided us to another area where they had lots of ground covers. We found Bugleweed, Chocolate Chip. I bought six plants, two for each of the planters. I’m hoping that they will spread, covering as much space as they can in the planters. They have tiny blue flowers with evergreen foliage. When they finish blooming, you just cut off the blooms and the foliage looks good all year round. They’re perennial, too!

 

I spent all afternoon yesterday pulling out huge, lacey-looking vine-y weeds with really sticky, small pods on them. They stuck to my gloves. I then pruned everything so that I could see where I could plant the new ground cover plants. My husband dug out a Rio Samba Rose bush that died. You can see the disturbed dirt area on the right end of the planter. They had already sold the 15 Rio Samba Rose bushes they had, so we’ll look for something else that’s wonderful. (We still have two healthy Rio Samba bushes.)

 

In the center of this picture you can see one of the new Bugleweed plants. You can see the slightly lavender flowers sticking up from the nice dark green foliage. I’m hoping these will be really happy, spreading more each year, so I can just dot some colorful annuals around each year.

We also got four mandevilla plants for the deck. Plants go really quickly here, so my husband said he was afraid these would be gone if we didn’t go ahead and get them. We still hadn’t gotten the old roots out of the planters from last year, so my husband said he would get them out while I worked in the brick planters in the front.

 

We got all red mandevilla this year. Usually we get two different colors, but we’re hoping having four red ones will invite the hummers to come check them out.

 

We have two mandevillas on either side of the deck.

Since it’s wet and rainy today, we can enjoy the feeling of a day well spent yesterday while enjoying glorious peace and quiet – a good day to enjoy a book.

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A Glorious Day

As I walked around the yard a few minutes ago, three of our four furry friends walked with me. (Bambi was inside asleep on his bed.) This is Abby.

 

Our hummingbird bird bath came on automatically as it should this morning with NO LEAKS! Hooray!!!!!!!

 

Camellias are starting to bloom.

 

This is Molly.

 

Rio Samba Rose Bush

 

Smoke and a hydrangea plant.

 

We’re enjoying clumps of blooms like this all around the yard and down one side of the driveway. I had hoped that the dark purple iris and the pale yellow iris would bloom at the same time, but the purple iris is gone before the yellow iris starts to bud.

 

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I Love Iris!

Awhile back I posted some pictures of a glorious new bright yellow iris we got from Nanna’s Garden in Charleston, Arkansas. I love this time of the year because we’re rich in iris! The deep purple iris is pretty well gone, only to be replaced by pale yellow iris and this lavender color.

 

My husband insists these are WHITE. Then, when we talk about it, he says these are white compared to the bright yellow new ones we have…

 

This is a nice blue iris blooming in the iris bed we made for the new ones from Nanna’s Garden.

 

This is the planter for the new iris. My plan is to thin these out, this year or next, to eventually have these all over the yard.

 

These are more of the bright yellow ones, plus some yellow with rust colored centers, plus a peek at some medium purple ones in the center of the picture.

 

These pale yellow iris are all over the yard now. We had so many at one point that, after no one wanted iris, I simply threw down the hill off the edge of the civilized part of the yard. To my amazement, many of them grew!

 

These are the ones I threw off the edge of the part of the yard we mow. (Molly is checking out a lizard as I took this picture.)

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First Spring Harvest – 2017

I spent another couple of hours getting the garden under control, and things are looking a lot better now. I cut off dead stuff, harvested some  broken stuff and leaves that were torn or had bites out of them,  but would still be good to eat. I washed everything carefully in the sink and then patted the leaves. I harvested two gallon bags of lettuce and two of spinach. This is the lettuce I harvested today. It’s mostly romaine.

 

And this is the spinach. I hoping that the roots are good and strong and that the fact I had to harvest way more than I would have normally won’t hurt the plants.  I got a pretty good workout with the 3-1/2 hours of gardening today, and I feel good that I managed to save a lot of what I had to remove from the plants for us to enjoy.

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

My Plants are Insulted

No Time for Flash Cards

My poor garden veggies have been/are under triple assault: hail, bugs, and weeds. I just came in from a session of weeding, cutting off broken limbs, harvesting some of the broken/hole-y stuff, pitching the rest. It looks like it will take several sessions to get my plants happy again.

We’ve had a lot of rain (with hail and other severe stuff), then good sun, resulting in all of the problems. I do pretty well for an hour out there, particularly with our new raised beds,  but I think it will take three or four more sessions to catch up. And THEN, guess what! We have more rain forecast for four days next week…

 

 

When you first glance at things, it doesn’t look very  bad.

 

 

The closer you get, though, the more you see.

Here you see a BUNCH of broken tops on the onions. This doesn’t matter as much on onions as it does on other plants.

The spinach has broken leaves, and someone is trying to eat the spinach before we do. I harvested a BUNCH of  broken leaves that will still make good eating, but not ‘pretty.’

This is one of the spaghetti squash plants. You can see the holes in the leaves. I don’t know if that will kill the actual squash trying to grow or not.

The romaine lettuce is basically really healthy, but you can see  broken and/or eaten leaves, plus little bitty weeds that have sprung up in the last couple of days.

Red lettuce leaf isn’t really a ‘pretty’ plant to my eye, but it tastes good IF it doesn’t get beaten down by hail and eaten by bugs…

The celery plants are still alive and kicking! You can again see the teeny tiny weeds, though.

I’ll try to get back out several times today and again tomorrow. The rains aren’t supposed to start until late tomorrow night – and hopefully, we won’t have hail this time…

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Small Setback

Clover Gazette – WordPress.com

We had hail in at least a couple of the thunderstorms a couple of nights ago. The day following was too wet and cold to play out in the garden, so I didn’t bet back to it until yesterday.

The hail did a number on my tender veggie plants. :0(

Many of the leaves on the lettuces and spinach are broken off. I’m going to spend some time this afternoon finishing weeding, but also harvesting some of the sweet, broken leaves. I’m hoping that the roots are still robust and that improving weather will bring them back to full health in a few days or a week.

Fingers crossed.

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

Trip Around the Yard

My husband has three clematis plants he’s trying to nurture. This year they seem to be happy. Were walking around the yard this morning and found these.

 

Our purple iris are still blooming nicely in clumps around the yard while yellow iris are just now starting to bloom.

 

These are growing down one side of the driveway. There are a couple more ‘drifts’ further on down, but this is the main one.

 

This is one of our Rio Samba rose bushes. I cut them back harshly this past year because of various problems. I didn’t know whether they would live through my efforts or not. One of them didn’t, but two of them did.

 

 

 

And the pale yellow iris have started.

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Garden Progress

Delightful Childrens’ Books

Isn’t this little guy a cutie?

I can’t believe how much our garden has spurted with growth in just the past few days. Of course, we’ve had a lot of rain and some good sunshine, but I’m still shocked.

 

This is the north side of the garden.

 

And this is the south.

 

This gives you an idea of the whole garden (except for the tomatoes).

 

Spinach

 

This is one of the spaghetti squash I grew from seed on the window sill.

 

Romaine lettuce and spinach.

 

Red leaf lettuce.

 

Radishes

 

Celery plants grown from the ends cut off celery I bought at the store.

I’m really encouraged so far. I’m hoping for a good harvest this year.

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Yellow Iris

This is one of the new iris we bought and planted a couple of years ago. We bought it online from a lady who specializes in growing and selling iris down the road from us in Charleston, Arkansas. Nanna’s Iris Garden

I saw it blooming this morning. It was supposed to rain all day – sometimes with thunderstorms – so I brought it into the house.

 

We have some yellow iris around the yard trying to bloom now, but my husband isn’t impressed with them. He says they’re ‘white,’ because the yellow is pale. This one, he likes! And who wouldn’t?

Happy spring, everyone!

 

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

Rodales Organic Life

 

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.[1]”

 

I’ve liked this rhyme since I was a child, but I no longer garden by it. Now my garden is not only the wonderful square foot gardening, started by Mel Bartholomew, allowing people like us to bypass our awful, rocky ridge line soil, having a chance to enjoy a garden, but now I have a RAISED BED square foot garden.

This lady is hopelessly spoiled now. I can plant, water, weed, and harvest – all without having to bend over double or get up and down endless times off my knees. I have SQUARES of plants now, rather than rows, and the plants seem very happy about it.

 

Our total garden is approximately 25 feet long and 15 feet wide. It’s surrounded by fencing, and then chicken wire around the bottom. We have all kinds of critters roaming around because of living on top of a ridge line, outside the city limits, in a more wooded area, so we have deer, possums, raccoons, rabbits, roadrunners, etc., who need to be kept out of the garden. We have a neon pink surveyors tape around the middle of the fencing to let deer know the garden is there before they run into it.

 

The garden has six 4 foot by 4 foot ‘boxes’ that are 8″ deep on metal support tables. They’re about chest high. We then marked off sections with stretchy string. I had some little bitty weeds trying to get a foothold in the garden yesterday. I weeded the whole thing in about 45 minutes with little effort, other than trying to make sure I got all the ones I could see out.

 

We have our irrigation system on a timer that goes for 5 minutes at 5:00 daily right now. We can change this any time it’s needed.

Last year I had some beautiful broccoli and cauliflower LEAVES, but didn’t get a lot of actual VEGGIES from the plants. I have no clue why. I’m hoping for some good eating this year. I’m also trying to grow celery and spaghetti squash for the first time this year.

So, you see why this lady is spoiled beyond repair now, happy as a clam, playing in my plants, and looking forward to eating romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, radishes, spaghetti squash, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and tomatoes this year!

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

Hope for the Future

PositiveHitsper via Chrissie Anderson Peters

When I feel down, I plant something.

When I’m anxious about the future, I plant something.

When I’m frustrated at the world around me, I plant something.

When I’m angry and hurt, I plant something.

When I’m eager to make a difference, I plant something.

Today I planted two bulbs that my husband wanted when he saw the picture. We looked at the picture, then looked at each other and smiled.  Here is what I planted –

Who could feel bad when there is hope that this will bloom?

 

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Blooming Its Heart Out

My husband came into the kitchen, saying, “You’ve got to take some pictures of the azalea. It’s blooming its heart out.”

 

I particularly love the color of this one. Several others around the yard aren’t doing well, but THIS one is really singing now.

 

In the next planter over, We have big buds on our camellia plant. Every year it tries to give us a really nice display of showy white flowers, but severe weather beats it to a pulp. Maybe this year – although the forecast is for severe weather tonight – we’re southeast of Fort Smith in the orange blob…

I hope you’re having a beautiful day wherever you are.

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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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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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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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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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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature

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.

ws-celery

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

 

 

ws-celery2

Three more celery plants.

 

ws-celeryandspaghettisquash

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.

 

ws-longtimeplant

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!

 

ws-spaghettisquash

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

 

 

ws-spinach

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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Filed under Gardening, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds