Category Archives: Gardening

Seeds and Kindness

Karen Salmansohn via Stephanie Youmans Wilson

When we were doing errands yesterday, I saw that Yeager’s already had onions and some other plants out in the parking lot!  I think March 1st will be the earliest I can plant here without excessive worrying about freezing.

I MAY plant onion sets in one of our raised bed planters, though. I can cover one planter with a king-sized sheet.

If it will just warm up a bit, I’ll get out and prepare the raised beds for early spring plants. (Right now it’s 35 degrees F – MUCH too brisk (even with some sunshine) for this old lady to get out there.

Otherwise, I can prepare seed starters in the greenhouse so they’ll be ready to receive seeds. I want to get lettuce and spinach started for sure, around March 1st. I think they’ll stay warm enough in there. We’ll see.

 

This is what the raised bed planters look like when they’re ready for planting. Right now they’re full of weeds and the string rotted in the sun. :0)

This is our greenhouse. I’m learning slowly how to best use it. We don’t have heat, so I can’t winter over plants, but I CAN extend the growing season from early spring through late fall.

I’m itching to get started and will show you more plans as I get them going.  Did I tell you I’m more than ready for Spring?

Leave a comment

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

New Careers?

My husband and I have decided to consider becoming weather forecasters post-retirement. I say this because –

  • we FINISHED the demolition of the 2nd failed brick planter, AND
  • we also put a tarp over my cement mixer behind the shop that we use to mix Mel’s Mix (the special soil replacement ingredients we use in our raised bed square foot planters

Because of these two things, we can practically assure everyone that the 40% chance we had of rain tomorrow morning is no longer applicable.

If we HADN’T finished and the soil wasn’t covered up, we would have had a deluge. We have proved this several times before in the 30+ years we’ve lived here. :0)

I’m thinking of calling our local weather guys and girls and letting them know there should be a change in the forecast….

Here is the 2nd 8 foot x 1-1/2 foot demolished-waiting-for-spring-for-us-to-rebuild-the-planter.

We did the work today in record time because the plant roots remaining weren’t completely root-bound and also we learned the best tools to use and techniques on the FIRST failed planter we demolished.

 

I hope the other people who live in our area weren’t depending on it raining tomorrow…. :0)

2 Comments

Filed under Gardening, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Lewis projects, Mother Nature

Chomping at the Bit!

It’s too cold outside yet, and I don’t have a heater in the greenhouse, so I can’t start any seeds yet, but NEXT month I’m hoping I can get a head start on the spring planting season.

I’m going through my seeds, thinking I’ll start with lettuce, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower this time.

 

I would really love to have some healthy plants grown in my own greenhouse to transplant into our raised bed, square foot garden this spring, instead of having to buy plants locally. I’m reading everything I can get my hands on about greenhouses. The problem is that most of the information is written by people who live in pretty cold parts of the U.S.

My experience so far is that unless I have a heater (and we would have to keep it running 24/7 with a 350 foot extension cord running from the house out to the greenhouse) it’s too cold to start anything there yet. We tend to go from winter to way too hot in rapid succession, and then I have trouble – even with the extension cord, an exhaust fan, and the opposite people door open, to keep it COOL enough! So I’m scouring the net trying to find information that will help me deal with the extremes we have in Arkansas.

 

I’m hoping to start some plants the 1st of March. I’ll post pics of my efforts.

 

This is a picture of my spring garden last year in the raised bed planters my husband and I made. There are SIX 4’x4′ planters held up by angle iron ‘tables’ about my chest height. They allow me to weed, plant, and harvest without having to get up and down a million times or get down on hands and knees.

 

This picture gives you another view of the planters. We also used some netting at the end of July and through August when the sun tries to boil plants right in the ground. You can see the hoses and the sprinklers we use to water the plants automatically. They are attached to an outdoor faucet on a timer.

The planters are filled with Mel’s Mix (combination of peat moss, vermiculite and as many different composts as you can find.) We mix the ingredients together in a portable cement mixer and then bring the mix into the planters to top off. Then we stretch string across in two directions to make the ‘squares’ for planting.

I’m starting to plan where the plants will go.  It’s best if you rotate crops in this set up, just as you would if you were planting in the ground. We follow the Square Foot Garden book by Mel Bartholomew, where he suggests how many plants to plant in each square. He suggests one plant per square for things like broccoli, 4 per square for lettuce, 9 for other plants, and 16 for radishes.  We space them wider than he suggests, having healthier plants that way. (He tends his garden every day, sometimes even more. Since we’re not that conscientious, wider works better for us.)  He also suggests that you place like plants away from each other – such as one broccoli, then lettuce, then radishes, then cauliflower in a row to avoid transmission of bugs or any other problems from one plant to another.

I made a grid and I fill them in with what I’m planting where. I use the old one to figure out a new plan for the next ‘crop,’ trying not to plant the broccoli in the same squares as I did the last time.

We have converted two brick planters on the other side of the house to be tomato planters.

I’m at the stage of being excited and doing lots of research and planning.

If you have a greenhouse or do square foot gardening and have tips or suggestions, I would LOVE to hear them!

Can you tell I’m ready for spring? :0)

4 Comments

Filed under Arkansas, doing what you love, Dreams, Favorite Things, Gardening, greenhouse, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, learning new things, opportunities, quality of life, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse, taking care of yourself

Talent, Creativity, PLUS a Green Thumb!

RJ Bennett – LinkedIn

Leave a comment

Filed under Gardening, R.J. Bennett

Planter Project

The brick-lined rectangular slab on the right used to be a planter. We built it several years ago, along with 13 others, and all of a sudden it wasn’t happy, its sides bowing out a bit. One other planter just like it at the opposite end of the house needs to come down, too.

We weren’t planning to do anything about this until the spring. :0(

My husband decided he would dig out one of the hydrangea bushes in it, and the whole front of the planter collapsed, forcing us to get things to a reasonable point before our winter got serious. We lucked out, getting a few days of spring-like weather, so we knocked down the other bricks, hauled them to behind the well house where we stacked them up, dug out the potting soil and put it on the tarp to the left of the photo. We spent part of several days demolishing the planter. We’re a bit long-in-the-tooth now and sledge-hammering, shoveling, and hauling bricks tires us out pretty quickly.

We got to the bottom layer of bricks, but no matter what we used, they wouldn’t budge. This means we’ll do the brick laying to rebuild the planter ourselves, since no pro would touch it. We wrapped up the potting soil in the tarp, got another one to put on the top and held it down with bricks – to save as much of the potting soil as we can.  Just in time,  since the rains came and now we have the smallest rectangular ‘lake’ in the world – the bricks holding the water in on top of the concrete slab.

We bought replacement bricks several months back, so when the weather is cooperative and warm enough for the mortar to set well, we’ll try to demolish the other wounded planter and then get busy with the rebuilding. Since we’re now seriously heading into winter, this will probably be it on the planter project until the spring.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gardening, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Lewis projects

Greenhouse Update

This is my greenhouse. My husband and I built it, following some plans he found on the net. It has a dirt floor covered with two layers of heavy black plastic to discourage weed growth. It has a people door in one end and an exhaust fan on the other. We built ‘tables’ all the way around with room under them for storage, plus one corner for taller things, like a trash can full of Mel’s Mix.

 

I think most people who build greenhouses are concerned about warmth. We live in Arkansas and the big concern here is trying to keep our plants from burning up inside! I manage as well as I can with the exhaust fan which comes on automatically when the temperature gets too high in there. I also prop the door open on the opposite end. In order to run the exhaust fan or turn on a light, I string about 300 feet of outdoor heavy-duty extension cord from the house to the greenhouse. We don’t have heat or air conditioning, so the main thing I’m trying to do is extend the growing season.

My plan is to start seeds for cool crops, such as lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. around March 1st or so, with the hope that when it’s the proper time to plant them outside in my raised bed, square foot garden, I’ll have healthy plants to transfer.  I’m really new at this, so everything is an experiment, and I’m reading everything I can get my hands on trying to figure out how to do things.

 

Our Garden –

We started out with a square foot garden on the ground. We live on top of a ridge line and had to truck in the soil to make a small space around the house for a ‘yard’ when we built over 30 years ago. The square foot garden allows you to build a garden plot on top of your existing soil using Mel’s Mix to bypass any soil problems. (Mel’s Mix is a combination of peat moss, vermiculite, and as many different kinds of compost as you can find. We use mushroom, barnyard, cotton burr, and some made by us.)

As I avoid getting down on my hands and knees – and up again – as much as possible, my husband and I decided to build a raised bed square foot garden. I now have 6 ‘boxes’ (4’x4’x12″) that are about at my chest level with a fence around it. I can add more Mel’s Mix, plant, weed, and harvest standing up! I mark the squares with stretched string and plant according to Mel’s suggestions. (Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew). We’ve had better luck with our veggie garden than ever before. We converted two brick planters close to the house to be square foot planters, too, and plant our tomatoes in those.

Each season I’m learning more and more about what I’m trying to do. So far, it’s mostly learning what NOT to do again, but I AM making progress. We were able to enjoy several different kinds of lettuce, spinach, a bit of broccoli and cauliflower, radishes, some celery, squash, and more during the spring. We were able to keep things alive during the summer, fall, and even a bit into the winter.

I started some lettuce plants in the greenhouse this fall because we had a cold snap super early. They did well, but then the greenhouse was getting too cold, so I transferred the plants into my dining area.  I was able to harvest lettuce almost all the way through December.

Now all is in hiatus because of the weather. I’m using the time, reading and scheming on how I’ll start the next season.

3 Comments

Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, greenhouse, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

Indoor Veggie Garden

GrowVeg.com

I harvested the last of my lettuce leaves this morning and moved the plants out to the garden to clean up a bit later. We had a nice crop this year. I was especially pleased with the plants I started in the greenhouse for the first time. When we had our cold snap, I brought in three plants to live in the dining area. That may sound weird, but we have no heat in the greenhouse and the garage is too cold for the plants, too. The dining area is technically too warm, but I was able to keep the plants alive and producing for another month.

Now I have some celery plants still growing. I have no clue what I’m doing, but I found an article on the net I’ll study and see if I can keep the plants alive long enough to actually produce some edible celery, rather than just some nice looking plants.

I’ll share what I find in the article, just in case you’d like to try this.

Happy crunches for us!

Leave a comment

Filed under Gardening, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

Storm

We had a really big storm yesterday evening, all night, and into the morning with lots and lots of rain, strong, gusty winds, lightning, thunder, and flying hairballs. We were fine inside, but I was worried about what we would find outside this morning.

I was most worried that our greenhouse would be damaged or gone. Thankfully, it came through fine. I just spent an hour securing the greenhouse cover where the wind was whipping it around. I did fine for awhile, then the stapler jammed. I brought it in to my fix-it husband, who declared it unrepairable. I got another from the shop, but it was so stiff my arthritic hands were screaming, so we’ll try to find a kinder-to-old-folks staple gun soon.

 

I’ve brought everything that was in the greenhouse inside now, since we’re having regular freezes and we have no heat out there.

 

Here is what I brought into the dining area – some tall lettuce plants that thankfully haven’t bolted yet, some little celery plants in soil in front of the lettuce plants, and some new celery plants in water in the while bowl  beside the window. I’m going to continue harvesting lettuce for our salads. I have no clue what I’m doing with the celery, but I’m having a blast watching them grow. :0)

Leave a comment

Filed under Gardening, greenhouse, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

Indoor Garden

These are the plants I brought in from the greenhouse before we had our freeze. (Our greenhouse isn’t heated, so the plants would have died.)

 

Lettuce is a cool weather plant, bolting when it gets too warm. I had no idea whether I would be prolonging the life of my lettuce plants when I brought them into our heated home, but at least I knew they wouldn’t freeze. I’ve been harvesting enough to add to our salads in the evenings. So far, so good!

Also shown are celery plants. All I’ve managed so far is some reasonably nice-looking plants. I’m hoping these will live long enough for me to ‘tie them up’ as a book suggested I do to encourage them to grow stalks in a cluster as they do when you find them in the store. It’s fun to try, whether it works out or not. :0)

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Gardening, greenhouse, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

Whew!

Kinderling Kids Radio

I just came in from my third session in the yard cleaning out planters, pruning, etc. I’m about to do some SERIOUS eating (lunch) and RELAXING for awhile. I might even nod off.

I feel good that I finished out in the yard – though not even THINKING about the leaf mulching yet – because we have an 80% chance of rain all day tomorrow with colder, yuckier days after.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gardening

A Perfect Day

Angie’s List

We aren’t doing anything special for Thanksgiving this year.  We are thankful to be enjoying what we call a “main meal salad” this evening.

Today we have the PERFECT day to be outside cutting down things that froze during the last cold snap, pruning plants, and cleaning out for the winter. I’ve done one session out there so far today, cleaning out the brick planters that run across the front of the house. Now I’m working on the trio of 8 foot brick planters that go between our yard and the top of our driveway. I’m hoping to finish that, plus cleaning up and winterizing the planters on the deck before I run out of time, daylight, and energy today.

It’s supposed to be rainy tomorrow, followed by colder weather. so I’m pushing myself a bit to get the pruning and cleaning out done today, saving the leaf mulching for other days after the leaves dry out again.

The sun is shining, the doggies go outside and play with each other or scurry around, finding interesting things to smell, dig up, or otherwise chase, plus bringing bones of deer in the yard for a good chew. (I never know where they find them, or what happened that the sweet deer are gone, but the doggies never fail to find the bones and bring them home, chewing on them until MEAN OLD MOMMA takes them away and disposes of them.)

I’ve been resting awhile after my first session outside. I’m about to do another.

I hope you’re enjoying your day, too!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Gardening

Making “Lemonade…”

I’m sad that all our flowers and most everything else died overnight due to the cold snap and sudden hard freeze.

Deciding to try to ‘make lemonade’ from the carnage, I just finished cleaning out the tomato plants in the two brick planters close to the house that we converted into ‘square foot garden’ planters, taking out all the soil and replacing it with Mel’s Mix. (combo of peat moss, vermiculite, and three kinds of compost: mushroom, barnyard, and cotton seed).

As you can see, we had several tomatoes that hadn’t had a chance to ripen.

I’m going to wrap them in newspaper and put them in the pantry, hoping that they might still ripen.  I was successful with this one year, and a dismal failure another year, but I love to try. :0)

The sun is shining brightly, but it’s cold out there, with a good breeze, so I’m doing short sessions outside and then coming in to warm up in-between. I don’t know how much I can get cleaned out today, but hopefully I can get two or three sessions in.

Leave a comment

Filed under exercise, Gardening

Cold Snap :0(

It’s a good thing that I took pics of the remaining flowers and shared them with you because we had a cold snap last night and all is gone now. These were the black elephant ear and impatiens.

 

Not sure yet about the roses. We may have Indian Summer here and may still get some blooms, but the impatiens are definitely gone.

 

The tomato plants are also gone.

 

I lucked out, mostly, in the greenhouse. I lost all the tomato sucker plants, but the lettuce and celery plants are still with us. My husband agreed that we could bring whatever was still alive in the greenhouse inside. I set up a card table in the dining area and used the wheelbarrow to bring all the plants in. I cleaned up the greenhouse and it will be quiet out there until I start thinking about starting seeds and plants out there to hopefully get a jump on my spring square foot garden.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gardening, greenhouse, Mother Nature, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

Cherishing Blooms

 

Our weather forecast is for cold waves and lower temperatures, some down near, or to, freezing starting Friday, so I went around the yard taking pics of what will probably be our last blooms of the season. I’m sad because the rose buds I took pics of yesterday may not have time to bloom.

 

I love impatiens, and they really seem to like it on the north side of our house. I’m especially pleased that they like sun, too, so we can plant them in several places around the yard.

 

 

My friend, Kay, gave me this black elephant ear plant for my birthday this year. I just love it, and it seems to like it beside the front door. It’s also a bit protected from the wind we get up here on top of our ridge line.

 

 

I made my husband come outside to see his clematis. He thought they were finished for the year several weeks ago. He was really happy to see this!

 

A last bloom on a second clematis plant.

 

 

Wave petunias

 

And more wave petunias. By Friday or so, all of these will probably be gone. We sure enjoyed the nice display.

Leave a comment

Filed under Favorite Things, Gardening, Mother Nature

Rose Buds

Our growing season has been weird this year – wetter than normal, then hot, then wet, then cold….. I was really pleased to see that the roses, which have not been very showy this season, have NOW put on buds and are ready to bloom.

 

I’ll try to get pics when the roses are blooming, but I wanted to share the promise of them.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Favorite Things, Gardening

1st Harvest from the Greenhouse!

It’s the 6th of November and I gathered the first harvest of lettuce from my fall plantings.  We’ll enjoy some of it in our salad for dinner tonight! This is Iceberg Head Lettuce. Left in the garden in the early spring, it eventually forms a head in the center of the plant, but I love eating the loose outer leaves until the head forms. I have no idea if these plants will form a head in the greenhouse or not.

 

Here’s another view of the harvest for today.

Since we’re having wave after wave of cold fronts moving through, with rain and significantly cooler weather each time, I coiled up the long extension cord that runs from the back of the house out to the greenhouse to power the exhaust fan that is on automatic to turn on when the temperature reaches 80 inside the greenhouse, and the second fan I usually keep running. We can also run lights out there, but usually don’t. The cord is now inside the greenhouse until early spring.

Besides the lettuce, I still have some celery that isn’t making stalks yet, but is still looking good (more on the window sill that will either come out to the greenhouse or stay in the house, depending on whether it’s starting to freeze on a regular basis or not, plus tomato suckers I planted. I still have several that are alive. I’m hoping to bring the healthiest looking ones inside for the winter.

I have no clue what I’m doing, but I’m having a blast with this experiment. :0)

Leave a comment

Filed under Gardening, greenhouse, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

Lewis Greenhouse

Today when I went out to the greenhouse, I got everything watered and then concentrated on cleaning things up a bit. One thing led to another and the time flew. I spent over an hour puttering around.

It’s amazing how much there is to do out there! The 6mm black stuff we spread on the floor is deteriorating quickly because of sun and water. I’ve been moving old welcome mats out there to cover up the tears as much as possible to prevent me inadvertently catching a toe and tearing it more. There was a bunch of SAND in there, though. How does that happen? Anyway I swept up a BUNCH of ‘stuff’ from the floor and spread out the mats again. I neatened up the supplies and then brought a large trash can full of trash to the garage. I took the 2-gallon spray container of EIGHT out to spray ants INSIDE my greenhouse. I hosed them down well, and then hit other areas between the greenhouse and the house on the way back.

I’ve had to get rid of tomato suckers that didn’t make it, but a surprising number are still alive! I have four celery plants that seem to be doing well, and the iceberg head lettuce is looking good. I haven’t started harvesting yet, but will soon.

We supposed to get rain tonight and all day tomorrow with cooler temperatures, so I wanted to get the greenhouse in reasonable shape before we get it. The way the wind is blowing, with dark clouds above, we may get it before this evening.

I hope you’re getting to enjoy the weather, too.

2 Comments

Filed under Gardening, greenhouse, Mother Nature, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

A Beautiful Day

I was out working in the yard and took some pics of our remaining flowers.  This is the black elephant ear my friend, Kay, gave me.

 

The Rio Samba rose only has one bloom on it now, but the impatiens around the bottom is still happy.

 

And these are on the left side of the front door.

 

And the right side. (You can tell that we have mainly shade around the front door on the north side of the house.)

 

 

A sweet hydrangea bloom.

Otherwise, I lopped off a BUNCH of branches between the house and the shop. We had to add air to a tire in the Vette this morning before going grocery shopping, and some branches were reaching out, trying to scratch the car. They’re gone now. :0)

Leave a comment

Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood

Fun in the Greenhouse – October 27, 2018

This is my greenhouse. I’m a bit embarrassed to tell you that I haven’t done much with it until recently. We run electricity out there with two super-long extension cords so that we can run the exhaust fan and a secondary fan, plus a light, if needed, but we don’t have cooling or heat, due to the expense.

I’ve been trying to get it set up all summer long, but we actually lost a regular, bulb-type thermometer out there due to excess heat, even with both fans on and the door open. The thing simply blew its top – spewing the red stuff all over the place, as if someone with super colorful blood had died out there. The thermometer stopped at 120 degrees F., so I assume it was hotter than that. Needless to say, the heat in there was not conducive to me spending time out there, or even thinking about trying to grow anything.

Now that our temperatures have cooled off, I’m having so much fun trying to see what I can do!  I have iceberg head lettuce growing (one set of plants bought when they were very small, and the other set bought when they were really leggy – almost too much to get planted.) I was very lucky to get those, so I’m doing what I can with them.

The three large pots hold the leggy lettuce plants. The 4 smaller pots have celery I started indoors.

 

The two pots on the right at the top of the picture are what remains of the small lettuce plants. The rest are tomato suckers I gathered and planted.

These are also tomato sucker plants. I have no clue what I’m doing, but I’m having a blast.

I could go ahead and start cutting the outer lettuce leaves for our dinner salads, but the plants are looking so pretty I want to give them more time before I start harvesting. I’m thinking about starting some radish seeds, too.

Leave a comment

Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, greenhouse, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

Fun in the Greenhouse

I had a lot of fun working in the greenhouse this morning. I’m reading a book, Greenhouse Gardening – A Beginner’s Guide by Jason Johns to try to figure out what I’m doing. :0)

It FINALLY quit raining today, so I’ve been out there and back again several times. It was 90 degrees in there this morning, so I’ve propped open the door, hooked up the electricity so the exhaust fan turns on automatically, and turned on the 2nd fan.

On the left side of this picture, are new tomato suckers I planted today. A couple of them were large, so they’re in the larger pots. To the right you can see the two smaller lettuce plants I planted a couple of weeks ago. They’re not thriving, but they are still alive. In front of them are more tomato suckers I started today.

I moved the six leggy lettuce plants into much larger pots to give them room to spread out. They’re looking really healthy. I’ll start cutting outer leaves from each of the plants for dinner salads soon. In front of the two big pots on the left, You can see the celery plants I started in the house from cuttings from celery I bought at the store.  In front of the pot on the right are more tomato sucker plants.

I just read about tomato plants in my greenhouse book. He suggests they need a LOT of air circulation around each plant, so I think I’ll go back out and move them from the 4 and six-pack planters to each in a 3-4″ pot to give them the best chance possible.

 

I’m like a kid at Christmas with the lettuce plants. I can’t wait to be able to bring leaves in and bite them!

2 Comments

Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, greenhouse, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, learning new things, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

Fall Greenhouse Project Report 10-15-2018

The two plants on the left are the small iceberg head lettuce plants I bought recently. They’re still alive, but I can’t say they’re thriving. The plants on the right are the tomato suckers I gathered and planted last week. As you can see, they’re still alive, too. :0)

These are the longer, leggy-looking iceberg head lettuce plants I found several days later. I planted them as deeply as I could, trying to have the soil support the plants as much as possible. They seem to be doing really well. I’m watering the saucers under the plants, rather than the plants themselves, thinking the plants will draw the water up if they’re thirsty.

 

This is looking down at one of the lettuce plants. I’m so pleased so see lots of activity.

The outside temperature this morning is 45 degrees F.  The temp in the greenhouse was between 55 and 60. I still have the electricity hooked up, so the exhaust fan can turn on if it wants to, but I’m not expecting that any time soon. If we’re having anything beyond a temporary cold snap, I’ll probably disconnect the extension cord that runs all the way across the yard from the greenhouse to the back of our home.

In another day or two, if things still look good, I’ll harvest a few leaves of lettuce for our dinner salad!

2 Comments

Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, greenhouse, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

Progress in the Greenhouse!

I found these suckers on a tomato plant and replanted them in the greenhouse. I’ll be trying to get lots of others started, as it’s too cool outside now for the tomato plants to create ripe tomatoes. I’m HOPING that I can either have tomato plants ready to replant in the planters in the spring, or even have a ripe tomato or two to enjoy! So far, these seem to be doing well.

Yesterday I turned off the second fan and closed the greenhouse door. The exhaust fan is still hooked up and will turn on if the temp gets over 80 degrees in there.

 

These are the really small lettuce plants I planted about a week ago. They’re still alive, but aren’t having an explosive growth.

 

I took TWO shots of the ‘leggy lettuce’ I planted several days after the small ones. Here you can see how large they are compared to the smaller one on the right.

 

If they continue to do this well, I’ll start carefully cutting larger leaves to include in our dinner salads!

I also have several celery plants I’ll bring out to see how they do. :0)

13 Comments

Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, greenhouse, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, opportunities, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

It’s Said That a Sucker is Born Every Minute…

Linn Acres Farm

Since our weather is cooling off – finally – here in Greenwood, Arkansas – I’m getting more serious about starting things in the greenhouse.

I told you recently I started some iceberg head lettuce plants. My plants are doing well so far. I just went out and watered the saucers under the plants this afternoon, and the plants seem happy with this procedure. The exhaust fan was on – signaling that cooling was needed in the greenhouse. I still have the secondary fan on and the door on the opposite end of the greenhouse open to encourage as much air flow as possible.

Today while watering, I noticed that fire ants were swarming again on the floor of the greenhouse, so I went back to the garage and mixed up more EIGHT bug spray. I really love this stuff! It kills the bugs while being safe for plants and animals, so I don’t have to worry that our pets will come sniff or come in contact with the wet spray. I also can spray the plants in our raised bed planters in the square foot garden when needed without worrying about the residue on the edible plants.

I sprayed ants, which had shown new ‘homes’ in several places, and then found and planted one six-pack of tomato suckers. The picture above shows what a sucker is. You can plant these and a whole new tomato plant is possible. I’m going to plant a whole bunch of these because I have no clue what I’m doing and expect to lose a lot of the plants. If I can get SOME to survive, though, I may actually get some ripe tomatoes before we have a hard freeze!

I’ll try to accomplish something outside daily now that the weather is ‘my kind of weather.’ Maybe it’ll last long enough I can get things under good control for the winter! :0)

Leave a comment

Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, doing what you love, Gardening, greenhouse, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Greenhouse Lettuce Experiment

 

 

I’m a newbie at growing things in my greenhouse. My husband and I built this last spring. By the time we finished, it was already time to plant things in our raised bed square foot garden, so I didn’t do anything but try to get things into the greenhouse in preparation for planting later. As the spring went into summer, I found that the temperature inside the greenhouse was WAAAAAY too hot – no matter how many fans I ran – to grow anything then.

Now that our temperatures are finally cooling down some, I got the last of the available lettuce plants for sale in town in order to TRY to get them to grow in the greenhouse. I’m hoping that I can keep them alive and we can enjoy fresh iceberg head lettuce and maybe a tomato or two before we get hard freezes. (Today it’s raining, but I’m trying to gather some suckers from our remaining tomato plants to start out there.

The main purpose of the greenhouse is to extend the growing season as much as I can, mainly by starting seeds in there at the first of March, plus maybe getting some plants from the local stores before it’s technically warm enough to start them in the garden. If I can do that, I’ll be a very happy camper, indeed.

I’m trying to give the plants all the water they need by filling the terra cotta and/or faux terra cotta saucers under the pots, rather than watering the pots directly, hoping that the plants will draw up what they need and be happy. So far, so good.

As soon as I can find and get the tomato suckers planted, I’ll give you a progress report.

Leave a comment

Filed under Challenges, Favorite Things, Gardening, greenhouse, Healthy Eating, opportunities, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

Greenhouse News

These are the smaller iceberg head lettuce plants from several days ago. I lost one overnight, but these two still seem to be viable.

The are the larger, leggy plants I planted yesterday. I’m pleased to see these are still alive. I’ve decided to pour water in the bottom of the saucers and let the plants draw the water up, rather than watering from the top down.

 

This is one side of the greenhouse.

This is the opposite side.

The far end.

The door end.


The side from outside.

Amber, my greenhouse helper.

Later, I’ll try to find tomato sucker plants.

Leave a comment

Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, Gardening, greenhouse, Healthy Eating, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

Lettuce Plants!

Crestock.com

I told you I planted 5 iceberg head lettuce plants recently. Three of them are still alive. They’re really small, but they’re better than NO lettuce plants. Today I found a six-pack of some really leggy iceberg lettuce plants and snapped them up. I just came in from planting them in the greenhouse.

I still have everything open out there, with the exhaust fan coming on when it gets too hot and a 2nd fan on all the time. The door on the opposite end of the greenhouse is propped open with a metal chair. The thermometer said between 95 and 100 degrees when I planted the lettuce. I’m not sure if the sweet plants will live with it that hot out there, but the evenings are cool and some cooler weather is on the way.

Tomorrow, if it isn’t raining, I’ll try to find suckers on my tomato plants and get them started in the greenhouse too.

This is a grand ‘fall’ experiment. I would really love to have lettuce and tomatoes until it freezes really hard here. That MIGHT be as late as February, if we’re lucky. Then around the first of March, I’ll start some plants for the spring garden!

I’m reading everything I can find on how to start and grow plants in my greenhouse. Frustratingly, most are written for people who are trying to keep their plants WARM, rather than having them boil to death, as mine have. I’ll keep reading, because I would really like to extend our growing seasons as long as possible.

When I get the tomato sucker plants going, I’ll try to get some pics for you.

Leave a comment

Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, greenhouse, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, learning new things, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

3rd (and Last) Session in the Yard Today

For my third session in the yard today, I pruned our rose bushes. I weeded around them, too, and GUESS WHAT! – encountered more swarming ants! I went and got the sprayer and hosed them down well. I only got bitten in one session today, on my left calf, and that’s GREAT with all the hostiles I encountered.

 

I then got the leaf blower and cleaned off the front porch, pad, sidewalk, and then the back sidewalk, and finally the garage pad before declaring and end to the outside work today.

I rested a bit, drank more water, then we had lunch – on the nice, clean porch! :0)

Finally, I just did a session of yoga.

Arlindo Martins

I have a back ache after all the work in the yard. I was able to lessen it a lot with all the stretching. I’ll take some Advil to finish things off and then rest again before dinner.

I got a good amount of exercise done today (for me) and the yard and greenhouse are under better control now.

I’m looking forward to relaxing a bunch and enjoying taped TV or a movie tonight – and definitely a good night’s sleep.

I hope you had a good Sunday, too.

Leave a comment

Filed under exercise, Gardening, Housekeeping - Maintenance

2nd Session in the Yard

I started out to the deck, going out the back door. I noticed that there was Amber hair and dirt all over the floor on the porch, so I swept that out. I still need to clean the table so that we can eat out there, now that things are cooling off some.  The plywood across the back is to keep Amber from getting too enthusiastic in wanting to chase something in the yard. She stands up and props her front feet up on the upper edge of the plywood and barks.

 

There is a very short period of time when it’s glorious on our porch to sit and share a meal. Right now is one of them, so I’m planning to serve our lunch out there today. :0)

 

We’re enjoying the last flowers of the year. These are on the deck, and they just fill you up as you walk out there!

 

Amber and Abby supervised my sweeping off of the deck and spraying the planters for ants again. We cooked out last night, enjoying a super delicious “flex” meal of grilled steak and baked potatoes.

 

 

Then I did another session in the greenhouse. I swept the floor as well as I could. The top level of weed barrier is decaying and breaking up in the sun, so it’s kind of a mess out there right now. I’m going to do this in stages, since I’m still having to stop and spray for ants over and over.

 

I sprayed for ants again inside the greenhouse, cleaned up a few areas, and will do another session later.

 

This is the other side of the greenhouse.

 

And these are the head iceberg lettuce plants I planted today. It would be truly wonderful if these are happy and we can harvest fresh lettuce during the fall and early winter.  The exhaust fan is coming on and going off as it is happy with the temperature in there. I left the door opposite propped open and left the second fan on.

2 Comments

Filed under Gardening, greenhouse, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

First Session in the Yard

First thing this morning I was thankful the greenhouse was still up and functional. We’ve had a LOT of wind and rain the past few weeks, so the whole thing could have simple blown over the barbed wire fence and into the next acreage. The top could have torn or blown off, etc. I walked around the outside checking for needed repair and found, to my delight, none was needed!

I cleaned off the tables a bit, throwing out curled and brittle six-pack planters I tried to save, buckled and discolored plastic sheet lids designed to go over young plants, and more.

I hooked up the at least 200 foot extension cord so that the exhaust and second fans would run and propped the door on the opposite side open with a metal chair. The thermostat was down to 90 before I started this. I’m hoping the air circulation will bring that down more.

 

I planted five head iceberg lettuce plants and watered them thoroughly. They’re in a good spot of sun on the table. I wanted to make sure I got those planted, so essentially did that first.

I found a weed growing up through the black weed barrier on the floor, so I pulled it out. When I did, a gazillion little black ants swarmed out. I hurried out of the greenhouse and got the EIGHT spray and 2 gallon sprayer and mixed up a batch. I thoroughly hosed down that spot where the weed was and another spot I found.

I was starting to get hot and tired, so I sprayed my way across the back yard, treating various ant hills with a thorough hosing down with the EIGHT making my way back to the deck. I hosed down all the plants, including the one holding the one weed my husband pulled out. They swarmed out pretty ferociously,  but I kept the spray coming.

The next step on the greenhouse is finding a small broom that can live out there and trying to clean things up as much as possible. Eventually, I want to try to re-purpose bricks from the planters in the front yard that we are going to tear down as soon as the weather gets cooler. I would like to try to make some paths inside the greenhouse – one in front of each line of tables and one going down the middle.  Fingers crossed I can do this.

In the meantime, I’m going to sweep the floor as well as I can, and then prune the rose bushes (an important thing my husband thought had priority.)

I’m glad I can come inside, drink a bottle of water, cool down and relax in-between sessions easily.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gardening, greenhouse, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

Yard

alamy.com

I am devoting the day to working in the yard. Since I’ve been home from seeing Murray, I’ve been getting laundry and the house cleaning under better control. Today it’s time to shift my focus to the yard. My husband mowed recently, so I can concentrate on the smaller things that need doing.

I’ll be out there in several shifts today, resting and hydrating in-between –

  • pruning rose bushes
  • spraying EIGHT bug spray on the ant piles and hostile ants my husband found while mowing, and then while pulling a weed out of a planter on the deck while we were grilling steaks last night
  • planting the head iceberg lettuce six-pack I bought in town yesterday in the greenhouse
  • weeding flower planters
  • finding, cutting and planting tomato suckers in the greenhouse from the plants still alive
  • cleaning up the greenhouse
  • spraying and weeding the planters on the deck
  • using the leaf blower to clean up porch, sidewalks, and garage pad from the grass cutting my husband did
  • weeding and preparing the raised bed planters in the garden for the winter

The list is never-ending, but our weather is cooler, so it’s nicer to tackle some of the issues.

If I actually accomplish something significant, I’ll share some pics later.

One wonderful thing happened in the front yard this morning! I went out to call Amber after Molly had barked to come in. She and Smoke (the gray cat) were together messing with ‘something’ in the yard. I went out to find they had unearthed a mole! I stomped on it a couple of times, but that didn’t kill it. I called to Amber to follow me inside, which she did, reluctantly. She really wanted to continue picking the mole up, biting it, and spitting it out again. I got Amber inside, grabbed the hemostat clamp we have hanging up for when we need to grab bad things securely, and picked up the mole and threw him as far as I could into the woods in front of the civilized part of our yard. I’m hoping that he will either die (yeah, I’m cruel) or if not, satisfy himself tunneling through the 7 acres we’re NOT trying to fashion into some form of a lawn around the house.

Have a great Sunday!

Leave a comment

Filed under Gardening, greenhouse, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

New Greenhouse Experiment

This is the greenhouse my husband and I built last year. I haven’t done anything with it during the summer because no matter what I did, as far as leaving the door open, running the exhaust fan on the other end, running a second fan on the table, it was over 120 degrees F. in there.

 

Now that it’s finally much cooler, I’m going to see if I can get some plants going and see if I can grow them through the winter!

I got a six-pack of Iceberg head lettuce today. I have some tomato plants still in various stages. I’m going to see if I can get some good suckers from them, and get both things started in the greenhouse.

I need to clean things out in there first. The rain comes in underneath, so the floor is pretty awful right now. I want to extend the heavy extension cord from the house to the greenhouse and get the exhaust and extra fan going, and get some pots set up with Mel’s Mix. I need to find my rooting medium and make sure I have plenty of water out there.

THEN I’ll plant the lettuce, and THEN I’ll see if I can find good suckers on the tomato plants. I haven’t a clue what I’m doing, but if reading and enthusiasm will do it, I’m in.

I’ll post progress (?) reports to let you know how things are going. Fingers, and all other appendages crossed!

Leave a comment

Filed under Challenges, Gardening, greenhouse, Healthy Eating, learning new things, Lewis projects, quality of life, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse