Category Archives: Square Foot Gardening – Raised Beds

Thoughts on a Thursday 10-17-2019

We Love Earth

 

We got an early start to the day with a doctor appointment for my husband followed by a glorious, large keto breakfast (for me) with the addition of hash browns and toast and jelly for my husband at The Dari in Greenwood. We did errands on the way home, so we’re in for the day now.

I re-lost some poundage and am again ready to get into new territory on the scales – hopefully tomorrow. To date I’ve lost 43 pounds and 45 inches.

I’m on DAY 45 of daily yoga practice

Why Kol

and DAY 30 on the getting-serious-about-keto-macros eating plan.

The fact that my husband and son are saying, “YUMMY!” about our dinners (THANK YOU, Suzanne Ryan of Simply Keto), I’m finding it easier to make the substitutions desired while we all eat together. For example, I have roast beef and salad while they have corn or other more high carb veggie with the meal. Or they have rice while I have either zucchini noodles (Zoodles) or yellow Squash noodles (Yoodles) or Cauli-rice under a sauce of chicken chunks, onions, mushrooms, and cream of chicken/mushroom soup. (I have my substitutions ready to pop into the microwave from individual portion bags in the freezer.)

I love the Cronometer.com website. I have entered my macro (5% carbs, 25% protein, 70% fat) into their program. I can ‘play’ with what I’m going to eat for the day. If I find that I’m planning to eat something that will trash my efforts for the day, I can delete that and plug something else in BEFORE I mess up.

I finished my first experiment with Unicorn Spit Stain/Glaze.  I have to say I had a BLAST playing with it and can’t wait to start another piece.

 

I finally harvested our onions from the garden. I still need to clean them up a bit more, and then I’ll put them in a large, stretchy, mesh bag and hang it in the pantry.

 

I hope that you are having a wonderful Thursday, too. :0)

 

 

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Thoughts on a Saturday 10-12-2019

Beautiful World

 

It’s 40 degrees F this morning and sunshine-y.

It’s too cool to have our doors open this morning, but I am REALLY enjoying the relief from our relentless summer here. It’s nice to NOT have a ‘heat index’. Somehow, knowing that makes me even hotter. I’m planning to work outside this afternoon, cleaning up around the tomato planters where I pulled out the plants a couple of days ago. I may have to throw on a sweatshirt!!!! Woo HOOOO!

It makes me a bit sad that in one week our son will be going back to Thailand. He came home at the end of July (27 hour trip with the flights and the layovers) to help us through the aftermath of my husband’s stroke.  There were lots of tests and decisions to be made. It was a super tense situation, but we finally got the information we needed and did what my husband would allow to avoid another stroke. The crisis is over. My husband is almost completely back to normal. It’s time for our son to get back to his life. I’m collecting lots of hugs (thank goodness he is super generous with them. We communicate almost daily when he’s halfway across the world. He set up a secure chat program we use, plus a conference call program we use from time to time so we can see each other. The only thing missing is his world class hugs. We are SO lucky.

 

I am still fighting with technology, but I’m happy to have two shops on Etsy now –

ArtworthyNoteCards –  hand-painted personalizable stationery, note cards, and greeting cards

TotablyYours  – hand-painted, one-of-a-kind tote bags

 

Amazon

 

I’ve admitted that I’m like a little kid when it comes to motivation to do things I would rather not. I’ve been giving myself gold stars on my desk calendar each day when I practice my yoga, do my elliptical trainer, or do a job in the yard that is drudgery, rather than fun. This week – if I stay on track today and tomorrow, will be a 15-star week!  It makes me happy to look at all the stars on the desk calendar, but I’m also FEELING better for the exercise – and that is really the point of it all.

If I can get my technical problems solved today, I’ll try to get up to my art room this afternoon. I have the BEST of all dilemmas – whether to experiment with my new crayon melting tools or experiment with my new Unicorn Spit stain/glaze kit my wonderful SIL sent me.  :0)

 

 

I hope that you are enjoying YOUR Saturday, whether it is with relaxation or fun.

 

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Thoughts on A Thursday 10-10-2019

Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

Right now it’s pretty pleasant outside. This evening we’re due for possible severe storms (wind, rain, hail, lightning, and flying hairballs) so I’m enjoying the weather while I can. Last week was summer, with the a/c on. Tomorrow, the lows are supposed to be in the 30’s!!

We just got back from Lunch Bunch – usually this is on Fridays, but one of our group is having a yard sale starting tomorrow, so went went today, instead. Everyone was good and all appendages are crossed (including my eyes) for ONLY cold and not rain, for her yard sale tomorrow and Saturday.

I’m going to go out as soon as I finish this – and my cup of coffee – to take down our tomato plants, clean up the planters, weed whack around them, etc. There are no green tomatoes, so it’s time. We’ve had a good season this year in spite of the weirdness of the weather. For the first time ever, I was able to only to eat all the head lettuce we personally wanted, but could share with our friends. We also shared tomatoes, radishes, and leaf lettuce. It was too hot to start seeds for a fall garden in my greenhouse and I didn’t find any fall veggie plants for sale, so I’m not plotting and planning what I want to do for the spring.

We may have the cold snap tomorrow, but we usually have it warm up again to fall-like weather, so we won’t stop the irrigation system. My husband is hoping he’ll only have to mow once or twice more….

So – this afternoon the plan is to get rid of the tomato plants, do my elliptical trainer, and do a session of yoga. I would also like to get up to my art room. The big dilemma is whether to play with my new crayon melter tools or my new Unicorn Spit Stain/Glass first. :0)

 

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Last of the Harvest?

 

Of all the signs in our yard, this is my favorite. I laugh each time we drive up to the house. It’s on a tree to the right of the top of the driveway. :0)

I’ve told you I had to clean out our raised-bed square foot garden a few weeks ago because the intense heat was too much for the remaining plants. I haven’t been able to find any plants locally to plant for a fall garden, and it’s been too hot to start any seeds in the greenhouse, so I think we’re pretty much finished for the year.

 

The only thing we have left is the tomatoes in our two converted brick planters on the opposite end of the house. The plants look really sad, but are still producing tomatoes. They aren’t as large or as perfect as they were at the height of the season, but they are still delicious in our salads or cut up as an extra veggie on the plate. We’ve had a pretty good garden this year. I’ll start making plans for the spring garden soon.

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Garden Clean Out

 

 

We are STILL having super hot, high humidity days here. (The heat index is supposed to be around 106 this afternoon.) Even with our irrigation system, my garden bit the dust. Over the course of several days I cleaned out the plants – murdering fire ants that were in the boxes as I pulled – and finally have things cleaned up.

We built our raised-bed square foot garden for several reasons. We live on top of a ridge line and there is very little ‘soil’ here. You try to dig a hole to plant something and you immediately hit rock – endless rock. So after trying to build a garden, trucking in topsoil, evaluating it in order to add what was needed, etc., we finally gave up traditional methods. For a bit we had two long rectangular boxes on the ground, marked off into squares, filled with Mel’s Mix (peat moss, Vermiculite, and as many different compost types as you can find. We put a fence around the boxes to keep deer and other critters out. We added chicken wire around the base of the fence to keep smaller critters, like rabbits, out. This worked pretty well for awhile, but I was finding it harder and harder to either bend over double or get up and down over and over on my hands and knees.

We decided to build ‘tables’ in effect, raising the garden boxes up to my chest level.  The ‘tables’ are linked by lengths of hose with a sprinkler in the center of each box for easy irrigation. We have an outdoor faucet and a timer attached to it so the whole garden is watered automatically each day.

 

 

This picture shows the irrigation system a little more clearly.  We have six 4 foot by 4 foot boxes in which to plant. The boxes are divided into squares by wire.

 

 

 

This picture shows the fencing a bit more clearly.

 

Behind the shop and beside the garden is my supply of ingredients to make Mel’s Mix. I have one trash can for each ingredient. The red thing under the tarp is a portable concrete mixer. I put the proper proportions of the ingredients into the mixer and use this to mix things thoroughly. I then dump the mixed soil alternative into a big bucket and take it inside the fencing to dump into each of the boxes.  I also mix stuff to take by wheelbarrow around to the converted brick planters we use for tomatoes on the opposite side of the house.

I wish that our weather here in Arkansas were not quite so harsh during the summer. It’s been MUCH too hot to try to get plants started in my greenhouse, for example I mainly use it at the end of winter to try to get plants started for the spring garden.

 

I’ll have my eyes open for any fall plants available here locally, but mostly, we’re finished until the spring now.

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Thoughts on a Monday 9-16-2019

Amber

I’m late in blog posting today. Amber went out to the veggie garden with me and helped clean up the remaining planter boxes. I encountered fire ants twice, but had gone in ARMED with EIGHT bug killer in a 2-gallon sprayer and hosed them down. I didn’t get stung, thank goodness! I’ll take pics later of the cleaned up garden, but I was simply too hot when I finished to go back with the camera. (The heat index is 106 or more right now). Once I’m SURE we’ve killed all the ants in the boxes, I’ll try Robin’s suggestion of putting Vaseline around each support leg.

I was actually able to gather quite a few small tomatoes yesterday from the converted brick planters on the other side of the house. I didn’t have a basket with me, so simply used the bottom of my shirt as a carrier. :0)  We’re about to the end of the season now. The plants look pretty sad, but we’re still getting small ripe tomatoes, so we’re happy.

The main water line from the well house to the irrigation system had a blowout last night. Our son was able to cobble it back together, but it’s obvious we need a longer hose length of super sturdy stuff to handle the pressure. We got two lengths of hose cut at the hardware store today in two different diameters, thinking one of them will fit. I’m not sure if we’ll get to the replacement today.

My husband started thinking about our truck battery this morning. He keeps a log of our important purchases on his computer so that we can look things up quickly. We discovered that we bought the battery for the truck in 2014!  Since our battieries usually die suddenly with change of season, we bought a replacement battery while we were in town today. We’ll change it out later today and take the old one back to the store tomorrow for credit.

Our long time good friends will go bowling with us tonight! Our son is still home with us (a thing for which we are thankful every day) and so we’ll have a lot of fun this evening bowling terribly and then commiserating with ice cream at Braum’s afterwards.

When I finish cooling off and glugging water, we’ll have lunch and then I’ll do my first session of yoga for the week.

I hope your Monday is off to a good start.

 

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The Ant Assassin Strikes Again!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thoughts on a Saturday 9-14-2019

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

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

 

COSMOPOLITAN South Africa

 

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

 

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

Richard Johnson – Mass Audubon

 

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

 

Nat’l Audubon Society

 

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

 

Mother Nature Network

 

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

 

Tree Hugger

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

Happy Saturday to YOU! Have a wonderful day.

 

 

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Toward the End of Garden Harvests

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

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

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

 

Beautiful World

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

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Ant Assassin!

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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“No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”

Gardeners Path

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Garden Progress

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

 

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

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

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

 

Red onions.

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

Obvious Fun

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Monday’s Harvest

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday Tomato Harvest

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

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

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

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Tomato Harvest July 22 – 2019

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

 

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

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SPOILED!

This is this morning’s harvest.

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

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

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

 

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Good News and Iffy News from the Garden

Good news and iffy news from the garden today.

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

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

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

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

 

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July 6th Harvest

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Tomato Harvest July 1, 2019

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

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

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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Tomatoes!

 

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

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

Guess what will be part of OUR dinner tonight!

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A Storm is Coming

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

 

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

 

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

I have to tell you about my stupidity of the day

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

 

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Feast or Famine

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Sweet red onions.

 

Radishes I just started a few days ago.

 

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

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

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

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Could You Hear My Skin Frying?

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

Here are 3 of the 6 planters.

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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The Tomatoes are Coming!

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

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

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A Truly Stellar Day

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

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

GARDEN

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

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

The zucchini is producing nicely.

 

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

FLOWER PLANTERS

Lilies

Phlox

Roses and Impatiens

Roses and Phlox

Clematis

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

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Eau de OFF!

Home Guides – SFGate

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

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

__________________

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

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

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

More on another plant.

And two more here.

And three more here!

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

I hope YOU are having a fine day, too!

 

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Weed War

Wild Abundance

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

We have 4 tomato plants in this planter.

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

This is one green tomato from these two plants.

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

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

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Changes in the Garden – June 4 – 2019

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

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Harvest 5-17-2019

Last of the broccoli, though I left the roots just in case they do something more. I’m planning to make broccoli soup on Sunday when it’s raining. The last radish I’ve planted so far.

5 heads of lettuce. Not as large as the first ones – I think because our weather suddenly got warmer. I’ll take these, plus leaf lettuce, to friends next week.

Last of the leaf lettuce. Guess who is going to have a big ‘main meal’ salad tonight for dinner?  :0)

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Garden Update

One of my sweet spinach plants!

One of several zucchini plants.

One of about 5 remaining head lettuce plants.

My cantaloupe plant for my husband.

One group of tomato plants.

And the second tomato planter.

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

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