Category Archives: Square Foot Gardening – Raised Beds

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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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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“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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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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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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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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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.

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

 

 

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Three more celery plants.

 

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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.

 

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This is a long-lived plant that I started years ago. Happily, it was just to the left of the window that blew open.

 

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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!

 

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

 

 

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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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Where Does the Soil Go?

Funderland Amusement Park

Funderland Amusement Park

I just spent an hour and a half mixing batch after batch of Mel’s Mix and trying to get my raised bed planters topped off so they’re ready for planting.

The thing is, when we finished putting up the last planter, I filled all three new ones with Mel’s Mix. Now, when I’m getting ready to plant, the mix is down by a good 3 to 4 inches!

I wouldn’t gritch if piles of dirty clothes or dishes did the same thing… Or stacks of magazines, waste baskets, or piles of bills… if YOU know what happened to all the Mel’s Mix, I’d appreciate it if you would let me know!

I use a big trash basket to mix the components of Mel’s Mix (2 parts peat moss, 2 parts vermiculite, and 1 part each mushroom compost, barnyard compost, and cotton burr compost.  Occasionally I mix in compost I’ve made from our yard and food scraps. Then I carefully drag the trash can over to the garden and even more carefully lift up the trash can and distribute it on the raised bed box. Then I move the mix around, delighting in the joy of playing in the dirt until I pronounce it done, and then repeat the process. After an hour and a half of this, I’m taking a rest.

Also in the mix of my day is working on a mosaic on a glass bowl in the shop. I do it one narrow band at a time, carefully propping the bowl between a bottle of water and a scotch tape dispenser to keep it from rolling. If I do too many tiles, the slope of the glass causes the tiles to quietly slide down, coming to rest in a spot I didn’t intend. I’m taking my time, doing one ‘row’ a day until the bowl is covered. Then I can do the grouting all at once. I’ll share some pictures of it when I get the tiles all glued on.

In my art room I’m working on some presents I’m making for next Christmas. I know it’s a bit early to be thinking about NEXT Christmas, but I’ve always bought things I like for people when I find them regardless of the time of year. Particularly when I’m trying to MAKE something, I want to do it when I’m excited about the project. :0)

My sweet husband is in the shop, slaving away to get our new used riding lawnmower ready to be used. As he works, he’s finding more things that need his attention. (We’re discovering that, although the guy who sold us the mower told us about the leaking tire, he got creative about the things that were ‘new’ on the thing; the air filter, for example.) My husband just bought what he thought was a spare filter, discovering that the filter that was on it was in the worst condition he’s ever seen. It starts well, though, and my husband likes the way the mower is  laid out. It’s not nearly as difficult as some designs to work on. He found a manual online that shows him good exploded diagrams so he can see what parts are there, and it makes sense to HIM about how to do what it needs.

He bought a new mini-tire changing tool because the tire we bought is too small for the one we have.  Even after he made a stand to bolt it to the floor in the shop, it took both of us to get the old tire off and the new tire on the wheel. It turns out that tubeless tires are difficult to get onto the wheel with a good seal so they don’t leak.

It’s time for lunch. I’m going to go out to the shop, roust my husband, and then figure out what’s up for the rest of the day.

 

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Official Start of Growing Season in Arkansas 2017

onions2

I just finished working in the garden for the moment. I planted the bunch of Sweet Georgia Onions we bought recently. Here you can see crop rotation, as it is in square foot gardening – You don’t plant the same plant side by side. It would actually be better if I didn’t plant them cat-i-corner to each other, too, so they’re less likely to spread disease or bugs. I keep track of where I’ve planted things so that I don’t plant them in the same squares NEXT time.

You can also see the irrigation system. We have a sprinkler mounted in the center of each box, attached to each other and then attached to the main hose. We have them hooked to an outside above the ground faucet on which we have a timer so that the plants are watered each night during the main season. It isn’t hooked up now, due to possible freeze, so I just watered by hand today.

 

onions3

This is another view of the raised bed garden we finished in the fall. There are six 4′ x 4′ wooden boxes (two rows of three boxes each) mounted on metal support ‘tables.’ We use string to divide each wooden box of Mel’s Mix into 16 squares. I planted the sweet onions in 8 of the 16 squares in this box today.  I can’t describe what a pleasure it is to simply walk into the garden, putting the plants and the implements needed on top of a square, then planting things at chest height, not having to bend over double, till the soil, try to get all the weeds out for planting, then get down on hands and knees to plant, and then finally water.

We decided last year I was definitely too old to do all that anymore. We built the boxes and the supports, then stored them beside the shop under tarps until the spring garden was finished. I went ahead and planted the fall garden on the ground as usual and we installed the new raised bed boxes on the side of the garden that wasn’t being used. When the fall garden finished, we installed the last three boxes.

Today we strung the string on the three newest boxes. I need to mix and add more Mel’s Mix (1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 equal parts of however many compost types you can find. – I used cotton burr, barnyard, and mushroom.) Then the whole garden will be ready to plant when the danger of frost has passed.  In the above picture, you can see the trash cans beside the shop where I keep the components of Mels Mix ready to put together.

Meanwhile, fingers are crossed for these sweet onions, even though our average last frost date is April 10th…

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Thursday Thoughts

Whatsapp Status 77

Whatsapp Status 77

It’s a beautiful, sunny morning here in Greenwood, Arkansas. We stayed up very late last night/this morning, binge watching part of the past season of “The Magicians.” The new season has started, but somehow we got lost and didn’t watch the whole season last time. We rented Discs 1 and 2 and got interested again. We watched 3 last night and are expecting 4 to be in the mailbox today. Once we get caught up we’ll try to pretend we’re normal again. :0)

It’s supposed to get to 66 today! I really find it hard to believe. It’s really too early for this. It has snowed many times on my birthday in March, so I’m expecting that the daffodils that are blooming profusely and the iris buds that are trying to bloom will be cut off by a blast from Mother Nature soon. My spirits are lifted looking that the beauty, though.

Today I’m contemplating two things: spreading “Weed & Feed” on the lawn and planting Georgia Sweet Onion sets in my raised bed square foot garden.  It’s not SUPPOSED to freeze in the 10-day forecast, so I’m hoping that if I hold my mouth right, all will be good on the onion sets.

 

celery2

I now have 7 celery plants in soil on the window sill. Here are the youngest.

celery1plus1weed

These are the two middle plants.

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These are the oldest. I’m planting to move whatever is still alive to the garden around the 10th of March.

 

celery-spinachsprouts

I finally have a few spinach sprouts!  Who knows if they’ll live, get brothers and sisters, or what, but my fingers are crossed and hopes are high.

My efforts at Weed & Feed for the lawn are because we decided that our lawn was really terrible due to moles, voles, gophers, and whatever other burrowing animals are in the area. They seem to have sent out a memo, inviting all their friends and relatives. We were happy with our lawn care folks, but even they said that they didn’t really have anything that was effective against these tiny creatures. We’ve killed the grubs they feed on, but that didn’t seem to make much difference. Since our lawn is a mess and I can use the exercise, I’m just going to spread weed killer and fertilizer myself and hope for the best.  Picture me doing the ‘mole-stomping-dance’ all over the yard as I crank the weed & feed pellet distributor.

I’ll take pics when I get the onion sets planted.

I hope your day is productive and that you do something you truly enjoy.

 

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Potted Cat

pc2

This potted cat is definitely ready to harvest. I don’t know why Abby loves to sleep in a pot under the table on the back porch, but she does it every time we’re enjoying airing out the house, as we are today.  We could have saved a LOT of money on cat  beds.

In other plants, the celery is continuing to do well. I now have seven plants in soil on the window sill. I’m planning to move them to the garden mid-March, if they’re still alive then.

My spinach seeds still weren’t sprouting. One of my books suggested putting the seeds in water before planting for about 30 minutes. I did that this morning and then put the pots on the window sill. Fingers crossed.

I’ll plant my Sweet Georgia Onion sets this week some time. I’m hoping, but don’t really believe, that we’re past killing freezes yet.

Meanwhile, I was checking this around the yard and had a big surprise. My daffodils are not only sprouting – they’re BLOOMING!

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I’m really ready for spring. We’ve had a wonderful winter, with hardly any ice. I would love it if we could simply sneak into spring now, allowing the sprouting plants the longest possible life without getting zapped. These sweet daffodils really raised my spirits today.

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Spring Chicken and Georgia Sweet Onions

Crafthubs

Crafthubs

I’m not feeling like a spring chicken today, but I’m MUCH, MUCH better. This is the first day since Sunday I haven’t headed for the Ibuprofen upon awakening, followed by a direct route to my recliner and heat pad, plus the use of a pain patch yesterday.

I’m still old, but I’m definitely kickin’. I’m planning to do some careful, slow yoga stretches on my own this afternoon to see if I can loosen myself up and take the last of the back pain away. (Thinking that the firmness of my mattress may be a factor (and being grateful we have a Sleep Number Bed competitor) I made the mattress more firm this morning and will try that for the next few nights.

I studied my All New Square Foot Gardening, 2nd Edition book, by Mel Bartholomew, for what I can plant when in my totally raised bed garden this year!

We live in Zone 7 and the average last frost date is April 10th. My books say I can plant onions, broccoli and spinach four weeks from the average frost date, or March 10th.  My husband (who thinks the average frost date data is nuts) says HE thinks I should plant next week. (My husband and I don’t even use the same SALT, so we have some lively discussions around here.:0) )

We’ve decided to go ahead and plant the one bunch of Sweet Georgia Onion sets we got NEXT week and see what happens. If we get a killing frost, we’re out $2.00 plus my time in planting. If things continue to go well, I’ll get some broccoli plants and see what else I can find…

Meanwhile, I can’t find anything at all in the book about celery, so I’ll look for information elsewhere.

 

celery1

These photos were taken this morning. The above are on the divider between our kitchen and dining area. I’m changing the water daily and delighting in each vestige of green that emerges.

 

celery3

These two plants were moved from glasses to tsoil on the window sill about a week ago.

 

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These two plants are the oldest. If they survive, I’ll plant them in the garden about mid-March, I think. (I may change that when I find information on the net.)

 

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Nothing at all is happening with the spinach seeds yet. Not one teeny sprout yet. They’re on the dining table where they get sun most of the day. I’ll just wait and hope.

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Growing a Child

Two Women and a Hoe via Cathy Ruggiero

http://www.motherofahubbard.com via Two Women and a Hoe via Cathy Ruggiero

I was born in Chicago, Illinois several years ago. :0)   We then moved to Long Island, New York. I have only vague memories of the house we lived in.  When I was 5, we moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma.  My family didn’t grow things. My earliest memory of a plant was the cactus my mother planted by the house. I became aware of it intimately when I was trying to get our cat to come to me. I was bending over in the foliage around the house, lost my balance and SAT on the cactus plant. My mom was upset with me for sitting on her plant…

The Lewises lived on the next street over. In second grade I was in love with one of their sons. My best friend was in love with him, too. We had a fight on the playground over him and ended up in the principal’s office. There was a contest for 2nd grade king and queen. He, of course, was king. My friend and I vied for ‘queen.’ The prize went to another friend, whose name was prophetically Linda QUEEN…

I met my husband-to-be, the oldest Lewis son, when I was 14. When we were dating, I visited his parents often.  His mom had a vegetable garden. I recognized the tomato plants, which happily had nice red tomatoes growing, but I was totally ignorant, otherwise. I felt like a child at Christmas, looking in amazement at actual plants that became ‘food.’ I KNEW, of course, where vegetables came from (in general) but I had never seen any of them growing. My mother-in-law-to-be gave me a tour of the garden, showing me which group of plants was which. I’ll never forget my fascination.  I just couldn’t get enough. I decided, while I was in the garden, that I really wanted one of my own someday.

Umpteen years later I finally am enjoying my chance. I’m still fascinated watching things grow. Right now I’m trying to grow celery on the window sill.

celeryinglasses

This shows you two stages of trying to grow celery indoors. The two glasses in the foreground are the newest. I cut them off the stalks I bought at the grocery store Sunday and put them in water. The one in the back has been growing a few days now. (I had to throw one away. Sometimes the bottom of the stalk just seems to ‘sog.’)

 

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This is one of the two planters on the window sill. The little plant on the left side was just put into the soil last night.

 

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These plants are about two weeks old. I LOVE watching them grow. I still have no clue if I’ll actually get celery or not, but it’s so much fun to watch!

 

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Several days ago I started some spinach seeds in little peat pots and put them on the table in the sun. Nothing at ALL happened. I’m not sure if the seeds were too old, the peat pots too old, or I was “holding my mouth wrong,” but nothing was happening. I gave up on them and started some seeds this morning, using Mel’s Mix in three larger planters. I’m just hoping SOME of the seeds will sprout. I don’t care if I end up planting CLUMPS of spinach in the garden. I’ll want to harvest them individual leaves at a time, so it doesn’t really matter. Since I have a really hard time finding spinach plants to purchase in the spring or fall around here, I would be really happy if I can get some of these to grow. Maybe THIS time…

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Hope for the Future

celery1

I’m trying to grow some celery from packages I bought at the store.

The idea is to cut off the bottom of each bunch of celery and put them in water to sprout. When they are forming roots, you transplant them to a soil-filled container or the garden. Since I can’t grow them outside now, I’ll transfer them soon to a planter I have on the window sill in my dining area.  It’ll be fun to see if I can actually grow a plant from here.

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Last Tiny Cauliflower

lasttinycauliflower

It’s 48 degrees here and gray. That’s not cold, except when you’re out in the garden pulling up the residue of wet plants. Then it’s REALLY cold! I’ve been warming my hands for several minutes with my coffee cup. :0)

I got all the plants out of the garden, so we’re ready for winter now.

A nice surprise – one tiny head of cauliflower I missed when I harvested yesterday. It’s about 3 inches across!

 

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More Rain Forecast for Tonight!

S-Media-Cache-AKO.pinimg.com via Yolanda Vanveen via Cathy Ruggiero

S-Media-Cache-AKO.pinimg.com via Yolanda Vanveen via Cathy Ruggiero

I love the whole new thing of gifs, where there is motion in an image. I have no clue how it’s done, but I’m so impressed. This company has made a LOT of these. Each time I see one, I think, “This is my favorite.” AND THEN I see another one…. Glorious!

We’re supposed to go bowling tonight with friends tonight. I don’t know if we’re actually going because we haven’t heard from our friends yet. Another good friend who usually goes with us has opted to enjoy the Christmas parade tonight in Greenwood. I hope they don’t get rained out.

Even if we drown tonight, I won’t complain. We really need the rain.

While it ISN’T raining, though, I’m going to go out and see what I can do about clearing the residue of my harvesting out of our square foot garden today. I’d like to get things wrapped up for the winter out there – which seems to be starting Wednesday evening, with possible SNOW!

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Last Harvest of the Fall 2016

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I had a nice harvest today – the last one of the fall season, since we’re due for hard freezes Wednesday through Saturday next week. We had a nice amount of lettuce, plus my cute little bitty heads of cauliflower.

 

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I’ll clean out the garden a little bit at a time, since it’s so rainy and cold now. I should be able to clear things up in another session or two. We’ve had such fun with the garden this year. I’m not sure what I’ll try to grow next year, other than tomatoes and lettuce. My luck with the rest has been spotty, at best, though it was really interesting to watch things grow. I’ll do a lot of studying and decide what I would like to try next year. I haven’t had much luck at all finding spinach plants, so I may try to see if I can get plants started inside starting in about February. I know, I’m still carrying the name of the Serial Seed Killer, but maybe NEXT time….

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Rain and Smiles

Nino Chakvetadze - Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

Nino Chakvetadze – Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

We’ve enjoyed a cold one today. The temperature hovered in the 40s with a bit of rain off and on. Tomorrow is supposed to be the better chance, and then a freeze with a chance of snow!

I just came in from harvesting the rest of my fall garden. With three days of hard freezes this coming week, I’m taking it down a bit at a time. I’ll post pics in a bit.

This has been the perfect day for seeking comfort – with a pot roast in the crock pot for dinner, lemon pudding made for my husband, chocolate pudding for me, sausage balls for lunches and snacks and a nice pot of hot coffee to ward off the chill.

My hands got so cold while I was harvesting, I’ve been sitting here for several minutes with my hands around my coffee cup – not drinking, just enjoying the warmth!

I wish I could tell you I did all kinds of productive things today. I enjoyed reading a favorite book, tried to take a nap under my cozy throw, but basically did only what I felt I had to do.  I happy to say I enjoyed every minute of my sloth, though. :0)

Hope you’ve had a good day, too.

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Appreciating the Rain

Anita Opper via Zen to Zany

Anita Opper via Zen to Zany

I’m delighted that we’re having rain today. Not a good, soaking rain, but rain nonetheless, and for that I’m grateful. The temperature has finally gotten to 50 degrees F. here, and I think that will be the high for the day. The next few days are supposed to be very cloudy with another chance of rain Monday.  AHHHH!

The sad news is that Tuesday night or Wednesday a strong cold front is coming with killing freezes for several days, probably spelling the end of my fall garden. If the temperatures get down to the 20s, it won’t do any good to cover the plants with sheets. :0(

I’ll plan to harvest all I can by Tuesday evening.

We’ve had a fun year of gardening!

  • The biggest thing we did was build six 4’x4′ wooden planters. We installed three of the raised bed planters while the spring and summer garden lived to give us more tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, etc. We planted our fall garden in the new raised bed planters, enjoying broccoli, some cute little cauliflower heads, lots of lettuce of three different kinds and radishes. I also tried to grow celery from what I bought at the grocery. I planted the cutest little bright green plant in the garden. It STILL is a cute little bright green plant, but no celery. I’m trying some more inside, just for giggles.
  • When the spring/summer garden finished, we installed the other three planters, so now we’ll have six ready to go for the spring. We’ll plant our tomatoes in two brick planters we converted to square foot planters. One gets lots or sunshine and wind. The other is more protected, in the hook formed by the back of the house and the porch. I’ll have the winter to figure out where I want to plant things, using my fall printout to make sure I achieve crop rotation on the south side of the main garden.

Meanwhile, we’ll enjoy today’s cold rain, hope for more rain tomorrow and Monday, harvest the veggies we can in preparation for the freeze Tuesday night into Wednesday.

I hope the weather where you are is either pleasant enough to enjoy being outside, or that you can stay safe and warm inside.

Make it a wonderful day!

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Stellar Fall Day

 

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The temperature is about 63 degrees F. The sun is shining. There is a bit of a breeze, but nothing like the awful, gusty winds we had yesterday. It’s hard to think of how this could be a prettier day.

 

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I feel rich today, looking out over the valley beyond our land. Even though we didn’t have much fall color this year, due to the summer-like temperatures we had for so long, I love our view.

 

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If you can look at it, it seems as if it’s all yours. We’re very rich in view on top of our ridge line in Arkansas.

I’ve decided to quit WORRYING about whether it’s going to frost or freeze each night. I’ll simply go out and cover the plants each night before it gets dark, and then we’ll be in the best shape possible.

When the first really hard freeze comes, the garden will be over. We’ve had a fun year in gardening, moving from our square foot garden on the ground’s surface to our raised bed planters now. I’m enjoying every minute of our fall garden, however long it lasts, hoping that the cute heads of cauliflower will get a bit larger before I need to harvest them. I’m looking forward to planning how I’ll plant the spring garden, since we’ll move our tomato plants out of the main garden and into planters on the east side of the house in the spring.

I’m going to try to get out in the next day or so to finish mulching leaves for the year. I’d like to make enough mulch for two more large leaf bags to store in the garage for the spring before I call it quits.

I hope the weather is such that you can get outside and enjoy it today.

 

 

 

 

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Arrrrgh!

Ramblings from a Desert Garden

Ramblings from a Desert Garden

This gives you some idea what I’ve been doing for the last 30 minutes or so.

I’ve been watching my local news website for the weather forecast, particularly seeing if we’re forecasted to have a freeze or not. Earlier today, the website said, “No.” I was clear until next week.

Then I checked the 10 day forecast from the weather channel, plus a 10 day forecast from Google. They said, “Yes.”

I then listened to the local newscast. They had changed from “no” to “yes.”

Of course, by this time, it was pitch black outside. If I had known it was supposed to freeze tonight, I would have gone out and covered everything up about 4:30 this afternoon. :0(

My husband reminded me we have flood lights that we can shine on the garden. I couldn’t remember for sure where the switch was, so he came out with me, carrying the teeny tiny flashlight he has on his key chain.

We turned the switch on inside the shop, but nothing happened. We then spent the next half hour trying to figure out what was wrong. We weren’t getting electricity from the switch to the lights for some unknown reason. After messing with it for awhile and not being able to figure out what the deal was, my husband went out to the garden with me and held the flashlight while I spread huge sheets over the three raised bed garden planters and secured the sheets with clothes pins.

I was freezing by that time and wanted to come in. My husband decided he would fight with the problem a bit longer, so he’s still out there now. I tried to get him to come in, saying we could look at the problem tomorrow when we had light and hopefully a bit more warmth, but when something fails to work as it should, he feels he has ‘let me down.’ He’ll work on it for awhile longer tonight, hoping to figure it out pretty rapidly. If that doesn’t work, he’ll come in and quietly stew about it until he figures out something else to try…

Luckily, we still have some homemade chicken soup/stew I made the other day that will warm us up tonight.

I guess I’ll start covering up the plants each night while it’s still light so I don’t have to worry about the weather forecasters changing their mind.

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P.S.  It’s about an hour later.  I fed animals and went back outside, just to keep my husband company, if nothing else. He figured out the switch had failed – the first time we’ve ever had that happen.  He replaced the switch and the two floodlights came on outside as they should.

HOORAAAAAY!

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Garden Wrapped Up for the Night

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I just spent an hour in our raised bed, square foot garden,  weeding, pruning, and harvesting lettuce and some small bits of broccoli.

 

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These pics were taken before I started pruning. You can see some of the leaves that needed to be cut.

 

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This is mainly broccoli and cauliflower.

 

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This is a good pic to show the whole fall garden. I can’t tell you how much I love being able to take care of things without having to bend over double or get up and down on my hands and knees over and over.  I got the three planters covered with sheets before I left because it’s supposed to freeze tonight.

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I never thought I would describe cauliflower as “cute,” but I have the sweetest, teeny, tiny heads of cauliflower I’m trying to protect. The largest one is about 2-1/2 inches across.

 

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The lettuce is still producing, though I’m having to prune more and more leaves off, due to the incredible changes in temperature. (Example – 70 degrees this afternoon, and 32 degrees tomorrow morning…) If you look carefully, you can see a salad blend plant in this pic – toward the upper left hand corner – it’s burgundy.

 

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Here’s a difference kind of lettuce. It’s still looking pretty good.

 

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This is the ‘celery that could’ (like the little engine that could in the children’s story.) I planted it weeks ago. It’s still little bitty, but – as you can see – very healthy and green. I’m cheering it on, trying to protect it as much as possible. SWEET little celery plant…

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The Garden Still Lives!

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For two nights this week I’ve had to spread sheets over our fall raised bed, square foot garden, trying to bring the plants through the freezes. Last night it wasn’t supposed to freeze, so I held my breath and didn’t cover the plants. I went out to check on things this morning and all our plants were still alive! I have several different types of lettuce that I’m HOPING I can continue to harvest into January. Time will tell. The above is head lettuce.

 

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I’m not sure what this is called, but the leaves are frilly and curly.

 

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This is kind of ruffle-y.

 

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This is one of the two raised bed planters that are almost entirely devoted to broccoli and cauliflower, although you can see two lettuce plants on the left.

 

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This planter is almost entirely lettuces. If you look carefully, there’s a ‘salad blend’ brownish lettuce in the center. The weather was so warm I almost lost the lettuce plants due to them trying to bolt. That’s why the plants are so tall. I have no clue what will happen, but I’m harvesting every two or three days for as long as they’ll allow.

 

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This is the treasure I found this morning – a teeny, tiny head of cauliflower! Isn’t it cute? :0)

I tried to grow celery this year, planting three ‘bottoms’ of celery I had gotten at the store. Two immediately croaked when I transferred them to the planter, but one is still alive, quite green, but only has small leaves and doesn’t seem to be growing. I’m just glad I tried, kept one alive, and will keep trying.

I finally folded up the king sized sheets I used to cover the planters. We MIGHT get much-needed rain tomorrow and I don’t want the sheets to get wet.

So far, so good!

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We Made it Through Freeze One!

Ramblings from a Desert Garden

Ramblings from a Desert Garden

I covered my fall raised bed garden plants yesterday afternoon in preparation for our first freeze of the season. This gives you an idea of what my garden looked liked, except mine are boxes up in the air about 4 feet or so. I used three bed sheets anchored with a gazillion clothes pins, trying to keep the covers from blowing off in the gusty, cold wind.

I forgot to take my camera, but I was too cold by the time I finished to take a pic anyway. :0)

My plants made it through the first freeze of the season. I went out to the garden, afraid that the sheets would be bunched up against one fence or another in the garden, but all stayed where I put them! And when I took the sheets off, the plants seemed to be fine. HOOOOOORAAAAAY!

I left the sheets and clothes pins in the empty planter boxes, ready to cover things again tonight. If I can pull the plants through another two nights, I think we’re home free until NEXT Saturday, unless they change the forecast.

We turned the heat on downstairs for the first time this season yesterday.

We just put up a cat cube in the garage for our newest cat, Smoke, who is used to sleeping on the back porch. We closed that off to her about three weeks ago, and she’s finally learning that we feed Abby and her on top of the wood pile in the garage. I hope she likes the cube, as it will allow her to be safe and warm this winter.  (You can see from the pic that Abby’s cube on the left has been well used. My husband built a strong support for each cube and then anchored the cubes to the wooden support so they won’t move as the cat jumps up or moves around inside.)

 

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Appendages crossed that we make it through Freeze #2 tonight!

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Harvest – Nov. 16, 2016

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Today I harvested a bit of broccoli and some nice lettuce.

 

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Today and tomorrow I’m going to look at everything carefully in the garden, spruce things up out there, and get ready to cover the plants up for the coming freezes starting Friday through the weekend.

 

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Last year we were extremely lucky, picking fresh lettuce for our salads through mid January. We got spoiled, and I’m hoping we get spoiled again this year. All appendages are crossed!

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The Fall Raised Bed Square Foot Garden

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You can see two of the three 4×4 foot squares of our raised bed, square foot garden in this picture. I’ve been trying to grow broccoli, cauliflower, two kinds of lettuce, celery, and radishes this fall. You can also see the three NEW squares we now have ready for the spring.

 

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I harvested some broccoli and some lettuce this afternoon. I’ll post pics as soon as my camera battery is recharged. (Don’t you wish WE could recharge our batteries by just plugging into an outlet on the wall?)

 

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Our weather here is nuts. We’ve been having some really nice weather for the past couple of weeks. Today and tomorrow, though, the highs are in the mid 80’s – followed by Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with possible hard freezes. I’ll go out and clean up the garden as much as possible this afternoon. Tomorrow evening we’ll take down the automatic irrigation system for the garden. I’ll still be able to turn it on manually, if needed, but we don’t want the system to freeze. I’ll also plan to cover the plants with sheets for the three days. We usually have a cold snap that kills everything, followed by warmer weather. I’ll do what I can to keep things going as long as possible.

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Distracted!

Have you ever started to do one thing – and then got distracted by something else so that you didn’t do the original thing at all? That’s what happened to me after we got home from Lunch Bunch and errands today.

I got ready to mulch leaves, getting out the mulcher unit, canvas barrel, big rake and the power cord. Before I started that, I decided to check on my husband, who was out in the shop doing some stage of reloading ammunition.  He was fine and happy, so I went back toward the house and my mulching.

As I got toward the house, though, I decided that I had better do the garden first before I got too tired, so I got my gardening scissors and harvest bucket and went back out to the garden. It’s almost 3 hours later, and I still haven’t mulched one leaf…

I did, however, get the garden under control.

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This is the raised bed square foot garden now. There are six 4’x4′ raised wooden ‘tables’ full of Mel’s Mix (combination of peat moss, vermiculite, and as many different kinds of compost as we can find or make. We’re using mushroom, barnyard, and cotton burr mushroom, plus some we’ve made).

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Fall garden from the side.

 

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Fall garden from the front.

 

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New beds we just finished that we’ll start using in the spring.

It had been over a week since I’d been out in the garden, so there was a lot to do. The ‘fall’ weather has been more like summer this year, just now starting to cool off, so some of the plants are trying to bolt. I’m hoping that the dip in temperatures will prolong the harvest, but I’ve been really pleased with the head lettuce, in particular.

 

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This is today’s harvest. The lettuce is a combination of ‘salad blend’ and ‘head lettuce.’

 

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The broccoli is trying to bolt, but I’m still hopeful we’ll get more good eating before winter.

SO – now that the garden is under control and the harvest has been washed and put away, I’m resting a bit before going out and doing the leaf mulching I was trying to do in the first place!

cliparting.com

cliparting.com

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The Irrigation System is Working!

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My husband worked really hard in the bright sun today, adding irrigation to the three new raised bed planters.  In the middle of each raised box, we have a sprinkler. The three of these are tied together by lengths of hose mounted on 1 x 2s that span the length of the three planters. Then the three sprinklers are attached to the main control, a faucet that we can use to control the amount of water that is sprinkled onto the plants. We can control the north side of the garden separately from the south side. These are attached to a hose that runs to the outdoor faucet on which we have a control system with a timer that allows us to select when the plants are watered and for how long a time.

 

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These are the three new planters on the north side of the garden. We’ll use these starting in the spring.

 

 

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These are the three planters on the south side of the garden where I’ve planted two kinds of lettuce, some celery, radishes, broccoli and cauliflower.

 

 

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The two kinds of lettuce (head lettuce and salad blend) are mainly in the closest planter in the picture, though the bright green in the second planter is also head lettuce.

 

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This is the garden, with the picture taken looking to the west. I need to harvest again soon! :0)

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Happy Tuesday!

amazon.com

amazon.com

My husband and I took advantage of early voting this morning. We only had to wait about 5 minutes after checking in. I LOVE it that we don’t have to stand in line for hours waiting to vote!

When we got home, we put our groceries and other stuff away and relaxed with a cup of coffee. Then my husband went out to the garden to work on the irrigation system for the new raised beds on the north side of the garden.

While he did that, I got some chicken breasts in the crock pot, trying out a new recipe for tonight. I particularly love getting something in the crock pot before I start a bit project. I’m just not in the mood, when I’m hot and tired, to try to figure out what to have for dinner, much less cook.

Today I’m taking advantage of our really wonderful weather to try out our new WORX leaf mulcher. We used something else last year, but we had to put the leaves through it twice, and it was a real hassle. This one has been set up and waiting for the right time. :0)

I love making our own mulch. We can make as much as we need, on our own schedule, not having to go buy it. Our weather has been such that we’re not having much color this fall. Our leaves have fallen as much from not enough water as from the changing season. Anyway, I have lots of material to work with, so I was excited to try it out today.

 

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This is the WORX leaf mulcher. You can see that the black shredder is up in the air, sitting on a round frame with legs. There is a large leaf bag on the frame, right below the orange part. I rake up some leaves, use the yellow ‘hands’ to dump the leaves into the pop-up tan canvas barrel, then take the barrel over to the WORX. I put in about a third of the leaves in the top of the leaf mulcher, make sure the leaves are down into the black part nicely, then turn on the shredder and wait a few seconds. I turn it off and the black top is empty, having shredded the leaves into the black leaf bag under it.

You can lift the black thing a bit to see how full the leaf bag underneath is getting. It took me about half an hour to fill the first leaf bag. I took it to the garage for storage until I use it in the flower beds, brought another leaf bag out with me and got it set up again. I’m finishing a break now, but I’m delighted with our set up. My body will probably complain this evening, but I’m happily making mulch!

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Garden Harvest 2016-10-22

gardening-rainforestinn-typepad-com

rainforestinn.typepad.com

Well, I certainly got my exercise today! I had the perfect day for it. I went back out to take the fabric shade off the top of the garden and hauled it to the burn barrel. I cut it into thirds, put one section in the burn barrel and put the other two sections beside the burn barrel. Then I took down the old neon colored tape, which was really faded and brittle, and replaced it with new. I spread cedar chips under all the new planters.

 

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This is a pretty awful photo, but I wanted to show you the garden with the shade fabric off and the new tape on.

 

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This is taken from the north side so that you can see the new spring planters and the fall garden planters behind them.

 

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This is taken from the south so you can see the abundance of ‘leaves of the garden…

 

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This is the ‘salad blend’ I harvested this afternoon.

 

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This is the head lettuce.

 

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And this is the broccoli.

No sign of anything but leaves on the cauliflower so far…

I’ll try to plant radishes tomorrow and get a pic of the sweet, little bitty celery plant that is still with us.

Hope your day was wonderful.

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