Category Archives: Square Foot Gardening – Raised Beds

Iris – Now Tomato Planter – Before and After

“Iris” Planter – Before
Now “Tomato” Planter – After

This part of the project is now complete. Today I added the tomato supports and then ran wire around them in four places securing the supports to the center pole and each other. I’ll see if anything else is needed in the spring as the tomato plants grow.

I now have this square planter and this eight foot x one foot planter I’ll use for our tomato plants.

The next part of the project will be to replant some of the iris in the niche (old tomato) planter (beside the porch and behind the house.)

I also brought in the harvested onions that have been drying on the trailer bed for several weeks now. I’ll put some in our fridges and some in the mesh bags I have to hang in the pantry.

That’s it for outside today. I’ll rest a bit and then do my yoga session for the day. (DAY 96)

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Iris Planter Progress

Daily Paws

I just came in from my second session trying to clean out the iris planter. I spent an hour and a half the first session, starting with a small rake-type garden tool and quickly going back to get a shovel. The second session was an hour. I’m pooped now, and I need to rest and hydrate before I do my yoga for the day, so I’ll do more tomorrow.

So far, I got the iris I could find easily out and put into a big outside type trash can. I also got most of the Bermuda grass that was on the surface of the planter out.

Tomorrow I’ll get more serious with the shovel, digging down as deeply as I can, turning the soil, and gathering more iris rhizomes, pulling more Bermuda grass roots, etc.

I feel good about my progress today. The weather cooling off and the rain last night really helped with the project. My husband said my project to clean out the planter was ‘impossible.’ It was just ‘too far gone.’ I’m going to prove him wrong. :0)

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Going, Going Gone

I worked for about an hour and a half on our two tomato planters that are close to the house.

This is the 8 foot long planter. As you can see, it is in need of attention.

Here’s another view.
Here’s how it looks now. I’ll mix up more Mel’s Mix to fill it up before planting in the spring.
No matter what I did, or what stakes I used, these plants just went nuts, spilling out over the planter into the yard.

Here’s a second view.

This is what it looks like now. Before spring planting, I’m going to research methods of tomato plant support to see how we can improve.

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Garden Progress Update

I’m pretty much finished with the weed whacking in the garden area now. I have some ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics to show you. I plan to mix up KILLZALL today and spray all around the garden area.

Area in front of garden, beside our shop –


Behind the shop/Beside the garden –


Around the shop propane tank –


Around the Mel’s Mix Bins, etc –


Now I’m thinking about painting the propane tank to look like our larger one.

“Watermelon” tank. We painted this several years ago. We own this one. Technically, the propane people own the smaller one and we rent it from them. Maybe I’ll just paint it and they can complain later….

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This is what I look like right now, except that I’m nearly as cute or sweet.

I just finished today’s weed whacking. I got the area behind the shop and beside the garden done. Tomorrow or the next day I’ll mix up some KILLZALL to spray all over the areas I’ve cut down, plus areas that are too close to the fence to weed whack, hoping to keep things at bay, at least for awhile. When you live on a rural acreage, the wild stuff tries to take back what you’ve tried to ‘civilize’ much faster than humans can work.

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Garden Clean Up Continues

Nancy J. Ondra –

Yesterday afternoon I got the area “beside our shop/in front of the garden” and “garden perimeter” weed whacked.

Today I’m planning to weed whack “behind the shop/beside the garden” where I keep my trash cans of Mel’s Mix ingredients, garden tools, cement (soil) mixer, etc. The weeds are over my knees out there. I would like to get that all weed whacked, and then spray the whole area with KILLZALL, since it would be MUCH easier upkeep that way. Wish me luck?

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Almost Finished

My husband helped me almost finish up the garden this morning. We gathered 24 bricks to put in the boxes, then wheelbarrowed them out there and distributed them. We then cut the weed barrier cloth to length for each of the boxes, running the fabric under the wires that delineate the ‘squares’ of the planting areas and then holding down the fabric with the bricks.

I’ll neaten up the area under the planters with the weed whacker as part of the next part of the project. You can also see the neon surveyors tape I ran around the perimeter of the garden to keep the deer from running into it.

The next part of the project is weed whacking this area beside our shop and in front of the garden, plus
this area behind the shop and beside the garden. This is where I store the components of Mel’s Mix in the trash cans, plus garden implements, the cement mixer to mix the ingredients, etc.
this area on the other side of the shop.

THEN the garden project will be finished.

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Square Foot Garden Progress

Gardener’s Path

Yesterday I finished prepping the garden boxes in my square foot garden, finishing the weeding, spraying, and spreading the Mel’s Mix as flat as I could.

Today my husband is going to help me take bricks to the garden via the wheelbarrow. We’ll put 4 of them in each of the 6 planter boxes to hold down the fabric weed barrier we’ll cut to size today.

When that is finished, the only remaining things are spraying the weeds underneath the planter boxes in the garden itself, and then around the perimeter of the garden, plus threading bright neon tape through the fencing to try to keep deer from running into the fence in the middle of the night.

I’m feeling good this morning. I managed to only get one ant bite/sting in my work yesterday, and it’s just itchy, not all blown up and sore. :0)

If we finish in good time, I’ll post pics.

Have a great Sunday!

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Gardening Progress

Messy Motherhood

I worked for an hour and a half this morning in the garden boxes in my square foot garden. I have four of the six 4′ x 4′ wooden planting boxes ready now. When I finish weeding the last two, I’ll spray them with Eight and then with Killzall, lightly, to finish up for the day.

Tomorrow I’m planning to gather the bricks and then my husband wants to help me cut the weed barrier cloth for each box. I’m lucky I have wonderful weather for this!

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On My Way Out

Community Playthings

I’m on my way outside now to see what I can get done on getting my square foot garden boxes ready to put away for the season. My list is –

  • Get as many weeds out as possible.
  • rake the Mel’s Mix smoother
  • spray with EIGHT for ants
  • spray with KILLZALL for remaining weed roots
  • cut SIX 4’x 4′ pieces of fabric weed barrier cloth
  • gather 24 bricks in the wheelbarrow
  • put the cloth barriers in the boxes held down by the bricks
  • spray the ground under the boxes for weeds
  • spray the perimeter of the garden with Killzall
  • String neon tape through perimeter fence to try to keep deer from running into it.

I hope to get a really good start on this during the weekend. Wish me luck!

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Did it!!!!!!

Andrey Popov-Depositphotos

At the risk of alienating you completely, I wanted to tell you I DID IT!!!! I used the new one-gallon sprayer and got ALL the garden boxes sprayed with KILLZALL to kill the weed roots. I finished the job in about 20 minutes from start to finish. I’m going to take the sprayer attachment out of the container this time and run water through it with the hose, hopefully keeping it from clogging up.


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Nice Saturday 9-24-2022


Mother Nature may have gotten the ‘fall’ memo to start the day yesterday, but she seems to have mislaid it. We’re forecast to have possibly record-breaking heat today before a possible ‘cold front’ comes through tomorrow. I’m trying to get motivated to both fully wake up and then mix up a two-gallon container of weed killer and spray the garden boxes. Hopefully, I can actually get that done this morning. I’m ready to put the garden away for the season now.

I love to try to grow veggies. I’m particularly glad that we figured out a way for me to continue trying for several years to come by discovering square foot gardening – thereby bypassing our terrible rocky soil – and then the idea of building garden boxes that look like ‘tables’ at my chest level so I can simply walk up to them and plant, weed, and harvest without having to bend over double or get up and down nine million times trying to take care of things. We also figured out an irrigation system so that I don’t have to stand out with a hose.

This past season was a challenging one with unusual weather for us. I was happy to get anything to grow and was very happy to be able to share some of our lettuce and spinach. We had enough ripe tomatoes to feel thoroughly spoiled – although, being greedy – we would have enjoyed a longer season. I’ve recently harvested a good group of sweet red onions that are drying in the sun on a well-draining trailer bed beside our shop.

I’ve already sprayed the garden boxes with EIGHT, a wonderful chemical that kills bugs, but is safe for our animals. I have cheerfully murdered countless fire ants who had the audacity to set up their homes in my garden boxes, ready to swarm me when I tried to harvest the onions. I’m back to normal now, except for some ‘spots’ on my arms, but I have a long memory when things sting and bite me.

After I spray with the weed root killer, KILLZALL, my husband has said he’ll help me cut the weed barrier fabric cloth to the proper size and put it over the Mel’s Mix, but under the wires that delineate the ‘squares’ of each box. We’ll put bricks in to hold the cloth down, and hopefully, the boxes will be ready to plant in the spring.

Have a wonderful Saturday.

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The Exterminator!

Heritage Pest Control


I’ve just come in from mixing up and spraying almost two gallons worth of ant killer on our garden boxes.


I misspoke – saying I was spraying with SEVEN. That’s a weed killer. What I mixed up and sprayed is EIGHT – a killer of ants and other bugs.

The sprayer attachment worked perfectly! My husband is taking a nap right now, so I’ll wait to tell him until he is awake, but I’m delighted with his efforts yesterday. I must have a mean streak in me because I really enjoyed it when I found a pocket of fire ants and mercilessly hosed them down. :0)

I got two mosquito bites while I was out there, even though I sprayed myself with Deep Woods Off. :0( My ant sting/bites are almost gone, though.

It’s too hot and humid to do much more out there today, but I’m planning to mix up and spray two gallons of KILLZALL – the weed killer – tomorrow. I carefully labeled the container for the EIGHT remaining. It’ll be great to have the two containers working again.


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Gardening Today 9-17-2022


Well, this morning’s work in the garden was less than stellar.

I mixed up a two-gallon sprayer of SEVEN to spray the garden boxes for fire ants. I pumped up the sprayer and it wouldn’t spray more than a second or two. It was already fully pumped up, and it just wouldn’t spray. I finally went back to the house and found a smaller quart-sized container and used that to at least spray AT each of the boxes. I came in when the sweat was getting into my eyes, feeling defeated.

My husband says he thinks we have another sprayer that we haven’t used. After awhile I will go see if I can find it and take it out to the garden. Hopefully, I can transfer the SEVEN to the new sprayer container and finish hosing down the garden boxes for the ants.

I WILL get this done – one way or another.

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Wonderful Wednesday 9-14-2022

Tatyana Belozyorova

I LOVE this guy. I want him to come live with me. :0)

We’re having a beautiful morning, cool and sunny. It’ll get to the 90’s this afternoon, but we’re enjoying the cool while we can.

We’re going to see if we can find a roll of black weed barrier fabric to spread on the top of the Mel’s Mix in each of my raised bed square foot garden planter boxes. I’m still glowing over the compliments I got from my husband – who mentioned it again last night! – on what a good job I did of weeding and harvesting. (I’ll try to remember to get a picture of the onions we grew.)

We’re hoping that the weed barrier will keep the weeds from taking over the boxes again. With the tarps we put over the boxes last year, we had to worry about trying to drain rain water off so it wouldn’t puddle in the middle of each tarp. What we did was better than nothing, but didn’t work as well as we had hoped.

With the barrier, the rain doesn’t NEED to drain, except as it normally does, going right through the barrier. We’ll put bricks or stones, or both, in each box to hold the barrier down. This will be a good experiment.

We’ll get our mail as we go and HOPE that we don’t have to stop and re-gather trash from yesterday….

Happy Wednesday!

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Nice Compliment

Verywell Mind

My husband just came in from walking around outside. He said, “You did a GREAT job of weeding in the garden.” I’m still amazed.

He wanted to go to Yeager’s tomorrow to buy tarps to go over the boxes as we have done in the past. My good friend, Marsha, had suggested that I use weed barrier fabric stuff and plant through it to keep the weeds from coming up so enthusiastically. I suggested to my husband that we use the barrier stuff to keep the weeds down until the spring, instead of the tarps. We wouldn’t have to worry about the water draining off the tarps. It would just go THROUGH the weed barrier. I could check it from time to time to see if I needed to add more until it was time to plant in the spring.

In the spring, when it’s time to plant. I’ll remove the barrier, add more to plant through, or plant things, then put strips of the barrier stuff in between the plants. That should save me a LOT of work.

We’ll go get the barrier stuff tomorrow. :0)

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Locked and Loaded


A cool front came through sometime early this morning and it’s only 68 degrees this morning! Woo HOOOOO!

Yesterday I worked almost 3 hours in the garden, trying to harvest our sweet red onions. I did two sessions, having to weed AS I harvested because the weeds were SO bad, I couldn’t FIND the onions. (I know. Embarrassing, to say the least.)

I got what I thought were 3 ant bites, but it turned out to be a few more. No big swarms of ants, but several teed-off ants got me. My left arm is a bit swollen and tender, even though I took allergy meds and put Benadryl ointment on my arm right away.

I got three of the six wooden planters weeded and harvested, and will try to finish the job today.

I’ll mix up my bug killer before I go, so I’m locked and loaded, ready to hose down any ant that even looks in my direction.

Meanwhile, we’re enjoying a cool breeze with the front and back doors open. Ahhhhhhh.

Trying to stay busy on this sad day.

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Onions, Weeds, and Ants – Oh, MY…

Gardeners World Forum

Okay. Picture the mess above on six 4’x4′ wooden ‘table’ gardens chest high and you will have an idea of what a MESS my garden is right now.

I’ve just come in from working for about 45 minutes and I can tell this is going to take SEVERAL sessions, possibly over a couple of days or so do to the FIRST thing on my list for outside – harvesting the sweet red onions.

I have to pull the weeds in order to FIND the onions. :0(

So far, I’ve harvested half of a big bucket of onions which I spread out on our trailer bed by the shop as I came back to the house just now. I have an entire large trash can full of weeds to dump before I start another session after lunch, when I’ve had a chance to rest and cool off.

I’ve finished one and a half of the six wooden boxes. I’ll see how hot it is, and if I can simply ignore the heat and sun for a bit. It IS cooler than it has been, with a high of 90 predicted for this afternoon.

I have THREE ant bites, but I haven’t dug into a bed of them where they swarm up yet. Hopefully, that won’t happen.

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This is probably the last tomato we’ll get this season.

square foot garden box example
one of the converted tomato planters

This year has been difficult, with cooler than normal temperatures in the beginning of the spring, then WAAAAAAAAY too much rain, then WAAAAAAAY too much heat with NO rain, then just killing heat, killing off the plants no matter how much we try to irrigate.

Because we built our raised-bed, square foot garden and arranged for daily irrigation, we were able to enjoy fresh lettuce and spinach at the beginning of the season. We converted two brick planters on the other side of the house to square foot planters so we could plant tomato plants. These were on irrigation, as well, so we were able to enjoy a nice crop of tomatoes, though a much shorter season than usual.

The garden is down to just sweet red onions, ready to be pulled up and dried as soon as this heat allows. The tomatoes are almost completely gone now. We’re lucky to have enjoyed some nice, fresh, home-grown veggies, but we’re also lucky we don’t have to make a living from our efforts. :0)

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Wonderful Wednesday

PBS – Shutterstock

I say, “Wonderful Wednesday” because I’m leaving in less than an hour to get a haircut. I look like a dandelion gone to seed right now and saying that I can’t wait to be ‘healed’ is a vast understatement.

It’s going to be hot today (102 degrees F.) with unknown heat index – SURPRISE! – but we might get RAIN tomorrow, so I have hope.

I’m looking forward to playing in my art room this afternoon. The jury is still out on whether the cards I’m trying to paint will be ‘keepers’ or not, but I’m having a great time experimenting with different ideas and techniques. One of the reasons I start making presents and cards for Christmas so early is that what I’m ABLE to do doesn’t match what I would LIKE to do, and so several false starts are inevitably involved.

Our tomatoes are mostly gone now. I have a few that may ripen, so I check the plants every few days for treasure. I will soon pull up the sweet red onions from the garden to start them drying.

I’m on DAY 19 of my yoga. I’m determined to keep on keepin’ on until this practice becomes as ingrained as brushing my teeth in the morning. This practice, I think, is one of the keys to my health, my ability to do what I want without a lot of pain. I want to live a long time so I can continue to annoy my husband. (53 years and counting…)

I hope you have something fun planned for today, or if not – you have a pleasant, happy Wednesday.

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Rich in Tomatoes

This morning’s harvest.

As you can see, we have breaks in the skin now, due to erratic watering. We water for 10 minutes daily, but with the hottest streak of weather we’ve had in a decade or more, and the lack of rain we’ve had lately, there just isn’t enough water to make the plants happy. I don’t know if we’ll lose the plants or not.

If Mother Nature chooses to continue to be harsh, we’ve still had a lovely harvest and have enjoyed lots of delicious tomatoes for lunches and dinners and can’t complain. We do have a streak of greediness, though, and hope we can pull the plants through and enjoy more tomatoes.

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Today’s Harvest 7-17-2022

We had a nice harvest this morning, with more coming soon. The weather has started affecting the quality of the tomatoes with some breaks in the skin, a couple of bad spots, etc., but they still taste absolutely wonderful and we’re spoiled beyond redemption, shamelessly devouring some for both lunch and dinner daily while we can. :0)


Tonight we’ll enjoy a “Main Meal Salad” (chef type salad) with added chicken from Lunch Bunch, so we’re having a nice, healthy day.

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Thoughts on a Friday 7-15-2022

I just love this photo. I WANT this sweet animal!

As far as I know, everyone will be at Lunch Bunch today. It’ll be a nice reunion. We have a few errands to do, but won’t be out long.

I’m having a lot of fun in my art room, working on the presents I’m painting for my friends for Christmas. I’m making 8 things, and I’m almost finished with some of the first sides. Apparently I smile while I’m painting – I’m finding my cheeks are hurting a bit in the evenings. :0)

Lucia Heffernan – MyModernMet

I’m going to do an extra-long session of yoga this afternoon. I missed it yesterday and my body is reminding me about it today. You would THINK that after so many RE-learnings of this lesson, the message would stick. All I can say is I’m fighting sloth, stubbornness, and stupidity – a pretty lethal combination.

This morning’s harvest. We went into withdrawal yesterday because we didn’t have any ripe tomatoes from our garden to eat. Today makes up for yesterday, with more coming, probably tomorrow. YUM.

Hoping for a safe, quiet day for all of us.

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Thankful Thursday

Greater Good Science Center – UC Berkeley

I’m thankful for air conditioning when we are under a ‘dangerous heat advisory’ through to the weekend with a heat index of 115 for Friday. I just went out to our shop to get some things to add to my Etsy site and the heat slammed me in the face the minute I opened the door to go out. I was REALLY glad to get things done out there and back into the house. (My dog, Amber, and my cat, Abby, accompanied me, and even THEY were happy to get back inside the cool house.)

I’m thankful that, even though my garden is pretty much over for the season (except for a couple of zucchini plants, red onions, and tomatoes) I had a nice harvest this morning.

I’m thankful to be having such a wonderful time starting to paint the totes I’m giving for Christmas this year. My ideas are starting to come together. My head and heart are full of memories of each of these wonderful friends as I picture their faces as I paint. I listen to some of my favorite music up there AND I’m ALSO thankful I can turn on the a/c upstairs so it cools off while I paint! :0)

(I’m hoping that my husband and I look like this wonderful couple when we grow up.) I’m thankful that our day so far is quiet and happy. Sharing your life with someone is one of the most challenging and rewarding things you might be lucky enough to do.

I hope you have lots of things for which you’re thankful, too.


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Wednesday Tomato Harvest

I just went out to check for ripe tomatoes before it gets too hot. (We’re due for a heat index of 110-115 today.) Look what I found!

I don’t know yet how this summer’s harvest will compare to years past, but the QUALITY of the tomatoes so far is stellar. NO blemishes. NO bad spots. Nice and firm. Delicious. It just doesn’t get better than this. :0) I wish I could share some with you.

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Garden Update

The zucchini are growing, but very slowly. I’ve never grown these before, so I’m not sure what to expect. The red onions seem fine. All else is gone, with the exception of my two tomato planters on the other side of the house.

The elephant ears are doing well, in spite of our having to water them manually.

The FIRST ripe tomato of the season!!!!!

The tomato plants were looking dry, so we ran the watering system for the back manually to make sure all was working as it is supposed to.

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Another Monday

The company who supplies our water is sending a man with a sample bottle and instructions today for us to take a sample of our water first thing tomorrow and put it out on the porch for them to pick up. They do this from time to time and then send us the results. It makes me feel good that the quality of the water is being checked from time to time and that they would let us know if there were any problem. This the the Milltown-Washburn Water Authority. We also have well water. It tastes good, but I’m glad we don’t have to rely on it for household use, as it was tested and found to be ‘highly aggressive’ (read acidic) and would eventually eat through the pipes in the house and our own PERSONAL pipes…. something I don’t like to think about.

We have our front and back doors open. It’s a GLORIOUS day today. A cold front came through overnight. I don’t know if we got rain or not, but the temperature was a delicious 69 this morning. It’s 76 right now, a bit overcast and feels WONDERFUL. The high is supposed to be 86 today and the humidity is in the comfortable range for the first time in a month or so. AHHHHHHHHHH!

I’m planning to check my garden today, plus my tomato plants.

Enjoy your day!

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Garden Update 6-21-2022

My zucchini are doing fine, though they are growing a little more slowly than I expected. The only things left in my raised bed, square foot garden now are sweet red onions and zucchini.

Our tomatoes seem to be doing fine. No sign of disease or bugs or worms yet.

“Niche” planter

I’ll spray the tomatoes and the zucchini today with EIGHT to protect them from pests. Otherwise, I’ll try to do some weed whacking. I didn’t do anything after the last time my husband mowed, so maybe I can say I’m AHEAD of him THIS time… Weed whack, and then spray with KILLZALL to try to at least keep up with things, if not get a little bit ahead of them…

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Lee County Center-NC State University

My pruning tomato plants experiment continues. The tomatoes in the 8 foot brick planter to the side of the house look pretty good. The ones in the ‘niche’ planter nestled in beside the house looked way too bushy, so I’ve just come in from giving them some attention. I got the obvious suckers and any branches with leaves touching the soil and then got more aggressive. The video said the plants did best when they can get lots of oxygen, and that means cutting off some of the extra branches that aren’t serving a particular purpose. I did some of that – although I admit that still kind of gives me pause – and got some taller, stronger supports for a couple of the plants. I think things are happy out there now.

“I” am way too hot to be a happy camper right now. I’m trying to rest and cool down a bit before I tackle the whirlpool tub and surround upstairs. I have read how to best deep clean the redwood that surrounds the tub. I’ve only been wiping it down for a long time and it really needs some deep cleaning. Happily, I have what I need for that.

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Sunday Thoughts

A couple of days ago I began a deep cleaning of our master bathroom. This includes a room with countertop and double lavatories, a whirlpool tub, my walk-in closet, two open closets for supplies, and then another room with a toilet and shower. I found myself also cleaning the guest room bathroom at the same time, thinking that, as I concentrated on one part or another, I could use the same cleaners and get both rooms at the same time. Today I’ll tackle our tub and then the baseboards and floors of both. Wish me luck!

My other project for today is another pruning of my tomato plants.

The long planter seems to be doing well, although there are a few branches that need to be pruned. The ‘niche’ planter beside the house is looking ‘bushy,’ so I’ll need to give it a bit more attention. The idea of the careful pruning is that you get more yield when you get rid of the extra leaves and branches that are taking energy from the main stems that produce the tomatoes. I’ll try to do that today, too.

I also wanted to share the elephant ear planter.

So far, it’s doing well, even though we haven’t gotten the 2nd line for our irrigation system yet. I’ll check it today to see if I need to water by hand.

Enjoy your Sunday!

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Garden Progress?


Two sessions outside so far today.

I’m being very careful, since the heat index for today is 115 today. The sun is strong. You feel the heat slapping you in the face the minute you go out. I sprayed my front and asked my husband to spray my back and back of my legs with Deep Woods OFF! before I went out. I wore sunglasses and a sweatband.

The first session I concentrated on pulling out the bolted lettuce plants. They were over 2 feet tall!

After session # 1 I closed up the house and turned on the a/c. My husband started to object, feeling comfortable sitting and reading in the living room, but then decided that ‘living’ was a better option than fighting me. I didn’t do this until I had tried to cool down for a half hour or so from the first session, but decided that it was time to get a little help on trying to stay cool the rest of the day. He looked at my still-red face and decided to go along. :0)

I just came in from my second session. I filled my two-gallon spray container with EIGHT bug killer and hosed down the zucchini plants in the garden and then my tomato plants. (We lost one tomato plant in the storm. The main stem was completely broken off and the plant was hanging over the side of the planter.) The rest of the tomato plants are looking good with green tomatoes!

I’m drinking a bottle of cold water now, trying to cool down.

I’m not sure yet what I’ll do for session # 3.

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