Category Archives: Square Foot Gardening – Raised Beds

New Green Tomatoes!

QuartoKnows

I’m hoping we’ll be like this cute little boy soon, picking fresh, ripe tomatoes off the vines to slice for a meal!

 

It’s kind of like treasure hunting now. You don’t see the tomatoes until you get up close, and sometimes you have to search a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

I worked out in the square foot garden for about an hour yesterday, trying to undo the neglect due to too much rain, then my husband’s cataract surgeries, and then the new puppy. I’m basically down to tomatoes, onions, two kinds of lettuce, some spinach, some celery, and one spaghetti squash plant I grew from seed in the kitchen. I’ll try to get pics of the garden tomorrow. I’ve been using a push weed-whacker, trying to go around the outside of the garden today. It’s hard work for an old lady. I ran into a tough something-or-other, snapping off the whacking cords. My good husband put some new ones on, so when the sun is a bit lower, I’ll do another hitch out there.

I hope your day is good.

 

 

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Harvest May 8, 2017

Families Online

Cold temperatures and nearly torrential rains for over a week followed by intense sunshine wreaked havoc in my square foot garden. I spent an hour weeding, pruning, and harvesting today, and another hour cleaning up what I harvested. I’ll probably do one more session out there before the day is gone.

Just at the wrong time for the broccoli and cauliflower. I found a bit of harvest-able broccoli, but the cauliflower was granular-looking and dry. The rest of the main broccoli plants had bolted, so I had to cut those off and hope for some more shoots off the main plants.

 

The romaine lettuce really surged, showing me that next time I plant this, I’ll only have one plant per square. When they touch another plant, the outside leaves get yucky and croak. I have a lot of pruning to do to get these plants happy again.

The spinach went nuts, as well. I harvested a bunch today, cleaned it, and froze it.

The red leaf lettuce plants look like small BUSHES now. I’ll tackle them tomorrow. I harvested the rest of the radishes and will start another two squares of seeds soon.

I’ll need to try to either get up earlier and get right out to the garden, or plan to work out there right before sundown. The sun is really intense and this old lady gets more than enough in an hour’s time.

I feel bad when the garden isn’t at its best. It’ll probably take another day or two before it is under control again. My goal will be to have it done, plus the weed whacking of the yard finished, before the rain comes again Thursday.

 

 

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Tomatoes 5/5/2017

Since the rains came and the sun started shining, the tomatoes have really grown. I spent some time today tying up branches, trying to get them to climb the trellises my husband made. This is the smaller tomato plant in what we call “The Nook” beside the porch and behind the house.

 

This is the larger of the two nook tomato plants, planted about two weeks before the smaller one.

 

Here are the two together.

 

We have six more tomato plants in the brick planter we also converted to square foot garden plants, with Mel’s Mix. We bought these at three different times, again trying to expand the season and spread out when the tomatoes ripen a bit.

 

You can really see the difference between the plants here.

Finally, I just planted two grape tomato plants in the main garden a week or so ago. I’ll take pics of those when I start repairing what the rains did to the plants out there tomorrow.

My mouth is already watering! I saw some sweet yellow blooms here and there today…

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Garden After the Storms

The temperature right now is 58 F., and there is a gusty wind. The sun is finally shining. I’m feeling really grateful that the Greenwood area of Arkansas seems to have come through the storms pretty well.  Fort Smith got some hail damage, power outages, and some wind damage, but overall, it could have been a lot worse.

I went out for the first time since Thursday to see what was left of our garden.  There is no major damage. The plants are beaten up some, but seem to still be alive. I’ll be spending a lot of time out there, once it warms up a bit, trying to prune the dead parts off the plants, etc.

This is the largest of the spaghetti squash plants I started in my kitchen from one I bought from the store. It seems to be doing fine, although there is no sign of any veggie yet.

 

I think I’ll probably go ahead and harvest all of the radishes and plant more in other squares.

 

This is the largest of the celery plants I started inside, cutting the bottoms off stalks I bought at the store. I have a couple more plants to bring out to the garden. Again, I have no clue what to expect. I may just get leaves, but I’m having fun watching. :0)

 

I’ll need to do a LOT of pruning on the lettuce and the spinach. They both got pretty battered with all the wind and rain.

 

I’m going to go ahead and harvest the broccoli plants before they shoot spears up. I’m hopeful I’ll get more heads from the other parts of the plants.

Look at this! I’m delighted to see this sweet cauliflower head. I think I’m supposed to arrange for the leaves to cover the heads so the head will stay white.

 

As you can see, LOTS of pruning will be needed to get the plants looking the way they should, but I’m grateful that the garden seems to have come through all the severe storms okay.

 

 

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Tomatoes

Home-grown sliced tomatoes are one of our favorite things. Each year the only thing my husband is excited about is planting tomatoes. He hounds me from WAAAAAY before we should be planting them until every space for tomatoes is planted.  Last year the two plants in what we call ‘the nook’ beside the porch and behind the house got SO big that a big storm broke them off in the middle and folded them over into the yard. They never recovered. We still got some tomatoes, but the tomato orgy was over.

My husband built some stakes for the tomatoes in the nook this year. These blue stakes are about 6 feet high and made of metal. They are sunk to the bottom of the front of the planter and then lean against the brick wall behind. They’re super sturdy. I’m worried, though, that the metal will get hot and burn the plants. We’ll see.  The picture above is the plant we planted three weeks after the other one in the planter, hoping to extend our tomato season as long as possible.

 

Here is the other plant in the nook. It’s much larger and both have yellow blossoms already!

 

This is the other tomato planter. It has been converted from a flower planter to a square-foot garden planter. We have fairly sturdy tomato cages that stick down to the bottom of the planter. I planted the six plants at three different times, hoping for the best. They have really grown this past week. They weren’t even touching the cages last week.

Yesterday I found two grape tomato plants at one of the stores in town. I throw these into salads, eat them with carrots, celery and dip, and love the way they give color to whatever you’re eating. I HOPE they’re happy in the garden.

As soon as the rains quit, I’ll go out and see if I can tie the plants up carefully to give them as much support as possible. We’ve been having heavy rains, lots of wind, some hail, and flying hair balls lately. I’m trying to be thankful for every drop, but I hope all this doesn’t batter my poor little plants…

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Garden Images – April, 2017

I’ve just come in from a little over an hour of weeding and pruning in the garden. The pictures here were taken BEFORE I did that, ad I’m cringing a bit that you can see some little weeds and leaves that need to be removed, etc., but I wanted to share my delight in how well things seem to be doing now.

I actually have little bitty heads of broccoli coming on!

 

This is a terrible picture, but I have TWO cauliflower heads showing!

 

This is the largest celery plant, though I have several others. No clue yet whether I’ll actually get a stalk or not. (See what I mean about the little weeds? Most of them are gone now.

 

These are Georgia Sweet Onions. They seem to be happy now, rebounding from the hail storm.

 

This is one of two squares of radishes.

 

Red leaf lettuce.

 

This is the largest of the spaghetti squash plants I started from seed in the house.

 

And spinach. I was so delighted to find plants for sale this year at the local co-op. I hope that I thanked the guy effusively enough that he’ll try to get them again and again. I can’t be the only person looking for them and wanting to grow it.

I mainly cut up spinach for salads, or put the leaves in the rare sandwiches we eat now. I’m going to try to actually cook the leaves this year. It might be a thing where we love the stuff in the can, but the actually fresh leaves taste like a completely ‘different animal.’

Does anyone have directions for how best to cook fresh spinach leaves?

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1st Real Harvest of the Year – 2017/04/23

After the hail storm, I cut off lots of broken leaves. We had good eating from the sweet, broken plants, but it was sad to see everything so battered. Today, things have rebounded and I got our first real harvest of the year. I could have harvested much more, but I’d like to ‘eat our way through the garden,’ if possible this year.  These were the largest of the radishes so far.

 

Red leaf lettuce.

 

Romaine lettuce

 

Spinach.

My husband came in just as I was finishing washing everything. He said he’s looking forward to a big salad with our grilled steaks tonight!

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The Sun is Shining!

After several cool days and rain, the sun is shining! HOOOOORAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!!

We have what looks like a three-day opportunity to spend time outside before four more days of cool and rain this week.

It’s been SO cool and rainy, I haven’t checked on our garden in several days. I’ll do that today. I’m hoping there will be some good things to harvest. If so, I’ll post pictures later.

I have flower planters to clean out, weed whacking to do, and planters to get ready for new plants. We’re hoping to go to the local nursery tomorrow for a flat of periwinkles, several purslane plants, some geraniums, and maybe a flat of gerbera daisies – one of my very favorite flowers – if they still have flats for sale.

To celebrate having such a nice day today, my husband suggested that we get steaks to grill on the deck tonight. We always turn on the rope LED lights while we’re out there, and we can listen to our wind chimes on the porch and the new hummingbird bird bath waterfall while we sit, enjoying the evening and each other.

The errands are done for the day. I’ll finish my coffee and head outside to see how our garden is faring.

I hope you’re enjoying a fabulous Sunday, too!

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Sharing

The West Australian

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

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

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

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

Life is great!

 

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Our Garden is Recovering!

Natural New Age Mum- Little Miss from Gardening for Kids

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

Here are some pictures I took yesterday of the garden –

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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First Spring Harvest – 2017

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

 

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

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My Plants are Insulted

No Time for Flash Cards

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Small Setback

Clover Gazette – WordPress.com

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

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

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

Fingers crossed.

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Garden Progress

Delightful Childrens’ Books

Isn’t this little guy a cutie?

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

 

This is the north side of the garden.

 

And this is the south.

 

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

 

Spinach

 

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

 

Romaine lettuce and spinach.

 

Red leaf lettuce.

 

Radishes

 

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

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

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

Rodales Organic Life

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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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

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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.

 

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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.

 

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

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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.

 

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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

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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

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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

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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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