Category Archives: Square Foot Gardening – Raised Beds


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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Ah, Yes…

We’ve now gone from getting almost 12 inches of rain in the past week to a heat index of 100 degrees F. today and 110+ tomorrow. Seat belts aren’t enough.

We DO have a driveway left, even though we did get some damage along one side. I’m really amazed that ALL of the crusher dust the nice man spread for us, allowing us to finally get down our driveway – and back UP again – didn’t end up in the road that runs along in front of our property. We’re just pleased that Mother Nature seems to have calmed down, or at least moved to the east now. Hopefully she won’t bring problems to others.

I plan to get outside in several sessions today, mainly this morning and late this afternoon, to try to catch up.

Lee County Center-NC State University

I need to check my tomato plants first. I need to prune them and may need to add more support. I’m hoping that tomato worms haven’t descended. I’ll spray everything heavily with Eight, looking carefully for signs we’re infested.

This is what the zucchini plants are supposed to look like.

I need to get out to the garden. I’ll pull my lettuce plants – which are probably trying to touch the sky now – and see what else needs to be done. I’m hoping I’ll have some little bitty zucchini. This is the first time I’ve ever tried to prune and stake them, as the pic above shows I’m supposed to.

With the heat index this high, I’ll need to keep my sessions really short, resting a lot in-between and drinking lots and lots of water. I would like to have things under reasonable control by the end of the weekend. I’ll plan on sharing pics with you.

There was a lot of flooding in Greenwood yesterday. I’m hoping things are getting back to normal today and that there wasn’t a lot of damage.

Have a nice, safe Saturday.

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Happy Camper

Baby Center-iStock

I’m a happy camper today. Things are really looking up around here. :0)

I’ve told you that we were FINALLY able to arrange our freedom yesterday since Jeremy Young came with his equipment and smoothed out the crusher dust pile that made us captives up here for a week. Even with the really heavy rain most of the afternoon, the driveway stayed beautiful with very little damage. We’ll see how long this lasts and then get back with him on what he thinks we should do more long term.

We replenished some supplies after relocating raccoon # 6, getting home around 5:30 or so. I slept much better last night, knowing we could get out if we needed to, or someone could come up, again, if needed. Peace of mind is priceless.

Today we’ll get our mower gas cans filled, plus the truck. The only downside of all this freedom is that it is expensive! Grocery prices were up, of course, and gas prices will make us gasp today. At least we can GET most of what we would like to. We’ll also replace a flashlight that died suddenly. Not only did it need new batteries – the batteries had ‘frozen’ inside. Oops! That one lasted over 30 years, so I guess needing to get a replacement now is understandable…

Changing from the Keto eating plan to the Mediterranean one is helping me gradually. And I’m starting to see a difference on the scales, too, finally. My focus has been on getting my system working right again, pushing lots of veggies, cutting way back on meat and fat, eating fruit, etc. Now I’ll start paying attention to calories as well, comparing that to what I’m burning with my yard work and exercise. I’m hoping I can manage a good balance where I’ll feel good, sleep well, and have more energy as I get stronger.

We’ll set the humane trap on the deck again this evening. “Something” triggered it to shut overnight, but we didn’t catch anything. We’re having a record year, having trapped and relocated six raccoons so far in the past month or so.

Tomorrow we’re supposed to get more heavy rain. But TODAY the sun is shining brightly after being fogged in this morning. I’m looking forward to spending time in the garden and checking on my tomato plants.

Have a glorious Thursday!

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Tomato Plants

So far, the tomatoes are doing well. Yesterday I got out with my clippers, ties, and stool for a good pruning session. I cleaned things up, supported the plants well, and delighted in seeing some green tomatoes!

I don’t want the tomatoes to get much taller, but the video I am going by didn’t say much about the indeterminate tomato plants growing up too tall for the supports. Usually mine spill out over the sides of the planter and sprawl all over the ground. That’s what I’m trying to avoid this year, because the guy in the video says the plants will concentrate on producing more tomatoes, rather than all the greenery.

The plants should be getting lots of oxygen. That is supposed to help them not get any diseases. I’ll mix up some bug spray next, because I don’t want the tomato worms sneak in and start eating the plants.

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Thoughts on Sunday 5-29-2022

This puppy is a genius – eating AND getting in exercise at the same time! I’m not sure what that yoga position is called, but I’m impressed :0) I’m going to make beef stew for our dinner tonight. Less stew beef, many more veggies. I’ll freeze the leftovers into individual serving containers and put them in the freezer.

I finished cleaning out and weeding the square foot garden yesterday. It took a total of three sessions and about 4 hours to get things cleaned out the way they should be, but I feel good that it looks like someone cares again. I’ll research summer crops and then see what is available locally. The tomatoes are doing fine so far, too.

If you look really carefully, above the lowermost leaves on the bottom left of the plant, you can see a small green tomato!

And finally, this has nothing whatsoever with my ‘garden,’ but I’m delighted to see that all three elephant ear plants are now coming up. You have to look carefully at the center of the planter, but you can see the first sprout of a leaf breaking through now.

Today’s project will be attacking things with my loppers. I’ll be clearing up areas that are giving my husband trouble on the riding mower, and then trying to cut down weed trees around our burn barrel between the house and the shop. It’s supposed to get to the 90s today (50s two days ago) with strong sun, so I’ll have to be careful.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

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5 of the 6 Done

The main raised bed square foot garden consists of six 4’x4′ boxes we built, put on iron supports and filled with Mel’s Mix. They are my chest height, so my gardening ‘work’ is the easiest possible. I can walk up to the tables, plant, weed, and harvest – all without bending over double over and over or having to get down on my hands and knees.

Pulling out spent plants and weeding in the sun, however, is still a lot of work for me. That’s what I’ve been doing today – trying to make up for neglecting it for the past week while it’s been raining every day.

What I found today is that I needed to pull out a lot of plants. Even though the Mel’s Mix stays soft, the plants really get their roots down in it and it’s difficult to me to pull them out. Then I try to save as much of the Mel’s Mix as possible, then dispose of them (composting what I can.) The weeds have overridden my sweet garden in a week’s time. I now have 5 of the 6 boxes cleaned out and weeded, but have one left. I’m in resting and drinking water again before I try to go back out and finish the job.

I also harvested some lettuce that I’m going to take to our hairdresser Tuesday morning. I’ll also fill bags for my Lunch Bunch friends, and a couple of other people as I use what I can before the lettuce bolts.

I’ll have to think about whether I want to try to grow some other warm weather crops, besides the zucchini, such as yellow crook neck squash, etc. Maybe when I’ve had a chance to catch my breath a bit I’ll do some research in what is available now.

I’ve always loved the idea of growing herbs, but never really have. I’m not much of a cook, but the idea of snipping off a bit of fresh herbs to flavor our dinner has always appealed. The reality of it is that when I buy some fresh herbs at the store, I use a bit and the rest goes bad in the fridge. :0( I’m going to see what else I can grow that I will actually use and can freeze.

Meanwhile, we can look forward to what I hope will be a great tomato crop, giving us a wealth of ripe tomatoes for ourselves and to share with our friends.

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Work Cut Out for Me

In a nutshell, the zucchini seems to be doing all right, and the onions are fine. The lettuce hasn’t bolted yet, but will soon. Everything else must go. I just came in from spending an hour pulling out plants and weeding. I harvested one lettuce plant and pulled the rest out. I have about half of the garden done now. I’m resting and drinking lots of water. I plan to go out and hopefully finish with another hour or so after lunch.

The zucchini plant seems to be thriving. The spinach plant next to it needs to go.

The red onions are very happy. The spinach here also needs to go, as do the abundance of weeds.

I’ll be harvesting lots of lettuce in the coming days.

sent to me by my friend, Susy.

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Garden Progress


Yesterday I got the tomato plants pruned, tied up, weeded, fed, and watered. The plants had really grown. I THINK I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I watch the video over and over, trying to be sure I’m following his directions carefully. Some of the pruning is simply FEEL, when things are becoming too dense between two plants. I noticed two small green tomatoes while I was working yesterday. Fingers crossed.

Lee County Center-NC State University

This morning I’ll go out and see what’s happening with my sadly neglected garden. It’s certainly gotten enough, if not TOO much, water, with our automatic irrigating plus all the rain. I really don’t know what I’ll find. The last time I was out there, before the week of rain, I staked my zucchini plants for the first time ever. Usually they grow all over the elevated square boxes we use for the garden, spilling over the sides and hanging down to the ground, smothering anything else in the box. Since they are a warm weather plant, it isn’t really a problem, but the idea of staking them, like tomato plants, was completely new to me.


I’m hoping that this is the way my plants will look as the zucchini grow. The directions said to prune everything beneath the lowest zucchini on each plant, cleaning things out so the plant could get lots of oxygen. I’ll try to get some pics, assuming I have anything out there alive after a week of not being out there. I don’t know whether my lettuce has bolted in the heat, etc. I’ll head out there as soon as I finish here and see what I can do.

Have a wonderful Saturday. I hope you’ll have a great Memorial Day weekend with the ones you love.

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Bright Sunshiny Day

Horizon Education Centers

“I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Here is that rainbow I’ve been praying for

It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day” ~ Jimmy Cliff

I can’t believe we’re having such a beautiful day. I had almost forgotten what it looked like when the sun was shining! It’s supposed to get into the 70s with low humidity this afternoon with lots of sunshine. What could be better?

I’m hoping to spend several sessions outside when we return from seeing our friends at Lunch Bunch. I want to take my time pruning my tomatoes, giving them tomato food, spraying blossoms, re-anchoring the plants to the supports, etc. When I feel I’ve done all I can do for them, I’ll turn my attention to the garden I’ve been neglecting since the rains started. It it isn’t too wet, my husband will try to mow this afternoon.

We can probably open the front and back doors in the house to get a nice breeze throughout, too. Ahhhh!

Abram L. Urban – LivingLife –

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Getting a Handle on It


Yesterday I finally made some progress in ‘getting a handle on’ how I can make the Mediterranean eating plan work for us. (This is complicated because my husband rarely meets a veggie he likes or will even consider eating.)

Yesterday we had a huge fight-with-technology trying to get a Mediterranean cookbook downloaded onto my Kindle. I hardly ever use it, preferring to hold real, treasured books in my hands, but cookbooks are a different ilk, as far as I’m concerned. There are usually only a few recipes I’ll actually cook in each, so I can download a cook book, use what I like, then decide if I actually want to add it to my collection or delete the book from my Kindle and try another.

Making a long story much shorter, we had to DE-register my Kindle because it was listed under my old email address, then RE-register it under my current email address. THEN call for technical help on getting ads off, THEN fight to get rid of ‘freebies’ I didn’t want. I was able to finally get the cookbook and read it last night. As usual, it focused on eggplant, kale, couscous, tofu, Brussells sprouts, cauliflower, chickpeas, etc. Even after more than 50 years of marriage, I know my husband would leave if I tried to cook these things for dinner.

I thought about it a lot, and finally came up with ‘doing my own thing,’ incorporating as many veggies as possible, concentrating on those to which my husband doesn’t object, and flavoring with meats he likes. That means veggie casseroles with chicken or beef or pork ‘flavoring.’ It also can mean stews of various kinds. And fruit as part of our meals and as snacks.

If I cook these, making enough for more than one meal and freezing the leftovers into individual servings for the freezer, I can have lots of meals both of us like, increasing the veggies and fruit I want in my diet and not causing a revolt-among-the-masses. I can also try the recipes that sound reasonable. If my husband doesn’t care for them, I can freeze any leftovers for ME to eat later when my husband is having a Lean Cuisine, Real Food, or Stu’s frozen meal on busy days. Not a complete plan, by any means, but a workable start.

I’m feeling better every day now, with my digestion getting back to normal. I’m now taking my thyroid medicine first thing, eating a small breakfast an hour or so later, then taking the rest of my meds with lunch. This is workable for me. :0)

It’s still rainy here, so the guy bringing us a truckload of chat for the driveway hasn’t called or come. Neither has the plumber, whose work will be outside in the well house. If we can go to town between showers, we’ll get another timer to join the one we just installed in the well house, to be ready when the plumber does his thing.

Meanwhile, my husband actually NOTICED that I had been working in the pantry yesterday! I’m making my way through the food side of the pantry, getting rid of a lot of stuff, cleaning, and then re-organizing. I may finish the main part by the end of the day today. It feels good to be getting things easily accessible, plus smelling the ‘clean.’

If it ever stops raining, I’ll need to get out to my tomato plants and my garden to catch up there…

I hope you’re having a wonderful Wednesday.

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It’s Friday

Happy Friday!

Sad to say we’re not having Lunch Bunch today. Everyone is under the weather – except for my husband and me – so hopefully everyone will feel better soon and we’ll see each other NEXT Friday.

ML Lewis

This is probably the last beach photo this trip from our virtual vacation with my SIL. She’s spending the last day on the beach searching for shark teeth and enjoying perfect weather there. I’m so glad she gets to do this with her friends each year. AND I’m delighted that we get to share the ‘calm’ and beauty with her vicariously. :0)

Source Unknown

Yesterday I got out and pruned and staked my 4 zucchini plants. If it isn’t a good thing, it’s not a problem. My husband won’t eat zucchini anyway. If it’s successful, I’ll be a very happy planter. :0)

You can see two of the four plants here.

And here are some of the tomato plants on the other side of the house.

And finally, I went ahead and brought in three of the four cauliflower plants. They were showing signs I didn’t like. The heads are small – about 4″ across, but they are the first actually heads I’ve grown and I’m grinning from ear to ear. (My husband won’t eat cauliflower, either, but that’s HIS loss….


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Cloudy Beach Thursday

ML Lewis

I’m getting spoiled enjoying a gorgeous photo of the beach every morning. My SIL hasn’t kissed a sandpiper for me yet, but I’m still hoping. She says it’s cloudy there this morning and they may get some rain. What a lovely thought – walking on the beach in the rain…..

Back in the ‘real world’ in Arkansas, we’re having “spotty showers” this morning and 90’s this afternoon. I’m hoping that I can get out to my garden this morning in a bit and see if I can figure out how to prop up my zucchini plants and prune them.

Irrigation System Controller

My husband got frustrated with the yard irrigation system controller yesterday. I told him I would tackle it this morning and just came in from trying to do just that. I reset the whole system, which thought it was January of 2007… Hopefully, I have it reset now, but we won’t really know until this evening, when Station 1 should start watering at 7pm and Station 2 at 7:10. Fingers crossed.

healthy_thyroid-Endocrine Web

We go to the doc’s office this afternoon. I had Graves Disease years ago and had my thyroid radiated. I’ve taken a medication since then that simulates thyroid hormone. When my levels go wonky, I’m in pretty bad trouble. The thyroid controls a LOT of what goes on in your body. Usually, I go along on the same dosage for years, sometimes, with no problems. My test results showed my thyroid levels are, indeed, wonky now. What I thought was diet-related is probably due to this. I have other symptoms, too, that I haven’t had in a long time. I’ll find out today what my doc thinks is best. Help is on the way. :0)

I hope that you’re having a pleasant Thursday. If not, keep gazing at the gorgeous photo of the beach above, That’ll make it better.


Filed under Challenges, Gardening, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, taking care of yourself, Thoughts on a ________, vicarious enjoyment

Staking Plants

The two pics above show the staking of my tomato plants in the two brick planters we converted to square foot planters several years ago.

I found a nice video on pruning tomato plants for maximum yield. After finally overcoming intimidation by the whole idea, I’m doing this, for better or worse, though my husband may plant ME in the back yard if I kill our chance for lovely ripe tomatoes this year. I changed to using only single stakes, giving me the most access to the plants as they grow. I’m planning to check them once a week to see what they need.

Yesterday I learned I should be staking my zucchini plants, as well! I will have to get a bit creative to do this because my raised-bed, square-foot-garden planters are up off the ground (chest high) and are only 8 inches deep.

I’m much less intimidated by the idea of pruning my zucchini plants than my tomatoes. My husband won’t each zucchini. I grow them for the fun, and also because I like to make and eat ‘zoodles’ (fake noodles made from spiralized zucchini.)

Zoodles allow me to eat low carb spaghetti sauce, low carb alfredo sauce, etc., without feeling guilty.

The only one who will be disappointed if my efforts don’t work here is me, so the pressure is off. :0)

I’ll try to get pics of the four plants after I figure out how to stake them up a bit and get them pruned.

These don’t need staking, but I just wanted to share my delight that my cauliflower plants are still alive and the heads are growing. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to allow them to grow, but I’m like a kid at Christmas. :0)

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Beachful Wednesday

ML Lewis

Aren’t we lucky to have another day on the beach? I particularly like it that I can truly enjoy the sunrise at a time more ‘civilized’ for ME, rather than when it actually happens. :0)

We’re having a nice day here in Arkansas, too. I’m planning to spend several short sessions in the garden and the yard today, since Mother Nature seems to have her head back on straight again. I learned yesterday – much to my amazement – that I’m supposed to be staking my zucchini plants! I guess I never thought about it. I read that each plant has only one stem, though the plant will grow all over the place over time. It actually does better – AND produces more zucchini, if you give the main stem a lot more oxygen, cutting away the excess leaves. Who knew! My garden boxes are only 8 inches deep, so ‘staking’ them will be a trick, but I certainly can prune the plants and prop up parts of the plants to give the stems a lot more air and space. I’ll figure out what I can do as I go.

I’m also going to try to lop off the big branches sticking out from our trio of brick planters between our front yard and the driveway that are making it next to impossible for my husband to mow close to them. Short sessions with lots of rest and water in-between.

We see our primary doc tomorrow afternoon for our routine six-month-monitoring. This coincides nicely with getting help for the digestive problem I’ve been having lately. We had blood work done. The TSH test (one of the thyroid tests I get) has gone completely bonkers – WAAAY high. I’m suspicious, now that I look at other symptoms, that this may be the reason for my problems. I’ll find out what she thinks tomorrow. Help is on the way! :0)

We start our day at the beach and spend much of the garden outside in a beautiful day, playing with plants. What more could we ask?

Wonderful Wednesday. Enjoy yours.

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Hope Blooms

Lady Bird Johnson – –

I’ve done two sessions on trying to prune my tomato plants and anchoring them to the supports. I’ll do a third, and hopefully, last session in a few minutes. I’ll also sprinkle them with tomato food and they’ll get watered automatically by our repaired yard irrigation system tonight.

I was really intimidated by the idea of pruning my tomatoes. Sliced ripe tomatoes are one of our very favorite things in the world. We look forward to planting and harvesting tomatoes every year. I have always just staked them, fed them, and then let the plants do what they want. We end up with a ‘mess,’ each year, with the vines climbing all over everything, making it impossible for my husband to mow near them and almost impossible for me to reach in and grab ripe tomatoes by the end of the season.

This year I was determined to try to learn to prune the tomatoes. I found a video on pruning tomatoes to increase yields that sounded good. The guy on the video seems understanding, patient, and knew what he was doing.

The first thing he talked about was ‘determinate’ vs ‘indeterminate’ tomato plants. I didn’t realize there were two types of plants, so I was already intimidated. I finally decided that I was dealing with ‘IN-determinate plants, since mine just kept growing, spilling all over the place until they froze at the end of the season.

I’ve watched the video over and over, because it scared me to death to even THINK about cutting off parts of the plants (other than dead stuff or broken branches.) I was (and still AM, to be honest) worried that something I do will cause the plants NOT to produce, but I’m determined to do it this year.

Lee County Center-NC State University

The first time I looked at the plants, before I was sick for about a week, I chickened out. Yesterday, I did two short sessions. Amazingly, I SAW the suckers! I carefully pruned those, plus cleaned up the remaining plants a bit in the smaller, square ‘niche’ planter beside the house. I got the plants tied up, anchored to the supports nicely.

I pruned one plant in the other planter before the wind started to threaten to pull me off my stool. I’ll go out to finish up, but – IF this works, I’ll be the happiest lady on the planet! There won’t be anything in particular to show you at this point, but I’m feeling really hopeful that I can encourage more TOMATOES rather than so many rope-y, messy vines this season.

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Actually, I’m going out to see what I can do on pruning tomato plants while the sky is a bit overcast. Wish me luck?

tom-Lee County Center-N C State University

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I’ll Get By with a Little Salad for My Friends…

This is the first lettuce harvest of the day. I just washed it and put it into gallon bags to give to our friends, Kay, Linda, Patty, and Michael this week.

There is a LOT more to harvest, but it’s not actually trying to bolt YET, so I’m thinking about spreading out the harvests as much as I can, watching the progress of the plants carefully.

It’s almost time for lunch, so I’m thinking about switching to pruning tomatoes after lunch, rather than doing a second harvest of lettuce today.

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Our Virtual Vacation!

ML Lewis

Thanks to my generous sister-in-law, we can all join her on a virtual vacation to the beach this week!

Each year she and some friends meet and share a rented place for a week. They do some things together, plus give each other lots of space to do whatever each of them wants and needs to do. A GREAT get-away for all of them. Fortunately for us, she doesn’t mind if we also enjoy some of the views with her.


The weather is perfect for our first day at the beach. I have asked her to be on the lookout for sandpipers while she’s there. They are the only bird that makes me laugh aloud when I see them skittering across the sand on their long, long legs. I could watch them for hours.


Back to reality here in Arkansas, I’ll be trying to get a lot of lettuce harvested today, since the wonky heat wave this past week or so has my garden acting like it’s mid summer, with the early spring, cool weather veggies all trying to bolt. I’ve harvested broccoli and spinach so far, leaving what I can, in case the weather cools enough for further growth. I’m trying to do several sessions in the veggie garden this weekend and then tackle the job of pruning and anchoring my tomato plants.

Schwer Fittings

Yesterday we got the majority of the irrigation system for the yard working. This is particularly good because the flowers I planted on the deck, plus the two brick tomato planters are on this system. My husband found a metal “Y” hookup on the system that had a HOLE in it, spewing water everywhere. It’s hard to believe that could happen, but he replaced it.

Mother Nature – The Actuary Magazine

Of COURSE, since we got the irrigation system repaired, we’re due for some storms this afternoon and evening. Mother Nature has a snide sense of humor.

I hope that you have a nice Sunday. Come back and look at the gorgeous photo of the beach if you need your spirits lifted. :0)

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2nd Harvest of the Day 5-14-2022

I just finished washing and processing the spinach I gathered this afternoon.

I took a picture of each of the teeny, tiny (about 2 inches in diameter) cauliflower heads in the garden. This is the best I’ve done on this veggie. Usually ‘something’ happens and I fail to even start a head. I’m hopeful that these will get a bit larger before I have to harvest them. Fingers crossed.

To show how deceptive photography can be, this head is only about 2 inches across. But it’s PRETTY, isn’t it? There are 3 others almost identical to it in my garden right now.

If it’ll cool off a bit (or I can cool down enough) I’ll go back out and start harvesting lettuce.

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