Category Archives: Square Foot Gardening – Raised Beds

Dreaming of Working in My Greenhouse

As our temperatures here in Greenwood, Arkansas start to decrease as we move toward Fall, I’m starting to dream about working in my new greenhouse.

Since we built it this past spring, it’s been WAAAAAAAY too hot in there to even think about spending more than a minute or two inside.

 

We put a regular thermometer in there (the kind with the red mercury in a line up the center) and it got so hot inside the greenhouse that not only did the thermometer not read correctly, the top blew out of it! We literally had to clean up the table and the floor around it and throw the poor thing out. We replaced it with the kind of thermometer that only shows a number, and it went right to 120 degrees F. and stayed there, giving us at least a minimum temperature in there.

I had a folding chair out there that burned my generous nether end through my jeans in the time it took for me to sit on it and then leap back up! Needless to say, I have not spent a lot of time out there, waiting to organize it and start planting seeds until at least mid fall.

 

You’re looking through the open doorway to the greenhouse here. You can see the exhaust fan we mounted in the end. With the door open, the exhaust fan on, and the people fan on, soon I should be able to work in there.  This picture doesn’t show all the ‘stuff’ I’ve moved into the greenhouse – starter trays, a trashcan full of Mel’s Mix, water sprayers, planting tools, etc.

This morning I harvested a bunch of seeds from tomatoes we grew. They are drying on a paper towel on top of the microwave. When they’re completely dry, I’ll put them in a  baggie in preparation for planting them in the greenhouse. I’m hoping to plant lots of things in the hope that the plants will be ready to transfer to my square foot planters outside in the spring.

I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas morning, standing on one foot and the other waiting for the cold front tonight, and hoping that we are, finally, on the way to cooler temperatures and I can start to play. I’ll do a lot of reading and planning, plus get the greenhouse organized and set up for lots of seed starters. I have two tomato plants I plan to dig up, put in pots, and put in the greenhouse at the first threat of frost. I also plan to winter-over a couple of non-hardy plants, – an  elephant ear and a pretty purple plant my friend Laufrain gave me. I already have all the seeds I need, so I just need to exercise a whole lot of PATIENCE now…

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Mary, Mary…

30seconds.com

 

This is the view as you walk toward my square foot garden. You’d think I was specializing in marigolds! I planted them in several squares in each box, hoping they would help keep the insects down. I don’t see that they helped much, but they made the garden look happy. When the spring crops finished, the marigolds were still going strong, so I just left them. Now they’re overflowing.

The parts of the boxes not overflowing with marigolds look like this. My strings that we strung to demarcate the squares in each box were killed by the combination of water and sun. I’ll use a different kind in the spring. I just went out and sprinkled seeds for the fall garden and hoped for the best.

I also started a seed starter tray with peat pellets in the house. They sprouted, but were looking anemic, while the seeds in the garden were looking better. I decided to try putting the tray out on the deck where the seedlings could get more sun and maybe some rain. That turned out to be a mistake. The seedlings croaked, so I cleaned out the planter tray and put it back in the greenhouse.

The greenhouse, by the way, is still showing 120 degrees inside today, so it’ll be awhile before I try starting anything in there.

The raised bed square foot garden box above shows one single spinach plant, radishes, and two types of lettuce.

Only one plant resulted from the spinach seeds, but it looks good. I’ll try to plant some more around it, just to see if they’ll come up and produce, now that the weather people are saying we’re due for cooler weather next week.

 

This is a closeup of the Simpson Lettuce.

 

Radishes

 

New celery plants

 

Celery plants that grew more celery after I chopped the whole top off out in the garden!

 

Carrots

Bibb Lettuce

The only other veggies I have going for the fall garden thus far are two tomato plants offered several weeks ago. They still seem to be doing fine.

 

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A Nice Thursday

Today has been a really nice day.

The weather is a bit warm, but not enough that we’ve had to close up and turn on the a/c. Doors and windows open are a wonderful change, and the ceiling fans make it very comfortable.

I told you about the deer I saw on the way to my massage. My massage was particularly luxurious today because my back stopped hurting. I didn’t have to consciously try to relax into the massage. I could just ENJOY. AHHHHHH! Thank you, Lynn.

I have a list as long as my arm of things that need my attention. I let a lot of them slide while I was hurting, and so I’m trying to take a few each day until I’m reasonably caught up again.

 

The aquarium water looked  a bit murky, so I siphoned out 3/4 of the water, wiped the inside of the tank, then replaced the water with treated water that has been breathing and aging for several weeks. I changed the filter and turned everything back on. The fish seemed happy with my attention.

 

Since our temperatures are supposed to get more fall like early next week, I finally took the time to scrub out Amber’s kiddie pool. I had emptied it and left it upside down, but then hurt my back, so it was not only yucky, it had been rained on so there was a small lake weighing down the BACK of the pool. I scrubbed it with a broom and Simple Green, then hosed it out, turned it over, and scrubbed the back. I carried it around to the garage and put it between my counter and my elliptical trainer until I bring it out again next Spring.

I harvested two tomatoes from the planter on the east end of the house. I still have no idea if the two new tomato plants will do well or not. I’ll need to remove the old plants soon.

I still have two things on my list for today –

  • I learned that taking the planter tray of seedlings out onto the deck to get more sun and maybe some rain was a disaster, so I’ll clean up the planter and put it away.
  • Amber has developed a fun new hobby – digging! We dug out our two Rio Samba bushes recently in preparation for planting new ones early next spring. We’re also using some of the soil in the brick planters to fill mole, Molly, and Amber holes in the yard before replenishing the planters with fresh potting mix. Amber found them and has had a GREAT time digging in the planters. She comes to the door, looking innocent and sweet, with a black nose, mouth, and front feet. I’ve had to get a washcloth and towels to clean her up before I can let her back into the house with us. I haven’t been able to catch her doing it yet; but when I do, I’ll have to warn her, and then zap her if the warning isn’t enough.

I hope you’ve been having a fun day, too. I can’t wait for the nice, cool, fall weather!!

 

 

 

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A Little Bit of a Fall Garden

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Today I went out to what I hope will be my fall square foot garden. I haven’t been out there since I planted some seeds about three weeks ago.

The ones I planted in the plant starter tray are still looking really fragile. I guess I’ll move them outside on the deck where they can get more sun and hope for the best.

There were a LOT of weeds in the garden. I made a first pass on the weeding and will spend a lot more time out there later. I wanted to take some celery plants I started in the kitchen out there and basically see if ANY of the seeds had sprouted.

I’m going to stop here and go take some pics so that you can see what’s happening so far.

______________________

I’m back.

I planted things fast, and not how I’m supposed to in a square foot garden because I really didn’t expect anything to come up. We had no rain – not even a drop – in September, confirmed by our weather people. We also had hotter and more humid weather than usual for the month. Not a great combination. I’m encouraged that I have ANYTHING growing at this point, particularly after getting rid of a gazillion weeds today.  This is Bibb Lettuce.

 

Carrot sprouts.

 

Celery. One neat thing I learned this year is that you can continue cutting stalks off, even to the point of getting pretty ruthless, leaving very little, and the stalks will start growing again!

 

The most successful plant in the garden this year was marigolds. They didn’t do much of a job of keeping insects away, but they look nice.

Two different ages of celery plants.

 

Radishes.

Simpson Lettuce.

One lonely spinach plant.

I’m going to do another round of planting seeds directly in the garden, since they did better than the ones in the planter starter tray. I’ll keep working with the ones in the tray to see if they will get large and strong enough for transplanting. If they’re still slow, they may be the first things I try to grow in the greenhouse!

I also have two tomato plants that are about a month old now. One has some blossoms. I don’t know if they’ll do anything before the first frost. If not, I’ll put them in the greenhouse, too.

I was a bit disappointed to find that no one was carrying the plants I wanted for a fall garden this year. Now it’s turned into a really fun experiment, where if I get anything at all to work, it will be more than I expected. :0)

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Garden Update

I planted some seeds recently because I was unable to get the plants I wanted for my fall garden locally. I used a plant starter tray with a transparent lid using peat pellets. I planted Bibb Lettuce, Simpson Lettuce, and Spinach. I put the planter on our dining area table where it would get some sun.

They have sprouted, looking less than impressive, but are still alive at this point. I’ll turn the planter around so that the sprouts will straighten up in their pointing in the direction of the sunlight, and hope for the best.

 

This is the latest from the tomato plants. I still have a few green ones on the vines. I planted two tomato plants a few weeks ago, and one of them has a blossom. I have no idea if they’ll have time to produce tomatoes before frost. If the weather starts looking iffy,  I plan to dig them up carefully, put them in large pots and put them in the greenhouse to continue the experiment.

I planted more celery in the garden recently, plus radishes, plus lettuce, spinach, and carrots. When I’ve had a chance to get out there and weed, I’ll try to take pics for you.

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Serial Seed Killer Tries Again

Since I wasn’t able to find plants that I wanted for my fall garden, I planted some seeds and will hope for the best.

I planted some inside in a big planter starter thingie with a plastic top and it’s living on one end of our dining area table where it can get some sun. The others I planted directly in the garden, again hoping for the best.

I planted Bibb Lettuce, Simpson Lettuce, and Spinach inside, and planted those, plus radishes, carrots, and 4 celery plants I started inside. There isn’t anything to see yet, so no pics.

Since I’m aptly named the ‘Serial Seed Killer,” I may not get much, or anything, but I’m hopeful that ONE of the methods I used will be successful. Here’s hoping!

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Garden Mixer

This is the nice handle my husband made to go on the garden mixer. It not only makes it much easier to move, it allows the mixer itself to move in all different directions for use.

 

Here’s the mixer hanging in a moveable position.

 

If you look carefully, you can see the long, straight metal handle coming down from the round, black disk thingie. This allows you to turn the mixer into a position where you can toss the components of Mel’s Mix (vermiculite, peat moss, and three kinds of compost) into the bin. Then you can plug it in and mix it thoroughly. Unplug it and move it down for dumping into the wheelbarrow to take wherever you would like.

Here you see the mixer in place beside the bins holding the components of Mel’s Mix.

We used bungee cords to tie a tarp in place over the mixer to protect it and the extension cord from the elements.

We can also use it for its intended purpose, to mix concrete, but we don’t do that often. I mix Mel’s Mix all the time, and who would have thought of using a concrete mixer as a garden tool?

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Today’s Harvest – Veggies and Flowers

This is the last of the spaghetti squash harvest. I pulled out the vines today. I could have gotten a few more, since there were still flowers on some of the vines, but I need to get things cleared out to try to get a fall garden going.

I’m still really pleased that I was able to save the seeds from one spaghetti squash I bought at the store, planted two seeds in pots in the kitchen and put them on the window sill. When they got large enough, I transferred them into my raised bed, square foot garden. I had no clue whether they would grow or not. The vines ended up taking up two of the 4×4 foot planters. The plants weren’t very ‘pretty,’ but I think getting at least 8 spaghetti squash from this experiment could be called a success. :0)

 

This is today’s harvest of tomatoes. I should get a few more. I’ve cleared out the plants in the ‘nook’ planter, but I still have four plants left in the 8 foot planter to the east of the house. I planted one new tomato plant on each end of the planter last week. I have no idea if we still have enough time to get to harvest with these, but it’s fun to hope.

On the first session in the garden today, I brought Amber. She was good until she got bored. She then decided to try to dig some holes under the planters. My husband brought her out – on the leash this time – on my second gardening session. The most significant thing in the square foot garden right this minute is marigolds. They’re everywhere.  My husband said I should cut some and put them in a vase for us to enjoy inside.

He saw some wasps climbing around and into the pipes that form the framework of our garden. He decided to spray them – so instead of just having to be wary of them, we actively had to dodge the really angry wasps! It was easy to decide the second gardening session of the day was over.

So here are today’s flowers – marigolds and zinnias.

I think I’ll wait until later this evening or tomorrow to finish getting the square foot planters ready for a fall garden. My chair and a cold drink are calling to me….

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Cleaning Out the Garden for the Fall

The Best Years in Life

This weekend I’m cleaning out our raised bed, square foot garden planters, getting ready for the fall garden. I harvested some more spaghetti squash, and I’ll show you pics of those later.

Amber went out with me to ‘help.’ We discovered she likes to play with grape tomatoes! I would throw one to her every once in a while, and she would happily treat it as if it were a toy. But then, after half an hour, she got bored and started to dig under the planters. I couldn’t allow that, so we came in.

I’ll cool off for a bit, drink some cold water, and then head out there again. I want to be ready in case we find some lettuce and spinach plants in Fort Smith when we go on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, if I can get the garden cleared out, I’m planning to set out 4 new celery plants, and plant some carrot and radish seeds. I’m pretty sure the radishes will do well, but I haven’t had any good looking carrots yet.  I’m not going to plant a lot this year. I told you recently I started two new tomato plants, in the hope that they’ll produce before it freezes. If I can get those, and some spinach or lettuce and radishes, I would be happy.

We’ve just had too many projects, plus trying to spend lots and lots of time with Amber, to try to do a large garden.

Are YOU growing a fall garden?

 

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Thing One – a Mixer for the Garden!

A couple of days ago my husband saw an ad on Craig’s List for a mixer. This one was used to mix up peat moss and other stuff. We finally got in communication and arranged to go see it yesterday afternoon.  The man and my husband got it into the back of our truck and we got it tied down securely for the trip home.

We backed the truck into our shop to where it was under the chain hoist. We were able to hook it up and raise it so we could then drive the truck out from under it and then let it down. My husband is going to put handles on it.

We will put it out behind the shop beside the bins under a tarp. We can then plug it in and use it to mix up the components of Mel’s Mix for the raised square foot garden. The black thing running along the side of the mixer is a handle that you use to turn the mixer over. I’ll then be able to dump it into a wheelbarrow to be taken wherever I’m adding Mel’s Mix.

I’ve mixed up the peat moss, vermiculite, and three kinds of compost in the wheelbarrow using a hoe, but it never got as mixed as I would have liked. Now I can do a good job of mixing things with a LOT less effort!

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Glorious Weather

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I’m feeling especially bad about Hurricane Harvey for a couple of reasons –

  • My husband’s name is Harvey, so it seems a more personal responsibility, somehow
  • Our weather is ideal for this time of the year. The sun is shining, but a cold front came through, brought us rain, and now it’s dry and NOT HUMID like it’s been for so long.  I feel guilty that we’re enjoying such beautiful weather when others are in for a really scary, awful time with the hurricane plus SO MUCH RAIN over the next 5 days or so. :0(

We’ve been trying to get outside each day to do all we can to get caught up on our outside list. Yesterday we mowed and weed whacked a bit. I worked in the flower planters, but mostly spent time with the two planters we’ve converted to square foot gardening and are raising tomatoes in.

I harvested the tomatoes above. As you can see, they aren’t as pretty as the ones we were getting earlier. I spent about an hour on the 8 foot tomato planter, pulling off dead stuff, cutting off some limbs, etc.  We found some Early Girl tomato plants at Yeagers yesterday. We bought two and I planted them in that planter. They’re supposed to produce within 50 days, which would put us into October. We’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope.

I tried to clean up the plants in the nook planter, but they were just too far gone. I finally ended up pulling the plants out.

The suckers I tried to grow in water on my window sill didn’t make it. I’ll try again if I can find some more good suckers.

This morning, while I was out with Amber, I found a BIG spaghetti squash HANGING down outside one of my raised bed square foot garden boxes in the garden!  I got one of the plastic bowl thingies with the pointed thing in the middle that allows you to set growing melons on them, raising them up out of the soil and giving them support – and used it for the spaghetti squash. This will be squash # 4 grown from two seeds in a squash bought at the store.

Today I plant to

  • clean out the hummingbird bird bath we built,
  • work in garden on my veggies
  • work in the flower planters some more.

Tonight we plan to grill burgers on the deck. Such glorious weather! I wish everyone could enjoy it with us!

 

 

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Hope for the Future

Planet Natural

Today I processed the latest harvest of tomatoes. I froze some of them and harvested seeds from the rest.

Right now it looks like someone had a bad accident on paper towels on my counter in the kitchen. I’m in the process of trying to dry the seeds. I’m not sure how smart people do it, but I gathered them in a sieve and ran water over them, picking out the bits of tomato that were left and then blotted the blog of ‘stuff’ between paper towels. I’ll monitor them and get them out in the air as soon as possible to fully dry before trying to store them.

I’ll go out this evening and see if I can get more suckers to plant in water. I transplanted one sucker that had sprouted some tiny roots. I’m a beginner at all this, so this will be a fascinating, challenging process before I can get the hang of it.

I’m enjoying all the rain we’re getting, but it will be nice when I can simply crab about how hot it is, rather than having to dash out in the morning or evening between storms to try to get a bit done outside. I’m getting a list as long as my arm of what is waiting for me to do out there….

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Today’s Harvest

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With the heat index, it feels like it’s 106 degrees F. here this afternoon. I came in dripping from just gathering the ripe tomatoes when we got home from Lunch Bunch and errands.

The tomato production has really slowed. We haven’t had anything but green ones for quite a while. Today, though, some had ripened. They aren’t as pretty as the previous ones, but they taste just as good. We’re coming to the end of the season now. I’m trying to get some tomato suckers started in the house that I can transfer to the greenhouse later, but it’s a challenge.

 

 

 

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Yesterday’s Harvest

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August 12, 2017 · 5:55 pm

Heat Index

The Best Years in Life

 

Since I wrote this morning, the rain stopped and the temperatures soared. It’s only 90 degrees F. outside now, with humidity around 65%, but if you’re working in the bright sunshine it’s HOT.

I’ve been doing a first-pass session of weeding in my raised bed, square foot garden. With all the wonky weather we’ve been having, the weeds have tried to take over.

I harvested some grape tomatoes, some celery stalks,  and a spaghetti squash. I’ll take pics in a bit and share them. I spent about 45 minutes, and that was really all I could do. I’m drinking cold water and wiping off my head with paper towels now, I’m so wet. UGH.

Still it was nice to know that some things are still doing well in the garden even now.

The new celery I’m starting, and the new experiment with the tomato suckers, and anything else, will stay in the house until it’s time to transfer them to the fall garden or the greenhouse. I’m supposed to be starting lettuce and spinach from seed at the end of August or the 1st of September! I’m hoping to have some nice, healthy transplants to go out in the fall garden and I’ll move any happy tomato plants into the greenhouse this fall. (Right now the thermometer in the greenhouse is still ready above 120 degrees F.)

I’ve had a lot of fun with my garden this year. As usual, I’m still learning a lot of what NOT to do next time, but I’m encouraged that I actually got celery and spaghetti squash to grow for the first time, and we had a really nice season of fresh tomatoes. I got a real harvest of sweet Georgia onions for the first time this year. They’re hanging in mesh bags in the pantry so that I can simply reach in and get one any time I would like. :0)

I’m hoping to have a nice crop of lettuce and spinach for the fall. Last year I lucked out and was still cutting leaves for salads into January!

Still reading about what else I can plant for the fall garden, and when I need to starts seeds. Will report back later.

I hope you’re having a happy day.

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Suckers

Ramon Gonzalez – Tree Hugger

My friend, Laufrain, showed me how to find tomato suckers.

I had just scrubbed out Amber’s kiddie pool and was waiting for it to fill with the hose. I decided to look for some suckers I could plant indoors. I found four, put the stems in rooting hormone and then put the little suckers in water on my dining area table. Tonight, while we’re cooking out, I’ll see if I can find more on the remaining two tomato plants.

It’ll probably take several tries before I get this right, but if I can get the suckers to grow and keep them alive until it’s time to put them in the greenhouse, I MAY have some healthy tomato plants ready to transplant into the garden next spring! I’m planning to do this with some other things too, some of which can go into a fall garden. I’ll get more serious about starting some seeds in the next few days, when we’re supposed to have a lot of rain.

As I get this going, I’ll show you some pictures.

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Coming to the End?

I just harvested 3 more tomatoes while Amber and I were taking a walk, but they’re smaller and not as pretty. I’m grateful for whatever we can get at this point. I’m going to try to get some suckers from the tomato plants and plant them in pots in the house or on the deck for now. It’s still too hot to put them in the greenhouse. If I can keep them alive until they can go in there, I MIGHT be able to keep harvesting tomatoes for quite a while! Can’t wait to start the experiment.

I showed you two spaghetti squash(es) I harvested a week or so ago. I cooked them a couple of days ago and was able to freeze them into individual size servings – enough for 10 meals! I have about three more coming in the garden.  I also am still able to harvest handfuls of grape tomatoes – a fun thing to throw into salads or have with dip with celery and carrots.

I still have some celery growing, and have more on the kitchen counter getting ready to put out. My celery doesn’t look like what you buy at the store. I have read that I’m supposed to be tying the stalks together. I’ll try that one of these days, but I’m just cutting off stalks and bringing them in.

 

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Hooray! It’s Sprinkling!!!

Daily Express

We’re having a wonderful afternoon.

First, it rained overnight and it’s sprinkling again now. We’re thankful for every drop.

My husband is on the driveway pad working on drilling holes in the antenna spokes for the ham radio tower and running a new length of wire around it. He says the sprinkling rain feels super good. :0)

I just came in from doing three things:

Thing One: 

I harvested two of my first-ever spaghetti squash!

 

When I bought one from the store, I washed the seeds and dried them. This spring I planted a couple of seeds in the house in small pots just to see if they would sprout. Not only did they sprout, they did well enough I transferred the plants into my raised bed square foot garden. The plants continued to do well, making yellow blooms and vines. As the other things in the garden came out, I just let the vines go where they wanted to in the squares. I harvested these two today. They’re almost as large as the ones I buy at the store. I have at least three more in the garden, and this was from TWO seeds!  I also got a handful of ripe grape tomatoes to add to my stash. :0)

Thing Two:

My husband and I took Amber with us out to the garden and then into the shop. She was wearing the new electronic collar. The whole time we were out – from the house out to the garden (waiting while I harvested), then to the shop – waiting while we painted – and then  back to the house, passing one of the cats – she was zapped twice. It’s as if we have a different dog! It’s becoming a pleasure to walk with her, rather than a “paying- attention-every-second-trying-to-anticipate, second-guess, and retain-control-whatever-happens” time.

Thing Three:

We went out to the shop to experiment with the air brush in the redoing of our sun/moon metal wall hanging. I felt really intimidated, since I’ve never used an air brush before. This made me determined to at least TRY it. I used paint thinner to make sure that the air brush and tube in the bottle were clean and ready to use. The other end of the tube is attached to a compressed air bottle. We then switched the bottle to a black paint for the shading we were trying to do. I practiced on a cardboard box until I was achieving a reasonably uniform, light spray. I had used tracing paper to mask some areas I didn’t want any shading on. I was able to achieve a darker shading around the sun face and along one side of the moon, with lighter shading on the flames of the sun. My husband and I looked at the picture on the computer together, deciding where the next shading should be.

Tomorrow we’ll look at what we’ve done, decide if we need more shading, or if I can move to a repaint of masked areas.

So far, I think the air brush is really fun. I’ve seen some beautiful things done with an air brush. If I can just get a subtle shading technique, I’ll be happy as a clam!

I’ll take pics of the metal wall hanging soon and post them.

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Multi-Shampoo Day

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Heat index is 110 degrees F. today. UGH.

Amber and I went out to the garden to plant 3 celery plants and take pics of my squash. Then we walked out to the greenhouse so we could take pics of my husband’s ham radio tower which now has THREE sections together. By the time we got back to the house, my head was not only wet, it was dripping. UGH. It’s always hot in Arkansas in the summer ( July and August are the worst). We’re used to that, insulating ourselves from the heat as much as possible. This year, though, we’ve had a lot more humidity than usual. I’m too old for humidity, I find. I refuse to wash my hair more than three times a day, though – so if you’re coming to see us, I might look like an exploded dandelion.

______________

Since I  planted my first celery this year, I’ve learned two things:

Thing One – I’m supposed to be giving them a lot more water than the rest of my garden plants. I’ll keep using the irrigation system, but will also arrange to add extra water to the celery a couple of times a day.

Thing Two – I’m supposed to be tying the stalks together tightly as they grow. I’ll give that a try, but I’m not sure that’s a workable thing. I may just continue to come out and cut some stalks when they’re ready and let the plant do its natural thing.

I planted two spaghetti squash plants grown from seed taken from one bought at the store and sprouted in a glass in the kitchen. I now have FIVE spaghetti squash(es)! I’m not sure what the plural of ‘squash’ is. Anyhow, they’re looking great. Pics below.

I spent about an hour in the raised bed square foot garden yesterday trying to catch up on the weeds. I got things pretty much under control. Even with irrigation, the heat is stressing plants out now, so I’m feeling lucky to have anything still alive. I’m concentrating on trying to keep the plants as comfortable as possible, growing where and how they want to.

This grape tomato plant spread out all over one whole 4’x4′ square planter. Since it has blossoms all over it, I’m just letting it take over the planter.

 

The marigolds are happy. They don’t have very many plants to protect right now. Such happy-looking flowers! (Celery plants are along the back of the marigolds.)

 

Two of the spaghetti squash. I’m just pulling up the vines that spill over the box, spreading the vine carefully over the dirt and letting them go where they may. I put special plastic melon holders under the squash for support. I guess I’ll harvest these soon, as they’re getting to be the size of some I’ve bought at the store. They have blossoms on the vines, too, so I may get more!

 

Three new celery plants planted this morning.

 

 

Two more spaghetti squash(es). you can see a couple of yellow squash blossoms.

 

And this is a dog plant……

Amber went with me to plant the celery and take pictures this morning. She loved walking around under the planter boxes, enjoying the new world…  she got hot, too, and jumped into her pool on the way back from taking pics of my husband’s tower.

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Tomatoes! July 21, 2017

We had a GREAT harvest today. It’s so hot that even though we have an automatic watering system, the plants are pretty stressed. I’m not sure if we’ll have any more or not this year.  We mustn’t be TOO greedy, though. We’ve had a truly great year for fresh tomatoes – plenty for us and more for family and friends, plus ones to freeze. YUM!

The next time I go out, I’m planning to weed the raised bed square foot garden. I’ll take pics to post.

 

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Feeling We’re Inside the Crock Pot

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With the humidity at 54% right now, the heat index is at 106 degrees F., and due to get hotter as the afternoon wears on.  I realize it’s summer, but I’m older than dirt now, and not as able to handle this as I once was.

That said, I’m going to be doing some stuff outside, activity in short bursts with cool down and lots of water in-between, for the rest of the day.

  • gather ripe tomatoes
  • weed the raised bed square foot garden
  • weed whacking around the yard
  • pruning the rose bushes,
  • weeding the flower planters

This is my list in order of priority. I’ll be lucky if I get ANY of these things done.

Thank goodness we have good air conditioning. If we didn’t, I think all I would do is lie around with wet towels over me…

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Tomato Harvest 7-18 – 2017

Well, I pruned the tomatoes in the nook planter, taking out a LOT of particularly the plant on the left side of the planter. Then I moved to the 8 foot brick planter to the east of the house where the other tomato plants are, pruning them. I got pretty ruthless, because I want all the nutrients and energy going to the parts of the plants that might actually produce.

The plants don’t look pretty now, but it looks like they’re responding to the pruning, fertilizer and Seven I put on them about a week ago.

Here is today’s harvest. We’re really pleased with our crop this year. We’ve been oohing and ahhhing at lunch and dinner, eating a BUNCH of sliced ripe tomatoes at every meal except for breakfast. We particularly enjoy giving people we like bags of tomatoes, since we have more than we can eat. (I now know how to can, but I hate to give any of them up when I can eat them fresh off the vine.)

Our friends Laufrain and Dave (our friends and bowling buddies) were telling us last night how pretty the tomatoes were and how good they tasted. :0)

We also gave some to our driller and brush hog master, Foy, and his wife, Judy.

Who can ask for more from a bit of work to grow them?

Sheer luxury!!!

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Mid Summer Tomatoes

This was a harvest of a few days ago. I harvested again yesterday, but I didn’t get a picture of them.

Each year I’m learning that I don’t know anything about growing tomatoes.

It’s basically a matter of luck. Sometimes I lose the plants because of wonky weather. Other times tomato caterpillars eat them. Sometimes they just die for no reason I can think of. Sometimes things start out great and then ‘something happens’ cutting the season really short.

This year we’ve been lucky so far. My husband and I decided that if  ‘something happens’ and this is the end of our crop for the year, we’ve had a good year. We’ve had delicious tomatoes to enjoy with lunches and dinners, plus more that we could give to some of our friends. To our idea, it doesn’t get any better than this.

  • I learned this year that I’m not supposed to let any leaves of the plants touch the ground. I think cutting off the lower branches helps in disease control.
  • I also learned from my friend, Laufrain, to find suckers. Before the season is over – when my greenhouse will stay some reasonable temperature and not cook me and my plants, I’ll try to get the suckers to grow. Maybe I can have tomatoes in the fall!

A giant came and sat in the middle of my two tomato plants in the nook planter beside the porch. I can see no other reason that there was a huge depression suddenly in the middle of the plants and things were turning yellow.

I decided that I needed to prune all the dead and dying parts off. What was left I fertilized and then sprinkled with Sevin. Since I was harvesting tomatoes yesterday from these plants, and there are more trying to ripen, I’m hoping that my actions yesterday will save the plants and keep them producing. Fingers crossed.

 

This is the nook planter. As you can see, I had to prune a LOT of the plant on the left.  This is the best I know to do for the poor plants that were looking good only a week ago!

 

These are the tomato plants in the 8 foot brick planter to the east of the house. If you look carefully, you can see the greenhouse in the background. :0)

I’ll prune these plants tonight. They’re not looking bad, as the nook plants were, but they have leaves on the ground and have limbs hanging all over the place.

I’m learning a lot of what NOT to do again each year. This year, though, I’m beginning to learn more of what TO do!

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Weed Trees, Tomatoes, and Wall Hanging

Inhabitat

Today is proving to be a busy, productive day.

This morning we awoke to Amber in distress after having eaten something bad again. She’s like a vacuum cleaner inside or outside, and it’s worth your life to try to keep her from eating TOO many weird things. Anyway, something hadn’t agreed with her, so we were out with the hoses and dog soap first thing. She seemed to be feeling fine otherwise, and ravenously hungry, so we fed her half a can of her lamb/rice sicky dog food. She has done fine the rest of the day, so hopefully this was a temporary problem.

I then got out with the loppers and tackled more weed trees. I actually felt as if I made a bit of progress, even though I only lasted half an hour in the sun, opening up another small section of our view. I’ll keep doing this each morning that I can, and then doing a 2nd session in the evening when the sun is starting to go down. I found some sturdier shoes to wear for this activity, so wasn’t sliding around so much.

I’ve started to seriously prune my tomato plants. I told you it looked like a giant had sat in the middle of the two large tomato plants in the nook planter beside the porch. I’m cutting off dead stuff, pruning leaves or limbs that are hanging way down, etc., trying to make it easier on the plants that are left when I finish. I’ll also put fertilizer on them, plus Sevin to keep the critters off. Before I started the pruning, I was able to harvest several more tomatoes. :0)

This afternoon I was out in the shop working on the metal sun/moon wall hanging. My husband was working on a small roll-around jack, putting on new casters, and we had Molly and Amber out there with us. Amber was driving Molly nuts for a bit, but finally calmed down.

I figured out a method that my husband said looked ‘really good’ on doing the shading that is such a big part of this piece. I took the sponge end off one of my sponge brushes and am using that, instead of a brush, to do the shading. I should be able to get gradations of shading with this, plus – it’s FUN!

About 6:00 or so, depending on the sun, we’ll get back out in the yard. We’ve switched to eating dinner pretty late now in order to give us an hour out there to get something done. (We find that we last a shorter and shorter length of time in the direct sun, and it’s taking us longer to recover than it used to.)

I’ll try to get some pics of the opening view in the back yard, the tomato plants, and the metal wall hanging tomorrow so you can see our works in progress.

I hope you’ve had a good day, too.

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Tomato Fairies?

My husband and I did errands, and made them a LOT more fun by taking bags of tomatoes to 4 of our friends.

We took a bag to our hair stylist,Michael;  our good friends the Taylors; our friend Carla; and our friend Nora. Carla and Nora weren’t home, so I texted them to make sure they’ll find them later.

One of the best things in the world is being able to grow something you really love eating. When you have more than you can eat, it’s even more fun to share the wealth with people you love.

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An Embarrassment of Wealth

This is what I harvested today, with more ripening on the vines.

The vines themselves aren’t looking that great for some reason. It looks like a giant sat in the middle of the two plants in the nook planter, with collapsing and yellowing vines. The vines are too large to try to prop up without breaking them, so I’ll concentrate on pruning them a bit and adding fertilizer and hope for the best.

The plants in the 8 foot brick planter to the east of the house look better, but not as green or robust as they were. All the plants are putting out good tomatoes, though, so I’ll just do what I can and keep my fingers crossed.

We gave some tomatoes to our friend Carla when she came over the other day. We still have some in the fridge, and now we have this new harvest. GUESS what we’ll be eating!

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We’re Rich in Tomatoes!

A couple of days ago we were mourning that we had eaten all our good tomatoes. Look what was ready this morning – with more to be ripe in a day or two!

 

 

 

 

This is half of our onion harvest.

 

I cleaned them up and put them in these two mesh bags. They’re hanging from hooks in our pantry, continuing to dry out. We’ve eaten several, and they’re nice and sweet.

I’ve pulled most of the rest of our plants, with the exception of grape tomatoes, a couple of spaghetti squashes, and lots of celery.

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My New Book Arrived Today!

I’m thrilled that I got this book today.  I’m especially happy in that our greenhouse is still standing, with no damage, after the bad storms with lots of rain and high winds we had yesterday.

Now that we’ve gone to the trouble to build my wonderful greenhouse –

 

 

I would like to get as much use out of it as I can all year-long. So far, we’ve blown out the type of thermometer than has alcohol (aka ‘mercury’) in it, having to switch to the type of thermometer than doesn’t have any liquid in it. The temperatures inside the greenhouse during the day now are over 120 degrees, so I’m ‘guessing’ :0) that this is the time of the year that I should do my planning, scheming, gathering of materials, etc. to be READY to plant when the temperature is reasonable in there. The exhaust fan kicks on when the temperature is over 90, and there is a people fan in there, but the plants can’t survive right now.

I’m going to dive into the book today!

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Some Progress

Wild Ammo

This tired big cat looks a lot better than I do right now.

I just came in from

  • planting three celery plants and a head lettuce bottom,
  • weeding the raised square foot garden beds
  • spraying weed killer on the weeds under the raised beds of the garden.

My hair is completely wet – plastered to my head; my face is red; and I’m still breathing hard -BUT I have a large glass of water with ice and I’m in the a/c, sitting comfortably at my computer, feeling nicely spoiled. :0)

My friend Laufrain looked up growing celery while we were bowling last night and discovered that I should be watering my celery more. Mine is greener and a little tough compared to what you find at the store. We also discovered that I should be tying the stalks together. I have some tomato vine tying tape that I think will work well for that.  I also think I’ll harvest the stalks when they’re smaller and younger. If I keep trying this, I may actually be successful!

I discovered the probable reason why celery isn’t included in the square foot gardening book. The online article said that celery was one of the most difficult veggies to grow. So I’m patting myself on the head a bit, having even a small amount of success. :0)

 

This is the new style thermometer my husband put up in the greenhouse yesterday. As you can see, it’s WAAAY too hot to stay out there long, or to plant much at this point. It’s better first thing in the morning or just before sunset in the evening, but it’s still too hot to try to get seedlings to grow. It may be that I need to take the summer off, have things planned and ready to start around beginning of September for the fall garden. I’ll do a lot of reading about greenhouses, as well as when I should be starting the plants I want to grow for the fall. I have a lot of homework to do.

Our friend Dave came over this morning to help my husband figure out how to make the rotor for the ham radio tower antenna to work properly.  My husband had worked and worked on it, and was at a loss. Dave took it apart, put it back together again, and it miraculously worked. The closed it up and declared victory. Dave says he thinks a special tool he has will get the tower up without our having to hire someone with a crane. They’re planning to assemble the whole thing, including the antenna, on the ground. They’ll test the rotor to make sure it’s working correctly. We’ll already have the guy wire rods in the ground and the guy wires on the tower. They’ll, in effect, winch the tower up into place and hold it steady while cables are plugged in, guy wires attached, etc. The first step, though, is drilling the hole, putting the pipe into the hole, and putting the cement into the hole.

Amber chewed through the rope that attached her to the dog run yesterday. Happily, my husband was watching her and saw what she had done, and so caught up with her and put her on the porch. This morning we got some cable, cable ends, and a new attachment piece. My husband made a new line to attach to the run and we tested it. Probably, since she can’t chew through the cable this time, she’ll pull the whole Martin house that the run is attached to, down…

And so it goes at the Lewises.

If I can cool off, I’m going out to prune the trio of brick flower planters that go between our front yard and the driveway. This, as well as several other things, have been on my list for so many days now they’re beginning to get on my nerves, so I’m determined to make some progress on each of them today.

Happy Tuesday!

 

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Tomato Feast!

Today’s harvest.

At lunch we enjoyed two of the tomatoes, some of the celery I grew that I showed you a couple of days ago, and some radishes I grew. We had carrots from the store and a hard-boiled egg. Nice, crunchy good-for-us lunch!

My husband put the different style thermometer in the greenhouse for me this morning. I got seed packets from the store and will read up on when I’m supposed to plant each of them for a fall garden.

 

We’re trying to have Amber inside with us more and more during the day. My husband took her for a long walk and then we brought her inside while we ate lunch. She dive-bombed Molly, of course, so I put Molly out while we concentrate on Amber for the moment. (She’s asleep beside my feet now as I type this.) Later I’ll bring Molly in and hold her in my lap while Amber cavorts around, wheeling, spinning, and wagging her tail, and see if we can make progress on melding the various members of the family…

Have a wonderful Sunday!

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Good Morning!

Source Unknown

I found this a long time ago and neglected to get the source. There is a signature across the the image between the leaf and the butterfly on the right, but I can’t make it out. Sorry. I think this is really, really nice.

I hope you’re having a good morning, too.

The ham radio operators are having the 2nd day of their annual field day today in Bell Park, Greenwood, Arkansas. Sometime yesterday a 24-hour contest began to see who could get the most contacts in a 24 hour period at a certain bandwidth. Last year there were about six different bandwidths represented. This contest is across the WORLD. Each operator uses his ham radio call sign, making contact with someone. They exchange call signs, recording them to be verified later. There is no ‘prize’ as such, but the winners are announced and bragging rights will never end. :0)  When we were watching and listening a couple of years ago, one man was talking to someone in Uruguay!

The work on my husband’s new-to-him antenna. He’s having a good friend come over and help him make the rotor work as it should this coming week. Meanwhile, he’s built the base it will sit on and is working on the complex 4-plex antenna that will sit on the top.  When we were talking about it yesterday, I suggested we assemble the whole thing on the ground and then hire probably the smallest crane there is to come help the two guys pull the whole thing up and hold it while things are tightened, guy wires are hooked up, wiring is finished, etc. My husband thought about it for a bit and then said, “You know, that’s actually a good idea!” (I ignored the fact that he sounded surprised :0/)

I’m going to put my different style thermometer up in the greenhouse today, and plan to start some spaghetti squash seeds to see if they’ll make. I’m also planning to attack weed trees with a vengence – if the temperatures will stay at some reasonable level. If not, I’ll see what I can do this evening.

I hope you have a wonderful day, too.

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