Category Archives: Square Foot Gardening – Raised Beds

Tomato Plants From Suckers – Take 1

These two tomatoes were ready to be harvested this morning. We have one harvested a couple of days ago, so we’ll feast on sliced tomatoes tonight!

Yesterday I tried to plant suckers in order to grow new tomato plants.

“Tomato suckers, or side shoots, are the growth that appears in the crotch between the stem and a branch. (See photo above.) If left to grow, they will become another main stem with branches, flowers, fruit and more suckers of their own.”

I carefully gathered several suckers, went to my greenhouse where I had pots of Mel’s Mix ready, moistened the bottom of each sucker in water and then stuck it in rooting hormone  (shaking off the excess) and put the suckers in the pots. I then watered the pots. It was really hot in the greenhouse so I left the thermostat-controlled exhaust fan on.

 

This is what the thermometer in the greenhouse showed this morning, although it didn’t feel that bad. The exhaust fan is set to start and run when the temperature inside the greenhouse is 90 degrees F. or higher. It was off. The outside temperature is 77 right now.

 

As you can see, Trial 1 was a failure.  I chose and cut the suckers carefully. The fact that I planted in the heat of the day, rather than in the morning or right before dark may have been a factor. I read the directions on the rooting hormone and followed them carefully, so I don’t think that’s the problem. The fact that the thermometer is reading so high vs the exhaust fan being off may be a factor. I may bring the thermometer in and see if it’s working correctly. *

*It’s now about 45 minutes later. I brought the thermometer inside and my husband shook it. It has red dye now in the bottom of the package. Apparently, the temperature in the greenhouse blew its top off. We’ll hunt for a different style today while we’re out.

On a happier note – I harvested the first of the experiment to try to grow celery from the bottoms cut off stalks bought at the store.

 

 

I cut off the bottom of the stalks of celery I bought at the store and put each in a glass of water. These need to grow a bit more before they’re ready to be taken out to the garden and planted. (If you look carefully, you can see that in the glass that’s second from the left, I’ve put the end of a head of lettuce in a glass, just for giggles.)

 

The celery plants are bushy, rather than looking like what you get at the store. I cut the largest stalks, leaving the smaller ones to hopefully grow.

 

There is a LOT of greenery on each stalk. I washed everything, then cut off the stalks into usable pieces, washed them again, and then took the bowl of cut celery to my husband in the living room where we each tried one. Oddly enough, they taste like celery! :0)

I’m like a kid at Christmas. After several tries and several failures, I’m actually growing edible celery! Woo HOOOO!

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Nothing

Sun-Gazing.com via Cathy Ruggiero

I used to want to have ‘something to do’ each day – somewhere to go, people to see, activities. I realize that wanting the opposite is definitely a sign of old age, but I’m embracing it.

Today there are no scheduled appointments, no ‘have-to’ errands, no commitments. AHHHHHHHHHHHH!

_________________

Yesterday my husband and I both worked most of the day in the hot sun.

My husband was trying to relocate a microlink to our computers in the shop. This is not a thing we HAVE to have, but it used to work and yesterday it wasn’t. In order to get it to work again, my husband had to move the equipment on the house end from the front of the house to the back and mount it on the window bars. This involved a lot of cable making, stapling inside the wall of the garage, welding and painting for the piece that mounted to the window, testing of cables, switches, and links, etc. It took my husband all day, but he got it working. Now he just has to put his tools away and cut down several branches on a tree between the house and the shop for a clearer line of sight.

In the garden, I planted two celery plants, pulled out the last of the spinach and lettuce plants, pruned the plants that were left, and weeded the raised bed planters. The only thing remaining in the garden to spray the weeds on the ground with weed killer.

I took some stuff out to the greenhouse in preparation for starting some tomato suckers, but the thermometer showed red all the way to the top – over 120 degrees – so I just put the stuff inside and came out again.

I dumped the water from the kiddie pool, washed it out, and refilled it.

I cleaned Amber’s porch up, hosed it out, then squeegeed and mopped.

I mowed the yard on the riding mower after helping my husband with the microlink several times.

By the time we finally stopped for dinner, it was almost 9:00. I cooked, we ate and watched a movie.

Whew!

____________________

There are things I’ll do today, but I’m concentrating on doing things INSIDE while the sun is at its hottest – as we SHOULD have done yesterday – and OUTSIDE when the sun is going down, with only the finishing touches on dinner to do.

I’m going to also take time to read more of my latest “In Death” series book by Nora Roberts while I’m relaxing.

Because my back is letting me know I overdid yesterday, I’ll try to work in a session of yoga.

 

Funny-Pics.co

AHHHHHHHH!

 

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And How Does Our Garden Grow?

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This is one of the celery plants in my garden that I started from the end of a stalk I bought at the store. I’m going to cut some of the stalks today and see if they taste good.

 

This is one of two spaghetti squash vines I have growing right now. I grew this from a seed I saved from a squash I bought at the store. It’s a bit larger than a softball now.

 

We have lots of green tomatoes, and this one ripening one. It should be ready to bring in in a couple of days.

 

 

Here are two celery plants that have been growing in water in my kitchen. These are ready to be planted in the garden.

 

Can tomatoes be ‘cute?’ If so, I think THESE are. These are grape tomatoes and this is today’s harvest. It may be awhile before I have enough for a salad….

And finally, this is the first thing I’ll do in my new greenhouse – try to grow tomato plants from suckers.

A ‘sucker’ is a sprout from the juncture of two branches. If you look carefully at this picture, you can find the juncture of the tall vertical branch on the right side of the picture and the horizontal branch going out to the left at the bottom of the picture. The ‘sucker’ is the smaller branch with leaves growing right out of the juncture.

 

In the next few days I’ll get some glasses in the greenhouse so I can put the suckers in the water and see if they’ll sprout. Fingers crossed!

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Weed Trees

We have what we call, “Weed Trees” running all the way across the edge where our ‘civilized’ back yard meets the downward slope of the valley. Each year we’re fighting them, having to cut them down to open up our view of the valley below.

Last year we paid a nice guy to come when he could – around a full-time job with the city and some 26 or so people for whom he mowed lawns – to cut them down. This year I decided I would try to do it.

Today I spent a couple of hours lopping them off and throwing them into a sloppy pile.

I started on the far left, right by our trio of large evergreen trees. You can see, if you look carefully, where the brown of the tall grass that’s left is. It took me two hours to clear this much. There are HUNDREDS of weed trees between us and our view of the valley, but I figure if I try to do some every day, I’ll make it across the yard one day…. I’ll keep taking pictures of my progress.

 

 

I also took half of the onions I harvested that have been sitting in the sun for several days on the grating of our trailer and put them out on the porch table so that Amber could feel that she was helping.  At first she wanted to EAT the onions. And then she decided that they didn’t smell that great and she just looked at me with interest from time to time.

I got one mesh bag of them cleaned up and will do the 2nd bag later or tomorrow. I’ll take pics of them, too.

Finally, I just wanted to tell you that I checked on the greenhouse after the gusty winds and the rain and it was FINE. Hooray!!!!

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

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1st Tomato Harvest

Yesterday the first tomatoes were ripe enough to pick. I saw a couple that will be ready in a few days, too. We feel rich!

This is a wonderful time of the year for us. We LOVE going out to test the tomatoes to see if any more are ready to come in and be devoured.

We ate three of these with our dinner last night and may finish up this first harvest this evening. I guess that people who have grown up having gardens know all the veggies and fruit that homegrown tastes so much better than what you can buy at the store, but the only one I personally know about is tomatoes.

I wish you were here so I could share with you

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Almost Ready to Bite!

This tomato is in the 8 foot brick planter to the east of the house.

 

And these are in the “Nook” planter between the house and the porch.

They’re still too firm to pick, but in another day or two, we BITE!

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Welcome to My Greenhouse!

 

The construction of my greenhouse is finished!

We did the last of the stapling this morning. We also arranged for electricity, a thermostat to control when the exhaust fan comes on, and a people fan.

Here is Smoke checking out the greenhouse. She likes it! She went right in and got under one of the saw horses. She didn’t want to come out.

We’re deciding if we need a light or a hose later.  Right now I’m concentrating on getting all my supplies out there, getting them organized so I could actually fill a seed starter and plant something, have a place to throw things away, etc. I did take a folding chair out there today.:0)

the thermostat that controls when the exhaust fan comes on.

 

I’ll need to fill a big trash can with Mel’s Mix so I have my good planting medium out there. I bought a nice bottle for spraying the plants. It has a pump on the top and then it sprays out a nice, fine spray for starting seeds. (If I get to the point the greenhouse is full of growing plants, I’ll think about a LONG hose with a mister attachment.)

Here is a jumble of ‘stuff’ I need on one of the tables to plant seeds. I’ll organize it little by little.

 

 

A gloriously empty table!

 

Here you get the feel of the three tables, the storage underneath, and the empty corner where I’ll put a large trash can full of Mel’s Mix and other tall stuff.

I wheelbarrowed several loads of ‘stuff’ out there yesterday and will continue doing that today. I’ll use early mornings and evenings when the sun gives us a bit of a break to try to arrange my ‘stuff’ so I can actually plant some seeds for the fall garden.

I’ll be doing a LOT of reading – on

  • what temperature should be the trigger on the exhaust fan coming on
  • when to start seeds for my fall garden so that I have good plants to transplant into the raised bed garden
  • tips on using a greenhouse most effectively
  • etc

One funny ‘problem’ is that the wind blows under the door when it’s shut and causes the weed barrier to form a big bubble in the center of the floor. I’ll need to figure out a way to either pull the excess out farther under the main foundation and then put rocks on it, or I may end up putting bricks end to end right beside the foundation wood on the inside.

Now that the building is finished, I can concentrate on what I’d like to plant in the fall and when I should start the seeds. :0)

 

 

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Tomato Plants

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One of my husband’s and my favorite things in the world is home grown, red, ripe, sliced tomatoes with a meal. No matter what else we try to grow, tomatoes are the main thing.

We built a raised bed, square foot garden for our other veggies (though I AM trying some grape tomatoes in two of the squares this year), but we moved our tomato plants to the east side of the house. We have a brick planter in what we call “The Nook” beside the porch at the end of the house, plus an eight foot brick planter on the east end of the house.

 

This is the 8 foot planter. We have six plants here. We planted two plants every two weeks.

 

This is “The Nook”. There are only two plants here, planted two weeks apart. As you can see, we have really large plants that are difficult to keep supported.

 

Here is a closeup  of some of our green tomatoes.

 

And here are more.

 

And HERE is the first ripening tomato! Whooopeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

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

State of the Garden

Here is celery I started inside by cutting off the bottom 2″ of the stalks I bought from the store, putting them in water, and then transplanting them to the garden.  I’m not getting neat ‘stalks’ like you buy at the store, but the plants look healthy. I’m not sure if I should cut off individual stalks as they grow or what. It sure is fun watching them grow, though.

 

This is a grape tomato plant. If you look carefully, you can see the yellow blossom at the top.

 

Here’s a second plant where you can see the tiny green tomatoes growing.

 

I managed to save a few romaine lettuce plants and one red leaf lettuce plant.

 

I feel like a kid at Christmas. This is a spaghetti squash grown from a seed I removed from one I had bought at the store and cooked. Isn’t it cute! :0)

I’ll try to get pics of my tomato plants to show you tomorrow.

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Onion Harvest

The last storm made all of the tops of my onions break and bend over. They looked awful, so I went ahead and harvested them. THEN – not having a clue what to do to them to get them like the ones we buy in the store, I went to my “Square Foot Gardening Book” by Mel Bartholomew to find out.

He said to find an old window screen or chicken wire fencing to put the onions on that allowed a bunch of air circulation so they could fully dry in the sun.

I didn’t have either of those things handy, but the side of our trailer had a nice grating stuff on it, so I put the onions on there. Happily, it’s not supposed to rain here until Tuesday, giving them several days to dry. Then I can store them either in net bags or a large bucket of peat moss until they’re all used up!

He also pointed out that I COULD have simply cut off the broken tops, allowing them to stay where they were in the garden to keep growing. That’s good to know for next time.

 

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How Does My Garden Grow?

simply u photography

I just spent an hour and a half in my raised bed square foot vegetable garden. The fact that I can work in it without having to bend over a lot, and can plant, weed, harvest, and pull – a ll at about chest level  – is really, really nice. That said, I’m still old and I still get really hot working in the sun. :0)

We had a really odd combination of a cooler than usual spring with lots and lots and LOTS of rain and not much sun followed by blazing sun and 90 degree temperatures. This has resulted in my lettuce bolting, my spinach doing the same (both shooting up to about 4 feet in height and going to seed on the top.) The only thing to do with the lettuce at this point is save the little bit that I can and pull the rest of the plants. At the beginning, my plants were looking really good. Even with the best growing medium and supplements, square foot gardening, etc., some years your plants simply don’t do as well as you would hope.

The last storm also made the tops of my onions bend over and start to yellow. I looked at things today and decided to go ahead and harvest them. I pulled them all out, cut off the tops, and left them in a few piles on the planter while I came in to rest.  I’ll read up on how to dry them for storage.  I have 4 of the six planters cleaned up, pulled up, or pruned. I’ll try to finish in another session out there today.

It looks as if I’ll actually get at least a small spaghetti squash or two! I have a long vine with blossoms and two actual squash bulbs. I spread it out, allowing it to go where it will and do whatever it wants. I’ll take a pic later.

My celery plants are still growing, but they don’t look a thing like a bunch of celery you would buy in the store. I have no clue what I’m doing, but the plants look great! :0)

Our tomato plants on the opposite end of the house are looking good and we have lots of small green tomatoes now. We’re keeping all appendages crossed that we have a good year for red, ripe, sliced tomatoes at any meal we like…

I’m hoping we’ll get the greenhouse finished soon and ready for me to start seed for my fall plants. It’ll be such fun to try to grow plants to transplant out into the garden at the proper time. Again, I have a LOT of reading to do as to when to start the seeds in order to have them ready for the fall.

This spring I’ve learned a lot about what NOT to do next time. If I live long enough, one of these times I’ll know what I’m doing!

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Extremes are Pounding My Garden

My poor square foot garden is reacting to the cool weather, then hot, then too much rain, then the cycle all over again that we’ve been having over the past several weeks.

 

This is my square foot garden, minus the tomato plants we have on the opposite end of the house. We have six 4’x4′ planters at about chest level inside a fence and reinforced around the bottom by chicken wire. As you can see, my lettuce is starting to bolt.

For those of you who are beginners, as I am, ‘bolting’ lettuce is bad. It means the plants shoot way up high and start to go to seed. Usually this happens when the weather gets too hot.

 

When this happens, the leaves start to get bitter-tasting. I’m going to harvest as much as possible during the coming days, but a lot of work has gone to waste. :0(  This is the red leaf lettuce.

 

And here is the Romaine.

 

My Georgia sweet onions seem to be doing well.

 

My celery plants look healthy, but nothing like what you would buy at the store. I have no clue what to expect here, but I’m having fun trying.

 

More celery.

 

I’m trying to get the spaghetti squash plant I grew from seed to spread out as much as it likes. It’s blooming, but again, I have no clue whether I’ll actually get a spaghetti squash or just a lot of leaves and blooms.

I still have some spinach, but it doesn’t like the hot weather, either.

My tomato plants on the other side of the house are still looking pretty good. I’m hopeful we’ll start getting ripening tomatoes soon.

Each year I feel like a complete beginner again. Every year I’ve had a square foot garden, the results have been completely different. Each time I feel I’ve learned something, Mother Nature laughs at me.

I love the process of planning, planting, and hoping, though. The greenhouse we’re building will hopefully help me do some laughing myself! (The progress of the greenhouse is slow because the first step is clearing some land. Our weather has not been cooperating, so we keep having to move it to another week. This forecast shows you what we’re dealing with.

 

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Harvest May 24, 2017

I’m still mainly doing cleanup from our recent storms, but I got a nice batch of spinach today.

 

Our weather has turned really warm and humid (except for today) and the lettuce is starting to bolt. I’m hoping I can harvest a lot more before the plants are done until I plant more for the fall garden.  This is red leaf lettuce.

 

Romaine lettuce.

My husband wants me to plant iceberg lettuce. We don’t get the plants in this area for some reason. When we get our greenhouse finished, I’ll plan on trying to start some iceberg lettuce seeds for the fall garden.

Meanwhile, we have some delicious, fresh-from-the-garden goodies for a big salad tonight.

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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

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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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