Category Archives: Square Foot Gardening – Raised Beds

The Ant Assassin Strikes Again!

This is an old picture of one of the raised beds in our square foot garden. We don’t have the shade fabric over the top anymore and the beds are looking nice and clean in this picture. REALITY Is lot of old plants that have given up the ghost in the relentless sunshine and weeds all over the place.  :0/

I went – ARMED – carrying the 2-gallon sprayer filled with EIGHT bug killer that will kill the bugs, but not harm plants, animals, or people.

I pulled out a bunch of the plants, then quit when I got overheated. I went out again, prepared to pull out the remaining two large plants. I pulled out one and was IMMEDIATELY attacked with a SWARM of fire ants overflowing out of the box. I brushed them off my arms as soon as possible, then grabbed the sprayer and hosed everything down, assassinating as many of them as possible. I then came in the house, washed off my arms, took two Benedryl tablets and then put Benedryl ointment on both arms where they were still stinging.

I’m HOPING that I have now gotten being attacked by fire ants and the treatment of it down to a science now. My arms are still stinging, but I only have a couple of welts. (My whole arms would have swelled previously.)

I’ll rest a bit, then go out again, hose down the box again, and see if I can finish clearing that box out.

I remain open to lists of what good things fire ants do – and why I shouldn’t murder them – but have to tell you it’ll be a hard sell.

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Thoughts on a Saturday 9-14-2019

Sven Zacek – http://www.zacekfoto.ee via Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

We are having a very pleasant morning – doors open, front and back, ceiling fans on – so we have a nice breeze going through the house. It’s quiet. My husband is already enjoying a nap. We’ll have to close up and switch to a/c later, but it’s wonderful now.

 

COSMOPOLITAN South Africa

 

Apparently my yoga practice yesterday was a bit TOO exuberant. I woke up with a super sore back today. My good husband slathered some muscle gel with Arnica on me first thing, and then I took two Tylenol to top it off. I’m better now, but still very aware that I overdid. I’ll practice SUPER ‘Gentle Yoga” today to see if I can finish the relaxation process.

 

Yesterday on the way back from Lunch Bunch, we had a very nice, nature-filled bunch of sights. On the road there were two deer. We only saw one of them on the road, but I saw another as we passed. Such beautiful animals!

Richard Johnson – Mass Audubon

 

Later our son came and got me so I wouldn’t miss the roadrunner that was perched on top of our deck cover. I wish I could describe the sound one makes. Truly unique.

 

Nat’l Audubon Society

 

My husband got a second hummingbird feeder to put out. Before you give him total kudos on providing for our feathered friends, I have to tell you that his REASON was that we have one hummingbird who sits, guarding the feeder, daring the other two hummers to come and try to get some food. My husband put the new feeder on the other end of the deck so that he would go nuts trying to guard BOTH of them.

 

Mother Nature Network

 

Finally, there was a praying mantis on the screen outside out dining area window!

 

Tree Hugger

My only plans for the day are to start clearing out our square foot garden. Even with daily irrigation, it has just been too hot for the plants to survive. This will take several passes to accomplish, but I’ll try to get started today. I’ll go armed with bug killer spray in case I encounter aggressive ants in the boxes. I’m hoping that our onions are still doing well out there.

Happy Saturday to YOU! Have a wonderful day.

 

 

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Toward the End of Garden Harvests

I just came in from taking a quick look at the garden, and then to the other end of our house to the tomato planters. This is today’s harvest, but it’s obvious that the super-hot weather lately has brought a halt to most of the harvests now.

We have had a wonderful time this year. We had a LOT of lettuce, radishes, and tomatoes, and were able to share some of each of these with our friends. The zucchini made big plants, and we harvested several zucchini, but I’ll read about how we can do better on these next year. I also want to plant yellow crookneck squash next time.

The cantaloupe was fun, but all we have are either green or yellowish small ones, all hard as a rock with vines spreading everywhere. I have no clue if they’ll actually continue to grow and ripen or not. Another subject for a lot of reading.  The red onions are still looking good. As soon as the weather gets a bit cooler, I’ll start looking to see if any are ready to come out of the ground.

 

Beautiful World

Of course when I was the farthest away from the house, the rain started. I toweled off when I came in, but it’s a very good thing I’m not water-soluble. :0)

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Ant Assassin!

I’ve just spent half an hour or so assassinating fire ants after donning my cape, goggles, gloves, and mixing 2 gallons of EIGHT bug killer in my sprayer.

These are the odious fire ants that are the bane of my existence for the past couple of years. I never really thought about them before until I happened upon them in one of my garden boxes (about 3 feet up in the air) and they swarmed all over me. biting/stinging me and causing my poor body to turn bright pink, swell up, ache, and itch all at the same time for about three days before starting to subside.

I have since looked up information, thinking that, before I set out to murder something, I should at least know if they do anything good for the environment.

According to extension.org, “Beneficial Effects of Fire Ants. Collectively, ants are beneficial insects in our environment. Their nest-building activities reduce soil compaction and help aerate the soil. Many ant species, such as imported fire ants, are omnivorous (they eat just about anything).”

I’m sorry, but the fact that also eat ME make aerating the soil a very low priority for me, particularly since we don’t need that around here.

 

I read a nice article by a lady who suggests that you pour a teakettle of boiling water down the hole of the mound and that will take care of the problem. That may very well be true, but I don’t think she is trying to treat a garden of veggie plants who would be upset at having boiling water poured on them or almost 8 acres of ridge line rocky soil. The EIGHT spray works well. The fact that the co-op guy in town recommended it highly, after me telling him I was planning to spray it on things I hoped to later feed to myself and my family, and that I didn’t want our pets hurt, went a long way to convince me.

There is Ant-Man from Marvel Comics and the super hero movie genre, but I don’t think he is murdering ants. I’ll just have to fill that gap.

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“No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”

Gardeners Path

This quote by Clare Booth Luce is said fairly often around here.  So many things that should be good things seem to backfire or cause us harm.

The latest was yesterday when I was working in our square foot garden.

I’ve been feeling guilty because I haven’t been taking care of things out there as well as I would like to, so I made a special effort to put in some time, pruning dead leaves off our zucchini plants. I lifted one last plant up to get to some dead stuff and was suddenly covered with fire ants.

I rapidly brushed them off my arm, pulling off my weeding gloves and getting away from the source as quickly as possible, but ONE got me.

I rushed inside, took two Benedryl tablets, washed the bite and slathered Benedryl ointment on it. It still swelled up, but not as badly as I have in the past. I DO learn from mistakes….

Priority on today’s list is murdering fire ants. I don’t care if they perform some wonderful service to us. I want them gone. I will mix up some EIGHT spray and hose down the whole garden area, plus any ant hills I find, plus our tomato planters today.  The EIGHT is really good at killing bugs, but is safe to spray on veggies and other plants and won’t harm our pets. I can’t say enough about this product.

 

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Garden Progress

I’ve been working on our garden, trying to get it cleaned up after I had to neglect it for about a week.  My husband came out there with me today – a rare and delightful thing – and we did a good amount to prune and clean up. I have another session to do out there, but it will wait.

 

There is always more to do in the garden, but we improved things a lot today.  I pulled up my radishes a couple of days ago, the last time I was out there. For some reason, they didn’t make successfully this time. I was disappointed, because I got spoiled with a really super crop with the last batch I planted in the spring, having enough to give to my friends and having lots for me to enjoy.  I’ll concentrate on trying not to be greedy. I’ll plant another group soon.

The zucchini plants are still looking healthy, although I’m having to read everything I can get my hands on to figure out what I’m doing.

We have lots of these small cantaloupes!  I didn’t know they start out green, but we made sure each one is now sitting in a plastic bowl to keep it out of the dirt, as I read they like. Fingers crossed that they actually grow into something delicious to eat!

 

Red onions.

Our weather has been really different this year. Our tomato plants are looking pretty sad right now. I have no clue whether we’ll get more or not. We’ve had such a good crop this year. I hope I can extend the season some.  I took bags of ripe tomatoes to our friends at Lunch Bunch this morning, and then another bag to our hairdresser on the way home. I love it when we can share the wealth!

Obvious Fun

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Monday’s Harvest

It’s been about a week since I’ve been able to get out to the garden. Needless to say, there is a LOT to do out there now.

I did some weeding and harvested this zucchini and some tomatoes. I’ll go back out there later and prune a bunch of stuff and do more weeding.

We have some cantaloupe!  I used several plastic ‘bowls’ with holes in them that allow the cantaloupe to grow while keeping them off the soil.  I have no clue if we’ll actually get anything edible, but I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas watching them grow!

I’ll try to get some pics of the garden later to share.

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Wednesday Tomato Harvest

Our ‘nook’ planter (the planter between the porch and the back of the house that we converted to a square foot planter) is providing us with a wealth of tomatoes now! My husband just asked me to cut a cold one up for him for a snack.

We have been extremely lucky this season, even though it has been a weird one weather-wise, and we feel truly wealthy in tomatoes. :0)

If you come by the house in the next few days , I’ll be happy to share them with you!

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Tomato Harvest July 22 – 2019

Today’s tomato harvest with more to come tomorrow!  We are truly rich in tomatoes this season. We’re enjoying them for lunch and dinner every day. From a really shaky start, when I thought that the long tomato planter’s plants would die when they suddenly turned yellow, and that all we would get was greenery from the plants in the nook planter, we’ve had a wonderful season.

 

This is what is in our fridge now. I will share these with friends this week. :0)

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SPOILED!

This is this morning’s harvest.

My husband and I are totally – delightedly –  SPOILED, having ripe tomatoes for lunch and dinner every day. I don’t know how long our luck will hold out, but we are grateful for every bite!

I haven’t been out to the garden yet – just to the tomato planters beside the house. I’m trying to figure out a ‘suit of armor’ – since hosing down with Deep Woods Off didn’t keep the fire ants from getting me two days ago.  They apparently LOVE the stuff, drinking it like a wonderful, rare wine before they bite/sting me. :0(  My arm is almost back to normal now. I can wear my watch loosely today. My arm is still pink and a bit swollen, but the welts are gone.

I would like to get the garden under control today. I know it needs weeding…

 

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Good News and Iffy News from the Garden

Good news and iffy news from the garden today.

GOOD NEWS – more ripe tomatoes and it looks like lots more to come.  The radishes and sweet red onions seem to be doing fine.

IFFY NEWS –  I have a lot of ‘greenery’ and blossoms from my zucchini and cantaloupe plants, but the actual veggies and fruits are looking wimpy.  In three days of my concentrating on other parts of the yard, the weeds are trying to take over. The heat index is 105 today, so I’ll have to wait until dusk to do anything out there. I’ll weed as much as I can and then put some extra fertilizer over things and see what, if anything, happens.

I absolutely LOVE trying to grow veggies and fruit. I have a wonderful set up, with chest-high wooden 4′ x 4′ planters filled with Mel’s Mix (peat moss, vermiculite, and several kinds of compost) and an irrigation system for consistent watering. I have unlimited hope and enthusiasm, but little expertise, though I’m reading and learning what I’m supposed to be doing on a regular basis. Thus far, the list of things NOT to do again is growing much faster than the successes, but my motivation is still strong.

Each lunch and each dinner features fresh, ripe tomatoes from our own garden. I ‘spiralized’ (made spaghetti-like stuff with the aid of my kitchen gadget) from one pregnant-looking zucchini from our own garden and my husband pronounced it ‘yummy.’  Next year I plan to grow yellow squash, too. We’re spiralizing that, too, and my husband is shocked that he enjoys both of these. He did say, though, that he’ll TRY some as a substitute for actual pasta, but doesn’t hold high hopes for the idea yet. I’m hoping I can convince him. :0)

 

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July 6th Harvest

 

After we got back from relocating the raccoon this morning, I went to check on the tomatoes and the garden. I harvested these from the larger planter – the plants I thought were going to croak earlier because the leaves were turning yellow and falling off. These plants still don’t look ‘healthy,’ but they are producing delicious tomatoes. The nook planter beside the house has only two plants in it and they are HUGE, green, and leafy. I’ve only gotten two ripe tomatoes so far. There are lots of green ones, though, and lots of blossoms. There might be a lesson here somewhere, if I can just figure out what it is. I would appreciate some opinions from people who know what they are doing in the garden.

In the larger square foot garden, I couldn’t do much because the irrigation system was going. I have large, leafy-looking zucchini plants now with large yellow flowers and a few actual zucchini!  I harvested one pregnant-looking one so far. I have several now that might get large enough to harvest.

I also have the cantaloupe plants whose arms are spilling out over everything with lots of blossoms. There is one small cantaloupe that I have supported by a plastic round thingie with legs and holes in it. I have no clue whether we’ll actually get anything worth eating, but it’s great fun to watch the progress. \

The onions are expanding, even though their tops were so damaged in several storms I elected to cut them off.

I need to do some weeding out there and then I’ll take pics to share.

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Tomato Harvest July 1, 2019

I’m feeling spoiled and rich after going out to check on our tomato plants this afternoon.

We’re enjoying sharing one or two (depending on their size) for lunch and again for dinner each day. I already feel that our crop has been worth every penny we paid for plants, cages, food, bug spray, bone meal, etc.  How could one feel down when looking at such a beautiful sight!

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

This is our garden, minus two tomato planters on the opposite end of the house. It’s a raised-bed, square foot garden.

“Raised bed” – because we built six 4’x4′ wooden boxes, put them on top of metal supports (like tables) at about my chest height, so I don’t have to get down on my hands and knees, or bend over double to garden.

“Square foot garden” – because the only ‘soil’ we have up here on top of our ridge line was trucked in so we could have grass around the house. We tried to have a regular garden, enriching the soil, etc. and it was a dismal failure. After several years I was delighted to find Mel Bartholomew and his book, Square Foot Gardening, where he explained that we could ‘create’ a growing medium much like soil ABOVE the ground and grow veggies!

We surrounded our garden with fencing, since we do have deer running around. Usually I have bright neon-colored tape running around the outside to warn the deer so they don’t run into the fencing. The rains and sun deteriorated the tape and I haven’t put more up yet. We have chicken wire around the bottom to deter rabbits and other cute critters from breaching the fencing, although I would think it would be difficult for them to climb up the metal legs to get to the veggies. Our garden door is looking a bit sad these days. We’ve had so much to deal with after losing so much of our electronic goodies in the recent storms that I haven’t bothered my husband with it. You might get a giggle out of the sign on the door. We did that when we first got the CNC set-up in the shop, where we can do computer-guided cutting of sheet metal. That was one of the first things we cut out. The poor thing is rusted now, but it’s one of my favorite things.

 

This sweet, oddly shaped thing is probably the world’s smallest cantaloupe. I have no clue whether we’ll actually get anything edible, but it’s fun to try.

 

I’ve never seen zucchini growing before and I’m fascinated. We may not get much of a crop, but I’m eager to check what we have each time I go out.

 

With all the rain and strong sun we’ve had, I can’t keep the weeds out of here, but I’m trying to keep them down as much as possible so the sweet red onions have room to grow.

 

This is the latest group of radishes. I’m hoping they do well. The last crop was better than I’m able to get at the store.

 

Here is today’s harvest. I was so pleased to see more ripe tomatoes. And these, except for one, all came from the plants in the long planter that had yellow leaves and were looking spindly recently. I added bone meal and some tomato food, and they have responded well, although they don’t look as healthy as the two plants in the planter beside the house. MAYBE it’s a good thing to have much less greenery – leading to better production of tomatoes….

And this is my first zucchini!  I have no clue why this one looks pregnant. The ones at the store don’t look like this. It’ll be interesting to see if it tastes good or not.

I was planning to spend more time outside this morning, but the wind picked up, the skies darkened, and I heard rumbling thunder. I hurried inside, closed the garage door, and prepared for the coming storm. My phone was even sending me messages about lightning and heavy rain right outside of Greenwood. We didn’t get the storm! NOW the sun is out again. Go figure.

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Tomatoes!

 

Last week, before the awful storms hit and we lost so much stuff, I was telling you that I was worried about the tomato plants in our long brick planter at the side of the house. They were really sad-looking, with yellow leaves and dead branches. I put bone meal into the soil around each plant and then gave the whole planter tomato food and crossed my fingers.

With all that has been going on, today was the first time I went to look at the plants. This is the first of what I HOPE will be a really good harvest. The tomato cages were bent over, so I went back and got some rods and anchored them, hopefully making it so the plants will stay upright. I cut off more dead stuff, but the plants were looking much healthier. There are lots of green tomatoes on those plants, plus the two really lush looking plants in what I call the nook planter between the porch and the back of the house. I guess the difference in the amount of sun the two planters get is the difference on what the plants look like. It’ll be funny if the puny looking ones produce more tomatoes than the lush looking ones…

Guess what will be part of OUR dinner tonight!

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A Storm is Coming

It’s as black as night outside right now, ready to storm. Before it got dark, I got out and took some pictures in the yard I wanted to share with you.  This is one of our Rio Samba rose bushes with Impatiens around the base.  We have two other Rio Sambas, but for some reason, their leaves are turning yellow. I’ve sprayed them with fungicide plus all purpose rose bug killer, hoping that will help them.

 

I love the red roses on this bush. It seems quite happy at the moment.

 

This is one group of phlox. I love these. They come in a lot of colors. We have  a lighter pink shade and this one. I’m afraid if it rains hard, these will be beaten down.

I have to tell you about my stupidity of the day

I checked my veggie garden and noticed the plants weren’t getting enough water. My husband came out to help me trace the water from the outside rural faucet we have out to the garden. It turned out that I had forgotten about a “Y” connection of hoses we have and it was turned the wrong way. The water wasn’t going anywhere, much less to the garden! We fixed it and tested it. On the way back to the house, Mother Nature rained on us….

 

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Feast or Famine

All spring it has either been heavily raining or SUPER hot with strong sun. Nothing in-between. Today I was only out for about half an hour, and came in huffing and puffing, wiping my head and face, and wanting to glug water.

I found these yellow leaves on my tomato plants yesterday. My friend, Laufrain, and I looked up the problem last night. It suggested bone meal and fertilizer. I just added both of those to the planter and watered. Fingers crossed they like it. I have nice green tomatoes and am hoping for a good crop.

 

This is our other tomato planter. As you can see, the plants are good and healthy. I have no clue what’s going on with the longer planter.

 

This is my first trial at growing zucchini. I have several that SEEM to be doing well.

 

Sweet red onions.

 

Radishes I just started a few days ago.

 

And THIS  is the excitement for the day! It is a cantaloupe!  Ta DA!   If it doesn’t croak and continues to grow, I have a plastic bowl thingie with lots of holes for drainage and legs to keep the cantaloupe up off the ground. I’ve never grown one of these before. This was my husband’s choice of what to grow (other than head lettuce), so I’m really hoping we grow at least one and that it’s good.

On my way back in, I stopped to take a couple of pictures of the flowers on the deck. They make my heart soar every time I see them.

Now I’m very thankful that we have air-conditioning!

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Could You Hear My Skin Frying?

My great day continues with listening to Steve Earle on YouTube while writing this. :0) I just came in from checking on the garden and planting a few more radish squares. I was actually FEELING the sun frying my neck, so I prudently decided to cut my time out there short.

Here are 3 of the 6 planters.

The remaining three planters. I planted 4 squares of radish seeds in the planter closest to you in the picture.

 

 

 

In the foreground is celery, and the rest of the picture is ONE cantaloupe plant vine.

Even though the onion tops are pretty trashed from recent storms, the bulbs are looking good.

Zucchini – there are 4 so far on this one plant.

This plant only has one zucchini. I have no clue what I’m doing, but I’m having a great time.

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The Tomatoes are Coming!

I’m hoping that we’ll have a good tomato crop this year. We have some good looking green tomatoes now. One of our very favorite things is sliced ripe tomatoes.

With all the rain we’ve had and then some pretty warm weather, the tomato plants in our nook planter really took off. I’ve given up trying to ‘control’ them. I’m just propping them up the best way I can and hoping for the best…

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A Truly Stellar Day

We’ve gone from torrential rain, to “pea soup” humidity here. Last night a cool front came through, taking the humidity with it. Right now it’s 80 degrees F. outside, bright sunshine, and absolutely wonderful. AHHHHH!

I took a walk around the garden and yard to celebrate and wanted to share –

GARDEN

You can see the HEIGHT of the zucchini plants here – well over my head as I stand at the planters.

Lots of vines, greenery, and blossoms. No cantaloupe as yet.

The zucchini is producing nicely.

 

The tops of my sweet red onions were trashed during the last few storms we had. I cut off the broken tops and trimmed the bent ones. The actual onion bulbs are looking okay, though.

FLOWER PLANTERS

Lilies

Phlox

Roses and Impatiens

Roses and Phlox

Clematis

I’ll show you the deck and our view in another post.

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Eau de OFF!

Home Guides – SFGate

The rain finally stopped!  I’ve just spent an hour tying up tomato plants for better support and then weeding in our raised bed square foot garden. I used “Eau de OFF!” spraying myself heavily from stem to stern before heading outside. I forgot to wear my sweat band, but I’ll remember that for session 2 today.

I finished two more of the six wooden box planters in the garden. I still need to finish the onion box and then things will be pretty much under control again. I’m planning to take radish seed to get more started in several squares.

__________________

Finished session 2.  I’m still working on the onion box. I asked my good friend Reagan Opio from LinkedIn what I should do about the damaged onion tops. He said, “Leave the ones that are only bent. Cut off the ones that are broken.” So that’s what I’m working on now. As I type here, though, this old lady is huffing and puffing and guzzling ice water. So the rest will have to wait for session 3.

I wanted to share with you the progress on the zucchini! I’ve never grown it before, or seen it grow. The only thing I figured was that it was a vining type plant and would probably take up a lot of room.

The zucchini are almost like a ‘bouquet of bloom.’  There are actually FOUR zucchini growing on this plant.

More on another plant.

And two more here.

And three more here!

I’m about to head out to finish cleaning up the onion tops a bit, and then that’ll be it outside for the day.

I hope YOU are having a fine day, too!

 

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Weed War

Wild Abundance

Our weeds aren’t QUITE as bad as these, but I’m having to really work to try to catch up. Our monsoon-like rains here have resulted not only in a pretty stellar veggie crop this year, but also ‘weeds as high as an elephant’s eye’ (“Oklahoma” musical paraphrase).

I just came in from pruning our rose bushes to encourage more blooms and weeding and cutting back in our trio of brick planters between the front yard and the driveway. There is always more, but they look as if someone cares now. :0)

Yesterday I spent about an hour weeding in our veggie garden. The sheer volume of weeds won. I’ll go out in a few minutes (wearing a sweat band and having sprayed with OFF!) – I DO learn from mistakes! – and I’ll see if I can finish weeding the boxes today.

This year it seems as though we’re always trying to get something done ‘before the day’s rain.’ Today we have a 50% chance of heavy rain. 80% tomorrow. 50% Friday…. you get the idea.

I told you yesterday that I would try to get pics of our tomato plants. I forgot, so I’ll go out and get some now.

It’s been a couple of days since I checked on the tomato plants. We have some green tomatoes!

 

We have 4 tomato plants in this planter.

And two more plants here. (These were so large I had to string wire to hold them up!)

This is one green tomato from these two plants.

Did I tell you I’m having trouble keeping up with things with all the rain we’ve been having?!?!

Heading out to the veggie garden to see if I can finish weeding there.

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Changes in the Garden – June 4 – 2019

With all the rain we’ve been having, the weeds have gone nuts in my garden. I just spent about an hour pulling out spent broccoli plants and weeding. I forgot to wear a sweat band AND forgot to spray myself for mosquitoes, so came in hot, tired, wiping my forehead while grabbing a cold bottle of water, and scratching bites…

If you’ll look carefully, in the center of the picture is a cute little zucchini! My first!  I’ll have to read up on what to do, but I’m excited. :0)

The main part of this photo is a celery plant, grown from a stalk I bought at the store. I’ll continue to try to grow some. I’m not sure when, but I’m supposed to bind the little stalks tightly together so they look more like what you buy in the store. More reading!

More zucchini vines and blossoms. They will soon take over the boxes.

Technically, it’s too warm for spinach, but I’m still hoping.

 

My husband wanted me to try cantaloupe. Since we both love it, I was happy to accommodate him…

 

This gives you a better idea of how LARGE these zucchini plants are!

I guess the hard rains we’ve had did a number on many of the green parts of my sweet red onions. I only weeded a small amount of the box these are planted in, but it looks like the actual onions are okay. I’ll work on it some more tomorrow.

I’ll also see if I can share pictures of our tomato plants tomorrow.

 

 

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Harvest 5-17-2019

Last of the broccoli, though I left the roots just in case they do something more. I’m planning to make broccoli soup on Sunday when it’s raining. The last radish I’ve planted so far.

5 heads of lettuce. Not as large as the first ones – I think because our weather suddenly got warmer. I’ll take these, plus leaf lettuce, to friends next week.

Last of the leaf lettuce. Guess who is going to have a big ‘main meal’ salad tonight for dinner?  :0)

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Garden Update

One of my sweet spinach plants!

One of several zucchini plants.

One of about 5 remaining head lettuce plants.

My cantaloupe plant for my husband.

One group of tomato plants.

And the second tomato planter.

Things are going well. There is not enough time in the day to get to everything I want to do. I’m busy and happy and grateful for all of it.

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It’s Still ‘Monsoon Season’ In Arkansas

The Guardian

Yesterday I went – armed with my umbrella – to see what is happening in my garden. We have really had an unusual spring here in Arkansas. Cooler than usual, and that is very welcome, but also MUCH more rain than usual.

Some of the trees in the driveway are hanging down toward each other with the weight of the water in their leaves, creating almost a canopy through which we drive. It’s no problem for us, but the UPS and FEDEX drivers may say a few ripe words as they make their way up and down again. I’ve also already told you about the amazing results in my garden. For the first time ever I’ve been able to share the veggie wealth with my friends. It’s a delightful thing and I hope to be able to continue.  I harvested the very first-ever heads of lettuce I’ve been able to grow, plus all the radishes I planted.

Today I wanted to show you what I found yesterday –

This is the celery end I planted a couple of days ago. It seems to be happy. :0)

This is zucchini squash. I planted several plants because I can process this for zucchini noodles, freeze it, or dehydrate it.

My ‘mystery weed’ turned out to indeed, be spinach!  Woo Hooooooo! I have several plants now. :0)

I’ve never had onion tops this tall. They are over my head!  I don’t know what this means in terms of the growth of the actual sweet red onions. Only time will tell.

One head lettuce plant. I’ll get leaf lettuce, too, when I harvest the head.

Another head lettuce plant.

More zucchini.  You can also see that the broccoli is going to blossom – signaling the end of it.

This is cantaloupe!  I have no clue what I’m doing, but the plant seems happy at the moment. I have some plastic ‘bowls’ with legs and lots of drain holes to put under any melon while they grow – assuming I get some. I’m like a kid at Christmas!

The tomato plants on the opposite side of our house are doing fine, too.

It’s raining all day today. The high will only be in the low 60’s. I’m hoping that we can go to the local stores in the coming week to see if there is more we want to try. Otherwise, once I eat my way through a lot of radishes, I’ll plant some more. They can be planted most any time of the year, so I’m hoping I can get at least one more good crop.

I’m planning to get out and weed this week , assuming the weather will cooperate. Looming on the horizon is my husband and I rebuilding our two brick planters which collapsed.

I hope you’re having a wonderful Saturday, too!

 

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Ready to Plant More!

This picture gives you a good idea of how our raised bed, square foot garden is set up. You can see the six boxes. Each is 4 foot square. Each has a sprinkler in the center with hose connecting the boxes to one master control that irrigates the garden each morning for 10 minutes. Each box is divided into ‘squares’ by running wire in two directions. You can also see that there is fencing around the garden to keep out large critters. It also has chicken wire running around the bottom for little critters.

The rains lately caused an explosion in the garden. The plants were spilling out of the top over the sides. I couldn’t see the squares anymore. It took me three days to get things harvested, washed, and either put in the fridge or distributed to friends. I finished cleaning up the garden this morning so it’s ready to plant some new things. My husband and I will see what is available in the coming week that looks interesting.

We have about 5 heads of lettuce that might still make. The green part of the onions is over my head. :0)

I think this is zucchini squash. I also have some cantaloupe plants.

The jury is still out on whether sweet little plants like these that are dotted around the garden are weeds or spinach. I’m hoping for spinach. Time will tell.

This sweet little guy is celery, transplanted from sprouting in the kitchen. I cut off the end of some celery I bought at the store and put it in water. It’ll be fun to see what happens.

I keep telling you about Mel’s Mix, the soil alternative I use instead of real dirt in my garden. I buy peat moss, vermiculite, mushroom compost, barnyard compost, and cotton burr compost from the local co-op and put each ingredient in one of the garbage cans. I then put the ingredients in the correct ratio into our portable concrete mixer.

This is easy to use and mixes things SO much better than I was doing before with a shovel in my wheelbarrow. When mixed, the mixer will move down to dump the ingredients into a bucket, the wheelbarrow, or whatever, and I transfer it to the garden boxes.

I’m hoping we’ll find something fun to plant next week. Fingers crossed!

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Day Three of Harvest

I tackled the last of our six 4’x4′ wooden raised boxes in our garden today. I got 4 heads of lettuce, leaf lettuce, and radishes. This finishes the harvest of the food that suddenly grew after all the rains we’ve had. I still have some heads of lettuce and other things in the garden. I’ll clean up the last box after the harvest.

I’m really new at this, not having a clue what I’m doing, but I have so much FUN trying to grow some of our food!  Today, after harvesting, washing, and bagging up the produce, I called several friends and asked them if they would like some of it. I had some extra one other year, but this is the first time I’ve had such good-looking produce, and the first time EVER for actual heads of lettuce! :0) I spent about an hour driving around and spreading the wealth!

This is the last of the radishes I planted. Radishes are wonderful because they produce quickly and can be grown directly from seed in the garden in any season except for the dead of winter.

 

I can’t believe how much leaf lettuce I got! Since I harvested the large heads, I also processed the leaves around the heads.

Usually our weather is too ‘something’ (too hot, too cold, too much water, too little water, too much sun, too little sun) for a nice crop. This year we lucked out and I couldn’t be more delighted.

I’ll try to get pics tomorrow after finishing the cleaning up. I’m hoping we’ll find other interesting things we can try to plant at the local stores tomorrow, too!

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Working in the Garden

We have two planters of tomato plants. We converted the planters from being regular planters – filled with regular and potting soil – to square-foot planters, filled with Mel’s Mix (peat moss, vermiculite, and compost.) The planter above is 8 feet long by about 2 feet wide. Last year I planted six plants in this planter and they soon grew to be a dense ‘jungle.’ This year I’m planting 4, trying to give them more space. I also read that I should prune them more to encourage fruit production, rather than greenery. I have to admit that this scares me a bit, but I’m going to try it, limiting their vertical growth in particular and trying to prune any large sideways branches. We LOVE sliced fresh tomatoes, and could eat our weight in them daily, so I’m HOPING that this experiment is successful…

 

This is the second tomato planter. It is in a ‘nook’ formed by the back of the house and our back porch. It is shielded from the elements more than the other planter, and sometimes results in the only plants that do well. These actually have some yellow blossoms!

 

And THIS – is a really nice weed, or SPINACH!

I am finding several like this, right in the middle of squares of Mel’s Mix in the garden planters – as I harvest and weed around them. I was unable to get the seeds to sprout in the greenhouse for some reason, and I was unable to find ANY spinach plants being sold locally, so in desperation I finally just planted some seeds in the middle of several squares in the garden and kept all of my appendages crossed. As you can see here, I put a popsicle stick in the soil showing ‘spinach.’  Appendages – including my eyes – are still crossed, because I’ve never seen spinach at this early stage, so it looks different from the plants I have purchased.

Since it is not raining right now, I’m planning to get out and tackle the last of the six 4’x4′ wooden box planters in my raised bed, square foot garden today. It’s so full I can’t tell what is there. I’ll report back, and then plan to see what exciting things the locals may have for me to plant to take the place of the things I’ve harvested. I’ll try to get pics of what’s out there now. I’m still stunned that so much needed harvesting already!

I plan to call friends and share the veggie wealth this weekend. :0)

I hope YOUR weekend is fun and productive!

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Day Two of Harvest

Yesterday I harvested a bunch of radishes, two heads of lettuce, and some broccoli. Today I harvested MORE radishes

And FIVE heads of lettuce!

I’m going to call some good friends to see if I can spread the wealth over the weekend.

My husband fixed our new-to-us riding lawn mower this afternoon and got the lawn mowed while I worked in the garden. I just listened to the weather and it sounds like we may have just finished in time for the heavy rains to start. They’re supposed to last all evening into tomorrow morning, so it was good we could take advantage of a break to get some things done outside.

I hope you’ve had a wonderful day, too.

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Today’s Harvest 5-2/2019 – So FAR!

This is actual head lettuce!  I’ve only had one other head form like this is the past several years, being content to enjoy cutting off the outer leaves as long as possible and enjoying them in salads. I think there are several more heads out there NOW!  Woo HOOOOO!

My broccoli isn’t impressive to look at, like the nice heads you see at the grocery store, but it’s nice and tender. Since my husband isn’t overly fond of broccoli, I make soup from it for myself. :0)

 

These are absolutely the best radishes I’ve ever grown. They are large and perfect – no spots or anything, and better than you see at the store! I’m like a kid at Christmas!  I enjoy eating lots of raw veggies and some dip for my lunch, so my mouth is watering in anticipation!

I’ll do another session in the garden after we have some lunch. I have a lot more to harvest, and then there is a LOT of weeding to do. (The weeds love Mel’s Mix, too.) Mel’s Mix is the soil alternative we make to go into the planters. It’s a combination of peat moss, vermiculite, and as many different types of compost as you can get (I’m using mushroom, barnyard, and cotton burr, plus compost I make on my own – when it works. :0)

I recently planted some zucchini squash and some cantaloupe. I also tried planting some spinach seeds directly into the garden, since I am still a serial seed killer on the ones I’ve tried in my greenhouse. I’m eager to see what’s what – WHEN I get things thinned out enough to tell!

I certainly don’t save any money trying to grow some of our own veggies, but I LOVE the planning, planting, care, and harvesting – plus I know our food is healthy. Since we eat a lot of raw veggies and salads, this is a truly fun thing to do.

I’ll let you know if any of the spinach seeds have sprouted and will take more pics as I get the garden back in control.

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