Category Archives: Square Foot Gardening – Raised Beds

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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My Garden Exploded!

I’ve told you we’ve had non-stop rain the past day-after-day-after-day around here. I haven’t been able to even THINK about getting out to the garden. The rain has stopped for a minute, so I went out there, not knowing whether my sweet little plants would have been washed out of their little squares, totally inundated with water and lying sadly dying, or what.

What I found amazed me. My garden is happy, healthy, and has exploded! :0)

This first post is to show you the raised bed, square foot garden as a whole.

My husband and I made six 4’x4′ wooden planter boxes and then mounted them on metal support ‘tables’. We have irrigation hoses that attach to a sprinkler in each box. We have a timer on the main hose so that the garden is watered daily (except for lately – since Mother Nature has no idea when enough is enough!)

I had one lettuce plant in each marked off square. I also planted one broccoli plant in each of other squares. I planted 12 radish seeds in each of several squares, and then I planted a BUNCH of sweet red onion sets in one whole box, since they won’t be harvested until the end of the summer or the fall.

As you can see, it’s hard to tell where one plant ends and another starts!

Apparently, the plants really love the too-much rain (we made drain holes in each square.) and the intermittent sunshine.

 

As you can see here, the broccoli is blooming. That’s bad, and it means the probable end of the broccoli crop. I cut off the blooming part because I have read that sometimes, when the main broccoli head is gone, the side shoots will produce heads.

In the next post I’ll show you what I’ve already harvested today. There is MUCH more out there, plus a LOT of work to do, harvesting more, weeding, etc.

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Today’s Planting

Michigan State University

We looked for spinach plants at four different places while we were out, ASKING at each place. The consensus seemed to be, “We have seed, but no plants this year.”  I have officially thrown in the towel on getting spinach plants, just hoping that the little sprouts in the middle of several squares in my garden are, indeed, sprouting spinach seeds.

We got zucchini and cantaloupe plants today and I’ll plant them in just a few minutes. I’m not sure how I’ll do this because both of these would rather be on the ground in a place where they can spread their runners wherever they want, but I’ll give it a try. If I’m successful at all, I’ll use my spiralizer gadget to make zucchini noodles for myself.

My husband looks appalled when I mention zucchini or yellow squash ‘noodles,’ cauli ‘rice’ or ‘mashed potatoes,’ or spaghetti squash ‘spaghetti,’ so I’ll make these for myself and make him regular pasta, potatoes, or rice rarely. He does love cantaloupe, though, so I’m especially hopeful I can get some of these to grow well. Fingers crossed.

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Garden Progress 4-21-2019

I now have enough of OUR fresh grown broccoli to make some soup!

 

And this is the lettuce I harvested. I could have brought in lots more. We eat salad each night, but I’m not sure we can keep up with all we’re growing this time.

 

This photo shows many of our lettuce plants, plus you can see the onions in the rear of the picture.

 

This is the second row of planters. You can see the broccoli plants and some of the radish sprouts.

 

I planted several squares of radishes. I eat some raw every day at lunch, along with carrots, cherry tomatoes, and celery.

I have all appendages crossed that this is one of several sprouts of ‘something’ I HOPE is SPINACH!  Time will tell.

 

Close up of one of the lettuce plants. This is ONE plant taking up a whole square. It’s HUGE.

 

This isn’t a garden plant, but I’m so pleased with it this year. It’s a perennial ‘something, and it has had only weak blooms each spring until now. I just love it!

More work tomorrow, but it’s that time of year! :0)

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First Harvest of Spring 2019

My broccoli is a bit scraggly-looking, but it should be tender and flavorful. I’m going to use it to make soup.

 

Unless something bad happens, it looks like we’ll have the best lettuce ever. This was harvested today – the outer leaves from just three of our plants. This filled two gallon fridge bags. We’ll sure enjoy some of this for our main meal salad dinner tonight!

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At Least Partial ‘Outside Day’

Southland SOD Farms

We been outside a couple of times so far today, with more to come. We’re kind of under the gun today, since strong, possibly severe storms are forecast for late tonight and into tomorrow morning.

I showed my husband my cleaner-and-better-organized greenhouse, and he showed me his cleaner-and-better-organized shop, and we each oohed and ahhhed appropriately. :0)

We just came in from a first session on getting our irrigation system for the flowers going. We have a couple of blowouts we’ll need to fix before it’ll be working correctly, but we got a start on it today.  I have a timer on our outside faucet that goes to my veggie garden set up already.

As soon as I catch my breath, I’m going to go out and gather the first lettuce harvest of the spring! We’ll enjoy some of it for our dinner tonight.

I will also do at least one session of weed-whacking. I’ll probably need to do some every day until it looks like someone cares in our yard.

We’re still hoping to find a bricklayer who will rebuild our two collapsed planters in the front yard. Fingers crossed.

I’ll take pics of the harvest and post them later.

Have a great day!

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Cleaning Up the Greenhouse

This is the greenhouse we built a couple of years ago. It has withstood all kinds of storms and gusty winds and I’m very grateful.

Lately I’ve tried several times to get spinach seeds to sprout so that I could transplant them into our square foot garden on the opposite side of our property. So far, my moniker, “Serial Seed Killer” remains applicable. All I’ve created in here is a mess.

Today, while my husband mows the lawn using our lovingly refurbished, very old riding mower (WEARING A HAT, I hope!) I’m going to be cleaning things up in the greenhouse, armed with a fly swatter and wasp spray.

 

When he finishes mowing, I’ll string the extension cord across the yard and plug it in at the outdoor receptacle at the house so I can run the exhaust fan. It’s hooked up to a thermostat that turns it off and on depending on the temperature set, to try to cool things off. This works pretty well in the spring, but we give it up in the summer. Even with the exhaust fan and the one on the table going, plus have the door at the opposite end propped open, it gets too hot in here.

I’m basically trying to extend our growing season as much as possible, growing new plants to put in the garden at the proper time.

I have lots of good supplies. I’ll try to get things better organized and ready to plant more seeds.

I try to plant things on this side of the greenhouse, and I keep the water here.

I’ll feel happier when it looks more like someone has a plan in here, rather than everything just being ‘dumped.’ :0)

 

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Veggies After the Storms

We had some really hard rain off and on yesterday, with more this morning, so I was a bit worried about what I might find in our raised bed square foot garden.

We built 6 ‘boxes’ that are each 4 feet by 4 feet, installing them on metal supports about my chest high. This enables me to enjoy adding soil, planting, weeding, and harvesting without having to get down on my hands and knees, or bend over double.  You can see 5 of the 6 boxes in the photo above.

 

I planted one whole box with sweet red onion sets. I’ll leave these alone until harvest, other than weeding and maybe thinning out as the bulbs grow.

 

This is a combination of broccoli plants and radishes that have just sprouted. No sprouts from the spinach yet. :0(

 

Here is some of the lettuce plants and more radishes. I’ll start harvesting some lettuce leaves tomorrow.

This is what I call the NOOK planter, since it is cradled by the back of the house and the end of the back porch. The tomato plants are quite sheltered from the wind here, plus get more shade.

And this is the second tomato planter. It is more exposed than the other. It seems to depend on the year whether the tomatoes produce better in the sun and wind or relative protection and shade.

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Garden Progress-4-11-2019

Planet Natural

The past couple of days I’ve spent a lot of time outside.

 

The radishes are finally sprouting. I have several squares of them, in this and other planter boxes.

The broccoli seems to be doing well so far.

I’ll probably start harvesting (and EATING!) some lettuce leaves next week.

The sweet red onions are looking good.

No spinach sprouts yet, but I’m still hopeful…

Today I’m trying to get some flower planters ready to plant. It used to be that I was the one who loved the flowers, but now we both enjoy them.  We’re going to start with wave petunias, periwinkles, purslane, and impatiens. If we can get them planted, we’ll see if we need more.

My husband says that deep purple iris have become his favorite flower. They’re blooming in several places in the yard right now.

I really love this time of year!

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Square Foot Garden Progress April 8 – 2019

Inhabitat

 

Here you can see four of the six planting boxes we built. The wooden ‘boxes’ are supported on metal table-like structures that allow me to do most everything chest-height, without having to bend over or get down on my hands and knees. I really love it.

Other than the lettuce and red onions you can see here, I have broccoli plants, plus radish seeds and spinach seeds. (The spinach seeds in the greenhouse aren’t doing anything and I can’t get any spinach plants locally this year, so I just planted some seeds directly in the garden and will let you know if anything actually comes up.)

 

Here are the broccoli plants. I have things really spread out. He suggests one plant per square, but not next to each other, to discourage pest problems and disease.

I do follow his suggestions that you keep track of where you plant things each year, and the next year plant them in different squares, a crop rotation thing.

 

Here’s a close up of one of the broccoli plants. See the baby broccoli head?

 

Here’s a close up of the lettuce. This says, “Head Lettuce”, but I harvest leaves for salad as it grows and either produces a small head, or doesn’t. My love is the fresh lettuce leaves each night!

Although Mel suggests planting 4 lettuce plants in the same square, my results are better when I spread things out.

 

This is an 8-foot brick planter on the opposite side of the house from the garden. We converted it to a square foot planter, emptying out all the top soil and filling it with Mel’s Mix (mixture of peat moss, Vermiculite, and as many different types of compost as you can find.) I’m using barnyard, mushroom, and cotton burr, plus any compost I can make from our scraps.

 

This is a second brick planter that is about 4 feet wide that sits in a nook created by the back of our house and the screened back porch. The tomatoes are more protected here, and usually survive better than the ones that are more susceptible to the wind.

I read a good article on growing tomatoes lately. It suggests planting them deeper than I have been, and then pinching off some of the ‘arms’ that sprout, as well as pinching off top leaves to keep the plants more compact, rather than allowing them to grow as tall as they like. The article says this encourages more fruit rather than so much greenery. Since fresh sliced tomatoes is one of our very favorite things, I’m going to try this, hoping for a great harvest.

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Before the Rain

Living Well Mom via thenannyleague.com

 

We rushed around this afternoon trying to get our yard work accomplished before the first rain of many came. We made it with minutes to spare!

My husband mowed the lawn while I planted six tomato plants in the brick planters beside the house that we converted to square foot garden planters, and then I planted spinach seeds directly in the garden, since the ones I’ve tried to start in the greenhouse still haven’t done anything. Then I put fertilizer all around.

I came back to the house just as my husband was finishing the lawn. We got out our pressure washer so that we could get some of the gunk off the riding mower engine and surrounding area, so now it’s cleaner than it has been in quite a while. It started sprinkling just as we were putting the power washer away.

We’re supposed to have several waves of rain – some storms possibly severe – throughout the rest of the afternoon, into the evening and into tomorrow.  It feels good to have gotten things done in time. Now we can relax and mindlessly watch TV or read the rest of the day and evening.

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Back in the Garden

artmansnursery.com

I’m finally recovered from my 2nd Shingles vaccination (except for a sore arm) so I headed out to the greenhouse, armed with wasp/hornet spray.

I shot down 12 wasps (I LOVE being able to do that before they sting ME) and then got down to the business of starting over trying to get some spinach plants going.

When I finished that, I went out to our garden to plant radishes. (They go directly into the ground, rather than having to be started in the greenhouse and then moved.) I ran out of markers for the squares, so put some clothes pins on some of the Popsicle sticks and named them “radish” markers until I can make some.

I just came in from watering and cleaning up out there. There isn’t anything that would make good pictures, other than the broccoli, lettuce, and red onions I’ve already shown you, but hopefully there will be some sprouts soon. I really hope I can get some spinach out there.

Today was a stellar day. It’s sunshine-y and 56 degrees F., though with only a slight breeze feels much warmer. It was perfect.  I’m hoping to get tomato plants in the ground by the end of next week.

I hope the weather is treating you well, too.

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Thirsty Veggies are Satisfied for Now

The Living Farm

Can you see the teeny, tiny broccoli spear in the center?   Woo HOOO!

Head lettuce looking happy.

Sweet Red Onions

Due to my bad reaction to the 2nd dose of Shingles vaccine, I haven’t done anything this week in the garden. I’m still looking for spinach plants locally, plan to start spinach seeds (AGAIN) in case none show up, and plan to start several squares of radishes.

In another week or so, we’ll start tomato plants on the other side of the house!

 

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Square Foot Garden Progress – 3-26-2019

Gardening Lovers

I found some broccoli plants yesterday and got them into the square foot garden. (Still no spinach, but I’ll check with the co-op tomorrow.) Meanwhile, today I’m planning to start new spinach seeds (ever hopeful) in the greenhouse and plant some radishes in the garden.

Here are the current pictures of the raised bed garden –

 

Sweet Red Onions

Broccoli

More broccoli

Head Lettuce

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The Garden is Started!

I planted sweet red onions in this planter about a week ago. I had to cover it with a sheet because of a cold snap, but they seem to be doing fine.

This picture is taken from the other side of the garden. You see the onions, plus most of the other raised bed boxes, plus the area behind the shop where the cement mixer is covered by a tarp to protect it from sun and rain, plus the covered trash cans containing the ingredients of Mel’s Mix.

 

A little different view.

 

I bought 18 head lettuce plants yesterday and planted them in the garden. It’s really hard to see the wire marking the squares, but if you look carefully, you can see I planted one lettuce plant per square. Mel Bartholomew of Square Foot Gardening says you can plant 4 plants in one square, but my experience is that our garden does better much more spread out.  I planted the plants in every other square. This is the way we ‘rotate’ our crops in Square Foot Gardening. I keep track of where I planted everything last year, and plant them in different squares this year. I also plant something different in every other square – I’m hoping to find spinach plants, so that any problems (bugs, disease, etc) don’t spread as badly from plant to plant.

 

If we have a cold snap, I can cover these three planters in a row with king-sized sheets, hopefully helping them survive to the next morning.

I have a call in to our wonderful co-op about spinach plants. There is a chance that the plant guy will bring some before the weekend, so I’ll call on Monday of next week. In the interim, I’m starting over planting spinach seeds in the greenhouse. Fingers crossed!

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Square Foot Garden Progress!

Messy Motherhood

I filled up all the rest of the wooden raised planters, and then my husband came out and helped me stretch wire across in two directions to designate the planting ‘squares.’

You have to look carefully to see the wire in the picture above.

 

We have two rows of three planters each. You can see the onion sets already planted in the far planter.

This photo shows the faucets to which the hoses are attached. When we start irrigation, we’ll attach the hoses that run from the garden all the way up past the shop and attach to the outdoor faucet. We’ll have a timer on that faucet so the garden will be watered each day for a specified amount of time.

The picture above shows my cement mixer. I measure out the ingredients for Mel’s Mix into the mixer, then mix for several minutes and dump it into a trash can propped under it. We have now put a tarp over the mixer and the motor so the sun and rain won’t cause damage to it.

These are my trash cans that hold the ingredients for Mel’s Mix: vermiculite, peat moss, mushroom compost, barnyard compost, and cotton burr compost.

Here you can see the garden as a whole, with the exception of the brick planters on the other side of the house where we grow tomatoes. You can see the garden is surrounded by fence, with a layer of chicken wire around the bottom to keep critters out. When I get things planted, I’ll string some surveyor’s tape around the garden to help the deer see it. To the right in this picture is our shop, and to the left is a shooting target we made, called, “Falling Plates” where we practice shooting pistols a couple of times a year. I can kill a plate quite well with a bit of practice. :0)

I’ll take pics again when I get some plants in.

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Making More Mel’s Mix

Bored Panda

I started topping off the six 4 foot x 4 foot wooden raised planters in our garden the other day and ran out of one of the ingredients, so had to stop.

Mel’s Mix is a creation of Mel Bartholomew, author of Square Foot Gardening. He has created a mixture that plants love, allowing people like me to bypass my poor, almost non-existent soil on top of our ridge line and grow veggies.

We took his suggestions to the next level, since I’m getting long-in-the-tooth, and built planter boxes at my chest level, filling them with the mix so I don’t have to bend over or get down on my hands and knees. Ahhhh!

Mel’s Mix is a combination of peat moss, Vermiculite, and several different types of compost. I’m using cotton burr, barnyard, and mushroom – plus the compost we make ourselves, from time to time.

I was going to try to finish getting my planters ready yesterday after we replenished our supply of Vermiculite. Amber, our 94-pound lab ‘puppy’ changed my plans by running into me full speed, knocking me flat on my back into the gravel and grass between our house and the shop. Since we were going bowling last night with friends, all I did yesterday was put one of the bags of Vermiculite in the lidded trash can and then nurse my wounds and rest.

I’m going out now to make more Mel’s Mix and see if I can finish the additions to each of the six planter boxes that make up our raised bed square foot garden. Our newest tool addition is a very used portable concrete mixer. I dump all the ingredients into the mixer, then turn it on and let it mix everything up, then dump the mix into a trash can to take to the garden and put into one of the planters. I used to put everything in a wheelbarrow and use a hoe to try to mix it up, but it didn’t work nearly as well as the new system.

When I finish adding the Mel’s Mix, I’ll stretch wire in two directions to make the ‘squares’ for planting. I’ll try to get some pics then to share with you before I start buying and planting plants.

I still hold the name “Serial Seed Killer.” My efforts at getting seeds to sprout were unsuccessful. I’m going to start over, only trying to grow spinach, since I have real trouble finding any spinach plants at the local stores. Fingers crossed.

 

 

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Progress in the Garden

This gives you a rough idea of how my raised bed garden planters look. This picture was taken when the planters were new, though, and not all finished.

There are now six 4 foot x 4 foot planters in two rows of three. They are tied together by hoses, with a sprinkler in the middle of each box, for irrigation.

Right now ONE planter is planted with sweet red onions. I went ahead and used the whole planter for the onions, and basically will leave them as they are, other than watering them, until it’s time to harvest them at the end of the summer or into the fall.

The current project is topping off each box with Mel’s Mix – a combination of peat moss, vermiculite, and as many different kinds of compost as can be found or made. (I’m using mushroom, cotton burr, and barnyard, as well as adding compost we make from time to time.) I keep the ingredients in covered trash cans behind our shop, between the shop and the garden. I also have an extremely used portable cement mixer that I use to combine the ingredients.

I don’t know where the mix ‘goes,’ during the winter, but all the planters need more mix to get them ready for planting.

Today is a beautiful day with a high of almost 60!

I mixed up several loads of mix and put them into the planters. I ran out of vermiculite and the co-op is closed until Monday, so my progress stops here. I’ll make a list of things to get when we go Monday. I’m hoping they actually HAVE the vermiculite, rather than having to order it.

After topping off the planters, I’ll string wire across each planter in two directions to make planting ‘squares.’ Then I’ll be ready to find some plants!

(My seeds in the greenhouse still haven’t done anything. I’m about to give up on them for now, other than checking on progress – and try a different technique next time.)

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Frustrated

Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

Today is rainy. Tomorrow is supposed to bring thunderstorms. I’m happy that we finally seem to have passed most of the threats of freezing, but I want to get out in my garden!

So far, in my greenhouse, I’m proving to retain my well-deserved moniker of ‘Serial Seed Killer.’  I’m TRYING to get two kinds of lettuce and some spinach started so I can have healthy plants to put out in our raised bed square foot garden. The weather we’ve had makes it too cold for seeds to sprout, even in the greenhouse, and the plants that were for sale at the local stores have either all been purchased or were frozen.

Bah, humbug!

Thursday or Friday I’ll look locally again to see if there are any plants for sale. I’ll keep trying on the seeds in the greenhouse – though my confidence and optimism are waning…

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Fun Outside

Since we’re supposed to have thunderstorms tomorrow, I got outside and tried to get some things accomplished before the rain comes.

Our onion sets are still doing well. I weeded another 4 foot x 4 foot planter in the garden today. I have two more to weed (we have SIX 4 foot x 4 foot planters that are chest high) and then I can start adding Mel’s Mix to top them off for planting when the weather calms down.

I spread fertilizer in the flower planters around the yard, hoping it will soak in with the rain tomorrow.

I told you that my seeds in the greenhouse failed to sprout, so I started over day before yesterday. I checked them for water today and hope I will be able to show you sprouts soon!

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Greenhouse and Garden Update

Today is the first day it has been warm enough to check on my onion sets in our raised bed, square foot garden and the seeds I was trying to get started in the greenhouse.

The onion sets are looking fine, thank goodness. I had covered the 4 foot x 4 foot square with a king-sized sheet anchored with clothes pins, hoping for the best with the awful cold snap we had. Our lows were down to 16 degrees F. – and I was worried I would have to start over.

I watered the onion sets and then weeded another of the planters. I have six planters, three more to go before I can think about planting for the spring.

 

Things weren’t so great in the greenhouse. Nothing had sprouted, so I started over. I now have the flats planted again – one of spinach and two flats of lettuce, two different kinds. Since we have nice sunshine, I sprayed the seed starters with water and just left them without the tops on them, continuing my experimentation. The thermometer showed it was 70 degrees in there this afternoon, so all appendages are crossed that the new seeds will sprout soon.

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Sylvester and Tweety Pie Mailbox Decoration

We are scurrying around, trying to get things accomplished outside today since our weather is supposed to deteriorate, starting tonight and not getting much better until Wednesday of next week. We’re supposed to get cold rain, sleet, snow, and super-low temperatures for Arkansas starting tomorrow morning.

We changed out our mailbox decoration, putting up our Sylvester & Tweety Pie decoration.  We’re hoping that once this cold spell is past, the worst of the winter will be behind us and we can embrace spring.

Later this afternoon, I’ll cover my new onion sets in the garden with a king-sized sheet. I’ll cover my seed starters in the greenhouse with some towels. Then I’ll just have to keep all appendages crossed that this will be enough to bring them through. I’ll be dashing out to uncover them, and then cover them again through Wednesday.

I hope that the weather is better where you are, or that you’re able to cope with the weather you’re experiencing.

I’m trying to send calmness and serenity to Mother Nature.

Happy day, everyone!

 

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Outside Morning

 

 

Right now the temperature is dropping pretty precipitously, but this morning it was nice. After we did errands I spent most of the rest of the morning outside.

I love working outside, even though I poop out faster than I used to.

I checked on the onions I planted in my raised bed square foot garden recently. I used one whole 4 foot x 4 foot planter for Sweet Red Onions this time. They’ll stay there until harvest starting in August if all goes well. After I checked on these, I weeded another planter. We have six in all.

Then I checked on my seeds in the greenhouse. I’m trying to start Iceberg lettuce, Simpson lettuce, and spinach. So far, no sprouts.

Since it’s supposed to rain this evening, I spread fertilizer in our planters.

I walked around, drinking in the sight of our daffodils that are happily blooming from one end of the front yard to the other. I saw some hyacinths that are blooming, too – a sight for sore eyes.

The forecast is for SNOW Sunday and Monday, so I’ll find a king-sized sheet to put over the onions in the hope they’ll come through this hopefully last cold spell of the season.

I’m SO ready for spring!

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Progress in Planting

Raised-Bed Square Foot Planters in the Garden:

Yesterday I weeded one of the six raised bed square foot garden planters. It’s 4 feet x 4 feet.

Today we bought two bunches of Sweet Red Onions and I got them planted. Since they’ll stay where they are until they are ready for harvest (August or after) I planted them without stringing strings across to make ‘squares’ for planting. I just tried to give them room enough to expand to be good-sized, small sweet onions. I spread some fertilizer in the planter and then watered them.

I think they’ll make it through any freezes we have between now and spring, but, just in case, I can spread a king-sized sheet over the planter for protection.

I’ll try to weed one planter each good day, so hopefully they’ll all be ready to receive plants soon.

 

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Greenhouse:

 

Two of the covered seed starters had water beading on the inside – a good thing.

 

This one was dry, even with the cover. I sprayed the plants with water again and used a different cover. Hopefully, it will hold the moisture in.

I’m not sure how long it takes for the seeds to sprout. I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas!

I’m planning to cut back our rose bushes today, plus give the wisteria some phosphorus fertilizer.

 

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