Category Archives: Square Foot Gardening – Raised Beds

Veggie Garden

 

This gives you a big picture of our garden. There are two rows of three 4’x4′ wooden boxes on legs filled with Mel’s Mix, a soil substitute.  They are tied together on an irrigation system.

 

Here’s another view.

Here you see mainly head lettuce plants plus a couple of spinach plants.

 

Here you see head lettuce and red onions.

 

Spinach plants

 

So far, things are going really well. As I said in my last post, I harvested the first batch today. I just finished using the push-around weed whacker to cut things down around the outside of the garden and behind the barrels of the Mel’s Mix Components behind the shop. (You can see the barrels in the upper portion of this photo.)  I also did a couple of areas beside the garden and between the garden and the house.

My husband is mowing again now, trying to distribute all the huge rows of tall weeds he mowed down a few days ago. It’s ALMOST looking as if someone cares about this place now…

 

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Our 1st Harvest of 2020!

I went out this morning and weeded in our veggie garden. I was able to do a small first harvest!

 

We will enjoy lots of lettuce leaves from the head lettuce plants. Eventually, the head comes up in the center of each plant.  I’m basically a city kid, not having tried to grow anything before, so I was like a kid at Christmas when I went out one day last year to find I had heads of lettuce – just like in the grocery store – but larger, and NICE. Nice enough I was able to share with my friends.

 

I am hoping that my spinach will produce a lot. We will enjoy this in salads, but I will also try to freeze a lot of it. I love it that there is no waste.

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Smiling Veggies

My plants are truly loving this cool, wet weather!

Spinach

“It was such a pleasure to sink one’s hands into the warm earth, to feel at one’s fingertips the possibilities of the new season.” ~ Kate Morton

 

“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.” ~ Ruth Stout

 

Head Lettuce

“My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant’s point of view.” ~H. Fred Dale

 

Lettuce and Red Onions

“In every gardener there is a child who believes in The Seed Fairy.” ~Robert Brault

 

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Happy Veggies!

Science | How Stuff Works

Spinach

 

Sweet Red Onions

 

Head Lettuce

 

 

 

My veggies were smiling when I went out to take these pictures this morning.  Everything seems to be doing very well now.

I told you how hard I was trying to get the irrigation system going for my garden a couple of days ago. If my husband and I couldn’t get it going, I was going to have to fill my watering can over and over to give them a drink. We FINALLY figured out why we weren’t getting water in the outside agricultural water faucet we have – a faucet control in the well house was turned off instead of on.

Now that it is running perfectly, and the timer is set for daily watering, we are getting rain every day from yesterday through Thursday of next week. A beautiful illustration of Finagle’s Law of Dynamic Negatives.  (Finagle’s law of dynamic negatives (also known as Melody’s law, Sod’s Law or Finagle’s corollary to Murphy’s law) is usually rendered as “Anything that can go wrong, will—at the worst possible moment.”)  We also have it to mean “the more you need it, the harder it is to fix” or “you will get it fixed when you no longer need it.” 

My garden is such a joy. The boxes we built allow me to continue gardening with pleasure, not having to bend over double or get down on my hands and knees over and over. The fence keeps large critters out. The chicken wire around the bottom keeps small critters out. The Mel’s Mix in the boxes (peat moss, vermiculite, and as many different kinds of compost as you can find or make) allows plants to grow well and happily, not having to depend on the quality or quantity of our soil.

The cool weather crops, spinach and head lettuce, will hopefully do really well before it gets too hot here. The red onions will stay where they are until harvest, probably in October.  When it gets a bit warmer, I’ll add yellow squash and radishes, if not some other things, to the garden.

I have two large brick planters on the other side of the house that we converted to be square foot planters. We devote both of them to tomato plants.

So far, I have smiling, happy veggies. Fingers crossed that this will continue.

Have a happy Saturday!

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I Love Trying to Grow Things

Gorilla Love – Unknown – via Penny Yaffe Krakow

Head Lettuce

Red onions

Head Lettuce and Red Onions

Spinach

I have a funny problem. I was just out weeding and cleaning up the plants a bit. We have had a lot of rain lately, but most of it is going around us, rather than watering the garden. I decided to hook up our irrigation system, uncovering things for the first time this season. My control for the watering needed a battery, so I came back inside to get one.

When I went back outside, it was raining! Hahahahahaha!

Now that I’m writing this post, it has stopped.

Mother Nature is playing with me and laughing.

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Thoughts on A Friday 2-28-2020

Tasmanian Devil, commonly referred to as Taz, is an animated cartoon character featured in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. Wikipedia CreatorRobert McKimson

We just put Taz up on our mailbox this morning on the way to Lunch Bunch. The Tazmanian Devil is one of our favorites.  It’s funny the way our designs have differed over the years. This one seems small and light, particularly compared to the Snow-Goon we just took down and stored in the shop. This one is only about 2 feet tall, where the Snow-Goon is almost 4.

Jerri St. John of Jewels from Jerri’s VIPS  (https://www.facebook.com/groups/jewelsfromjerriVIPs/?fref=nf )

bought a couple of pairs of earrings I was listing on my Etsy site. They were delivered yesterday. I was so happy she liked them. Then she did THIS –

on Facebook. I’m STILL grinning and dancing. What a NICE, generous thing for her to do!  She is a representative of Paparazzi Jewelry – FUN pieces that I can’t resist. I buy things from her all the time. She couldn’t do a better job of responding, filling your order, shipping, etc.

We had our normal wonderful time at Lunch Bunch. We look forward to catching up, good food, good conversation, laughs, and good hugs.

One of our errands was at Walmart. On the way out to our truck, there was a crowd. A person was down in the parking lot. We stopped, asking if there were anything we could do, but they told us an ambulance was on its way. My heart goes out to the person in distress, but I was happy that so many people stopped what they were doing to try to help.

It is a bit after 2 pm here. The sun is shining and it’s 55 degrees F. here!  What a lovely day – and it’s still February!! I’m going to go out and visit my veggie plants and walk around the yard. What a treat!

Have a happy day!

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Early Spring Garden Progress 2-27-2020

This is the main part of my raised bed square foot garden. There are six wooden 4’x4′ boxes filled with Mel’s Mix on metal ‘tables’ chest high so that I can simply open the door, walk up, and either plant, weed, or harvest without having to bend over double or get up and down off my knees. The fence around the boxes keeps deer and other critters away, and the chicken wire around the bottom takes care of smaller critters, such as rabbits. We built in an irrigation system that is hooked up to an outside agricultural type faucet with a timer control on it so that I can set it to water for a certain amount every day, or whatever is needed.  I haven’t set that up yet because we’re still having freezes.

I tried to get some close-up pics so you can see what’s going on so far. The pic above is spinach. Mel Bartholomew of Square Foot Gardening, says you can plant 4 plants in each square. I’ve decided to spread things way out this year and see what happens. I have one plant in the middle of each square, giving them lots of room. I’m hoping I have plenty for salads, plus I’ll freeze what we can’t eat fast enough.

This is head lettuce.  Last year, we had a great harvest. We had plenty for us, and I was able to give heads of lettuce to lots of friends.

 

Head lettuce and sweet red onion sets.

It LOOKS like I may be able to skip covering things up at night for a couple of nights!  I’m SO ready for spring!

And then I can plant tomatoes and summer squash!

 

 

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Thoughts on a Wednesday 2-26-2020

Nihal Buyukeroglu-Love Classical Music

It’s not actually snowing here, but I loved this snowman musician and wanted to share him with you. It is still at freezing here, so I’m waiting a bit to uncover my veggie plants in the garden. The weather has been such I’ll bring the sheets in to dry them before putting them back on the plants before dark tonight.

We got to talk with our son in Thailand this morning via a conference call program where we can actually see his face. I made him smile when I told him what a GOOD man he is. :0)

I’m getting a haircut today.  If you’re in the area and are looking for a kind, competent miracle-worker, call Michael Remillard at Tangles. 479-357-9305. 40 Town Square, Greenwood AR 72936. He has taken care of both my husband and me for several years and we truly love him. Today I’m asking him to try to do a ‘shaggy pixie’ or ‘waif’ cut with all different lengths around my face and ears. I’m taking two pics of haircuts I call SASSY….. :0)

UPDATE – Just uncovered the plants – all is fine. Although it is technically above freezing now, it’s C_O_L_D out there! I about froze my parts off. I’m putting the sheets through the dryer so they’ll be ready to spread over the plants again tonight…

I hope you stay warm and dry today.

 

 

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A Spoiled Lady’s Garden

This is the veggie garden of an extremely happy, spoiled woman.

We live on top of a ridge line and had to have some soil trucked up here in order to have grass around the house. You cannot dig a hole anywhere without immediately hitting rock. We made 14 brick planters around the house in order to be able to plant flowers and bushes. Several years ago, I found the book Square Foot Gardening by Mel Batholomew.  We cleared a spot, used some lumber to make two rectangles on the ground which was covered by black weed resisting plastic and filled the plot with Mel’s Mix. (peat moss, vermiculite, and 3 kinds of compost). This got around the fact that we had no soil, but it was still hard on me because, other than being older than dirt, I don’t enjoy bending over double for long periods of time or getting up and down from the ground.

Then we read about RAISED BED square foot gardens.  My husband can figure out how to do most anything, so we decided we would build some for ourselves. We ended up welding 6 ‘table-like’ structures where the wooden boxes could ‘sit.’  The boxes are 4 feet square and 8 inches high with bottoms that have plastic on them. We included drain holes so that excess water can get out. We made it so they aren’t just ‘raised,’ they are my chest height so I can just walk up to a box and weed, plant, harvest, add more soil, whatever.

 

You can see the wire we strung to demarcate the ‘squares.’ I am spreading things WAY out this year because the plants seem to grow together too closely if I don’t.

We built an irrigation system that is on a timer so I don’t have to remember to water or get out there with a hose.

 

We put a fence around the garden to keep critters out, such as deer. I will add some glow in the dark tape around so that the deer don’t run into the fence. We also put chicken wire around the bottom for smaller critters.

 

I have a wonderful set-up on trying to grow veggies. I am truly spoiled. I hope I can keep the sweet plants alive during the nights where we get down to freezing!

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Wonderful Wednesday

sayingimages.com

My early spring garden seems to be doing well so far. I got out my trash can full of old sheets, plus clothespins, putting it under one of the tables, so I can cover the plants tonight. I’ll be doing that a lot until the threat of freezes is over. I will try to get onion sets when we do errands today. I would love to finish weeding the other boxes in the garden and get the onions in as soon as possible.

I’m trying to ignore the fact that – wherever I look – things are calling out to me to be SEEN and FIXED. I have made a priority list for the day. If THAT gets done, I’ll move on to the lesser list. (Who would have thought I would now have TWO lists….

The roast I cooked in the crock pot yesterday turned out really well. My husband asked if we could have the rest cut up with onions, mushrooms, and cream of chicken/mushroom soup tonight over rice (for him.) I’ll do that with cauli-rice for me. :0)

The sun is shining brightly today, so my spirits are lifted each time I look out the window.

Hopefully, I’ll be playing in the dirt this afternoon!

Have a wonderful Wednesday.

 

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Daffodils, Veggies and Fish – Oh, My!

Listal

Yesterday was a productive day for us.

Greenwood Collision called us in the morning, saying that the part we needed for the Vette had FINALLY arrived (it was ordered in November) – so we took both vehicles there to leave the Vette to be fixed (after my husband insisted we stop at the car wash to give it a bath before we left it with them.)

We then drove to Fort Smith to leave our tax stuff with our CPA, Mike Schluterman, at Lawrence, Schluterman & Schwartz LTD. They will call us when the returns are ready to sign and send. I LOVE it when we can dump the stuff on Mike and we can be sure all will be handled competently.

On the way back we stopped for groceries, gas, and a couple of other things. I fixed lunch when we got home. We got a text from our friends, saying they wouldn’t be able to bowl last night, so I decided that, since it was a GORGEOUS day, I wanted to go back to town and buy spinach and head lettuce plants.

I spent a happy couple of hours getting the weeds out and then planting the spinach and head lettuce. I spread things out more this time (though my hat stays off to Mel Bartholomew of Square Foot Gardening.  In MY garden, things tend to grow too closely together, cutting off oxygen and resulting in spoilage. So this year, I’m planting one plant in each square and will see what happens.  (I went out this morning to take pictures. When I was out walking Molly earlier, there was just a very quiet sprinkle from the sky. When I went out to take the pictures, it was a steady rain, so I was glad I took my umbrella.)

To the early spring garden, I will add sweet onion sets. Then I’ll watch those until it’s time to plant tomatoes and yellow squash, and whatever my husband would like me to try.

On the way back from taking pics of the garden, I got a couple of pictures of my daffodils, stubbornly blooming even though it will probably freeze twice this week. I can and will cover the plants in the garden, but I can’t cover the yard, so I hope they can ‘weather-the-weather.’

 

 

The last thing I did yesterday was clean the aquarium.  The fish seem happy and healthy, although they don’t say much.

Running the TWO filters has lengthened the amount of time before I need to change the water again. The new, stick-shaped aerator we’re using now makes ME happier, and the change to the glass beads instead of gravel is much nicer.

So there you have my yesterday. Today is an inside day. All will depend on when the rain stops, or if this is an all day thing.

I hope that YOU are staying warm and dry and happy.

 

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Thoughts on a Thursday 10-17-2019

We Love Earth

 

We got an early start to the day with a doctor appointment for my husband followed by a glorious, large keto breakfast (for me) with the addition of hash browns and toast and jelly for my husband at The Dari in Greenwood. We did errands on the way home, so we’re in for the day now.

I re-lost some poundage and am again ready to get into new territory on the scales – hopefully tomorrow. To date I’ve lost 43 pounds and 45 inches.

I’m on DAY 45 of daily yoga practice

Why Kol

and DAY 30 on the getting-serious-about-keto-macros eating plan.

The fact that my husband and son are saying, “YUMMY!” about our dinners (THANK YOU, Suzanne Ryan of Simply Keto), I’m finding it easier to make the substitutions desired while we all eat together. For example, I have roast beef and salad while they have corn or other more high carb veggie with the meal. Or they have rice while I have either zucchini noodles (Zoodles) or yellow Squash noodles (Yoodles) or Cauli-rice under a sauce of chicken chunks, onions, mushrooms, and cream of chicken/mushroom soup. (I have my substitutions ready to pop into the microwave from individual portion bags in the freezer.)

I love the Cronometer.com website. I have entered my macro (5% carbs, 25% protein, 70% fat) into their program. I can ‘play’ with what I’m going to eat for the day. If I find that I’m planning to eat something that will trash my efforts for the day, I can delete that and plug something else in BEFORE I mess up.

I finished my first experiment with Unicorn Spit Stain/Glaze.  I have to say I had a BLAST playing with it and can’t wait to start another piece.

 

I finally harvested our onions from the garden. I still need to clean them up a bit more, and then I’ll put them in a large, stretchy, mesh bag and hang it in the pantry.

 

I hope that you are having a wonderful Thursday, too. :0)

 

 

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Thoughts on a Saturday 10-12-2019

Beautiful World

 

It’s 40 degrees F this morning and sunshine-y.

It’s too cool to have our doors open this morning, but I am REALLY enjoying the relief from our relentless summer here. It’s nice to NOT have a ‘heat index’. Somehow, knowing that makes me even hotter. I’m planning to work outside this afternoon, cleaning up around the tomato planters where I pulled out the plants a couple of days ago. I may have to throw on a sweatshirt!!!! Woo HOOOO!

It makes me a bit sad that in one week our son will be going back to Thailand. He came home at the end of July (27 hour trip with the flights and the layovers) to help us through the aftermath of my husband’s stroke.  There were lots of tests and decisions to be made. It was a super tense situation, but we finally got the information we needed and did what my husband would allow to avoid another stroke. The crisis is over. My husband is almost completely back to normal. It’s time for our son to get back to his life. I’m collecting lots of hugs (thank goodness he is super generous with them. We communicate almost daily when he’s halfway across the world. He set up a secure chat program we use, plus a conference call program we use from time to time so we can see each other. The only thing missing is his world class hugs. We are SO lucky.

 

I am still fighting with technology, but I’m happy to have two shops on Etsy now –

ArtworthyNoteCards –  hand-painted personalizable stationery, note cards, and greeting cards

TotablyYours  – hand-painted, one-of-a-kind tote bags

 

Amazon

 

I’ve admitted that I’m like a little kid when it comes to motivation to do things I would rather not. I’ve been giving myself gold stars on my desk calendar each day when I practice my yoga, do my elliptical trainer, or do a job in the yard that is drudgery, rather than fun. This week – if I stay on track today and tomorrow, will be a 15-star week!  It makes me happy to look at all the stars on the desk calendar, but I’m also FEELING better for the exercise – and that is really the point of it all.

If I can get my technical problems solved today, I’ll try to get up to my art room this afternoon. I have the BEST of all dilemmas – whether to experiment with my new crayon melting tools or experiment with my new Unicorn Spit stain/glaze kit my wonderful SIL sent me.  :0)

 

 

I hope that you are enjoying YOUR Saturday, whether it is with relaxation or fun.

 

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Thoughts on A Thursday 10-10-2019

Jeff Jett – LinkedIn

Right now it’s pretty pleasant outside. This evening we’re due for possible severe storms (wind, rain, hail, lightning, and flying hairballs) so I’m enjoying the weather while I can. Last week was summer, with the a/c on. Tomorrow, the lows are supposed to be in the 30’s!!

We just got back from Lunch Bunch – usually this is on Fridays, but one of our group is having a yard sale starting tomorrow, so went went today, instead. Everyone was good and all appendages are crossed (including my eyes) for ONLY cold and not rain, for her yard sale tomorrow and Saturday.

I’m going to go out as soon as I finish this – and my cup of coffee – to take down our tomato plants, clean up the planters, weed whack around them, etc. There are no green tomatoes, so it’s time. We’ve had a good season this year in spite of the weirdness of the weather. For the first time ever, I was able to only to eat all the head lettuce we personally wanted, but could share with our friends. We also shared tomatoes, radishes, and leaf lettuce. It was too hot to start seeds for a fall garden in my greenhouse and I didn’t find any fall veggie plants for sale, so I’m not plotting and planning what I want to do for the spring.

We may have the cold snap tomorrow, but we usually have it warm up again to fall-like weather, so we won’t stop the irrigation system. My husband is hoping he’ll only have to mow once or twice more….

So – this afternoon the plan is to get rid of the tomato plants, do my elliptical trainer, and do a session of yoga. I would also like to get up to my art room. The big dilemma is whether to play with my new crayon melter tools or my new Unicorn Spit Stain/Glass first. :0)

 

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Last of the Harvest?

 

Of all the signs in our yard, this is my favorite. I laugh each time we drive up to the house. It’s on a tree to the right of the top of the driveway. :0)

I’ve told you I had to clean out our raised-bed square foot garden a few weeks ago because the intense heat was too much for the remaining plants. I haven’t been able to find any plants locally to plant for a fall garden, and it’s been too hot to start any seeds in the greenhouse, so I think we’re pretty much finished for the year.

 

The only thing we have left is the tomatoes in our two converted brick planters on the opposite end of the house. The plants look really sad, but are still producing tomatoes. They aren’t as large or as perfect as they were at the height of the season, but they are still delicious in our salads or cut up as an extra veggie on the plate. We’ve had a pretty good garden this year. I’ll start making plans for the spring garden soon.

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Garden Clean Out

 

 

We are STILL having super hot, high humidity days here. (The heat index is supposed to be around 106 this afternoon.) Even with our irrigation system, my garden bit the dust. Over the course of several days I cleaned out the plants – murdering fire ants that were in the boxes as I pulled – and finally have things cleaned up.

We built our raised-bed square foot garden for several reasons. We live on top of a ridge line and there is very little ‘soil’ here. You try to dig a hole to plant something and you immediately hit rock – endless rock. So after trying to build a garden, trucking in topsoil, evaluating it in order to add what was needed, etc., we finally gave up traditional methods. For a bit we had two long rectangular boxes on the ground, marked off into squares, filled with Mel’s Mix (peat moss, Vermiculite, and as many different compost types as you can find. We put a fence around the boxes to keep deer and other critters out. We added chicken wire around the base of the fence to keep smaller critters, like rabbits, out. This worked pretty well for awhile, but I was finding it harder and harder to either bend over double or get up and down over and over on my hands and knees.

We decided to build ‘tables’ in effect, raising the garden boxes up to my chest level.  The ‘tables’ are linked by lengths of hose with a sprinkler in the center of each box for easy irrigation. We have an outdoor faucet and a timer attached to it so the whole garden is watered automatically each day.

 

 

This picture shows the irrigation system a little more clearly.  We have six 4 foot by 4 foot boxes in which to plant. The boxes are divided into squares by wire.

 

 

 

This picture shows the fencing a bit more clearly.

 

Behind the shop and beside the garden is my supply of ingredients to make Mel’s Mix. I have one trash can for each ingredient. The red thing under the tarp is a portable concrete mixer. I put the proper proportions of the ingredients into the mixer and use this to mix things thoroughly. I then dump the mixed soil alternative into a big bucket and take it inside the fencing to dump into each of the boxes.  I also mix stuff to take by wheelbarrow around to the converted brick planters we use for tomatoes on the opposite side of the house.

I wish that our weather here in Arkansas were not quite so harsh during the summer. It’s been MUCH too hot to try to get plants started in my greenhouse, for example I mainly use it at the end of winter to try to get plants started for the spring garden.

 

I’ll have my eyes open for any fall plants available here locally, but mostly, we’re finished until the spring now.

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Thoughts on a Monday 9-16-2019

Amber

I’m late in blog posting today. Amber went out to the veggie garden with me and helped clean up the remaining planter boxes. I encountered fire ants twice, but had gone in ARMED with EIGHT bug killer in a 2-gallon sprayer and hosed them down. I didn’t get stung, thank goodness! I’ll take pics later of the cleaned up garden, but I was simply too hot when I finished to go back with the camera. (The heat index is 106 or more right now). Once I’m SURE we’ve killed all the ants in the boxes, I’ll try Robin’s suggestion of putting Vaseline around each support leg.

I was actually able to gather quite a few small tomatoes yesterday from the converted brick planters on the other side of the house. I didn’t have a basket with me, so simply used the bottom of my shirt as a carrier. :0)  We’re about to the end of the season now. The plants look pretty sad, but we’re still getting small ripe tomatoes, so we’re happy.

The main water line from the well house to the irrigation system had a blowout last night. Our son was able to cobble it back together, but it’s obvious we need a longer hose length of super sturdy stuff to handle the pressure. We got two lengths of hose cut at the hardware store today in two different diameters, thinking one of them will fit. I’m not sure if we’ll get to the replacement today.

My husband started thinking about our truck battery this morning. He keeps a log of our important purchases on his computer so that we can look things up quickly. We discovered that we bought the battery for the truck in 2014!  Since our battieries usually die suddenly with change of season, we bought a replacement battery while we were in town today. We’ll change it out later today and take the old one back to the store tomorrow for credit.

Our long time good friends will go bowling with us tonight! Our son is still home with us (a thing for which we are thankful every day) and so we’ll have a lot of fun this evening bowling terribly and then commiserating with ice cream at Braum’s afterwards.

When I finish cooling off and glugging water, we’ll have lunch and then I’ll do my first session of yoga for the week.

I hope your Monday is off to a good start.

 

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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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