Category Archives: Square Foot Gardening – Raised Beds

Thoughts on a Friday 6-26-2020

Thrive Global

I’m feeling GOOD this morning. I’ve been eating very carefully since my illness and I think I’m at 100% this morning – no upset – no pain – AHHHHHH!

We have the front and back doors open this morning, bringing in a nice breeze. There is a good chance of rain today, but I’m hoping it will hold off until AFTER we get home from Lunch Bunch with our good friends. This week is the last week we have to eat at a picnic bench in the parking lot. July 1st the restaurant will open in some capacity, so next week we are back to our normal table. (We go early enough that there are usually only the two waitresses there with us, or someone coming in to grab a take-out, so I’m not worried.)  One of our friends is celebrating a birthday today, so it will be extra nice.

I finished weeding my raised bed square foot garden before I got sick, and that is still looking good. The squash plants are looking healthy, though they haven’t shot vines out yet. The little bitty celery plants are still alive. I’m going to check our tomato planters on the other side of the house this afternoon.

I’ve decided that one of the next projects will be pressure washing.

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We have two sets of outdoor chairs that are in serious need of a good cleaning. I will also do the deck, back sidewalk, driveway pad, front sidewalk, and front porch. This will probably take several days of work, but it has been a couple or three years since I did it last time, and so is needed.

I’m working on my Important Spreadsheet, getting through the first pass on it yesterday. I need to find answers to questions, and then I’ll finish that up, print copies for several places, send the URL to our son, etc. I will put it on my calendar to check for needed updates in three months, instead of six, next time.

My husband and I decided that we needed more help and motivation on our keto eating plan. Neither of us has built up good willpower and so we have gotten lax lately, gaining several pounds. We decided to do two months of the South Beach Diet

to give us a good push toward getting back on track and losing some lard. We have signed up and are awaiting our first month’s delivery. I’m HOPING that we will be well on the way at the end of the two months. Built into the program is DIY meals, so I will still be using the good keto recipes we like – just reminded of portion size and encouraged to NOT add things we shouldn’t. Fingers crossed this will stop our bad habits and make the scales stop frowning at us.

I am awaiting an order of wooden shapes for earrings. I am in communication with a nice lady who likes these –


but would like them 2″ in diameter, instead of 1″, as they are on the website. She also wants them in hot pink and white. I can’t wait to get started! :0)  I also ordered some other shapes, so will dive in and see what other fun I can have.

Feeling better is making me think of spending time in my art room. Hopefully, I can get upstairs today…

Have a wonderful Friday!



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Veggie Garden is Half Done

Yesterday I spent about an hour weeding in my raised bed, square foot veggie garden. We built six 4’x4′ boxes and installed them on metal supports, so they are like tables. They are about my chest height, so I can do almost everything I need to do, from planting, feeding, weeding, and harvesting, without having to bend over double or get down on my hands and knees.

We mix up “Mel’s Mix,”  a soil alternative that is a combination of peat moss, vermiculite, and as many different kinds of compost as we can find or create.

The garden is as protected from critters as we can make it, having a high fence around the perimeter, and then chicken wire around the bottom. We have a door gate.

We fixed an irrigation system on a timer, so the veggies are watered each day for a specified time.


Right now I’m trying to grow yellow crookneck squash, zucchini, and sweet red onions.  I will also try some radishes soon. Yesterday I planted some celery that I started in my kitchen.


I got three of the six planters weeded yesterday, and will try to finish the job today. So far, the plants look happy.


This is one of the two celery plants. I never really thought of celery as “cute,” but I think these are. :0)

We also have the two brick planters of tomatoes. We have bright yellow blossoms and lots of small green tomatoes. We are hoping for a good crop, because fresh, sliced tomatoes from our garden is one of our favorite things.

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Things are quiet so far today, and for that I am truly thankful.

I’m planning to head out to my garden after lunch to catch up on the weeding in my veggie planter boxes. I’m going to TRY to transplant two celery plants I started in the kitchen recently. If I have time and energy, I’ll do more weed killer spraying. This is all dependent on our weather cooperating, though.

Our forecast is for 100% chance of rain this afternoon. We had a good shower yesterday, and more is forecast for tomorrow. I should have expected all this rain. We just finished repairing our irrigation system. :0)

Yesterday I vacuumed the first floor tiled areas (kitchen, pantry, utility room, dining area, and two half-baths.) I also did PART of the carpeted first floor area yesterday, finishing it up this morning. I’m always amazed and disgusted at how MUCH dog and cat hair, plus dirt, plus ‘whatever’ I get every time. I’m lucky to have good vacuums. I refuse to vacuum more than every other day, though, so animal hair reigns here.

I was really tired when it was time to fix dinner. My husband twisted my arm :0)  and we called in and picked up fried rice for each of us. The restaurant is still on take-out only, and has simplified to offer only the medium size, so we have plenty for dinner tonight, too. That said, I’m planning to make a loaf of keto bread this afternoon.

I hope you’re having a fine day today and doing something FUN.






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Thoughts on a Sunday 6-7-2020

Our Sweet dog Molly is better with the antibiotics and pain/inflammation medicine we got from our vet. She is sleeping now, but actually barks to be let outside and then barks again to come back in – playing the ‘system’ of getting a treat for doing that – over and over. I’m playing right along. The swelling on her mouth has gone down a lot and she actually smiles at me when I hug and pet her. Each day is a gift now.

Molly Resting


I worked out in the yard early this morning, since the heat index for the afternoon is forecast to be 105 degrees F. My husband had asked me to spray weed killer on the north side of our shop. I mixed up a 2-gallon container and hosed everything down there, plus around my garden and under my planter boxes. I have just put Benadryl Ointment on the tops of my feet and my ankles because they are acting like I must have walked through poison-something-or-other. :0(

I also used our heavy duty tomato cages to prop up our now really bushy tomato plants in both brick planters on the far side of the yard from the main garden. We now have little bitty green tomatoes!  I hooked up the hose and gave both planters a good drink. We haven’t hooked up our irrigation system for the yard because we have been getting a good amount of rain until the past few days. We are due to get the remnants of Cristobal tomorrow evening, so all should get a good drink.

These are the yellow crookneck squash and zucchini plants I put in the garden recently. They are looking happy, but haven’t started sending out vines everywhere yet.

My husband had a second stroke recently. We went to our primary doctor, who wanted him to have tests, but he refused. He said to me, “Last time we did it YOUR way (meaning testsa and doctor appointments), so this time we will do it MINE.” Needless to say, I’m not happy about this, but he is adamant. (If you look up the word “stubborn” in the dictionary, you will find my husband’s picture.) So we will HOPE that he doesn’t have another stroke for a long time (the time between the first one and this one was almost one year.) I will continue to try to keep him as healthy and happy as possible.

Rick James-Quotefancy

I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday. Take care and stay safe.


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Start of the Summer Garden

Yesterday I planted three yellow crookneck squash plants and 4 zucchini plants in the garden after weeding and prepping since I pulled the spinach and lettuce plants out.  I gave the new plants LOTS of room because the vines of all of these spread out all over the planters. I want to give them all the room they need. I have developed a taste for both of these since I spiralize them to use in place of pasta and rice on my keto eating plan.

I can clean and use the spiralizer on them, put them in individual serving sandwich bags, and then put the bags into a gallon freezer bag. I can then pull out what I need and quickly microwave MY ‘pasta’ or ‘rice,’ and cook the regular stuff for my husband when I making spaghetti or one of my ‘sauce over pasta or rice dishes.



I listened to a video that taught me more about growing and storing onions. He said that the ones that grow tall and make a flower are not good for long-term (over the winter) storage. Those should be eaten whenever you’re ready, but should be eaten soon after pulling. The others are fine to try to dry for storage.  (You can see my onions in this picture.)

Here you can see that some have a ‘bulb’ on top. These are the ones the man was talking about that should be pulled and eaten soon after harvesting, rather than trying to prep for storage.

With all the rain we’ve had, the tomatoes got really big and bushy quickly. They do have some bright yellow blossoms, and if you look carefully, you can see a tiny green tomato.  At this point, I’m just going to prop them up the best way I can and hope for the best.


This is the ‘nook’ planter, where 4 plants have also exploded in growth. With three weeks or so of pretty steady, heavy rain, things got out of hand. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we actually get tomatoes, rather than just a whole lot of greenery.

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Our tomato plants are looking good, with several bright yellow blossoms, but no green tomatoes yet.

Today while we were out, we went to the co-op to see if they had any good plants. I’m delighted that we found yellow crookneck squash and zucchini!

We have finished lunch and I just finished cleaning the aquarium, so I’m having a cup of coffee before going out to make the garden ready for summer plants and then planting our treasures. I’ll try to get pics before I come in. :0)


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Thoughts on a Sunday 5-31-2020

Penny Yaffe Krakow

We are having another gorgeous day with lots of sunshine and low humidity – a wonderful combination!  Since we have gone from dark, gray, cold, rainy weather day after day to bright, sunshiny, soon-to-be-hot weather here, today will have two projects:

PROJECT ONE:   Changing from winter closet to summer closet.



My closet doesn’t look this bad, but it will take a lot of moving to get cold weather clothes out and hot weather clothes in. I will try, over the next few days, to try on each thing, making decisions about what to do with the things that don’t fit. Some of the things –

  • I like, and MAY fit with more lardage loss (I will put these in with the cold weather clothes)
  • will be folded up and included in the next donation to the Disabled Vets in Fort Smith Thrift Shop
  • will be thrown away.

The remainder will be organized as well as possible, in the hope I can put my hands on things quickly and easily.

PROJECT TWO – cleaning out the garden.

The day is perfect for work outside.  My lettuce and spinach are starting to bolt, so it’s time to harvest what I can and compost the rest.  I can at least pull the plants, but it may take a day or two longer to put the garden to rights. I plan to check the co-op in town next week to see if they have anything I would like to plant.

I hope that you are enjoying a beautiful last day of May, too.



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Mother Nature Makes Harvesting a Challenge

First thing this morning I went out to harvest some lettuce so I could take it to Lunch Bunch and share some with Linda, Kay, and the two waitresses at The Pizza Barn, Susan and Mikey. I knew we had rain forecast for today, but it looked like it might hold off until we could share lunch at the picnic table in the parking lot before it started.

I brought the lettuce in and dumped it all into the sink. 45 minutes later, I had several small heads of lettuce and a lot of extra lettuce leaves ready to put in bags.

About an hour ago, Kay called, telling me the forecast now said we would get at least two waves of storms – each possibly severe – with hail. We agreed to call off Lunch Bunch for today.  :0(

I let Amber into the truck and we went down the driveway to get the mail. Just as we pulled into the garage after getting it, the rain started. We haven’t had hail yet, but it’s obvious we are in for the day now.  The sky is dark, almost like night. The garage door is shut to protect our vehicles.

Now we appreciate being able to stay inside a warm, dry house and hope that we JUST get rain today.

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Thoughts on a Monday 5-18-2020

Marabou Stork-photographer unknown via Penny Yaffe Krakow


If I come back to the world as something else one day, I either want to be this Marabou stork (above) or a shoebill stork (below.)

San Diego Zoo Animals and Plants

I love both of these birds. They are ugly – and they look like they have a sense of humor – like they’ll say something to make you laugh any minute. A great combination!

The sun is finally shining here!!!!  We have had an entire week of rain, storms, gusty winds, gray days.  It was SO nice to have to put on my sunglasses when we ran a couple of errands earlier today!

I fixed a big salad this morning. I will offer to share it with my husband, but he has some things he really likes, instead. I will eat part for lunch and the rest as part of my dinner. It’s wonderful to be able to use spinach and lettuce from our own garden in it! :0)

My husband is going to try to mow the yard later today, if it will dry up more. We are actually watching the grass grow now that the sun has come out.

I’m going to play in my art room this afternoon, trying to finish up a new idea I had.

Have a fun day!



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Between Storms

We are having a stormy weekend. Between storms, I went out to check our veggies, and wanted to share their progress with you.


These are the tomato plants in what I call the “nook” planter. They are in a spot on the back of the house with our porch on the left side of this picture. They are more protected from wind than the other tomato plants.


These are the tomato plants in the other brick planter we converted to square foot gardening with the soil alternative.  I saw some sweet yellow blossoms!


This is the main veggie garden.  I hope you can see that we are finally rid of the thigh-high weeds that were on the ground under the boxes.  There are a couple of areas I’ll spray again – if the rains ever stop – but mostly I have them under control now.


A little bit of head lettuce and then the sweet red onions.


Spinach in the foreground and head lettuce behind.


The head lettuce is forming heads now!  I’m still going to harvest leaves for salads while the heads are growing.


The spinach is putting on lots of new leaves.

I’m encouraged by the garden so far. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that, with all this stormy weather we’re having, we don’t have a lot of hail that will kill the plants.  We are sure enjoying lots of big salads!

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“It’s Raining, It’s Pouring…”

I love rain, but I would rather be on the inside looking out at it.

We just got back from doing our errands for the day. It’s 40 degrees with a cold rain. We didn’t have many, but we DROWNED doing them. It’s a very good thing we are not water-soluble. I’m having a cup of coffee now, trying to warm up. A wonderful day to be inside. :0)

I’m feeling good because our veggie garden is under good control right now, plus we got the yard mowed and weed-whacked before the rain started. I can enjoy the inside days with a clear conscience – happy to be warm and dry.

I’ll fix our lunch and then I’m looking forward to spend some time in my art room. I’m painting some wooden earrings which will have posts, and I have some ideas (thanks to my good friend, Marsha)  for some things I can create with my Unicorn Spit paint and put them in the local shop booth I share with my friend, Carla.

When I saw how cold and rainy it was this morning, I put ingredients for a beef stew in the slow cooker so we can enjoy some hot comfort food tonight. It’s odd – our weather forecast is for cold and rainy today – but WARM and rainy the rest of the week, including thunderstorms and possible severe weather. Mother Nature is being quite active lately.

I hope that you are weathering whatever shutdown restrictions you have without too much discomfort. Gradually, things will reopen and we can adapt to the ‘new normal.’

Take care and stay safe.


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Harvest 5-9-2020

These pictures seem like they are the same couple of pictures TWICE. Actually, they are two different batches of lettuce I harvested today. I took two views of each batch so you would get a good idea of how much the head lettuce is producing. This is one view of batch # 1 today.


A second view of the first batch.



Batch # 2


Batch # 2

I processed and washed 9 gallon plastic bags of lettuce leaves today. I am rich in lettuce!  Guess who will be eating LOTS of salads starting at lunch today…

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Progress in the Garden 5-9-2020

I spent most of the day in my veggie garden today. I started weeding and harvesting the lettuce, brought that in and rested. Then I went out again and did the same, bringing in another full basket. I then weed whacked under the garden boxes, and finally sprayed weed killer under the boxes and around the inside perimeter.

Our weather forecast for next week is rain every day except Thursday, and we have a 60% to 80% chance each day. That’s a LOT of rain. We may need a boat by the end of the week.


So that meant that we basically had today and tomorrow to try to get the yard and garden under as good control as possible before the rain starts. My husband mowed the yard.


I got the garden under control and will do a lot of weed whacking and clean up tomorrow.


My plants are doing well so far. Everything is looking healthy and happy.


I took this close up to show you that the lettuce, as well as providing lots of leaves for salads, is starting to form heads!

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Wednesday in the Garden

Yesterday I spent a lot of time weeding, staking, and tying up tomato plants to make them as secure as possible with all the waves of severe weather we’ve been having. So far, they seem to be doing fine.  I have six plants in this planter.


And four more here.  I actually have some blossoming on a couple of the plants now!

And in the raised bed garden –

My spinach is doing well. My plants aren’t as pretty as they sometimes are because we have had so much heavy rain that the boxes fill up faster than they drain and the soil alternative settles on the plants. These seem healthy, though.




Red onions and head lettuce.


Head lettuce.  You can see that the center leaves are starting to curl up, forming the ‘head.’


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Keeping Moving

Albert Einstein-life

Today instead of formal exercising, I put on my ‘Weed Murderer” cap and went out to the garden. I’m doing a combination of pulling the weeds I can, weed whacking others, and then spraying weed killer to try to at least slow new growth.  A little of this activity goes a long way.   I do a bit at a time, then come in, rest, drink a bunch of water, and then go out again. My body is well aware that I have been moving by the end of the afternoon.

One thing that helps a lot is my “Gentle Yoga” stretches. I learned this from a DVD I ordered from Sixty and Me. The instructor’s name is Kat Kabira. She emphasizes taking things slowly, listening to your body, breathing into the poses. She doesn’t ask you to fold yourself into a paper airplane. She is very encouraging about whatever you can do. I can’t say enough about her.

Keep moving!

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Gardening as Art

Elizabeth Murray


I love all kinds of plants. My parents didn’t do much with plants, preferring no maintenance over other priorities.

We live on top of a ridge line in Arkansas. The only ‘soil’ we have was brought up here by truck – enough so that we could have a small yard around the house. The rest of our approximately 8 acres is wooded.

Over the years my husband, son and I built 14 brick planters around the house. filling them with potting soil so that I could grow some flowers. Flowers lift my spirits. I can FEEL my heart filling and the concerns fading when I see some of my flowers doing well. I love adding perennials each year so there is less I NEED to do. Then I concentrate on annuals to dot into the planters, plus put into little planters around the yard, on the front porch, and on the deck each year. This year, because of the pandemic, I’m not planting any annuals, so I enjoy the perennials that defiantly and proudly spear up out of the planters and put on a lovely display regardless of the world around them.

I’m like a little kid at Christmas with my raised bed, square foot garden. I had never seen any food grow, and so I have learned a LOT about what NOT to do over the years, finally achieving some success over the past several years. I LOVE watching the plants lift their faces to the sun. I even enjoy weeding the ‘boxes’ of my garden, since the Mel’s Mix soil alternative makes it easy to weed. The fact that the boxes are at my chest level also makes it so I can do the job without bending over double or getting up and down off the ground. Today I’m starting work on weeding UNDER my garden boxes. That’s a bigger job, but the weeds are growing fast now. I need to get things under control as soon as I can.


My favorite sign in our yard is –


My break is over now. It’s time for another session murdering weeds…


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Thoughts on a Wednesday 4-29-2020

in an email from my friend Marsha

We have had a busy couple of days.

Yesterday severe weather was forecast, including rain, high winds, large hail, and flying hairballs to start around dark. I took old sheets out and covered up the veggie plants in my garden, plus my tomato plants, protecting them as much as possible. The bad weather came, with lots of lightning, wind, rain, etc. I didn’t know if we got the hail. This morning I uncovered everything, and we seem to have come through with no damage to my sweet veggies!

I’m doing several loads of laundry to change the dirty, dripping sheets into clean, dry sheets ready for the next time.


I am really relieved. If we have a quiet, nice day tomorrow, I’ll work on cutting down the weeds and then spraying weed killer UNDER my raised bed boxes, as well as around the perimeter. I’m not sure if we need more mulch to spread under the boxes. I’ll know more when I have the weeds under control.

I’ll also use the push-around weed whacker to clean up the area beside the garden. We have the lawn mowed after finally getting the new belt installed, but my husband didn’t have the time to mow around or beside the garden.

I took pics of our rose bushes before the storm. It’s a good thing, because ALL of them are bent clear over after all the wind and rain.  I am going to try to find some things to prop them up while they try to recover.




A small sign of things starting to get back toward normal was that the company that sprays for bugs for us called and sent out Adolpho to spray the inside, plus around the outside of the house for everything – including elephants. When you live outside of town in a wooded area on top of a ridge line, one of the things you take seriously is the creepy, crawly things that will suddenly erupt without constant heavy duty spraying by professionals. We have Tri-Hill Pest Control, 1308 Zero St, Fort Smith, AR 72901, (479) 782-2847.  Adolpho is the man who comes to help us. We can’t say enough about him. 

Besides uncovering plants, washing sheets, and meeting the bug man, I have made us lunch and baked another loaf of keto bread. I can’t say enough about this recipe from

I’ve tried a lot of recipes for bread, since that was the thing I had been missing the most. I wanted one loaf of bread that I could slice and eat instead of eyeing my husband’s roll with dinner. I wanted one that I could slice and put in the toaster while my husband had regular bread – and one that I might even be able to use for a sandwich, if I felt the urge, such as when we want a comfort dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches and soup for dinner.  I wanted the yeasty smell and taste of regular bread, as much as possible.

This one does all this. One loaf lasts me approximately a week. It doesn’t rise as much as regular bread, but it tastes good to me. I don’t feel deprived watching my husband eat regular breads – rolls, bagels, toast, sandwich bread, hot dog buns, etc. I will eventually branch out, trying other keto recipes for all of these various things, but this has really helped me in my efforts to stay on keto and lose the lard.

I hope that your day is full of hopeful things, too.



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Our Plants Survived!

I went outside with trepidation a few minutes ago to see what was left after the wave after wave of hard storms we had yesterday and throughout the evening. I noticed hail hitting the dining area window a couple of times and feared my new tomato plants and veggie garden would be beaten to death. As you can see from the photo above, the tomato plants in this planter are fine! Hooray!!!!!


This is the second planter for tomatoes. This one is more sheltered than the other, but nothing will help when hail is coming down. I was really relieved to see all the sweet tomato plants are still doing well.

I walked to the other end of our property where our raised bed square foot garden is. I could tell the water came up high on the plants before draining out, but nothing seems to be broken or beaten down.

This shows you some of the head lettuce and the red onions.


A couple of spinach plants, but mainly head lettuce.

And the spinach. As you can see, the plants were almost covered with water and soil by the storm, but then the drainage did it’s job.

We seem to be due for more storms tomorrow, but we have dodged another bullet, and I’m grinning from ear to ear.

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Today’s Harvest 4-21-2020

This picture shows you the head lettuce leaves I harvested today. I had to wash each leaf carefully under running water, and it was easy to see that the hard rain had pretty much filled the squares high up on the plants faster than it could drain during the storm we had yesterday.


These are spinach leaves. I’ll use these in our salads, but I’m hoping that the plants will give me enough that I can freeze some for later. I’m looking forward to a nice, big salad tonight. Our weather is glorious today – sunny and 74 degrees. We did some freezer diving last night and will cook out tonight for the first time this season.


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Tomato Plants

We call this our ‘nook’ planter. It is one we built in a space on the backside of the house right beside our screened-in porch. It is somewhat sheltered from our weather, so it’s a kinder spot for plants.

We converted the nook planter and this longer brick planter from potting soil to the soil alternative we use in our vegetable garden. It’s called “Mel’s Mix,” and was developed by Mel Bartholomew of Square Foot Gardening. (You mix 2 parts Vermiculite, 2 parts peat moss, and 1 part each of as many different composts as you can find. )

Here’s another view of the longer brick planter. We have a total of 10 plants in the two planters. I was worried the hard rain would have broken the new plants, but happily, they came though fine. Fresh tomatoes sliced with salt is one of our favorite foods in all the world. Hopefully, we’ll have a nice crop this year.

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Checking on the Garden

I was relieved to see that my veggie plants weren’t damaged by the recent really hard rain. I made the decision to plant only one plant in each square, although Mel Bartholomew of Square Foot Gardening says that you can plant 4 plants in a square. I wanted to give these plenty of room, particularly since I probably won’t be planting anything other than radishes with the pandemic.


This is one of the head lettuce plants. It is already taking up about 2/3 of the square. It looks healthy and happy, so I’m glad about my decision to spread out more.

I this picture, you can see three of the six boxes we built for our raised bed square foot garden. You can also see the irrigation system, in which the sprinkler in the center of each box waters the plants in that box. We have a timer attached so the plants are watered at the same time each day. We can either cut back on the time or increase it, or turn it off altogether, as needed.


Right now my head lettuce plants are a lot larger than my spinach plants. I’m carefully harvesting leaves from both, encouraging growth  and trying to keep the plants producing.

So far, everything is going well.


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Veggie Garden Progress 4-15-2020

You can see the full box of spinach plants in this picture, but you can also see the barrels of ingredients for Mel’s Mix, the soil alternative I use. The tarp is covering a cement mixer. I use that to mix the ingredients together before dumping them into the planting boxes.

Here you can see 2 of the six planter boxes. A couple of spinach plants, but mostly head lettuce.


Head lettuce and red onions.

Here you can see all six planter boxes, and the fence surrounding them.

So far, all is looking good. If we have another good day tomorrow, I’ll harvest some lettuce leaves and spinach, plus spray the ground under the planter boxes with weed killer.


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Weeding the Garden


I’m certainly not this cute, but I can beat this cute little girl in the contest for dirt all over.

I’ve just come in from weeding my veggie garden. There were a GAZILLION+ teeny, tiny weeds EVERYWHERE that sprung up seemingly overnight. I now have them under reasonable control, I think. After I’ve glugged my water and rested a bit, I’ll go out and get some pics for you. I also plan to do a small harvest of head lettuce leaves and spinach.

Last night we had bacon-wrapped chicken breasts and a large salad with some of our fresh stuff. My husband even remarked on how nice the meal was. :0)

I THINK we are finished with freezing temperatures now, but I check every day to see if I need to cover up my plants each night. Soon I can put that concern behind me and I’ll start gritching and moaning over it being too hot…

It really lifts my spirits to have the sun shining. My inner light dims a bit each day when things are cold, gray, and wet outside day after day. Even though I’m pooped right now, I’m smiling.

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Thoughts on A Tuesday 4-14-2020

New Animalbook

  • I seem to be UNABLE to stop touching my face!  I’ve tried several things without success. As much as I pull on my nose, I should look like Pinocchio!
  • I am using every excuse in the book (and even inventing some new ones!) to cheat on my diet and exercise.

Fat Animals-Rollin Wild by BMC-Nasim Biswas-2018

Each day I ‘start over’ in my mind, looking forward to exercising and eating right. Maybe TODAY I’ll get going again!

  • My sweet veggie plants and new tomato plants made it through another freeze. As far as I can tell, this is the last time I’ll need to cover everything. I have the first load of sheets in the washer to get all clean and dry for when they are needed again. If the weather warms up (it’s 40 now) I’ll try to get a good start on getting the TEENY, TINY weeds out of my veggie garden today.
  • My goldfish have done their trick of dirtying up their aquarium again, so cleaning that is on the agenda for this morning. Happily, I am able to get everything out, clean the aquarium and put all new stuff in it in about 35 minutes now.
  • I have an idea for a painting rattling around in my head. I’ll try to get up to my art room today to get a start on it.
  • Bacon-wrapped keto chicken is on the menu for tonight. I’ll fix a nice salad – with spinach and lettuce from our garden – to go with it.

I hope you are finding good ways to spend your days as we all hope that we can put the threat of the virus, as well as financial worries from the economy being shut down, in the rear view mirror.

Stay safe and well.

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Hope Springs 2

Yesterday, before the weather changed, I cut two roses to bring inside. I can FEEL my spirits lifting when I look at these!

I drowned yesterday morning covering up the plants in my square foot garden boxes plus my two planters of new tomato plants because bad weather and plummeting temperatures were forecast. The plants were covered all day and all night. We had at least two rounds of severe storms, some with hail, followed by a freeze.

This morning they were still alive! They are looking a bit ‘tired,’ but I think they are okay. I was planning to go out and weed in the garden, but the temperature never got above 40 here, with enough wind to make it uncomfortable outside. Hopefully, I can get rid of weeds tomorrow.


I hope that you are safe and well. I also hope that you – also –  are finding things that give you hope for the future.

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Several years ago we converted two brick planters to be square foot gardening planters especially to grow the tomatoes we both love. Nothing says luxury to my husband and me than sliced tomatoes right off the vine.

We took all the soil out of the planters and replace it with Mel’s Mix (a combination of peat moss, vermiculite, and as many different kinds of compost as you can gather).  This is the bright idea of Mel Bartholomew, the author of Square Foot Gardening.


We have the six foot planter you see above and then the one below, the one we call a ‘nook’ planter, since it fits in the area beside our screened in back porch and the back of the house. It is about 4 feet wide by 2 feet.


I weeded the planters, then planted and staked the new plants, then put a bit of miracle gro pellets as fertilizer and watered.

It looks like the lowest temperature in the next ten days will be 36 degrees. I’ll keep an eye on the forecast, though, in case I need to cover the tomatoes, plus my garden veggies, for protection.

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Cheerful Veggies

Our veggies were smiling when I went out today. I see that I will need to make some time over the next few days to weed around the plants, but they are looking healthy so far.  Here you see red onions and some head lettuce.


This shows you that the boxes we built are about my chest high, in two rows inside a fence for protection from deer and other critters.  You can see the irrigation system, with a sprinkler in the center of each box.  I have spinach in the farthest box in the picture and mainly head lettuce in the closer one.


So far the head lettuce is looking great. I planted them far apart this year, with lots of room to spread out.


You can see the tiny weeds that need to come out. I also need to spray weed killer on the ground under the planters.


Filed under Gardening, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Thoughts on a Thursday 4-9-2020

David Zinn Art via Penny Yaffe Krakow

Even though I want to bite him in the leg at times, I’m thankful this morning that my husband and I are riding the pandemic out together. Even though I am trying to reach out to the others who mean a lot to me via text, email and phone, REAL HUGS are hugely important to me. So I hug my husband; hug my dogs, Amber and Molly; hug my cats, Smoke and Abby, every day. I don’t hug my 2 gold fish, but we smile at each other.  :0)

I’m even grateful that I work my head off each day, trying to tackle a different part of my house to heal. I’m a slob, and I hate housekeeping, but there is a sense of accomplishment when an area that was a mess gradually becomes an area we can enjoy spending time again.  (We’re looking forward to having our lunch on the screened in back porch today!)

Today’s project is two-fold: 1) weed whacking the areas my husband can’t reach with the mower. We have gone from looking like no one had lived here for several months – with 8-inch-or-so high weeds, to an area that is starting to look not only like someone lives here now, but also like someone cares. My husband was really steamed that he had to mow in March – an affront to fairness in his mind – but he has now mowed twice since then, wanting to feel happy about the yard again.   So I will use the hand-held weed whacker to clean up the edges, the area under the deck, etc. where he can’t reach, and then clean everything up with the leaf blower. 2) The other part of today’s project will be buying and planting tomato plants! (Yeagers Hardware is open and they have plants today.) I will visit my veggie garden and see how things are going.  (Pics later.)

I am hopeful we will get past this awful time and once again we will feel free to HUG our friends without putting them in jeopardy.

I hope you have someone to hug, physically or virtually, today.

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Yesterday’s Harvest

Few things make me as happy as harvesting from our garden. Yesterday I did it quickly, though, because it was 40 degrees, gray and rainy.


Right now my head lettuce and spinach are very happy. I hope it continues so that we have a good harvest.

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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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