Category Archives: greenhouse

Nice Saturday

I’m having a good day so far, though – as you can see above – obviously not a good hair day…. :0)

First of all, IT’S NOT RAINING! In fact, from the look of the weather forecast, our rainy season has finally come to an end. This means that we need to get out some time this weekend – preferably this evening – and test our irrigation system, fix any blowouts, and schedule and run the system. Some of our spoiled plants – used to the cooler temperatures and lots and lots of rain, are starting to look wilted.

One of the last tasks remaining on the dismantling of the greenhouse project was to tie some neon pink surveyor’s tape on the stake in the ground so that the people who come (on no particular schedule that I can tell) to mow the gas company’s easement on the side of our yard won’t hurt themselves or their equipment running into or over the stake. I also took a sledgehammer. I hit the stake several times in all directions and was able to pull the stake completely out! So I brought the stake, hammer, and tape back to the house. Mission accomplished!

I took some pictures of some of the prettier things in our yard while I was out walking around.

This picture and the next are really making me smile today. Last year I had truly great elephant ears. I over-wintered them in peat moss in the garage and replanted them at the beginning of the spring. Nothing happened. :0( They were gone. I ordered some bulbs online in desperation. I received and planted three bulbs. Nothing was happening, so I decided that I wasn’t going to have anything. This one popped up yesterday. You can see the second one in the next picture. The third one hasn’t done anything, but I won’t be greedy.
I am truly delighted and hope they will get large and lush.

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Thoughts on a Saturday 8-29-2020

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My heart goes out to the people suffering from Mother Nature’s fury. So many good people are hurting, with physical and emotional damage on top of the pandemic concerns.  We just need to concentrate on helping each other the best way we can.

We are getting to the bottom of our South Beach diet boxes. I am DIYing more and more as we run out of things, gradually making my way to the point where we will be on our own once again. The two month reboot for our keto efforts has been good in many ways

  • a blunt reminder of what a ‘serving’ is – and is not
  • a more subtle reminder that we don’t need to walk around hungry. There are good choices for snacks mid morning, mid afternoon, and before bed that remind us that each meal is NOT our last. I’m stocking cut up fresh veggies, cheese sticks, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, etc.
  • a reminder that eating right is only part of the equation to being healthy. I’m am still trying to do a 35 minute session of my elliptical trainer in the mornings (though I just do it until my body complains too much and then I stop, regardless of the time – at LEAST doing 15 minutes. Lately, I have been substituting heavy yard work (cleaning up after the storm) and cleaning out our ruined greenhouse (hauling things out and taking them to the garage and/or the shop). I am then doing a good session (35 minutes +) of yoga daily. These stretches are gauged for Seniors, so are NOT trying to get you to fold yourself into a paper airplane. They are designed to help you gain flexibility, core strength, and relaxation.


(I have ALWAYS been somewhat stiff and inflexible. I was in an exercise class in college. We did an exercise where we were lying on our stomachs. We were then told to lift our arms and legs simultaneously up as far as we could get them, and then move them down again, over and over. I did the ‘up’ just fine. The ‘down,’ not so much. I went up, something ‘caught’ in my back, not allowing me to bring my parts down again. I was yelling in pain. They finally got two big guys to lift me up over their heads, like the prow on a ship, and carry me to the infirmary. When they finally got me fixed, I had a waiver for that exercise. Being long-in-the-tooth only exacerbates my normal stiffness, so it’s more important than ever)

  • I am gearing up to cook all the time again. I will miss the stuff the South Beach Diet people sell in tiny bowls – ‘cheeseburger soup,’ and ‘a white beans something-or-other.’ Both were delicious. We ordered a few more packages of pancake mix, because my husband really likes those, to let us down gradually. In the meantime, I will look for ingredients so I can make low carb pancakes from time to time from scratch. We also like the shakes, but won’t order more.
  • At this point, I have lost 40 pounds and 43+ inches. I will do everything I can NOT to regain any of this back, and will keep trying to lose more. I would like to lose another 30 lbs to get into a good, solid, healthy BMI range for my height. (I’ve tried getting taller, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.)

Otherwise, the ruined greenhouse is now empty.  My husband and I have agreed that we will let the shell sit until things get cooler. (Today’s forecast is 98 degrees F. with a heat index of 112) Today I will concentrate on getting my seed-starting area in the garage workable, with things either stored out of the way or taken out to the shop, and things I need easily accessible.  My husband fixed one of my lights over the counter. I found, and hooked up, my grow light, so I have a start.

I hope that you have a happy Saturday.




Filed under DIET!, exercise, Gardening, getting the lard off, greenhouse, Healthy Eating, Mother Nature, quality of life, taking care of yourself

Project for the Day

Integrated Children’s Therapy

I noticed the sound of the TV come on in the living room while I was in our office at the computer. Our TV is possessed, and turns the sound on by itself from time to time, so I went in to see if my husband was actually watching it or if he was sleeping.

He wasn’t there. I found him trudging across the yard, a long 2 x 4 in one arm and a half sheet of plywood in the other, making way from the greenhouse to the shop. He has been having strokes, losing the ability to speak intermittently, so he has promised me he will tell me when he decides to do something like this. He didn’t. Imagine my surprise. :0(

Anyhow, I rushed outside and took the 2 x 4 and we walked out to the shop. We put the wood away and he was super hot and tired. Imagine my surprise.

We walked back to the house. I got him in his recliner and got him a big glass of iced tea.

He is sleeping now.

While I have the chance, I am moving the rest of the wood from the greenhouse out to the shop. I’m using the wheelbarrow, which is slow, but not as bad as actually trying to carry the sheets of plywood. I’ve moved the two sheets halfway across the yard now. I’m drinking some water and resting. I’ll finish this trip, and then I only have a half sheet of plywood and three 2 x 4’s left – one more trip.

Since our ‘agreements’ lately seem to be so much hot air, I’ll need to get more proactive about things to keep him from hurting himself.

I’m counting all this wood moving as my elliptical trainer exercise for the day. I’ll do some yoga later to try to stretch myself out.


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The Greenhouse is Almost Empty

I’ve been cleaning out our ruined greenhouse for over a week now, gathering a wheel barrow full of salvageable stuff, plus a leaf bag full of ruined things each day.


On our way to town today, we noticed we have several broken or downed trees to the left of the driveway as we drive down. Thankfully, they are off to the side, and we THINK (hope) we can simply ignore them.


Today I gathered the last of the ruined stuff (6 leaf bags of ‘stuff,’) and they are safely in the garage now, awaiting trash day next week. I brought two more wheel barrows full of salvageable stuff, and that is in the garage, too, awaiting more energy from me to figure out where it needs to go.


We are left with a light that needs to be taken down and thrown away, plus the tables and saw horses. We need to take the tables apart for transport. We hope we can salvage the wood. It will take both of us to move the wood, but I can put the saw horses in the wheel barrow, I think.



It’s impressive what wind and rain can do. The ‘floor’ was was covered with really think black plastic weed barrier. Then I had put down used welcome mats in high traffic areas. When I was trying to pick up pails filled with supplies, they simply shattered into a gazillion pieces in my hands. I ended up scooping them up – kind of like they were pizzas in a professional oven with a wooden spatula – then either dumping them directly into a trash bag or trying to salvage the contents first.


It will probably take us a couple of days to get all the screws out of the front pieces of the wooden tables and transport them to the shop. We will let Tropical storm Laura barrel through here this afternoon, evening, and tomorrow, and then reassess.

If you are in her path, or you’re in California, worrying about the wildfires, I wish you the best.

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Thoughts on a Saturday 8-15-2020

We had a bad storm overnight and into the morning hours yesterday, with a LOT of wind and rain. My husband says it was the worst damage we have had since we have lived here – over 30 years now. We lost a shutter beside one of our second floor windows, and there are branches and leaves EVERYWHERE.

The main loss is our greenhouse.


We have decided to take it down. The cost to repair it, plus our labor on it, is just too much at this point in our lives. We couldn’t afford to heat or cool it, so the ability to get seeds to sprout, grow plants for the garden, and over winter plants was disappointing. We will salvage what we can and dispose of the rest.

I am concentrating on cleaning up around the house and the yard first. I spent over an hour yesterday picking up branches and throwing them off the edge of the civilized part of our yard. My back is telling me about it today. I will concentrate today’s efforts on using the leaf blower to clean off the deck, sidewalks, driveway pad and front porch.


I am giving myself a gold star for this work, counting the exercise in the heat as my elliptical practice. Today I will do the leaf blowing and then do my yoga to try to stretch things out afterwards.


I was so hot and tired yesterday I didn’t get up to my art room to work on the new earrings I have started. I will try to make sure I make time to get up there today. I have the basic solid colors on both sides of the wooden earrings, and am eager to start the decorative fun part as soon as possible.  I will post pics when they are finished.

I told you recently that we bought a new filter system for our aquarium.

It has a three-medium system to filter the water: charcoal, foam, and a stuff they call biomax. The three media are changed at different times – charcoal every month, foam every two months, and biomax every three months. I have had to resort to putting these on my calendar as recurring items with the time differential to keep up. What I have learned to this point is that I will need to change the water once a month to keep the water as clean as I would like it. It has been a MONTH this time (!) instead of every week, but the water is getting cloudy now. This is quite a change and I am grateful. I want to take good care of my fish, but cleaning out the tank and changing the water is not one of my favorite activities. Once a month seems like a luxury!!!! :0) It’s on my list for today.


Due to the South Beach diet and my exercising, I have now recently lost 9 pounds. (A total of 37 pounds and 41 inches since my lardiest.)  I am hopeful to be able to report more poundage and inches lost by the end of Month # 2 on the commercial stuff. I am re-learning portion control and the fact that I don’t need to eat until I don’t want any more at each meal. I am re-learning to serve a SERVING – either as measured by the South Beach stuff, or in my recipe books on servings on my DIY meals each week – reminding myself that there is a snack coming mid-morning or mid-afternoon and I probably won’t starve to death today. ( I DON’T remind myself often that I could live off my lard for MONTHS, if needed, as I am trying to think positively.) :0)  I am carefully planning DIY meals for each week, and my husband is cooperating by not throwing as many poor choices into the cart while we’re grocery shopping.

I hope you have an enjoyable day today.

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Filed under DIET!, exercise, Gardening, getting the lard off, greenhouse, Housekeeping - Maintenance

Before and After the Storm – Greenhouse


We had quite a storm overnight. We lost power for a very short time over and over. Our alarm clock went off at 3am, having lost its mind. I reset it and we were able to get back to sleep.

We looked around this morning. It looks as if the combination of wind and rain was something we don’t see often. We don’t think we have any HUGE damage. There are leaves and branches all over the yard. The biggest thing I have found so far is my greenhouse.





I will send pics to our insurance agent to see if we can get any help on rebuilding this. I’m a bit ambivalent on the subject to be honest. We built it with high hopes. We would have gotten a lot more use out of it it we could have afforded to heat and cool it. As it was, it was too hot or too cold most of the time to extend the growing season the way I was intending. I’m just not sure what we’ll do now.


Filed under Gardening, greenhouse, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

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)



Filed under exercise, Gardening, greenhouse, Mother Nature, playing in my art room, Seasons, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Thoughts on a ________

Wonderful Day

Ecuen Images

We’ve had a good day.

The temperature is 79 and the sun is shining. There is a nice breeze.

My husband mowed the lawn while I cleaned out the greenhouse and started more spinach seed. (Always optimistic!)

Then we changed the tires on the truck from the snow tires to our regular tires. We’re glad we don’t have to do this more than twice each year, but we save money doing it ourselves. When we bought the Honda Ridgeline, we bought 4 extra wheels and snow tires and had them mounted. We keep them in the shop. In late November or early December, depending on the weather, we change from our regular tires to our snow tires. In April, we change them back.

We’re getting a bit long in the tooth for this, but my husband says each time we do it, my help is better and better. :0)

Today we celebrated all the good things we accomplished by splitting a seafood platter at The Deli for lunch!

A truly wonderful 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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Square Foot Garden Progress April 8 – 2019



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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Back in the Garden

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.


Filed under Gardening, greenhouse, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse


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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Filed under Gardening, greenhouse, Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, metal art, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

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.





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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Filed under Favorite Things, Gardening, greenhouse, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse, taking care of yourself

A Perfect Day!

The weather is absolutely GLORIOUS in Greenwood, Arkansas today! Sunny, no wind, and currently in the low 50’s F. Perfect weather to be working outside, especially since I can be comfortable in a sweatshirt and no jacket. :0)

I used the opportunity to check on the seeds I planted yesterday in my greenhouse. The wind was blowing so HARD yesterday I was a bit worried we would have damage to the greenhouse, but it was fine.

I planted seeds in three seed starters yesterday.  There are places for 72 plants in each starter. I put Mel’s Mix in the starter containers (Mel’s Mix is Vermiculite, peat moss, and as many different kinds of compost as you can find or make.) This flat has Iceberg Lettuce seeds.

I did another starter of Spinach seeds.

And a third starter of Simpson Lettuce.

I sprayed them with water/fertilizer mix yesterday, so I sprayed them down well again and this time added the starter covers to help keep moisture in.


While I was out there, I did some cleaning up of the greenhouse. Although, I have to tell you, I have found that if it’s really NEAT and CLEAN, no one is trying to grow anything in there. (Same thing for my art room. The only time it looks really good is when nothing is happening. :0) )

We  have tables on three sides with storage underneath. This picture is of the end of the greenhouse opposite the door. The exhaust fan up high comes on automatically when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees (when the electricity is hooked up).

This is the right side of the greenhouse as you come in the door. As you see, there are lots of supplies.

I try to keep the tables on the left side of the greenhouse for plants and prepping. I have a trash can in the corner filled with Mel’s Mix and bottles of water stored underneath.

While it was so nice out, I went out to my raised bed, square foot garden. They are selling onion sets in town and I’m planning to get some tomorrow.

Unfortunately, the weeds love Mel’s Mix, too, so all six of the raised planters looked like this when I went out.


I don’t have to make ‘squares’ with string in order to plant onions, so this is ready to plant now.

Hopefully I’ll have a successful year for growing veggies!

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Setting Up in the Greenhouse

Right now it’s 60 degrees F., so I used the opportunity to go ahead and get some seeds planted in my greenhouse.

It’s REALLY windy outside, so I propped the open greenhouse door against the side of the greenhouse and put a chair up to it so it wouldn’t blow closed and lock me in. :0)

I prepared three flats (72 plants each) and planted one flat of iceberg lettuce, one flat of spinach, and one flat of Simpson lettuce. It was 70 in the greenhouse, so I’m HOPING that even if it gets to freezing in the mornings, it will stay above that in the greenhouse. I’ll check on the flats tomorrow. If this is successful, I’ll take pics so you can share the sprouting.

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Filed under anticipation, Arkansas, Favorite Things, Gardening, greenhouse, Healthy Eating, quality of life, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse

Seeds and Kindness

Karen Salmansohn via Stephanie Youmans Wilson

When we were doing errands yesterday, I saw that Yeager’s already had onions and some other plants out in the parking lot!  I think March 1st will be the earliest I can plant here without excessive worrying about freezing.

I MAY plant onion sets in one of our raised bed planters, though. I can cover one planter with a king-sized sheet.

If it will just warm up a bit, I’ll get out and prepare the raised beds for early spring plants. (Right now it’s 35 degrees F – MUCH too brisk (even with some sunshine) for this old lady to get out there.

Otherwise, I can prepare seed starters in the greenhouse so they’ll be ready to receive seeds. I want to get lettuce and spinach started for sure, around March 1st. I think they’ll stay warm enough in there. We’ll see.


This is what the raised bed planters look like when they’re ready for planting. Right now they’re full of weeds and the string rotted in the sun. :0)

This is our greenhouse. I’m learning slowly how to best use it. We don’t have heat, so I can’t winter over plants, but I CAN extend the growing season from early spring through late fall.

I’m itching to get started and will show you more plans as I get them going.  Did I tell you I’m more than ready for Spring?

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Chomping at the Bit!

It’s too cold outside yet, and I don’t have a heater in the greenhouse, so I can’t start any seeds yet, but NEXT month I’m hoping I can get a head start on the spring planting season.

I’m going through my seeds, thinking I’ll start with lettuce, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower this time.


I would really love to have some healthy plants grown in my own greenhouse to transplant into our raised bed, square foot garden this spring, instead of having to buy plants locally. I’m reading everything I can get my hands on about greenhouses. The problem is that most of the information is written by people who live in pretty cold parts of the U.S.

My experience so far is that unless I have a heater (and we would have to keep it running 24/7 with a 350 foot extension cord running from the house out to the greenhouse) it’s too cold to start anything there yet. We tend to go from winter to way too hot in rapid succession, and then I have trouble – even with the extension cord, an exhaust fan, and the opposite people door open, to keep it COOL enough! So I’m scouring the net trying to find information that will help me deal with the extremes we have in Arkansas.


I’m hoping to start some plants the 1st of March. I’ll post pics of my efforts.


This is a picture of my spring garden last year in the raised bed planters my husband and I made. There are SIX 4’x4′ planters held up by angle iron ‘tables’ about my chest height. They allow me to weed, plant, and harvest without having to get up and down a million times or get down on hands and knees.


This picture gives you another view of the planters. We also used some netting at the end of July and through August when the sun tries to boil plants right in the ground. You can see the hoses and the sprinklers we use to water the plants automatically. They are attached to an outdoor faucet on a timer.

The planters are filled with Mel’s Mix (combination of peat moss, vermiculite and as many different composts as you can find.) We mix the ingredients together in a portable cement mixer and then bring the mix into the planters to top off. Then we stretch string across in two directions to make the ‘squares’ for planting.

I’m starting to plan where the plants will go.  It’s best if you rotate crops in this set up, just as you would if you were planting in the ground. We follow the Square Foot Garden book by Mel Bartholomew, where he suggests how many plants to plant in each square. He suggests one plant per square for things like broccoli, 4 per square for lettuce, 9 for other plants, and 16 for radishes.  We space them wider than he suggests, having healthier plants that way. (He tends his garden every day, sometimes even more. Since we’re not that conscientious, wider works better for us.)  He also suggests that you place like plants away from each other – such as one broccoli, then lettuce, then radishes, then cauliflower in a row to avoid transmission of bugs or any other problems from one plant to another.

I made a grid and I fill them in with what I’m planting where. I use the old one to figure out a new plan for the next ‘crop,’ trying not to plant the broccoli in the same squares as I did the last time.

We have converted two brick planters on the other side of the house to be tomato planters.

I’m at the stage of being excited and doing lots of research and planning.

If you have a greenhouse or do square foot gardening and have tips or suggestions, I would LOVE to hear them!

Can you tell I’m ready for spring? :0)


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Greenhouse Update

This is my greenhouse. My husband and I built it, following some plans he found on the net. It has a dirt floor covered with two layers of heavy black plastic to discourage weed growth. It has a people door in one end and an exhaust fan on the other. We built ‘tables’ all the way around with room under them for storage, plus one corner for taller things, like a trash can full of Mel’s Mix.


I think most people who build greenhouses are concerned about warmth. We live in Arkansas and the big concern here is trying to keep our plants from burning up inside! I manage as well as I can with the exhaust fan which comes on automatically when the temperature gets too high in there. I also prop the door open on the opposite end. In order to run the exhaust fan or turn on a light, I string about 300 feet of outdoor heavy-duty extension cord from the house to the greenhouse. We don’t have heat or air conditioning, so the main thing I’m trying to do is extend the growing season.

My plan is to start seeds for cool crops, such as lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. around March 1st or so, with the hope that when it’s the proper time to plant them outside in my raised bed, square foot garden, I’ll have healthy plants to transfer.  I’m really new at this, so everything is an experiment, and I’m reading everything I can get my hands on trying to figure out how to do things.


Our Garden –

We started out with a square foot garden on the ground. We live on top of a ridge line and had to truck in the soil to make a small space around the house for a ‘yard’ when we built over 30 years ago. The square foot garden allows you to build a garden plot on top of your existing soil using Mel’s Mix to bypass any soil problems. (Mel’s Mix is a combination of peat moss, vermiculite, and as many different kinds of compost as you can find. We use mushroom, barnyard, cotton burr, and some made by us.)

As I avoid getting down on my hands and knees – and up again – as much as possible, my husband and I decided to build a raised bed square foot garden. I now have 6 ‘boxes’ (4’x4’x12″) that are about at my chest level with a fence around it. I can add more Mel’s Mix, plant, weed, and harvest standing up! I mark the squares with stretched string and plant according to Mel’s suggestions. (Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew). We’ve had better luck with our veggie garden than ever before. We converted two brick planters close to the house to be square foot planters, too, and plant our tomatoes in those.

Each season I’m learning more and more about what I’m trying to do. So far, it’s mostly learning what NOT to do again, but I AM making progress. We were able to enjoy several different kinds of lettuce, spinach, a bit of broccoli and cauliflower, radishes, some celery, squash, and more during the spring. We were able to keep things alive during the summer, fall, and even a bit into the winter.

I started some lettuce plants in the greenhouse this fall because we had a cold snap super early. They did well, but then the greenhouse was getting too cold, so I transferred the plants into my dining area.  I was able to harvest lettuce almost all the way through December.

Now all is in hiatus because of the weather. I’m using the time, reading and scheming on how I’ll start the next season.


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A Little While Longer

We are still enjoying home-grown lettuce, and it’s December 9th!  I grew the plants in our greenhouse, but we don’t have heat out there, so when we started having cold snaps, I brought them inside. It’s technically too warm inside, and too cold in the garage, so I’ve just been trying to keep the plants alive as long as possible.  They won’t last much longer, but I’ve had fun with the experimentation.


In the foreground you can also see several celery plants. These are grown from the ones I get at the store. I cut off the bottoms, put them in a container (you can see the white bowl on the window sill at the upper left) and then transfer them to soil. They’re alive now, but I haven’t a clue what I’m supposed to be doing with them. At some point I’m supposed to tie the branches tightly together. That’s how they get the nice grouping of stalks we buy at the store. I’ll have to see if I can find information on when and how they should be tied, assuming they live that long. :0)


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We had a really big storm yesterday evening, all night, and into the morning with lots and lots of rain, strong, gusty winds, lightning, thunder, and flying hairballs. We were fine inside, but I was worried about what we would find outside this morning.

I was most worried that our greenhouse would be damaged or gone. Thankfully, it came through fine. I just spent an hour securing the greenhouse cover where the wind was whipping it around. I did fine for awhile, then the stapler jammed. I brought it in to my fix-it husband, who declared it unrepairable. I got another from the shop, but it was so stiff my arthritic hands were screaming, so we’ll try to find a kinder-to-old-folks staple gun soon.


I’ve brought everything that was in the greenhouse inside now, since we’re having regular freezes and we have no heat out there.


Here is what I brought into the dining area – some tall lettuce plants that thankfully haven’t bolted yet, some little celery plants in soil in front of the lettuce plants, and some new celery plants in water in the while bowl  beside the window. I’m going to continue harvesting lettuce for our salads. I have no clue what I’m doing with the celery, but I’m having a blast watching them grow. :0)

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Indoor Garden

These are the plants I brought in from the greenhouse before we had our freeze. (Our greenhouse isn’t heated, so the plants would have died.)


Lettuce is a cool weather plant, bolting when it gets too warm. I had no idea whether I would be prolonging the life of my lettuce plants when I brought them into our heated home, but at least I knew they wouldn’t freeze. I’ve been harvesting enough to add to our salads in the evenings. So far, so good!

Also shown are celery plants. All I’ve managed so far is some reasonably nice-looking plants. I’m hoping these will live long enough for me to ‘tie them up’ as a book suggested I do to encourage them to grow stalks in a cluster as they do when you find them in the store. It’s fun to try, whether it works out or not. :0)


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Cold Snap :0(

It’s a good thing that I took pics of the remaining flowers and shared them with you because we had a cold snap last night and all is gone now. These were the black elephant ear and impatiens.


Not sure yet about the roses. We may have Indian Summer here and may still get some blooms, but the impatiens are definitely gone.


The tomato plants are also gone.


I lucked out, mostly, in the greenhouse. I lost all the tomato sucker plants, but the lettuce and celery plants are still with us. My husband agreed that we could bring whatever was still alive in the greenhouse inside. I set up a card table in the dining area and used the wheelbarrow to bring all the plants in. I cleaned up the greenhouse and it will be quiet out there until I start thinking about starting seeds and plants out there to hopefully get a jump on my spring square foot garden.

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1st Harvest from the Greenhouse!

It’s the 6th of November and I gathered the first harvest of lettuce from my fall plantings.  We’ll enjoy some of it in our salad for dinner tonight! This is Iceberg Head Lettuce. Left in the garden in the early spring, it eventually forms a head in the center of the plant, but I love eating the loose outer leaves until the head forms. I have no idea if these plants will form a head in the greenhouse or not.


Here’s another view of the harvest for today.

Since we’re having wave after wave of cold fronts moving through, with rain and significantly cooler weather each time, I coiled up the long extension cord that runs from the back of the house out to the greenhouse to power the exhaust fan that is on automatic to turn on when the temperature reaches 80 inside the greenhouse, and the second fan I usually keep running. We can also run lights out there, but usually don’t. The cord is now inside the greenhouse until early spring.

Besides the lettuce, I still have some celery that isn’t making stalks yet, but is still looking good (more on the window sill that will either come out to the greenhouse or stay in the house, depending on whether it’s starting to freeze on a regular basis or not, plus tomato suckers I planted. I still have several that are alive. I’m hoping to bring the healthiest looking ones inside for the winter.

I have no clue what I’m doing, but I’m having a blast with this experiment. :0)

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Lewis Greenhouse

Today when I went out to the greenhouse, I got everything watered and then concentrated on cleaning things up a bit. One thing led to another and the time flew. I spent over an hour puttering around.

It’s amazing how much there is to do out there! The 6mm black stuff we spread on the floor is deteriorating quickly because of sun and water. I’ve been moving old welcome mats out there to cover up the tears as much as possible to prevent me inadvertently catching a toe and tearing it more. There was a bunch of SAND in there, though. How does that happen? Anyway I swept up a BUNCH of ‘stuff’ from the floor and spread out the mats again. I neatened up the supplies and then brought a large trash can full of trash to the garage. I took the 2-gallon spray container of EIGHT out to spray ants INSIDE my greenhouse. I hosed them down well, and then hit other areas between the greenhouse and the house on the way back.

I’ve had to get rid of tomato suckers that didn’t make it, but a surprising number are still alive! I have four celery plants that seem to be doing well, and the iceberg head lettuce is looking good. I haven’t started harvesting yet, but will soon.

We supposed to get rain tonight and all day tomorrow with cooler temperatures, so I wanted to get the greenhouse in reasonable shape before we get it. The way the wind is blowing, with dark clouds above, we may get it before this evening.

I hope you’re getting to enjoy the weather, too.


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Fun in the Greenhouse – October 27, 2018

This is my greenhouse. I’m a bit embarrassed to tell you that I haven’t done much with it until recently. We run electricity out there with two super-long extension cords so that we can run the exhaust fan and a secondary fan, plus a light, if needed, but we don’t have cooling or heat, due to the expense.

I’ve been trying to get it set up all summer long, but we actually lost a regular, bulb-type thermometer out there due to excess heat, even with both fans on and the door open. The thing simply blew its top – spewing the red stuff all over the place, as if someone with super colorful blood had died out there. The thermometer stopped at 120 degrees F., so I assume it was hotter than that. Needless to say, the heat in there was not conducive to me spending time out there, or even thinking about trying to grow anything.

Now that our temperatures have cooled off, I’m having so much fun trying to see what I can do!  I have iceberg head lettuce growing (one set of plants bought when they were very small, and the other set bought when they were really leggy – almost too much to get planted.) I was very lucky to get those, so I’m doing what I can with them.

The three large pots hold the leggy lettuce plants. The 4 smaller pots have celery I started indoors.


The two pots on the right at the top of the picture are what remains of the small lettuce plants. The rest are tomato suckers I gathered and planted.

These are also tomato sucker plants. I have no clue what I’m doing, but I’m having a blast.

I could go ahead and start cutting the outer lettuce leaves for our dinner salads, but the plants are looking so pretty I want to give them more time before I start harvesting. I’m thinking about starting some radish seeds, too.

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Fun in the Greenhouse

I had a lot of fun working in the greenhouse this morning. I’m reading a book, Greenhouse Gardening – A Beginner’s Guide by Jason Johns to try to figure out what I’m doing. :0)

It FINALLY quit raining today, so I’ve been out there and back again several times. It was 90 degrees in there this morning, so I’ve propped open the door, hooked up the electricity so the exhaust fan turns on automatically, and turned on the 2nd fan.

On the left side of this picture, are new tomato suckers I planted today. A couple of them were large, so they’re in the larger pots. To the right you can see the two smaller lettuce plants I planted a couple of weeks ago. They’re not thriving, but they are still alive. In front of them are more tomato suckers I started today.

I moved the six leggy lettuce plants into much larger pots to give them room to spread out. They’re looking really healthy. I’ll start cutting outer leaves from each of the plants for dinner salads soon. In front of the two big pots on the left, You can see the celery plants I started in the house from cuttings from celery I bought at the store.  In front of the pot on the right are more tomato sucker plants.

I just read about tomato plants in my greenhouse book. He suggests they need a LOT of air circulation around each plant, so I think I’ll go back out and move them from the 4 and six-pack planters to each in a 3-4″ pot to give them the best chance possible.


I’m like a kid at Christmas with the lettuce plants. I can’t wait to be able to bring leaves in and bite them!


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Fall Greenhouse Project Report 10-15-2018

The two plants on the left are the small iceberg head lettuce plants I bought recently. They’re still alive, but I can’t say they’re thriving. The plants on the right are the tomato suckers I gathered and planted last week. As you can see, they’re still alive, too. :0)

These are the longer, leggy-looking iceberg head lettuce plants I found several days later. I planted them as deeply as I could, trying to have the soil support the plants as much as possible. They seem to be doing really well. I’m watering the saucers under the plants, rather than the plants themselves, thinking the plants will draw the water up if they’re thirsty.


This is looking down at one of the lettuce plants. I’m so pleased so see lots of activity.

The outside temperature this morning is 45 degrees F.  The temp in the greenhouse was between 55 and 60. I still have the electricity hooked up, so the exhaust fan can turn on if it wants to, but I’m not expecting that any time soon. If we’re having anything beyond a temporary cold snap, I’ll probably disconnect the extension cord that runs all the way across the yard from the greenhouse to the back of our home.

In another day or two, if things still look good, I’ll harvest a few leaves of lettuce for our dinner salad!


Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, greenhouse, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds, Starting - Growing in a Greenhouse