Tag Archives: gardening

Digging up Iris

A couple of years ago we bought 3 rhizomes each of 5 different iris than we had in our yard from Nanna’s Iris Garden. All of them were pretty (I never saw an ugly iris) and we particularly liked a large, yellow one.

The planter is now too full of iris for them to bloom well next spring, so I’m trying to dig everything out, separate the rhizomes, replant some in this planter, and replant all the others around the yard.  Doing this is easier said than done!

Today was a perfect day to get started on this.  Amber kept me company while I worked for an hour or so this afternoon on the project. I filled a large plastic bucket quickly, then went to get another one – plus my clippers, so that I could go through what I’d dug up, cutting off too-long roots and leaves. I came in when I got too hot and tired, and am about to go put in another session today. I can tell that cleaning out this planter is going to take at least 3 or 4 sessions.

I found a good article on “When and How to Divide Iris” at MyGardenLife.com if you’re interested.

I think we have large,  bright yellow iris, some quieter yellow, some blue, and some small purple. I think there is a fifth color, but I can’t remember what it is now.

It was really nice outside today. It’s 73 degrees F. and sunny, with a slight breeze. I dig for awhile, then sit on the edge of the brick planter to cut off excess roots and leaves. Amber found a huge stick. She paraded around with it hanging from her mouth down to the ground on both sides, and then sat down to chew on it. She also went exploring a couple of times but stayed close.

I hope the weather where you are is such that you can enjoy being outside, working or resting on this nice Sunday afternoon.

Sun Doll-Nanna’s Garden

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October Trip Around the Yard

On one of my outings with Amber today, I brought my camera. I got only a few pictures before it showed me the battery needed to be charged, but I wanted to share these with you. This is an elephant ear plant my friend Laufrain gave me recently. Part of the time I worry that it will be completely eaten by insects (see leaf on right), broken by mysterious forces (see leaf on right), but it seems to be doing well overall. I plan to move it to the greenhouse for the winter when we have frost warnings and see if I bring it through to the spring for replanting.

 

This plant was also given to me by Laufrain. I don’t know what it is called, but I love the purple leaves. Today I noticed it was blooming! See the sweet, delicate pink flower?

 

I’m just delighted with all the delicate little blooms. I’ll have to ask Laufrain if I need to dig this one up, too, for the winter.

 

I harvested these two tomatoes today. The new tomato plants are still alive. I really don’t know what to expect from them, but I’m keeping an eye on them. I picked another small tomato, but it wasn’t good. I threw it toward the group of evergreen trees toward the back. Amber saw me and went crashing into the trees, retrieving it. She brought it into the front yard, chewing on it. She spit it out onto the ground, then picked it up again running all around the yard. She wasn’t really sure what she wanted to do with it, but she had a great time.

I’ll try to get more pics to share as soon as my camera battery is charged again.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you!  I checked on the temperature inside my greenhouse today and it was 70!  I’ll keep an eye on that and see if I can figure out if I can actually start some seeds in there soon…

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Wheelbarrowing Olympics

ack35.wordpress.com

Since we’re supposed to have severe weather this evening with rain, wind, hail, flying hairballs and possibly a tornado, we decided to not only try to clean up where Amber had been digging most recently by emptying out and cleaning up the two brick planters from which we dug out the Rio Samba rose bushes, but also to fill them up again with potting mix so that the planters could start settling.

It took us about another half an hour to empty out the planters as much as we needed to, in order to get the bermuda and roots out. And then it took TEN 40 pound bags of potting mix to fill the planters. When they settle, we’ll probably have to add more when we plant in the spring, but we were happy we got this chore done before the rain comes.

Moving that much soil was a little bit too much exercise for us today. We may end up taking a nap this afternoon…

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Zinnias

Last year I sprinkled some zinnia seeds around in my flower planters when it was really hot and my spring flowers were flagging. Nothing happened, and to be honest, I forgot about it.

This year the zinnias bloomed – volunteers all around the yard, in front of the planters, beside the planters, behind the planters…. It’s been a glorious summer awash in sweet, happy blooms. But – enough is enough and it had gotten to the point we couldn’t get down the sidewalk or around the yard without stepping on them or having the stems grab our legs as we tried to walk by.

Today I’m working on cleaning out, weeding, and pruning the three 8 foot planters that are between our driveway area and our front yard. I’ve already pulled 4 large gardening baskets full and I’m just getting started. (I told you that things had gotten out of hand with all the rain and sun we’ve had this summer. I wasn’t kidding.)

I pulled the zinnias that were outside the planters, bringing in some to enjoy for a few days.

I hate to get rid of anything blooming, so I brought in all that would fit in this vase and dumped the rest over the edge of the civilized part of our front yard. (We have over 8 acres of mostly woods. I’m hoping that the seeds from these will plant themselves and bloom next year along the front of the yard.)

It has been a real delight to have so many decide to bloom on their own this year.

I’ll probably try to do a couple more sessions this afternoon. It’ll probably take me a couple of days to get these three planters cleaned up. I lost most of the cloud cover, though, so it feels hot outside.

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Some Progress

Wild Ammo

This tired big cat looks a lot better than I do right now.

I just came in from

  • planting three celery plants and a head lettuce bottom,
  • weeding the raised square foot garden beds
  • spraying weed killer on the weeds under the raised beds of the garden.

My hair is completely wet – plastered to my head; my face is red; and I’m still breathing hard -BUT I have a large glass of water with ice and I’m in the a/c, sitting comfortably at my computer, feeling nicely spoiled. :0)

My friend Laufrain looked up growing celery while we were bowling last night and discovered that I should be watering my celery more. Mine is greener and a little tough compared to what you find at the store. We also discovered that I should be tying the stalks together. I have some tomato vine tying tape that I think will work well for that.  I also think I’ll harvest the stalks when they’re smaller and younger. If I keep trying this, I may actually be successful!

I discovered the probable reason why celery isn’t included in the square foot gardening book. The online article said that celery was one of the most difficult veggies to grow. So I’m patting myself on the head a bit, having even a small amount of success. :0)

 

This is the new style thermometer my husband put up in the greenhouse yesterday. As you can see, it’s WAAAY too hot to stay out there long, or to plant much at this point. It’s better first thing in the morning or just before sunset in the evening, but it’s still too hot to try to get seedlings to grow. It may be that I need to take the summer off, have things planned and ready to start around beginning of September for the fall garden. I’ll do a lot of reading about greenhouses, as well as when I should be starting the plants I want to grow for the fall. I have a lot of homework to do.

Our friend Dave came over this morning to help my husband figure out how to make the rotor for the ham radio tower antenna to work properly.  My husband had worked and worked on it, and was at a loss. Dave took it apart, put it back together again, and it miraculously worked. The closed it up and declared victory. Dave says he thinks a special tool he has will get the tower up without our having to hire someone with a crane. They’re planning to assemble the whole thing, including the antenna, on the ground. They’ll test the rotor to make sure it’s working correctly. We’ll already have the guy wire rods in the ground and the guy wires on the tower. They’ll, in effect, winch the tower up into place and hold it steady while cables are plugged in, guy wires attached, etc. The first step, though, is drilling the hole, putting the pipe into the hole, and putting the cement into the hole.

Amber chewed through the rope that attached her to the dog run yesterday. Happily, my husband was watching her and saw what she had done, and so caught up with her and put her on the porch. This morning we got some cable, cable ends, and a new attachment piece. My husband made a new line to attach to the run and we tested it. Probably, since she can’t chew through the cable this time, she’ll pull the whole Martin house that the run is attached to, down…

And so it goes at the Lewises.

If I can cool off, I’m going out to prune the trio of brick flower planters that go between our front yard and the driveway. This, as well as several other things, have been on my list for so many days now they’re beginning to get on my nerves, so I’m determined to make some progress on each of them today.

Happy Tuesday!

 

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1st Tomato Harvest

Yesterday the first tomatoes were ripe enough to pick. I saw a couple that will be ready in a few days, too. We feel rich!

This is a wonderful time of the year for us. We LOVE going out to test the tomatoes to see if any more are ready to come in and be devoured.

We ate three of these with our dinner last night and may finish up this first harvest this evening. I guess that people who have grown up having gardens know all the veggies and fruit that homegrown tastes so much better than what you can buy at the store, but the only one I personally know about is tomatoes.

I wish you were here so I could share with you

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Favorite Things, Gardening, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Greenhouse Progress

 

 

 

Welcome to the greenhouse!  We have a door and an inside and outside now.  Come in!

 

This is the exhaust fan end of the building. As you can see, there is a lot of work to be done to stretch and staple the film on.  The plans we got say, essentially, ‘wad it up and staple it.”

 

This is the outside. You can see we need to gather up excess film. I plan to fold up the largest pieces to hopefully use if we need repairs.  We also need to get rid of the excess black weed barrier sheet on the exhaust fan end.

 

We cut 4×8 sheets of plywood lengthwise to make 8 x 2 foot ‘tables.’ We also cut up two of these to make the tables 12 feet long. We put 2×4 on the edges underneath to keep the tables from sagging in the middle. We put the plywood on sawhorses.

 

We’re really amazed at how sturdy everything is. It’s not all completely level, but life is never perfect. You can see the mounted exhaust fan in this picture. We’ll add some electricity to the greenhouse and a thermostat so that the fan comes on to air things out when it gets too hot inside.

 

Here you can see the opposite side table. It’s a nice “U” shaped space with storage for tall stuff in the corner and lots of place to put things underneath the tables. I’ll have a wonderful amount of space to grow seeds in their various stages until they’re planted either in the square foot garden, the tomato planters, or in the flower planters.

We worked on the film on the exhaust fan end this morning. I’ll take more pics today to show you.

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Hope for the Future

Hope via Cindy Bassnett Thurman

I, aka “The Serial Seed Killer”, have had some successes with seeds lately!

  • I started some spaghetti squash seeds I scooped out of one I bought at the store, dried, and then planted. I have several plants that got large enough to be transferred to the garden and are still alive. I’m not sure if I’ll actually get a spaghetti squash – or just a plant with leaves – but I’m having lots of fun hoping.
  • I also planted several celery plants in the garden. I cut off the ends of celery bought from the store and put them in small glasses of water. When they had a nice looking – though tiny – little green plant, I transferred them to the garden. At this point, some of them have lived and some have died. Again, I have no clue whether I’ll actually get celery stalks or not, but they make me smile each time I check on them. (Too cool and rainy today to check)
  • The latest hope for the future is that I planted what are advertised as “Hummingbird Flower Seeds” in small pots and put them in frisbees (to catch the water) on the end of our dining table closest to the window. I’m hoping they’ll live to be transplanted into larger pots on the deck for the entertainment of the hoped-for hummers.

Here you can see the little fragile seedlings of the hummingbird flowers, plus two more celery ends I just put in water yesterday.

It’s a good thing we didn’t have to depend on my luck in getting spinach seeds to grow. The ‘serial seed killer’ still is alive and well in that area…

 

 

 

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Wisteria Bloom

We’re having a really nice display this year. My husband has been trying to get the wisteria to go all the way across over the woodpile, and then climb the tree on the other side. I was standing close to the wisteria yesterday so I could breathe deeply and enjoy its glorious smell, when I realized I was seeing some wisteria in the tree on the far side of the main part of the plant! I brought my husband over so that he could see that his efforts are bearing fruit. He was really happy. He doesn’t grin ear to ear often, but he did this time. :0)

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Where Does the Soil Go?

Funderland Amusement Park

Funderland Amusement Park

I just spent an hour and a half mixing batch after batch of Mel’s Mix and trying to get my raised bed planters topped off so they’re ready for planting.

The thing is, when we finished putting up the last planter, I filled all three new ones with Mel’s Mix. Now, when I’m getting ready to plant, the mix is down by a good 3 to 4 inches!

I wouldn’t gritch if piles of dirty clothes or dishes did the same thing… Or stacks of magazines, waste baskets, or piles of bills… if YOU know what happened to all the Mel’s Mix, I’d appreciate it if you would let me know!

I use a big trash basket to mix the components of Mel’s Mix (2 parts peat moss, 2 parts vermiculite, and 1 part each mushroom compost, barnyard compost, and cotton burr compost.  Occasionally I mix in compost I’ve made from our yard and food scraps. Then I carefully drag the trash can over to the garden and even more carefully lift up the trash can and distribute it on the raised bed box. Then I move the mix around, delighting in the joy of playing in the dirt until I pronounce it done, and then repeat the process. After an hour and a half of this, I’m taking a rest.

Also in the mix of my day is working on a mosaic on a glass bowl in the shop. I do it one narrow band at a time, carefully propping the bowl between a bottle of water and a scotch tape dispenser to keep it from rolling. If I do too many tiles, the slope of the glass causes the tiles to quietly slide down, coming to rest in a spot I didn’t intend. I’m taking my time, doing one ‘row’ a day until the bowl is covered. Then I can do the grouting all at once. I’ll share some pictures of it when I get the tiles all glued on.

In my art room I’m working on some presents I’m making for next Christmas. I know it’s a bit early to be thinking about NEXT Christmas, but I’ve always bought things I like for people when I find them regardless of the time of year. Particularly when I’m trying to MAKE something, I want to do it when I’m excited about the project. :0)

My sweet husband is in the shop, slaving away to get our new used riding lawnmower ready to be used. As he works, he’s finding more things that need his attention. (We’re discovering that, although the guy who sold us the mower told us about the leaking tire, he got creative about the things that were ‘new’ on the thing; the air filter, for example.) My husband just bought what he thought was a spare filter, discovering that the filter that was on it was in the worst condition he’s ever seen. It starts well, though, and my husband likes the way the mower is  laid out. It’s not nearly as difficult as some designs to work on. He found a manual online that shows him good exploded diagrams so he can see what parts are there, and it makes sense to HIM about how to do what it needs.

He bought a new mini-tire changing tool because the tire we bought is too small for the one we have.  Even after he made a stand to bolt it to the floor in the shop, it took both of us to get the old tire off and the new tire on the wheel. It turns out that tubeless tires are difficult to get onto the wheel with a good seal so they don’t leak.

It’s time for lunch. I’m going to go out to the shop, roust my husband, and then figure out what’s up for the rest of the day.

 

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Wonderful Rock Garden

Recipes from Heaven via Ann Gilstrap

Recipes from Heaven via Ann Gilstrap

I absolutely love this. I think that if ‘I’ were doing it, though, I would put down black plastic and maybe some shot-crete on that before building my design to keep weeds from growing up between the stones. It’s gorgeous, though, isn’t it?  Thanks so much for sharing it with me, Ann.

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Sign of Spring!

purpleiris

If you look carefully, you can see TWO iris spears with deep purple iris buds! Whoopeeeeeee!

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening

Celery Plant Experiment Progress Report 2/4/2017

celeryplants2

I told you recently that I decided to play during the winter, since I can’t start anything outside for a good while yet, trying to grow some celery. Someone on Facebook, I think, posted a video where you simply cut off the end of a bunch of celery you purchase at the store and put the bottom in a glass with some water.  When it sprouts well, you then transfer it to soil.

The idea thing would be to transfer it to the garden. Since it’s February, I transferred it to a planter with Mel’s Mix in it and put it on my window sill.  So far I have three plants in soil and three more in glasses of water on my divider.

The plant above was transferred two days ago.

 

celeryplants1

These are the other two plants I’ve transferred to the window sill. They’ve been in the soil for over a week now, maybe closer to two weeks. They seem to be happy so far.

I have no clue whether these will continue to grow or not. It’s fun to watch them, though, and I’ll continue to try to grow them inside or outside, when spring comes. :0)

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Celery Experiment Continues

celery-new

This is celery I started two days ago. I cut off the bottoms of celery I bought at the store and put each end in water.

 

celery1

These are two other bottoms I showed you a few days ago.

 

celeryinsoil2

These are the same plants today. I put the water glasses on the window sill for a couple of days. Today I put the plants into the soil. The planter is on the window sill. I got to this point before and then the sweet plants croaked. I have no clue if they’ll be happier this time, but I intend to keep trying until I find something that works. Fingers crossed!

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Hope for the Future

celery1

I’m trying to grow some celery from packages I bought at the store.

The idea is to cut off the bottom of each bunch of celery and put them in water to sprout. When they are forming roots, you transplant them to a soil-filled container or the garden. Since I can’t grow them outside now, I’ll transfer them soon to a planter I have on the window sill in my dining area.  It’ll be fun to see if I can actually grow a plant from here.

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Playing in My Art Room

Yesterday I started painting my newest order for stationery and note cards in my newly cleaned and organized art room. What a pleasure! I finished the package of deckled edge floral stationery last night and I’ll start the package of note cards today. I’ll share some photos when I’m finished.

I have to tell you I love my life. I don’t know how I ever found the time to work full-time, as I did for some 45 years. Then I changed to working from home, continuing to do medical transcription I used to do at an office in Fort Smith. I also started my website, Creative Artworks, in 2000.

I still run my website, which has about 25 other artists right now. I love writing this blog, trying not to bury you alive in pictures I’ve found, thoughts I’ve had, and more each day. I love working in my art room on orders or ideas for new things, plus working in our shop with my husband, creating metal yard critters out of scrap metal, cutting new mailbox decorations out on our CNC setup with computer-guided torch, creating stained glass pieces and mosaics. I’m brimming with ideas for a new mosaic project, a new technique for working with gourds, a glass etching, and ideas for a new theme for Christmas cards and wooden ornaments.

My raised bed square foot garden is always in my thoughts. As soon as I finish a few more things, I’ll get out my master ‘map’ of my six 4’x4′ raised beds and figure out what I’d like to try to grow for our veggie garden in the spring, as well as where to put them in the garden. I’ll start some spinach seeds inside, since I have real trouble finding spinach plants.

A gift that keeps on giving is our brick planter beds all around the house, brimming with flowers. We’re trying to add more perennials each year, since we ARE getting older, as well as planting our favorite annuals each year.

I started practicing yoga – the old ladies’ version called “Gentle Yoga” by Sixty & Me. I’m still surprised that it is so helpful in controlling pain and promoting flexibility and better balance. I’ve bought a 2nd DVD from them, called, “Gentle Yoga Flows” which combines what is taught in the first DVD set and guides you through four different practices that leave me feeling looser and much more relaxed.

I have more books than I can read and feel rich for it. I love learning new skills. Between the Internet, YouTube demonstrations, and books (either physical or on my Kindle) I can learn things as fast as this old brain can absorb them. What a luxury!

My husband’s and my health are improving, thanks to our low carb lifestyle and a newer emphasize on avoiding as much sugar as we can. We’re both feeling better for it. (The latest new thing is Cashew Milk, thanks to my sister-in-law, Mary Lou’s, recommendation.) It has 25 calories and 0 grams of sugar per serving. He says it doesn’t taste watery and likes the more creamy taste. My husband is wonderful about encouraging my efforts to cook new recipes, not griping if the recipe is just not for us, and very complimentary if I find one he likes. This makes it ALMOST fun to cook!

The days, weeks, months, and years whiz past our heads. We truly enjoy getting in as much fun as possible each day.

So – today picture me up in my art room, dancing to favorite CDs while painting note cards…

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Appreciating the Rain

Anita Opper via Zen to Zany

Anita Opper via Zen to Zany

I’m delighted that we’re having rain today. Not a good, soaking rain, but rain nonetheless, and for that I’m grateful. The temperature has finally gotten to 50 degrees F. here, and I think that will be the high for the day. The next few days are supposed to be very cloudy with another chance of rain Monday.  AHHHH!

The sad news is that Tuesday night or Wednesday a strong cold front is coming with killing freezes for several days, probably spelling the end of my fall garden. If the temperatures get down to the 20s, it won’t do any good to cover the plants with sheets. :0(

I’ll plan to harvest all I can by Tuesday evening.

We’ve had a fun year of gardening!

  • The biggest thing we did was build six 4’x4′ wooden planters. We installed three of the raised bed planters while the spring and summer garden lived to give us more tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, etc. We planted our fall garden in the new raised bed planters, enjoying broccoli, some cute little cauliflower heads, lots of lettuce of three different kinds and radishes. I also tried to grow celery from what I bought at the grocery. I planted the cutest little bright green plant in the garden. It STILL is a cute little bright green plant, but no celery. I’m trying some more inside, just for giggles.
  • When the spring/summer garden finished, we installed the other three planters, so now we’ll have six ready to go for the spring. We’ll plant our tomatoes in two brick planters we converted to square foot planters. One gets lots or sunshine and wind. The other is more protected, in the hook formed by the back of the house and the porch. I’ll have the winter to figure out where I want to plant things, using my fall printout to make sure I achieve crop rotation on the south side of the main garden.

Meanwhile, we’ll enjoy today’s cold rain, hope for more rain tomorrow and Monday, harvest the veggies we can in preparation for the freeze Tuesday night into Wednesday.

I hope the weather where you are is either pleasant enough to enjoy being outside, or that you can stay safe and warm inside.

Make it a wonderful day!

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

Greenhouse Envy

taylorsgreenhouse

 

Our good friends are in the middle of a huge project to build a two-story greenhouse on the back of their house!  This will have to move slowly – both for the size of the project and the horribly hot weather we’re having now, but it’s happening!  This picture shows you the beautiful arches they’re attaching to the concrete. Attachment rods were sunk into the concrete to make this really secure. I don’t know all the details of what they’re doing, but I’m green with envy. I really don’t know of anyone who deserves a beautiful greenhouse more than my friend.

 

taylorsgreenhouse2

Here you can see more of the back of their house and how the greenhouse will fit in. I’ll try to get more pics as the project moves on. I’m so excited for them!

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Storm Aftermath

stormaftermath

Well, we got the rain we needed, but a whole lot of gusty winds that we didn’t. This is the aftermath in my square foot garden. You can’t even tell there’s a plan here!

 

stormaftermath2

After taking these pictures, I did the best I could to straighten up the tomato cages and then tied them to the others that are right along the fence.

 

stormaftermath3

I have no idea if the garden will continue to produce after this or not.

 

stormaftermath4

Hopefully, in the coming days I’ll see signs that the sweet plants made it. I’m glad we don’t have storms like this often.

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