Tag Archives: raised bed square foot gardening

Wonderful Wednesday 9-14-2022

Tatyana Belozyorova

I LOVE this guy. I want him to come live with me. :0)

We’re having a beautiful morning, cool and sunny. It’ll get to the 90’s this afternoon, but we’re enjoying the cool while we can.

We’re going to see if we can find a roll of black weed barrier fabric to spread on the top of the Mel’s Mix in each of my raised bed square foot garden planter boxes. I’m still glowing over the compliments I got from my husband – who mentioned it again last night! – on what a good job I did of weeding and harvesting. (I’ll try to remember to get a picture of the onions we grew.)

We’re hoping that the weed barrier will keep the weeds from taking over the boxes again. With the tarps we put over the boxes last year, we had to worry about trying to drain rain water off so it wouldn’t puddle in the middle of each tarp. What we did was better than nothing, but didn’t work as well as we had hoped.

With the barrier, the rain doesn’t NEED to drain, except as it normally does, going right through the barrier. We’ll put bricks or stones, or both, in each box to hold the barrier down. This will be a good experiment.

We’ll get our mail as we go and HOPE that we don’t have to stop and re-gather trash from yesterday….

Happy Wednesday!

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Garden 3-27-2022


I just checked my veggie garden and things seem to be going really well at this point. I could actually start harvesting some lettuce leaves, but I think I’ll let them go awhile longer.

You can see spinach, red onion sprouts, leaf lettuce, and one broccoli or cauliflower plant in this box.

broccoli and lettuce

Spinach, red onions, broccoli and cauliflower

Spinach. I can’t wait to start harvesting these leaves. I plan to put lots in our salads, saute some of them in extra virgin olive oil and bacon bits with a bit of garlic, and then freeze the rest. I really hope I get a good crop this year.

This afternoon, I’ll mix up several two-gallon containers of KillzAll. I’ll spray some under the planter boxes and around my garden, and then move on from there – as many containers as I can during the afternoon.

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Garden Progress?


The tall plant on the left of the picture is lettuce that has bolted. I still managed to harvest some lettuce, but pulled this plant, and others out because the leaves will be bitter. The combination of the suddenly much warmer weather and all the rain we have had lately brought my lettuce harvesting to an end.

My poor spinach plants will do the same kind of thing soon, since they are an early spring plant. I’m going to harvest from the remaining plants as long as I can because the spinach can be frozen.

These yellow crookneck squash are cute, aren’t they. I don’t know what I’m doing here, but I’m having fun watching the sweet little things grow.

I had to pull the other two cabbage plants, and I still need to do a lot of weeding to get the garden in reasonable shape. I didn’t take pics of the tomato plants but they have little bitty green tomatoes and lots of yellow blossoms on them. I’m really hoping we have a good tomato harvest this year. Ripe sliced tomatoes are one of our favorite things.

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Spring Has Sprung!

After Lunch Bunch yesterday, we went to the co-op and bought a bunch of veggie plants.

This is the way my raised bed square foot garden has looked all winter. I did an experiment this year. Hoping to avoid having to spend a day or two weeding the boxes before I could plant, I cleaned out the boxes when the growing season was over, filled up the boxes with Mel’s Mix (soil alternative), put a pail in the middle of each box and covered each box with a tarp, held in place by bungee cords. I really wasn’t sure what to expect.

Happily, this is what I found!

I planted Buttercrunch Leaf Lettuce, Head Lettuce, Spinach, cabbage, yellow crookneck squash, zucchini, and red onions. I will add radish seeds and some celery I’m starting in the kitchen.

We discovered we needed to replace a section of the hose. Then we discovered that the sprinklers’ pressure setting parts in the center of each were broken from being in the weather too long, so we have ordered new sprinklers.

Today I need to weed the two brick planters we converted to square foot gardening and plant the tomato plants we bought yesterday.

I can’t tell you how MUCH my spirits lifted to be outside in the sunshine digging in the dirt, planting my spring garden!

I hope that you are enjoying some nice weather, too.

Happy Saturday!

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Mixing Dirt

This is my raised bed square foot garden. I am in the process of mixing the soil alternative called Mel’s Mix, filling up the six planter boxes before I cover each with a tarp to hold over the winter.

These are the trash cans that hold the ingredients for Mel’s Mix: (from left to right) mushroom compost, cotton burr compost, vermiculite, peat moss, and barnyard compost.

To the right of the trash cans is the used concrete mixer we bought several years ago. We used to dump the ingredients into our wheelbarrow, then use a hoe to mix things up the best way we could, and then barrow it over to the garden and use plastic pails to scoop it up and pour it into the planters.

Now we can mix double loads, dumping the ingredients into the mixer, then running it for about 3 minutes, and then dumping it half at a time into a big tupperware style garden basket. We then haul the basket over to a planter and dump it in.

It’s still rather laborious, but we’ve made things about as easy for an old lady as we can – without having someone ELSE do it. :0) Since I get no prizes for finishing it today rather than tomorrow, and if I want to take a day off from the project, I can; I have absolutely no complaints.

We have 3 of the 6 planter boxes filled with Mel’s Mix right now. I’m about to head out to the garden to do a couple of double loads. If everything works well, I should be finished with the refilling of the boxes by the end of the week and can get the boxes covered with tarps tied down with bungie cords.

Then, one of the parts I like best – I can start dreaming about what I will plant in the spring, sketching out planting plans based on what I planted this year. I can rotate my crops and try to make sure everything I plant has the best chance to thrive without pests or disease.

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Garden Progress

My husband joined me in the garden while I was mixing up a double load of Mel’s Mix. We dumped that and then were able to mix up one more double load before we ran out of most of the ingredients, with the exception of vermiculite.

We filled up one of the six planter boxes. It took 3 double loads of Mel’s Mix to fill the one planter, so we have a lot of work ahead of us to fill up all six planter boxes.

I ordered ingredients and the co-op will have our order Monday or Tuesday. We have decided that we will cover the boxes with tarps and wait until spring to replace the wooden strips that hold up the hoses and sprinklers. My husband thinks we should let it rain on the filled box at least once before we cover it up to help the new mix ‘settle’ a bit.

The picture above gives you an idea of what we’re working on. We are now using wire instead of the string you see in this picture to demarcate the ‘squares’ for planting. The string deteriorated way too fast, and the wire lasted the whole season.

I ordered one big bag of vermiculite, 2 ‘rectangles’ of peat moss, and 2 bags each of mushroom compost, cotton burr compost, and barnyard compost. It will be interesting to see how far the ingredients go in filling up the planter boxes.

We got a lot of good exercise, feel that we got a good start on the project, and are glad to have a day of rest from it tomorrow.

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Beautiful COOL Fall Day


A cold front came through overnight. Our temperature right now (9:45 a.m.) is 53!  The sun is shining and it’s beautiful outside. This is the first morning in a LONG time we haven’t opened our doors first thing when we come downstairs. It was actually TOO COOL to do that!  We’ll probably do it later as the day warms up, but it looks like summer is finally waving goodbye.

I got my six 4 foot x 4 foot raised bed, square foot planters weeded yesterday. I managed to harvest the remainder of the onions and finish the weeding without getting stung or bitten by the fire ants that had taken up residence in a couple of the planters. We live on about 8 acres. I have no clue why they would climb up the legs of the planters and live in my veggies, but it really has been a problem for me.

Today I’ll remove the broken wooden strips that support the irrigation hoses and sprinkler heads for the garden, plus I’ll string wire on the one box we forgot to prep this season. I’m not sure if I’ll start the process of mixing Mel’s mix for the boxes today or not.

Mel’s Mix is the wonderful soil alternative that allows me to have a garden at about my chest height so I don’t have to worry about the quality (or lack of) of my soil, and can have a garden where I can plant, weed, and harvest without having to bend over double or get up and down on my knees. Mel Bartholomew of Square Foot Gardening is the man who came up with the process. Mel’s Mix is a combination of vermiculite, peat moss, and as many different kinds of compost as you can find. It makes a really rich medium in which to grow plants.

I keep the ingredients in big trash cans along the back of our shop, just next to the garden. We got a used cement mixer that I use in preparation. I put the components in the proper ratio into the mixer, mix it for awhile, then dump it into a big plastic container and dump it into one of my planters over and over until the planters are all filled up.  Though a bit laborious, it works very well.

When this is all done, I have a tarp to put on each planter that I’ll secure with bungie cords. This should keep the growth of weeds down until I’m ready to plant in the spring.

I’m doing a bit on this each day Mother Nature is feeling cooperative. I’ll take pics of the garden prep soon.

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Happy Tuesday!

Reader’s Digest

We have several errands this morning, and more this afternoon, so I might not get ANYTHING else done today.

In about an hour, we’ll leave 4 leaf bags of trash at the bottom of our driveway for pickup. (I made my goal of finding 2 extra bags of things that SHOULD have been thrown away a long time ago. I’m hoping to continue this each week.) We will also get our mail.

We have been experiencing serial failures of our fluorescent light fixtures this year. We have changed out the ballast transformers on many of them. Now we are replacing the switches that control them.  We will pick up those at Yeagers. We will stop at our co-op to see if they have lettuce plants. (I’m hoping to pull out the spent tomato plants in the long brick planter by the house and put in lettuce plants.) Then we will stop and check the new Real Food store on the way home, hoping to find some frozen meals to buy and try.) Later, we’ll go back for my husband’s hair cut and a quick trip to the clinic for a shot for him.

I got lazy yesterday and didn’t do anything outside. This afternoon I’m planning to mix up EIGHT bug killer and will hose down my raised bed, square foot garden planters before I even THINK about trying to harvest the rest of our onions. I am finally healed up from the attack of the fire ants that I discovered living among my onions, so I’m ready to wage war. If I’m successful on getting the lettuce plants, I’ll take some pics for you.

I finally got an email from Amazon Handmade, confirming that I have been accepted to list my work there, and giving me some directions on how to get to a place I can register. When I have a calm space of time, I’ll try to follow them. Fingers crossed!

I hope you had an enjoyable Labor Day and that you make today a great day, too.



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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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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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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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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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I Love Trying to Grow Things

Gorilla Love – Unknown – via Penny Yaffe Krakow

Head Lettuce

Red onions

Head Lettuce and Red Onions


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

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

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

Mother Nature is playing with me and laughing.


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Early Spring Garden Progress 2-27-2020

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

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

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


Head lettuce and sweet red onion sets.

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

And then I can plant tomatoes and summer squash!



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A Spoiled Lady’s Garden

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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Last of the Harvest?


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

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


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


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Working in the Garden

We have two planters of tomato plants. We converted the planters from being regular planters – filled with regular and potting soil – to square-foot planters, filled with Mel’s Mix (peat moss, vermiculite, and compost.) The planter above is 8 feet long by about 2 feet wide. Last year I planted six plants in this planter and they soon grew to be a dense ‘jungle.’ This year I’m planting 4, trying to give them more space. I also read that I should prune them more to encourage fruit production, rather than greenery. I have to admit that this scares me a bit, but I’m going to try it, limiting their vertical growth in particular and trying to prune any large sideways branches. We LOVE sliced fresh tomatoes, and could eat our weight in them daily, so I’m HOPING that this experiment is successful…


This is the second tomato planter. It is in a ‘nook’ formed by the back of the house and our back porch. It is shielded from the elements more than the other planter, and sometimes results in the only plants that do well. These actually have some yellow blossoms!


And THIS – is a really nice weed, or SPINACH!

I am finding several like this, right in the middle of squares of Mel’s Mix in the garden planters – as I harvest and weed around them. I was unable to get the seeds to sprout in the greenhouse for some reason, and I was unable to find ANY spinach plants being sold locally, so in desperation I finally just planted some seeds in the middle of several squares in the garden and kept all of my appendages crossed. As you can see here, I put a popsicle stick in the soil showing ‘spinach.’  Appendages – including my eyes – are still crossed, because I’ve never seen spinach at this early stage, so it looks different from the plants I have purchased.

Since it is not raining right now, I’m planning to get out and tackle the last of the six 4’x4′ wooden box planters in my raised bed, square foot garden today. It’s so full I can’t tell what is there. I’ll report back, and then plan to see what exciting things the locals may have for me to plant to take the place of the things I’ve harvested. I’ll try to get pics of what’s out there now. I’m still stunned that so much needed harvesting already!

I plan to call friends and share the veggie wealth this weekend. :0)

I hope YOUR weekend is fun and productive!

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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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The Heat Index is WHAT?

Our heat index this afternoon is forecast to be 105. Our hottest month here in Arkansas is August. I can’t wait.

Yesterday I started a weekend project of cleaning out our raised bed square foot garden, since Mother Nature has cooked it despite daily irrigation. The first thing I did was spray the six 4′ x 4′ chest high wooden boxes with EIGHT, a spray that kills bugs, but doesn’t harm plants, animals, or people. Then I started pulling out dying plants. This took several sessions, but I got it done. I had to re-spray one of the boxes because when I pulled out some bolted lettuce, the ants came spewing up. They didn’t bite/sting me this time, though, thank goodness. I dug onions out and spread them on the screen part of our trailer to dry in the sun for several days.

Today I’ll do a bunch of clean up. I need to empty the two or three trashcan-fuls of plants I pulled and take them over to the barrel composter. I’ll take the strings off that mark the planting squares, since several broke when I was taking plants out. I still haven’t been able to find a string that doesn’t degrade rapidly in the sun, but I’ll continue looking. I’ll make  sure I got all the onions and then re-spray the soil in the boxes with the bug killer.

I want to mix up some weed killer and spray it on the wood chipped floor of the garden area, and then around the perimeter of the garden, plus around the propane tank, trashcans of Mel’s Mix, etc.

I’ll feel happy if I can finish the “Cleanup of the Garden” finished by the end of the day.


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I just went out to the garden to see what’s what. Our weather has been so bleeping hot that I haven’t spent as much time as I normally would.

My husband and I built a really nice raised bed square foot garden so that I could grow some of our veggies. We spent a lot of time on it, building 4 foot x 4 foot, 8 inches deep wooden boxes, lining the bottoms with plastic and mounting them on ‘tables’ of metal about my chest height so I wouldn’t have to bend over double or get up and down on my knees. We ran irrigation so that we can control the watering. We used Mel’s Mix, a combination of peat moss, vermiculite and as many different kinds of compost as we can find to create a really nice medium that plants love. It’s easy to plant, water, weed, and harvest.

Yet it was mostly wasted effort this year, due to our much cooler and wetter than normal spring followed by August weather in May. There is just no way that lettuce, broccoli and spinach can thrive in this heat. The plants practically boil in the ground.


As you can see, everything is bolting, wilting, or dying. Even the cantaloupe can’t handle this weather.

Today’s project is several sessions in order to clean everything out, harvesting the onions and leaving things ready to plant, hopefully if we have good fall weather. My greenhouse is 120 degrees inside, even with the automatic exhaust fan running continually, so I turned that off. I’ll concentrate on cleaning things up and trying to be ready for my next chance.

Meanwhile, we’ve been enjoying truly incredibly tasty tomatoes from the one planter in the nook created by the back of the house and our screened porch. They are YUMMY. If that’s all we’re going to get now, I’m still smiling.

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Ready for Another Harvest!

Our raised bed square foot garden is doing well so far this year. We have six 4’x4′ boxes on metal ‘tables’ at about my chest level. I can just walk up to them, planting, weeding, or harvesting without having to get up and down from my knees or bend over double – a thing I can’t tell you how very MUCH I appreciate!


We are growing iceberg head lettuce, romaine lettuce, sweet onions, radishes, spinach and broccoli. We have two converted planters on the east side of the house with tomato plants.


I’m going to go out and harvest some things today, but I wanted to show you how nice the plants look before I do.




I have some celery started in the kitchen that I’m hoping I can transplant to these empty squares soon.



On the lower right, you can see the start of radishes in the square.

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

1st Harvest – 2018



We’re having scattered showers today. I decided to go out to the garden and bring in some produce for the salad we’ll enjoy tomorrow. Of course, the rain started when I was just starting to snip…


Since Nutrisystem suggests that you NOT wash produce until just before you eat it, and also suggested that produce will last longer in these mesh bags, I took three of the bags out to the garden with me and harvested the produce right into the bags: one for spinach, one for iceberg lettuce, and one for romaine lettuce.


1st Harvest – Spinach


1st Harvest – Iceberg Lettuce


1st Harvest – Romaine Lettuce

Even though my efforts at growing a garden don’t save us money, the produce we get is so fresh, and it’s so much fun to go out and snip the ingredients for salad from your own garden!

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Square Foot Garden After Storm

We had bad storms with a strong cold front Friday afternoon and evening – including tornadoes, damaging winds, rain, hail, and flying hair balls. I was worried that my fledgling square foot garden plants would get battered.  Yesterday and today we’ve had cold temperatures for April in Arkansas – barely 40 and gusty north winds.

As you can see, the garden is doing fine. WHEW!  Thank  goodness these are all cool weather plants!  I may lose some of my tomato plants, but the rest of the garden is good.





Iceberg Head Lettuce


Romaine Lettuce



It’s almost time to start snipping!  I can gather the outer, larger leaves of the lettuces and the spinach soon. As soon as it warms up a bit, I’ll get some radishes started.

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Between Deluges

The Nourished Soul

I almost didn’t recognize the huge orb in the sky this morning. It’s been at least a week since we’ve seen it, and it was truly a glorious sight. On one of the many ‘walk-the-doggies’ trips I’ve taken today, I took some pictures of my veggie garden.


We built our raised bed veggie boxes with drain holes, but we’ve been getting SO much rain relentlessly, I was afraid I would find the boxes washed out and the veggies on the ground. Happily, everything seems to be doing well.


Here is iceberg lettuce and some onions.


This is the north side of the garden. You can see broccoli, spinach, onions, iceburg lettuce, and romaine lettuce.


Here’s a better pic of some spinach and some romaine lettuce, plus some onions.


This is the south side of the garden.

And here is the first group of tomato plants. I plan to plant more in a couple of weeks to extend our harvesting season.

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Happy Saturday


Good morning!

I’m feeling happy and grateful this morning.

We’re having a nice weekend weather-wise here in Greenwood, Arkansas. The highs will be in the 70’s and no rain until tomorrow evening (although it LOOKS like it could rain today). Because rain is forecast for every day from Sunday evening through Thursday next week, I’m trying to get as much accomplished in the yard as possible. Yesterday I planted tomato plants in one of the brick planters beside the house. The wind was gusting so hard I began to wonder if I was going to be able to plant!  I did finish, though, and will check on the plants again this morning.


Things got busy around here, so an hour or so has passed.

The doggies demanded I take them out, so we walked all over the yard. We saw the veggie garden with its automatic watering –





we checked on the new tomato plants –


we took pictures, and played a bit while enjoying the really nice morning.

Just a few minutes ago my husband suggested we drive down to see if the mail had been delivered. We also took the “Rabbit and Easter Egg” mailbox decoration when we went, exchanging it for the leprechaun for St. Pat’s Day.

We drove down to the church at the end of the street to turn the truck around and met our good friend Carla, who was walking her two doggies, Nikki and Rubie. Thank goodness I still had a couple of dog treats in my pocket so we could greet them properly. (Carla said she didn’t care for one.) :0)

Today’s big project is filling the wheelbarrow with top soil and trying to fill up all the holes (or as many as I can find) that the moles, voles, and other ‘ole’s’ underneath the surface caused our doggies to dig to try to get them. We only actually saw one ‘victory’ so far. We’re not sure WHO got the ‘critter’ we found, but SOMEONE had given it a very hard time.  Anyway, between the underworld critters and ours, the yard almost looks like something from a bad horror movie. I’ll try to get them filled so that the rain can make the soil sink down and stay put, and then maybe we can mow without falling into a hole or twisting an ankle.

I hope your morning has been a fun one!

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Filed under Challenges, Cherishing the Quiet Day, Friendship, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, metal art, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Young Veggie Garden

Our spring raised bed square foot garden is off to a good start. We have six 4’x4’x8″ boxes at about my chest level in our vegetable garden. (We also have two brick planters on the other side of the house we use for our tomato plants.)


You can see the sprinklers and hoses that run over the top of the boxes on either side, making up the irrigation system. I added the timer a few days ago to the outdoor faucet, so the garden gets watered for 10 minutes each morning. There are drain holes in each box so that excess water runs out freely.  I’ve planted onion sets, iceberg head lettuce, romaine lettuce, broccoli, and spinach so far. I’ll plant some radishes later, plus bring out starts of celery from the house.

This year, except for the onion sets and radishes, I decided to only plant one plant in each square. There are only two of us eating salad in our household, so 4 lettuce plants to a square is too much for us to eat and the plants grow rapidly, crowding each other. I’m experimenting to see if this spread out version works better for us.


The spindly plants around this lettuce plant are onion sets. The tops of the onions don’t look great, but I’m hoping that the actual onions are doing well. I won’t know for a long time.


Here you can see broccoli in the foreground, a spinach plant in the middle, and lettuce toward the back.  I’m planning to start the tomato plants we bought very soon.



This is

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, doing what you love, exercise, Favorite Things, greenhouse, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Taking the Plunge

Belgian Nursery

My husband goes outside when the weather forecasters tell him it’s raining in Greenwood – on the Lewis’ house – right now.  I have a bit more faith in their abilities, though we both realize that trying to forecast the weather is a complicated task. I just looked up the 10-day forecast for Greenwood on the net and see that today was the last forecast freeze through the 23rd. I’ve decided to go ahead and take the plunge, planting the veggies we are holding in the greenhouse.


Gardening Know How

I have iceburg lettuce, spinach, romaine, and broccoli plants, two six-packs of each.

I have my raised bed planters filled with Mel’s Mix and the string stretched across in two directions, creating the squares for planting. My planters are at about chest level so I can just walk up and plant things without having to bend over, get down on my knees or back up again.

I planted Texas Sweet Onion sets a couple of days ago. It’s such a pleasure! I’ll take pictures when I get the plants in. I’m excited to be starting a brand new spring crop!

I’ll watch the weather carefully, leaping up to put sheets over the plants if they say it’s going to get near freezing for the rest of the month.


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Mary, Mary…



This is the view as you walk toward my square foot garden. You’d think I was specializing in marigolds! I planted them in several squares in each box, hoping they would help keep the insects down. I don’t see that they helped much, but they made the garden look happy. When the spring crops finished, the marigolds were still going strong, so I just left them. Now they’re overflowing.

The parts of the boxes not overflowing with marigolds look like this. My strings that we strung to demarcate the squares in each box were killed by the combination of water and sun. I’ll use a different kind in the spring. I just went out and sprinkled seeds for the fall garden and hoped for the best.

I also started a seed starter tray with peat pellets in the house. They sprouted, but were looking anemic, while the seeds in the garden were looking better. I decided to try putting the tray out on the deck where the seedlings could get more sun and maybe some rain. That turned out to be a mistake. The seedlings croaked, so I cleaned out the planter tray and put it back in the greenhouse.

The greenhouse, by the way, is still showing 120 degrees inside today, so it’ll be awhile before I try starting anything in there.

The raised bed square foot garden box above shows one single spinach plant, radishes, and two types of lettuce.

Only one plant resulted from the spinach seeds, but it looks good. I’ll try to plant some more around it, just to see if they’ll come up and produce, now that the weather people are saying we’re due for cooler weather next week.


This is a closeup of the Simpson Lettuce.




New celery plants


Celery plants that grew more celery after I chopped the whole top off out in the garden!



Bibb Lettuce

The only other veggies I have going for the fall garden thus far are two tomato plants offered several weeks ago. They still seem to be doing fine.


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Yesterday’s Harvest

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August 12, 2017 · 5:55 pm

Heat Index

The Best Years in Life


Since I wrote this morning, the rain stopped and the temperatures soared. It’s only 90 degrees F. outside now, with humidity around 65%, but if you’re working in the bright sunshine it’s HOT.

I’ve been doing a first-pass session of weeding in my raised bed, square foot garden. With all the wonky weather we’ve been having, the weeds have tried to take over.

I harvested some grape tomatoes, some celery stalks,  and a spaghetti squash. I’ll take pics in a bit and share them. I spent about 45 minutes, and that was really all I could do. I’m drinking cold water and wiping off my head with paper towels now, I’m so wet. UGH.

Still it was nice to know that some things are still doing well in the garden even now.

The new celery I’m starting, and the new experiment with the tomato suckers, and anything else, will stay in the house until it’s time to transfer them to the fall garden or the greenhouse. I’m supposed to be starting lettuce and spinach from seed at the end of August or the 1st of September! I’m hoping to have some nice, healthy transplants to go out in the fall garden and I’ll move any happy tomato plants into the greenhouse this fall. (Right now the thermometer in the greenhouse is still ready above 120 degrees F.)

I’ve had a lot of fun with my garden this year. As usual, I’m still learning a lot of what NOT to do next time, but I’m encouraged that I actually got celery and spaghetti squash to grow for the first time, and we had a really nice season of fresh tomatoes. I got a real harvest of sweet Georgia onions for the first time this year. They’re hanging in mesh bags in the pantry so that I can simply reach in and get one any time I would like. :0)

I’m hoping to have a nice crop of lettuce and spinach for the fall. Last year I lucked out and was still cutting leaves for salads into January!

Still reading about what else I can plant for the fall garden, and when I need to starts seeds. Will report back later.

I hope you’re having a happy day.

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