Tag Archives: square foot gardening

The Dream

Josephine Neuse – University of Illinois Extension

I have a wonderful square foot garden that my husband and I created several years ago to enable me to enjoy gardening even as I get “more mature” and less able to get down and up again from my hands and knees and do heavy lifting.

We built SIX 4′ x4′ wooden ‘tables’ up on top of iron supports. We surrounded the six tables with fencing, then added chicken wire around the bottom to keep small critters out. We threaded neon tape through the fencing to make it VISABLE to the deer who come through from time to time. We added a screen door so there is a definite ‘inside-the-garden’ and ‘outside.

The tables are about my chest height and filled with “Mel’s Mix,” a soil substitute mixture of peat moss, vermiculite, and at least three different kinds of compost. We filled the boxes with the mix, after making the mixture in a used cement mixer. That’s the heaviest part of the gardening I do now. :0)

We marked the ‘squares’ of the square foot garden using wire criss-crossed over the tops of the boxes. We mounted a sprinkler head in the center of each box, tied together with hose, for daily irrigation.

We used to have a greenhouse that we built from a kit on the other side of our property, but since we couldn’t afford air conditioning and heating for it, it was truly a dream and wasn’t really useful to our efforts. We finally took it down when it was heavily damaged by a storm a few years ago. Now I buy plants from town.

I can just walk into my garden area, taking my spreadsheet diagram of where I want to plant things, move a bit of soft Mel’s Mix, and plant. My plan enables me to rotate my plants, avoiding disease and increasing yield. I also have not followed what I COULD do with my square foot garden, and spread my plants out a bunch for easier care.

Right now I have the boxes weeded and covered with weed cloth held in place by bricks. We’ve had several big storms and so far, the cloths are staying in place. That will hopefully enable me to plant without a lot of weeding first in the spring. :0)

I’m going to concentrate on lettuces, since I plan for us to eat a lot of salad, growing several kinds. My husband likes me to plant head lettuce, so I do, if we can find the plants. Otherwise, I try to plant three or four different kinds. I also want to plant a lot of spinach so I can use it in our salads, plus freeze some. I’ll grown radishes, sweet onions, and of course, I’ll use the two brick planters on the other side of the house for tomatoes. I’m at the dreaming stage now, so I’ll peruse lots of veggie magazines to see what else I might plant.

I WISH I were a good cook. I love the idea of growing herbs and spices, but I don’t tend to USE the fresh stuff much. I buy a bunch or two at the store, use a bit and end up tossing the rest when I haven’t used it fast enough. Maybe I’ll try a couple of the ones I use most often, trying to grow them in the kitchen, rather than in the garden….

It’s FUN to dream – especially while we’re expecting snow any minute here.

The Indian Express

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Iris Planter Progress

Daily Paws

I just came in from my second session trying to clean out the iris planter. I spent an hour and a half the first session, starting with a small rake-type garden tool and quickly going back to get a shovel. The second session was an hour. I’m pooped now, and I need to rest and hydrate before I do my yoga for the day, so I’ll do more tomorrow.

So far, I got the iris I could find easily out and put into a big outside type trash can. I also got most of the Bermuda grass that was on the surface of the planter out.

Tomorrow I’ll get more serious with the shovel, digging down as deeply as I can, turning the soil, and gathering more iris rhizomes, pulling more Bermuda grass roots, etc.

I feel good about my progress today. The weather cooling off and the rain last night really helped with the project. My husband said my project to clean out the planter was ‘impossible.’ It was just ‘too far gone.’ I’m going to prove him wrong. :0)

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Almost Finished

My husband helped me almost finish up the garden this morning. We gathered 24 bricks to put in the boxes, then wheelbarrowed them out there and distributed them. We then cut the weed barrier cloth to length for each of the boxes, running the fabric under the wires that delineate the ‘squares’ of the planting areas and then holding down the fabric with the bricks.

I’ll neaten up the area under the planters with the weed whacker as part of the next part of the project. You can also see the neon surveyors tape I ran around the perimeter of the garden to keep the deer from running into it.

The next part of the project is weed whacking this area beside our shop and in front of the garden, plus
this area behind the shop and beside the garden. This is where I store the components of Mel’s Mix in the trash cans, plus garden implements, the cement mixer to mix the ingredients, etc.
this area on the other side of the shop.

THEN the garden project will be finished.

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Square Foot Garden Progress

Gardener’s Path

Yesterday I finished prepping the garden boxes in my square foot garden, finishing the weeding, spraying, and spreading the Mel’s Mix as flat as I could.

Today my husband is going to help me take bricks to the garden via the wheelbarrow. We’ll put 4 of them in each of the 6 planter boxes to hold down the fabric weed barrier we’ll cut to size today.

When that is finished, the only remaining things are spraying the weeds underneath the planter boxes in the garden itself, and then around the perimeter of the garden, plus threading bright neon tape through the fencing to try to keep deer from running into the fence in the middle of the night.

I’m feeling good this morning. I managed to only get one ant bite/sting in my work yesterday, and it’s just itchy, not all blown up and sore. :0)

If we finish in good time, I’ll post pics.

Have a great Sunday!

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Gardening Progress

Messy Motherhood

I worked for an hour and a half this morning in the garden boxes in my square foot garden. I have four of the six 4′ x 4′ wooden planting boxes ready now. When I finish weeding the last two, I’ll spray them with Eight and then with Killzall, lightly, to finish up for the day.

Tomorrow I’m planning to gather the bricks and then my husband wants to help me cut the weed barrier cloth for each box. I’m lucky I have wonderful weather for this!

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Gardening Today 9-17-2022


Well, this morning’s work in the garden was less than stellar.

I mixed up a two-gallon sprayer of SEVEN to spray the garden boxes for fire ants. I pumped up the sprayer and it wouldn’t spray more than a second or two. It was already fully pumped up, and it just wouldn’t spray. I finally went back to the house and found a smaller quart-sized container and used that to at least spray AT each of the boxes. I came in when the sweat was getting into my eyes, feeling defeated.

My husband says he thinks we have another sprayer that we haven’t used. After awhile I will go see if I can find it and take it out to the garden. Hopefully, I can transfer the SEVEN to the new sprayer container and finish hosing down the garden boxes for the ants.

I WILL get this done – one way or another.

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Nice Compliment

Verywell Mind

My husband just came in from walking around outside. He said, “You did a GREAT job of weeding in the garden.” I’m still amazed.

He wanted to go to Yeager’s tomorrow to buy tarps to go over the boxes as we have done in the past. My good friend, Marsha, had suggested that I use weed barrier fabric stuff and plant through it to keep the weeds from coming up so enthusiastically. I suggested to my husband that we use the barrier stuff to keep the weeds down until the spring, instead of the tarps. We wouldn’t have to worry about the water draining off the tarps. It would just go THROUGH the weed barrier. I could check it from time to time to see if I needed to add more until it was time to plant in the spring.

In the spring, when it’s time to plant. I’ll remove the barrier, add more to plant through, or plant things, then put strips of the barrier stuff in between the plants. That should save me a LOT of work.

We’ll go get the barrier stuff tomorrow. :0)

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Locked and Loaded


A cool front came through sometime early this morning and it’s only 68 degrees this morning! Woo HOOOOO!

Yesterday I worked almost 3 hours in the garden, trying to harvest our sweet red onions. I did two sessions, having to weed AS I harvested because the weeds were SO bad, I couldn’t FIND the onions. (I know. Embarrassing, to say the least.)

I got what I thought were 3 ant bites, but it turned out to be a few more. No big swarms of ants, but several teed-off ants got me. My left arm is a bit swollen and tender, even though I took allergy meds and put Benadryl ointment on my arm right away.

I got three of the six wooden planters weeded and harvested, and will try to finish the job today.

I’ll mix up my bug killer before I go, so I’m locked and loaded, ready to hose down any ant that even looks in my direction.

Meanwhile, we’re enjoying a cool breeze with the front and back doors open. Ahhhhhhh.

Trying to stay busy on this sad day.

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Onions, Weeds, and Ants – Oh, MY…

Gardeners World Forum

Okay. Picture the mess above on six 4’x4′ wooden ‘table’ gardens chest high and you will have an idea of what a MESS my garden is right now.

I’ve just come in from working for about 45 minutes and I can tell this is going to take SEVERAL sessions, possibly over a couple of days or so do to the FIRST thing on my list for outside – harvesting the sweet red onions.

I have to pull the weeds in order to FIND the onions. :0(

So far, I’ve harvested half of a big bucket of onions which I spread out on our trailer bed by the shop as I came back to the house just now. I have an entire large trash can full of weeds to dump before I start another session after lunch, when I’ve had a chance to rest and cool off.

I’ve finished one and a half of the six wooden boxes. I’ll see how hot it is, and if I can simply ignore the heat and sun for a bit. It IS cooler than it has been, with a high of 90 predicted for this afternoon.

I have THREE ant bites, but I haven’t dug into a bed of them where they swarm up yet. Hopefully, that won’t happen.

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This is probably the last tomato we’ll get this season.

square foot garden box example
one of the converted tomato planters

This year has been difficult, with cooler than normal temperatures in the beginning of the spring, then WAAAAAAAAY too much rain, then WAAAAAAAY too much heat with NO rain, then just killing heat, killing off the plants no matter how much we try to irrigate.

Because we built our raised-bed, square foot garden and arranged for daily irrigation, we were able to enjoy fresh lettuce and spinach at the beginning of the season. We converted two brick planters on the other side of the house to square foot planters so we could plant tomato plants. These were on irrigation, as well, so we were able to enjoy a nice crop of tomatoes, though a much shorter season than usual.

The garden is down to just sweet red onions, ready to be pulled up and dried as soon as this heat allows. The tomatoes are almost completely gone now. We’re lucky to have enjoyed some nice, fresh, home-grown veggies, but we’re also lucky we don’t have to make a living from our efforts. :0)

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Thankful Thursday

Greater Good Science Center – UC Berkeley

I’m thankful for air conditioning when we are under a ‘dangerous heat advisory’ through to the weekend with a heat index of 115 for Friday. I just went out to our shop to get some things to add to my Etsy site and the heat slammed me in the face the minute I opened the door to go out. I was REALLY glad to get things done out there and back into the house. (My dog, Amber, and my cat, Abby, accompanied me, and even THEY were happy to get back inside the cool house.)

I’m thankful that, even though my garden is pretty much over for the season (except for a couple of zucchini plants, red onions, and tomatoes) I had a nice harvest this morning.

I’m thankful to be having such a wonderful time starting to paint the totes I’m giving for Christmas this year. My ideas are starting to come together. My head and heart are full of memories of each of these wonderful friends as I picture their faces as I paint. I listen to some of my favorite music up there AND I’m ALSO thankful I can turn on the a/c upstairs so it cools off while I paint! :0)


(I’m hoping that my husband and I look like this wonderful couple when we grow up.) I’m thankful that our day so far is quiet and happy. Sharing your life with someone is one of the most challenging and rewarding things you might be lucky enough to do.

I hope you have lots of things for which you’re thankful, too.


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Wednesday Tomato Harvest

I just went out to check for ripe tomatoes before it gets too hot. (We’re due for a heat index of 110-115 today.) Look what I found!

I don’t know yet how this summer’s harvest will compare to years past, but the QUALITY of the tomatoes so far is stellar. NO blemishes. NO bad spots. Nice and firm. Delicious. It just doesn’t get better than this. :0) I wish I could share some with you.

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Garden Update


The zucchini are growing, but very slowly. I’ve never grown these before, so I’m not sure what to expect. The red onions seem fine. All else is gone, with the exception of my two tomato planters on the other side of the house.

The elephant ears are doing well, in spite of our having to water them manually.

The FIRST ripe tomato of the season!!!!!

The tomato plants were looking dry, so we ran the watering system for the back manually to make sure all was working as it is supposed to.

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Garden Progress?


Two sessions outside so far today.

I’m being very careful, since the heat index for today is 115 today. The sun is strong. You feel the heat slapping you in the face the minute you go out. I sprayed my front and asked my husband to spray my back and back of my legs with Deep Woods OFF! before I went out. I wore sunglasses and a sweatband.

The first session I concentrated on pulling out the bolted lettuce plants. They were over 2 feet tall!

After session # 1 I closed up the house and turned on the a/c. My husband started to object, feeling comfortable sitting and reading in the living room, but then decided that ‘living’ was a better option than fighting me. I didn’t do this until I had tried to cool down for a half hour or so from the first session, but decided that it was time to get a little help on trying to stay cool the rest of the day. He looked at my still-red face and decided to go along. :0)

I just came in from my second session. I filled my two-gallon spray container with EIGHT bug killer and hosed down the zucchini plants in the garden and then my tomato plants. (We lost one tomato plant in the storm. The main stem was completely broken off and the plant was hanging over the side of the planter.) The rest of the tomato plants are looking good with green tomatoes!

I’m drinking a bottle of cold water now, trying to cool down.

I’m not sure yet what I’ll do for session # 3.

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Ah, Yes…


We’ve now gone from getting almost 12 inches of rain in the past week to a heat index of 100 degrees F. today and 110+ tomorrow. Seat belts aren’t enough.

We DO have a driveway left, even though we did get some damage along one side. I’m really amazed that ALL of the crusher dust the nice man spread for us, allowing us to finally get down our driveway – and back UP again – didn’t end up in the road that runs along in front of our property. We’re just pleased that Mother Nature seems to have calmed down, or at least moved to the east now. Hopefully she won’t bring problems to others.

I plan to get outside in several sessions today, mainly this morning and late this afternoon, to try to catch up.

Lee County Center-NC State University

I need to check my tomato plants first. I need to prune them and may need to add more support. I’m hoping that tomato worms haven’t descended. I’ll spray everything heavily with Eight, looking carefully for signs we’re infested.

This is what the zucchini plants are supposed to look like.

I need to get out to the garden. I’ll pull my lettuce plants – which are probably trying to touch the sky now – and see what else needs to be done. I’m hoping I’ll have some little bitty zucchini. This is the first time I’ve ever tried to prune and stake them, as the pic above shows I’m supposed to.

With the heat index this high, I’ll need to keep my sessions really short, resting a lot in-between and drinking lots and lots of water. I would like to have things under reasonable control by the end of the weekend. I’ll plan on sharing pics with you.

There was a lot of flooding in Greenwood yesterday. I’m hoping things are getting back to normal today and that there wasn’t a lot of damage.

Have a nice, safe Saturday.

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Happy Camper

Baby Center-iStock

I’m a happy camper today. Things are really looking up around here. :0)

I’ve told you that we were FINALLY able to arrange our freedom yesterday since Jeremy Young came with his equipment and smoothed out the crusher dust pile that made us captives up here for a week. Even with the really heavy rain most of the afternoon, the driveway stayed beautiful with very little damage. We’ll see how long this lasts and then get back with him on what he thinks we should do more long term.

We replenished some supplies after relocating raccoon # 6, getting home around 5:30 or so. I slept much better last night, knowing we could get out if we needed to, or someone could come up, again, if needed. Peace of mind is priceless.

Today we’ll get our mower gas cans filled, plus the truck. The only downside of all this freedom is that it is expensive! Grocery prices were up, of course, and gas prices will make us gasp today. At least we can GET most of what we would like to. We’ll also replace a flashlight that died suddenly. Not only did it need new batteries – the batteries had ‘frozen’ inside. Oops! That one lasted over 30 years, so I guess needing to get a replacement now is understandable…

Changing from the Keto eating plan to the Mediterranean one is helping me gradually. And I’m starting to see a difference on the scales, too, finally. My focus has been on getting my system working right again, pushing lots of veggies, cutting way back on meat and fat, eating fruit, etc. Now I’ll start paying attention to calories as well, comparing that to what I’m burning with my yard work and exercise. I’m hoping I can manage a good balance where I’ll feel good, sleep well, and have more energy as I get stronger.

We’ll set the humane trap on the deck again this evening. “Something” triggered it to shut overnight, but we didn’t catch anything. We’re having a record year, having trapped and relocated six raccoons so far in the past month or so.

Tomorrow we’re supposed to get more heavy rain. But TODAY the sun is shining brightly after being fogged in this morning. I’m looking forward to spending time in the garden and checking on my tomato plants.

Have a glorious Thursday!

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Tomato Plants

So far, the tomatoes are doing well. Yesterday I got out with my clippers, ties, and stool for a good pruning session. I cleaned things up, supported the plants well, and delighted in seeing some green tomatoes!

I don’t want the tomatoes to get much taller, but the video I am going by didn’t say much about the indeterminate tomato plants growing up too tall for the supports. Usually mine spill out over the sides of the planter and sprawl all over the ground. That’s what I’m trying to avoid this year, because the guy in the video says the plants will concentrate on producing more tomatoes, rather than all the greenery.

The plants should be getting lots of oxygen. That is supposed to help them not get any diseases. I’ll mix up some bug spray next, because I don’t want the tomato worms sneak in and start eating the plants.

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Thoughts on Sunday 5-29-2022


This puppy is a genius – eating AND getting in exercise at the same time! I’m not sure what that yoga position is called, but I’m impressed :0) I’m going to make beef stew for our dinner tonight. Less stew beef, many more veggies. I’ll freeze the leftovers into individual serving containers and put them in the freezer.

I finished cleaning out and weeding the square foot garden yesterday. It took a total of three sessions and about 4 hours to get things cleaned out the way they should be, but I feel good that it looks like someone cares again. I’ll research summer crops and then see what is available locally. The tomatoes are doing fine so far, too.

If you look really carefully, above the lowermost leaves on the bottom left of the plant, you can see a small green tomato!

And finally, this has nothing whatsoever with my ‘garden,’ but I’m delighted to see that all three elephant ear plants are now coming up. You have to look carefully at the center of the planter, but you can see the first sprout of a leaf breaking through now.

Today’s project will be attacking things with my loppers. I’ll be clearing up areas that are giving my husband trouble on the riding mower, and then trying to cut down weed trees around our burn barrel between the house and the shop. It’s supposed to get to the 90s today (50s two days ago) with strong sun, so I’ll have to be careful.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

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5 of the 6 Done

The main raised bed square foot garden consists of six 4’x4′ boxes we built, put on iron supports and filled with Mel’s Mix. They are my chest height, so my gardening ‘work’ is the easiest possible. I can walk up to the tables, plant, weed, and harvest – all without bending over double over and over or having to get down on my hands and knees.

Pulling out spent plants and weeding in the sun, however, is still a lot of work for me. That’s what I’ve been doing today – trying to make up for neglecting it for the past week while it’s been raining every day.

What I found today is that I needed to pull out a lot of plants. Even though the Mel’s Mix stays soft, the plants really get their roots down in it and it’s difficult to me to pull them out. Then I try to save as much of the Mel’s Mix as possible, then dispose of them (composting what I can.) The weeds have overridden my sweet garden in a week’s time. I now have 5 of the 6 boxes cleaned out and weeded, but have one left. I’m in resting and drinking water again before I try to go back out and finish the job.

I also harvested some lettuce that I’m going to take to our hairdresser Tuesday morning. I’ll also fill bags for my Lunch Bunch friends, and a couple of other people as I use what I can before the lettuce bolts.

I’ll have to think about whether I want to try to grow some other warm weather crops, besides the zucchini, such as yellow crook neck squash, etc. Maybe when I’ve had a chance to catch my breath a bit I’ll do some research in what is available now.

I’ve always loved the idea of growing herbs, but never really have. I’m not much of a cook, but the idea of snipping off a bit of fresh herbs to flavor our dinner has always appealed. The reality of it is that when I buy some fresh herbs at the store, I use a bit and the rest goes bad in the fridge. :0( I’m going to see what else I can grow that I will actually use and can freeze.

Meanwhile, we can look forward to what I hope will be a great tomato crop, giving us a wealth of ripe tomatoes for ourselves and to share with our friends.

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Work Cut Out for Me

In a nutshell, the zucchini seems to be doing all right, and the onions are fine. The lettuce hasn’t bolted yet, but will soon. Everything else must go. I just came in from spending an hour pulling out plants and weeding. I harvested one lettuce plant and pulled the rest out. I have about half of the garden done now. I’m resting and drinking lots of water. I plan to go out and hopefully finish with another hour or so after lunch.

The zucchini plant seems to be thriving. The spinach plant next to it needs to go.

The red onions are very happy. The spinach here also needs to go, as do the abundance of weeds.

I’ll be harvesting lots of lettuce in the coming days.

sent to me by my friend, Susy.

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Bright Sunshiny Day

Horizon Education Centers

“I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Here is that rainbow I’ve been praying for

It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day” ~ Jimmy Cliff

I can’t believe we’re having such a beautiful day. I had almost forgotten what it looked like when the sun was shining! It’s supposed to get into the 70s with low humidity this afternoon with lots of sunshine. What could be better?

I’m hoping to spend several sessions outside when we return from seeing our friends at Lunch Bunch. I want to take my time pruning my tomatoes, giving them tomato food, spraying blossoms, re-anchoring the plants to the supports, etc. When I feel I’ve done all I can do for them, I’ll turn my attention to the garden I’ve been neglecting since the rains started. It it isn’t too wet, my husband will try to mow this afternoon.

We can probably open the front and back doors in the house to get a nice breeze throughout, too. Ahhhh!

Abram L. Urban – LivingLife – QuoteMaster.com

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It’s Friday


Happy Friday!

Sad to say we’re not having Lunch Bunch today. Everyone is under the weather – except for my husband and me – so hopefully everyone will feel better soon and we’ll see each other NEXT Friday.

ML Lewis

This is probably the last beach photo this trip from our virtual vacation with my SIL. She’s spending the last day on the beach searching for shark teeth and enjoying perfect weather there. I’m so glad she gets to do this with her friends each year. AND I’m delighted that we get to share the ‘calm’ and beauty with her vicariously. :0)

Source Unknown

Yesterday I got out and pruned and staked my 4 zucchini plants. If it isn’t a good thing, it’s not a problem. My husband won’t eat zucchini anyway. If it’s successful, I’ll be a very happy planter. :0)

You can see two of the four plants here.

And here are some of the tomato plants on the other side of the house.

And finally, I went ahead and brought in three of the four cauliflower plants. They were showing signs I didn’t like. The heads are small – about 4″ across, but they are the first actually heads I’ve grown and I’m grinning from ear to ear. (My husband won’t eat cauliflower, either, but that’s HIS loss….


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Staking Plants

The two pics above show the staking of my tomato plants in the two brick planters we converted to square foot planters several years ago.

I found a nice video https://youtu.be/q4IUhZMA9O0 on pruning tomato plants for maximum yield. After finally overcoming intimidation by the whole idea, I’m doing this, for better or worse, though my husband may plant ME in the back yard if I kill our chance for lovely ripe tomatoes this year. I changed to using only single stakes, giving me the most access to the plants as they grow. I’m planning to check them once a week to see what they need.

Yesterday I learned I should be staking my zucchini plants, as well! https://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/youve-been-growing-your-zucchini-all-wrong/ I will have to get a bit creative to do this because my raised-bed, square-foot-garden planters are up off the ground (chest high) and are only 8 inches deep.

I’m much less intimidated by the idea of pruning my zucchini plants than my tomatoes. My husband won’t each zucchini. I grow them for the fun, and also because I like to make and eat ‘zoodles’ (fake noodles made from spiralized zucchini.)

Zoodles allow me to eat low carb spaghetti sauce, low carb alfredo sauce, etc., without feeling guilty.

The only one who will be disappointed if my efforts don’t work here is me, so the pressure is off. :0)

I’ll try to get pics of the four plants after I figure out how to stake them up a bit and get them pruned.

These don’t need staking, but I just wanted to share my delight that my cauliflower plants are still alive and the heads are growing. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to allow them to grow, but I’m like a kid at Christmas. :0)

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Hope Blooms

Lady Bird Johnson – QuoteMaster.com – YourEasyGarden.com

I’ve done two sessions on trying to prune my tomato plants and anchoring them to the supports. I’ll do a third, and hopefully, last session in a few minutes. I’ll also sprinkle them with tomato food and they’ll get watered automatically by our repaired yard irrigation system tonight.

I was really intimidated by the idea of pruning my tomatoes. Sliced ripe tomatoes are one of our very favorite things in the world. We look forward to planting and harvesting tomatoes every year. I have always just staked them, fed them, and then let the plants do what they want. We end up with a ‘mess,’ each year, with the vines climbing all over everything, making it impossible for my husband to mow near them and almost impossible for me to reach in and grab ripe tomatoes by the end of the season.

This year I was determined to try to learn to prune the tomatoes. I found a video on pruning tomatoes to increase yields that sounded good. The guy on the video seems understanding, patient, and knew what he was doing.

The first thing he talked about was ‘determinate’ vs ‘indeterminate’ tomato plants. I didn’t realize there were two types of plants, so I was already intimidated. I finally decided that I was dealing with ‘IN-determinate plants, since mine just kept growing, spilling all over the place until they froze at the end of the season.

I’ve watched the video over and over, because it scared me to death to even THINK about cutting off parts of the plants (other than dead stuff or broken branches.) I was (and still AM, to be honest) worried that something I do will cause the plants NOT to produce, but I’m determined to do it this year.

Lee County Center-NC State University

The first time I looked at the plants, before I was sick for about a week, I chickened out. Yesterday, I did two short sessions. Amazingly, I SAW the suckers! I carefully pruned those, plus cleaned up the remaining plants a bit in the smaller, square ‘niche’ planter beside the house. I got the plants tied up, anchored to the supports nicely.

I pruned one plant in the other planter before the wind started to threaten to pull me off my stool. I’ll go out to finish up, but – IF this works, I’ll be the happiest lady on the planet! There won’t be anything in particular to show you at this point, but I’m feeling really hopeful that I can encourage more TOMATOES rather than so many rope-y, messy vines this season.

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I’ll Get By with a Little Salad for My Friends…

This is the first lettuce harvest of the day. I just washed it and put it into gallon bags to give to our friends, Kay, Linda, Patty, and Michael this week.

There is a LOT more to harvest, but it’s not actually trying to bolt YET, so I’m thinking about spreading out the harvests as much as I can, watching the progress of the plants carefully.

It’s almost time for lunch, so I’m thinking about switching to pruning tomatoes after lunch, rather than doing a second harvest of lettuce today.

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2nd Harvest of the Day 5-14-2022

I just finished washing and processing the spinach I gathered this afternoon.

I took a picture of each of the teeny, tiny (about 2 inches in diameter) cauliflower heads in the garden. This is the best I’ve done on this veggie. Usually ‘something’ happens and I fail to even start a head. I’m hopeful that these will get a bit larger before I have to harvest them. Fingers crossed.

To show how deceptive photography can be, this head is only about 2 inches across. But it’s PRETTY, isn’t it? There are 3 others almost identical to it in my garden right now.

If it’ll cool off a bit (or I can cool down enough) I’ll go back out and start harvesting lettuce.

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Garden – Initial Assessment

After a week or so of not being able to work in the garden, things are pretty out of hand. My tomato plants are looking healthy, but I’ll need to get serious about pruning this week. I’ll concentrate on trying to be outside early in the morning, or before dark in the evening, or both, until I get things under control. I’ll try to carefully prune, then anchor the plants to the supports.

The veggie garden has exploded. The onion stalks are now over a foot tall. The zucchini plants are huge and blossoming. The record heat has almost done-in the broccoli before it really had a chance to get started. It’s starting to bolt, so I’ll harvest what I can today. Weeds are rampant. The lettuce leaves are huge.

Here’s a close up of a broccoli plant. You can see that the broccoli isn’t nice and compact. It’s growing tall. I need to harvest today to have anything from these at all. :0(

Aside from the gazillion tiny weeds, you can see how TALL this lettuce plant is. That’s not a good sign. Lettuce, broccoli, spinach and cauliflower are early spring plants, needing the cooler weather. I hope that the lettuce leaves are not already bitter. I’ll bite one and see.

I’ll be doing a lot of careful harvesting this weekend, one thing at a time, between rain storms. You would THINK with all this rain the temperature would be cooler, rather than like a sauna…

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Saturday Morning 5-14-2022

Eve Rigas

I’m about to walk out to our garden, and then to the other end of our yard where I planted our tomato plants. I may just LOOK this morning, rather than DOING much. I’ve been a bit under the weather lately, so I’ve been trying to concentrate on recovering, resting, and getting my strength back. I’m feeling ornery so far this morning – :0) – so that’s a very good sign. We’ve been having record-breaking heat here, so I’ll pay close attention to the time outside.

I’m even feeling like cooking! I KNOW!!! I’m going to experiment with a stir-fry type of dish with hamburger plus lots of good veggies. My friend Susy also sent me a group of Mediterranean recipes this morning, so I’ll take a look at those, as well. It feels GOOD to be feeling better!

Heading outside now. Talk with you again soon.

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A Day in the Veggie Garden


I didn’t realize when I told you earlier I planned to spend time outside today, working in my veggie garden and pruning my tomatoes, that the veggie garden by itself would need so much attention.

The first thing I did was the first harvest for May 2022. I filled my whole harvest basket and could have gathered a bunch more. I spent half an hour harvesting, and then washing the lettuce and spinach I collected. I put them in the fridge in bags and then made lunch.

About 1:15 I went out again. The sun is quite strong and it feels hot when you’re working. I got two of the six 4’x4′ wooden planter boxes weeded before I needed to come in to rest and drink some water. It’ll probably take me two more half-hour-or-so sessions to finish the weeding. The tomatoes will have to wait until tomorrow, or the next time Mother Nature is in a cooperative mood.

In the foreground of the picture above, the zucchini plants are thriving.

I have big broccoli plants with tiny broccoli florets in the center.
spinach, red onions, lettuce and zucchini in this planter.
Mainly lettuce and broccoli here.
spinach harvest for the day
today’s lettuce harvest

I’m going to rest for while, cool off, and drink water like a camel before going out for another session.

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1st Harvest of 2022!

Yesterday I dashed out between rain storms to gather our first harvest of the year from our raised bed, square-foot-garden. I harvest just part of the leaf lettuce that’s ready. I’ll harvest more so I can share some with our friends this week.

This is the first of the spinach. I hope to have a large enough harvest that I can serve some in salads, saute some as a side for dinners, AND freeze a bunch for later. Greedy, aren’t I! :0)

I’ll check on the garden, plus our two planters of tomatoes tomorrow. I’m feeling a little bit under the weather today, so I’m taking it easy and resting a lot.

I hope to harvest more lettuce, plus watch the video of how to prune my tomato plants for more yield and less greenery this year, then go out and see if I emulate the video..

The rain finally stopped and the sun is shining brightly today.

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The Tomato Plants are IN :0)

We have two tomato planters. We converted two brick planters on the opposite side of the house from the garden to square-foot-garden planters, though I used bags of potting soil to top them off this year. The one in the picture above we call the “niche” planter, since it’s tucked in beside the back porch and is shielded by the house.

This is an 8-foot brick planter east of the house. It’s more ‘out-in-the-open,’ much more subject to wind and gets more sun that the niche planter. Sometimes all of the plants do equally well. Sometimes the plants in one planter or the other do better in a given season. I’ve planted 8 plants in this long planter and 4 in the niche planter this year.

I found a good video on pruning tomato plants to increase yield. Usually I just leave our plants and they end up with vines all over the place – an unmanageable ‘mess’ with treasures here and there throughout. I would like to learn to prune the plants so we have plenty of greenery, but they don’t get out of hand. The video I found is “How to Prune Tomatoes for Maximum Yield and Plant Health” by Epic Gardening on YouTube. So far, I’ve learned that the type of tomato plants we grow are “indeterminate,” meaning that they continue to grow until Mother Nature kills the plants.

I’ll watch it over and over again before I actually try to prune the plants, and then I’ll take my time to sit beside each plant and really study it in a way I’ve never done before. Fingers crossed it’s a successful experiment.

They’re getting a good watering with the rain we’ve gotten overnight and today.

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