Tag Archives: tomatoes

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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Toward the End of Garden Harvests

I just came in from taking a quick look at the garden, and then to the other end of our house to the tomato planters. This is today’s harvest, but it’s obvious that the super-hot weather lately has brought a halt to most of the harvests now.

We have had a wonderful time this year. We had a LOT of lettuce, radishes, and tomatoes, and were able to share some of each of these with our friends. The zucchini made big plants, and we harvested several zucchini, but I’ll read about how we can do better on these next year. I also want to plant yellow crookneck squash next time.

The cantaloupe was fun, but all we have are either green or yellowish small ones, all hard as a rock with vines spreading everywhere. I have no clue if they’ll actually continue to grow and ripen or not. Another subject for a lot of reading.  The red onions are still looking good. As soon as the weather gets a bit cooler, I’ll start looking to see if any are ready to come out of the ground.

 

Beautiful World

Of course when I was the farthest away from the house, the rain started. I toweled off when I came in, but it’s a very good thing I’m not water-soluble. :0)

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Garden Progress

I’ve been working on our garden, trying to get it cleaned up after I had to neglect it for about a week.  My husband came out there with me today – a rare and delightful thing – and we did a good amount to prune and clean up. I have another session to do out there, but it will wait.

 

There is always more to do in the garden, but we improved things a lot today.  I pulled up my radishes a couple of days ago, the last time I was out there. For some reason, they didn’t make successfully this time. I was disappointed, because I got spoiled with a really super crop with the last batch I planted in the spring, having enough to give to my friends and having lots for me to enjoy.  I’ll concentrate on trying not to be greedy. I’ll plant another group soon.

The zucchini plants are still looking healthy, although I’m having to read everything I can get my hands on to figure out what I’m doing.

We have lots of these small cantaloupes!  I didn’t know they start out green, but we made sure each one is now sitting in a plastic bowl to keep it out of the dirt, as I read they like. Fingers crossed that they actually grow into something delicious to eat!

 

Red onions.

Our weather has been really different this year. Our tomato plants are looking pretty sad right now. I have no clue whether we’ll get more or not. We’ve had such a good crop this year. I hope I can extend the season some.  I took bags of ripe tomatoes to our friends at Lunch Bunch this morning, and then another bag to our hairdresser on the way home. I love it when we can share the wealth!

Obvious Fun

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Monday’s Harvest

It’s been about a week since I’ve been able to get out to the garden. Needless to say, there is a LOT to do out there now.

I did some weeding and harvested this zucchini and some tomatoes. I’ll go back out there later and prune a bunch of stuff and do more weeding.

We have some cantaloupe!  I used several plastic ‘bowls’ with holes in them that allow the cantaloupe to grow while keeping them off the soil.  I have no clue if we’ll actually get anything edible, but I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas watching them grow!

I’ll try to get some pics of the garden later to share.

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Good News and Iffy News from the Garden

Good news and iffy news from the garden today.

GOOD NEWS – more ripe tomatoes and it looks like lots more to come.  The radishes and sweet red onions seem to be doing fine.

IFFY NEWS –  I have a lot of ‘greenery’ and blossoms from my zucchini and cantaloupe plants, but the actual veggies and fruits are looking wimpy.  In three days of my concentrating on other parts of the yard, the weeds are trying to take over. The heat index is 105 today, so I’ll have to wait until dusk to do anything out there. I’ll weed as much as I can and then put some extra fertilizer over things and see what, if anything, happens.

I absolutely LOVE trying to grow veggies and fruit. I have a wonderful set up, with chest-high wooden 4′ x 4′ planters filled with Mel’s Mix (peat moss, vermiculite, and several kinds of compost) and an irrigation system for consistent watering. I have unlimited hope and enthusiasm, but little expertise, though I’m reading and learning what I’m supposed to be doing on a regular basis. Thus far, the list of things NOT to do again is growing much faster than the successes, but my motivation is still strong.

Each lunch and each dinner features fresh, ripe tomatoes from our own garden. I ‘spiralized’ (made spaghetti-like stuff with the aid of my kitchen gadget) from one pregnant-looking zucchini from our own garden and my husband pronounced it ‘yummy.’  Next year I plan to grow yellow squash, too. We’re spiralizing that, too, and my husband is shocked that he enjoys both of these. He did say, though, that he’ll TRY some as a substitute for actual pasta, but doesn’t hold high hopes for the idea yet. I’m hoping I can convince him. :0)

 

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July 6th Harvest

 

After we got back from relocating the raccoon this morning, I went to check on the tomatoes and the garden. I harvested these from the larger planter – the plants I thought were going to croak earlier because the leaves were turning yellow and falling off. These plants still don’t look ‘healthy,’ but they are producing delicious tomatoes. The nook planter beside the house has only two plants in it and they are HUGE, green, and leafy. I’ve only gotten two ripe tomatoes so far. There are lots of green ones, though, and lots of blossoms. There might be a lesson here somewhere, if I can just figure out what it is. I would appreciate some opinions from people who know what they are doing in the garden.

In the larger square foot garden, I couldn’t do much because the irrigation system was going. I have large, leafy-looking zucchini plants now with large yellow flowers and a few actual zucchini!  I harvested one pregnant-looking one so far. I have several now that might get large enough to harvest.

I also have the cantaloupe plants whose arms are spilling out over everything with lots of blossoms. There is one small cantaloupe that I have supported by a plastic round thingie with legs and holes in it. I have no clue whether we’ll actually get anything worth eating, but it’s great fun to watch the progress. \

The onions are expanding, even though their tops were so damaged in several storms I elected to cut them off.

I need to do some weeding out there and then I’ll take pics to share.

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

This is our garden, minus two tomato planters on the opposite end of the house. It’s a raised-bed, square foot garden.

“Raised bed” – because we built six 4’x4′ wooden boxes, put them on top of metal supports (like tables) at about my chest height, so I don’t have to get down on my hands and knees, or bend over double to garden.

“Square foot garden” – because the only ‘soil’ we have up here on top of our ridge line was trucked in so we could have grass around the house. We tried to have a regular garden, enriching the soil, etc. and it was a dismal failure. After several years I was delighted to find Mel Bartholomew and his book, Square Foot Gardening, where he explained that we could ‘create’ a growing medium much like soil ABOVE the ground and grow veggies!

We surrounded our garden with fencing, since we do have deer running around. Usually I have bright neon-colored tape running around the outside to warn the deer so they don’t run into the fencing. The rains and sun deteriorated the tape and I haven’t put more up yet. We have chicken wire around the bottom to deter rabbits and other cute critters from breaching the fencing, although I would think it would be difficult for them to climb up the metal legs to get to the veggies. Our garden door is looking a bit sad these days. We’ve had so much to deal with after losing so much of our electronic goodies in the recent storms that I haven’t bothered my husband with it. You might get a giggle out of the sign on the door. We did that when we first got the CNC set-up in the shop, where we can do computer-guided cutting of sheet metal. That was one of the first things we cut out. The poor thing is rusted now, but it’s one of my favorite things.

 

This sweet, oddly shaped thing is probably the world’s smallest cantaloupe. I have no clue whether we’ll actually get anything edible, but it’s fun to try.

 

I’ve never seen zucchini growing before and I’m fascinated. We may not get much of a crop, but I’m eager to check what we have each time I go out.

 

With all the rain and strong sun we’ve had, I can’t keep the weeds out of here, but I’m trying to keep them down as much as possible so the sweet red onions have room to grow.

 

This is the latest group of radishes. I’m hoping they do well. The last crop was better than I’m able to get at the store.

 

Here is today’s harvest. I was so pleased to see more ripe tomatoes. And these, except for one, all came from the plants in the long planter that had yellow leaves and were looking spindly recently. I added bone meal and some tomato food, and they have responded well, although they don’t look as healthy as the two plants in the planter beside the house. MAYBE it’s a good thing to have much less greenery – leading to better production of tomatoes….

And this is my first zucchini!  I have no clue why this one looks pregnant. The ones at the store don’t look like this. It’ll be interesting to see if it tastes good or not.

I was planning to spend more time outside this morning, but the wind picked up, the skies darkened, and I heard rumbling thunder. I hurried inside, closed the garage door, and prepared for the coming storm. My phone was even sending me messages about lightning and heavy rain right outside of Greenwood. We didn’t get the storm! NOW the sun is out again. Go figure.

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Feast or Famine

All spring it has either been heavily raining or SUPER hot with strong sun. Nothing in-between. Today I was only out for about half an hour, and came in huffing and puffing, wiping my head and face, and wanting to glug water.

I found these yellow leaves on my tomato plants yesterday. My friend, Laufrain, and I looked up the problem last night. It suggested bone meal and fertilizer. I just added both of those to the planter and watered. Fingers crossed they like it. I have nice green tomatoes and am hoping for a good crop.

 

This is our other tomato planter. As you can see, the plants are good and healthy. I have no clue what’s going on with the longer planter.

 

This is my first trial at growing zucchini. I have several that SEEM to be doing well.

 

Sweet red onions.

 

Radishes I just started a few days ago.

 

And THIS  is the excitement for the day! It is a cantaloupe!  Ta DA!   If it doesn’t croak and continues to grow, I have a plastic bowl thingie with lots of holes for drainage and legs to keep the cantaloupe up off the ground. I’ve never grown one of these before. This was my husband’s choice of what to grow (other than head lettuce), so I’m really hoping we grow at least one and that it’s good.

On my way back in, I stopped to take a couple of pictures of the flowers on the deck. They make my heart soar every time I see them.

Now I’m very thankful that we have air-conditioning!

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The Tomatoes are Coming!

I’m hoping that we’ll have a good tomato crop this year. We have some good looking green tomatoes now. One of our very favorite things is sliced ripe tomatoes.

With all the rain we’ve had and then some pretty warm weather, the tomato plants in our nook planter really took off. I’ve given up trying to ‘control’ them. I’m just propping them up the best way I can and hoping for the best…

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Weed War

Wild Abundance

Our weeds aren’t QUITE as bad as these, but I’m having to really work to try to catch up. Our monsoon-like rains here have resulted not only in a pretty stellar veggie crop this year, but also ‘weeds as high as an elephant’s eye’ (“Oklahoma” musical paraphrase).

I just came in from pruning our rose bushes to encourage more blooms and weeding and cutting back in our trio of brick planters between the front yard and the driveway. There is always more, but they look as if someone cares now. :0)

Yesterday I spent about an hour weeding in our veggie garden. The sheer volume of weeds won. I’ll go out in a few minutes (wearing a sweat band and having sprayed with OFF!) – I DO learn from mistakes! – and I’ll see if I can finish weeding the boxes today.

This year it seems as though we’re always trying to get something done ‘before the day’s rain.’ Today we have a 50% chance of heavy rain. 80% tomorrow. 50% Friday…. you get the idea.

I told you yesterday that I would try to get pics of our tomato plants. I forgot, so I’ll go out and get some now.

It’s been a couple of days since I checked on the tomato plants. We have some green tomatoes!

 

We have 4 tomato plants in this planter.

And two more plants here. (These were so large I had to string wire to hold them up!)

This is one green tomato from these two plants.

Did I tell you I’m having trouble keeping up with things with all the rain we’ve been having?!?!

Heading out to the veggie garden to see if I can finish weeding there.

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It’s Still ‘Monsoon Season’ In Arkansas

The Guardian

Yesterday I went – armed with my umbrella – to see what is happening in my garden. We have really had an unusual spring here in Arkansas. Cooler than usual, and that is very welcome, but also MUCH more rain than usual.

Some of the trees in the driveway are hanging down toward each other with the weight of the water in their leaves, creating almost a canopy through which we drive. It’s no problem for us, but the UPS and FEDEX drivers may say a few ripe words as they make their way up and down again. I’ve also already told you about the amazing results in my garden. For the first time ever I’ve been able to share the veggie wealth with my friends. It’s a delightful thing and I hope to be able to continue.  I harvested the very first-ever heads of lettuce I’ve been able to grow, plus all the radishes I planted.

Today I wanted to show you what I found yesterday –

This is the celery end I planted a couple of days ago. It seems to be happy. :0)

This is zucchini squash. I planted several plants because I can process this for zucchini noodles, freeze it, or dehydrate it.

My ‘mystery weed’ turned out to indeed, be spinach!  Woo Hooooooo! I have several plants now. :0)

I’ve never had onion tops this tall. They are over my head!  I don’t know what this means in terms of the growth of the actual sweet red onions. Only time will tell.

One head lettuce plant. I’ll get leaf lettuce, too, when I harvest the head.

Another head lettuce plant.

More zucchini.  You can also see that the broccoli is going to blossom – signaling the end of it.

This is cantaloupe!  I have no clue what I’m doing, but the plant seems happy at the moment. I have some plastic ‘bowls’ with legs and lots of drain holes to put under any melon while they grow – assuming I get some. I’m like a kid at Christmas!

The tomato plants on the opposite side of our house are doing fine, too.

It’s raining all day today. The high will only be in the low 60’s. I’m hoping that we can go to the local stores in the coming week to see if there is more we want to try. Otherwise, once I eat my way through a lot of radishes, I’ll plant some more. They can be planted most any time of the year, so I’m hoping I can get at least one more good crop.

I’m planning to get out and weed this week , assuming the weather will cooperate. Looming on the horizon is my husband and I rebuilding our two brick planters which collapsed.

I hope you’re having a wonderful Saturday, too!

 

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Ready to Plant More!

This picture gives you a good idea of how our raised bed, square foot garden is set up. You can see the six boxes. Each is 4 foot square. Each has a sprinkler in the center with hose connecting the boxes to one master control that irrigates the garden each morning for 10 minutes. Each box is divided into ‘squares’ by running wire in two directions. You can also see that there is fencing around the garden to keep out large critters. It also has chicken wire running around the bottom for little critters.

The rains lately caused an explosion in the garden. The plants were spilling out of the top over the sides. I couldn’t see the squares anymore. It took me three days to get things harvested, washed, and either put in the fridge or distributed to friends. I finished cleaning up the garden this morning so it’s ready to plant some new things. My husband and I will see what is available in the coming week that looks interesting.

We have about 5 heads of lettuce that might still make. The green part of the onions is over my head. :0)

I think this is zucchini squash. I also have some cantaloupe plants.

The jury is still out on whether sweet little plants like these that are dotted around the garden are weeds or spinach. I’m hoping for spinach. Time will tell.

This sweet little guy is celery, transplanted from sprouting in the kitchen. I cut off the end of some celery I bought at the store and put it in water. It’ll be fun to see what happens.

I keep telling you about Mel’s Mix, the soil alternative I use instead of real dirt in my garden. I buy peat moss, vermiculite, mushroom compost, barnyard compost, and cotton burr compost from the local co-op and put each ingredient in one of the garbage cans. I then put the ingredients in the correct ratio into our portable concrete mixer.

This is easy to use and mixes things SO much better than I was doing before with a shovel in my wheelbarrow. When mixed, the mixer will move down to dump the ingredients into a bucket, the wheelbarrow, or whatever, and I transfer it to the garden boxes.

I’m hoping we’ll find something fun to plant next week. Fingers crossed!

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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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Veggies After the Storms

We had some really hard rain off and on yesterday, with more this morning, so I was a bit worried about what I might find in our raised bed square foot garden.

We built 6 ‘boxes’ that are each 4 feet by 4 feet, installing them on metal supports about my chest high. This enables me to enjoy adding soil, planting, weeding, and harvesting without having to get down on my hands and knees, or bend over double.  You can see 5 of the 6 boxes in the photo above.

 

I planted one whole box with sweet red onion sets. I’ll leave these alone until harvest, other than weeding and maybe thinning out as the bulbs grow.

 

This is a combination of broccoli plants and radishes that have just sprouted. No sprouts from the spinach yet. :0(

 

Here is some of the lettuce plants and more radishes. I’ll start harvesting some lettuce leaves tomorrow.

This is what I call the NOOK planter, since it is cradled by the back of the house and the end of the back porch. The tomato plants are quite sheltered from the wind here, plus get more shade.

And this is the second tomato planter. It is more exposed than the other. It seems to depend on the year whether the tomatoes produce better in the sun and wind or relative protection and shade.

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Garden Progress-4-11-2019

Planet Natural

The past couple of days I’ve spent a lot of time outside.

 

The radishes are finally sprouting. I have several squares of them, in this and other planter boxes.

The broccoli seems to be doing well so far.

I’ll probably start harvesting (and EATING!) some lettuce leaves next week.

The sweet red onions are looking good.

No spinach sprouts yet, but I’m still hopeful…

Today I’m trying to get some flower planters ready to plant. It used to be that I was the one who loved the flowers, but now we both enjoy them.  We’re going to start with wave petunias, periwinkles, purslane, and impatiens. If we can get them planted, we’ll see if we need more.

My husband says that deep purple iris have become his favorite flower. They’re blooming in several places in the yard right now.

I really love this time of year!

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Fun in the Greenhouse

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Yesterday’s Harvest

I’m grateful for the harvest yesterday. In the picture above you can see that my spinach plants are not enjoying the heat. Lettuce and spinach are cool weather plants and I usually enjoy quite a harvest before the too-hot begins. I’ll harvest as much spinach as possible because I can freeze it.

 

The head lettuce leaves are still okay, but looking a bit stressed. These plants are happier than anything else, with the exception of the radishes, in the square foot garden right now.

 

I’m sad because the really hot-too-soon in the season weather we’ve been having is causing the romaine lettuce to bolt. I’m not sure how much more I can harvest before the leaves taste bitter and I have to compost the plants.

 

We’ll enjoy the fresh lettuce and spinach for salad each day for as long as possible. I’m not sure whether I’ll get more broccoli, but the hope is that I’ll get more from the shoots from the main plant after the center has been harvested. The radishes and onions are doing fine, although some of the green tops of the onions are shooting up and trying to make seeds. The tomato plants on the other side of the house are growing rapidly. They like the heat. I have a few blossoms, so I’m hopeful we’ll enjoy a nice crop this year.

 

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Garden Harvest – May, 2018

broccoli

I harvested this yesterday when it was super hot. I didn’t harvest any romaine because I just got too hot out there. I’ll do that later today.

 

head lettuce

 

Spinach

I also wanted to show you our tomato plants in the two planters we converted to square foot gardening on the east side of the house.

 

The first tomato blossom of the season!

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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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Square Foot Garden Progress – April

 

Yesterday I showed you the first harvest from our spring veggie garden. I’m delighted that everything seems to be happy so far.

The raised bed square foot garden consists of six 4’x4′ wooden boxes about my chest level filled with Mel’s Mix (a combination of peat moss, vermiculite, and three or more kinds of compost.) The boxes are divided into ‘squares’ by stretched string. I have opted to space things out a lot more this year because I lost a lot of produce by having the plants growing into each other. I decided to opt for a lot more air and space for each plant and see what happens.

We also have tomato plants in two converted brick planters on the other side of the house. We’ll plant another group of tomato plants soon so that we can space out our harvest and extend it as much as possible.

In the picture above you can see broccoli plants, spinach, iceberg head lettuce, romaine lettuce, and onions. I’ll add some radish seeds soon (as soon as I get the squares weeded) and also celery (when the ones I started in the house are large enough.)

Each box has a sprinkler in the center that are connected by pieces of hose. These are all tied to a main hose that connects to a rural type outside faucet. We put a timer on it so that the garden is irrigated each morning.

I’m going to wash spinach, romaine, and iceberg lettuce for our salad today harvested yesterday from the garden. I hope that one day we can eat our own broccoli!

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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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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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Mary, Mary…

30seconds.com

 

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.

 

Radishes

 

New celery plants

 

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

 

Carrots

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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A Little Bit of a Fall Garden

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Today I went out to what I hope will be my fall square foot garden. I haven’t been out there since I planted some seeds about three weeks ago.

The ones I planted in the plant starter tray are still looking really fragile. I guess I’ll move them outside on the deck where they can get more sun and hope for the best.

There were a LOT of weeds in the garden. I made a first pass on the weeding and will spend a lot more time out there later. I wanted to take some celery plants I started in the kitchen out there and basically see if ANY of the seeds had sprouted.

I’m going to stop here and go take some pics so that you can see what’s happening so far.

______________________

I’m back.

I planted things fast, and not how I’m supposed to in a square foot garden because I really didn’t expect anything to come up. We had no rain – not even a drop – in September, confirmed by our weather people. We also had hotter and more humid weather than usual for the month. Not a great combination. I’m encouraged that I have ANYTHING growing at this point, particularly after getting rid of a gazillion weeds today.  This is Bibb Lettuce.

 

Carrot sprouts.

 

Celery. One neat thing I learned this year is that you can continue cutting stalks off, even to the point of getting pretty ruthless, leaving very little, and the stalks will start growing again!

 

The most successful plant in the garden this year was marigolds. They didn’t do much of a job of keeping insects away, but they look nice.

Two different ages of celery plants.

 

Radishes.

Simpson Lettuce.

One lonely spinach plant.

I’m going to do another round of planting seeds directly in the garden, since they did better than the ones in the planter starter tray. I’ll keep working with the ones in the tray to see if they will get large and strong enough for transplanting. If they’re still slow, they may be the first things I try to grow in the greenhouse!

I also have two tomato plants that are about a month old now. One has some blossoms. I don’t know if they’ll do anything before the first frost. If not, I’ll put them in the greenhouse, too.

I was a bit disappointed to find that no one was carrying the plants I wanted for a fall garden this year. Now it’s turned into a really fun experiment, where if I get anything at all to work, it will be more than I expected. :0)

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Today’s Harvest – Veggies and Flowers

This is the last of the spaghetti squash harvest. I pulled out the vines today. I could have gotten a few more, since there were still flowers on some of the vines, but I need to get things cleared out to try to get a fall garden going.

I’m still really pleased that I was able to save the seeds from one spaghetti squash I bought at the store, planted two seeds in pots in the kitchen and put them on the window sill. When they got large enough, I transferred them into my raised bed, square foot garden. I had no clue whether they would grow or not. The vines ended up taking up two of the 4×4 foot planters. The plants weren’t very ‘pretty,’ but I think getting at least 8 spaghetti squash from this experiment could be called a success. :0)

 

This is today’s harvest of tomatoes. I should get a few more. I’ve cleared out the plants in the ‘nook’ planter, but I still have four plants left in the 8 foot planter to the east of the house. I planted one new tomato plant on each end of the planter last week. I have no idea if we still have enough time to get to harvest with these, but it’s fun to hope.

On the first session in the garden today, I brought Amber. She was good until she got bored. She then decided to try to dig some holes under the planters. My husband brought her out – on the leash this time – on my second gardening session. The most significant thing in the square foot garden right this minute is marigolds. They’re everywhere.  My husband said I should cut some and put them in a vase for us to enjoy inside.

He saw some wasps climbing around and into the pipes that form the framework of our garden. He decided to spray them – so instead of just having to be wary of them, we actively had to dodge the really angry wasps! It was easy to decide the second gardening session of the day was over.

So here are today’s flowers – marigolds and zinnias.

I think I’ll wait until later this evening or tomorrow to finish getting the square foot planters ready for a fall garden. My chair and a cold drink are calling to me….

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Glorious Weather

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I’m feeling especially bad about Hurricane Harvey for a couple of reasons –

  • My husband’s name is Harvey, so it seems a more personal responsibility, somehow
  • Our weather is ideal for this time of the year. The sun is shining, but a cold front came through, brought us rain, and now it’s dry and NOT HUMID like it’s been for so long.  I feel guilty that we’re enjoying such beautiful weather when others are in for a really scary, awful time with the hurricane plus SO MUCH RAIN over the next 5 days or so. :0(

We’ve been trying to get outside each day to do all we can to get caught up on our outside list. Yesterday we mowed and weed whacked a bit. I worked in the flower planters, but mostly spent time with the two planters we’ve converted to square foot gardening and are raising tomatoes in.

I harvested the tomatoes above. As you can see, they aren’t as pretty as the ones we were getting earlier. I spent about an hour on the 8 foot tomato planter, pulling off dead stuff, cutting off some limbs, etc.  We found some Early Girl tomato plants at Yeagers yesterday. We bought two and I planted them in that planter. They’re supposed to produce within 50 days, which would put us into October. We’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope.

I tried to clean up the plants in the nook planter, but they were just too far gone. I finally ended up pulling the plants out.

The suckers I tried to grow in water on my window sill didn’t make it. I’ll try again if I can find some more good suckers.

This morning, while I was out with Amber, I found a BIG spaghetti squash HANGING down outside one of my raised bed square foot garden boxes in the garden!  I got one of the plastic bowl thingies with the pointed thing in the middle that allows you to set growing melons on them, raising them up out of the soil and giving them support – and used it for the spaghetti squash. This will be squash # 4 grown from two seeds in a squash bought at the store.

Today I plant to

  • clean out the hummingbird bird bath we built,
  • work in garden on my veggies
  • work in the flower planters some more.

Tonight we plan to grill burgers on the deck. Such glorious weather! I wish everyone could enjoy it with us!

 

 

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Coming to the End?

I just harvested 3 more tomatoes while Amber and I were taking a walk, but they’re smaller and not as pretty. I’m grateful for whatever we can get at this point. I’m going to try to get some suckers from the tomato plants and plant them in pots in the house or on the deck for now. It’s still too hot to put them in the greenhouse. If I can keep them alive until they can go in there, I MIGHT be able to keep harvesting tomatoes for quite a while! Can’t wait to start the experiment.

I showed you two spaghetti squash(es) I harvested a week or so ago. I cooked them a couple of days ago and was able to freeze them into individual size servings – enough for 10 meals! I have about three more coming in the garden.  I also am still able to harvest handfuls of grape tomatoes – a fun thing to throw into salads or have with dip with celery and carrots.

I still have some celery growing, and have more on the kitchen counter getting ready to put out. My celery doesn’t look like what you buy at the store. I have read that I’m supposed to be tying the stalks together. I’ll try that one of these days, but I’m just cutting off stalks and bringing them in.

 

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And How Does Our Garden Grow?

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This is one of the celery plants in my garden that I started from the end of a stalk I bought at the store. I’m going to cut some of the stalks today and see if they taste good.

 

This is one of two spaghetti squash vines I have growing right now. I grew this from a seed I saved from a squash I bought at the store. It’s a bit larger than a softball now.

 

We have lots of green tomatoes, and this one ripening one. It should be ready to bring in in a couple of days.

 

 

Here are two celery plants that have been growing in water in my kitchen. These are ready to be planted in the garden.

 

Can tomatoes be ‘cute?’ If so, I think THESE are. These are grape tomatoes and this is today’s harvest. It may be awhile before I have enough for a salad….

And finally, this is the first thing I’ll do in my new greenhouse – try to grow tomato plants from suckers.

A ‘sucker’ is a sprout from the juncture of two branches. If you look carefully at this picture, you can find the juncture of the tall vertical branch on the right side of the picture and the horizontal branch going out to the left at the bottom of the picture. The ‘sucker’ is the smaller branch with leaves growing right out of the juncture.

 

In the next few days I’ll get some glasses in the greenhouse so I can put the suckers in the water and see if they’ll sprout. Fingers crossed!

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New Green Tomatoes!

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I’m hoping we’ll be like this cute little boy soon, picking fresh, ripe tomatoes off the vines to slice for a meal!

 

It’s kind of like treasure hunting now. You don’t see the tomatoes until you get up close, and sometimes you have to search a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

I worked out in the square foot garden for about an hour yesterday, trying to undo the neglect due to too much rain, then my husband’s cataract surgeries, and then the new puppy. I’m basically down to tomatoes, onions, two kinds of lettuce, some spinach, some celery, and one spaghetti squash plant I grew from seed in the kitchen. I’ll try to get pics of the garden tomorrow. I’ve been using a push weed-whacker, trying to go around the outside of the garden today. It’s hard work for an old lady. I ran into a tough something-or-other, snapping off the whacking cords. My good husband put some new ones on, so when the sun is a bit lower, I’ll do another hitch out there.

I hope your day is good.

 

 

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

Ashevillage

 

Here is one row of our garden. You can see three ‘boxes’ from front to back tied together by the irrigation system, which is on a timer we can control. Most of the garden is in now.

 

This is the second row of the garden with another three boxes.

I just went over and hugged my husband again, thanking him (1) for the idea of our building a raised garden (when he saw how very hot, tired, and achy I got getting up and down, planting, weeding, and harvesting the garden on the ground), (2) for all the time and energy he spent building and installing the boxes, cutting and welding the support tables that hold up the wooden boxes, designing the irrigation system, (3) for encouraging me to spend what I needed to get – and keep – things going in the garden.

 

I visit the garden at least once a day – covering or uncovering the plants in protecting them from freezes, pulling the weeds that install themselves even up in the air, pulling off dead leaves on the plants, taking pics, and – the best part – when I can actually start harvesting what we’ve grown!

 

I’ve planted Georgia Sweet Onions, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Red Lettuce, Romaine Lettuce, Spinach, Radishes, celery, and spaghetti squash. Probably next month, when the stores have a good selection, I’ll get three tomato plants. In another three weeks, I’ll get three more, making a total of six. We have two brick planters on the east side of the house converted to square foot gardens, filled with Mel’s Mix, ready to receive the plants.

 

We’re off to a good start!

Do you like to grow veggies? I would love to hear from you, comparing notes on how you do it.  I would love to hear about tips you have on getting a healthy crop, suggestions you have so that I can do a better job. I’m a real novice and appreciate all the help I can get. :0)

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