Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Little Harvest

Here is another picture of some of my veggies. I've got green beans, orange and red tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and poblano peppers.

And some Jimmy Nardello peppers.

Pictures of my watermelons, pumpkins, cukes, and honeydew to follow in a few days!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Japanese Beetles

I had seen a couple beetles on my strawberry plants and a couple more on my tropical hibiscus, but since this my first year to do any real gardening, I never gave them a thought.

Then my sister came over this morning and pointed out that something was eating my strawberry leaves. And it hit me that those darn beetles were doing it. Duh, sometimes the obvious escapes me.

So I searched for images and found what I think I have ... Japanese beetles.

I took off all that I found after I sprayed them with Safer insecticidal soap. I will have to be more diligent and check everyday. I plan to just pick them off and drop them into soapy water and see how they like that.

photo from

And here is a picture, though not very good, of one of them on my strawberries and the damage they are doing to the leaves.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Peas & Carrots ... and an update

Today I pulled the peas plants out of the garden, they went to the compost pile. I could have pulled them a few days ago since nothing else was growing on them, but I wanted to be sure.

I didn't get very many peas even though I had 8 plants. I'm not sure how many I was supposed to get, but I will plant more next time. I ended up with about half a sandwich bag of shelled peas. I put them on a cookie sheet to freeze then I will bag them and store in the freezer. I read that lots of people do not blanch their peas so I will try it that way.

I also pulled a few carrots from the garden. I wanted baby carrot size carrots and that's what these are, one of them is a little big. And look at that one, looks like carrot pants.

I might just cook my peas and carrots together!

I have more carrots coming in finally. I'm gonna throw out this seed and get a new packet next time, I had such poor germination with these.

One of my cucumbers has a few flowers on it, yay! But it is only about 4" tall, hasn't even reached the trellis yet.

And the watermelon has taken off big time. It too has some flowers on it.

The strawberries have stopped producing, don't know if that's normal or not. I gotta look into it.

I picked one cherry tomato and will probably pick 2 Jimmy Nardello peppers tomorrow, they're almost done.

I added more compost to the square where I pulled the peas. I planted 3 pole beans there today too. And, speaking of the compost pile. I actually have 2 in different stages of breakdown. The original one has got clumps of grass growing in it. Every once in a while I pull them out of there. But I am wondering what I will be doing with the compost anyway since I have a bunch already bagged. So today Ty planted some pumpkin seeds in it, 5 in all. We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mid-June Garden Update

I thought I would share some pictures of my garden in mid-June.

Here are the sugar baby watermelon and sugar pie pumpkins. They are doing well. That one watermelon is really stunted, don't know why.

My strawberries look good except a few have discolored leaves. I also noticed that some of the berries are misshapen. I'll have to look into both of these things to see what's going on.

This bed has peas, cucumbers and a honeydew on the trellis. The peas are about done, I think. There are only 4 plants, I got about half a sandwich bag of shelled peas. The cucumbers and melon got off to a slow start because I had those huge cauliflower and broccoli shading them.

This bed also has shallots, spinach, lettuce, and carrots. The carrots really didn't do well at all. I think the seed was too old or something, I had poor germination. I harvested most of the spinach. The shallots are just about ready. And the lettuce just keeps going and going. I have harvested a lot of it. There is also a lone poblano pepper. There's some empty space that I should plant something else in, but haven't yet.

This bed has bush beans, which have just started forming. There's banana peppers, bell peppers, Jimmy Nardello peppers and poblano peppers. They all have little peppers on them, I've already picked a banana pepper. There's a couple green onions left, I've harvested several. The bulb onions are about ready. 

There's also the tomato plants which seem quite too bunched up. I think I will only plant 3 in this amount of space next time. I'm not sure about the 2 middle plants, if they are the vining type or not, but I got them tied up anyway. They all have little tomatoes growing on them. The beefsteak on the right has a bunch of yellow leaves. I clipped off some of them already.

Here's a couple pictures of the cabbages, broccoli, banana pepper and a few peas that I harvested.

UPDATE: 19 JUNE 2014
After doing a little research about the yellow leaves on the tomato plants I came to the conclusion that I should be feeding them. I thought so originally and bought some tomato-tone and kelp meal, but then I read that when they are planted in Mel's Mix they don't need anything.

Then I thought that since I have 4 plants in a 4 ft row that they would probably benefit from it. Today I applied both the tomato-tone and the kelp meal. So we'll see.

Also, I read a little about pruning tomatoes. The beefsteak is already growing on a single main stem. The cherry tomato has 2 main stems and so does one of the medium size tomatoes. The other medium size tomato has 3 main stems. I decided to prune one of those off. It had some flowers on it but no tomatoes. Maybe that will help a little.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Small Harvest

Today I decided that the cauliflower was not going to form any heads so I chopped them off. They were humongous and shading other things in the garden so they had to go.

I decided to cut the broccoli out as well. I did get a small little bunch of broccoli though. That's so amazing to me!

And I cut my 2 heads of cabbage. They look fantastic!

I picked 1 banana pepper too because I'm making fajitas and thought I could use it in them.

I get a big handful of strawberries on a daily basis. I try to eat them but mostly I freeze them. I noticed a tiny little green inchworm in the strawberry bed. I ordered some BT to use on the beds.

And I pick lettuce whenever I want a salad.

I'm loving this little garden of mine!

You can see a little damage on one of the cabbages. That was done by Liam. He was "helping" me in the garden and had his water gun. Well he pow powed the poor cabbage. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Little Bit of Heaven

I picked these this morning! This is the 3rd bowlful that I have gotten so far with plenty more getting ready! I'm loving this.

And, on a side note, I planted 3 sugar pie pumpkins today too. They are in the same box as the sugar baby watermelon.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I Am So In Love With My Little Garden Right Now!

I visit my garden almost daily, I can't help it. I want to see everything as it happens! I decided to take some pictures of what's growing in there. The pictures could be better, so look closely.

 Banana peppers

 1 little cherry tomato, so cute!

 Jimmy Nardello peppers, not sure it that's what they're supposed to look like or not

 pea pods, kinda hard to see

 pea pods, I think they are so lovely and delicate


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Updated Square Foot Garden Pictures

It's a beautiful day today! I love it a little cooler, it's perfect for me! The garden probably likes a little more sun though.

These first 2 are my strawberries, with my Mom showing the developing strawberries! Can't wait for these.

This box has 2 little watermelon sprouts, one of them you can't see too well. These are sugar baby watermelon. :) The other half of this bed will have pie pumpkins.

This bed has my tomatoes along the trellis. There's a few flowers on them and even 1 little cherry tomato! The peppers in front have some banana peppers growing and Jimmy Nardello too, so far nothing from the bell pepper or poblano. Also in front are bush beans and onions behind them. Then the big monstrosities are cauliflower and broccoli. They still show no sign of forming a head. And back behind them are green onions.

This bed has peas along the trellis that just bloomed their beautiful white flowers! Also along the trellis, but you can't see, are cucumbers and honeydew. In front are some carrots and spinach. Neither are doing too well. Hardly any germinated, but the seeds were old. Also in front on the right is another poblano. In the back there are several stages of lettuce. I just harvested a "head" yesterday. I've been leaving some of the leaves and main stem so that it will grow again, which is what those 2 little ones on the right are doing. Right behind the spinach is a cabbage, which is just beautiful. It has a lovely perfect little head forming! There is actually another one in between those monstrous cauliflower and broccoli. There are some shallots growing in there too, can't wait for those!

Another view of things: cabbage, shallots, lettuce etc.

You might see some damage on some of the leaves, which I'm sure came from the 2 or 3 nights of late spring frost. But I think everything is pulling through, I hope! And there's a few holes in the leaves, but I'm willing to share within reason. I am loving this little garden!

After doing the math I realized that these huge monstrous plants should be ready for harvesting now or very soon. I'm thinking they just aren't going to do their thing. I guess I should pull them out.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Compost Update

The compost I started last fall has still not finished breaking down completely. I'm sure it's because I neglected it. I'm not sure what to do with it now. Do I leave it alone or add new stuff to it?

In the meantime, I started a new pile with grass clippings and kitchen scraps. And I am adding equal amounts of shredded leaves to it. It is heating up nicely. I collected leaves last fall, shredded them and bagged them. I keep them under my deck and grab a bag after mowing the yard.

Not sure what I will do with all this compost though, lol.


I've been looking for specifics on growing watermelon in raised beds, but haven't really found the information I am looking for. So I just have to wing it.

Today I planted 2 sugar baby watermelon in my last 4'x4' box. I don't think I will be trellising them so they will just have to spill out onto the yard. I hope I will still be able to mow around them. I guess I can just pick up the vines to mow under them.

I will wait a few weeks and plant 2 pie pumpkins in the other half of the bed. I really have no idea of the spacing required, so it's trial and error this year.

UPDATE: 5.24.14
Here are my little watermelon sprouts. You can't see the one too well, but it's there.

UPDATE: 27 JUN 2014
Today I noticed a little tiny watermelon growing! It's so cute.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

I Took the Plunge and an Update

I couldn't wait another day. I have had my tomato and pepper  plants in their little pots long enough. I transplanted them today. I probably should have done it earlier in the morning, it was kinda hot and sunny. And they are still kinda wilted looking.

I had to do the trench method on the tomatoes because they were so tall and somewhat leggy. I got 3 of them planted just fine, then on the 4th...snap! I broke the stem. It didn't break completely in half. I hope it makes it, but I'm not holding my breath. I will have to replace it with a store bought one, it is a cherry tomato.

I have a flower on one of the tomatoes, I think it's the one that I broke. And flowers on most of the peppers, with 2 tiny little banana peppers already growing. It's so exciting.

The strawberries have all leafed out, even the few that I thought were duds. We have taken leaves from the lettuce for a salad once so far. Everything is doing fine.

I have noticed the last several days that we have had a whole bunch of fuzzy caterpillar/worm things. I don't know what they are, but I don/t want them eating my garden. So I killed every one I came across.

Today, I also planted some more carrots, bush beans, a lemon cucumber, a green cucumber, and a honey dew melon. I planted some shallots last week and they have started coming up, I noticed.

So, now I have 3 of my boxes completely planted. I have 1 more box that I will plant a sugar baby watermelon and a pie pumpkin, probably in a couple weeks.

UPDATE: 5.11.14 I harvested a whole head of lettuce yesterday. It is really beautiful, not a blemish. I also noticed that both cucumbers are about an inch tall and the honeydew has sprouted. The bush beans are really growing fast, I will have to thin out a few of them. And the yellow onions are starting to sprout as well. Exciting!
I should also note that the tomato plant that I broke shows no signs of problems yet, but I will keep a close watch on it. While I was out there I also pinched off several suckers.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Garden 4.11.14

Here is a picture of one of my raised beds. It has mesclun mix, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, peas ad carrots growing. Not everything came up, but it's a start.

And here is a picture of the strawberry patch. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Strawberries Are Here!!

My bare root strawberry plants arrived today, all 75 of them. And guess who is ill-prepared? Me. I don't have much of a clue on what to do with them. I don't think I can plant them yet, we just had snow a couple days ago!

So I called the nursery. They told me to wrap the roots in a damp paper towel, put them in a plastic bag and put them in the fridge. And so I did.

I ordered 3 different varieties, 25 of each, that will supposedly provide fresh strawberries all summer long. I got Honeoye and Sparkle, which are June bearers and Ozark Beauty, which is an everbearer.

It's hard to believe that, in the right hands, these dead looking things

will grow these beauties!


I have my plot all ready for them, I even bought bird netting so I don't have to share. Now I need to find out when I can put them out. 

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Seedlings Are Transplanted ... Well, Most of Them

One thing I did not take into consideration was whether or not I was going to have enough room under my light for the seedlings when I transplanted them into bigger pots.

Today, I transplanted the tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and some lettuce. I didn't have room for the onions, the rest of the lettuce or the mesclun mix. These are gonna have to stay in their little pots until they go outside next week.

I actually think, without looking, that the broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage can go outside next week too. Don't know if this week in a bigger pot will benefit them or not.

So I chose pots that are about 2" square or so. I think now that they're too small and I will probably have to pot up again before the tomatoes and peppers can go outside.

Anyway, I wasn't sure when I was supposed to transplant. I think I waited a little too long. Every single plant had roots coming out through the netting. And these little roots were broken off during the process. And now they are looking very droopy. I hope I didn't kill them. They're sad!

And here is a picture of the rest of my seedlings.

That lettuce is looking good enough to eat!

I did a lot of research about starting my garden, there was no "a wing and a prayer" type of thing going on. I found lots of discrepancies about how to do things and since I know nothing about it, I had to pick someone's method. I chose to follow the guidelines set out in Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening book.

I made the beds like he instructed, made my growing medium just like he said and I started my seeds as he suggested and when he suggested.

After posting my excitement about my progress in GardenWeb forums, I have been told that I started everything way too early and that some of the things I started from seed indoors was unnecessary as they could have been direct seeded. I was told that by the time I set them out they are going to be very big and I guess hard to survive the transplant.

So my little bubble was burst! Now I feel like I'm back to square one, not knowing whose advice to follow about when I should put these little plants outside. There's different dates all over the place! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

First Seeds Planted

Well I took the plunge today. I'm not sure if it is the right day or not. The package says 5 weeks before our last spring frost, so does the book, so that's what I'm doing. And besides that, I heard that St Patty's Day is the traditional day to plant peas. I need a little luck of the Irish.

It is very strange, this weather in Missouri. Just yesterday we had freezing temps and about 2 inches of snow and sleet fall. Today, no sweater required!

I planted 1 square of peas. I know that's not a lot, but you got to start somewhere. I also planted 1 square of spinach and I will probably wish I planted more for sure. We'll see. And I planted 1 square of carrots, which I will do again every 2 weeks until I have 4 squares planted. Maybe I can do that with the spinach too, I'll have to look into it. Then I watered lightly and covered with plastic like the book says to do.

This was my first time planting in Mel's Mix. I found it very loose and kinda difficult to work with. I guess I should have watered it down before planting.

Tomorrow I will transplant my seedlings into bigger pots. And I still have to tie my string on to make the individual squares. 

Yeah, I know that drawing is lame. 

I have been told that I started these seeds too early. So they probably won't come up (and they haven't yet). I will have to put some more out.
UPDATE: 4.8.14
A few of the spinach seeds have sprouted a few days ago, as have a few peas, no carrots in site. I guess I will put some more seeds in. 
Today I put some of the transplants in the beds. I planted broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce and onions. I put a cardboard tube around the broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage so I hope the cutworms stay away! Tomorrow I will put the strawberries in and take a picture of everything.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I Got My Seeds Started

I bought a Jiffy Greenhouse thing from either Lowe's or WalMart to start my seeds and a 2 T8 bulb fluorescent shop light type thing for lighting.

I made a small order of some seeds and used some seeds that I had bought last year and never used. I also used some seeds that I saved on my own from Farmer's Market produce.

I don't want to overdo it and be swamped with food I can't eat, but on the other hand I want to use the space and time I have to grow as much as I will use.

I started my seeds on Feb 21.It didn't take long for them to germinate, the ones that did anyway. I bought poblano peppers from Burpee and they have a very poor germination rate. I'm very disappointed!

Anyway, here's what I planted: 4 Mortgage Lifter tomatoes, 3 Gardener's Delight tomatoes, 1 orange tomato, 1 normal size red tomatoe, 1 Jimmy Nardello pepper, 1 Bull Nose pepper, 2 banana peppers, 2 poblano peppers, 2 broccoli, 2 cabbage, 2 cauliflower, 5 butterhead lettuce, 4 mesclun mix, and 20 bunching onions.

Like I said, the poblano didn't germinate so I planted some more on March 5. Then I read that they take quite a while to sprout so maybe I jumped the gun, but here it is about 3 weeks later and only 2 little sprouts showed up. The Calabrese broccoli didn't come up either, so I planted another of those. If all goes well, I will be giving some of these plants to 2 of my daughters.

I tried to use only heirloom or open pollinated varieties and will try to save the seeds from the peppers and tomatoes to share with people and to use next year.

Here is a picture of the seedlings on March 5.

I read that the seedlings have enough nutrients in their seed coat for about 7 days or so and then they would need fertilizer. I read that they should be given liquid fertilizer at a very diluted rate to start and then less dilute as time goes on. I didn't have any other fertilizer the last time I watered, so I used fish emulsion. I now have an all purpose type fertilizer to use.

Today I decided to thin out the plants. Here is the before picture. It's a veritable little jungle!

My plan was to thin out the weaker looking scraggly plants. There were only a couple in there that didn't bother me to cut off, the rest of them it was pretty hard to do. I hope I made the right choices. Here's what they look like now.

I'm not sure how long they can survive in those tiny little pots. I know I will have to transplant them into a bigger container before long. I bought some bigger ones so I'm ready.

I will also be direct seeding some spinach, carrots and peas pretty soon. And my strawberry plants will be arriving before long too.

Wish me luck!

I just realized that I never posted a picture of my raised beds. This picture was taken a few weeks ago. The beds are covered in plastic and there is snow and ice on top.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

More on My Raised Beds

Today was a beautiful day in the high 50s, a little breezy, but lovely weather to be outside. And outside I was, all day. I mixed up all the ingredients to fill my raised beds.

I am following the Square Foot Gardening method this year. I have four 4x4 beds. I am filling them with equal parts vermiculite, peat moss and compost.

I just used my wheel barrel, a garden cart and 5 gallon buckets. I put a bucket full of each ingredient in the wheel barrel and used a hoe to mix it up. My wheel barrel can hold 8 cu ft, but I put about 6 in it so I could have room to mix it up.

Then on to the beds to dump it in. Then repeat about a million times.

Then I covered the beds with plastic to try to keep rain from washing out nutrients. I just stapled it all around the beds. Don't know if that is a good idea or not or if it will even work, but I did it anyway.

I bought some broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower seeds and a little green house thing to start them out. Wish me luck!

my raised beds

bill and i bought the materials to make 4 raised beds. and we made them. they measure 4'x4'x1'. we used untreated pine. we also stapled wire mesh to the bottoms so nothing would dig up and get stuff. i don't really know if it's necessary or not, but it's done now.

today we are supposed to be mixing up the ingredients to fill the boxes. we have compost, vermiculite and peat moss. it's supposed to be a nice day today. we'll see how it goes. i will give an update and post a picture or 2 later if we get it done.

and as a side note: i had collected leaves from our yard and the neighbor's yard this past fall. i shredded them with the leaf shredder i bought. i ended up with 6 large leaf bags full of shredded leaves to use this spring and summer for making compost. i stored them under my deck in the back yard. i'm not sure if it was the dogs or the kids, but every bag was ripped open and the leaves spread all around under the deck. i just want to cry about that.