Monday, March 11, 2013

Chapter 134....Gardening for 2012

Hello everyone.  I am caught up on old stories.  Now I will start new ones each week.  I will write a new story on Monday and on Thursdays I will write a "Tasty Thursday" story which will be something about food.  If Mike and I get really busy I will add more stories:) Please subscribe to our blog so you don't miss any updates:)

Now for today's story which is a recap of my square foot garden for last year.  This year I have big plans for my garden and I will also be planting fruit trees and blueberry bushes.  I am very excited about producing more food:)

I originally chose to do a square foot garden for the ease of it.  With our ever changing life and projects I thought this would be a good idea. It is very easy for a beginner gardener, your soil quality doesn't matter because you mix your own, and it doesn't require much weeding.

April 14
Geting ready to add more compost.  I really need to start my own compost pile.

My new raised bed for the strawberry plants I ordered from the 4-H.

April 23
My new plants:).  Since my house is off grid and I have so few windows I can't start my own tomatoes and peppers.  Their seeds can't be planted directly into the ground so I need those plants.  Each year my stepdaughter and I go to the local High School where they sell plants for a very good price.  This year we were so excited to go to the High School but when we got there they changed the way they have been doing things for years.  They were only selling larger plants at twice the price.  Since we have more than a month before we can plant them in the garden this would not work.  We were very disappointed but we did go to the local Garden store and found our plants there:)

This is the first year I planted lettuce and spinach.  It is an early crop so I was happy not to have to wait.

May 6
My little spinach coming up.

I also planted some peas and used tomato cages to help them stay supported.

My strawberry plants.

May 18
The weather has been warm so I added my tomato plants and also added string for my green(pole) beans to grow on.

Some extra plants.  Once again I bought to many.  I just can't seem to resist,  Mike says I would turn the whole back yard onto a garden if I could.  So...what's wrong with that, lol.

The peas are blooming.

May 26

I think I have every available square filled:)

And then some.  It seems I ran out of room so I went into our building to look for some scrap lumber.  I found some boards, grabbed the drill and screws and added on to my garden, lol.  Mike says I'm nuts.

Look at that beautiful lettuce:)

June 26

My pole beans are doing well.  I am training them to climb up the string.  I am never happy with my pole bean trellises.  Some day I have to come up with the perfect solution.  Any ideas????

The yellow squash, zucchini and peas are doing well.

June 28

This is the first time I tried to train my cucumbers to grow vertically.  They are pretty heavy so you have to make sure they are tied to the string until they are long enough to wrap around themselves.  This worked well.

Uh oh....I hate when the cows are behind my garden.

Oh and you can see the Japanese Beetle bag in the above picture.  Here is where you can find them, Link.  They really do help on the amount of Japanese Beetles that used to eat my pole bean leaves.  I will have another one this year although they are pretty gross to empty.

July 5

My cucumbers are doing great:):)

The squash is really coming along.

At some point right after these pictures the cows reached over the back fence and pulled out all of my pole beans.  I was not happy with the cows that day to say the least.

Even so I had a lot of food from my garden.  I made a lot of zucchini bread and even canned yellow squash relish and zucchini relish for the first time.  My friends loved the zucchini relish.  I really liked the yellow squash relish especially on hot dogs:)  This year I plan to have more food and get more food canned up.

Yesterday was actually the first day for 2013 that I got to play in my garden.  I turned it all up and got it ready for new plants and seeds.  I will be planting some lettuce and spinach this week.

Mike and I have also started working around the property during the good weather breaks.  Soon we will be working full force and we can't wait:):)

Have a wonderful week and I will write again on Thursday and next Monday.


  1. Good Morning, I also plant a garden every year. We live in Kansas on a small acreage that we rent and the landlord is ok with a garden and we also have chickens. Last year my garden was doing great, until the weather turned hot and dry and burnt alot of plants it didn't matter how much I watered it. The sun was just too hot. I only got some potatoes, onions a few cukes. The tomatoes had lots of blooms but never produced fruit. The squash I planted was blooming and ready to set fruit and then the bugs got to it before I could and killed it all...I will not give up this year is a new beginning again lol. Love reading your blog Thanks for the stories. Kathy

    1. Good morning to you and thank you so much for writing in. I am so sorry about your garden last year. After having a small garden for the past four years I have really come to appreciate our farmers. It's a tough life for them and they are dependent upon Mother Nature. We have it on a much smaller scale but it is still heartbreaking when we have a bad year for gardening.

      Keep at it and I wish you a good year for gardening. We are very wet here this year so I am hoping for no blight.

      Ooh...I would love to have chickens. How many do you have? Do you get a lot of eggs?

    2. Lisa, I(we) have 42 hens and a rooster. I ordered 30 and they always send an extra chick or two. This hatchery sent my 14 extra...My chickens will be a year old the end of March. They are starting to pick up with the eggs now with longer daylight. Right now I am getting around 20 eggs a day. I have a few customers for the eggs and it helps offset the feed bill. Chickens are fun and easy keepers. I will clean out the coop in a couple weeks and put the pine shavings and poo on the garden for this year. Chicken poo is great fertilizer. Mine don't free range they are in a big run. I do have a couple that jump the fence and wander around tho. I just open the gate and they go back in LOL

    3. That is wonderful. There is nothing quite like farm fresh eggs:) Yes..chicken fertilizer is great. Our grader bought a truck full and I have gone over and filled 5 gallon buckets of chicken poo:) for my garden. That was some ripe stuff, loll.

  2. Oh yeah ... just what you need. A bunch of darn chickens running around. LOL I'm sure Mike might have some interesting thoughts on that. LOL

    I think if it was me those cows would be on borrowed time. But then again ... if I was eating grass all day I might light a little variety too. :) Don't forget the HUGE freezer option I mentioned earlier. It's never too late!! LOL :)

    1. Mike actually loves chickens. Maybe some day:) dream of a big freezer. I'm drooling now:)

  3. Looks great. I wish we could have chickens but we aren't zoned for animals. I want to grow strawberries but in pots on my patio.
    Enjoy gardening!

    1. Hi..thank you for writing in. That's too bad about your zoning. Have you grown strawberries before? I only did it once last year. What is the reason for the tiered strawberry beds and the planters with the holes? Do you know?

  4. I remember reading about someone who used a bottle with some water in it, that had a string tied to the cucumber or bean plants, going up over a bar at the top of the that the weight of the water kept a slight strain on the plants, holding them up. You would adjust the weight, so that the plants remained standing.

    We also got some of those "Upside down" planters. I put a 4x4 post in the ground, with 2x4 "X" at the top, to hold the planters. It worked well, but you need to keep up with the watering, since the ground isn't there to help when it rains.

    I know that it's been a year, but you may want to invest in a small electric fencer (solar), and run a wire along that section of fence, to keep the cows away......or just run a few extra posts, and add a buffer fence about 5' further in to their pasture area by the garden.

    As far as an idea for the beans and such (if you don't want to use the water bottle idea), you could get s section of that orange snow fence that they use as a temporary barrier's made of plastic, and a roll would last you many, many years, since you could toss out at the end of season. Not exactly "green", but effective. LOL!!

    Can't wait for the next installment!!

    1. Thanks for the ideas. Mike would kill me if I put "orange" fence in the backyard, lol. He likes things to blend:)

      I'll post again on Thursday and Monday:)

  5. Oh, how about a small green house or cold frame for starting those plants in the Spring?

  6. What a gorgeous garden! We have talked about doing raised beds but never have had the time to make it happen.
    Your blog looks very interesting and I will try to get it all read. We love TN and visit the mountains frequently. It's my dream to live there someday!

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and write in. I can't wait to get started on my garden this year...I am so close:) I hope you make it to TN one day. The mountains are beautiful:)

  7. I see that your neighborhood cows are still giving you problems. You may have to put in a higher fence that is braced. I see where you have a new smaller motor home for traveling.

    BTW, my URL isn't worth the time to see right now.

    1. Hi thanks for writing in. I think cows always cause some type of headaches, lol. We love our smaller motorhome for traveling:)

  8. Love the garden idea.
    Dont your strawberries need lots of space? My Wife's Aunt used to raise them and they needed a long 'run' for the berries and vines.
    We grow cucumbers every year. Just let them climb up our galvanized fence in the yard and they do great! Get six to eight or more cucumbers a year from each vine. (We do put a chicken fence around them so the dog doesnt destroy them, a little dashound that is very destructive, sheesh LOL).
    I hope this one takes, been trying to comment on a lot of things, that havent gone through yet, maybe I will be lucky this time, eh?
    I wish you well...


    1. Hi Jesse. Thank you for writing in. My stepdaughter is also having trouble posting. I do know the Blogger site was a little up and down yesterday but you did it:)

      I'm still learning about strawberries. I think if you cut the runners you can keep them in smaller spaces.

      As you know, Niki isn't destructive but I have bigger problems than a dachshund, lol.

  9. To start your plants early, I watched something on PBS about gardening, where they put cow manure and hay on the outside of the raised bed, (about 3 tiers high), and they said the manure would be 'hot' enough to keep the beds warm, then they put plexiglass over the raised beds to keep the sun warmth in, and make the beds warm enough for growing still.

    They had snow on the ground and small plants in the beds growing in Winter!! (I was impressed and it takes a lot to do that!).

    Just a though in case you want to start your plants from seeds in the Winter time, oh, the manute has to be fresh to generate heat!
    I wish you well...

    Jesse AKA woodworkingmenace :)

    1. Thanks for that. I will look into it for next year. I have plenty of fresh cow manure, lol.

  10. Lisa, I recommend getting a Japanese beetle can trap. They hold a lot more beetles and have holes all around so they always drain. The bag drains got plugged up by dead beetles and got to smelling awful. I saw one on Amazon but it was pricey. About $45 by Tanglefoot. Hopefully garden centers have other less expensive choices. When I bought mine 20 years ago, it was only about double the cost of a bag. I suspect you could make one out of a 2 liter pop bottle that would work just as well. One other thing, it's a good idea to put it about 100 feet or so AWAY from your garden. You do NOT want to attract them TO your garden! Ron in Ohio