Posts Tagged ‘hobbies’

Last summer, a friend of mine brought me a baby pool for my dog that he found on Freecycle. 

Meghan loves to get in the baby pools at doggie daycamp, so I quickly pulled out the hose and began filling the pool.  

It didn’t take long to discover a large crack in the bottom of the pool.  Argh!!! The pool would not hold water.

What to do?  The pool was too large to fit in my car, so I couldn’t haul it to the dump.  My friend who brought it to me did not want to take it off my hands.  I was stuck…

…until I decided to try the pool as a planter.  Maybe it would work for carrots and beets, two things that don’t grow well in my mostly clay soil.

Fast forward a year, and I’ve finally gotten my act together to create my new planter.

I placed the pool on several layers of plastic, in an area of my back yard that gets afternoon shade.  According to the seed packets, this is necessary in a hot climate like mine.  

I then cut quite a few more holes for drainage.

I then mixed up some soil, sand, compost and manure. 

I pulled out the carrots, beets and parsley demi-long.  I think I ordered that last packet by mistake, as I have no idea what it is!

Carrots are on the left, parsley demi-long in the middle, and beets on the right.

We’ll see how my pool planter works.  Meanwhile, it’s time to pull out the new, leak-free baby pool so Meghan and I can cool off.


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060A few weeks ago, we had several days of sub-freezing temperatures, and my fall/winter garden took quite a hit.  The only survivor is a patch of baby collards.

While I know the kale and mustard will come back once the temperatures warm up a bit, I found myself missing being able to add freshly grown greens to my meals.  It was past time to turn on the seed table!

I started off planting only lettuce and microgreens.


Next up was the spinach and turnip greens.


The seed table is starting to fill up!


Today I started a big bucket of sugar snap peas; they’re hiding from view, on the bottom shelf.

The plants in these pots and buckets won’t grow as big as those planted in a garden bed, but they’ll be fresh and tender and delicious in salads and smoothies! And hopefully tide me over until the weather’s nice enough to grow things outside.

What’s in your garden?

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In contrast to last weekend’s cold, wintry weather,  this weekend was balmy and spring-like.  I took advantage of the sunny conditions and let my seedlings sit outside for the day.  They loved the sun!

Everything seems to be growing nicely.   The peppers, pictured above, are getting big enough to transplant to larger containers.


Last weekend, I moved the first flat of tomatoes to larger pots and gave them a dose of fish emulsion.  It looks like the seedlings have already doubled in size.  The second flat of tomatoes, started last weekend, are already sprouting.

I also started a flat of squash last week, and the zucchini, below, is beginning to appear.


My snow peas and sugar snaps had grown so big, I just had to transplant them.  They are now living in pots, pictured below.


Next weekend, I’ll start some green beans and eggplant.  And if I’m really brave, I’ll start the purple hull peas.

Until then, I’m hoping the rain lets up some so I can get in the garden beds to weed and dig in the cover crop so I’ll have somewhere to plant all these lovely seedlings!


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Earlier today, I was cleaning up part of my summer garden. I’ve still got several rows to clean up and cover crop, but the area feels so empty now.

Good thing the winter garden is basically thriving!

The chard in this bed is growing nicely. Bugs have attacked the chard in another bed.

Unlike the past few years, the turnip greens are thriving this year.

Turnip greens in front, kale in back.

The savoy cabbage may produce, if I can keep the bugs away.

Speaking of bugs, aphids have attacked the collard greens.

The bugs must not like mustard greens.

I always overplant lettuce, so I picked a lot for lunch today.

One good thing about being a tad behind in garden chores: things reseed themselves! Witness the arugula above and the kale below.


I love being able to grow food most of the year. And while I’ll miss my summer veggies, I’m looking forward to fresh steamed greens!

What’s growing in your garden?

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Today while perusing Facebook, I saw a link to an article about a resident who was fighting his city over whether he could keep his front-yard garden.

According to the article, the city viewed the garden as a “blot on the landscape” and demanded that he convert his garden to sod. With the help of a lawyer, the resident appealed the citation against him and won.

The article goes on to quote a city official who said that, while the resident had the law on his side, it didn’t make sense to have a front-yard garden. After all, everyone knows gardens belong in the back yard, right?

I had several reactions when I read the article, the first being, “You go, gardener!” Followed by noting that his garden looks much neater than mine!


The photo above shows one view of my front-yard garden. A view coming from the other direction:


Now my yard is a bit different than the Missouri resident’s, mainly because I have a row of crepe myrtles crossing the front. In the spring, the trees are surrounded by tulips, iris, and wildflowers, creating a show of pastels for the passers-by.

I’ve also planted flowers all along the perimeter to shield the deer fence and add some color:



Another thought I had when reading the article was this: While it might be traditional to have your veggies out back, what if, like me, your back yard is not sunny enough to grow summer veggies?

And why should someone grow sod when they can instead have a garden to feed their family? When I visited Ireland and Peru, I was impressed with how many rural landowners made the best of their space, including having gardens and animals in all areas of their yards.

The city official was concerned about how the garden would look in the winter. I don’t know what that gardener plans to do, but I plant cover crop. Last year’s clover received rave reviews from the people walking by my house.


I don’t know if the resident lived in an area that has a homeowner association with rules on landscaping. I don’t live in such an area, so I am free to do what I want with my yard.

And while it might not be to everyone’s taste, my garden looks beautiful to me. It brings me joy — and lots of produce and cut flowers!

Besides, I’m not sure a sodded yard could compare to the beauty I see in a homegrown tomato.


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It’s 105 degrees in the shade today, and newscasters are warning that “it’s dangerous out there.”

So what’s a girl to do when the temperatures are soaring, the sun is blazing, and it’s a high ozone alert day?
Stay inside, of course!

Disclaimer: I did get up early and go for a walk. Would have gone stir-crazy otherwise!

After breakfast, the kitchen became canning central. I canned six pints of corn relish, four pints of dilly beans and four quarts of cucumber pickles.


Now, any fool will tell you it’s not a good idea to heat up your kitchen cooking on a day like today. So even though I still have a batch of zucchini relish to can, and I had wanted to make a Thai-inspired tofu dish, I’m done cooking for the day.

Next came lunch: a cool, delicious salad:


Now I have the whole afternoon ahead of me. I could catch up on some of my TV shows…


… or read some books about the beach…


… or maybe I’ll just follow Nanaline’s lead and take a nap!


How are you spending your Saturday?

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After more time than I want to admit, I finally have my summer garden in the ground.

Well, almost. I still have to dig another bed out back for the leftover tomatillos and basil. And I have to get some more mulch. But I’m basically done and have just danced a jig.

So, you may ask, what’s growing?

1. At least six kinds of tomatoes, though I can’t say what kinds because I threw away the seed packets and my tape markers faded. I know there are some Danvers, some Granny Cantrells, some romas, and a yellow variety. Close to 100 plants. Last year I got some leaf blight and a lot of plants died, so I’m hoping this year gives better results.

2. Four varieties of green beans: two bush and two pole.

3. Lima beans and purple hull peas.

4. Corn, though I haven’t had too much luck. If I don’t have better results this year, I may leave corn out next year.

5. Peppers: green, jalapeno, cayenne, and some hot thai variety.

6. Tomatillos and okra.

7. Yellow squash and zucchini. These plants currently look great, but I usually have squash bug issues.

8. I’ve also got potatoes, snow peas, peas, and chard. There’s also garlic and lettuce which is, unfortunately, bolting.

I think that’s it.

Here’s one view of most of the front rows:


Here’s another view:


Here’s the limas and some marigolds that had reseeded in another area of my garden. I moved them outside the deer fence, since I think they are deer resistant. At any rate, they were free, and you can’t beat that price!


Here’s one of my front beds outside the deer fence:


And here are some boxes, also outside the fence:


Here’s a pretty (for now) squash plant:


And delicious goodness is right around the corner:


And, though they aren’t veggies, the lilies are very pretty.



Now to dig up the dead winter plants out back and put in cover crop. But that’s for another day…

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