Archive for the ‘Gardening Tips’ Category

Update and Fall Gardening

What have I been doing? Not much. The weather has been so hot here in AR; over 100 degrees for several weeks in a row. The okra and tomatoes are all that’s left of my Spring garden. I’ve been having to water everyother day to keep them alive. The okra really likes hot weather anyway, but I have to say the pods didn’t like the excessive heat. The smaller pods, 1″ to 1 1/2″, were green and moist; but if I left them another day to get longer they became slightly yellow and tough. So we’re going to have very tender fried okra this Fall. I do love boiled okra and I have put an equal amount of it in the deep freezer. The tomatoes, early on in the heatwave, were attacked by avids. They were eating the plants and sucking all the juice out of the “green” tomatoes. I had to apply Sevin Dust to the plants to kill them. Heat and all, I’ve been able to put 5 quart bags of tomatoes in the deep freezer.

August is here and I expected it to be a rainy month and so far it hasn’t let me down. I don’t know if you, as a gardener, have noticed but there is something special to rain water as compared to “city” water. The okra and tomatoes have found new life and so has the grass in the garden. Boo to the grass!


I’ve never tried Fall gardening, but with the price of groceries these days I’ve decided to try with just a few different plants. Yesterday I planted Green Beans and Spinach. I didn’t have much luck with my earlier planting of green beans so I wanted to see what they would do now. I am hoping for more than just 9 pints this time. :O)

This comming Wed. I will be planting potatoes. I am using the last of the potatoes I planted this spring. The local Farmers Co-op did not have any seed potoatoes and the lady at the counter told me to just use some potatoes that had good eyes on them. I cut each potato into several pieces; each piece having an eye. I am letting the cut pieces sit for a few days to get a dry crust on the cut sides. Come Wed. I’ll just dig me a little hole and put the potato piece in, eye up, and cover with about 2″ of dirt.. The eye is where the plant will grow from. Once the plants get about 4″ tall I’ll rake some dirt up on the row; making a mound. (Let the dirt cover about 2″ of the plant stalk.) The potatoes will grow under this loose soil. I will go back few weeks later, as the plants get taller, and do this mounding again. Really there’s not much effort to growing potatoes.

Gardening Is Such Fun!!!


Productive Day

A wonderful productive day in the garden. 
* Raked dirt up around the potato plants, cabbage, sweet banana peppers, and squash.
Cabbage, Green Beans and corn* Trimmed the lower leaves off the cabbage. (A man Dad knows told him that cutting the lower leaves off the cabbage plants helped them concentrate on making heads; instead of feeding the needless lower leaves.)
* Planted marigolds beside every other tomato plant.  (Helps keep the worms away.)Dad tilling the green beans
* Dad tilled the whole garden with the rotatiller.

   You probably noticed, in the pictures, the white plastic circles around the plants.  My Dad takes a pickle bucket and cuts the bottom out and then cuts them in half.  We use these halves to place around some of the plants to help catch and contain water.  These work really well.  One day last week, after a heavy rain, I went up to check the garden and Dad’s cantaloupe circles were filled with water; covering the plants.  Yeah, they work really well. :O)
Potatoes, Onions, Cucumbers
  The rains had done quite a job on moving the sandy dirt around in the garden.  Tilling it made all the beans, corn and purple hull peas really stand out. They’re just coming up and were hard to see next to the light colored sandy soil.  They are all growing well, which surprises me because of all the rain.  It is due to rain again today and again tomorrow and Monday.  I’m loving the cool weather,  but I’m missing the sunshine.
   Poison ivy and poison oak are growing here and there around the edge of the garden and near the house; whenever the sun comes out long enough I’ll be spraying it with Round Up.

Here is the scoot along I promised to show you a picture of.

Okay, so I am a procrastinator.  Today I finally planted the herbs in the small area I originally created for full-sun flowers only.   The rosemary and Lavender I bought weeks ago are still alive and growing.  Along with these two I’ve bought sweet basil, Greek oregano and sage.  I know that traditionally a herb garden is supposed to be by your back door, but there is no place for a full-sun garden there.  Mine is down by the garage which is about 100 ft or so down a slight hill.  One thing I like about it being there is when I go to work and come home it is right there to greet me.  I look forward to the smells it will produce, especially the lavender and rosemary.  I also planted some profusion zinnias along the rock edge (front center) which haven’t come up yet.  The pink tall zinnias I had in there last year may come back.  I’ve been pulling up little green sprouts of Wandering Jew and such in preparation of planting the herbs, so who knows I may have pulled then up.

Here’s a view:

Always remember you can click on any picture to see the full size view.

Getting Caught Up

April 11, 2011

   Busy day at work; into the garden when I got home.  Today was plant the green beans, corn and purple hull pea day.  My Dad and I started with the green beans.  He is big on straight rows so he started by putting a string along side the cabbage and I started there.  We used the, for lack of a better word, push planter.  (Really should take a photo for you all to see.)  This device has a funnel in the center of it which has exchangeable wheels that insert in the funnel.  Each wheel has cups that pick up the seeds and drop them on the ground, so far apart.  It also has a part that scratches the ground making up to a 1/2-inch ditch in the ground for the seed and then a chain that covers the seed as you push it along.   There is an arm(stick) that falls to either side and makes a scratch in the ground so you’ll know where to make the next row.  This arm is spaced so that there is room enough between the rows for the rotatiller.
   Having said all this let’s back track to earlier that morning when my Dad took the tractor and disked the areas we were to plant in.  It had rained the day before and the ground was wet.  He did this to help it dry out a little so it would be easier to plow with the planter.  The disk left large long piles of dirt at odd angles up and down the length of the garden.  Thinking that it would be hard to walk on all that lumpy dirt I started using my metal leaf rake to smooth out the dirt a bit.  Dad made me stop after I done a row or two.  Once I got started with the push planter things went well with the arm making a line for the next row, that I could see; but once I got passed the section I’d smoothed with the rake the arm skipped across the tops of the dirt piles making the mark almost impossible to see.  This became frustrating; as my Dad wanted straight rows, and I couldn’t do that.
   He planted the sweet corn and I finished up that evening with the purple hull  peas.
Total planted: (approx. 50 ft rows)
6 rows Blue Lake Bush Beans and Purple Hull Peas
4 rows Sweet Corn
April 16
One bunny down…literaly.

This morning a rabbit was sitting near my cabbage.  He stayed there in one spot long enough for Dad to shoot him.
No rain yesterday or today so I finally set out the leaf lettuce and romaine plants.  They don’t look like much but I set them out anyway.  Dad made fun of my crooked row.  Ah, who cares.
Here’s a picture of the lettuce in the starter pots.
April 24
Rain, RAin, RAIn and RAIN!

   Did I mention the rain?  Every other day, the week of 11th thru 17th,  it rained.  This past week it rained here everyday but one.  This has been one wet April so far!  The garden is doing okay.  Okay meaning that Dad’s cantaloupes got water-logged so he bought more to plant later.  My cucumber leaves are turning brown; guessing it’s because too much RAIN.  The seeds of the green beans, purple hull peas and corn have come up randomly, so far.  The soil is so sandy and the garden is at a slight tilt to the right and down as you face it so the soil is washing down.  I am hoping the seeds are not being washed away to who knows where in the garden.  I’m starting to think that we should have waited as we usually do and planted the green beans and purple hull peas in early May.
   The cabbage looks great, well at least half of the 2 rows do.  I was watering them on the 16th and noticed that Dad had sprinkled some of his 10-20-10 fertilizer on the dirt around them, but only on half of the two rows.  You can sure tell a marked difference.  I highly recommend this fertilizer, but remember NOT to USE it on your radishes and purple hull peas; they don’t like extra nitrogen in the soil.  Do not sprinkle too much around your plants or it will burn them up.
   BTW, it has rained here 3 times today and it’s only 1p.m.

3:00 p.m.  Just went out to check the garden between showers.  The green beans, purple hull peas and corn are up and looking good.  Some of the seeds haven’t come up.  I’m thinking they got covered with extra dirt and will or won’t come up later; when the sun finally visits us.

Here is cool picture I found behind a picture of my Dad and his family. Cira 1940’s.   (Somehow seems appropiate for today, Easter.)
Farmers Co-Operative Gin

Text reads:
For Your Protection Let us do your Ginning

Mart Smith, Mgr.
Owned and Operated in the Interest of the Farmers

Garden Re-vamp and new plantings

Well, as a well laid plans go, the garden layout has changed somewhat.  (Picture to come.)

Yesterday and today was transplanting day in the garden.  My father bought watermelon, cantalope,  Arkansas Traveler tomato plants and 10 thornle ss Blackberry plants.  He went up to Mountianburg,  AR to order the blackberry plants Wed. and picked them up Thurs.; ‘course he immediately put them in the ground.  He planted the tomato and cantalope plants yesterday.
Today he planted his watermelon. See picture below.

I spent 88 cents for a 4 pack of each; cucumber, yellow squash, and zucchini at a local market.  The plants look great and I’ve high hopes that they will survive as compared to the higher priced ones at the Farmers Co-op.   I always love it when their are 2 plants, in two or more, of each little pot in your 4 pack.  If they look healthy enough I will split the roots apart and get two plants instead of planting them together.  These I put in the ground today.  OH MY was the sun HOT this morning!!

The potatoes are finally comming up.  The  onions and cabbage look great.  Since this is mine and my fathers first time with cabbage I’m not sure when they’ll start making heads.  I await with anticipation.

One major bummer today is that my father while fertilizing the garden yesterday, sprinkled some on my radishes.  (Remember I mentioned no nitrogen fertilizer or all you’ll get is pretty tops.)  Oh well, this is what happens when two people are doing one thing.  *Deep breath and… smile.

Oh I’ve another animal replent recipe for you.
Squirrel Beater Tonic
2 Tbsp. Caynne Pepper
2 Tbsp. Tabasco Sauce
2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
1 Tbsp. Murphy’s Oil Soap
1 qt. of warm water
Mix all together.  Spray on plants or trees.

I’ll be trying this on the tomatoes if the squirrels should get hungry.

Tomorrow I’m planting my herbs in my herb garden.  I’ve got Lavender, Rosemary and Oregano so far.   Last year I got some Profusion Zinnna seeds (Pink) from some plants and I’ll be using them as a front border in the herb garden; will post picture soon.

Meanwhile in my flower garden…

Root Crop Planting Day

March 20, 2011

    Well there’s almost 100 onion sets in the ground now. (Haven’t counted.)  The potatoes are planted (50 or so) and I planted a tiny row of red Cherry Belle radishes.  I’m concerned about space in the garden; even though it’s large.  I used my father’s hand push plow to make the rows.  Thank goodness for fluffy sandy soil.  My Dad used the tractor and disked the garden yesterday and then he put the “blade” on and smoothed the dirt.  He tried to get the rotatiller to start Friday and didn’t have any luck.  He told me he’d try again this week.
   We’ve a large pear tree in the upper garden which is in full of bloom.  We went up to look at it and the honey bees are all over it. It is good to see bees.  I’ve not see many in the past few years.   
   My Dad and I also cut down the old canes from the tame blackberry row.  There are quite a few less plants this year, but we should get enough for us.  The berries are so big and beautiful, yet the seeds inside are huge.  Last year I cooked 2 quarts till soft and pushed them through a cheese cloth; to get the juice.  I made VERY sour blackberry jelly.   

HINT:  One garden tool I couldn’t live without is my medal yard (leaf) rake I use it to push the dirt up against the plants, to cover the seed rows, rake up dead Bermuda grass stems, and more.  It is wider than a hoe and covers more area quicker.

   I don’t think I’ve mentioned the Bermuda grass that’s in the garden.  Over 5 yrs ago my father disked a bale of hay in the garden thinking it would enrich the soil.  Wrong!  It was a bale of Bermuda grass and it went to root and now we’ve been battling to get rid of it.  I researched on the internet and found a solution:  In the fall cover the ground with newspaper, then plastic and cover with dirt.  Allow this to sit there until planting time in the spring.  This is supposed to smother the grass and kill it.  My Dad opted to disk the garden several times this winter instead to try and kill it.  Oh, perhaps it worked and perhaps I’ll have to try the newspaper and plastic later this year.  Needless to say, if you read me b_t_hing about the grass later you’ll know why.

Garden Map and Update

March 18, 2011

   The cabbage continues to look good.  I’ve been keeping the Cabbage Worm Dust on them and nothing has chewed on them so far.  It rained Monday night and they really perked up.  I don’t think anything compares to rain water for your garden.
   A HomeHealth Client shared with me a way to keep rabbits out of the garden; used catlitter.  She said to sprinkle it along the edge of the garden and it would deter the rabbits.  I have a cat so I plan on putting the catlitter along the left edge of the garden along a fence row.

   Looking forward to planting some root crops on Sunday.  :O)

   I’ve drawn a map of what goes where in the garden so my Dad can remember where it goes.  Hopefully he’ll refer to it so he won’t till up any of my seeds; like he did a few years back. :O|

Deer and Rabbit Repellant

March 13, 2011
   I was reading a 1991 issue of Flower and Garden magazine and found a tip on a deer and rabbit repllent. 
“Throughly mix two raw eggs and a cup or two of cold water in a high-speed blender.  Mix the result with a gallon of cold water in your garden sprayer.  These animals will not touch anything you have sprayed with this mixture.”
“The egg mixture does not wash off the foliage very easily so it may only be necessary to spray two or three times during the season.  The spray is only effective in repelling purely vegetarian animals.”  This tip was from Leon Dominick of Eden Prarie, MN.
   I’m a bit uneasy about using this; wondering about the smell and if it will wash off the vegetables so you can eat them.  I may try this on my lettuce just once and see how it goes.  Will mention it again after the lettuce is planted.


Words of wisdom from my Dad:
“You have to pay attention to a garden everyday.  You can’t just plant and leave it alone if you want it to grow right.”

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