Wednesday, June 30, 2010


We had a good rain late yesterday and woke to a soft rain this morning. My garden looks so happy and refreshed.

Below is one bed of okra. I noticed this morning that a few of the plants have flowers and one has a tiny okra growing.

This picture has plants on the left that were planted the same time as the picture above. On the right in the back of the bed is the first okra I planted. It has been producing for about a week and a half and the pace of harvest is picking up. Soon I will harvesting okra every day. In the front of the bed is the cherry tomato plant that is definately an over achiever for which we give thanks. It was labeled as a determinate patio bush plant. WRONG!! I so wish that I had several of these plants. They taste so good and it is producing lots of tomatoes.

More pictures of my favorite tomato plant. I had to improvise with the trellis. (ha!) It wasn't supposed to get this big. I have topped out several of the vines so that it doesn't get any taller. I have rooted about 6 of the suckers I have pruned from it. But it still keeps going and going and going. Since I don't know what variety it is, I have dubbed it the Energizer Bunny!!!

This bed has bell peppers, an eggplant, ornamental peppers, and a few tomato suckers that I rooted and then transplanted.

This bed has Early Girl and Roma tomatoes. Notice Adam the Owl keeping watch over the plants. He is doing a super job of keeping the birds away. I just move him around every time I go to the garden.

Thanks for stopping by to join me on my morning walk in my garden.



Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's Raining!!!

It's raining! Not just a quick heavy downpour that only lasts a few minutes but a nice soaking rain!! I think I hear my garden giving a sigh of relief. Wait! What's that I see? It's the leaves doing the HAPPY DANCE!!! Or maybe it is me doing the HAPPY DANCE because I don't have to go and water my garden this evening!! (smile)

Things continue to grow. I am so excited about this little guy. When I asked my youngest if she wanted to see the cantaloupe this morning, she asked, "Did it grow overnight?" Hmmm.... Was she excited or sarcastic? Doesn't matter... she smiled, grabbed my hand, and strolled with me to the garden. I love my kids!!!

Yesterday I rooted several suckers from my cherry tomato plant. I love these little tomatoes and I am amazed at all the tomatoes on this one plant. I wish I knew how to save the seeds (if possible) for next year. I also transplanted 3 green bell pepper plants and 1 eggplant that I bought at Lowes. I was also surpised to see that the cucumber, crooked neck squash, and the white scalloped squash seeds that I planted 4 days ago were already peaking up at me from their underground nest. WOW! That was so fast!!

Today I planted 12 squares of bush beans. I hope that the heat will not be too much for them. We shall see. If they do, super. If they don't, nothing lost really. I can replant again for fall.

Over the weekend, I planted these flowers! They seemed perfect to celebrate Independence Day!

This post is linked to the An Oregon Cottage's TUESDAY GARDEN PARTY



Monday, June 28, 2010

HARVEST MONDAY June 28, 2010

It continues to be very hot here and we have had a couple of short showers from scattered thunderstorms that explode here in the afternoons.  This is typical weather for us and I always hope those random showers will fall on my garden. The showers are nice but not enough to satisfy the water needs in my garden.

My okra is just starting to produce. I only pick about 2 pods every other day but I know once all the plants start producing I will have an abundance and will be able to share with friends. Right now all the pods are cleaned, cut, and put in the freezer with anticipation of our first pot of GUMBO!!

This week I harvested:

Okra 7 pods (7 oz)
Bell Peppers 2 (3.5 oz)
Early Girl Tomatoes 1 (2 oz)
Cherry Tomatoes 6 (1.25 oz)

TOTAL 13.75 oz.

The bell peppers were harvested a little early but I was cooking philly cheese steak sandwiches and couldn't wait any longer and pulled the bell peppers to use for our supper. They tasted so good but now I will be patient to give the remainder of my peppers time to mature.

Yesterday we were sitting at the dinner table visiting with a friend when my husband, Larry, noticed a bird that he thought was injured. I watch for a few seconds and commented that I thought the bird was pretending to be hurt to draw attention and wondered if there was a snake out back. We continued to watch the bird and after a short time, the bird began to fuss and fly at a certain area of the wisteria vine on the back fence. Being the BRAVE soul that I am when it comes to snakes, I went for my camera with the big zoom lens. Well, guess what I found... a COPPERHEAD!!

This was one time that I did not want to be right... The picture quality is not that great because (1) I was shaking knowing the copperhead was in my backyard and it made me a LITTLE nervous and (2) I was not about to get closer. Because of where the snake was located we couldn't kill it and after my husband threw something at it, it left. This area is about 30 feet from my garden. Needless to say, I was constantly looking around while working in my garden this morning.

After all the excitement from the snake, we were blessed with this neat view in the sky. My picture doesn't do it justice but maybe it will give you a little glimpse of the beauty.



This blog is linked to HARVEST MONDAY.

Friday, June 25, 2010



I headed out to the garden this yesterday morning to take advantage of a slight breeze and cooler temps after we had a good soaking thunderstorm yesterday afternoon day before yesterday. I planted a few seeds with my favorite tool for planting seeds... MY PENCIL! I have marks on the end in half-inch increments.

And since I am showing you my favorite garden tools, here are my other favorites. In fact, these are the only other tools that I need and, yes, the stool is there for me on the days when my back is giving me trouble. Having a square foot garden is so much easier than the tools I used when I was growing up and spent many hours in the garden with my grandfather. I can remember walking behind the tiller and hours upon hours spent with the hoe preparing rows for planting and then fighting the weeds!! I firmly believe that my grandfather would have loved a square foot garden!! Keeping the weeds under control is so much easier because I have so few of them.

Here are a few pictures that I took this morning. The peppers look great and, thankfully, no more brown spots.

This tomato bush is bringing much delight to my 10 year old son. Most of these tasty treats do not even make them inside. I wish I knew exactly what variety this is because I definately want more next year.

This is one of the Early Girl tomatoes.

And the cantaloupe continue to grow... It is fun training the vines to grow up the trellis. The bees are also enjoying the flowers on the vines. How long does it take the cantaloupes to mature for harvest from this point?

After I had planted the seeds, I proceeded to the square where I had pulled the bush green beans. With my handy garden tool (hand cultivator), I wanted to turn over the soil in that bed where I had sprinkled some fertilizer a few days earlier. Well, to my horror a large bed of fire ants had moved into a couple of side sqaures. Before I knew it, they were ALL over me!! Boy, do they hurt!!! This set me off on a journey, what can I do to get rid of these pests without hurting my plants????

I found this website that 10 Tips For Organic Ant Control.

1. Baking soda is poisonous to ants, spinkle it around your plants to ensure ants will stay away.

2. Flour & Baby Powder will keep ants from reaching your plants, ants will not cross the powder – so circle your plants with it.

3. You can use coffee grounds, chili powder, cinnamon, peppermint or black pepper. All deter ants and if you pour coffee grounds directly on an anthill, they will eat the coffee grounds and implode.

4. Grits, instant rice & cream of wheat can be sprinkled around plants. The ant will eat a piece of whichever you sprinkle, drink water and the grain expands and kills the ant.

5. Fill a spray bottle with 1 part vinegar and 1 part water and spray on plants. The acid in vinegar will kills ants.

6. Mix together one-third cup of molasses, six tablespoons of sugar, and six tablespoons of active dry yeast into a smooth paste. Use the mixture to coat strips of cardboard. Keep out of reach of pets and small children. You can leave mixture on a saucer outside anthill and they’ll eat it and die!

7. Fold contact paper in half, with the sticky side out and make a circle around base of plant. The ants get stuck on the paper – problem solved.

8. Cut off the bottom of a paper cup and cut a slit up the side of the cup and coat outside with vaseline and place around base of plant. You can also use packing tape.

9. Mix one cup of borax, two-thirds a cup sugar and one cup water. Dip cotton balls in the solution and place in areas near your anthill Ants will leave the plants alone and ingest the sweet mixture. The borax kills the ants.

10. Diatomaceous Earth is a commonly sold organic pesticide that will destroy the insects outer skeletons, causing the pests to die from dehydration.

Read our update to this post – where we tried some of the methods: Organic Ant Control Update

So... what do you use to control the ants in your garden?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Garlic Mysteries

Last fall during the Thompson family reunion in Meridian, MS where I am known as Velma's Dottie's Larry's Debbie, I struck up a conversation with one of the cousins about gardening. Needless to say we talked for a long time and stopped only because we were called away for lunch. We all know how good the food can be at a family reunion and this was no exception.

Well, to my surprise and delight about 6 weeks later, I received a package from this cousin in the mail. It was a Priority package filled with garlic bulbs - elephant and another variety. WOW! I bet the mailperson was glad to be rid of that package because you guessed it, the garlic smell was strong!!!

I planted the bulbs in the fall and they did great during the winter even with the record low temps for the state of Mississippi. We had over 72 hours with below freezing temperatures and we also received a record snowfall - about 6 inches. I know! I know! Some of you are laughing at me but remember I live in the DEEP south!! As a child we would get out of school if they thought it would snow and I can remember sitting at the window with my nose against the glass shouting every few minutes "Was that a snowflake? Wait! I am sure I saw a snowflake!" Sorry... back to the garlic!!!

I planted the bulbs and they starting growing.

But when I harvested them, they looked like onions. They did not have the seperate bulbs. Is this what they call an onion round? If so, should I save them and plant again in the fall?

The smaller bulbs that the cousin gave me looked like this when I harvested them! Still no clue here in what I am doing or what I did wrong!! HELP!!

As you have figured out by now... I am lost and have no CLUE in the garlic mysteries!!




Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bees, Blossoms, and Babies!

The days continue to be very hot and dry! My husband put on his facebook status last night that he tried to water the yard but the water kept evaporating before it hit the ground!! Really, I did water the yard yesterday but the ground was so dry that you couldn't tell what area the sprinkler had covered. Needless to say, it has been tough on my garden.
I wanted to share the exciting news of bees, blossoms, and babies!! This little guy has been doing his job!
And I now have these!!!
My cantaloupe vines are full of baby cantaloupe. My family is tired of me dragging them out to the garden to celebrate the big event!! But... I knew that all of you would want to celebrate the occasion with me!! To enjoy more wonderful garden events, check out An Oregon Cottage's Tuesday Garden Party!

Have a blessed day!


Monday, June 21, 2010

June 21, 2010 - Harvest Monday

I am so excited. My first post to HARVEST MONDAY!! Thanks, Daphne. I hope I am doing the link correctly.

This week I have harvested a few strawberries (they are almost gone), bush green beans, tomatoes, and the first of the okra. The strawberries and cherry tomatoes usually do not make it inside. My kids say the berries taste better straight from the garden to their mouth!! And my youngest son loves popping those little tomatoes into his mouth!!

My bell peppers continue to grow but I found this ugly spot on one of them. Is it BER?

I was excited to see small cantaloupe growing on the vines. YIPPEE!! The weather has been so hot and dry here. The high temp for today is supposed to hit 99 and the hit index should hit 105. I had to pull the remainder of my bush green beans. Bugs were eating the leaves and they were wilting from the heat. (sigh)

Enjoy the first official day of summer!!


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Take Two Aspirin and Call Me in the Morning!!

Most days of late my head is swimming with all the things that I am learning about my garden and how to best care for it to keep it HAPPY!! I found this article and thought that it was interesting.
I hope that I am doing this correctly to give proper credit to the author. I would LOVE to have input from others. What do you think?
Plants feeling under the weather?Give them aspirin water! (click here to read the entire article)

By Marion Owen, Fearless Weeder for PlanTea, Inc. and
Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul
"Take two aspirin and call me in the morning."

We've all heard that advice from doctors. And moms have been dispensing this all-purpose cure-all to their families as a standard way of providing relief from headaches and sniffles, muscle aches and joint pain.
Then it should be no surprise to learn how an important aspirin ingredient--salicylic acid--is being used as an Earth-friendly first aid for warding off plant diseases.
Meet Martha McBurney, the master gardener in charge of the demonstration vegetable garden at the University of Rhode Island. In the summer of 2005 she tested aspirin water on tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, basil and other plants after reading about it in a gardening publication called the Avant Gardener (PO Box 489, New York, NY 10028). The results were well, astonishing...


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Tour through My Garden

I wanted to share what is happening in my garden. It has been so hot for the last few days with temps in the upper 90s and the heat index pushing 100+. Thankfully, my garden did receive a small shower yesterday. It looked so "refreshed" after the rain.

I am trying several new adventures in my square foot garden. Below is a picture of my cantaloupes. I am attempting to grow them on a trellis. I will create a NEST for the cantaloupe either out of netting or by using pantyhose for a sling. It is taking some work to train the vine to grow up the trellis but so far I am pleased

I am learning so much as I watch my garden grow. I have had male blossoms on my cantaloupe vines for a couple of weeks but finally I found a couple of female blossoms today. Now I am hoping that the bee that I see every morning in my garden did his job and pollinated the female blossoms. I am sure this is more than most of you wanted to know. (smile)

I also have okra, strawberries, tomatoes, green beans (bush and pole), zucchini, corn, and bell peppers growing in my garden.

I also have a new friend in my garden. I have been losing my tomatoes to birds. This does not make me happy!! So far Adam (named by my children for the singer in Owl City) seems to be doing his job!!

Thanks for touring my garden with me today.

Check out other gardens on Tuesday Garden Party. I hope I did this link right!

What do you have in your garden? Please share with me by leaving a comment.