Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mystery Berries!

Can anyone help identify this berry plant? I bought it for 3 dollars at a rummage sale with the tag "Berry Bush". It has teeny, prickly thorns. I tried to get a close up of the leaves but it was dark so they're not as great as they could be. Let me know what you think :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


We moved our potatoes tonight. It has finally been sunny, although cool, for a couple of days now and we were able to get outside and do a little bit of work. We decided to not only plant more potatoes per square but to also transfer them from the north end of the garden to the south end. I didn't really plan that box as well as I had thought and need the north end for some squash that will need a trellis. If I plant the squash on the south end they'll end up blocking all the rest of the veggies from the sun and from my kitchen window view.

I also planted some of my buttercrunch lettuce transplants. I know I shouldn't have planted them quite yet (frost warning tonight) but they were looking VERY sad and sickly since they'd been hanging out in my garage for, well, a really long time. I figured they were going to die in the garage anyway, might as well give them a chance in the outdoors!

My little lettuce seeds have finally popped up through the dirt! It was no 3 days like Mr. Man from Wal-Mart assured me but they're really growing. When I planted them I discovered the seeds were SO tiny that I couldn't pick them out and plant one seed per I just dropped a bunch in. Now there are little bunches of lettuce all over the square instead of nice neat rows...oh well!

My onions are AWESOME! I only hope they are looking as wonderful underneath all that soil as they are up above! They're doing so well that we planted another square :)

Only about a week and a half left until we can get started planting all the rest of the goodies...I can't wait!

Monday, April 26, 2010


"No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden"

Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Dear Rain,

Thank you for watering my potatoes and onions and lettuce for me. It has been really nice not to have to worry about remembering to give my little babies a drink. However, you have made the days terribly damp and dreary; cold and gray.

I have a favor to ask, Rain. Please let me get a few days of warm, sunshiny weather in this next week. I need to plant strawberries and more lettuce, and squash, and tomatoes and, well, just a lot of stuff! The longer you stay around, the longer I have to wait to plant.

Please don't take this as a plea for you to stay away indefinitely; my plants and I need you. Please just give us a little break!


Saturday, April 24, 2010


Our church had a rummage sale this morning. By the time we got there most of the things were gone but there was a huge selection of plants that were going pretty cheap! I looked through them and saw some nice plants but nothing that really fit my fancy. As I got to the end though, I saw a sign for "berry bushes". I started to ask around to find out exactly what kind of berries these bushes would produce. I kept getting answers like "hmmmmmmm".

We got it narrowed down to either blueberries or blackberries and, since I like both of those, and the big bush was only three dollars, I decided to buy it. I'm going to plant it in a container since berries tend to take over underground and can monopolize space other plants may need. Mel's book advises building a 2 x 2 box and using it only for berries--one type of berry per box. Neither Dave or I want to build another box--that was exciting enough the first time--so we're just going to use a big pot. I'll put some rocks in the bottom so the soil doesn't get moldy and cause problems for the roots and then I think I'll make up a little of Mel's mix if I can find the right "ingredients". I'll probably need some type of structure for it to climb up as well.

I'm not exactly sure what will grow from this plant but hopefully it will be some type of yummy, delicious berry. Hmmmmm....we shall see!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Bible

I bought the bible of square foot gardeners today: "All New Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew. It's really great. It gives a lot of in depth info about square foot gardening...the kind of info you want BEFORE you start your garden! I should have bought it sooner.

In his book Mel talks about how to build the boxes (that part we did mostly right) and what exactly to fill them with so you don't have to weed. We filled our boxes with plain ol' dirt from the huge pile in our yard and mixed it with lots of peat moss to soften it up. I'm sure it will be ok for this year but next year I really want to try to make "Mel's Mix." It's a combination of peat moss, compost and vermiculite. He also puts down a black plastic sheet under the box so no weeds from the ground can come up through the mixture. I've been pulling lots of weeds out of the boxes already and I'm really sorry I didn't pay more attention and buy this book first.

Mel also gives really detailed info about how many of each vegetable to plant in each square. Most of what I found on the internet said to plant 1 potato per square but Mel's book says to do 4. We still haven't seen any potatoes growing yet so I think we're going to chance it and dig up what we've planted already and get more in each square. We may also relocate them to the bottom of the square grid. We initially put them at the north end of the grid but now, after reading the book I realize I'm probably going to need that north end for more vertical growing plants like my squash. I've also decided to plant some sugar snap peas which will need a trellis to grow on too so I think I'll rework my grid and put those things on the north end.

Still no lettuce news to report but tonight when I went out to water I counted 15 onions sprouting out of the ground! How wonderful is that?! We planted 27 onions and we have some coming from all 3 squares we planted in. As I stand at my kitchen window I can look right out into the garden and see them peeking out at me. It's so exciting!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Here They Are!

My onions have arrived. At least 5 of them anyway! They're a little hard to see so I've included some helpers.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Well, the Garden Gods have looked down upon my two 4 x 4 boxes of dirt and peat moss and decided that yes, they will indeed grant me the ability to grow at least something. As I was out this evening watering the potatoes, onions and lettuce and staring as hard as I could at the little squares, trying to make out something coming up from the ground, I saw what I'd been looking for! There, right where I was looking was a teeny tiny nub of ONION STALK!!!!! I, of course, started screaming. Dave came over and looked and assured me that it was actually a real, honest-to-goodness piece of something coming out of the ground! As I looked around a little I found more! All together I spotted 5 little green guys poking their heads out!

Although I've been excited since deciding to quit talking about the garden and actually do it, I've been a little scared that nothing would grow. Ever. And even though I know just because the tippity-tops of what will become--hopefully--a nice, big, juicy onion does not necessarily mean that the whole garden will be perfect and disease/pest/animal free, it does give me a giant helping of optimism that is sure to last me quite awhile!!

Monday, April 19, 2010


"I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation. It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green."

--Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from an Old Manse

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lettuce Entertain You

1 square of lettuce is in the ground! The seeds are supposed to sprout in 7-10 days...I can't wait! I held off on planting the transplants because they're not supposed to go in the ground until the actual week of the last frost date (which is supposedly May 10th). The seeds can go in 2-3 weeks ahead of time. All my research says to put 16 seeds per square but when I opened the packet of seeds and poured some out in my hand they were SO small that there was no possible way to only place one seed at a time. So, I may end up with a giant square packed full of lettuce! Hopefully this won't interfere with the way they grow. I keep reading about how to "thin" seeds once they start to come up through the ground but I don't really understand I'm going with the let's-just-see-what-happens method.

I plan on planting 4 total squares of lettuce. I'm spacing out the planting dates by a week or so in order to have each square available for harvesting at different times. This will let me cut leaves from one square each week and give that lettuce time to replenish while we're chowing down on lettuce from the other 3 squares.

In other news, my garden binder (yes, I have a garden binder! I'm now a bit of an organizing freak--thanks to that even bigger organizing freak who is my husband!) is now up to date with a brand-spankin'-new Excel spreadsheet with my garden plans! Have I mentioned that I'm REALLY excited about this new garden thing?! I've planned it out twice on paper; changed positions of the veggies a million times in my head; and now I think I finally have a finished product. It looks so cool in print--let's just hope it looks equally cool when it's growing in our backyard! In case you're super into charts like me, here's what it looks like:

I've emailed a copy of my plans to another garden blogger, Emily. She's the creator of this site. Hopefully she'll email me back and give me some tips. Since I haven't planted anything except for the onions, potatoes and one square of lettuce, I should be able to change things around if need be. Ahhhh organizing, you make me feel so accomplished!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

HE Grows Them

Samuel and I checked out the veggie transplant selection yesterday at Wal-Mart and ended up buying 3 transplants of Buttercrunch lettuce and 2 little bags of seeds. I was a bit reluctant to buy seeds because I wasn't sure how they'd grow if they weren't started indoors and then replanted outside. Luckily, while I was perusing the seed isle (which by the way is incredibly expansive) I asked a nice looking older couple what they knew about lettuce. The wife gave me kind of a funny look and said, "Well, HE grows them," and pointed her thumb at her husband. HE turned out to be a kindly old gentleman who told me pretty much all I ever need to know about lettuce. HE doesn't grow the heads; I told him I didn't want to either. HE said that I didn't need transplants; that I could just use seeds. HE told me that I'd see some little shoots in about 3 days. Then, in true married-for-a-million-years fashion, he pointed his thumb back at his wife and said, "SHE just goes out every day and snips off a few leaves and we eat them the very same day." I showed him the two bags of seeds I'd picked out and told him we were going to plant them soon. HE came back with, "'re getting THAT kind." I just smiled and told him I thought we'd try them.

We talked for awhile about what he had already planted in his garden--2 bags of potatoes from "a fancy catalogue from out east" that are guaranteed to produce 13 (yep, that's right 13...what a weird number) pounds of potatoes each; and a bunch of onions. I told him we'd also planted potatoes and onions and at about that time SHE grabbed his arm and told him she'd picked out her seeds and it was time to go. We wished each other luck with our gardens and went our separate ways.

I left with my transplants and THOSE kinds of lettuce seeds and a smile on my face. How often does a trip to Wal-Mart leave you smiling?! I thought of all the fun we're going to have running out to the garden to get our lettuce and eat it that very day and how my new friends were probably doing that very same thing :) I hope someday someone asks me about lettuce and I can throw my thumb towards Dave and say, "Well, HE grows them!"

Friday, April 16, 2010

po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to

We got our first veggies in! Last night, after Samuel hit the sack, Dave and I planted our seed potatoes and onion sets. I'd heard different dates to have these cold-weather-growers planted, so hopefully we've gotten them in the ground early enough that they'll actually produce enough to matter.
When planting potatoes using the square foot method you only plant one seed potato per square. We took about 6 inches of soil out of each square and placed the seed potatoes in --thanks to Becca's dad for those!!--and then barely covered them with a layer of soil. As they grow, we'll keep covering them with more and more dirt; this is supposed to help them develop a strong root system and produce more potatoes. I'm not sure how many potatoes we'll get from each square (we planted 6 squares in all) but I'm hoping it's more than 1! The onions only produce one per plant so we planted 9 onions per square; 3 squares total.
I've been so excited all day about the new stuff in the ground. I think I have been outside 3 times during the day to "check" on them. I know before I get out there that nothing could have possibly grown overnight but I don't want to miss anything!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Plan

We're starting a square-foot garden. Neither Dave or I have EVER gardened before. I'm not sure what the opposite of a green thumb is but whatever it is, that's what I've got. Brown-dead-plant thumb maybe? Dave's mom gave us a philodendron plant for our was given to her when Dave was born. I killed it. So, needless to say, this should be an interesting experiment!
We made a list of veggies we love to eat and got lots of magazines. (We're the kind of people who can't do anything without researching the heck out of it first!) This year we're doing mostly transplants. Since we're beginning gardeners we though it'd be best to start with some of the work already done. We've built our boxes and filled them up with dirt. Now all that's left is waiting for it to be warm enough to start planting!
Wish us luck!!