Friday, June 29, 2012

Good Morning Garden Goddess

Enjoying the morning sun in the garden again. I've enjoyed lemonbalm, mint, basil, stevia, sage, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, oregano, lavender, chives, and bee balm all season. I have dried enough lemonbalm and mint for tea all winter!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Echinacea Coming In!

Looks like I've got lots of echinacea to harvest! Sure will be good in tea and oil during the cold season.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Our zucchini has been prolific this year and so lovely and healthy looking. I love these raised beds. Little work, lots of produce!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Morning Stroll in the Garden

My favorite thing to do in the mornings is to take a cup of coffee with me to check on the garden. It's a great way to say hello to Mother Gaia and check on my plants to see who needs water.

Here is a photo I took of the raised beds, looking from the herb garden and pond area.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Raised Beds Are the Only Way to Grow Veggies!

We've tried several types of gardening—tilled plot of ground, straw bales, containers—but raised beds beats all choices. No weeding, less watering and fertilizing, compact space, aesthetically pleasing, I'm convinced this is the way to grow vegetables.

In these two 24' X 3' beds, we are growing lettuce, spinach, onions, tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, peppers, chard, and some herbs that are doing well in spite of not having sufficient rain in over a month. I have watered them from the rain we collected in the barrels and when that rain dry, I started using city water, which I don't like to do.

The initial expense to put in the beds was about $330 not counting the cost of seeds and plants (it took 120 bags of soil and composted manure to fill them!). Next year all we need to do is add some fresh compost, (which my red worms and I are making from yard and kitchen scraps), and buy the plants. Since I plan to collect the seeds from the harvest, that expense should be much less. I plan to cover the boxes with straw at the end of the season and allow that to compose during the winter.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Manhole Vine Yard

This is what we call our "man-hole vine yard." We surrounded the plants with some flexible border strips we had on hand so we could add compost as needed. No worries that it will erode during a rain; it is contained in the circle that looks like a man hole cover! hahaha! Since the roots are in the ground rather than a pot, they can go deeper to reach moisture. I put straw around the plants to help them retain moisture; and it add nutrition as it decomposes. The containers we used last year didn't work out well.

We planted viney fruits and vegetables in this area: cantaloupe, honey dew melon, watermelon, and spaghetti squash. The little fence around it establishes a border that my dog recognizes as a "keep out" sign. It reminds me of a cemetery, but all the residents are alive so we call it the vine yard instead of a grave yard.

The moles are frustrated because they can't get to the surface. That's because there is plastic underneath the mulch. We used the bags that the mulch came in to save money and avoid sending useable items to the landfill.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Algae Pond Water

Algae ha taken over the fish pond. We have a sufficient pump and keep the filter cleaned almost daily. I've tried barely bales and they seemed to work earlier in the season, but once the weather got hot the algae got so thick it looked like pea soup. About three times a week, I remove as much as 30 gallons of green slimy water and refill with hose water. I pour the pond water around our flowers (but not our vegetables) to keep them alive. Nashville has not had sufficient rain in about a month and since the rain barrels are dry, I'm have to use the hose and city water (yuck) to keep the veggies growing.

Any suggestions on how to overcome this problem? I don't want to use chemicals to kill the algae because our dog sneaks a drink from the pond when my back is turned.