Saturday, August 1, 2009

Banana Pepper Anyone?

We have some in stock!

Tomatoes Tomatoes Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes and beefsteak tomatoes are growing everywhere. Take a look. Anyone know when they will turn red??
Yours Truly,

OMG the watermelon is growing!

I started the watermelon from seed as the seedlings roots systems were to fragile. I won't start those indoor next year. The same goes for peas. Anyway, it didn't take long for the watermelon to sprout, but the plant has been touch and go for a while. Honestly, I wasn't worried about it and thought if it grows great if not I am okay with that. On my morning walk out to the garden, I noticed the watermelon vine found it's way through the chicken wire and 'out' of the raised bed. THEN to my surprise I noticed a small watermelon. As you can see in the pic, it is too darn gone cute!!!! I took this picture a couple weeks ago and now the size is comparable to a large plum. My girls are very excited and LOVE watermelon. I hope to have more than one so mommy can make sangria with it, which was introduced to me on a recent trip to Washington DC. YUMMY!

Yours truly,


Harvesting the Veggies!!

Sorry for the delay in posting. I started a new job and had to take a few months off of posting, BUT not gardening. Here is the update. I transplanted the seedlings a little late around June 6th. While they looked small in our raised beds, it didn't take long for them to shoot up bigger and stronger than ever. I really noticed a significant difference at week 3 in the ground. I followed a suggested method of planting the tomato plants on their side and gently curving the top to grow straight up. Roots form on the buried stems and help the stems grow stronger and thicker. Of the seedlings we planted: watermelon, broccoli, tomato, green beans, peas, peppers, squash and carrots, the first to bear 'fruit' was the squash. This is a great pick for first time growers. I averaged about 3-4 squash from two plants a week. Up until this week at least. Not sure if I will get anymore or not. Check back to see. The tomatoes are EVERYWHERE, but they are not turning red. We have had tomatoes on there for weeks, but still waiting to pick them. The green beans did get planted until a couple weeks before the 4th of July so we are being patient with those. Last week the broccoli started to form the florets and if I can keep the worms off the leaves, we might actually get to eat it. Here are some picks and promise to keep everyone in the loop more frequently as we end out the summer.

Enjoy the pic above of our 2 squash plants!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring is here and the beds are almost done!

Zach has started to make the cedar raised beds for the vegetable garden. He did an awesome job!!! Now, we need to level the ground and get the soil. It won't be long before we can plant:)

Here are some other pics of the flower beds.

To Seeds, Soil, and Hope!

Yours Truly,


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Composting: Green vs. Brown

What would a garden be without composting? Some call it black gold for the garden. With the last frost right around the corner, it is something to think about. Many websites discuss this topic at length and suggest a healthy ratio of "brown" and "green" materials for a thriving compost pile. Supposedly, the brown items must significantly outweigh the green items. So it begs the questions of what materials qualify as brown. I found a site that breaks it down for us. Check out Specifically this topic on Green Versus Brown Compost Materials

Happy Composting!!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Does Rog not think I am a Lady?

Okay funny story. Rog, my brother, calls me up and tells me about a sale over a Rural King. Previously, I told him that I needed a solution for my falling Peony bushes. He calls on Sunday to tell me about the Peony supports on sale. The next day I receive a flyer in our mail from Rural King. On the front page there is a coupon for 10% off. He didn't tell me anything about 10% off. So, I read on. It states in good ole' dignified country manner that April 2nd is Senior Citizen OR Ladies Discount Day. I particularly like what comes after the asterisk. *Must be 55 or older OR a Lady. If you are a Lady and 55 or older, you only get 10% off.

I laughed so hard. Doesn't he think I would qualify???? Love ya Rog:) I am going on April 2nd to get the Peony Supports AND I am getting my 10% for being a Lady. I just hope they don't ask for proof. You gotta love the country stores:)

Yours Truly,


Day 11 and Counting

Well, everything seems to be growing. The peas are out of this world. Squash doing okay but should have put stakes in the pot before it grew and really should have planted it in something that could go straight into the ground. Other blogs say the Squash, Watermelon, and Carrots won't make the transplant because the roots are so fragile. May have to start over with them.

The tomatoes and peppers are the last to rise but looking strong. Not sure why but the Bell Pepper and Tomato in the Styrofoam cups haven't popped up yet. Seem to take longer in the cups. Wonder why? Could be they are further away from the heat.

I am going to give everything a little longer to grow in the cells. May have to start transplanting into bigger cups for some. I hope they all make it.

To Seeds, Soil, and Hope! (BTW the seeds have brought some hope in the household... I just landed a JOB! It's like burying the St. Joseph statute in the backyard hoping your house will sell. Just sow a couple seeds to get a JOB:)

Yours Truly,

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day 6: Cinnamon rocks and Squash is Huge!

I feel like a rock star. The seedlings are doing GREAT! The cinnamon worked like a charm. No mold in sight. Just a light dusting over the entire surface, and it sent the mold running. In fact, the plants are flourishing. Almost to fast, I need to do more research on what comes next. The squash is growing so fast that I think I need to transplant it to a bigger pot soon.

Almost everything has risen except for the the pepper and tomato.

I took the plastic dome off of the flats since everything is sprouting. I watered on Day 5. They looked like they were getting a bit dry. Especially since we took the newspaper off and the hoods. The heat lamp grabs the moisture in the soil.
Many questions and thoughts are running around in my head. When should we transplant and what size pots do I need? When do I give the seedlings more compost tea?
Things to do in near future: Turn the flats 180 degrees so that the seedlings will grow in the opposite direction (by following the light). This is supposed to create stronger stems.
I am off to do more research as this weekend may be filled with more activities.
To Seeds, Soil, and Hope!
Yours Truly,

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Holy Cannoli! I went in to turn on the the lights for our little seedlings, and I saw some of the newspaper had been moved. Could it be growth? Or did I accidentally move it last night before shutting off the lights? To my great surprise, WE HAVE GROWTH! I yelled for the girls to come look and while screaming with excitement we saw at least an inch of growth on some of the flowers and a quarter of an inch on the broccoli. Wow, I can hardly believe it!
All of this adrenaline was brought down quickly when I saw MOLD growing on the "cool flat." Sure the broccoli and peas are starting to sprout but I can also see white fluff on the top of the soil throughout the flat. The "hot flat" didn't show any signs of mold. So of course I headed to the computer to do some research. My best hit was to Dave's Garden He talks about "The Dreaded Dampening Off." Oh dear this sounds serious!! Even though I did cook the soil, there are other culprits to watch out for 1)no air movement and 2) too much water. What a rookie I am! It definitely is damp in there, so I removed all the newspaper. Next, I removed the plastic hood for time being on the "cool flat." I got a paper towel and tried to gently removed the mold that I found. Some of the suggestions included mixing some hydrogen peroxide with your water (1 Tablespoon per quart of water). Misting this on top will help prevent mold. While I might still try that, for now I am using a more interesting and who would have thought of it approach with CINNAMON!
With a light dusting of cinnamon, we are hopeful this will do the trick. Check back to stay updated!

We learned a valuable lesson today, "Minimize wet conditions, and maximize air flow." Thanks, Dave!

To Seeds, Soil, and Hope!
Yours Truly,

The Process 1-2-3

After getting the small amount of supplies needed, we returned home and immediately starting baking the the soil. This is a sterilization process to keep fungus away from our little darling seedlings! After the soil has cooled, we filled the flats and cups with soil and made tags so we could remember what was what. The girls were planting Zinnias and Petunias. My husband and I wanted a lot of vegetables and the list includes:
-Peppers (Banana, Cayenne, and Bell)
-Green Beans

(BTW: We receive Gardener's Catalog and I found an awesome resource in planning your garden. We are planning on using raised beddings and has an interactive site that helps you map out your garden. Go check it out.)

I tried to separate the seeds by those that require more heat and those that don't (i.e. broccoli and peas don't need all the heat that tomatoes do). Each flat holds almost 72 nooks, so we decided to plant in each nook except for the last row, which I cut off entirely. This will serve as a watering hole and water the seeds from the bottom up. Two short rows were planted for each variety again keeping the cooler plants in separate flats from the hotter ones. The planting depth was determined by carefully reading the back of the seed packet. I also took advice and planted a little higher that what the packet recommended. Evidently, a beginner often plants the seed too far down. I definitely didn't want to make a rookie mistake:) Next, I watered the plant with compost tea (see recipe at Sarah's Pioneer Living), which consisted of rotting vegetables and coffee grounds mixed with hot water, blended, and then strained. I could hear the seeds applauding and asking for more! A final mist of water went over the top of the soil.
Additional advice suggested that we soak newspaper and place over the top of the seeds. It was kinda like placing lasagna noodles over the dirt. The hood (plastic top) or saran wrap for the cups was put on last and the entire flat was placed under our fluorescent light and heat lap. We paid carefully attention to put the heat lamp closest to the "hot flat" leaving the cooler flat further away. Others may find two separate places for this scenario but we are limited on space so we are giving it a whirl hoping that both can coexist.

Voila! The germination process has begun!
To Seeds, Soil, and Hope!
Yours Truly,

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Seed Germination!

Who would have thought that you didn't just plant the seeds in the ground and water!! Well to make sure we were on the right track, we did a lot of research. I came across a great resource called Sarah's Pioneer Living . She has a web show on YouTube called Pioneer Living. I watched all of her Urban Gardening: Gardening to Survive video clips. My husband listened while watching the March Madness Tournament:) A quick note about Sarah: she has a great deal of knowledge regarding this topic and reminds of a free loving hippie chick with an awesome green thumb, which is my way of saying check out her gardening videos. Anyway after coming up with a game plan, we sought materials that we had on hand and went to Lowe's to get the rest (kids and all).

We quickly learned that we are about seven weeks until the last frost in our area and needed to get a move on and plant the seeds INDOOR. The seeds have to germinate first before we can sow them outside. To do this, we came up with list that included these items:

-Organic potting mix

-Seeds (of course!) (Sarah would advocate going to the grocery store and purchasing the produce, but to get started TODAY we wanted seeds on hand that we didn't have to dry out)

-Trays to mix seeds and soil- something with a lid or cover to create a greenhouse effect.. Sarah does have great ideas for creating trays and using saran wrap!

-Growing light (We actually had a 48" fluorescent light and a heating light)

-Spray Bottle

-Tags to identify our seedlings

-Newspaper (We had this on hand!)

-Aluminum foil

- Compost Tea (for a fuller explanation see Sarah's video, but in short it is adding hot water to vegetable/coffee compost, blending, and straining. The water mixture is basically fertilizer for the young seedlings.)

Well we came back with more seeds than we needed of course. The girls wanted to grow flowers so we picked a few of those. Do we need to germinate those?...I have no idea but it made them happy. Check out the picks for yourself.

I will be back to explain the process in a minute!!!!

To Seeds, Soil, and Hope!

Yours Truly,

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Deciding to Grow a Garden. Really!

This is the year we will germinate seeds, transplant, and hope for a successful harvest. I can hardly believe that I am writing this myself. Deciding to accomplish this task has been years in the making, but pushed to the edge after a huge personal struggle in the professional world. I used to have a great job that allowed me to travel the country, dine in the finest of settings, and rub elbows with the C-level executives. In an effort to build a stronger family with two little girls, I took a job in a smaller town without travel, which also meant we would be closer to family. A year and a half later, I lost my job due to the economic downturn. As we try to pick up the pieces, I find myself struggling personally. Why did I leave a great job to move here? How am I going to support my family? What does the future hold for us? I keep looking for the deeper meaning and still don't have any answers after four months being unemployed.

Our lives have changed drastically. With very little money coming in we make choices that we have never faced before. Feeding, housing, and clothing a family of four has been the biggest weight on my shoulders. Fear of failing in one of these major life necessities is what keeps me up at night. Finding lower cost alternatives to everything has been a struggle but not impossible. Starting our own garden will help us be more self sufficient, provide nourishment, and be a life learning lesson for my children with the largest lesson targeting me on the back.

This blog will capture our attempt to grow a successful garden with no previous experience while at the same time rebuild hope and stability in our home.

To Seeds, Soil, and Hope!

Yours Truly,