Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Pallet Christmas tree

I didn't feel like shopping for a new tree this year, so Ken made me a pallet tree.  I love it!  He used 2 pallets & nailed them to a 2x4 base.  Next, he marked the center of the top one & drew a line to the outer corners for cutting.   

He made the angel over 20 years ago when I was in a "rustic" phase and it is a perfect topper.

Monday, August 14, 2017

More flowers

My new neighbor and adopted granddaughter Shawn is amazing with her camera.  Here are some pics she took earlier in the summer.  She just "hatched" a butterfly from a caterpillar INSIDE her home.  She is pretty much a mini me.

Hardy hibiscus in Tennessee

I cut these hibiscus back a few weeks ago and they are reblooming and there are lots of buds.  This one grows 6+ feet tall and in the spring it was a mass of huge blooms.

I don't know the variety, but it comes back every year in my zone 7 garden.  I do not use any mulch over it after it dies back to the ground.

I'm pretty sure the spring blooms were larger, but this one isn't too bad at around 10 inches.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


Just a few random pictures.  I don't have a fancy camera, just a Kodak Easy Share, but it takes really good pictures.

I planted a row of zinnias and touch-me-nots (balsam) the entire length of my garden.  They have been beautiful all summer.  A few weeks ago we used the weed-eater & cut them down by about 2 feet & they have branched out & started to rebloom. 

The balsam is Double camellia mix balsam.  I had blooms of white, 2-3 shades of pink, coral and a nice purple.  Coral was predominant, so I didn't save any seeds from it, but I did for the other colors.  Why do they call it a touch-me-not?  When the seed pods get ripe, when you give the tiniest squeeze they pop open & seeds scatter.

Just plain ol' zinnias

Hardy hibiscus.  I am not sure of the exact names and  I'm not sure what temp they are tolerant to, but in my zone 7 garden we can get down to 0 and they always come back.  They also have some seed pods and I have several started in pots from seed.  Be sure NOT to cover your seeds, just surface sow.

The Japanese beetles did a job on the foilage.

 Pink swirl - 3-4 feet high with huge blooms

 pink swirl

Medium pink, short hardy hibiscus.

 Medium pink
Medium pink

Friday, August 4, 2017

2017 Square Foot Garden

August 2017 square foot garden
You can click the image for a larger view.

2017 SFG with orange netting to keep chickens out.  By next year we hope to have a regular fence around it and mulch the paths.  It's a pain to weed-eat around the beds when the plants hang over.

View from the other end

I've made changes from my original 4 x 6 beds.  Everything was too crowded, air and sunlight could not get to the center sections and harvesting was hard to do.  I also tried 2 x 6 boxes.

Now I have 1 x 6 beds for the most part, with three 3x6 boxes that I use for turnips, bush squash, leeks, onions and a few other things.

My 1 x 6 beds are perfect.  You get good air circulation and plenty of sunlight.  This is especially important for tomatoes in my Zone 7 humid area.  My tomatoes had always gotten blight by the middle of June, even when I was using 2 x 6 boxes and staggered the plants.

We have been using the PVC pipe with hose clamps for quite a while and they have not needed replacing.

It is now August and my tomatoes are kind of scraggly looking, but still going strong.  These are not cherry tomatoes, but Early Cascade.  These are a "saladette" type at 4 oz each.  They seem heavier than that, so I might weigh one to see.   I started my seeds a bit late this year, so they weren't particularly early.

I use a braided nylon cord that is very inexpensive for tying them to the frame.

I cut a length long enough to tie around the frame and reach to the ground with 2-3 inches extra.  While the plants are still small, I start winding them around the cord and repeat as necessary while they grow.

I posted once about using fishing line and it worked fine til we had a big storm and the line broke.  What I used was light weight and it might have worked better with a heavier line, but actually the cord is much easier to wrap and I don't worry so much about the cord cutting into the tomato stem.

This is why I don't bother with growing yellow squash.  Zuchetta Tromboncino tastes just like yellow squash, the neck is all meat and it grows on a trellis to save space.  What's not to love?

The 2 squash above after slicing.

My 1x6 box with tromboncino squash

This one needs another day before picking

The cucumber jungle.  I probably won't do this again.  The cucumbers on the right are planted on top of the compost pile, the one on the left is 4 plants inside (definitely a no-no, should be outside the frame) of a cattle panel frame.  Most of the cukes are on the outside and easier to pick.

I have to climb on the pile of compost and search for the cukes.  Trellising is definitely better, even though mine have never been this lush on a trellis.

Tall Louisiana Purple fig tree.  It did not freeze to the gound this year, but all the early figs blew off when we had a series of bad storms early in the season.  Now it is full of figs, mostly still small, but I have eaten 4-5 ripe ones.  Yummmmm.

They are still small to medium, but should have plenty of time to ripen before frost.

Stock photo of LSU Louisiana Purple figs.  They are not quite as large as the Brown Turkey, but I ain't complainin'.  They are so sweet!

2017 Chickens

This will probably complete the 2017 blog-fest.  Along with my Pink Paradise, dear hubby built a new chicken house and lot.  We have 19 hens, Rhode Island Reds, Golden Comets and Black Sex Links.  They all lay extra large brown eggs.  There is essentially no difference in nutrition of white eggs or brown, but brown eggs just seem more country.  Here is a good article on this subject, and this is another one. 

You can click on a picture for a larger view

New studio and chicken house, all in PINK.

We have a chicken house attached to the barn with a covered lot and THOUGHT it was critter proof, but I can't even remember how many chickens we have lost in the past to possums, raccoons and weasels.

 This one has buried chicken wire at the bottom with 1 by's, the top is covered and stapled to the building.  Every interior opening is sealed with chicken wire and there should be absolutely no way something can get in unless it eats through the wire or we leave the gate or door open.

We did catch a chicken snake in the nest a couple of days ago with a belly full of eggs.  He couldn't get back out through the wire.

It has a loft area for storage.  On one side of the door is a tall 
metal tool cabinet where I keep my pottery stuff, on the other side is a straw bale for nest boxes and a metal garbage can for feed.  

The roosting area is movable and we have heavy duty black plastic underneath.  To clean (which it definitely needs), we just move the roost out of the way and roll up the plastic with the poop and take to the compost pile.  The roost needs a bar replaced, hubby will have to get that done.  

The nesting boxes.  The hens keep raking the bedding out and it's a mess.  We have no rooster, but 2 hens have gone broody.  We got some fertilized eggs from a man at church and put under them, but they keep switching nests!! We marked the fertile eggs and have to keep putting the hens back on their boxes or putting their eggs back under them.  

The black sex links and golden comets are molting and look rather pitiful, but are still laying steadily.

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