Thursday, May 30, 2013

Volunteers Mix with May Garden


Our summer garden is beginning to bloom and it's mixed with lots of volunteer plants from previous seasons, especially lettuce, bok choy, different types of beans and primrose, a type of wildflower.

Have you ever had a pot of flowers, grown plants in your garden, or even thrown out dried blooming plants to discover the next year they're growing? If, so you have a volunteer that reseeded, itself or kept alive by strong roots and Mother Nature.

Above is an example of a type of lettuce that will reseed next year. Hot weather will dry the blooms and after tilling the soil, planting another vegetable for summer, tilling again in fall may allow a volunteer to sprout without any help, when the time is right.

We added cucumbers and sweet potatoes to our summer garden this year. Last year the sweet potatoes kept growing even after we dug them up in the fall but no volunteers this spring.

We were out early this morning picking sugar peas. No volunteers here (except, Deberah and Jerry). This wasn't our best season for my favorite pea.

As you see, we did have enough for salads and as side veggie. A grilled meat will be perfect for the main course. Jerry is an expert griller, as well as, our expert tiller.

We let these butter lettuce volunteers grow between the rows of "Rattlesnake" green beans and turnips greens (left the greens for those purple top turnips).

All volunteer lettuce in this basket! Earlier this year, we moved volunteers to another spot in the garden and they continued to grow in the original spot.

Onions and garlic volunteer in the yard and other places in the garden. Pictured above are red onions we planted this spring. Once mature the onions will show the fruit.

Parsnip sprouts, grow and bloom in the yard close to the garden from two years ago.

Root crops like carrots and red potatoes can reseed and volunteer, but we usually harvest before there's a chance.

Primrose seeds are volunteering all around the garden.

Volunteer plants grow all around a yard or garden, often we don't recognize their small sprouts or realize the benefit. I think volunteers make some of the best and strongest additions to your landscape.

Here's a few reasons why:

*already acclimated to your soil & climate
*survived neglect from drought and zero cultivation
*surprise...surprise (most fun)!

Until Next Time.......

Happy Gardening 2013!

Posted by Wilma Smith

Friday, May 24, 2013

Raised Beds, Pay Off Early

April 19th, I blogged about the raised beds, Mike, Dianne and Copper had built in their back yard. It took them another week to finish the project, so I wanted to update you on the progress they've made in a month.

Pictured above are the green beans planted in one raised bed. Bamboo stakes and string was used for the plants to run, simple, but effective.

Above, Mike is making sure his sugar peas are growing up the trellis he constructed in this bed.

This bed is growing squash, bigger than some planted in our garden at the same time.

Mike and Copper admire the fruits of their labor, after constructing and planting the four raised beds.

Dianne grew these tomato plants from seed in her dinning room window before planting in this raised bed.

I like this idea of placing the seed packs in a plastic bag, tacking to the raised bed, so you can't forget the types of seeds planted, plus all the info is handy! Also, I think the rain gauge is a plus.

Now, Dianne can sit back and enjoy, too, until watering and fertilizing is needed.

As, you can see, raised beds pay off early, regardless, of your space and time. I bet you have some materials you can use like old planks, cross ties, bricks, or rocks to build a little garden somewhere in your landscape.
It won't be long before Mike, Dianne and Copper are enjoying fresh veggies in a meal. I'm amazed their raised beds have only taken a couple of months from start to now!
Until Next Time........
Happy Gardening 2013!
Posted by Wilma Smith 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nelson Gardens

Last Saturday, Mike, Dianne and I attended a food raiser/fund raiser for the Coweta County Pet Food Pantry at Mike and Charlotte Nelson's house. I was excited to go because Charlotte is such a great gardener, as well as, a big animal lover (she has a side business, as a pet sitter; walking, feeding and care taking pets while their owners are on vacation, need assistance, or any situation).

So, even the rain didn't stop the event, they just moved the food, donations and people inside, ringing a bell every so often to give away door prizes. What a fun day!

I spied this breath taking amaryllis (pictured above) from a window inside while enjoying some delicious treats and could hardly wait to go outside for a closer look. Reds are the only amaryllis bulbs I've ever planted and I thought they were the most vibrante, however, I stand corrected after admiring this two foot white.

After, a nice shower we were able to tour what I call the "Nelson Gardens" as with every turn of the head you wanted to look closer at the flowers, plants and neat decorations, like the pool above.

Charlotte informed us about her experiments with items bought straight out of the grocery store. Above is celery and red onions grown from the bottoms cut (usually mulched or thrown away) preparing dishes for a meal. She also has "Orville Redenbacher's Popcorn" coming up in another area.

A smart gardener uses all types of mediums in a garden and adds favorite concrete statues, as well as, decorations to add interest and space. Pebbles, river rock, bricks, wood chips and pine straw are a few I saw at the Nelson Gardens. I also saw ivy, a ground cover used making a great mulch to keep unwanted weeds at bay.

A wrought iron fence as a back drop gives this beautiful rose a dramatic effect. Yarrow is also growing in the foreground.

Charlotte is famous for her straw bale gardening method and as you see above, she has a good start this year with her vegtables. She was featured in the "Coweta Magazine" and has been a speaker at numerous garden clubs to include Coweta County's Backyard Association.

How cute is this idea?  I may have some old rubber boots in my basement.

Everywhere you looked (like the rose above) there were beautiful, healthy plants to enjoy and envy.

But the most important thing for the event was about the help pets will get from the donations to the Coweta County Pet Food Pantry received on Saturday!

From all the dog and cat food, treats, bowls, leashes, etc. pictured with Charlotte and Holly the event was a success!
I need to make a correction from my previous blog, as the Coweta County Pet Food Pantry gives individuals help feeding and caring for their animals when they have fallen on hard times and want to keep pets until better times.
Until Next Time..........
Happy Gardening 2013
Postedby Wilma Smith

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Doggone Cute!

This Saturday, May 18, 2013, Charlotte Nelson, a Crossroads Garden Club member is hosting the Coweta County Pet Food Pantry at her residence located at 40 Stephanie Dr., Newnan, GA 30265 (Thomas Crossroads Area) from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM.

The Pantry is represented by Holly Lewis and donations of the following items will be appreciated:

*dry and canned food for dogs and cats
*chew toys and treats
*cat litter
*if you love pets then you understand whats needed

Pictured above is Todd a Chiweenie (part chihuahua and part datsun), I adopted several years ago at Pet Smart from a rescue organization. I can't tell you how glad I am that I made the decision to adopt him. Tia, my female Corgi needed a friend and it turns out they are best buds.

Turns out Todd is not only a good friend to Tia and a good lap buddy to me, he is also a great little watch dog with lots of personality!

Although, Todd seems a little bored with all this news about the Pet Food Pantry, I know he loves to help other pets who may need it while awaiting adoption.

This event is also having a raffle ($1.00 a ticket) to win a big cat tower. All donations for the tower will go to the Coweta County Pet Food Pantry.

So come for a few minutes to drop off donations, or stay for the two hours. You'll also enjoy Charlotte's gardens, as she uses straw bales (a unique technique) to grow most of her vegetables and flowers.

Until Next Time........

Happy Gardening 2013!

Posted by Wilma Smith

Monday, May 6, 2013

Beeing Happy!

Last week end Jerry, Deborah and I traveled to Buster's Bees located at 3910 Champagne Drive, Jonesboro, GA to pick up our hive of bees. Because we are novices in the beekeeping craft, we chose to buy an established hive, only requiring us to pick it up and place it on our property (removing a screen over the entrance and exit) and feeding the bees sugar water to keep them satisfied until they get use to their new home.

So, far it appears to me they like it here, as they should. Now they are not competing with other hives, they have more water than at their old home and there is plenty of blooms around to keep them busy.

Above, you can see what I mean by the completion, but Fran and Buster have a great place for their bee business. They build all the hives from inside out (with love) to include the frames, wax and every detail the bees need to grow, feed and make honey. Plus, they have a store on sight where they sell clothing, tools and any supplies needed for the craft.

There's something about bees that make you happy! Just look at this picture of Jerry and his honey, Deborah waiting on our hive to bee loaded for home (no puns, intended). 

While Buster and his friend loaded the hive on our truck, I took a closer look at the old truck in the background. Looks to be a Willis Jeep model to me but I am certainly no antique car expert.



Either way, I like driving a truck and this beauty had a big "W" on the tailgate, so what do you think? I didn't get a chance to ask Buster. Let me know your guess for a chance to win a "Rose of Sharon" bush.

Tia and Todd even seem more loving and happier, since we brought the bees home.

Bees are phenomenal and have a fantastic role in a yard and garden (increasing blooms and harvests), besides producing honey, a major organic ingredient in thousands of recipes.

They can travel miles in their quest for pollen and nectar to gather, helping all landscapes along the way and with every buzz, they're happy doing it.

Until Next Time Bee Happy........

Happy Gardening 2012!

Posted by Wilma Smith