Time to plant lettuce!

September 3, 2010

lettuce

Well, now that September has arrived, I am going to plant some lettuce. It is so very easy to grow here and I had lettuce almost all winter here in Dixie.

Here is some advice I read about planting seeds:
Seeds should always be planted at a depth of 2X the size of the seed. If your seed is very tiny, just sprinkle a little soft dirt on top, if your seeds are bigger, push them into the ground about twice as deep as they are tall. Some seeds such as lettuces will not require any covering at all, just sprinkle them on top of your prepared soil and lightly water them in.
The Tasteful Garden Growing Tips This company is located in Alabama, so I trust what they say about growing vegetables in the South.

Now I must go and dig in the dirt. You should do the same, but remember to wear a hat and sunblock.

If you need to plan a garden, let me recommend the following company:
Online Garden Planning Tool

They offer a 30 day free trial membership. Click on the link above. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Image above is from: GrowVeg Blog

NOW, go and dig in your dirt.

I know, you are thinking,” it is a yellow tomato plant.”  However, the leaves are not supposed to be yellow, too.

What to do? Go to my old standby http://www.Squidoo.com! I am somewhat of a “tomato expert”, but I do not know everything–well, actually, I cannot remember everything I read. (“Why remember information when you can go find it?” I say!)

As coincidence, I had just read a wonderful article by Suzy_T, “10 Tomato Plant Problems”.

Can you guess, my problem was at the top of the list!

That night a friend called me and said, “The leaves on my tomato plant are curling up! What does that mean?” I sent her the link to that very article.

Suzy_T wrote a wonderful lens (article in Squidoo language) about the ten most common problems you might have with your tomato plants. I have experienced them all. But, like I said, too often I cannot remember what I did about them.

When I first started growing tomatoes, I had some years of successes (accidental, I am sure) and some really bad years when I only got one tomato off a plant that I spent $2.00 for! I had given up–almost!

In 2008, I grew some really nice plants and had such fun learning how to do it correctly.

The next year, my garden was really turning out the tomatoes–in containers and in the raised be my hubby built. I even wrote several “lenses” about my experiences. (Grow Great Tomatoes in Pots!; My Small Vegetable Garden; Tomato Planting and Growing Tips and my very first The Best Tomato and Cheese Sandwich.)

My yellowing leaves are probably a result of low nitrogen. Suzy recommended I add manure or compost. I do not have a compost pile, so I bought some Moo-neur.

I also boughtBonide 931 Garden Dust on the recommendation of the article by Suzy_T:

I found some at my local Home Depot, but it was not in the “spray dust” bottle.  I wish it had been.  Instead I mixed 1 Tablespoon of the dust in 1 quart of H20 and sprayed it on my plant. (I had to look up the formula on a website).
We shall see. I hope the combination of the manure and the spray will do the trick.

Yellow leaves on tomato plant

What to do?

We shall see what happens. I had such luck with the Lemon Boy last year, I would hate to loose it.

Now, go dig in some dirt!

Kid-friendly gardening!

June 21, 2010

“Trying to keep my kids under constant surveillance while working in the garden, that was frustrating. Then my oldest daughter wanted to help. And, I, being a good and caring mother, decided she would learn a lot from helping in the garden. Also, I, being an egotistic human, thought she might even follow in my footsteps and gain a passion for gardening. OK, I was right and wrong.”
From the article Gardening the Kid-Friendly Way

When I saw the title of the article “Gardening the Kid-Friendly Way”, I was interested. Then I read the above passage and I was definitely hooked. This author could offer me advice! Yes! In this article she presented her own experience, along with some helpful ways of showing the kid-gardener the joy of growing. It is a good read.

I have a 4 year old grandson who is in love with the “idea” of growing vegetables. His two and one half year old brother loves eating anything he picks off a bush or a vine. Blueberries, cherry tomatoes — green and red –, strawberries — they do not get a chance to turn red — , and beans go directly from the plant to his dirty hand to his mouth.

I bought them some seed tape for growing lettuce and a cherry tomato plant this spring. We planted it all. The lettuce did not grow; the tomato plant wilted. I discovered that if I was not there to take care of the plantings, they died or underperformed. Remember I said the 4 yr. old loved the “idea” of having a garden? Well, little ones are just not ready to understand that a garden cannot take care of itself. Since I do not live next door to them, it was left up to their mom (my daughter) to tend the patch of planted earth. Since she works part-time and has three youngsters to raise, her priority was not growing vegetables.

Lesson I learned: teach the kids about gardening by doing a good job of gardening YOURSELF! Show them what to do every year until they really want to garden. Do not expect them to really get it.

Another lesson learned: do plant what they are interested in. Coopy loves tomatoes, Bubbie loves beans. Babycakes (the older sister who is 6) loves picking lettuce and eating it in a “sallit”.

The joy in you see in their faces is so wonderful as they bite into the harvest. Treasure that.

A Footnote: My daughter of the three kids asked the Easter Bunny to bring some seeds for the kids to plant. Those seeds are doing nicely. They will continue to do well until vacation time comes. Ahh. The joy.

Next year I will probably just buy this game for my grand kids:Harvest Time.

gardening game for kids

Harvest Time Game

Now go and dig in the dirt for your own self-satisfaction!

I ran across this project that looks so easy. It is also a great way to “re-purpose” some of my junk. I must be careful and not make a moss basket that would embarrass my children. In one of my daughter’s mind, I am getting a little “junky”. It has become a great joy in my life to find a way to make her “roll” her eyes. I must add that my grandkids love my yard-art!

(the image here is from “How To Make a Moss Basket”)

How to Make a Moss Basket Planter

moss basket

Items you need to make a moss basket

gardening with kids

The Healthy Kids Website has started a “Gardening for Healthy Kids Challenge” for us parent and grandparent gardeners.

They want us to garden with out kids! Here are some guidelines they are suggesting:
* Determine a small location and prepare the soil. If land is limited, try container gardening.
* Offer guidance for some sure-success plants like radishes, lettuce, spinach, but let your kids have fun picking seed choices.
* Let your kids do the watering and weed picking.
* Relax your standards.
*The point is to have fun and encourage your kids to eat healthy produce.

Sounds good to me! I have already bought my grandsons a patio tomato and some seed tape lettuce. They are so very excited. It just warms my heart. Now I just need to find some fish emulsion or good organic vegetable food for them to use. It is harder than you think it would be.

A teepee in my garden?

March 23, 2010

I am considering building a teepee in my garden this year.

I have a partly shady spot that needs some help! My basset hound will not keep out and the ground critters have been having a party there. I got the teepee idea from a cool website that specializes in gardening with kids. It is called Junior Master Gardener.

Here are my plans in my head: I have some really long bamboo poles left over from my last year’s garden. So those will be my frame. I will cut a circle from landscaping fabric to the size I think will be the best. I will plant some beans (type to be determined!) for the poles. Then around the Teepee I will put flowers – impatiens and maybe lettuce?

Keep checking back or subscribe for updates.

teepee for vegetable

A model teepee!

What am I going to plant this year? Anything new?

I have grown tomatoes the last two years with some success. In fact, I wrote several articles about those successes on a site called Squidoo. The first article was actually a recipe for The Best Tomato and Cheese Sandwich.

The next year I tried to improve my tomato crop by following a plan designed by Mike Pender who owns a local Gardening Shop. He has a special formula for growing tomatoes in pots. You can see the results at “Grow Tomatoes in Pots!”.

This year, I am going to only grow “Patio Tomatoes” in a pot. The others, I will grow in good ol’ Mother Earth.

If you want to follow this years blooming adventures, then subscribe to this blog. Who knows what you might learn. I will be trying new products or I just might stay with the tried and true.

Thanks for stopping by! Happy growing to ya!

forced blooms

Blooms forced after only 5 days.

How did I bring an early springtime inside? I cut branches from a tree in my yard that I knew had blooms in the spring. I brought them in a put the twigs in a tall vase with water and a touch of liquid bleach (about 1/2 a teaspoon). I had blooms in 4 days! Why? It was warm inside and the temperature “forced” the twigs to bloom. Those little blossoms on the branches cheered up my house when I was cold and dreary outside!

Plant this tree for flowering branches:

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