Friday, May 29, 2009

Flower Patch

I finally got everything planted in my Flower Patch. The greenery to the right are bulbs (grape Hyacinths, miniature daffodils and mini tulips). The white flowers are from Snow-in-Summer. Then there are two green mounds in the middle they are Stonecrop Sedum Autumn Joy. Then I planted some white and yellow Iris's then there is the other white fence panel. We added the white fence panels because we had a lot of foot traffic through my flowerbed. I believe it was the teenagers walking home from the Junior High close by. They were fairly big prints they left behind. It reduced the footprints left drastically I think since we have put the fence panels up I have only seen a set of foot prints once. I also planted Cosmos between the side walk and Sedum, they have sprouted up and are doing quite well. The section between the Sedum and the road I planted Zinnias. I haven't seen them come up yet. It is a hard section to grow anything but weeds in. If they don't grow I will try some plants that aren't as sensitive to salt and dry ground. That is the section that gets a lot of salted snow piled up on it during the winter.

Coming soon I will be posting a picture of one of my flowerbeds. It is a very dry spot and I always forget to water it. I would like any suggestions of what to plant there. I have purple grape Hyacinths there but they die down so I need some kind or ground cover or a plant that doesn't mind sharing the space for a time.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Gardening Thoughts

Well I have almost successfully cleared out all flowerbeds of the weeds. I have a little work left in front of my raspberry patch and my front flowerbed out by our mailbox. I have also returned to the previously weeded sections and have gone over them again. I hope to be consistent and keep things weeded so my garden can grow.

I have 4 lettuce plants one carrot and some green onions growing as well as some peas and the beans have just come up as well. I am uncertain if the tomatoes are going to come up. I almost forgot 2 zucchini came up but they aren't growing so well. I think they got powdery mildew on them. The leafs have white spots on them and the plant doesn't look very healthy right now. I don't know if they are going to make it.

For mother's day Shane bought me flowers. I got a snap dragon and a daisy like one that I don't remember the name of. I also got some leafy one with blue flower spikes that likes the shade for the front yard. I got them all planted shortly after they were bought.

This week I plan on making some stepping stones and planting seeds in a tray so that they are more easily watered. I will grow some more tomato plants encase the ones I previously planted don't come up. I think I will also plant some zucchini encase the ones that are currently growing die. Then some melons. I will do them since I have no where to plant them right now. I plan on trying to get Tanner's garden patch done so he can plant his corn. I also need to teach Esther what are weeds and so she can keep them under control. She is getting some coming up and if she can keep them in check she won't have any problems keeping up with her weeding. Then I need to prepare the soil to plant more carrots. Replant lettuce where they are currently and plant cucumbers under the aspen tree's in the back. That should keep me busy.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Seeds Planted

My garden in the flowerbeds is shaping up nicely. I have lettuce and green onions growing. The carrots I planted didn't sprout I need to plant more. I will also try to plant more lettuce. I am going to try for a continued harvest of as many plants as I can. Of course things like tomatoes and zucchini you should only plant a few plants of those or you get too many. I have peas growing. I planted green beans and tomatoes last week they haven't come up yet.

Today I planted some Canterbury bells. I also went and replanted some of my Zinnia's and Cosmos' since someone has been walking through my flower patch. Shane put up a white picket fence section on each end of the flower patch.

Friday, May 15, 2009


I have been so busy gardening that I have had no time to write. Also in May there are two birthdays in the family so I am busy with that as well.

I am so close to finishing up the weeding project. I got all but two areas cleared out. I also went over the strawberry patch and Iris bed again since they were the first areas weeded they needed a little touch up. I don't know what it is but the closer I get to clearing the last two areas the longer it seems to take me to make any progress. I was wondering if I am just worn out from all the weeding so it is taking me longer. Or just too impatient and think it should already be done.

I also realize that I am starting a lot of my plants from seed. I am beginning to realize how time consuming it is. I also moved some of my "Snow in Summer" plant and forgot to water it. It might not be save able it is a good thing that I have a big plant of it to spread around. I want to plant it where my bulbs are so that I can have a ground covering year round to choke out the weeds.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Flower beds

I have flowerbeds as you can see. They were put in by the previous owner. I have one thing to say about flowerbeds. When people landscape and put in flowerbeds they go with what looks good not what can reasonable be weeded and taken care of. Some of them are easier for me to work with than others. Since they have nice curbing around them I don't want to get rid of them. The one in the back with the exception of each end where there are trees are set up reasonable for the most part. Some of it goes to deep in my opinion. I have started putting stepping stones in key places to make the back more easily accessible. Since I like the square foot gardening whenever I step on my flower bed soil it really bugs me. I also try to grow big garden plants in places where the bed is big with not much in them. I use to have a ground cover growing which was also chosen by the last owners. I thought I liked it until it started taking over the flowerbed my grass around the beds and weeds would grow in the ground cover and make things impossible to manage. Also unless I plan on spending lots to fill the beds in with flowers I have to do something else with them. I have planned what to to with the back. The front two I am still planning what to do with

I plan in the back to split it up into sections using the pinetrees to help divide each section. I already have a section with Iris'. I also have planted lettuce in the part that is too shaded by the globe willow to grow Iris'. I plan on moving my wild strawberries and have a section of just those. I also have rose bushes some of which aren't looking very good right now. I don't know if one of them will survive. Also the last section will probably be planted with some garden vegetables each year. Tomatoes this year will go there. In front of the middle pine I planted peas and where the strawberries will eventually go I have a zucchini planted. All of this will take a year or two.

If you have the I want it now the way you want it expect it to cost a lot of time and money. I plan on being more gradual with any changes to my landscape. It helps spread the cost out over time and it also gives me time to decide what I like and what I want to change without being hasty and waisting money.

Enough rambling I better get back to my kids and garden.


I was going to blog about tools I use but I haven't got around to it till today. I had a very busy week and weekend. I did a lot of gardening. I have almost finished weeding and the places I have previously weeded need attention again. That is the way things go. Housework with kids around can be about the same. Get it done then do everything all over again, and again and again.

I hope by getting out there and weeding now I will have limited weeding the rest of the season. I got most of the weeds before they went to seed. I just prevented thousands of new weeds from even growing.

Here is a picture of my weeded flower bed.

Here is the before picture:

Now to tools that I use here are the three essential ones.

A spading fork, a weeder and a small shovel. I bought the spading fork and weeder from Lowe's. The small shovel I don't remember but I did make sure to find a solid looking one that seemed to be high quality. It has been a good shovel and I do remember paying a little bit more for it than the usual ones you can find. The handle is one piece and is metal except for the rubber covering over it. I use the spading fork to weed and dig up garden beds the shovel to break up dirt and dig holes to plant flowers in. Weeder is used to loosen up what spading fork wasn't able to while weeding. There is also a big shovel you can get if you plan on planting anything large like a tree or something. If you have roses I would recommend a pruner too. You will probably want ones with extendable handles they run around 50 dollars for a pruner (not needed for basic garden)

Once you got your tools if you want to kill the grass instead of digging it up get a weed and grass killer. WildFire grass and weed killer it has a blue dye which I liked so I can tell where it got sprayed. But I am unable to find it anymore. Any should do the job just fine. For one square measure 5 feet by 5 feet. The actual garden square is 4 feet by 4 feet with a 1 foot walk way all the way around. Get rid of the grass make sure it gets 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day. I built my garden on the south border of my property.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Esther's garden

I will also do some posts about my daughters endeavors. Mostly pictures from time to time. So you can watch her flower garden grow. It might grow more weeds than flowers but you never know, it is too soon to tell what will happen. She is solely responsible. I plan on encouraging her and checking up from time to time.


Today is a wonderful day to be weeding. That is if you choose the right spot. My flowerbeds in the back of our home are perfect. Not too wet or too dry they get full sun and are on the west boundary of our property. My raspberries on the south side of our property are still too wet. I also have heavy soil that gets compacted unlike the nice garden soil I have in the flower beds. I need to work on improving the soil around the raspberries so they are easier to weed.

I also have a lot of big weeds. When I get down to weeding I like to see my progress. When the weeds are big it is easy to see what you have done. I get a greater sense of satisfaction that way. I also seem to get a lot more weeds. Most of the weeds I have been pulling are starting to go to seed. If you have weeding and need motivation just think about all the weed seeds you are getting rid of with each weed you pull. And how many thousands of weeds you will not need to pull up if you take care of the weeds now.

As I have been thinking of what to write about each day I have had a lot of ideas come. I think tomorrow I will talk about what tools I feel are the most essential. Also if you would like to get into gardening the bare minimum tools you will need to have what you need to get started. I think I can narrow it down to three. That way you can save some money which I think a lot of people are doing now.

I also hope to get more pictures up soon to make this whole thing a lot more interesting.
Here are the pictures I wrote about. This is where I weeded. I will post the finished pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Update on Gardening Projects

(Here is my Flower Patch.)

I have just taken out the rest of the grass in my Flower Patch out front. I call it that because it is a small section between our neighbors yard and our driveway out by the road. It gets a lot of salt when it snows and half of it is weeds. The section that gets the most salt seems to be more sandy in texture and the other half closer to the sidewalk seems to be more of a clay mixture. It has a hard outer crust once it dries and is impossible to work with once dry.

I have definitely done more garden work in the past few weeks than I have in the past. I have never started this early. I usually don't do much except plant peas until after Mother's Day. I have planted peas at the first thaw most years. I wasn't able to this year I got them planted last week sometime. I have a notebook with exact dates but for the blog I will be more approximate.

It has been dry enough to work the soil in our area already. Right now it is too wet due to the rain this past weekend. I have found out if there is grass to dig up it is a lot easier two days after it rains, instead of waiting for it to dry out more. In fact I was able to dig up more with little effort. It is too wet to get the dirt of the grass roots. So what I did was dig it up in small sections then flip each over to dry out. Then I will get as much dirt off once it is dry then throw the grass sections out. I also don't know it this will cause some compaction of the dirt but for the effort I won't care much since I will be adding compost to the dirt once it is dry enough to prepare the rest of the way. I have been using the Nutri-Mulch from State Farm it comes from Sanpete county from a turkey farm. So far I have used it with great success. I had some plants that were struggling to survive and I mulched them this winter and they are twice as big as usual and very healthy this year. In other words they are thriving now.

I did do some work in my strawberry patch a few weeks back. It has become too crowded so I am experimenting with it. I cleaned out half and spread the plants out and left the other half crowded. I tried to leave both younger and older more established plants in both places and I will see if it increase there size and how many each plant produces. I also used an organic all purpose fertilizer on them. It is from Gardens Alive. It is suppose to be a slow release fertilizer and only needed once a year. That is what I like about it since I always seem to forget to fertilize on a regular basis. I think my garden would grow better if I was more consistent with fertilizing it. I have a goal to do better with my garden this year.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

square foot gardening

This photo is of my square foot garden in Virginia just after I put it in. I didn't build the vertical frames till later. Or put the stones in that I mention in my post till later. I don't think I have a good picture of what it looked like with the other improvements.

I do square foot gardening. I have my current endeavors set up in that format. I haven't done true raised beds. There are a lot of books about square foot gardening written my Mel Bartholomew. I have the one printed by Rodale with a copyright of 1981 it is called Square Foot Gardening. It might be one of his first books so some of the others might have more info. different ideas more elaborated on than what I have.

My first experience was in Virginia. I did the mix for The Perfect Soil for the Perfect Garden he has in his book. We made a few changes. I have 6 4'x4' squares laid out we only replaced the first 3 inches instead of 6 inches and we left out the wood ashes and charcoal and we only did half of the recommended ingredients. We guessed on the lime, which was needed in Virginia but don't use that in Utah it is to fix acidic soil, because we didn't have a coffee can. I used spikes and string to make sure I got everything measured out correctly. We only did the squares and left the walk dirt. Eventually I found 12 inch by 12 inch concrete block sold at Home Depot or Lowe's and purchased enough gray ones to go around each square with a red one at each corner. It was a lot of work it ended up pretty in the end. Also if you replace the soil 3 inches for 6 squares it cost around 100 dollars and that was a 8 years ago and the concrete squares cost about the same. I have a mold for the 12 inch by 12 inch squares so I make them myself with Quickcrete. It is suppose to cost approximately 50 cents a piece that way.

I also built some of the vertical supports. That is when I realized even though he makes it sound easy he is a engineer and I am not. I found it quit difficult. I have found out from neighbors who are trying it there are a lot more options out there than there was 8 years ago. They ordered a lot of there stuff from gardening places or got it at Lowe's. They have kits now but they are around 60 dollars.

Back to my Virginia experience. When I put the concrete squares in I raised the soil level in each square to be even and the path way to be even with the concrete squares it raised the grow bed by only 1 1/2 to 2 inches above the grass around the garden plot. I do know if you raise it by more it can dry out quicker and require more water especially in Utah. My mom has raised beds of about 2 feet and they dry out so when she plants she has to wet the seeds two to three times a day instead of just once or twice if it is really windy and some times she has commented it dries out too much. The advantage with the raised beds is you have less weeding to do. When we replaced the first 3 inches we had next to no weeding for the first year the next two we had an increase in weeding and we had wet years so my garden wasn't as successful as the first year.

In Utah we have been here 5 years. The first year I didn't do much. We have a lot of flower beds and landscaping done in the front and back yards so I have used them to plant vegetables in. Some of the beds are too big so I have to walk on the dirt a bit more. I have been trying to put stepping stones in key places so I can weed and take care of them without walking on the flower bed. I haven't had large success with this method but we did get some pumpkins out of it this past year. And I had some acorn squash come up volunteer on me next to the house a couple years back. I don't know where the seeds came from for those. I have been surprised that Zucchini hasn't grown well for me. Part of that was my fault the first year I tried it I put it under a blossoming cherry so I think that it didn't get enough sun. The next year I killed it again some how. I put it in a sunny place but maybe it didn't get enough water. Some people have problems with watering plants too much. I am sure my problem is they die from lack of water. The plants that do well in my yard don't mind being neglected for long periods of time. I better stop now so I don't make this too long of a read. I might have done that already.