2013 Gardening Journal

8/19 – Planted three of the 3′ x 8′ raised beds this evening. In the B bed went an 8′ row of super sugar snap peas, a row of Georgia Southern collards, and a row of red Xaxa radishes. In the C bed went another 8′ row of super sugar snap peas, a row of Winterbor Hybrid kale, a 3′ row of Swiss chard, and a 5′ row of turnips. In the D bed we sowed five 8′ rows of purple top turnips.


8/07 – Planted the 4′ x 4′  garden and the three planter containers today. In the raised bed sowed red Xaxa and white radishes, spinach and Red Russian Kale. In the fabric containers I planted two bush-type pickling cucumbers and a yellow crook-neck squash.


8/06 – FINALLY picked a tomato. Three tomatoes to be exact, one Berkeley Tie-Die and two Cherokee Purple. The Berkeley Tie-Die is the only one to make it from the starts I grew from seeds saved last year. The Cherokee Purple was a gift from my neighbor Ron.


7/25  – After shelling, I got four pounds of purple-hull peas from four 7′ rows. They were very good and I think every pea sowed germinated and produced. I wish I could grow 5x that many.


7/15 – Getting plenty of jalapeno peppers from three plants, and a couple fist-sized bell peppers from a single plant, but the tomatoes might not make. Every vine I planted developed leaf curl, and five of the six were so bad I pulled them up and replaced them with plants purchased at the nursery. They developed the same leaf curl. All together I planted 11 vines this spring and four of them are still living. The soil in beds A, B, and C will get some serious amendments before the fall crops go in.


6/25 – Cucumbers galore from a single vine. It was labeled bush-type, but the vines grew to 8′ in length. Ma made a dozen pints of sweet pickles. The tomatoes don’t look good.


5/25 – Stopped by Flower Power (261 Zachary Rd., Lebanon, TN 37090) and picked up some marigolds to put in the garden. Barbara Oxley, the owner, was busy tending the beautiful landscape around her nursery when we pulled up, but stopped to chat and show us what she had new this year. After just a minute with Barbara you realize she does this because she loves it! She loves growing new and old varieties, and will  generously share her knowledge and experience with anyone. You can also tell she knows what she’s talking about.

Behind one of her greenhouses, she has a small vegetable garden in containers. I noticed tomatoes and peppers, and I asked her what kind of tomatoes she grew. She said her favorite was called Delicious, and asked if I had ever grown it. I had never even heard of it. She also told me to try growing Pentas in the garden to attract butterflies. We spent 30 minutes or more browsing all her beautiful flowers and vegetables, then paid for the gorgeous marigolds and hit the road. Later, while unloading the van, I found that Barbara had given me one of her favorite tomato vines (covered in blooms) and had also stuck three gorgeous red Pentas in with our order, at no charge. How many times has that happened at your local big box store or Wally World garden center?

I can’t wait to try the Delicious tomato. I’ll let you know if it lives up to its name.

5/21 – FINALLY! Warm enough at night and dry enough to plant. This is the latest date I have planted my tomatoes ever. Although, one year in the mid to late 90s, I had to replant my tomatoes and everything else too when a hail storm shredded everything I had out. The storm was on June 9, but I don’t remember the year. There were piles of hail six inches deep in places where the wind blew it into corners.

Put six tomato plants in the ground, six different varieties of tomato. Some are new to me, others old favorites. They are: Mark Twain (new), JD’s Special C-Tex (new), Tennessee Heirloom, Roger’s Best Black, Berkeley Tie-Dye, and Cherokee Purple. Between and in front of the tomatoes I planted three Jalapeno peppers, two Bell peppers and a hybrid called Field’s Hot Red Pepper. Due to limited space this year, I went with a bush-type cucumber vine. We’ll see. Finally, in 20-gallon cloth grow pots, something new to me this year, I planted a straight neck yellow squash and a Black Beauty zucchini. Again, we’ll see.

4/25 – We ate from the garden today. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take the photo until I was halfway through the salad.


20130425-DSCN1812a4/25 – Harvested a sack full of lettuce, spinach, and radishes today. They were yummy! Now I wish I had planted a bed full of each. But at this late date, I’ll hold off and use the space for summer crops I plan to set out over the next two weeks. With luck, there will be several more pickings of the lettuce and spinach, and I’ll have radishes for another week or two.

20130425-DSCN1810aThe heirloom tomatoes, and bell, jalapeno and ornamental peppers I started back in February are hardened off and ready to go in the ground. And the greens bed will hold purple-hull peas once the spinach plays out. Cucumbers, yellow squash and maybe a zucchini plant will go in one bed, along with a few more p-h peas if I can squeeze them in.

3/17 – Building two more 3′ x 8′ raised beds, these from 2″ x 12″ x 96″ kiln-dried, untreated pine (it holds up for five seasons, it costs about 1/3 less than the cedar, and most importantly, I have a Lowe’s gift card). These will be my Solanaceae beds this year. I hope to fit 7 or 8 tomato plants and 6 or 7 pepper plants into the 48 sq.ft

3/15 – moved the candy onion seedlings to the screened porch because they appeared to be burning up under the lamp.

– sowed six more peat pellets with Berkeley Tie-Dye seeds saved from last seasons tomatoes. The first three have not germinated. Still waiting on the cilantro to germinate but understand it takes time.

– seed planted raised bed #1 with:

    • Spinach, Burpee Double Choice Hybrid (3-3′ rows)
    • Radish, Saxa (1-5′ row)
    • Leaf Lettuce, Black-seeded Simpson (2-5′ rows)
    • Candy onions (1-5′ row)

3/14 – transplanted the two Gregori’s Altai tomato seedlings into 3″ peat pots.

2012-monster-mong-mater3/11 – The Mong has arisen! I only had one seed left from last year so I’m glad to see it survived! Although I grew a few of these last year I did not harvest any big ones (and I failed to save any seeds from the ones I did grow). But Steve took one of my seedlings last year and grew some HUGE tomatoes. He has a gorgeous garden (see it here) every year and harvests enough from just a small plot to feed an army.

3/10 – Built two raised beds from 2″ x 12″ x 96″ cedar purchased at Grant Cedar Mill (www.grantcedarmill.com). I used “B” grade boards and one of the six I bought split down the middle when we cut it. I debated taking it back, but it would cost me about as much in gasoline as the board itself cost to drive back out there, so we pieced it together and hope that it holds up. I filled one of the beds with composted horse manure and the topsoil/compost mix I had in my tomato bed last year. It’ll be the spring collards bed, then the purple hull peas and onion garden. The other box, along with the third raised bed yet to be built, gets fresh mushroom compost. It’ll be the tomato and pepper bed. Still nothing up in the R.E.A.P. garden but it was 60-something yesterday, 56 over night, and 70F as I type this at 2:45PM. Rain tonight so something will be up soon.

3/9 – Jalapenos in da house. Bell peppers  in da house too.  Just eight days to germinate these hybrids and it looks like they all took. I have six of each but only room for two each in the raised bed.  Also, more of the candy onions have sprouted. 18 of 24 are up or have broken the surface, and the curve setter is nearly 3″ high already. Still no sign from the seeds I saved from tomatoes last year, nor of the ornamental peppers and cilantro. They’ll come

3/7 – The candy onion seedlings are up in only four days. This is the first time I have grown onions from seed, so I really didn’t know what to expect. Still don’t, but getting them to germinate was sure easy. Also, the second tomato seedling is up and it’s the other Gregori’s Altai. I had two seed left over from last year, and they were eager get going I guess. I want a greenhouse… and a big one at that!

3/5 – The first tomato seedling from my 2/25 planting broke the surface between 4:45 and 8:45 PM this evening (while I was at the WCMG meeting). It is a Gregori’s Altai seed that I got from Lee Hall in Rockvale, TN in spring 2012. I grew two of this variety in 2012 but had such a terrible year with the drought that I didn’t harvest many from those plants, nor many from the other varieties I grew for that matter (mater). Ol’ Gregori deserves a second chance and this is it. Maybe he’ll prove a winner.

3/3 – Started seeds:

  • Henry Fields’ Candy onions (24)

3/1 – Started seeds:

  • Jalapeno Pepper (6)
  • Bell Pepper (6)

2/25 – Started seeds:

  • Henry Fields’ Fireworks Ornamental Pepper (6)
  • Henry Fields’ Hot Pepper Grande Hybrid (3)
  • Berkeley Tie-Dye tomato 2012 saved seed (3)
  • unidentified (possibly Gregori’s Altai) but tasty red tomato 2012 saved seed (3)
  • Gregori’s Altai tomato left over seed from 2011 (2)
  • Mong tomato left over seed from 2011 (1)
  • Cilantro (3)

2/25 – Planted peas, kohlrabi and kale from REAP kit in the 4’ x 4’ raised bed.

1/06 – 1) Planted Sargent crabapple tree, originally bare root from Arbor Day Foundation but kept in clay pot for six months, located east of driveway and 50’ off of road.  2) Pruned the other Sargent crabapple that was planted (9/2012) east of driveway approx 20’ off of road.

1/06 – Planted two witch hazel trees, bare root, at north-west corner of house near gas tank and the other west of the front porch in front of bedroom window.

1/02 – Planted witch hazel tree, bare root, at north-east corner of house.



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