March 28, 2012 - Strawberry Beds & Junk Corners

It was a warm and lovely day today, so I headed out to get some work done in the garden. I had decided this was going to be the year to renew the strawberry bed, so I went to the nearby nursery to check out the varieties. Most of the ones they carried were Tristar, which is what I already have, and the price had increased to $10.99 a bundle for 25 bare root plants. I think I paid about $6.99 a bundle in 2009. I decided I might just as well scrounge my own garden for young plants, and I'm glad I did. I amended a newly dug bed with compost and some 5-10-10 organic fertilizer, and managed to find 30 young plants to fill the plot.

I dug some small plants from this old bed, as well as a few from the flower beds.

The new bed is planted with 30 young strawberry plants. I sprinkled a couple of trowels of compost around each plant, then watered them in with fish emulsion. The over wintered oregano, in the container, also got a drink of the fish fertilizer.

Then I tackled the junk corner. Remember this, from the other day?

My junk corner, with its bird protected lettuce bed.

The lettuce was moved to "The Thing" yesterday, so I dismantled the old bed and cleaned up the corner. A lot of soil was bucketed to the new future squash container, and the rest was raked to try to get the area semi-level. I had quite a bit of old straw left from last year, so I made a new narrow bed along the fence for planting....???? Maybe it can handle the tomato plants that I know I'll have left over. For now, the garlic will have to stay right where it is. It's just beginning to recover from transplanting shock, after being moved from the east garden, so I'm not moving it again. Even with it sitting smack dab in the middle if the area behind the shed, the removal of the lettuce bed does give me room to get the garden cart out the back door and into the garden. I just have to carefully maneuver around the garlic.

March 27, 2012 - Ginny's Back!!!!

Ginny blogged!

March 27, 2012 - "The Thing"

I've been building on it for two days. That seems like a long time for something so simple, but I had to buy a few new materials, and repurpose some old ones. Then, right in the middle, the new drill seized up, so I had to find alternatives for predrilling and putting in the screws. Of course, there is always something that has to be done, then undone, then redone when I find it doesn't work as planned. But it is finally finished! I present to you...............


OK, so it's just a structure to protect the lettuce from being eaten by the birds. It's covered with the same plastic fencing that I use to enclose my garden. The top netting is only attached at the back, and hooks over the heads of three screws at the front of the cage.

The little seedlings have been moved, and nothing can eat them now. There is 12 square feet of planting space, and I set my lettuce plants in at two (or more) to a square foot, so the bed will hold a minimum of 24 plants at a time. That's more than enough for our use, now that we don't have a rabbit to feed.

I hung three S-hooks from the chain link, so the plastic netting can be raised and hooked to them for easy access to the bed.

It's pretty ugly now, but I think, as the new wood weathers to a soft gray like the cedar fence, it won't stick out like a sore thumb. I'll plant some other veggies by it......there's still enough room for some broccoli plants nearby. That should help hide it, too.

What we don't go through to keep our precious gardens safe from predators.

March 27, 2012 - A Message From Jeff (aka EG of Our Engineered Garden)

It’s an honor to address you on Granny’s blog, and I thank her for the opportunity to do so. All of your kind words and thoughts shared on her recent post about me were greatly appreciated, and sincerely touched my heart. As most of you know, my life is full of pain and sorrow right now due to great losses, and blogging would only create an outlet for the reader to experience the suffering with me. Rather than let that happen, I choose not to write about anything until brighter days return. January and February were very dark months for me, and thankfully daily life is beginning to improve once more a little at a time. Some days are quite difficult to get through, but still I trudge onward. As can be expected during personal grieving, I have had some considerable weight loss. In September I weighed an unhealthy 262, and now a lean 215. Of course my entire wardrobe had to be replaced, but now am as small as I was 25 years ago. Jude is my sole companion these days, and at least once a week I take her to McDonald’s to get a vanilla soft serve ice cream cone. We just pull over in the parking lot and I hold it out for her while she bites the entire end off as onlookers gaze in amazement….. She loves it, and even expects it when I go to pay the utility bill now….. I don’t know what I’d do without her in my life right now, and of course we spend lots of time together outside in the garden…Speaking of which, the garden is going to be the best one yet, and maybe Granny will allow me to share a picture or two with you later in the season. It’s a little different from gardens in the past, mainly because of the crops being grown. Only tomatoes, corn, melons, squash, peppers, and cucumbers are in this one, and the orchard is going to produce a bumper crop as well. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that albeit in pieces – the mad scientist gardener is still here. I’m mending my broken heart and will again someday have things on display for you to see. My building is far from being over, the ideas in my mind hardly tapped out. It’s just that I lack the motivation to use my hands right now….However, I will again dust off my tools to construct things even greater than before when healed. People driving by will know that it’s not just an ordinary, everyday person that lives here….instead, they will understand that the most complex backyard gardener ever to be born in the state of Alabama has put some of his greatest work on display for all to see. I will be whole once more, and wish the best for each and every one of you.

Jeff (aka EG of Our Engineered Garden)

March 25, 2012 - Sunny Seedlings and a Change of Mind

Any day that the wind isn't blowing, and the temperature is above 50-55F, the larger seedlings get to spent the day outside on the front porch. I start them off in a sunny spot, which soon is shaded by the big pine trees. After a time in the shade, they are moved to the other side of the porch for another hour or so of sunshine. The large tomato plants have made several trips to the front porch, but the weather was too windy and cold for the past couple of weeks. The largest now has 8 baby tomatoes, but I noticed the second largest was dropping blossoms rather than forming fruit. I shake them several times a day, but maybe they just want a bit of a breeze and some sunshine.

Some of the tomato seedlings have been potted up from 6-packs into 5 oz. plastic cups. These will probably be potted up into 16 oz. cups a couple of weeks before it's time to plant them outside. A few varieties were either slow or non-germinating, and seeds for those have been started again.

Peppers and basil are still quite small, but coming along nicely. There were a few varieties of peppers that had to be planted again also, but I'm sure I'll have plenty even if they don't germinate.

Flowers and brassicas. Most of the flowers were planted in the past week or two, but they're growing quickly and I hope enjoying their time in the sun. The brassicas have been going out for the past week, but this is the first day they've enjoyed sunshine.

Remember this picture from yesterday? I had planned on using that freshly dug strip for my broccoli. Well, I've had a change of mind.

This is my lettuce bed....and my junk corner. C'mon, admit it. You have a junk corner too, don't you? This is also a problem area. The back door of the shed opens here, but there isn't enough room to maneuver a wheelbarrow or garden cart through to the garden, as the lettuce bed is too close. I've decided to use the kennel garden bed that I'd planned for broccoli, and make it into a netting covered lettuce bed instead. I have a long, narrow window that was the inside pane of one that got broken a couple years ago. It would fit beautifully here, and could be made into a cold frame next fall! I'll move the existing lettuce bed back against the fence. The netting can be removed, so I could still access the bed from three sides. That would give me another 2' outside the door for moving equipment in and out, and the raised bed could be used for the broccoli and some cabbages as well. What do you think?

March 24, 2012 - Spring Has Sprung

After our surprise snow on Thursday, the sun was soon out and its warmth not only melted the snow, but also warmed the gardener. I went out and prepped the first three feet of the 1'x10' strip of soil for the carrot bed. I hauled a couple of buckets of compost over, spread it on the bed, and then worked it deep into the soil with the spading fork. The bed had previously been dug to a depth of about a foot, so the soil was nice and loose. There were still some small roots to be removed, so I sifted through the entire section with my fingers, making sure there were no obstructions for this, one of my most precious crops. With all lumps, clumps and roots removed, I leveled and smoothed it with the rake, laid down three premade seed mats, and covered them with a mixture of soil and vermiculite. The ground was very damp from the melted snow and rain, so I didn't have to water the seeds in, just tamped everything down with the rake. I couldn't find my boards that I normally use to cover the carrots, so I grabbed a piece of floating row cover and folded it to size. I placed it over the seed bed and then placed some folded wire fencing flat over the top to hold the fabric down. The plan was to replace it with boards the next day.

The radishes that were planted on 3/9 were all up, so I planted two more short rows in one of the triangle gardens.

After attacking a few small weeds and grass clumps with the hoe, I raked the pathways again and got all the piles of garden debris picked up and disposed stuff into the compost, and sticks and roots into the trash. I wonder if I'll ever get all those small roots raked out.

It warmed up enough to get out in the garden again yesterday. First I put the tomato plants (the big ones, not the seedlings) on the front porch for a bit of sunshine, and set the flat of brassicas and lettuces out in the yard for the same. Then I headed for the garden and prepped another 3'x1' strip for three more carrot mats. I don't know where Mel Bartholemew gets that 16 carrots per square foot. I put mine on 2" centers, hex pattern, and get 54 in a square foot. I've never had carrots grow much bigger than 1" across the top (I pull them young, and begin by pulling every other one), so I find the 2" spacing works fine. That makes 324 carrot seeds planted so far this week, with another 162 to go. That should be enough to take care of MY needs, now I have to plant some for the kids! I found my carrot boards, and covered this newly planted area. I decided to leave the folded row cover on the other section to compare germination was nice and warm under the row cover, and it will be cold under the boards. Of course, I might end up with cooked carrot seedlings! (*note: today the soil was really dry under the row cover. I'll have to find more boards.)

Next I planted the turnips. I don't care much for them, and nobody else will eat them, so I only planted a short double row. I decided they could go on the outside at the end of the 4' raised bed, where I had removed the other 4'x4' section. I had to dig down a foot and remove more roots, then I put in a lot of compost and worked it in well and made a lovely soft seedbed.

My next job was to attach string to some folding fences and slant it up to tie onto the kennel garden chain link for pea supports. I did that for the sugar snaps and for both sweet pea was so warm in the afternoon sun, it made the job quite enjoyable. I had time to clean out around a few strawberry plants, and it was time to go in and cook dinner. I made sure the seedlings were all safely inside, but made one last trip to set in a few Johnny Jump Ups near the lettuce garden. These were some little seedlings that didn't get potted up to larger containers. I mean, those seeds were so tiny that I way overseeded the flat, so I ended up with way more plants than I needed. I decided the area by the lettuce could use a bit of color.

Today the plan is to attack and dismantle the two half-barrel planters out by the back fence. They are rotting, the strawberries didn't do well in them last year, and I want the fence for my Fortex pole beans this year. I also would like to start removing all the plants from the strawberry bed, as it really needs to be renewed this year. That means at least 2-3" of composted manure will have to be added and dug in, and I'll have to either round up some plants from other areas in the garden or go buy some new ones. I'm tempted to do the latter, as I think I'd like to try a new variety. Maybe I'll check and see what is available locally in bare root plants. I'd still keep some of these day neutral plants elsewhere in the garden, but maybe I'd be happier with a June bearing variety so I can freeze and make jam all at one time, rather than having to save up the berries until I get enough to do something with them.

Later today...................never being one to stick to my plans, I decided to work in and around the kennel garden.

I began by double digging a 2' wide future planting bed along the inside (left) of the kennel garden. I carried in six buckets of compost for this bed, as I've decided this will be where the broccoli and Brussels sprouts will be planted. It should get some sun once the snap peas are harvested, and if the sprouts get too tall they can be tied up to the chain link.

I hauled in a couple more buckets of compost, and dug a small border around the columbine, and a dozen little Johnny Jump Ups were transplanted. They're small, but they've been living outside for over a week, so I think they can handle it. If not, I have a bunch more that can replace them.

Another border was dug and amended with lots of compost, and five young strawberry plants were moved in from the strawberry bed. They can send out runners to their little hearts' content here. A container of onions was set into the bed behind the wood border. These were small leftovers from the bunches of Walla Walla sweets. Of course, I couldn't dispose of them, so they will be grown as scallions. Grandpa Ott morning glories will finish off this corner eventually, and cover two sides of the kennel.

Next to the snap peas, another bed was dug and amended with compost. Five more young strawberry plants were moved here from the old bed. You can see how I strung lines for the snap peas to climb. This was done for both of the sweet pea beds as well, only the sweet peas got 6' high strings....I hope they get that tall!

The kennel garden is all ready for final planting, as soon as the weather cooperates and the seedlings are large enough.

Elsewhere in the garden...................

The lilies are up!

And a small harvest...................

Some beautiful chives.

March 22, 2012 - The First Time Ever

OK, for all of you who have been complaining about your unseasonably warm spring. TAKE THIS!

Yes, I awoke to snow on my garden. I can't remember EVER seeing snow here in March!

Granny doesn't like it one bit.

March 21, 2012 - An Email From Jeff

Today I received an email from our dear friend Jeff (EG from Our Engineered Garden). I had received a comment on my post from yesterday, and I immediately knew "Anonymous" was Jeff. He's the only one I endearingly call "poopyhead", who insists on sowing his carrot seeds one by one rather than gluing them to paper as I do :-) I asked him to please email me, and he did.

As most of you know, Jeff has suffered some terrible losses in his life in the past year. It's a long healing process for him, but he is making progress. He's started sowing seeds and growing a garden again, which is a real step in the right direction for him. He still has his dog, Jude, who is his main source of comfort. Eventually he'll heal enough to begin blogging again, but it will take some time.

You are welcome to leave him a comment in this post if you wish.

We love you Jeff....hurry back to us.

March 21, 2012 - Where Credit is Due

I've often mentioned my home made soil block maker in my posts, and I was happy to give you the instructions on yesterday's blog. However, credit for the original blocker goes to John Best, of John's Journal, who made and sent me the original one which was made from a 2" Tupperware container. The Tupperware part on the original blocker broke this year, but all the other parts were salvaged to make the new one from a medicine bottle.

The old Tupperware block maker can be seen in this post from two years ago.

John Best recently suffered some serious health problems. My prayers and good wishes go out to him for a speedy recovery. You can send him some love at Looked the grim reaper right in the eye and won.

March 20, 2012 - By Request

Reader Donna was asking if I'd show the home made soil block maker that I ya go, Donna!

Use whatever size medicine bottle you want for the size of your blocks. Mr. Granny actually found the square bottle after John had already made the round blocker, so as soon as I find the material to use for the inner disk, I'll make myself a square blocker. All the parts, other than the disk itself, will be interchangeable.

Cut the bottle top off at the dotted lines. Mine was cut at the label line, which makes it a bit too deep, so I don't fill mine completely with soil. You need something like a real sharp box cutter, or maybe a Dremel tool to make this cut. I did make one with an electric miter saw once, but I shattered a couple of bottles before I got one right, and my hand came dangerously close to the blade.

Drill a hole in the bottom of the bottle, just slightly larger than the bolt you will use. You don't want the bolt to fit too tightly, it has to work as a plunger and move easily through the hole.

Here are all the parts you need. (1) a drawer knob with a 3" bolt (2) the bottle (3) a nut (4) a disk made of a solid material...this one is plexiglass, cut to fit loosely inside the bottle, with a hole drilled in the center (OK, almost center LOL) to accommodate the bolt (5) an acorn nut.

Insert the drawer knob bolt into the bottle top.

Screw the nut on just far enough to leave room for the disk and acorn nut. If your bottle isn't too deep (mine is) this can easily be adjusted after assembly.

Place the disk on the bolt.

Screw the acorn nut onto the end and make sure everything is tightened. The acorn nut will make the seed depression in your soil block.

Prepare your soiless mix. I prefer to use a premade potting mix (NOT potting soil). I sift it through a kitchen colander to remove large particles, and add some vermiculite. I don't measure, I just add until it feels right. Don't get too much vermiculite in it, or the blocks won't hold together.

Wet the mixture with warm water. You don't want it too soupy....think of the texture of cooked oatmeal. It should hold together when squeezed in your hand.

I scoop the mixture into the block maker, and press it down with my thumbs. You can see that mine isn't filled. If it was just a quarter of an inch shorter, I would fill it completely. I press the mixture in very firmly, you don't want loose blocks!

Slowly depress the plunger to expel the soil block. If it balks, just give the handle a slight turn and the block will come right out.

And here is the finished product. A perfect little soil block with a depression in the center for the seed. If it sounds like a lot of work to make them one at a time, it really isn't. I timed myself, and it took me 13 seconds to make one block.

Add your seeds and cover them with a bit of vermiculite. Cover them with a humidity dome and keep them in a warm place. You can water them by misting with a spray bottle, or bottom water by carefully pouring tepid water around the base. When bottom watering, I try to give them just enough that the blocks absorb all the way to the tops. If there is still water in the bottom of the container at that point, I suck it back out with a turkey baster. It doesn't take many tries to be able to judge the right amount to give them. These blocks were placed on a plastic tray from the dollar store, then covered with a clear plastic salad mix container. The plastic clamshell containers from the bakery or deli work great, they have their own built in humidity domes. Of course, you can use a regular seed starting flat with humidity dome.

Now...if you've done everything right the blocks will be quite sturdy. You should be able to pick them up and move them around if need be. Then, when you're all through.....go clean your fingernails!

March 19, 2012 - A Garden in the Making

It's been a busy month so far, with the garden expansion and the seed starting. Quite a few things were started inside in March, and a few seeds were sown out in the garden as well. Nothing else is scheduled for planting until April 1, so here is what has been done this month:

3/1 Arugula - Planted 3 cells

3/1 Lettuce - Planted 9 cells Ed's Special Mix

3/1 Spinach, Space - Planted 17 cells presprouted and 1 cell unsprouted seed, 18 total

3/4 Spinach, New Zealand - Planted 6 cells 3 of which were pre- sprouted (50% germination, the other three never did sprout)

3/8 Cabbage - Started 6 each Gonzales & Pixie (dwarf varieties) in 6-packs

3/8 Broccoli, Hybrid Super Blend Started 9 in 6-packs

3/8 Brussels Sprouts, Catskills - Started 3 in 6-packs

3/8 Chinese Cabbage, Michili - Started 3 in 6-packs

3/8 Peppers - Started 3 each (hot) Early Jalapeno & Dave's Happy Yummy Hot; 3 each Dave's Happy Yummy Sweet, Corno Di Toro, Quadrato Rosso D'Asti, Red Marconi; 6 Quadrato Giallo D'Asti (sweet yellow) in 6-packs (24 total)

3/9 Radishes - Planted 2 short rows in triangle bed #2; Sparkler and some old mixed seeds.

3/11 Tomatoes - Started 2 each Black Cherry, Isis Candy, Una Heartstock, Homestead, Marglobe Supreme, Mountain Princess, Marion, Victor, Bloody Butcher, Bush Celebrity, Coastal Pride Orange, Fabulous, Pixie, New Big Dwarf & Rio Fuego in 6-packs (30 total).

3/12 Peppers - Started 6 Horizon Orange in a 6-pack.

3/13 Potatoes, Dark Red Norland - Planted 20 (1 1/2 lb.)

3/13 Transplanted 8 mixed lettuce seedlings

3/14 Flowers, Echinacea - Started 12 in 6-packs

3/15 Transplanted: Lettuce (6 romaine), Beets (17 Chioggia), Celery (12 Tall Utah #527OR Improved), Spinach (7 Space)

3/15 Basil - Started 3 each Dk. Opal, Lettuce Leaf, Sweet, Blue Spice in 6-packs (12 total)

3/15 Camomile - Started 6 in a 6-pack.

3/15 Larkspur - Started 6 in a 6-pack.

3/15 Lettuce - Started 3 each: Ruby & Emerald Duet, Gentilina, Yug. Red, Lingue de Condrino in 6-packs (12 total)

3/15 Onions, Southport White Globe - Planted 31 seedlings (more than 180 seeds were planted, 90+ failed to germinate, and only 31 of the remaining were fit to plant.) TOTAL FAIL!

3/15 Onions, Walla Walla Sweet (plants)- Planted 68

3/15 Peas, Lincoln - Planted 35 seeds around tepee

3/16 Flowers, Sweet Peas, Eckford's Finest Mix (4-6' height) - Planted 2 pkts. , one pkt. on each side of the the kennel garden entrance.

3/16 Peas, Cascadia sugar snap - Planted 6' double row.

3/16 Onions, Walla Walla Sweet (plants)- Planted 54 (122 total)

3/17 Potatoes, Russet Norkota Planted 20 (1 1/2 lb.)

3/17 Potatoes,Yukon Gold - Planted 16 (1 1/4 lb.)

3/18 Tomatoes - Planted 2 Pixie, 2 New Big Dwarf, 2 Fabulous, 2 Bloody Butcher, 2 Bush Celebrity, 1 Homestead, 1 Marion in cups. These are my "insurance" plants to cover the ones planted a week ago that haven't yet germinated. I'm sure they'll all grow now, and I'll have way too many tomato plants again.

3/19 Flowers, Marigolds, Lemon Yellow - Planted 20 in soil blocks

3/19 Flowers, Marigolds, Petite Yellow - Planted 20 in soil blocks

3/19 Flowers, Zinnias, Lilliput - Planted 24 in soil blocks

3/19 Flowers, Zinnias, Dwarf Pumila Sprite - Planted 24 in soil blocks

3/19 Beets, Red Ace - Planted 34 in triangle garden #2


The garden plots are all raked smooth and the roots and debris have all been removed. Viewing the garden from left to right:

Hidden behind the shed is the lettuce garden and a small bed of garlic. Four cherry tomatoes will be planted next to the shed, with miscellaneous pots of who knows what in between them. Morning glories will be planted to climb the fence. There are perennial flowers along the fence line. The top section of the old (broken) compost bin will hold a hill of cantaloupe, the vines should cover its ugliness. I removed the front half of the next raised bed, to make room for a path wide enough for the wheelbarrow. I think that will actually give me enough room to expand the bed in front of it from 2' wide to 3' wide, so I'm not losing a lot of planting space. The remaining raised 4' x 4' bed has been planted with spinach, onion and beet seedlings. More spinach seedlings are being hardened off to finish the bed. The triangle beds are in the front, and have been planted with garlic, radishes, beets and peas. The long raised bed is still empty, and the soil from the bed I removed will be relocated there to fill it up. The small container at the end of this bed holds oregano. The two long beds in the front have been amended with composted manure, and so far contain only a dozen celery plants.

The raised bed, with the birdhouse on a post, is the raspberry bed. In front of that is the bottom half of the old compost bin, which will be planted with butternut squash. This is where the old maple tree stump is, which was impossible to remove. The huge roots run out for several feet, so the area is only good for squash vines to run. The next raised bed, to the right of the raspberries, is the strawberry bed. The old half-barrels will be dismantled and disposed of (they're rotted through) and pole beans will eventually cover the back fence. On the far right, just outside the kennel garden, are the sugar snap peas and sweet peas. In the kennel garden, I'll probably just plant flowers. It is always a pleasant place to sit and rest, surrounded by blossoms. In front of the kennel there is enough room for two small (4' x 8') beds for sweet corn, and probably another new bed that will be about 3' x 8 or 10'. To the far right I've planted a short row of potatoes that didn't fit in the bed that had been planned for them.

The east garden, as I've already shown, holds the remaining potatoes and all of the sweet onions. I've hooked the plastic fencing to the chain link fence with S-hooks, so I can undo them and pull the plastic over to the big gate that opens into the back yard. That way I can access that manure pile with the wheelbarrow without letting the dogs into the garden area. Son John is installing the small gate so I don't have to go all the way through the garden shed and the entire garden to get to this end of it.

Speaking of son home made soil block maker broke, so I've had to return to using the plastic 6-packs for the seedlings. Yesterday John made me a new block maker from a medicine bottle. It's a nice size, and uses about half the seeding mix that the old one did. Today I made 88 soil blocks for my marigolds and zinnias.

I planted these tomatoes in 5-ounce plastic cups, half filled with seed mix. I've noticed my earlier planted tomatoes and peppers are quite tall and spindly, even though I keep the lights within 2" of the tops, so as these seedlings sprout and grow, I can add a bit of the mix as needed, until it reaches the top of the cup. I've found that method makes very sturdy, well rooted seedlings.

The bottom shelf, with its warming rope lights, is packed with newly seeded containers.

Three flats of seedlings are under lights.

Peppers and tomatoes are a bit leggy, but beginning to develop their first true leaves.

The Mini Gold tomato, planted 1/26, now has four little tomatoes on it, and several new blossoms.

All the shelves had to be removed from the plant window to make room for the tallest tomato plant. They seem to be thriving in this window, even though it faces north and gets no sun. It's been too cold to move the plants outside for some fresh air and sunshine this week.

March 17, 2012 - St. Patrick's Day & Potato Planting

St. Patrick's Day and potato planting have always coincided in my garden, and this year was no different.

It was a cold and windy 49F outside, but it felt like 39F. I made up my mind the potatoes and onions would be planted today, no matter what the weather man gave me to deal with. I donned jeans and heavy socks, a long sleeved shirt, my heaviest sweatshirt, a flannel lined hooded windbreaker and gloves, grabbed my seed potatoes and onions, shovel, rake, 4-tined cultivator, hoe and trowel and headed out to the east garden. OK, I didn't carry them all at once, I made two or three trips. I had already planted a 3' wide row of Dark Red Norland potatoes and a 2' wide row of Walla Walla sweet onions, but I had two more potato beds and one more onion bed to dig, prep and plant. I stayed pretty warm, what with all the layers of clothing and the hard work, and ended up getting the entire east bed planted and all cleaned up. Another 3' wide row of potatoes, Russet Norkotas, was planted, as well as another 2' wide row of Walla Walla sweet onions. Due to a change of plans on where the future garden gate will be, there wasn't enough room to plant all of the Yukon gold potatoes, so two short rows were planted and another row was added to the north, near the kennel garden. More digging and soil preparation. All together, the east garden contains 56 hills of potatoes and 122 Walla Walla sweet onions. I must say, the onion plants were disappointing this year. They were really small, worse than the ones I complained about last year. I may have to change my source for plants next spring.

The entire 11' x 36' (not counting the kennel garden) east garden is finished. There is enough room for a few potted plants next to the chain link fence, so I have plans to eventually put in some cucumbers, dill and a few flowers. The cucumbers can be tied to the fence, and if everything is in pots I should be able to keep the neighbor's invasive Bermuda grass under control so it doesn't get into the potato and onion beds.

I was happy to see a lot of these fat fellas today.

By the time I finished, it was 57F, the wind had settled down to a gentle breeze, and I had worked up a real sweat. Off came the windbreaker, sweatshirt and gloves....I should have just waited about two hours before going out this morning!