Category Archives: Sweatin’ & diggin’

Spring Planting, 2017

Red lasoda potatoes were planted mid-January, and are getting to be a good size by late February. These will be ready to harvest in late April or early May.

The mesquite trees were beginning to bud by late February, which is usually a sign in our area that the danger of a freeze has passed.  We took this as the green light to start planting the spring garden early this year, beginning on February 24.

We put in a variety of tomato plants: one yellow pear, six celebrity, and fifteen roma.  I’m hoping to have lots of tomatoes to can.  Also planted were a variety of pepper plants: two cayenne, six poblano and two grande jalapeno. One fennel plant was added because we lost all we had in a severe freeze earlier in January.


We spread a load of Kitchen Pride mushroom compost on the garden the first weekend in March.  We also did some more planting: six Red Deuce tomatoes, six Homemade Pickles cucumber plants, two dill plants, two lavender, and lots of marigolds.

One of the tomato plants that was planted in February already has a bloom just a couple of weeks later…looking forward to having homegrown tomatoes once again!

Spring Garden

Spring is here!  Temperatures are rising, and the fall veggies are winding down. We’ve harvested the last of the lettuce and cabbage, and the cilantro is going to seed. We’ll pick the last of the fennel and celery in the coming weeks.

cilantro march 2016 cabbage fennel cilantro celery - Copy

The tomatoes that were planted in January are doing great. They have lots of green tomatoes and will be ready by the end of the month (or maybe sooner).  The potato plants are starting to bloom, which means little new potatoes can be harvested anytime now.  The onions are beginning to form bulbs and should be ready to harvest in late April or early May.

tomatoes march 2016potatoes onions march 2016

In the first week of March, we planted 6 Tycoon tomato plants, 6 Charger tomato plants, 6 jalapeno plants, 6 cayenne pepper plants, and 6 bell pepper plants.  We also planted marigolds, rosemary and thyme.

tomatoes marigolds march 2016

Homemade Pickles cucumber plants as well as 4 free zucchini plants from Green Gate that will be going in soon.

Extend the Growing Season with a Portable Garden Container

It hasn’t been very cold this winter and as a result, we have had several volunteer tomato plants that started growing in random places in the garden.  Frank transplanted them into pots and then began to research how to keep them going through the winter. We needed something that could be protected until the danger of freezing weather has passed. He decided to build some portable garden containers and took his main inspiration from instructions that you can read here

We had several old totes, so Frank repurposed them to become the containers for our plants. This portable garden container is a self-watering device that has a reservoir in the bottom that is kept filled with water.  To make the reservoir, Frank cut pieces of pipe to lay in the bottom that hold up the divider that separates the water and the dirt.014 pipe

He fashioned dividers out of the tote lids and cut out a section of the lid to hold a plastic basket that sits down in the water. This basket provides a way for the water to get to the roots while keeping the dirt separated from the water underneath the divider.  He placed a tall piece of pipe in the corner of the tote; this is what you use to refill the reservoir.  There is a hole drilled in the side of each box that serves as a drain.

017 earth box components 2 009 earth box assembled

Now it was time to plant!  Frank decided to put two tomato plants per containers.  He filled each box about halfway with potting soil and added fertilizer into the soil.  He then filled the reservoir before planting the plants and then added the rest of the dirt until it was level with the top of the container. Once the plants were planted, he covered the entire container with black plastic trash bags and added a tomato cage to each.  A platform on wheels is under each container and this allows us to easily push these in and out of the garage as needed.

earth boxes planted 3 011 earth boxes planted

We transplanted these plants in early January, and I predict that by early March, we’ll be eating tomatoes!  Frankie is quite a handyman…I think I’ll keep him!

Fall garden

Labor Day weekend…time to plant the fall garden! So far, we’ve planted 12 broccoli, 6 ruby red cabbage, 6 early cabbage, and 4 cauliflower plants.


To prepare the beds for planting, we added compost from our compost pile.  We usually don’t till our beds, but we did till these with a small tiller so that we could get the soil loosened up and mix the compost in thoroughly.

After planting everything, I made a circle in the middle of several spread out pages of newspaper and then placed the newspaper around each plant. It doesn’t look very nice initially, but it will help keep the weeds from growing around the plants and keep the soil cooler.  The newspaper eventually breaks down and enriches the soil.

Below is newly planted broccoli and ruby red cabbage.

  broccoli ruby red cabbage

Now the challenge will be to keep these little plants alive for the next few weeks until the weather cools off.