The Circular Raised Bed

As you might know if you followed me on Facebook we had a fantastic weather weekend! Which of course meant what? TIME IN THE GARDEN!  After being cooped up all winter my daughters and I hightailed it to the backyard and spent the day outdoors digging in the dirt. We accomplished many of the chores I mentioned on Friday (wait they weren't chores because I enjoyed doing them!). One of those tasks was a rearrangement of the vegetable garden. I wanted to move four small raised beds out of the center and install a retaining wall stone raised bed. The obvious advantage to stone for raised beds is that it won't rot like my old wooden beds have done. In fact I noticed that the small raised beds I put together last year have some significant rotting along the bottom (see my last picture in this post). They might make…

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Growing Shallots from Seed (Seed Sowing Saturday!)

Welcome to the first Seed Sowing Saturday of 2011! Where all of us seed starting fanatics recap our weekly seed starting experiences and share with each other what we're working on, how we're doing it all, and of course the results! I chose to start my seed sowing this week by starting shallots. We do a great deal of our cooking in the kitchen with yellow onions and I love the red ones grilled but I think by far the best all around cooking onion is the shallot. It doesn't have the overwhelming strong taste like the red onions and has a nicer flavor than the yellow onions. The only problem with shallots is that they are so expensive. So to increase the quality of our cooking without raising the grocery expenses we are going to attempt to grow shallots. I like to use everyday kitchen trays to hold out…

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The Weekend Garden Gameplan

Oh I know, I'm keenly aware of the Superbowl coming up but this post has nothing to do with it. You see Saturday is destined to be a day outdoors - nothing short of the weather forecasters getting it completely wrong can stop that. We all know that never happens... The temperatures are said to finally be reaching the 50's! I even heard on forecaster mention the words "approaching the 60's."  Needless to say I'm looking forward to spending some quality time outdoors with the rake, the shovel, the wheelbarrow, the shed, the garage, and any other activity that I can find to do in the great outdoors. Where am I going to start? Here's the Weekend Garden Gameplan: 1. The Vegetable Garden Remove four of the small 2x4 beds and replace the old 4'x8' bed with these.  Put in the stone retaining wall circle raised bed for the center…

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The Vegetable Garden in January

What can I say really? It's January and my vegetable garden is awfully sad. The winter air has been colder than Tennessee cold should be.  If I were by myself I might be brave enough to get outdoors but bringing my almost 7 month old son outdoors during the day really isn't an option. He'll get his fill of gardening for sure but not in 30 degree weather. Needless to say many projects that I would love to have tackled already are going to require some patience. Take for instance the tomato beds from 2010: Here's how they appeared last June. And now here they are in desperate need of cleanup. Quite the change isn't it? Or one of my small raised beds in desperate need to henbit eradication. One project I really want to get going is the vegetable garden remodel, maybe I can in February. You can see…

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The Lion in My Garden

The Lion stalks through the underbrush. In search of his prey... He stops to inspect his surroundings, ... ever aware, ever watchful...  he quickly and stealthily crosses the open spaces for cover, still on the hunt... close now to his prey, he stalks again behind the cover of the underbrush... and fertilizes!

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An Unusual Start

The other day I had a surprise. While washing dishes at the kitchen sink I looked over at a small yogurt cup on the counter top to see this: Several small seedlings had appeared from some tomato seeds I was soaking. I'm going to have to admit one of my major failings here to properly tell the story, sometimes...I forget things! In this case I put the seeds in water to soak and try to remove the pulp from around the seeds. I meant to get back to dry off the seeds and store them but apparently time moved faster than my memory. The seeds soaked for about a week then began to germinate in the water! The tomato seedling in the picture stuck to the side of the cup and decided to make it home. It's a little early to be starting tomato seeds here in TN right now…

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Seed Sowing Saturday!

Next week I'll be starting my seed sowing and I wanted to invite all other bloggers to join in to share their experiences. Each Saturday we'll post about what we've done with our seeds, what we've selected, what we've planted, and how it's doing. From sowing to growing it's all fair-game! What can we talk about? seed selection how you start your seeds  winter sowing equipment you use techniques like stratification and scarification growing and transplanting We'll keep this meme going until May when most gardeners have finished sowing their crops (we can always add more Saturdays if needed.) Once you have your post ready leave a link in the comments of the current SSS Post here on The Home Garden, just be sure to link back so that others may join in the fun! I hope you will chime in and share your seed sowing experiences every Saturday with…

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5 Things to Consider Before Planting

Recently I ordered plants (which I'll cover in another post) and while choosing the plants I used a few criteria to guide my selections.  I wouldn't rule out purchasing plants just because they might miss one or two of these characteristics but I do know that when all five can be found in the same plant I've got a winner! Soil Conditions The soil conditions in my garden range from pretty good to downright awful. The front yard is severely lacking in organic matter and consists mostly of clay and limestone gravel from the construction of our house (hello builders bring back the soil please!) When I dig I hit little rocks from the gravel and kick up tons of water-retaining-clay. In the back yard I have better quality soil and the plants thrive there with little help. When I select a plant I either have to find one that…

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Vegetable Garden Layout – Parterre Style!

The other day I posted about the next evolution of my garden on its way to becoming a more formalized vegetable garden. Today I'll show you the layout of what I hope the vegetable garden will eventually become. There are some distinct advantages to the layout changes that I am planning on making that I'll share with you below the diagram of the vegetable garden layout. First a Short Description of the Vegetable Garden: I want to divide the garden into 4 main sections that curve around a center circle bed. Each bed will be lined with retaining wall blocks (most likely cast concrete) to define the beds and keep the soil inside. The central path and circle path in the middle will be approximately 4 feet wide. The pathways to the left and right will end with a couple of large pots filled with herbs as an edible exhibit.…

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My Overwintering Coleus

'Henna' Coleus When the outside temperatures began to drop in the fall I knew there were a few tender plants that I wanted to preserve for next year like my coleus. I brought 2 varieties of coleus indoors in the hopes of planting them again in the Spring of 2011 and both are doing good! I put the pot near a sunny southern window and one of them is thriving while the other is just getting by - but that's good enough to get it through the winter. The thriving coleus is 'Henna' which has some really nice foliage. The underside of the leaves is a deep red color while the top side of each leaf right now is a shade of green When it receives more sunlight during the growing season the top side of each leaf gains a more reddish coloration. 'Alabama Sunset' Coleus The other coleus I'm…

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