gates road garden

kitchen garden.

We are on a major reset with our finances right now so in addition to me trying out a new (very low) grocery budget, I had an idea that I could plant foods that I like to eat.  When I shop for foo, I pretty much stick to foods for Kevin and Finley.  Then the animals get their food.  Then I get to buy what I really want.  So usually I don't buy vegetables and you know what, I really miss them!  I hadn't realized how much I missed eating veggies until I had a salad at church last week.  Lucky for me, I had a stack of seed packets that I bought last year for a fall garden.

I planted some seeds the first week of October.  It would probably have been better to have planted them in September but hopefully October works too!  I did not want to make another spot in the yard for the little garden so I used our front bed.  Kevin is already aggravated about the stuff I have in the yard, so I figured he would be much happier with me this way.  I cleared out the mulch from in between the elephant ears and then worked the ground for the seeds.  In one of the little plots I planted two different varieties of carrots and on the other side I planted broccoli and a lettuce mix.  And then the next morning, my dogs helped themselves to digging in the fresh dirt.  I raked the dirt back in the holes they made and now I'm just hoping for the best.  It's not very high hopes because I'm sure there will be more digging.

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Because I'm an impatient gardener, I also bought some romaine lettuce plants and a cherry tomato plant.  I'm including the cost for this as a part of my grocery budget because I would bought lettuce and tomatoes anyways.  I planted those in pots at the beginning of the week and they are starting to look pretty perky!  I was very pleased with the lettuce because it looked very healthy at the store and some of the little seedlings even had two plants in the individual compartment, so that's a bonus!  I also looked over all the tomato plants they had and chose one that already had several tomatoes on it and many more blooms.  Currently I have a few tomatoes that are the right size for a cherry tomato but they haven't turned red yet.  I'm wondering if I should go ahead and pick them and then let them ripen in the window sill.  I can't decide.  I suppose it won't hurt to do that, but I do love to see a beautiful little red tomato peeking out among the green leaves.  The dirt I used to for the pots is kinda old so in hopes of helping the soil, I used a couple shovel fulls of chicken poop!  I grow a little mini garden in a spot where my chickens used to live and it does very well!  So hopefully this will give me good tomatoes and lettuce!

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I had my first little mini salad from my lettuce plants and it was super yummy.  My mother introduced me to adding green onions to my salad and omg.  I love it!  I didn't have any tomatoes yet but I did add some carrots which added some pretty color to the salad.  I can't wait for my little plants to grow some more!

the gardening diaries: quick update

I don't have much to say this week.  My focus has not really been on my garden, oops.  I started to weed a little bit last week, I think I already posted about that, but I haven't done much since then. 

It stormed yesterday and my corn stalks took quite a beating and are slightly leaning.  I also need to add some more supports to my tomato plants, they fell over and the tomato cages are just not strong enough to hold them up anymore with the weight of the tomatoes added to them.

the gardening diaries: quick update | mini garden goodiesThis morning after I mowed the yard, I picked some beautiful veggies from the mini-garden.  It has always done well for me since I began using it as a garden space last year.  The chickens used to live there so I think that's the secret ;)

the gardening diaries: quick update | grape tomato "volunteer plant" the gardening diaries: quick update | grape tomato "volunteer plant"I also spotted some "volunteer" tomato plants on the side of the chicken coop that had blooms and some green tomatoes.  Jessica has gotten some of these before and they call them "chicken cherries." Ha!  I think these look more like grape tomatoes so I'm gonna go with "chicken grapes."

the gardening diaries: quick update | raspberry blooms the gardening diaries: quick update | raspberry bushWhile I was mowing, I spotted more blooms on my raspberry bushes that I got a month or so ago.  They were almost dead at Lowe's and I picked two plants off the clearance rack so I paid almost nothing for them.  I planted them in the yard and I just let God water them!  My pastor's wife, Mrs. Angie, used that phrase with me once and I really liked it so I use it myself!

Ok y'all!  Until next time :)

the gardening diaries: abandoned (just for a few weeks)

the gardening diaries: abandoned (just for a few weeks) clovers for chickens! | the gardening diaries: abandoned (just for a few weeks) orange tomato | the gardening diaries: abandoned (just for a few weeks) cherry tomatoes | the gardening diaries: abandoned (just for a few weeks) the gardening diaries: abandoned (just for a few weeks)I have not really abandoned my garden but I'm sure it feels that way!  Last week we went on vacation to the mountains and before that I had not really done much tending to the garden.  It rained half the time and the other half it was super hot.  Fortunately before we left, Mr. Randy used the tractor to plow(weed?) the garden and, wow.  It looks great!  At the least the first rows do.  There is this section at the back corner of the garden that is the tomatoes and peppers where a lot of weeds have sprung up.  I took a picture of the tomato patch before I started weeding it this morning.  I think the weeds are the worst on this side because the part of the field that touches the garden had not been bush hogged at the time that I planted my seeds and plants.  It was kind of the "wild side."  Since then, it has been bush hogged twice but there was nothing to do about the weeds that had grown into the garden except pull them up by hand.  Which I have now done once.  This morning. haha!  There is something really satisfying about weeding, too.  It's definitely hard work, but the weeks seem to come up fairly easy.  I just had to be sure to grip them at the base of the plant so I could pull up the roots, too.

Also, as I was going in, I took the clovers I collected to the chickens.  I love giving them clovers, it's probably their favorite snack!  I had been seeing glimpses of yellow/orange on my tomato plants in my mini-garden and I wanted to see how much longer I would have to wait for a lovely tomato.  As I was taking some pictures of those not-quite-red tomatoes, I saw a bright red one!  I was super excited and dug around in the green leaves and ended up finding four small red tomatoes!  They are cherry tomatoes so they are supposed to be that size.  I took them inside and washed them off then ate one.  It was delicious.  And sweet.  Kind of like candy.  I can just taste the bacon-tomato sandwiches that I am going to eat all summer!

the gardening diaries: watering

the gardening diaries: watering - the first sprout the gardening diaries: watering - the garden sprouting the gardening diaries: watering - baby veggies sprouting the gardening diaries: watering - baby corn stalks
For a couple of days I have been considering whether or not I need to water the garden.  It rained a few days after the seeds were planted, but it has not rained since.  I know that at least my tomato plants were going to need watering soon since they were already full grown.

Two Sundays ago I was ecstatic to look out my kitchen window and see the first beautiful green sprigs in the morning sunlight!  They were so pretty and cute all in their rows with the sunlight highlighting them and making them glow.  It really looked like they were glowing for real!  I went out with my rubber boots on to walk the rows and see what all had begun growing since the last time I had looked and found all the tiny sprouts everywhere.  The only row that I could tell that hadn't popped up was the okra, but I was not worried.  I just figured they would pop up eventually.

Last Friday I bought another garden hose to connect it to the one that I already had so I could reach the garden.  I watered it a little that evening.  I got about halfway through by holding the nozzle and spraying it before it got time for me to leave.  I have a sprinkler attachment and I keep saying that I'm going to attach it and water it for a while, but I just haven't done that yet.

Saturday it looked kind of cloudy like it was going to rain and Sunday looked like it was going to rain too, but it didn't rain until Monday.  It rained Monday a lot and some on Tuesday.  I was so happy to see that rain!  

Until next time!

the gardening diaries: planting day!

Finally y'all!  The part I have been waiting on for weeks!  I excitedly and impatiently waited for days for the mud plot that would be my garden to dry out.  I anticipated the day I would get to my house after work and it would be the day to start on the rows!  When I got home from work last Wednesday, I checked the farmer's almanac and was excited to see that the 23rd and 24th of April would be good planting days.  This was good news because I was worried I would have to wait until the beginning of May.

the gardening diaries: planting! - Kevin's LiveOak the gardening diaries: planting! - Massey Fergusen Tractor

Wednesday ~ Kevin and I walked around the yard and field that afternoon looking at the trees and plants that were growing and thriving from all the rain we had!  April 22 was also Earth Day!  In our woods beside our house, there is the great oak tree that Kevin really loves.  He had spent the day cleaning around the tree.  There are vines that are climbing all over the tree.  And by vines, I don't mean little ones that I am constantly pulling out of my front bed.  These vines are huge!  They have got to be at least a decade old and are everywhere.  The goal is to get the area around the tree cleared so it can get more sunlight.  Kevin got a lot of the vines cut at the base so they will die off and we can pull them out of the tree tops.  I'm hoping that all this work will pay off and we can continue to clear out to make a lovely shaded place for us to hang out or eat meals!

While we were walking, we were also talking about the garden.  I had just found out that the next two days were good days to plant according to the farmer's almanac.  We needed to break up the dirt again before we could do the rows.  Kevin said he would do that on Thursday if the rain held off!  When we rounded the corner, Mr. Randy already had the tractor out and was breaking up the former mud pit.  Oh y'all.  I cannot even tell you how excited I was! 

the gardening diaries: planting! - Baby Farmers #gatesroadgarden the gardening diaries: planting! - Massey Ferguson Tractor #gatesroadgarden the gardening diaries: planting! - Massey Ferguson Tractor and Sally #gatesroadgarden the gardening diaries: planting! - Kevin on the Massey Ferguson Tractor #gatesroadgarden

Thursday ~ I got home from work determined to mow our yard.  It had been weeks since it had been mowed thanks to the rain and the lawn mower breaking.  Kevin was off helping his brother but when he got home, he hooked up the plow to the tractor and got started making the rows!  This was a learning experience for both of us and it took a row or two to get the plow adjusted right.  After he got it to where we wanted, he finished the rest of the rows!  As the sun went down, it started to get a little chilly and since I was wearing a tank top, I went inside and grabbed one of my blue jean-ish "work shirts" to wear over it.  I have been reading a book about a woman who went to live on a farm for a year and she discussed how the farmers didn't wear sunscreen lotion, they just had light button up work shirts that they wore. I felt like what I was wearing was similar to what she described and felt very farmer-ish. haha!  By the time Kevin finished the rows, it was beginning to get dark so we quickly planted the tomato plants that I had gotten earlier that day. 

the gardening diaries: planting! - morning sunrise the gardening diaries: planting! - morning garden rows #gatesroadgarden the gardening diaries: planting! - handful of merit corn to plant #gatesroadgarden the gardening diaries: planting! - handful of sugar baby watermelon seeds #gatesroadgarden the gardening diaries: planting! - handful of peanuts for planting #gatesroadgarden the gardening diaries: planting! - handful of gourd seeds #gatesroadgarden

Friday ~  Friday I woke up at, like, 5:00 am and could not fall back asleep.  I was already planning to get started planning early before work so I went ahead and got up.  I fixed some coffee and sat on the back porch steps while I drank a cup and woke up.  The evening before, Kevin and I kind of planned out our rows and I decided where I would start for the morning.  I planted a few rows of corn and two varieties of watermelon before I had to stop so I could go to work.  Luckily I only worked half a day but I was still mentally kicking myself for requesting to work that morning.  Once I got home, I picked back up planting where I left off. After about an hour, it started to rain a steady light rain so Kevin and I picked up my seeds that hadn't gotten planted yet.  We sat on the back porch for about thirty minutes while I alternated between talking with Kevin and pouting about the rain.  I just kept having to remind myself of what I said earlier: God knows what he's doing!    After a while, Kevin pointed out that it was barely sprinkling so I gathered my stuff again and together we went out to finish planting the garden.  He planted the peanuts and I planted the various peppers that I had left.

I don't know how other people do their gardens and how they keep up with what is planted on each row.  I really didn't know how I was going to do it myself, either.  Honestly, I hadn't actually thought of that part until it was Friday morning and I was standing in the dirt with a handful of corn kernels.  Then I remembered that the day before I had bought some plant markers seemingly on a whim.  So I put down one of my ponytail holders to mark my place and I got the plant markers and a sharpie.  I hadn't asked any veteran gardeners if they mark their plants or if they just remember what row is what.  Maybe it doesn't matter to them because obviously when the vegetables are produced anyone can definitely tell what is what!  Right now I'm working out the way that works for me.  And hopefully I will find good ways and even after that, discover even better ways!

the gardening diaries: never ending rain


I'm beginning to think I will never get my garden planted.  It rained daily the past week.  And by rain, I mean heavy rain.  The sun came out Wednesday and Friday afternoon for a little while and to see the sunset.  Unfortunately that wasn't enough sun to dry out my plot so we weren't able to disc it up and never got the chance to make any rows.  In fact, the night before Kevin left, he was going to test the dirt and see if he could do something, but when the front tires got into the mud, they didn't even spin, they just slid forward propelled by the back tires!  And that was just from the rain last Sunday and Monday. 


Jessica and I went on a plant shopping trip about a month ago and bought seeds to plant in our gardens.  When she planted her seeds on Good Friday, she actually ran out of seeds!  I don't know about her, but I really thought I had enough.  So after that I decided I probably should look into getting some more seeds.  Two years ago I had this beautiful coleus plant with these vibrant colors and I have been looking for another one like it.  Since I haven't been able to find one, I googled the plant and found a website that I can buy the seeds.  I ended up buying some other seeds too!  Like some heirloom varieties of tomatoes and some jalapeno seeds.  I couldn't find any peanut seeds (is that how to say it?) so I found another website that I was able to order from.  With this being my first time to garden, I ordered three different kinds of peanuts.  The ones that I knew to get were the Virginia Reds.  Kevin's grandmother told me that those are the best ones to grow so I made sure to order those.  I also ordered the Talbert Small Reds because Kevin likes the flavor of small peanuts.  I don't know how all of the different kinds are going to turn out but I am excited to see what happens! 

The sun finally came out for a full day on Sunday and Monday so if it will just stay out, then it will dry up enough to get some rows made!  I have certainly been enjoying this little bout of sunshine and really cannot wait to be able to watch my garden grow in the sunshine!!  As I write this it occurs to me that I need to plan out my garden.  I want to have a garden year round so I want to plan for that, too.  I have read in a garden book that gardeners "orchestrate" the garden to where it blooms and produces in such an order that it's just so beautiful and wonderful to watch. 

So yeah, we are slowly but surely getting there!  My first year for a garden is definitely getting a rough start but hopefully that will just make it all worth it!

the gardening diaries: breaking up the dirt

This past week I have been busy with getting the plot ready and the dirt broken up for the rows.  Mr. Randy has been doing all the "tractoring" and I've been doing all the "supervising" haha!  Last Saturday I mowed the spot where I wanted to put the garden.  It was out in the field where the horses lived for years and the grass is wonderful and gorgeous and wait, why are we digging some of it up?  Oh yeah, for a garden!  I got the grass mowed and on Monday Mr. Randy and I set about to getting rid of as much grass as we could before he used the tractor to break ground.  Since we got a late start on burning, we just raked as much of the grass clippings as we could and burned those little piles.  For future reference: don't do this again.

After the smoked cleared he used the tractor to make the first pass over the ground.  The discs barely went into the ground it was so hard and covered with grass.  Then the fuel line came loose and he stopped so it could be fixed.  After about twenty minutes or so, Kendall got the fuel line to go back on while Mr. Randy and I drank some much needed water!  He started the tractor back up and we worked out there until dark.  

On Tuesday, Michael and Diane came over to get some of the grass to put in their yard.  We loaded down their truck with so much of the sod and still barely put a dent in it!  Apparently, in the winter I should have taken care of the grass by either burning it or I could have covered it to kill it.  I don't want grass in my garden and really should have done this first but oh well, next time I will start sooner.  While Mr. Randy continued to break up the dirt I spent that time pulling clump after clump of grass out of the plot.  It seemed as if I pulled out one clump of grass and then two more would appear!  I still have a good bit there but I'm not fretting too much!  I think my favorite part is how good the dirt smelled!  Even Sally liked playing in the dirt :)

I am so excited doing all of this, the hard work and the preparation of the ground.  It is my first time to do any gardening like this!  In the past I have just kinda done it halfway.  But this.  This is a big deal to me!  I've got lots of plans and really they just keep multiplying.  One idea leads to five others and those lead to more!  There's so much I want to do and so much I can do it's hard to keep it all straight.  Right now, though, I am focused on getting everything ready to plant!  

the gardening diaries: the beginning

For the past few years, I have slowly learned more and more about growing plants and I have had dreams of having a garden.  This year I have been more determined than the last to get this done.  So far, the only thing that has worked out is that I bought the seeds I wanted.

The discs that would be used to break up the plot were not at our house, they were at Kevin's uncles house so we had to get those from him.  We finally were able to borrow a trailer and were able to go and get them the last day that Kevin was home.  So that means he was unable to work on the tractor before he left for work.  We didn't think about it needing maintenance until Kevin's dad said something about.  Oops.  Fortunately we were able to use Michael's tractor to get the discs on and off the trailer.  Last Friday Mr. Randy started to change the oil but the fuel line needed repairing.  Then on Saturday they discovered water leaking out of the block!  (Kevin told me that this is also referred to as the motor. haha)(correction: engine. not motor...should have known better!)  Mr. Randy fixed it for the time being but it's going to need some more work on it eventually.

The first week of December I planted some garlic cloves and I am soooo excited that they look like they are doing wonderful!  According to my gardening book, the time for harvesting garlic is in the fall.  I wish I didn't have to wait so long!  But I'm still pretty excited about it!  It will be super awesome to have my own cloves and I can't wait to cook them and use them!

Jessica and I went to Lowe's last week and in addition to seeds for the garden, I also bought some herbs and tomato and pepper plants!  I did not start seedlings as early as I should have and I can be kinda impatient so I went ahead and bought plants already started.  And really, I'm just so excited to have some vegetables already!  After my surprising success with the plants last year, I can't wait to see if I can do better this year.  I really believe that gardening is something you can only truly learn with experience.  And although I am getting started late, if I don't just go ahead and dive in and get started, I may never start.

my mini-garden [winter edition]

Y'all I don't know if that's necessarily the correct terminology for what I have planted, but I planted garlic yesterday!!  Yay me!  I planted some garlic in pots last year but then my cat, kitten, totally thought that would be just the perfect litter box!  I was so so angry!  But, whatever, that was last year.  This year, after such success with my late-summer mini garden I decided to plant two large cloves of garlic that I had!  For the past couple of weeks I have been kind of working the ground to try and get it good and mixed up and prepared for whatever I decided to plant next.  Obviously that ended up being garlic, haha.  

This past week I decided to finally plant a few rows of garlic.  Mainly because I want to.  But also because it is another way to practice growing something!  So I began peeling the clove to get to all the individual cloves.  I am unsure of the right words so this is what we are going with. :]  Anyways, it did not take very long and I got about four small rows out of the two cloves (bulbs, maybe?) that I had.  IMG_2458
It's kind of hard to tell because they just look like white dots, but that's the cloves I planted!

I am excited to see them grow and I really cannot wait to cook with them.  I found this picture of braided garlic and I would like to try and braid what I have.  I don't know if I planted enough to do a large braid but small ones will do as well!  I found this picture on Pinterest and thought it looked neat :]



Garlic Braid

Doesn't that look so neat?  I would love to hang that in my kitchen or in the chicken coop I'm gonna have!

Well y'all, I gotta run!  Thank you for stopping by! 


my mini-garden

For the past two years I have constantly said I'm going to have a garden but never really got past the talking about it stage.  I just keep putting it off because either I'm overwhelmed, I'm not sure what to do so I just get stuck in a planning rut, or just plain not doing it.  That being said, in August my friend Jessica gave me some of her extra seedlings she never used.  Around this time, I made my chicken coop smaller which created the perfect spot for these seedlings!  

They were so pitiful when she gave them to me, they were extras that she hadn't had room for so they had just been sitting out in her yard.  I planted the tomatoes first, and then decided to plant the jalapenos too!  I wasn't sure what I would do with them, but I thought why not.  Here is how they looked when I planted them: IMG_1283 IMG_1285 IMG_1323

Fast forward a few months and they are doing great!  Oh my, the jalapenos!  I am constantly picking them, and when I don't get to them in time, the dogs take care of them for me.    Sally will actually go and pull them off the plant herself and even bring one to Roscoe.  They are the silliest puppies.  The tomatoes are taking longer to ripen but they are still going good even though we have had temperatures down in the 40's and 30's.   IMG_1972 IMG_0946 IMG_0948 IMG_0953 IMG_0945 IMG_0947 IMG_1957

I've learned a little bit from this little garden that I randomly started.  For starters, I now understand why spacing is soooo important.  Any experienced gardener would probably cringe at my tomato plants that overwhelmed their cages so much that they are just laying on the ground or see my pepper plants practically buried beneath a flowering bush. Honestly I didn't know what I was doing and I didn't expect quite the growth that I got from my plants.  IMG_0950

It's just too much, don't you think?  But to me the important thing was, I did it.  I get so caught up in the planning of something that often I don't get started unless I just jump in and just do it.  Oh and that purple flowering bush on the left side?  It started out really, really bad. Kinda like this... IMG_1289

I know!  Y'all can't even see that there are purple blooms on it.  Here it is now, so much better: IMG_0940

Next year is the year of the garden.  Now that I've had a little taste of growing my own food I'm determined.  It's so good and flavorful!  My in-laws always have done a garden and I'd love to have one also!  I know I've still got a little time to go but it can't hurt to dream, right?