Friday, February 20, 2009

Vegetable Garden Update-February 09

Tina's Vegetable Garden Update:
February is the month everything in the garden is transitioning. Crocuses are blooming here with all the other spring bulbs following soon after, spring is in the air. What is better in the spring than getting out those seedlings and preparing your vegetable garden for its new year's food bounty? Nothing! So get comes spring. And onto my veggie garden. I wasn't sure I'd have anything new to talk about, and I really don't but I do have some new transplants just waiting to be planted in the garden. A big freeze is expected this weekend so while these Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and red cabbage are hardened off, I'd just as soon wait until the big freeze passes. Perhaps next week they will be tucked into the garden. I looked back at last year's post with these same vegetable and found I planted the last week of February, so I am right on schedule.
The onions and garlic are looking pretty good. There is lots of new growth and the weather has been cooperating wonderfully. They are not bothered by hard freezes when the days are moderate, as they have been lately.

By next month I will have planted my seeds which include: kohlrabi, beets, mesclun, radishes, lettuce, and peas. I have found it does not pay to rush the seeds in the garden. The seeds planted later when it is warmer catch up with the seeds I have rushed into the ground a bit early. March is the month for seed planting for me.

Normally I plant potatoes about this time each year, but I am not sure if I will or not. I have been moving a few things in the garden and my overflow vegetable garden is one of them. Normally I put potatoes in it since my veggie garden is pretty full, but probably not this year. We'll see.

Skeeter's Vegetable Garden Update:

There has been some activity in our Georgia garden since last month. We decided it was time to turn the natural fertilizer (compliments of horse's Silver and Georgia) over into the soil for quicker composting. Our neighbor offered the use of his gas tiller for the task. Only problem, how do we get the tiller over the small fenced in garden since we don't have a gate? My brain went to work.
Last year was our first attempt at a veggie garden due to possible struggles with deer and rabbits. We went with a small garden as a trial basis and put a short fence around it, basically to keep the rabbits out. The deer can jump over any fence we install unless it is a 7 foot or taller structure. We did not want to invest a lot of money so we went with a simple wire "stick it into the ground" type fencing. The openings were too large and Peter Cottontail could easily slip through this so we twist tied some plastic fencing onto the wire. Above is the result and it worked fine last year to keep rabbit and squirrels out of the garden. I hung dial soap in small bags around the top of the fencing and the deer never bothered the garden.
I came up with an idea on how to build a gate with some stuff we had laying around the shed. A long piece of PVC piping that was found under the house the first time the Saint crawled under for some reason or another. We have had this pipe for 8 years just sitting in the shed waiting on a project. We also had some steal rebar left over from a project the day before. We reinforced a neglected planter that you will see another time.

I took wire cutters and cut a opening into the fence. The Saint cut the PVC pipe in half for me. I twist tied the metal fence onto the PVC then twist tied the plastic fencing onto the metal fencing. The rebar was hammered into the ground and the PVC piping will slip right over the rebar making us a gate. I never have to step over the fence and risk injury again!

Click on the video to see how this gate operates.

With an opening to the garden, the Saint was able to till the soil, although not an easy task with a wet soggy area. I did not catch a picture of the Saint in the garden as I was too busy watching the interesting machine doing this job so quickly. He had the entire garden tilled within 15 minutes. With a shovel in hand, he would have never completed the job as it was too muddy. Poor thing was sinking into the ground like quick sand but the tiller kept moving and he completed the job.
We were sure to clean up the tiller really well before we took it back to our neighbor. He told us to get the tiller any time so we hope to till the soil one more time if not two before planting season.
I sure hope the soil dries out for spring planting or the garden may start out a Container Garden as last year. A surprise crop! Last spring, I had sprinkled carrot seeds in a planter on the East side of the house. I was late getting them into the soil and they did not produce one carrot for us. I left the green sprigs in the planter for the winter. We have never had luck growing carrots. This is the planter we had made a few repairs to the day before the Saint tilled the garden. As we made the repairs I plucked a carrot stem and look what came out of the ground! A nice sized carrot that we peeled and enjoyed.After working in the veggie garden, I decided I needed to get the repaired planter soil turned also so I dug out the remaining carrots and look at the crop I plucked in February! I made glazed carrots and we sat in the swing outside and ate our sweet treat as the birds sing in the trees above.

A perfect ending to VEGETABLE GARDEN UPDATE, In the Garden...

Note: I am sad to report that one of the providers of the Natural Fertilizer, the white horse Silver, trotted over the Rainbow Bridge a few weeks ago. She was a happy, well cared for horse during her 27 years on this earth! We will miss Silver and remember her with our fertilized soil this summer...


  1. Good morning ladies, you both are very industrious getting your veggie gardens ready to go. Skeeter- sorry to hear about your horse, I know nothing about horses, is 27 an old age for horses? Your gate is very ingenious. We have a tiller, but it is too big for me to feell comfortable using. We have to wait a long time after it rains to let the soil dry .. we are sort of live in a swamp.

  2. Great post ladies! I have a tiny little space, but the onions are in and I planted carrot seeds this week! We are on out way!!!

  3. Hi Tina and Skeeter, Both gardens on their way to being successful like last years. The freeze arrived and is it ever cold...Tina, a wise decision to wait to plant. Skeeter, I am sorry about's good to know she was loved and had a good life...gail

  4. Busy busy! It is getting closer isn't it? Nice carrots, we have never had much luck with them either. Sorry about Silver, nice to know she had a happy life.

  5. This is the miracle of blogging--to read about people actually working in a vegetable garden at this time of year! It's amazing to me--it will be at least a month, if I plant any cool weather crops, or two if I plant my usual, before I will even think about starting any vegetables. Tina, my grandfather always said to plant potatoes on Good Friday. Of course, I could never figure that one out, since Good Friday is at a different time each year:)

    Skeeter, the Saint is at it again! Glad you figured out a way to build a gate. I'm sure I would have tripped over the fence, no matter how short, at some point in the gardening season and landed flat on my face:)

    So sorry to hear about Silver, but it sounds as if he had a long and happy life.

  6. Skeeter,

    I'm sorry to hear about Silver. I'm sure he will be missed.

    Crafty idea with the gate! The glazed carrots sound good, very good.


    I forgot about the veggie update. I'll have to take some shots of our seedlings and post on the tonight or tomorrow. I did plant some crape myrtle, rudbeckia, switchgrass, and verbena seeds. Not really veggies though! I'd better get that chard started!

  7. An awful lot going on over there in your part of the world. It does seem a little early yet to be planting outside, so it's probably a good move to wait.

    Good job on figuring out the garden gate!

    Sorry to hear about Silver. I'll bet she had a very good life.

  8. poor silver. at least she was loved.

    yummy looking carrots!

  9. I'm sorry Silver won't get a chance to share a carrot with you guys.

    Tina, I'm surprised at the variety you grow. Have to admit, I've never tried kohlrabi or mesclun. Have to do some research into those.

  10. You guys are busy! Great ideas with the gate Skeeter and surprise! I'll bet the carrots were yummy. Sorry about Silver, that's never easy.

  11. Morning all! I am running here and there so just a sec to say hey. Skeeter I love that gate!! I may have to do something like that to keep Bella out of the gardens. She is such a pain. Shhh, don't tell Christine, who I hope is doing well. Talk to you all later. ttyl

  12. Exciting times --spring is getting so close. Great carrots! Have a great day --ciao!

  13. Good morning Tina and Skeeter! I loved this post, and am so excited about having a new veggie bed this spring! You are both way ahead of me, and it will be fun and motivating watching your veggie beds progress.

    Skeeter, I'm so sorry about the loss of Silver. She was beautiful.

    How cool that you had an early carrot harvest. They look positively scrumptious!

  14. Good morning everyone! Time is scarce these days with so much to do and so little time. So I will not be commenting much for the next few postings. But I will be reading every comment at some point so keep them coming.

    Thank you all so much for the wonderful comments about our dear friend Silver. Silver belonged to our neighbors and not to us even though we kind of felt like she and her sister horse (Georgia) were ours as we did pet sit for them often. Silvers mommy informed us that 27 is really old for a horse.

    I never tripped over the fence but the Saint did and it was not a pretty sight! lol So he was all for me making a gate!

    Tina, the gate was so simple to make and all made from scraps lying around the shed! My fingers were a bit scratched up from tying so many twist ties though. A fence of this type should keep Miss Bella in line. I do wonder how Christine is doing. I am anxious to hear if she has been to the River Walk. They must be keeping her busy…

    Temp was 32 here this morning so I am glad we have not planted any veggie as of yet. Warmer stuff is on the way in about a week!

    Everyone have a wonderful day!

  15. Hi Tina & Skeeter. Looks like you both are organized & prepared for the coming season. Have fun with your cool season veggie planting next week Tina & great job on that gate Skeeter. :)

  16. Your gardens amaze me with all that's going on in them Skeeter & Tina. You've been busy, busy, busy. The rewards will be great tho and those carrots look absolutely delicious. I agree with Marnie ~ too bad Silver couldn't have had a homegrown carrot with you. :-( My daughter rides a horse that's 27 years old. Now I'm worried how long she'll be around? I don't know much about horses so I didn't know how old was "old."

  17. Hi Tina and Skeeter, first off, I am so sorry for the loss of the horse Silver, but it sounds like she was a lucky horse to have the owners she did. Your gate was brilliant too! And Tina, thanks for letting us know that things are right on schedule. It seems like it is colder longer, but maybe that is just an illusion from someone so ready for spring. You are both ready to go, as am I. Maybe next month I will have something to report for veggie day too.

  18. I am sorry to hear of Silver passing. I am sure you will enjoy the fertilizer though. We sure enjoyed our horses(-:
    Now we have chickens. THey make a ton too!
    The carrots look yummy(-:

  19. Hi, Tina and Skeeter--To show how far behind we are, Salix and I were talking this morning about what veggies (besides our herbs) we might try this year. Tina, I'm not telling him about your Brussels Sprouts--he loves them, but I'm not sure he realizes we could actually grow them (kidding. kind of.)

    I love your gate, Skeeter. I'm a horse lover, so the news about Silver was sad--I hope your neighbors are doing ok. But as far as the manure goes--do you have trouble with grass sprouting? We've found that the weeds almost outweigh the benefits.

    Great post, and happy veggie day!

  20. I wish you a wonderful weekend!! :)

  21. you are both quite inspirational, I absolutely adore homegrown veg but somehow never summon the motivation to grow them. However, as quite a serious carrot addict, maybe ...?

  22. Enjoyed your double post today. I'm very jealous that you are almost ready to plant, Tina! Skeeter, I loved reading about your fence and am happy to have a new strategy (soap!)now to outsmart the deer. Rabbits haven't been such a problem now that i have a dog. Sorry to hear about Silver :-(

  23. So... I'm thinking of moving to TN! In between your posts and those of Frances and Gail, I'm sooooo jealous of your weather. And I love the gate--clever. I love using materials already on hand in some useful way.

  24. How fun that you are both getting ready for planting now! It really is fun getting those first veges in the ground! I know it's getting closer for us too.
    How lucky to have fresh carrots in February, I could almost taste them through the computer!

  25. Hi Tina, Skeeter,
    Great post girls.
    I'm sorry about Silver, me being a horse lover. It hurts awful when you loose one.
    I love that little gate. What an ingenious idea. Isn't that rebar some good stuff. It comes in handy for a lot of things.
    Maybe after the weekend {Sat. low is to be 28ยบ or there bouts} I can get some veggies planted. It seems late for here. But would hate to have them freeze just as they are coming up. Although my carrots, onions, swiss chard, spinach, lettuce & collard greens look great. Even the potatoes I stuck in the ground are coming up. Anxious to see what they do.

  26. So sorry to hear about Silver; that was a beautiful photo of her.
    Your homemade gate was quite clever; well, they do say "necessity is the mother of invention!"

  27. Those carrots look yummy!There's nothing like a sweet carrot fresh from the ground.

    So sorry to hear about Silver.

    Happy planting!

  28. Sorry to hear about Silver. I'm sure she will be missed.

    I'm envious of both of your vegetable gardens. I still have about 2 feet of snow on the ground up here. I'm hoping to be doing all of my spring work in late March or April.

  29. It has been a busy day for me today and a busy weekend ahead! Thanks for your kind words on dear Silver. She will be missed for sure. Her buddy horse is doing fine in her absence. She is on her way to South Florida to ride in some type or route that a cattle drive took many years ago. A 6 day ride so she will be happy to be in sunny warm Florida for a week with other horse’s!

    Cosmo, this will be the first year we have use the horse manure in the garden or compost bin. I will let you know if I have problems with it seeding as time goes on...

    Everyone have a good weekend!

  30. I should move south, my veggie gardening is still about 1.5 months away. At least I have seeds to fix the gardening bug and of course all the southern bloggers to watch.

    Tina - Looks like you have some great brassica plants and your garlic and onions look very nice.

    Skeeter - That tiller will sure come in handy for the veggie patch, what a nice neighbor. You carrots look amazing, yum.

  31. You guys are very organized. I never get my spring vegetables in until it's too late!

    Have a lovely weekend ~

  32. Nice that Silver will live on in the plants in the garden--what a great way to remember her. And as for veggie seeds planted too early, I know I've run into the same thing. You like to get ahead of the season, but sometimes patience is the best thing to practice... Enjoy the veggies when it finally gets time to plant them out.

  33. Oh all the veggies look great girls. I am green with envy. The carrots sure do look great and what a find in Feb. You have talked about Silver many times so I know you were very sad about her passing and I am so sorry. She did have a good long life and many people to love her but I know that does not make it any easier for you. I am sure when the veggies come up she will look down and smile, knowing she had a helping poo in it.

    Don't know if Christy has been to the River Walk or not yet but she did go to town last weekend but I think she spent most of the time partying. I'll ask her next time she calls. Did you see where I said she had tubes put in her ears yesterday? Other than that, she is doing great. She is excited as Jay is going down in a few weeks to visit her. She can't spend the night off base but will spend days and evenings with him and they will get some rock climbing done. They both have a passion for that.

    Almost forgot but great idea and job on the gate!!!

  34. Hello tina, i havent made any labels yet but i will post a pic as soon as i do. Im so excited. Go to amazon and look for the p-touch 2700. Its the best one. I watched for prices for about a week and jumped when it got down to 52.00. They are $100 in stores.

  35. Just so great to be getting the veggie garden off to a start. We have had such a long, cold Winter here in England. Exciting to see green shoots and seedlings for a change.

  36. Tina, I'm surprised to see onions and garlic doing well in that weather. Going by the list of veggies you're going to plant, I'm already looking forward to your Veggie update posts!!

    Skeeter, sorry to read about Silver. Your carrots look great!

  37. I enjoyed your posts, Skeeter and Tina,
    My veggie area is not big enough to do a good job with crop rotation. I grew potatoes last year, so don't know if I will this. I may put some in a tub, like I've done in the past.

    I've never grown carrots in a tub, though. Nice crop there!

  38. Tina - how great you already have little seedlings that the weather is going to soon let you plant.
    Skeeter - I love your gate. How very ingenius and really a simple, clean solution. You gotta love that rototiller. So sorry to hear about Silver.

  39. I have plants ready to be planted all over the dining room table. We're expecting a freeze tonight also. Can't wait to get out and dig in the dirt!

  40. Planting season is just around the corner for us! Yippee....