When Muhammad (a/k/a Cheryl) couldn’t get to the mountain…

…(a/k/a the community garden plot), Muhammad (a/k/a Cheryl) built her own.

(beginning of year)

In a prior post I had mentioned that I signed up for a community garden plot, but that the logistics of getting there were a little more than I could handle.  Between the successful experiment with the squash taking over one bed, the strawberries multiplying like crazy taking over the second bed, and the perennials using up the space in the third bed I ran out of space before I got a lot of stuff in the ground and needed a home for my babies.

Bright and early on May 16th I put on my knee-knockers and gym shoes, packed up my seedlings and headed off to the community garden to claim my plot.  Well, I didn’t see anybody there.  That was the day of the plant sale where I purchased the Rosemary Prostrada plant.  Since I had the Saturday to myself, I ran errands and I’d pass the garden just to see if anybody was there.  I still didn’t see anybody.  That’s when I started toying with the idea of building another bed to put some of my homegrown seedlings in. 

The making of  “Muhammad’s Mountain” 


I constructed the frame in the garage (with FreeCycle wood, thank you very much) so it would be ready to go when I dug out the planting area.  It took four hours one evening and a couple hours of the next morning to dig out the plot and put the box in.  I did my best to “double dig” and topped the area off with a version of “Mel’s Mix.”  It consisted of my homegrown compost, peat moss, vermiculite and perlite.  I also put in some store bought composted manure.  I threw in some wood ash that one of the ladies from the gardening group gave me last year, a little blood and bone, a little dried molasses.  In other words, I threw in the kitchen sink.

The next day I moved my little babies to their new home.  (05-29-10)

Take a peek behind the planter and you’ll see the bed’s all planted out.  (To the right, that’s my dollar bush tomato plant I found at Home Depot.  First time I’ve ever tried a determinate).

Here’s a picture of the bed today.  I configured the trellis for the tomatoes a little differently than the last couple years.  (Here’s a picture of how it was configured before).  

Here’s a list of what’s growing:

  • 3 Yellow Peppers (seeds compliments of Granny)
  • 3 Big Bertha Peppers (store bought plants)
  • 3 California Wonder Peppers (grown from seed)
  • 2 Patio Basils (grown from seed)
  • 6 Marigolds (grown from seed)
  • 2 Zinnas (grown from seed)
  • 3 Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes (grown from seed)
  • 2 Stevia Plants (Store bought plant that I divided into three, and the third one is growing in a container)
  • 1 Bush Early Girl Tomato (store bought plant)
  • 2 Sugar Baby Watermelons (compliments of Gregory)
  • 2 Russian Kale (compliments of Gregory)
  •  2 Celery Plants (compliments of Gregory)
  • 1 Rainbow Swiss Chard (grown from seed)
  • 1 Leaf Lettuce (grown from seed, trying to hide out in the shade)
  • 1 volunteer mystery melon, probably cantaloupe
  • 1 volunteer canna

 In fairness to the folks at the Jackson Park Community Garden, I recently received an e-mail through one of my groups and found out that there is somebody who works in the garden every day, it’s just that she started after I had already given up.  Just my luck.

Tomorrow from 3:00 to 5:00 they’re having a workshop at the garden on…oooo, my favorite…composting.  I’ll get a chance to see what I missed out on.

Happy Gardening!!!

Congratulations are in order…we’re expecting!!!

Here’s the harvest for the day:07-29-09 (7)Seven cherry tomatoes, one lemon cucumber, two cucumbers from the potted bush cucumber plant and lettuce leaves from the last remaining lettuce plant.

I was looking at Kate’s blog today, Gardening Without Skills , and saw a heart made with veggies.  It was too cute.   It even had a love poem for gardeners.  I went a little tomato crazy last year and wrote a poem about tomatoes.

This years tomatoes are doing well.07-29-09 (2)

 The vines are as tall now as they were last year on August 23rd.07-29-09 (3)I have come up with a way to support the vines once they outgrow the trellis, which I’ll post a picture later on.

Maybe the peppers will catch up.  Here they are today.07-29-09 (4)

The four pepper plants closest to the corn with the marigold in between were the first to go in the ground and they’re a little bigger, not much, than the others.  The empty space is where I had the in-ground potatoes.  The harvest was just at 1 big old pound.06-19-09No, that wasn’t a typo.  1/one/uno pound.  I am no Annie’s Granny with her tons of taters from 12 square feet compared to my 6 square feet.  I’m still holding out hope for the potatoes growing in the bin along the side of the garage.  Only a couple of bugs found the plants and they’re still growing like crazy.

I was so happy to find out today that we’re expecting….a new flush of raspberries.07-29-09 (9)I don’t know what variety they are as they were Free Cycled plants.  I got them mid summer last year and they had already fruited, so this years fruit was on last year’s wood.  I’ve repotted the plants, pulled out a few canes and repotted them and cut out the growing tips.  The plants are sending out new foliage, and now I see new future berries.  I only see them on one plant as of today, though.  Wouldn’t it be nice to get a second crop of raspberries!  One of the repotted canes is a trade with a gardening friend of my neighbor who has figs growing in her yard.  I’ve read that figs respond by producing more fruit if the roots are constricted, so they should do well in a container.  So, I’m expecting raspberries and figs.

Happy Gardening!!!

Returning after my little hiatis.

For some reason, I just haven’t really felt like taking the time to post, but I got a chance to catch up on my blog reading and I’m inspired to play catch-up now.

Starting where I left off last post, lillies make beautiful cut flowers.06-21-09 (22)

The borage plants are blooming.  The one in the raised bed that had the second “hoop house” over it is a good four feet tall, the one in the raised strawberry bed and the one in a pot are both about a foot tall.  Here’s a pic of the one in the raised bed.   This is the bloom at the very top of the plant, and now it’s sending out side shoots that have blooms on the tips.06-23-09 (2)

The broccoli started heading up (all six of them).  Maybe it was the hot weather we had for a few days straight, but this one started flowering when the head was about the size of an orange and I picked it today.06-23-09 (8)

I’ve been picking string beans every day (3 squares/4 plants per square).  I planted both yellow and green.  I like the taste better of the yellow, but the green produces more.  I keep threatening to plant more because I like them so well.  No more excuses.  I went to the store and bought some today.06-23-09 (5)

Here’s the bed with the tomatoes.  I’m using my Free Cycle stakes, but as you can see, it won’t be long before they outgrow the stakes.  So….06-20-09 (2)

Out with the Free Cycle, in with last year’s model.06-26-09 (4)I don’t know if you can tell, but all (or most anyway, some might be light peeking through the leaves) of the yellow dots are tomato blooms.   I did a lot of pruning and took the time to tie the tomatoes to the trellis.  The trellis is seven or eight feet tall and the vines are halfway up and it’s not even July.  I’m going to have to come up with a way to keep them growing past the trellis because I don’t want to cut the top of the vine back.

Looks like the majority of the tomatoes will be this kind…06-26-09 (10)

The strawberries are down to the last berry waiting to ripen, but it’s sending out lots of runners.  I hope I can remember to get little pots and put the runner tips in them like I saw somebody posting about on their blog (forgive me for not remembering where I saw it).

Most of the lettuce is bolting and with the hotter weather coming I know the peas are about done, so I went from this…06-21-09 (14)

To this…06-23-09 (13)

To this…06-28-09 (12)Those are double-decker Free Cycle stakes.  My thought was to plant pole beans down the middle and the stakes would support them.  I don’t have any pole beans in my little stash, so I’ll stop by Home Depot or Menards to see if they have some.  If not, I’ll do cucumbers there or just go with the bush beans in that spot.

All the scraggly bushes belong to my neighbor, but I don’t have the nerve to say anything to her about it because the trees along the side of the garage are growing so much they’re almost knocking on her back door.  I wish I had just bit the bullet and had everything taken out at once when I first got here.

The best news is the raspberries have started ripening.  They not huge or plentiful, but they sure are good.06-25-09 (2)


06-28-09 (5)These are from my Free Cycle raspberry plants I got last year.  They’re in four different pots, but I like being able to pick my own raspberries so much that I want to find a permanent place in the ground for them.  I’m going to really have to think on this one.

Anyway, I’m feeling the call of nature.  The weather is absolutely beauitful with a nice breeze blowing.  I’m going to go out and give my parched plants a drink of water.

Happy Gardening!!