January thru March

I ordered seeds from Baker Creek and trees from MDC in January. On February 26, I planted ArkTraveler tomatoes, Thai peppers, sage, savory, celery and snapdragons in a starter tray. One of the japanese sweet potatoes started, but the rest of the SP starts were still beginning in March. By mid-march I had to transplant the tomatoes, peppers and snapdragon; I also started daikon, garden peas, beets, carrots and lettuce outside.  I finished the triangular raised beds by the third week in March and started on the ground level beds. By the end of March I had to thin the daikon and the beets. Nothing had really shown of the lettuce or carrots (maybe replant). During this same two-week period, I got the "savory circle" built (the garden area for garlic, shallots, onions and horseradish). I also got the honeysuckle cleared out of the southeast corner of the center yard.

Now it begins to ramp up, and it looks like we will be getting plenty of rain in the middle of the month if our rain on the 12th is any indication. It looks like the carrots and lettuce are starting, but no second leaves to be sure yet. As of the 12th, onions, garlic, shallots, peas, beets, daikon, celery, lettuce, carrots, sage, savory, and calendula are in the ground. The holly bushes are in the corner of the yard where the sidewalk begins. Pear and cherry trees are in bloom, as is the redbud. I got the Dutch Iris in the front rectangle.


One castor bean plant sprouted, so I reordered more seed. Being unable to find root starts at planter's, I bought a horseradish root at HyVee, and am trying to get that started. The sweet potato slips are finally looking ready to root, after having them soaking for nearly two months.


April 12th, garden after the rain

Castor bean.

Grape tomatoes


Sage and leggy savory


Bear sees me outside and comes running. He seems to know to stay on the path.

The redbud and the holly, almost a folk song.

Where the honeysuckle forest had been. I am hoping to get Caladium and ferns growing here


Lettuce finally starts

The wild onion bed on the terrace

Cherry blossoms

The neighborhood watch

The "savory circle" — onions, garlic, shallots, and horseradish

Pear flowers


Hardening off the snapdragons

Maple helicopters, almost ready to fly

Cherry blossoms in the mist

Alien growths on our cedars. We are not alone.

Surprise lillies along the walk and the beautiful bush by our front window.


I can't wait until Mother's Day (Marty's recommendation), and started planting 4/30—putting in Boston Pickling cucumbers, dill, aster, batchelor buttons, helichrisum, marigold, holyhock, and nigella in the center yard. I planted two old packets of "flower mix" in the front square, and an additional rosemary in the pot. I will be planting cowpeas and okra after the seeds have soaked a little while.


So far, two of the additional castors have come up from the second planting, and I purchased a couple of additional lavender plants to replace the seeds that did not germinate.


I will be digging hills this week for squashes and melons and then planting the hills. If my energy levels hold up, I will turn over the area by the driveway as well.


Carrots and calendula did not germinate, so I will replace them with cowpeas and hollyhocks.


The horseradish root from the grocery worked well. One start is in the savory circle, one is in the pot at the end of the driveway, and two more pieces are soaking-hoping for the best.


Now that it is warming up the sweet potatoes have really started growing.

The amazing redbush by the front window

Central garden growing well

Mulberries have set

We'll see if any of the pears get ripe this year

Cherries have set

Toward the back yard

The fire circle built to help with the honeysuckle

The tomatoes and peppers before planting

Sage and savory are starting

Rosemary, ina a pot this year, so it can come in during the cold.


This month, everything started up well. We had several batches of garden peas before going on vacation. The daikon bolted early.  I will only try daikon in fall going forward.  Cucumber looks good, but something has been chewing on the okra leaves. I finally got the hills put in for the squash and melons. Hopefully everything will not dry up when we are on our two-week vacation, but the trend has been for too much rain and not enough sun.

As everything starts to go in the ground

Sweet potatoes have sprouted

Rosemary setting among the mint and onions

Go away, you want Farmer McGregor's field!

Lettuce and celery are coming along

Daikon has bolted, I'll collect the seed and try again

The firepit has often been the garden pond

Peas on the way

22 cucumbers, I may have to thin.


We returned from vacation to find everything doing well, except the cucumbers. They had started with 22 plants—only two were left when we came back. The others looked dry and dead. I'm not sure if it got too hot, or they were attacked by cutworms. The ones that were left are producing, but our pickle crop will be meager.


The tomatoes had pulled down their stakes and the vines were spreading out across the ground. I reattached them to stronger stakes. I spent the first week back pulling weeds and remulching.


I had made a cutting on the savory and oregano, dried and bottled and took along as hospitality presents on our trip.


Dill, black-eyed peas and okra are doing well, as are the various peppers and ground cherries, though the fruits are just starting to appear.


There is some rodent(?) that loves sweet potato leaves—I'm not sure we will get any tubers this year.


The mimosa has set seedlings everywhere. I'm moving some to the front of the 07 yard, mowing and pulling others. A mango seed that I had planted last year has sprouted.

Lots of baby tomatoes

The rain has left the garden very green

Snapdragons among the sage

Squash and melons

Jimmy T Okra

Grape tomatoes and Cleome flowers from Leila

The "Miracle" Mango, planted in spring of 2014, sprouting in June of 2015.

Squash blossom


Serrano pepper

Celery and black-eyed peas

Cypress vine

Sweet potatoes and dill

The suviving cucumbers

Closeup of the Echinacia

The mimosa in the front yard

Castor plant along with giant white sunflower

The echinacia row


This was the month that the harvest started. Tomatoes started strong on both the Arkansas Traveler and the Jellybean grape tomatoes. Okra started producing 4-8 pods per day, every day. The cypress vine starting setting out it's red flowers and the cleome from Sirkar and Lelia started blooming. Something started destroying the melon vines, and the cucumbers all died, including a replanting. Despite the fact that their leaves were all eaten earlier, the sweet potato vines have rebounded. The star crop so far has been the thai peppers—very prolific.

Tomatoes began ripening this month

We love the look of the cypress vine, with its red flowers and feathery leaves, I'm saving seeds to replant.

The front walk with horseradish, basil, rosemary in pots

One of the gift Cleomes.

Okra, it grows so well I wish I liked it more

Cypress Vine flowers

The view to the garden from the front.

Some of the smaller Castors are producing seed.

The caladiums all started after all.

Two of the sunflowers grew large enough to produce seed.


Sept. 12—The garden is starting to slow down. BE Peas are almost done, ready for the vines to be cut and composted. Bell peppers (from Mexican seed) are just now ripening, I should buy seed for this area. Okra and Thai peppers I will probably leave until the frost. I picked up some cover crop seeds from DNR I will put into the beds. There are finally some pumpkins and watermelons going, we will see if they produce before it is too late. I will put any winter bed prep pictures in the 2016 page.

Tomatoes almost ready

Harvest with the first bell pepper to ripen

Sweet potato flowers

The two "stems" of the pineapple

Cypress Vine flowers

Okra flowers

A beautiful bell pepper

One days haul: black-eyed peas, okra, grape tomatoes, thai peppers, along with cleome and cypress vine seeds