Tag Archives: trellises

Getting Things DONE!

June 4, 2014


This week has been all about weeding. Normally, there is not much weeding to be done in the Back to Eden garden. However, the round of storms we had last month washed away a lot of mulch. Uncovered ground (dirt) + a lot of rain = TONS of weeds 😛

I have been going out little by little every day and weeding each section of the garden. It looks great now 🙂 Of course, if I do not cover the bare patches with more mulch, it will all be for nothing. To get the motivation up for that…

The chickens have had limited greens because the chicks are still little enough to get out of the tunnel so they have really enjoyed the fruits of my labor.

My daughter has helped some, especially with all of the wild onions. The other night, I was weeding a section of the garden when I hear, ‘Oh look, another onion!’ I look behind me and see my daughter has pulled one of my onions our of a raised bed (NOT where wild onions grow) that I grew from seed!

I have never grown onions before. It was something new I was going to try this year. I think I was able to grow about 10 successfully from the 100 seeds I planted in the greenhouses and transplant them. This one was the most impressive one. The others are not very big yet, so she didn’t see them. I replanted it right away but assume it will die 😦 so I told her to take a picture so at least I could remember how pretty it was… 😉DSC_4314Trellises

Another thing on the TO DO list is to put up trellises for the tomatoes and make the fencing for the pinto beans higher. That finally got done the other day when my husband was home from work.IMG_8094(Stakes in…) IMG_8241 (fencing up – 5 rows of tomatoes & 2.5 rows of sweet peppers)IMG_9185(stakes up for volunteer tomatoes (and my daughter’s on the far R with 2 green tomatoes already!)) _DSC1261(only had enough fencing for one side. I’ll have to figure out something for the other side.)

This is the ‘overflow garden’. Notice the apple tree on the left & right. L to R, there are two sunflower circles: yellow and then red. As you can see, the red had spotty germination. Both are new seeds from the same company. I wonder why…

There is a patch of unplanted area behind the red sunflower circle. I think I am going to plant some sweet potatoes there. I have so many slips, I am looking for more and more areas to plant them so they don’t go to waste!

The volunteer tomatoes are planted where the stakes are. In front of them are marigolds and behind them are bush beans.


I still had some more tomatoes to transplant and some volunteer marigolds 🙂 For some reason, the marigold seeds I planted in the tomato/pepper patch did not do well so I was thankful to see some volunteers from last year!_DSF9589Marigolds

I transplanted some tomatoes into pots. I have never had luck growing in pots but I had so many extra tomato plants, I thought I would give it a try. I planted the rest in the ‘overflow’ area of the garden._DSF9627Speaking of volunteers, we have some volunteer watermelon!!!_DSF9574 I planted some watermelon seed but it never germinated (was in the raised bed that does not like sprouting seeds). We saw these plants (and a couple more!) next to the tomato patch just the other day when weeding. A bird must have eaten our neighbor’s seed from his garden (he plants watermelon every year) and left us with some presents 😀 We are very excited! 🙂

Greenhouses…Lessons learned:

The only greenhouses that did well were onions planted mid January, tomato and sunflower seeds planted at the very beginning of February, and cool crops planted at the very end of February.

None of the celery seeds (planted mid January) sprouted, none of the seeds planted mid-February did anything,  nor did any of the other seeds (non-tomato) planted at the beginning of February.

I am going to do a number of things differently next year:

  • Duct tape the greenhouses (seal them) – you are supposed to and I did last year but did not this year
  • Put labels INSIDE the greenhouses (maybe the snow and rain won’t wash off the label so I can tell what was planted)
  • Wait longer? I feel like maybe some did not sprout because I was impatient with planting times but the blogger who does this year after year says they need to be in the winter weather in order to become stronger plants so…idk.

So the last TO DO chore for this week was to clean out the greenhouses and put them in the shed (so I don’t have to beg as much next year 😉 ). Once that was done, I could do a final weeding of the garden and breathe…until I realized I needed to plant the next round of succession crops AND plant up all of the sweet potato slips before the end of June.


I planted lettuce, kale, carrots (which the cat promptly scratched up), cucumbers, and zucchini this week. Next week, I’ll plant some bush beans but my main goal for next week is to plant all of the sweet potato slips! I want to have them all planted up by mid-June. Quite the lofty goal…we’ll see how it goes…

Ahhhh! I feel very productive each day, as I am getting a lot done in the garden…but it just doesn’t seem to end! When can I JUST harvest 😉 That would be nice 🙂


Harvest Monday

May 12, 2014

This week started off with more strawberry picking! 🙂 Yum! My back was not a fan though. I think we’ve had our fill of strawberry shortcake for awhile…well, I say we have. I know my kids could have it every night!

Because of the storms last week, the mulch guys had about three more loads to bring us this week. The smell of freshly chipped tree is HEAVENLY!

Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0503In the Garden

I planted some more bush beans, flowers, and spaghetti squash and we started putting up trellises for our climbing beans.Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0483

We’ll make the trellises taller as needed…

More things are sprouting!

  • Sunflowers
  • CornNieto Family - May 10 14 - 0467(look really closely! the corn is in the middle. i hope it is able to grow! i may take out a bean plant or two to give it a fighting chance)
  • Squash, Cucumbers, Melons (all look the same when they are seedlings)Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0447
  • Flowers

Chicks and another Broody Hen!

We put the 6 week old chicks with the rest of the chickens and it went really smoothly! They are getting BIG! Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0517(They are seven weeks old and do not compare at all to the other chicks we ordered when they were 7 weeks old. These are HUGE! Amazing what a difference it makes when chicks are raised with their mamas, on pasture from the very beginning!)

Another selling point to getting them out of the dog crate is that we have another broody hen! 😀 Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0553(Unfortunately, hers is the only nesting box that did not get cleaned out so it is all poopy 😦 But there was no moving her — she made sure of that!)

I was waiting to clean out the coop and add more wood shavings whenever we stopped putting the dog crate in and out every night. Wood shavings were getting pushed all around by doing that so it really was pointless to add more shavings.

So, the day after we moved the chicks in with everyone, moved the dog crate out, and right before a friend brought over more fertilized eggs, I went ahead and cleaned out the coop and added more wood shavings. I did not do a deep cleaning…just scraped the poop off of the roosting table and out of the nesting boxes, and added a lot more wood shavings.Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0554(Now all of the nesting boxes (save the one where the broody hen is) are nice and clean)

As before, I dumped all of the cleanings into the run. The flies had gotten pretty bad in the coop since it had been so long since I had cleaned it. The chickens enjoyed scratching through the ‘cleanings’, eating fly larvae, etc. after I dumped it into the run. I do not like doing it, but I sure do like the look and smell of a newly-cleaned chicken coop! And all of that aged poop, wood shavings, grass clippings, and chicken scraps make a great addition to the garden!

The last time we had a broody hen, we had issues with other hens taking over her box, trying to eat her eggs, etc. We decided the problem was that we did not have enough nesting boxes so after the chicks hatched, we added 4 more. We hope that will take care of that and we will not have any problems with this broody hen. My daughter is excited that we will get new chicks just a few days after her birthday! 🙂

She has done a good job staying on her nest…so well in fact, we have been unable to count her eggs. The day after our unpleasant surprise (see below), she was finally off of her nesting box, getting some water and we noticed 4 eggs missing! This same sort of thing happened with the other broody hen before (3 eggs went missing). I have no clue what happened to the eggs…either time. My husband mentioned that since the coop door could have been open the whole day prior, anything could have happened to them. She now has 8 eggs under her and it has been less than a week. As always, we’ll just have to wait and see…

(Unpleasant) Surprise

We decided to take a day beach trip and a trip to the Aquarium as a last hoorah before the baby comes. It was a wonderful day! We came home and…the coop door was WIDE open :\

We are always trying to teach the children responsibility. The oldest child is the only one who has picked up on it thus far…but we continue to try! My husband told child #2 (6.5yo) to give the chickens some food and guess who didn’t bother closing the coop correctly?

SO, when we got home, some of my corn was scratched up, my sweet potato slip growing area was dug up, some place where I planted spinach and tomatoes…the largest area to be nearly ruined was my potato patch…specifically, the beautiful blue potatoes!

If you recall, after we plant them, we cover them with 8″ of mulch. Chickens LOVE a pile of mulch! So, they dug up that patch really well! 😦 I tried to recover everything with mulch. I only saw one potato sprout completely eaten; most were just uncovered and moved around. I was very sad to see the destruction but it could have been MUCH, MUCH, MUCH worse so at the same time, I was very thankful that it was only as bad as it was.


I have never bought starts. I have always been able to start my own tomatoes and last year was able to start my own peppers. This year, very few of my greenhouses did well. Other than our unusually snowy, never-ending winter, I did fail to seal the greenhouses with duct tape. I did not think it would make much of a difference but I am making a note to do so next year.

I decided to go ahead and buy some tomato and pepper starts this year as I still do not have any respectable-looking tomato or pepper plants growing yet. My daughter’s birthday is coming up and she asked her grandparents for some tomato starts for her birthday. So, at the end of the week, we picked up some cherry tomatoes, brandywine, roma, and some early girl tomatoes to get our tomato patch started. We will pick up some peppers and more tomatoes this week. I am not used to spending this much on the garden (I generally spend money on seeds but nothing else) but it’s either this or no tomatoes this year and I do realize all of the tomatoes we will get from our starts will more than pay for themselves in the long run so I will just grin and bear it and next year, try to grow some more! 🙂

Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0497(my daughter’s tomato plant) Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0461(A volunteer tomato I discovered in the corn patch (was the tomato patch last year)! It will be transplanted when it gets older 🙂 ) Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0443(Early Girl, Brandywine, Roma Tomato Starts)


We’re down to about 14 eggs/day. We have two hens not laying (new mama & broody) but production has gone down more than I expected. I would not be surprised if we found a nesting place somewhere in the near future…

I am hoping next week, I will be able to share our first harvest of kale, lettuce, and/or spinach. Nieto Family - May 10 14 - 0480(Pinto beans to the left, then kale, and carrots to the right)

Then again, even more than that, I would love to share next week that we’ve ‘harvested’ our own baby 😉 That is not up to me, though. We’ll just see what the Lord has in store…

Check out what everyone else has going on in their gardens around the world at Daphne’s Dandelions 🙂