Top Veggies For Beginning Gardeners

gardenWe here at the Charley’s Veggies blog have partnered up with the editors at AOL Home website Gardening page to provide information for gardening articles and pictures to help those who want to learn about gardening.

Helping people learn and be successful in the garden is the main goal of our Charley’s Veggies blog and this partnership will help us bring more information to you.

Click here to check out our first article on AOL Home Gardening.

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Lacey’s Garden – Fertilizing and Honey Bees

Howdy to all of you!  I sure hope your garden is blossoming and growing lush and full. It has taken a while but it seems like mine is finally starting to pull out of its funk.  I got it fertilized real good yesterday and then it rained today (perfect timing).  I have pretty little green tomatoes on several vines.  Everything has blooms.  It is just looking real good.  This hot, warm weather is really favorable for everything. 

I fertilized with old manure – top dressing everything with some and scratching it into the top 1-2 inches of soil.  You can do this only with very old manure.  It has been a challenge as usual keeping  the Bermuda grass out (Dad calls it moody grass).  If any of you have any good ideas let me know.  So far the best thing to keep it down has been the hay mulch. 

Change of subject…I have read about the problems with honey bees.  It is called Colony Collapse Disorder.  Basically, whole colonies of bees are completely disappearing and dying and know one really understands why.  I am telling you all this to tell you that there have been zero bees buzzing around my flowers.  I am very alarmed!  It is vital that the bees come to everyone’s garden; they have a purpose and when they do not show up ones garden does not do as well.  What can we do about this?  I am not sure but I will tell you to read about this problem and decide for you what you can do to help the honey bees.

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Potatoes Rainbow Beet Swiss Chard

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Staked tomatoes Strawberry and red lettuce


Lacey’s Garden – Claremore Community Garden Moving Forward

Hi!  Just a quick update….the city’s of Claremore Planning Commission passed the new ordinance that allows community gardens to be built under any type of zone.  This is what I personally have been working on with the help of a good friend for quite some time.  It appears the community garden will be in place by next spring!  Now it is time for some lessons in grant writing from people much smarter than me! 🙂

Lacey’s Garden – Lettuce, Strawberries and Tomatoes

Hello to all!  How is everybody enjoying the start of summer, the end of school and hopefully, the first bits of your harvest?  Lettuce is in full swing right now and strawberries, too.  I actually have tomatoes on the vine slowly ripening in the hot summer sun.  This is my favorite time of summer-checking each day to see what’s ripening.  It is a joy to call the girls over and say, Look, the first strawberry!  They are so excited to eat them.  I am posting a few pictures of the garden.  Things are still looking kind of puny after nearly drowning, but most seem to be pulling out of it.  Hope you have time to sit and swing in the hammock and enjoy your garden.

green tomatoes on the vine hollyhocks and perennials blooming

more tomatoes on the vine newly planted okra

potatoed looking good rainbow beets swiss chard

Lacey’s Garden – Garden Revival

Wow!  One full week of sunshine!   The garden is really taking off, but still not looking as good as I would like.  I was visiting a friend the other day and her tomatoes are huge and bushy on one end of her garden and on the end that was lower sitting in water longer, the tomatoes look like mine.  I guess I should be grateful that the plants are still there and alive.  I plan on fertilizing them real good with an organic fertilizer (my extra old manure washed away, too) today.  Hopefully, that will help them get going better. 

I re-mulched with the hay I salvaged from the flood.  It had all piled up next to the fence and I was waiting for it to dry out before I used it.  Mostly I put it in the walkways, so I do not have to spend a lot of time weeding the paths.

On another note, the community garden I am working on is approaching reality.  Right now, it is a concept in the planning stages.  We have a meeting June 2 with the city’s Planning Commission to change the zoning laws to exclude community gardens from the necessity of rezoning.  Once that ordinance is passed, we can break ground.  I also had a meeting with a grant writer who will be help write grants to fund this garden. It is a good thing so many people are interested in community gardens right now.  So close…..

Enjoy your weekend and stay safe.

Lacey’s Garden – Compost Pile

Yay!  Sunshine…long time, no see, old friend!   The sun is out!  Doesn’t it feel good?  I worked in the yard and garden all day yesterday (Monday, May 18).  It was marvelous, and I am sunburned, but who cares?  

Have I told you about my compost pile?  It is looking real good.  I started with hay and kitchen scraps and rabbit poop; it was doing good, but it really started cooking when I added grass clippings.  All of the information I am reading says to layer brown and green to get the best mix.  They are right.  It made a huge difference when I added the green grass clippings.  I have been turning it every week.  It smells good and the worms are going crazy.  There are worms as big around as my fingers in there!   I have never been this excited about watching stuff decompose. 

I planted some radishes and buckwheat yesterday.  Both are supposed to germinate quickly and provide some cover to the soil as weed control and water retention.  Buckwheat also is a green manure adding nutrients to the soil.  I planted them in places that were once covered with the hay and mulch that washed away in the floods. 

So long for now and let me know how your garden is doing.  I love to hear about your gardening!

Lacey’s Garden – Picking Peas, Drying Out And A Great Book

Anna helped pick some peas, lettuce and herbs the other day.  She thinks it is so cool that she has her own pea plants.  I have to keep the girls from picking the peas too early.  They would have the plants scalped every time they walk out the door.

It was sunny and hot one day this week.  It has rained and been cloudy all the rest of the days.  The garden is hanging in there.  Everything is looking okay.  Hope it dries out soon. 

I have been reading a great book:  Four Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman.  I would recommend it to anyone interested in vegetable gardening.  Yall take care now!

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Lacey’s Garden – Making It Fun

So far so good…the tomatoes are still alive and looking good. I even have a few little tomatoes.  Some of the other plants are struggling. The eggplants are looking real bad and the peppers are hanging in there.  Of course, the weeds are great!! 

The girls and I ate some yummy snap peas this morning as we were leaving for school.  I planted some of the peas in the front flower bed on the south side of the house and they have loved this spot.  All of the plants are covered in blooms and fruit.  They are vining right next to the steps on the porch, so we get a tasty snack every time we walk past. The best way to get kids to eat their veggies-make it fun!  It is fun to pick them as they go past.  The girls would not be so thrilled if I plopped snap peas right on their dinner plate and told them to eat up!   Happy gardening and I hope the sun is shining wherever you are!

Lacey’s Garden – After The Flood

I realized after it was posted that the pictures in the former blog did not really match up with the descriptions.  Sorry.  Let’s chalk it down to feeling so crazy Friday while I watched the garden float away.

I am posting pictures of the garden in the aftermath.  The plants themselves are still there, but the hay mulch, cotton burr mulch, newspaper and cardboard weed barriers and the top 1 – 2 inches of dirt are gone.  Actually, it is not completely gone.  Some hay piled up against the fence that is still usable.  I am surprised it is all still there to be honest.  It is a mess!  And it smells bad now.  Who knows what kind of junk washed over it from everyone else’s yards and from the street.   We really need some sunshine.  The tomatoes are stating to turn brown on the edges and look a little wilted.  Dad is getting back to me on the problem, though I have a good guess (water anyone?).  I hope your garden is going great, and that the sun is shining there wherever you are!

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Lacey’s Garden – Flooded and Charley’s Garden Update

Well, I guess part of gardening and farming is dealing with the whims of nature.  I am posting pictures of my garden.  You can see the white shed far in the back right of the picture and the brown smudges to the left of that, those are my raised beds.  The rest is water which is completely covering my garden.  I feel so frustrated.  And the really bad thing is it flooded by 8 am today(Friday, May 1) and it is still raining, a lot!  The other two pictures are of the streets our house sits on.  The stop sign is in my front yard, notice how high the water is on it, and the picture is looking south.  I could not get to my driveway between leaving to take my girls to school and returning.  I was gone for about 20 minutes.  The entire town is dealing with this kind of overflow.  It just started pouring down again!!!  Aaarrrrggghhhh!

PS:  The blog was written at 8 am when it happened the first time.  The pictures are from the 10:30 am flood and it is pouring down rain again at 2 pm.

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From JP: Update on Charley’s Garden

We are way behind schedule on getting a garden planted. It finally dried out enough that Charley was able to plow last Saturday but the garden still needs to be plowed again and it’s rained nearly every day since.  Plus we are almost sold out of vegetables so we may not even have enough to plant.  But don’t despair.  There are other gardens we can look at that were planted in time so we will some gardens to watch and learn with.