Welcome to my new website. It will be both fun and informative. It will have five of my favorite topics: pictures, thoughts, recipes, gardening ideas and did you know? Please enjoy, leave comments, ask questions and visit often.
RSS icon Email icon
  • MY PLANTING SYSTEM

    Posted on May 31st, 2011 Pam No comments

    Okay, so it is getting closer and closer to the time to plant. Are you ready for my secret planting system? After gathering information from my Parents, neighbors, friends and books, I came up with this system. It is pretty simple and I use it for almost everything I plant.

    First, make sure the soil isn’t too wet to work and plant. Planting in wet soil will pack it down, making it hard and forming clods.

    When planting in a wide or regular row, rake or hoe away the dirt to prepare the bed for planting. Remove all rocks and clods. Prepare a furrow, which is a row deep enough to plant the seeds. The depth of the row depends on the type of seed. For example, potatoes are planted about 8″ deep, peas 3-4″ deep, radishes & carrots 1/4″ deep. Next, if you are using a fertilizer, sprinkle it in the prepared bed. Then water the bed, be generous with the water, allow it to soak in. Next, plant the seeds and cover with soft soil or compost, usually three times the thickness of the seeds.

    IMPORTANT: WHEN YOU WATER THE ROW BEFORE PLANTING, DO NOT WATER THE SEEDS AGAIN UNTIL THEY ARE ABOUT 1″ TO 2″ TALL. IF YOU WATER THEM BEFORE THEY ARE ‘UP’, A CRUST WILL FORM AND THE PLANTS WILL HAVE A DIFFICULT TIME COMING UP THROUGH THE HARD CRUST. PEAS AND CARROTS WILL NOT COME UP THROUGH A CRUST.

    If you are planting single plants, such as peppers or tomatoes, dig a hole about 8 to 12″ deep. Put in about 2 tablespoons of garden fertilizer and then fill the hole with water. Next, plant the plant and give it a good drink of water.

    When I plant, I work on several rows at a time. First I make my rows, a section at a time, then fertilize all of them, next water them and so forth.

    Updated from my blog, gardenyourlife, Thursday, April 30, 2009

  • MAY CONTEST INFO

    Posted on May 30th, 2011 Pam No comments

    Okay, so tomorrow is the last day to enter photographs in the May contest.
    One day and less than six hours left.
    A little less than 30 hours.
    Not much time left.
    Did you enter today?
    Will you enter tomorrow?

    Well, not much time left……..

    I will list my top 10 on June 1st and name the winner on June 2nd.
    Good luck one and all.
    Please let your friends know about the next contest, I need more contestants.
    Only about 10 different people and 77 pictures entered during the month of May.
    Not enough, so please tell your friends.

    For the month of June the winner receives a 7″ HD TV. It is cool, it has an antena and cables to connect to cable. I will tell you more on June 2nd.

    Also, the subject for June is ‘GARDENS’. So, flowers, vegetables and people in the garden. People with flowers is okay too. But remember, only enter one picture of each subject. For example: one tulip, one lily, one pumpkin.

    GoOd LuCk!!!!!!!

  • TRUTH ABOUT TULIPS

    Posted on May 30th, 2011 Pam No comments

    I have probably already said this before…..

    But here goes.

    Tulips are almost through blooming this time of year, they were beautiful, they showed promises of Spring. But, they are gone now. Never fear, other flowers will be blooming soon to replace the tulips.

    Just a few reminders about caring for tulips after the blossoms have faded.
    1. Cut the stem off above the first leaf. Leave as many leaves on the tulip stem as possible.
    2. Keep the tulip leaves on until they turn yellow, the leaves feed the bulb so the blossom will be bigger next year.
    3. The top of the stem has a seed pod, if this isn’t removed the tulip spends lots of it’s energy toward seeds, not strengthing the bulb. If the tulip stem hasn’t been cut, at least snap off the seed pod.
    4. Mark places in the garden that need more tulips or need tulips to be divided. Don’t wait to do this or the tulips leaves will fade and it will be hard to remember where the tulips were.
    5. Take pictures of the tulips, to enjoy them next winter and to document placement and color.

    Remember, plant tulip bulbs in September and October. Plant lots and then get ready to enjoy them next Spring.

  • ALL I KNOW ABOUT PEAS

    Posted on May 30th, 2011 Pam No comments

    I love peas, they are about my favorite vegetable. I plant lots of peas, most for eating right out of the garden, and some to freeze. Little Marvel Peas and Green Arrow Peas are some of my favorites. I plant them in a wide row. About 12″ to 18″ wide, this year I am trying a new method. I planted two 12″ rows on each side of a ‘net wire’ fence. I’ll keep you posted on how this works.

    Peas can be hard to come up through a hard crust. So here is a solution, my Mother told me about ten years ago. At that time I told her I couldn’t get my peas to come up, some years they were fine and some years they wouldn’t come up. So this is what she said: Dig a furrow for the peas, (I dig one anywhere from 4″ to 18″ wide), then flood the row with water. After the water sinks, plant a generous amount of peas. (We used to say ‘plant them thick’). Then cover the peas with at least 2″ of dirt that is on one side of the row. (Here comes the biggest hint !!) Do not water or sprinkle peas after you have planted them. No matter what !!!! As my Mother told me “Do not water them, you’ll want to. But don’t water them and they will come up on their own.” Even if you check them a week or ten days later and they seem to be lying in dry dirt – they have soaked up enough moisture from the water in the furrow for them to sprout. Give them a few more days and they will begin to come up — honest.

    You can also soak them first, but I never have soaked my peas. Peas can rot easily if they have too much moisture. If you soak them first, then water the furrow, then it rains you will have a good chance to have rotting peas. I recommend watering the row first and waiting.

    Do not water your peas during the heat of the day, or late evening. If you water peas during a hot day, the will scald and die. They are very sensitive to water when they are hot. If you water them during the evening they will have a greater chance of having fungus or mold problems. I water my peas during the morning, that way they are cool and will have all day for the leaves to dry off.

    Did you know that peas have nodules full of nitrogen on their roots? The plant produces nodules on the roots and much of their energy is used to build these nodules. So they have their own built in fertilizer. When the pods are filling, the plant reduces the building and filling of nodules and spends its energy filling pods. Because the peas have built in nitrogen doesn’t mean they do not need fertilizer, they can become low in nitrogen. If the colors of your peas are yellow that may mean, they need a fertilizer supplement.

    You can plant them thick and replant a second crop in the same place. But watch for nitrogen diffencency. I have replanted a second crop in the same place around July 24th or August 1st for a few years now, and have had good results.

    Something else I have learned about peas, they will grow best if using saved seed from the year before. I saved seeds from Lincoln and Green Arrow peas I planted two years ago. Then planted those seeds last year, they came up better and I had a great crop. Make sure to save seeds from Heirloom plants, they sure worked for me.

    I have planted a 40 feet row of peas this year from seeds I saved last year. They are about 3″ tall and look terrific. It looks like I get about 95% germination, much better than seeds from the store. It seems they are used to the weather here in COLD IDAHO.

    Updated from my blog, gardenyourlife, Sunday, June 14, 2009

  • ALL I KNOW ABOUT CORN

    Posted on May 28th, 2011 Pam No comments

    Believe it or not, corn is easy to grow. Follow a few simple steps and this fall eat the sweetest, freshest corn ever.

    My Dad always planted the corn. He planted Golden Bantam for years. I still plant one row of Golden Bantam, but the corn really isn’t that good to eat. They have much better corn now. I didn’t pay too much attention to how he planted the corn. Sometimes I would walk beside him as he would dig a hole in the row and I would drop in about four to five seeds. As he would cover up the corn, he would walk on the row to pack it down.

    Dad would say something like this: one seed not to sprout, one seed for the mouse, one for the bird and one for the house. Anyway he figured that if we planted five seeds at least two would grow to maturity. But as I began to plant corn myself, several other things I learned from my Dad came back to me. So as I plant my corn, I always use his steps along with a few things I have found to be successful.

    1. First of all I soak the corn overnight, I put the corn in a quart bottle and fill it with water. Last year I used about three quarts, but you probably won’t need that much. The corn will double in size, so plan for that when choosing a container.
    2. Dig a furrow 3″ deep.
    3. Fill the furrow with water and let it soak in.
    4. Plant ‘hills of corn’ five kernels in each hole, with hills about one foot apart.
    5. Then fill in the furrow. I usually rake the top of the row to make it smooth.

    The cool thing is, the roots of the corn will be able to go down through the soft damp soil and the corn leaves and stem will go through the dry dirt easily. NOTE: If you do soak the rows first, DO NOT water the top of the furrow after you plant, the seeds will not need more water. If you do water the top, it will cause a crust to form on top of the row and will make it more difficult for the corn to break through.

    Another thing my Dad taught me is to side dress the corn. He would fertilize two or three times during the Summer. I fertilize after the corn is about 18″ tall and once a month after that. To side dress, carefully dig a small furrow beside the row of corn. Put about two tablespoons of granule garden fertilizer next to the hill of corn and water it in.

    Now here is my Dads best kept secret. When the corn is about 12 to 18″ tall twist off the suckers. Suckers are the side stems that grow out from the main stem at a 45 degree angle. The suckers rob the corn stocks of their strength, so twist them off as soon as you can. They will not grow back. After you remove the suckers, the corn will grow much faster. At the same time you are twisting the suckers, thin the hills to 2 to 3 of the strongest plants. When you are removing the suckers and thinning the corn, hill up the corn rows. Take a hoe or rake and pull dirt up around the corn. This will make the corn stronger and less likely to blow over, it also keeps the moisture in. This also kills the weeds. If the annual weeds are small, covering them with dirt kills them. Weeds grow so quickly and rob plants from the nutrition they need. Try to keep a weed free garden, covering them when they are small is the best way to control them. This works for all small annual weeds in the garden.

    NOTE: Don’t water corn when the wind is blowing. It will cause the roots to become soft and the corn may blow over. Especially as it grows taller, do not water it on a windy day. Sometimes during the Summer the wind comes up during the evening, so watch the weather and water when the wind is not blowing.

    Plant corn in rows about 36″ apart, corn that is planted too close won’t pollinate properly. It seems if corn is planted it too close the wind can’t get down the rows to move the pollen. Sometimes people plant three rows then skip a row. Two years ago I planted 7 rows and didn’t have a problem. The corn I plant is a yellow and white sweet corn. It isn’t too tall so maybe the corn can pollinate because the corn is kind of short. Last year I planted 17 rows. WOW !!! I didn’t have a pollination problem then either.

    This year I plan to plant 10 double rows. Lots of people plant double rows, double rows of peas, beans and other vegetables. It is the best use of garden space. A double row is two rows of seeds planted close together. Planting a double row of corn allows me to put a drip hose in between the two rows and watering is a snap!!!

    I use drip soaker hoses down each row. This does two things, it doesn’t water the weeds in between the rows and the corn gets the water directly into the hill. This hose I am talking about isn’t a regular round or flat soaker hose, it is a flat drip hose. It is made out of material, and the water just drips out of it. I can water two rows 150 feet long in about 3-5 hours.

    More about watering corn, my Mother always said if your corn is turning yellow, it is getting too much water. She also said don’t water your corn until it shows signs of stress. Stress shows in corn by curling the leaves length-wise. Outside of the leaves to the middle, not top to bottom. They begin to become narrow and pointed. When they are pointed, that is the time to water your corn.

    Try to plant your corn on the North side of your garden. Run the rows east and west. If not keep the corn away from crops that need sun. Sometimes you can plant peas next to the corn and the afternoon and evening shade actually helps the peas. I tried this year to plant peas among the corn. The peas did well, and seemed to enjoy the shade. I will do it again next year, but I will wait until the corn is about 10″ tall before I plant the peas.

    This is a cool trick I learned a few years ago and believe it or not it works !!!!! To prevent corn worms in your corn, spray a little Pam non-stick cooking spray on the silks of the cobs when they first begin to form. I guess the worms don’t like the grease, or they can’t make their way into the cob. Last year I had less than 10 worms in my corn. No kidding, this really works.

    Don’t let your corn get dry during the time it is forming the cobs. Keep watering it during this most important time. If you are going on a vacation during this time have a friend water your corn. It seems to dry out during this time because of hot temperatures, so keep your eye on your corn and the cobs !!!

    Harvesting the corn. I always check the top of the corn before I pick it. I carefully peal down the top and check the kernels to see if they are ready. I sometimes push my fingernail into one of the top kernels, if it breaks the kernel easily, it is ready. If it kind of pops the corn is probably over ripe. If the corn is too white looking it isn’t ripe yet either. If it is too yellow or golden colored with a red speck on each kernel, it is over-ripe. Sometimes all of the corn will be ripe at the same time and you can pick all of it. But it has been my experience with Serendipity corn is that it ripens over a span of two to three weeks. (Serendipity corn is yellow and white, the sweetest corn I have ever tasted).

    Each stock should have two ears on them. One will be a large ear and one a smaller ear. The thing is, both will ripen at about the same time. So don’t think the smaller ear isn’t ripe yet, or that it will grow as big as the large ear. It usually will be ready about five days later than the big ear.

    Try to pick corn when it is cool, either early morning or evening. Eat it or can it right away, corn becomes ‘old’ quickly, so either put it in the refrigerator right away or begin to can it.

    NOTE: Don’t give up on corn if it seems smaller than your ‘neighbors’. The best thing about thinning out corn and getting rid of the suckers is that the corn will start to grow faster. Weeding the garden will make the corn grow much faster. As we all know, weeds rob our vegetables of much needed nutrients. Another thing about weeds is that they grow much faster than the vegetables thus making the vegetables FIGHT for everything they get !!!

    Get excited about planting corn there is nothing better than fresh corn on the cob with the rest of a ‘home-grown meal’.

    Updated version from my ‘gardenyourlife’ blog, Monday, August 10, 2009

  • ALL I KNOW ABOUT TOMATOES

    Posted on May 27th, 2011 Pam No comments

    I love tomatoes, especially the homemade kind. Here is how I grow tomatoes the easy way.
    NOTE: I usually complete one step before moving onto the next.

    1. I dig a hole in the ground with a shovel, the hole should be about 8″ deep and 8″ wide.
    2. Then I put about three Tablespoons of garden fertilizer in the hole. NOTE: It is VERY IMPORTANT to water in the fertilizer, DO NOT put the fertilizer in the hole and plant the tomato on top of it, THE TOMATO WILL BURN, TURN YELLOW AND DIE !!!!!!! Just ask me, I killed several last year.
    3. Next fill the hole with water.
    4. After the water has disappeared, I plant the tomato.
    5. Make sure you label the tomato, by inserting the name tag in the ground next to the plant.
    6. I put a gallon can over the tomato, make sure both ends are removed.
    7. Then place a tomato cage over the top, place the wires in the ground outside the can.
    That is all there is to it. I fertilize about once a month, there is a fertilizer just for tomatoes and I usually use it. But you can use a regular garden fertilizer too.
    8. Sometimes the tomato plants have baby tomatoes on them or blossoms, it is best to remove these when transplanting tomato plants. The tomato needs to use it’s energy toward establishing the roots and not toward making fruit, just pinch off the blossoms. The first tomatoes on a plant usually aren’t that good anyway.

    I learned from my friend Joan that tomatoes are self pollinators. They don’t need other plants to pollinate with, they don’t need bees to spread the pollin either. You can help them pollinate by just shaking the tomato cage a little.
    After the tomatoes begin to form, you can trim the vines or branches that do not have any tomatoes on them. They are just robbing the tomatoes of energy they need. I usually take scissors to cut them. It is a very easy job, and will make your tomatoes ripen faster and grow larger. Cut almost all of the branches that don’t have tomatoes on them. Don’t trim all of them though, leave some on the top and a few on the sides or the tomatoes will sunburn. Later in the season, you can trim the top of the tomato plant too. Most of the new blossoms will not make it to maturity anyway, so trim those branches too.

    You can also save the seeds from tomatoes for planting next year. Here are my recommendations.
    1. Make sure the tomato isn’t a hybrid, choose an heirloom, you may need to do some research to find out if your ‘favorite’ tomato is an heirloom..
    2. Make your choice before you plant, so you can space the tomato at least five feet from others not of the same kind. This way it won’t mix with other types. I plan to plant them in a different area of my garden.
    3. Choose a tomato that will be good for the area. Don’t chose one won’t ripen easily here.
    4. As the plants are growing, pick the plant that looks healthy and is a great producer, watch it through the season.
    5. Mark that plant and watch it, do not pick too many of the tomatoes, do taste tests.
    6. Pick the tomato for saving when it is a little over ripe.
    7. Open the tomato and put just the seeds into water, a plastic cup works great.
    8. Let the tomato ferment in the same water for about 5 days.
    9. Wash the seeds in a strainer and dry on a paper towel. It works best if you put a few towels on the bottom and one on the top then pat dry.
    10. Continue to dry the seeds on a paper plate, turning once or twice a day, don’t dry on a paper towel, the seeds will stick to it and make it very difficult to remove.
    11. When the seeds are completely dry, (1 to 2 weeks), store in a zip loc bag. Put a few small holes in the bag, a fork works great.
    12. Store them in a cool, dry, dark place, I use a tin container.
    13. You can test a few of your seeds to see if they will sprout. Placing them on a wet paper towel and place them in a zip lock bag. Check every few days to see if they have sprouted. It is good to test about 10 seeds, if 8 or 9 sprout, that is a great. If you only have one or two, better luck next year.

    Updated version from my gardenyourlife blog. Wednesday, June 17, 2009

  • THINK IT THROUGH THURSDAY, SILENCE IS THE BEST TEACHER

    Posted on May 26th, 2011 Pam No comments

    Silence is the best teacher.
    –Guila Olsen

    A bit of advice: Say nothing often.

    It’s surprising how often people will agree with you if you just keep your mouth shut.

    You must speak to be heard, but sometimes you have to shut up to be appreciated.

    Some people speak from experience; others, from experience don’t speak.