Laundry and Gardens

After posting the latest dumpster finds I was asked how I knew things left in the laundry room were free to take.  Here’s a shot of the entry to the laundry room.


The table was installed to give people a work space.  Instead tenants use it to leave unwanted items.  You can often find a stack of paperbacks or office supplies there.  When laundry detergent is left we assume someone forgot to take it with them when finished and no one touches it. This bottle has sat here for a few days now.  It won’t be touched until the owner comes for it, that’s just common courtesy.

Now on to how the garden beds are doing.

Do you remember the wooden pulls I took off the nightstand?  I painted them, one blue one yellow, for my grand children and wrote their names on them to define their garden area.  They were so excited to see these in the garden.  I have taken a couple of shots from a distance as I do not want to publish their names.



First watermelon forming

First watermelon forming


largest spaghetti squash

largest spaghetti squash



I missed this one until my granddaughter let out a squeal and pointed it out to me.


I thought I had lost all my melon plants but this looks like a melon starting here.

I thought I had lost all my melon plants but this looks like a melon starting to me. :-)


My granddaughter’s garden. I couldn’t convince her to spread out her seeds. In this one area she has a couple of cantaloupe plants, a few tomato plants and lots of salad greens. along with nasturtiums. :-)

First pepper not to be eaten by wildlife.

First pepper not to be eaten by wildlife.


Still having trouble with wildlife eating the pumpkin leaves.


Waiting for the freshly planted carrots to start.

Waiting for the freshly planted carrots to start.


Cantaloupe getting close to ready.

Cantaloupe getting close to ready.

After fencing around tomatoes they are coming along nicely.

After fencing around tomatoes they are coming along nicely.

Not sure what happened to the potato plants, they are quickly dying off.

Not sure what happened to the potato plants, they are quickly dying off.


More tomatoes.

More tomatoes.


You may notice the feathers in the next picture.  These are found outside my door or around the bird feeder. My granddaughter brings them in because she believes they are a present left for us from the birds as their way of thanking us for the food we give them. :-)  It’s hard to argue with her because we don’t find feathers in front of any of the neighbors doors or anywhere else on the  property.

My grandson found this basket in a gully, I painted it as it was pretty dingy.  Today I planted a mixture of salad greens in it for my windowsill salad bar.

My grandson found this basket in a gully, I painted it as it was pretty dingy. Today I planted a mixture of salad greens in it for my windowsill salad bar.


We lost a lot of our plants due to the late frost and then again when we received way too much rain.  Lost this  year were all but one cabbage plant, quite a few onion plants, peas, celery, most of the cantaloupes we planted early, potatoes even though they did fantastic last year, and even beans. The radishes never took in one bed and the ones in another bed were so hot few of us were able to enjoy them.  I know more was lost but can’t think of them now.

One surprising crop for me were the carrots.  I have never been able to grow carrots until this year.  But thanks to suggestions from you I changed the soil I planted them in and had a lovely crop of the sweetest carrots I’ve ever had.  I was so excited by this as you saw  I planted another bed of carrots.


How are your gardens doing?  What challenges have you faced this year?









  1. I’ve got some baby watermelons, and one or two cantaloupes almost ready. In the past we have always lost our cantaloupes at the last minute. Apparently the deer or rabbits know when they are ripe as well. lol Bell peppers are just starting to grow, and I’ve had several cucumbers so far, which my nephew enjoys taking in his lunch. Sweet potato plants are growing like crazy so I am hopeful. We have a bumper crop of butternut squash growing in our compost bed, as well as the occasional potato plant. The kale plants are trying to put on more leaves after being decimated by a pest.

    • I hope everything ripens well and you get to it before the pests do. We do have a couple cantaloupes almost ready in my neighbors bed so I may get to have one of hers before mine ripen. I thought our peppers were really late this year, but if yours are just starting their may still be hope for ours. That’s funny that you have the best growing right in your compost. I think we may have some watermelons next year come up from ours.

  2. So good to see crops doing so well, except for your potatoes,. Hubby says your potatoes may have potato blight… and if thats the case you should burn the top green dying shoots off, the Potatoes underground should be ok if they have grown enough… It depends a lot on the weather, and your late frost along with the wet.. We managed to not get it last year, but many allotment holders did..

    Love the reason for the feather collection too… We here are collecting pebbles with my granddaughter they have to be small and smooth and like marbles, she found another today as she walked down to the allotments and pulled me back so she could go pick it up….
    I have many semi precious stones such a turquoise,lapis etc and rose quartz in tumbled stones, she has now learnt the names of them, And today I wore a piece of turquoise around my neck, she was so pleased when she recognised it and told me what it was… :-) Its a good feeling isnt it as our grandchildren embrace life and nature :-)

    • It’s a very good feeling, Sue. My son was shocked about a week ago when his daughter started to name all the various trees she saw with him. He had no idea I had been teaching her them. I have an amethyst crystal in my window that the little ones love to hold and know the name of. I have a funny story to share about our corn plants, I will tell it in tonight’s post.

      Our plants are really starting to struggle to ripen right now with the cold temps, I will pass on the potato information to my neighbor who planted the potatoes. She pulled a couple and found that nothing much had grown either. Some potatoes are only the size of the nail on my pinkie finger!

  3. I’m very envious of your tomatoes Lois. mine were a disaster last summer. At the moment I’m growing lettuce, parsley and mint and have just planted a passionfruit vine which I will need to net somehow when it gets fruit(hopefully).

    • I doubt all the tomatoes will ripen before fall arrives, and we lost quite a few to the deer early on, but it’s nice to have disease free tomatoes this year, unlike last year. Our lettuce is doing well and I have been fortunate enough to enjoy several meals exclusively from the garden which pleases me to no end. I hope next summer is better for your gardens. I believe we are going to need to learn how to grow things all over again with the unpredictable weather I see continuing in the foreseeable future.

  4. Pingback: 10 Gardening Simply Blogs | Home Garden Sense

  5. I planted two 4×4 beds. One with two rows of potatoes, which have been AWESOME so far. My plants are looking a little sad and droopy though. The other half of that bed, I planted two rows of carrots, which never grew. I will have to figure out carrots.

    The other bed got a basil plant, which has been very hardy and wonderful, three cherry tomato plants (I got them for free and planted late, thinking what the heck, they might give me something), some monstrous zucchini plants, and a spaghetti squash plant. MISTAKES WERE MADE. Squash needs way more room than I gave it… my whole garden is overtaken with giant tentacles of zucchini and squash plants, and my spaghetti squash thought it was being so clever by winding its way up around the chicken wire, but now it’s growing squashes and it’s either going to break itself or my wire. I need to do some chicken wire surgery and cut them out to rest and grow safely.

    I have not had ANY PROBLEMS with animals eating my stuff!! I was worried about deer but it doesn’t look like we have had a problem. The chicken wire goes up high enough to prevent groundhogs, etc. and it doesn’t look like anything is trying to burrow under and up into the beds. I had some squash bugs but I sprayed neem oil and they went away.

    All in all, my garden was successful because my goal was to eat one thing that I grew. So far I’ve harvested potatoes 3 times, basil countless times, and zucchini twice… I love it! Next year I want to grow so much more.

    • Caitlin, I had no idea you had planted such a variety! I heard that you can protect the melons, squash by slipping them into stockings and tying to the supports or in your case chicken wire. My spaghetti squash is spreading out a lot, but it’s the watermelon that is surprising me by how much room they are taking, way more than the squash! I am happy with what survived and is doing well. Even if I only got two squashes I would easily recoup all the money I invested this year, which wasn’t much. I’ve had problems with the spaghetti squash grabbing on to any weed I don’t catch in time making weeding difficult but I’m okay with that too. I will probably try to maximize space next year by adding trellises so I can grow more food under the creeping plants. Isn’t it fun to play in the dirt and see your own food growing.

      As for carrots, I was told they need sandy soil, which worked for me. Now I’m trying peat moss which is soft enough to allow them to grow down into the soil. I’ll let you know if this works.

      We added plants late and will just have to see if they produce anything, but like you I want to grow much more next year. I want to add a lot more fruits. I’m looking into ground cherries and blueberries for starters.

  6. Did you hill your potatoes? I’m sure you did, but is hard to tell from the picture. If you ever find old tires and don’t know what to do with them they make great potato hills if you pile two or three on top of each other and fill with good dirt. They do have to be well drained or they die. Too hot they die, sometimes you get bugs, they die. ha! My mother once planted them in hay bales. She put about 4 plants or eyes in one bale and would water them every now and then and she got lots of them!
    I’ve never had much problem growing potatoes or carrots. Usually end up giving some away. Carrots are not too fussy if you can keep the animals away.

  7. your garden looks darn good. those potatoes are sure a mystery. can’t imagine what the heck Is going on…
    oh, just had a thought. I have always heard potatoes like well drained soil, or they will rot. maybe with all the rain, the potatoes have rotted, hence the tops dying? can you dig one up to see what the spuds under look like?

    myself I never had much luck growing potatoes. they didn’t look wilted, but never produced. this year I planted a bunch in “boxes” which drain VERY well. the tops look great, but will wait and see if there is much under.

    regarding your carrots, you mention a certain soil? can I ask what you did?

    • Lynn, we don’t really know. Last year in that bed they did fine, this year the rocky soil was replaced with a mixture of peat moss, vermiculite,and manure. The tomatoes in that bed are thriving. When a couple of the potato plants were pulled up the potatoes were barely the size of my fingernail. It’s sad I’m assuming it’s the weather as they didn’t have an pests eating away at them and no spots formed on the leaves.

      • thks for info on carrots, I have a bag of sand, next yr will add some where I plant carrots

        re the spuds, the peat moss and vermiculite would hold in the water (maybe too wet), and odd as it seems, I do believe I have also heard potatoes do not like rich soil, so maybe the compost was too much of a good thing for them.

        what I have also heard with the tire/potatoes thing, is , put sand down in bottom half of ONE tire. put starter potatoes in/cover with dirt. when the leaves are grown up quite a ways, add one tire, add dirt up stems. keep adding dirt, when leaves grow tall enough, add another tire,.. etc.. Keep on until you have five tires piled up (have been told that is the limit for some reason), and in the fall, take tires off, and harvest spuds all the way down the five tires.

    • Sorry I meant to answer your other question. I was told that carrots like sandy soil. Since we have very rocky soil here I tried putting the carrots in the bed with the strawberries as there is a lot of sand in that section. It worked. Now I am trying them in peat moss and vermiculite in a new raised bed so there aren’t any rocks to impede their formation.

  8. The feather comment just melts my heart!

    It’s so nice your building has a ‘free for the taking’ area – I always wished my big old building got on board with that, but I never did anything about it. And it’s nice that the washing detergent is courteously left there! Do you have many in your building?

  9. I’m soooo jealous of your melons! I’ve tried for years to grow them without a shred of success… I’ve never even managed one, solitary melon!

    The garden season here has been a bit odd. We had a freezing cold May with snow on the ground until late into the month, then a scorching hot June with virtually no moisture. July has been cooler and wetter than normal. So I’d say the plants are a tad bit confused!

    But the tomatoes finally have some fruit set on the plants, as do the cucumbers. I’ve harvested a few zucchini, and there are some pie pumpkins and other winter squash setting on. The peppers have just now started blooming, and the little eggplants are only about 6 inches tall. So we’ll see if any of them bear fruit.

    I guess you’ve just gotta take whatever you can get when it comes to gardens. Some years will be better than others, and some crops will flourish while others die. I figure it’s all a grand experiment anyhow! :-)

    • Cat, our weather was similar. We had snow right till the end of May (off and on) then a frost in early June which then was filled with rain as was most of July. We only had about 2 weeks of real hot weather and now we have fall-like temps with scattered rain. It’s crazy. Sorry you haven’t been able to grow melons, but if it makes you feel any better this is the first time I’ve grown watermelon or carrots! I am most disappointed by losing the celery as it seems like forever since I had any. Celery is one of those plants that conventionally grown is loaded with pesticides so I only buy it when I can find it organic.

      It is a big experiment, I have learned a lot this year and want to add more fruits next year. I figure in a few years I should be able to have enough berries and such to satisfy my sweet tooth.

      • Ha! Well, celery is one of those things that I’m deathly allergic to – it’s sent me to the emergency room several times. So I haven’t had any in about 20 years. Can’t say that I miss it though, although I do miss being able to have soups and other things that use celery as an ingredient.

        Maybe we should petition the universe to spread out the rain a little bit! :-)

      • Lois, I grew celery one year. it grew quite tall (two feet or so), and very sturdy and big/thick. boy was I excited. must have had about ten/fifteen plants. I faithfully watered it daily/weeded/etc. man, I was so excited. had no idea one could grow this in one’s garden (gosh, also no idea where I thought it was grown…but it seemed so unique to me)..

        so, anyway, lest you think this celery tale has a happy ending, it does not. my celery, while big/thick/tall and abundant, tasted HORRIBLE. I might even say somewhat bitter, or sharp… I had given a couple plants to a friend who gardens, and his were the same. so it was not unique to my yard.

        very ODD.

        so, am sad to say they went in the garbage. truly they were not edible, tasted horrible and tough and chewy as shredded leather boots.

        you may not have lost much when you lost the celery

  10. I have been foraging today, eating my fist wild apple of the year, and plenty of blackberries. The recent rain we had has caused mushrooms to grow, but I have to be careful with these as some are poisonous.

    Climate has been hard on your crops, glad to read your carrots were okay.

    • Yes, the climate and then the deer (mostly) the rabbits ate several of the flowers I planted as well, but as long as they leave the garden alone they can have all the flowers they want. I would be terrified to forage for mushrooms as I just don’t know enough to be safe. Still waiting here for apples they aren’t usually ready until fall so another couple of months.

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