Before and After—Revisiting the Sites of Articles Past

I think my adopted art form has five dimensions. There are the usual three—depth, width, and height. I like to add the dimension where you stand inside the creation and look at it from that viewpoint (I’m not sure, though, if that is a dimension or a perspective). The next dimension is that of time. If the plants don’t croak they grow and change the total feel of the project as time goes by. My main professional compensation other than making a modest living is to visit the projects after a period of time and enjoy the changes. This past week I said, “Wow” several times.

Several times this past week I found myself in the presence of sites that I have written articles about. Everything has changed—as gardening projects have a habit of doing. At any rate, here are some pictures of my visitations during the first week of December, 2013 and the links to the articles that tell about the inception of the projects.

I think one of the most significant projects was the Boys and Girls Club vegetable garden that we built in spring of 2009. Diane Harbin and Rome, Georgia’s Three Rivers Garden Club were the moving factors behind the project. After four years the garden needed a bit of physical reworking and maintenance. We tackled the job. Some of the timbers had rotted out, and there was a significant amount of weeds that needed removing as well as some irrigation concerns.  Jobs that are right down my alley. Here’s a picture of one of the main problems:

Weeds and a few rotted timbers in the garden

Weeds and a few rotted timbers in the garden

Here is a picture of this delightful garden after the clean up and rebuild.

Rome, Ga. Boys and Girls Club vegetable garden after clean up and repair

Rome, Ga. Boys and Girls Club vegetable garden after clean up and repair. December 2013

You may click to visit The Boys and Girls Club Vegetable Garden Project. The article was written Nov. 29, 2009

A year after the building of the vegetable garden it was added on to. Go to: The Garden Gets a Gazebo from May 9, 2010.

I started this blog series in 2009 and one of the first articles was about building a portable rock garden. I presented the finished rock garden to my future father-in-law for his birthday. He has kept it alive and asked me a couple of weeks ago to take it and shape it up. All I’m going to do is give it some light, fertilize and prune it, and it should be all right on its fifth birthday. Here’s the “how to” article: How to Build a Portable Rock Garden from Jan. 17, 2010. And here is a picture of the garden on December 8, 2013.

Portable rock garden from one of my first articles

Portable rock garden from one of my first articles

I have probably been gardening for Betty for thirty years or so. I took this picture of one of her bonsais on Dec. 7, 2013.  Then I remembered that I had written an article including this plant on August 13 of this year that contains a picture of me pruning this very same tree about 20 years ago. See if you can find me. Here is the article—Pruning For Betty from Aug. 13, 2013.

Betty's bonsai

Betty’s bonsai

Just yesterday I had to go see Mabel and I noticed a little cedar tree that I had pruned a year ago and that was doing well.  The article is Mabel’s Topiary from Feb 26, 2012

This tree started as a weed but then a weed is only a plant that's in the wrong place

This tree started as a weed but then a weed is only a plant that’s in the wrong place

And, Oh, over the years, Patricia’s landscape garden in Buckhead is looking better and better. We did some clean up work and pruning Dec. 6 and 7 2013 and I took the picture below. There are two articles that relate to this garden: Making Stepping Stones With Whiskey Barrel Rings from October 2, 2011 and part two of the project, Patricia’s Side Garden from October 9, 2011.

Patricia's shade garden with hand made stepping stones and pea gravel

Patricia’s shade garden with hand made stepping stones and pea gravel

 Thanks for visiting John the Plant Man. Remember the next time you want a good read you need to try “REQUIEM FOR A REDNECK”, a kindle ebook from Amazon that features John the Plant Man with his Georgia mountain friends. It’s quite the adventure. Check it out, buy a copy, and tell ALL your friends about it.

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Redneck Garden Revisited

A Redneck Garden in August

I had to go see my mother over the weekend of July 4 and I’m going to cheat and re-post this article from a couple of years ago.  Enjoy.

Bud is proud to be a redneck.  He grew up on a farm on Sand Mountain, Alabama and moved to town for work a number of years ago.  One day I showed Bud some of my blog posts and he said, “Why don’t you show them folks a redneck garden?”  I agreed with him that this would be a good idea, so here it is

Bud checks out the rabbits across the road.
Bud checks out the rabbits across the road.

I showed up to find Bud weed eating his front bank on a 95 degree afternoon.  He had seen something in the woods across the street.  He turned off his weed eater and looked up to see me and said, “They’s a bunch of rabbits over there.  I’m going to have me some good Brunswick stew this winter.  You wait and see.”

We talked a few minutes about how he should prune his ten foot tall and wide knockout rose, and then, he said, “bring that there camera down back and I’ll show you my real garden.”  We walked around the house and I saw the vegetable garden at the bottom of the hill.  It is about a 30 by 30 foot area prepared by using cross ties and filled with a good compost I had gotten him a couple of years ago.

I looked down the hill at the raised vegetable garden.
I looked down the hill at the raised vegetable garden.

The crossties hold everything together, and the compost is well mulched with wood chips that were provided free by a local tree surgeon.  The tree surgeon was happy to have a place to dump the chips and Bud was glad to get them.  “The chips really hold in the moisture” he said, “and that there dirt keeps on getting better and better every year. I add a little manure every time I take a notion to, but I make sure it is well rotted.”

Crossties hold in the compost. Note the mulch of wood chips.
Crossties hold in the compost. Note the mulch of wood chips.

On the east side of the garden is a seven foot high trellis of beans. They sort of form a back “wall” for the project.  Bud said they are “Blue Lake Runners” and that they produce until they freeze and that, “it takes a really good freeze to kill them.”  I asked where all the beans were and he said, “Helen picks everything every day and puts them up.  The more you pick, the more you get.  Look at them vines, they’re still blooming.  That means more and more beans.”

Beans.  Blue Lake Runners produce until they freeze if you keep them picked.
Beans. Blue Lake Runners produce until they freeze if you keep them picked.

The tomato plants have a good bit of dried up leaves low and inside, but the tops are a lush green with lots of flowers.  Bud had already picked me a bagfull of tomatoes and peppers because “I knowed you was coming.”

Tomatoes will keep producing all summer if you keep the tomatoes picked.
Tomatoes will keep producing all summer if you keep the tomatoes picked.

The peppers were loaded with fruits ranging from dark green to dark red.  I took a big bite of a beautiful jalapeno and smiled as the top of my head broke out in sweat, allowing the warm breeze to cool me off.  I was told that there were four kinds of Cayenne peppers

Cayenne peppers almost ready for harvest
Cayenne peppers almost ready for harvest

I noticed a lot of lush and beautiful sweet banana peppers.  Bud said, “If you plant the hot and the mild peppers together, the sweet bananas get a little heat to them.  That makes them better when we make our year’s supply of ‘chow chow’ next month. I just naturally got to have chow chow with my black eyed peas and hog jowl.”

Sweet banana peppers are an essential for chow chow.
Sweet banana peppers are an essential for chow chow.

I saw some young okra plants and was told that they would probably produce a crop of late okra if the heat held up.

Young okra plants in August.
Young okra plants in August.

Bud had given me a carton of “aigs” not long ago that looked like Easter eggs.  They were all kinds of different colors and almost too pretty to eat.  When I cooked them and ate them, they didn’t taste the same as the ones from the grocery store.  Bud has fresh eggs all the time.  The chickens were hiding in the shade.

The chickens were hiding in the shade
The chickens were hiding in the shade

I got to thinking and I asked, “What do you do with all of the produce?  We’re talking a lot of food here.”  He grinned and took me to one of his sheds.  I walked inside and looked around. I was impressed to say the least.

I couldn't believe the racks of preserved vegetables and fruits.
I couldn’t believe the racks of preserved vegetables and fruits.

Bud pointed to a stack of boxes.  “Every morning, Helen comes in here and gets a couple of empty boxes.  Every evening, when I come home from work, I carry the full boxes out here from the house and try to find a place to put the jars.” He pointed to one jar which radiated bright yellow, “look at that pickled yaller squash.  I love that stuff. We got enough food here to last the winter without going to the store much.  We give a lot of it away, too.”

"We ain't gonna go hungry.  We give away what we can't eat."
“We ain’t gonna go hungry. We give away what we can’t eat.”

Bud grinned and said, “remember the other day when I told you about all them catfish me and the grandyounguns caught up in the pocket?  Lookie here.”  He opened the freezer and showed me bag after bag of filleted catfish.  “We’re gonna have us one more fish fry one day pretty soon.” The freezer was packed with meats and vegetables from the current season.

"I'm gonna have me a big fish fry one day.  Nothing is better than these here catfish fillets all fried up"
“I’m gonna have me a big fish fry one day. Nothing is better than these here catfish fillets all fried up”

If you follow this blog you will know that I always go looking for garden art.  Bud’s yard contained an interesting collection.  I asked about the little boy with no hands and Bud said, “Wa’al, them rich folks always have old stuff that’s kindly broken.  I figured I could have some, too.  I might get around to gluing them hands on one day, I reckon…well, maybe.”

"I'm gonna glue them hands back on one day....maybe"
“I’m gonna glue them hands back on one day….maybe”

The front porch is graced by a pair of almost welcoming cement dogs.  I kind of liked the idea of a big old dog bringing momma a basket of flowers.

A front porch sentry with a touch of class.  "I brought you these flowers, ma'am."
A front porch sentry with a touch of class. “I brought you these flowers, ma’am.”

There have been a lot of conversations around a pitcher of sweet tea held on this shady front porch.  Bud says, “come on by and set a spell.”

A nice front porch.  "Y'all come set a spell and have some sweet tea, Y'hear?"
A nice front porch. “Y’all come set a spell and have some sweet tea, Y’hear?”

In the winter month, Bud said he grows, “turnip greens, radishes, spinach, carrots, beets, collards, English peas, and lots of other stuff.  It is a year-round garden.”

A couple of years ago when I was writing my book, Bud and I had a lot of discussions on the topic of “just what is a redneck.”  He helped me immensely with my research. One of the characters in the book that came from our conversations is Louann. Everyone who read the book loved Louann. To read about her, –-CLICK HERE

I hope you enjoyed the garden tour.  This garden shows that all you need is some scrounging ability, a little hard work, and a big grin to be successful with your garden.

***************

Would you like a consultation with johntheplantman in your yard?Contact John Schulz BY EMAIL

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

Joel’s Garden Progress for the End of February

Planting an early spring vegetable garden

Joel’s Garden, 2/24/13
I hadn’t been to visit Joel and his garden for a couple of weeks and I got to wondering what all was going on.  I have now been around Joel enough to know that he will spend some morning time in his garden if it is at all possible. His dedication is amazing.
I knew I would miss him because I had to go to Atlanta that morning and he works in the clinic most afternoons, but I went on and took the liberty of walking through the garden by myself.  I’m a good snooper.
The first thing I saw was a number of seed rows.  Joel has his method for planting seeds.  He prepares a row and carefully sprinkles the seeds in a row. Then he mixes mushroom compost and peat moss together. He spreads the peat and compost mix over the seeds and waters them in.  It looks like a good method. Actually, it works so it is a good method.
Image
And I saw rows and rows of onions.  I know the plants are difficult to see in the picture, but I will take more photos as time goes by.
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I sent Joel an email telling him I had been there and asking him for a bit of information on his week’s labors. He wrote the following”
” I planted 4 new rows, only one spinach. The others were 2 of lettuce and one carrot. I had more room and planned 4 or 5 more rows, but I ran out of steam. Last week I did a long row of snow peas. In the past I have not had much luck with them. I think it gets too warm too quickly here.
Just for your records, and to be accurate, the varieties of onions are as follows: Texas Legend, 1015 Texas Supersweet, Southern Belle Red, Yellow Granex, White Bermuda Crystal Wax, Candy, Red Candy Apple and Cippolini. And yes, that is way too many for us, but we enjoy the variety, and sharing with friends. There is also a row of Leeks. “
I liked my way of finding out what kinds of onion sets were planted. I had walked over by the wood pile and stumbled upon the shipping box for the onion sets.  It came from somewhere in Texas.  If you want to know exactly where they came from, leave a comment and I’ll find out.
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I am enjoying exploring the mysteries of an early spring garden. It adds dimension. Stay in touch.

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

Joel’s Garden–planting onions Jan. 31

Joel is the most dedicated vegetable gardener I ever met.  He is in the garden working almost every morning.  I am going to make him a periodic feature of this site by keeping a log of what I see him doing as the year progresses.

I’ve been having some medical concerns that have taken up quite a bit of time and have not been able to give this site my usual dynamic endeavors.
The garden is rather large, I would guess at least a hundred feet square, and it is surrounded by a 9 foot high wire fence to keep out the deer.  The last week in January, Joel asked me if I could build him a two part gate in the side of the wire fence.  He wanted something more convenient to the house and he wanted to be able to either walk in or to drive his tractor in. So I built side by side gates.  I took enough pictures for a gate tutorial and I will publish that later.  Here’s the gate:
A two part gate, one part to walk through, the other part to drive through.

A two part gate, one part to walk through, the other part to drive through.

Joel has been working on his dirt for years. He is a great lover of organic matter and he believes in adding it as often as he can. He also grows green manure cover crops in portions of the garden that he is not using at one time or another and then tilling these crops in.
To give an indication of the effectiveness of this organic addition process, We had torrential rains on Jan. 30 and I visited Joel on the 31st only to find him planting onions. I think a normal garden would have been way too muddy.
Joel had been waiting for days on his onion set shipment. He finally got the granex onions which he explained were the variety used to grow the popular Vidalia onions.  Joel is in his 70s but gardening keeps him young.  He started out working, laid out the sets, and had them planted in no time.  He mentioned something about needing to build him a root cellar one day.
Planting onions on a cold blustery day in North Georgia, Jan. 31

Planting onions on a cold blustery day in North Georgia, Jan. 31

Joel said that he had red onions and some other kinds coming.  I’ll let you know what he does next.
The next thing I will be working on at the garden site will be to develop a six foot weed free border on the fence line that will make the transition from grass to garden a lot nicer, to lessen mowing maintenance, and to make room for flowers and collectibles.  I will also do an entrance planting for the new gate. I love ongoing projects.

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

If you want a consultation in your yard in N.W. Georgia, send me an email at wherdepony@bellsouth.net

Cotton in Alabama, a Flagpole, and a Fall VegetableGarden

I have been rather proud of my article writing discipline for the last couple of years. The main consistency in my life has usually been inconsistency. I have missed several weeks in the past couple of months but it has been unavoidable. I am recovering well now from the operation. My throat is still inflated and I will have to wait another month for my store bought voice box.

I can, however, still speak as Johntheplantman. Yay for that. I have gone back to work on a limited basis and I just thought I would report on some of the things I’ve seen over the last couple of weeks.

I went for a ride to the greenhouse in Centre Alabama where I get my pansies. They had almost sold out but I was able to book enough for my needs. As soon as the frost hits I will be changing out color for a number of clients. I like my trips to Alabama because the minute I cross the Georgia/ Alabama line I feel like I have entered another era. The fields of cotton looked like snow. I had to stop for this photo:

cotton in Alabama

cotton in Alabama

A day or two later, I got to admiring a flag pole. The rope that holds the flag had broken and needed replacing. I looked up at the pole and determined that it had been made by using bell adaptors to put pieces of galvanized pipe of different sizes together. Three sections of pipe graduating from 2 inch to inch and a quarter with a cap and a pully on top make a heavy situation but someone had thought it out well with a simple swivel base made of angle iron. All we had to do to get the pole down was take out the top bolt

swivel base for an easy to service hand made flagpole.

swivel base for an easy to service hand made flagpole.

It was a heavy job for two men but the pole was lowered so that I could get to the pully and replace the rope.

Lowering the flagpole for servicing

Lowering the flagpole for servicing

We raised the pole, put the flag up and there she flew in all her old glory

Old Glory in her space

Old Glory in her space

A couple of weeks ago I took my wife, Dekie out to  Joel and Lynn’s house to see their new flower garden that I called “country formal.” You may see the article about this garden here. We got to drinking coffee and talking and I suggested that Dekie might like to look at their wonderful vegetable garden, also. I didn’t have to twist Joel’s hand very hard. He loves his garden. We stopped on the way into the garden to get some tasty raspberries that were still available in October.

Raspberries in Georgia in October

Raspberries in Georgia in October

The minute I saw the garden I knew I had to go get my camera from the truck. By the time I got back, the tour had begun.

Lynn and Dekie check out the garden

Lynn and Dekie check out the garden

Lynn harvested some lettuce for our dinner. I was interested to see that she was not only cutting lettuce leaves, but thinning the row at the same time.

Good salad for dinner tonight

Good salad for dinner tonight

I was interested in the leguminous cover crops that Joel was growing. He sows seeds of nitrogen fixing plants on fallow ground and later plows it under to loosen and enrich the soil. He is quite a gardener.

cover crop to be plowed in for soil enrichment

cover crop to be plowed in for soil enrichment

I will probably take a more in depth look at the details of the garden next week. I need to visit it again and update my pictures.

Fall vegetable garden in North Georgia

Fall vegetable garden in North Georgia

********

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

If you want a consultation in your yard in N.W. Georgia, send me an email at wherdepony@bellsouth.net

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