Thursday, August 25, 2011

Growing Lettuce

One of the vegetables I've had the most success in growing is lettuce. This is an Asian baby leaf mesclun salad mix from Renee's Garden I planted in my herb garden this past Spring. As they got a little bigger, I thinned them, using some in salads but mostly eating straight from the bed! They provided me with salad greens for months, with an amazing variety of flavors. My favorites are arugula and the buttery varieties, though the latter wilts quickly and seems to need the most water. I will be replanting again as soon as the weather cools down some. After this long, hot drought, it can't come quickly enough for me!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Baby plants

After preparing the stock pond beds this spring, I planted my first seeds and starter plants. In one bed, I planted cucumbers and beans. The second was all strawberries. The third big one held Bradley County (Arkansas) tomatoes, eggplant, radishes, beets, and assorted peppers (red bell, orange bell, banana, and others).

I marked each plant and checked every day to see how they were doing. It is ridiculous how excited I was to see those first green shoots from the beets and radishes. I planted radishes not only because Joel loves them, but because I knew they were a fast (and therefore, satisfying) crop. I also planted squash in a big pot.

I made sure to mulch them well to hold moisture in and keep weeds out. It did not, however, do much to keep bugs away!

Monday, August 22, 2011

My new book is out

Hello to all of you who have stuck with me through this looong dry spell. I am grateful you didn't dump me from the blogs you follow. THANKS! The reason I haven't been posting is I spent the last 18 months working on a book about Hurricane Rita. While everyone knows about Hurricane Katrina, few outside those who suffered through Rita know about her. I am proud of this project because it honors those everyday heroes who led us through this awful time. I interviewed more than 60 people, from first responders and elected officials to non-profits and faith-based organizations. This is their story. It is by far the most ambitious project I've taken on. You can find more about "Rita: Honoring Heroes of a Forgotten Storm" and read excerpts at

Vegetable garden

For the next few posts, I will share my first spring garden project earlier this year. It was quite an undertaking. We decided the best way would be raised beds that would allow easier access for my aging bones. We began with galvanized metal stock ponds, which are easy to find here in ranch country. We put in several inches of wood mulch from the local dump. We topped that with a mixture of composted peat, Black Kow mix and good potting soil. It was hard work turning and mixing, and would never have happened without my strong husband's help, but I was so excited with the finished beds.