Home of Stella's Gardens

We are now living full time in Northeast Iowa, and working on the new gardens. It will keep us busy for quite a while...

As an avid gardener since I was about 7 years old, that gives me over 45 years of experience gardening in this part of the world. And every year teaches me a bit more.

Also, working on a new website at stellasgardens - dot - com. Feel free to check it out and comment!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

New beds for the fall

So in the ongoing quest to get raised beds for herbs and veggie gardens, as well as a temporary place to park the potted roses (until they get their own raised beds next spring....)

In between the wedding, canning, working on the old house (anyone want to buy a house?) we are getting things done.

First, the saga of the herb bed, closest to the kitchen, right off the patio:

Started in mid-September, it looks like we murdered someone....
Some gravel base, first two courses in place

Third course started, but now we get to pause for the wedding.
Final form, ignore the extra blocks...See the nice mums from the wedding? Roses will be well buried for the winter in their pots.

There will be paver landings from the patio, and river rock walkways when done....
 Then, the first of the new cedar raised beds, destined for the fall planting of garlic (very soon.) Since we used treated lumber for the uprights, to save money, the bed is designed to only have cedar in contact with the soil inside the bed. (I've used treated lumber for beds before, but put landscape fabric between the soil and wood to prevent leaching, I hope.) This one will have more pictures as we get it into position and filled with soil.
Designed with two 1x8 tiers, 3 ft x 8 ft, able to expand to a full 24" deep bed.

In the meantime, tomorrow is the hubby's birthday, so it's off to La Crosse for a romantic dinner, and shopping!

Friday, October 3, 2014


And finally found the time (and the nerve) to repot my orchid....We shall see how *that* comes out.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wow. Added up all the tomato harvest and So Far This Year (2 Oct 2014) from six plants, late to go into the ground, fed like bejesus to catch up,

OVER 97 Pounds harvest as of today.
48 pounds in the last week.  AND the BIG ONE for the year, beating out numerous >1lb'ers, including one at 1 lb 9 oz, we have a new winner at 1 lb 11 oz, Brandywine"


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The tomatoes are, indeed, rolling in

Sometimes (!) it's nice to be retired, it appears. A little over 3 months in, and I am not having ANY trouble keeping busy.
Thirty lbs of tomatoes (and a few peppers.) There were 9 over a pound.
2 7-quart pots
Squeezed it all in to the one pot!
 
7 quarts of yummy tomato goodness!


AND we got the most vulnerable of the trees and bushes with their protection against the rutting bucks.  Not ready for the winter, but at least the fall!  It was a busy couple of days...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Well there is a garden this year after all.

End of August, after a dry month we are back on track with rain and some tomatoes are finally ripening. Picking some of them a bit green to encourage more to ripen - there are a bunch!

First tomato, Amish Paste. Cat and Saltshaker for Scale

Brandywine
Black Brandywine


San Marzanos
The retaining walls below the patio are home for the tomatoes this year, where there will eventually be more bushes and other less utilitarian plants.

The front entry has half the garden started (with lots of placeholder plants, dug up from the old house, which are relieved to finally be in the dirt instead of pots!) Along with a Cornus Kousa (Summer Gold) and a Clethra Alnifolia (Hummingbird.) And so far the strings have kept the deer out - there's enough else to eat. The hostas got cages, though, because it did not take long for the buggers to find them.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Well it really is funny, that the house is all done now, we are trying to move in/move out of the old house.  Most of the move is done but the old house is getting spruced up to go on the market, so we are not spending nearly enough time at the new one!

The yard is a muddy mess, as is the driveway, since the last big thing is to (re-)establish final grade around the house, redo the driveway and add the second one, and then get some seed down.  Probably over half an acre that got dug up and rearranged, so that's a lot of seed.  Planning on some short prairie grasses for the majority, where there aren't garden beds, with plantings and just a little regular lawn for gaming outside.  It will be a work in progress for the rest of my life!  A thought that I find both exhilarating and exhausting.

The "blank canvas" of the patio area with big retaining walls:

Friday, May 10, 2013

Shouldn't I be outside instead of blogging?

I did manage to add two pages, one for Starting Seeds, and one with a couple of pictures of the new house.  We finally made it to 60 deg F so I should probably try and get something done outside today before dinner...