Eating From Your Garden Buckets and Beds

I picked the first green beans out of the raised beds today.   Mountaineer Half Runner Green Beans….they are heirloom green beans.

Mountaineer Half Runner

Not one spec of dirt on the beans. No pesticides used. It’s a rewarding feeling to garden this way. If you lived in Mendota long ago, you might not have had to worry about the pests as much as we do today. It’s a daily fight, but one that is worth the trouble. In the morning when I walk through my green beans, my bees fly around me lighting on a leaf now and then. I pretend they are thankng me.   We need these bees.  

Can you find the cucumber in this picture? What is it with cucumbers that makes them so hard to find?   Hint:  it’s in the  bucket…I did a double take when I saw the “message” on the side. I thought…”what kind of bucket am I growing food in?” Well, actually it’s a food grade bucket because it’s warning that children can drown in sugar syrup. Whew!


Do you grow any of your own food? Have you ever tried? Why don’t you comment and tell me? I’m getting lonely here!

I grew this basil from seed, and I believe I’ll start some more. Basil and rosemary…  “go to” herbs. I can keep the basil until frost, but I can usually keep the rosemay throughout the year if I move it inside on extremely cold nights.  I had yellow jackets near where the basil sits last week.   I was stung several times  trying to water my plants.  I water in my pjs, and one of the yellow jackets stung me on my arm, another on my stomach, and another on my leg.     The nest had to be removed.    Did you know that yellow jackets are a gardener’s friend?    I knew this, but Mike said they were definitely not his friend.    One stung him, too.   They had to go as we could not get water to any of the five-gallon bucket plants because they felt their nest was threatened.  Sorry!

Basil from seed


Oh no…before I posted this. I did one last “bug run” to pick off Japanese beetles and guess what was on one of my vines.  A June bug…it’s a giant beetle.   Will this ever let up?




Sam Is Skeered & Stuff

There has been lots of lightening flashes and big booms tonight in Poor Valley.  I felt like getting under the bed, but someone was already there.

Sam is Skeered

However, we are grateful for the rain. While Mendota is not as dependent on farming as we once were, we have a large dairy farm, a large cattle farm, a few farmers still growing our Burley tobacco, lots of small family farms, and most everyone has a garden. Many of us are on well water, and we just hate drought! Whew!  Simply put, as my friend, Joey Salyer, says during Sunday’s prayer “thank you, Lord, for the rain.”

The rain makes a garden spring to life.   This picture was taken on June 10.  (This is the great thing about this blog…I can track these things.)  Compare the picture below to the next picture.


The picture below was taken a few minutes ago…just ten days after that earlier picture…those Mountaineer Halfrunner Green Beans are on the loose!! Soon I’ll be picking green beans.

Green BEans

I may have planted those green beans too close, but it just doesn’t seem right to put about 16 beans in a raised bed and expect them to fill it up. However, that is the reality.

Yikes…my potatoes got some high wind and rain. They are laying down on the job.


And remember the side garden….it was like this not long ago.

Border of Side House

It’s exploded…gone whacko. There’s no rhyme or reason to what’s in there. The only common thread is that I didn’t pay full price for the plants. Some crazy lady stuck them in the dirt and forgot about them planted them. Oh wait..that’s me. And of course, there is my husband’s favorite flower still growing there. The dish. Ugh.

Side Garden


A Day In Mendota Virginia

Yesterday, I worked all day and I’ll go back in for a few hours on Friday, but for the remainder of this week — Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday– I’m not leaving Mendota. It’s not as easy as if I’d said “I’m not leaving Bristol.” It means my meals are planned and my activities or what I want to accomplish this week is considered because there is no store here. I have what is in my house or what my neighbors will loan if I run short. Here’s what my typical stay-at-home day looks like…it starts early….usually at around 6:00 am.

I water in the mornings, and there is the constant dead heading of flowers. I know…it’s hard.


About 10 am, as I hung out laundry. I could hear kids playing in the river.   They are skipping rocks, splashing and fishing. Sounds nice.

River BAnk

Do you agree….


Back at the garden…I check on the half runner green beans. These beans have been fighting insects from the day they sprouted, but they are holding their own…with no outside help except water and healthy soil. Mike placed tobacco sticks in an “X” pattern on the top of each bed. We’ll tie those down, and they will be what the beans climb around.


Remember my strawberry-lavender jam? I told you I used culinary or food grade lavender? Did I tell the truth or did it come from my garden? Hmmm…


When the beekeepers gathered to share sugar for our bees, one man brought his extra tomato plants. The kindness of a stranger…and it’s doing well.


Speaking of bees, the swarm I caught is doing well. It’s been a concern because of the lack of activity going in and out of the hive, but a peek inside a few weeks ago showed plenty of brood, so the queen has been working. Finally, the bees have hatched out and I’m seeing them although not in this picture.  They are all out gathering.   Whew. I love my bees.

No 2 Swarm

Some things just grow better from seed, and cucumbers are one of those some things. Mine are growing in a bucket. I need to keep them on the move away from cucumber beetles, so I thought I’d give this a try. I’ll keep you posted on how this is workng.


Basil is another thing that grows easily from seed.


If you live in town, you can grow a garden of your own with a raised bed, a few buckets and some want to. It is not even hard work.

However, for in the country is No. 1!!

Board Picture


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