Garden Round Up 4/30/13

Grace in the garden

wilted seedlings
I won’t get into the how or why, but every one of our seedlings succumbed to too much sunshine and wilted into nothing this week.

I could have cried.

Funny that I didn’t. I think the new dress I got that day saved me from devastation. Even a girl that doesn’t care for shopping can enjoy a new dress. It *is* wedding season, after all.

I was sad about the seedlings. Every day I had visited them, marveled at their potential and tended to their needs. I was a little angry, too. That was a lot of work put into something that wouldn’t (successfully) see the light of day.

Then, I was shown grace and encouragement in a few tiny pea pods. After that, I played in the dirt and planted more cucumber seeds. OUTSIDE.

pea trellis and pots

So here’s the rest of what’s going on in the garden this month…

After I watched the vines growing up the pea trellises, I added some thread (criss-crossed around the bamboo) for the peas to grab a hold of. Their little tendrils seem to prefer skinny supports. I’m loving what the peas in the barrel are doing and can’t wait for them to show pods, since they are supposed to be BLUE and YELLOW!

But other stuff has happened, too. If you look close at the pea pictures you might see some of our “new” mulch. I keep all of our paper grocery bags (mostly because I feel bad for always forgetting to take the reusable ones to the store) and finally found a great use for them! I love the new mulch so far, and the kids are very willing to stuff the bags into the shredder for me.

I think it looks awesome (like natural confetti), and I definitely prefer the appearance to that of just opening up the bags and laying them flat. I’ll give an update next month on how it lasts and composts in with the soil.

paper bag mulchThis is how I pre-cut the bags before running them through the shredder. Our shredder can run 7 sheets of regular paper at a time, so the bags weren’t tough on the motor. I saved the handles for the compost pile.
pre-cutting paper bag for mulch

potato mulched with hayonions mulched with hay
In other mulch news, I used old hay from the barn to mulch around the onions and fill in around the potato plants in the towers.

The hay I used was no longer safe for the horses and hasn’t tempted the yard critters, either. After putting it all out I worried about attracting the wild bunnies. They haven’t even sniffed at it.

Our very first corn crop is growing with companion pole beans in a repurposed leaky water trough…

corn in a trough
I’ll give this experiment a post of its own if it actually bears corn. I’d seen a few mentions of corn in water troughs but never saw any pictures of actual corn on the stalks.

The companion beans are part of a traditional Native American planting plan which also includes squash underneath. The beans are supposed to grow up the corn stalks and the squash plant as a ground cover and mulch. Since there isn’t much room, I’ll just mulch with compost and paper strips once the beans germinate.

My Mama said that’s how her Daddy planted corn and beans. This pleased me!

I’m pretty excited about these beans starting their trip up the recycled chain link gate trellis…
new bean

If this looks half as awesome in real life as it does in my head, it’ll be a win. 

I’m always amazed at how well the older and wilder plants do in our yard without a bit of attention from me. The rose bushes are huge and full of blooms!

One day I suppose I’ll learn how to prune them, but not today. Today I’ll just admire the fragrant beauties nestled amongst the thorns.

There’s some more grace for you. Gifts of roses to a plant full of thorns.


And it wouldn’t be spring in Georgia without the wisteria. This stuff is on its way to every tree surrounding our property. The blossoms fell like snow on windy days. Mostly from this ancient oak. 

wisteria on oak*atchoo*

What gifts did you find in your garden this month?


  1. How are you feeling about the paper bag mulch? Is it holding up? A lot of gardeners in my community garden are using straw, but the straw contains seed and is sprouting everywhere so I’m hesitant on that one.

    • Hi, Jessica. Thanks for the question!
      I am loving the paper bag mulch. It still looks exactly as it did when I placed it, so I’m not sure what the “composting” rate is on it. It doesn’t blow around on windy days, so once you wet it down you can count on it to stick around. When spread thickly, it does a good job on keeping the little weeds down. The only places I still really struggle with weeds are areas where my stalky grass tries to sneak in, and in the beds that contain the most horse compost. (our horses obviously eat a lot of clover, lol) The beds with a top layer of organic garden soil have very few weeds with the mulch. You might could block out weeds completely by just cutting open the bags and laying them flat, but the shredded bags just look so pretty!
      I will definitely keep using the paper bag mulch, and fill in with the old hay when I’ve finally exhausted my supply of bags.

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