Tag Archives: raised beds

Fall Garden Update

As I mentioned yesterday, it’s been ages since I updated you on our little victory garden!  We started almost everything from plants this time (purchased last minute at Home Depot) back in early September.  A few things we did start ourselves from seed, and those seem to be doing the best, with the exception of our butter and red lettuces.  Anyway, let’s hop to the pictures.

Our purple flash pepper from Home Depot is doing pretty well, and adds some pretty purple color to the front raised bed.  It’s an ornamental pepper, and is edible, but we haven’t tasted it to determine if it’s delicious or not.  It’s just really pretty!

Purple Flash Pepper Plant | Oysters & Pearls

On the other corner of the front bed, we planted another pepper.  I can’t even remember what kind it was (also from Home Depot) but I’m just going to label it firmly within the Epic Pepper Fail variety.

Epic Pepper Fail | Oysters & Pearls

In this same front bed, we also have some cabbage that is absolutely nothing to write home about.

October Cabbage | Oysters & Pearls

But hey, at least it’s not dead or ridden with critters.

Also in this bed is our little corner of lettuce Heaven.

October Butter Lettuce | Oysters & Pearls

We have butter lettuce (above) and red lettuce (below).  Both are doing really well, and we are thoroughly enjoying our salads.

October Red Lettuce | Oysters & Pearls

In raised bed number two, we have a few tomato plants we started from seed what seems like AGES ago.


October Roma Tomato | Oysters & Pearls


October Cherry Tomatoes | Oysters & Pearls

And a brave little Cherokee Purple Tomato (yep, just the one):

October Cherokee Purple Tomato | Oysters & Pearls

It’s definitely no summer crop. :(  And I’m worried that a frost is going to get them before they ripen, so these may get fried as-is.

Also in Bed 2: very colorful bell peppers!  We have green, yellow (really more of a white), and PURPLE!  These are actually ones we started from seed back in the Spring that are really just now getting going.

October Yellow Bell Pepper | Oysters & Pearls October Purple Bell Pepper | Oysters & Pearls

Also in Bed 2 are our jalapeño peppers we planted from seed back in mid-Summer.  They are really started to take off this month.

October Jalapenos | Oysters & Pearls

And rounding out Bed 2 is our lovely crop of spinach.

October Spinach | Oysters & Pearls


Actually, we have been using Sevin Dust on them periodically, because something thinks our spinach is really, really tasty.  I wouldn’t know.  But a couple of the plants give me a glimmer of hope.

October Spinach |  Oysters & Pearls

In back Bed number 3, we have a steady crop of okra that we harvest daily!

Below are okra pods of varying stages of development on a single stalk.

Okra Pods At Various Stages of Development | Oysters & Pearls

Here’s one that’s just about to turn into an okra pod:

Okra Blossom Turning Into Okra Pod | Oysters & Pearls

The ants and other bugs LOVE the okra blossoms.  They must have some serious sweets inside.  I got to thinking this summer that the okra blossoms really looked like cotton blossoms, and they both looked a whole lot like hibiscus blooms.  After some thorough Wikipedia-ing, I discovered it’s because they’re all related!

Okra Blossom | Oysters & Pearls

Anyway, okra blooms are really, really pretty, and I love having them in the yard.  And then having okra.

Finishing up the raised beds, we have some very, very sad collard greens.  Looks like I’ll still be buying those this winter.

Very Sad October Collards | Oysters & Pearls

That’s it for the raised beds.  For more info on how we built ’em, {click here} and {here}.

We still pick a loner strawberry every now and then, too.  They are in pots, but maybe at some point they will get transplanted into the ground.  They berries never get very big though, so I’m not sure it’s worth it.

Tiny October Strawberry | Oysters & Pearls

And moving on over to the herb garden around the patio, I planted some Faulkenberry-Beaver wedding favor mint in the herb garden a couple evenings ago!

Wedding Favor Mint | Oysters & Pearls

The wedding favors were little burlap bags containing a tiny mint plant and a little bottle of Jim Beam, along with an adorable recipe for a pitcher of mint juleps.  It was precious!  I ended up with a couple of leftovers the wedding planner handed to me at the end of the night (we shutter down).  So I planted three in my little herb garden.  Hopefully we’ll be drinking lots of mint juleps and remembering what a good time we had at the Beaver’s wedding for a long time to come. :)

You’ll note the moss surrounding the plants.  This area is where the water ends up settling when it runs off our patio, so I figured it would be the perfect spot for water-loving mint.  Only time will tell, though.  I’m excellent at murdering mint, which is supposedly practically invincible.  I call it the Titanic of the herb garden.


How Do You Keep Cats Out Of Flower Beds? | Oysters & Pearls

Wallace seriously won’t leave a flower bed alone.  Sometimes he uses them as his litter box… sometimes he just rolls around and plays with stuff and a lot of the time he just lays in them, like he’s doing in this picture.  It’s so weird.  And annoying.  Any tips? Help!

Here’s a tip for you: wash your homegrown lettuce really well.  I recommend dumping all your freshly picked lettuce in the sink and washing it one leaf at a time, then drying in a salad spinner.  Because no matter how carefully you pick your lettuce, you still might bring one of these into your kitchen.

Snail Snuck In With The Lettuce | Oysters & Pearls

Yup, that bad boy crawled out of my sink from some lettuce I picked a couple nights ago.  Pretty sure this is where George Lucas got Jabba the Hutt (Jabadahut?) from.

I’ve been making a delicious salad with these greens (besides the Shrimp salad I posted about earlier this week.

Fresh homegrown lettuce (sans snail), homegrown bell pepper, and whatever other veggies we have in the house at the time, topped with Canned Sand Pears, shaved Thomasville Tomme from Sweet Grass Dairy, and Maggie’s honey mustard vinaigrette.

Homegrown Salad with Pears and Honey Mustard Vinaigrette | Oysters & Pearls

Another side note: Sweet Grass Dairy’s new online store just opened a few days ago!  Now you can order their cheese, condiments, and all sorts of local foodie treats online at The Larder.  I die over their homepage.

Anyway, Maggie’s honey mustard vinaigrette is delicious, and is the same one she used on her brussel sprout slaw we had a couple weeks ago.

Maggie’s Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Copied and pasted from thesmintzes.wordpress.com

1 tablespoon grainy dijon mustard
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt

Whisk ’em together.  Top things with it.  Delicious.

Fall Salad with Canned Sand Pears and Honey Mustard Vinaigrette | Oysters & Pearls

Sorry for that insanely long post!

If you’re a Bainbridge local, the Bainbridge Country Club is having a Fall Carnival tonight from 6:00-8:00 p.m.  It’s $10 for adults and $5 for kids (non-members) and I’d love to see you there!

Happy almost Friday!

And watch out for those snails.

Until Next Time

Saturday Garden Update

Bonus post!!

I hope everyone is thoroughly enjoying their weekends!!  I realized this morning that I hadn’t updated anyone on the garden in ages, so I thought I’d throw an update in this weekend.  Some things are just now taking off, and some are on their last leg.  I’ll keep this post light on words and heavy on pictures.

Basil | Oysters & Pearls

Our basil was doing SO well… until an army of black caterpillars did some SERIOUS damage.  We’ve started putting Sevin Dust on them like we’ve had to do to the tomatoes, but it just washes off with every rain (which is practically all day every day these days).  I’d love to have an organic garden, but I don’t want to grow it just to feed these dern caterpillars!  Any suggestions??

Key Lime Seedling | Oysters & Pearls

Remember when I made key lime pie?  Well, I saved a few seeds, and I managed to get one started into a seedling!  I’m hoping that in approximately one jillion years I will be eating key limes from it.

And speaking of citrus trees…

Meyer Lemon Tree | Oysters & Pearls

Our Meyer lemon tree is growing like crazy!  It was just twigs when we planted it… and for a long time after that.  We actually planted two, and one didn’t make it.  They were coming up around my grandparents’ lemon tree, and that makes having one pretty special.  Plus, they are the BEST lemons.  They are really sweet and the size of a softball.  Amazing.

Garlic Bed | Oysters & Pearls

Also a new feature: a very tiny (for now) garlic bed.  I can now call myself a self-respecting woman.  We planted some that Wheat’s aunt gave me when she gave me some cucumbers for pickling, plus a couple other cloves that had sprouted in the fruit bowl.

Bell Peppers | Oysters & Pearls

Our bell pepper plants haven’t ever really gotten very large, but they are slowly but surely growing some peppers!  As you can see, the caterpillars have done a number on these, too.  Help!

Pickling Cucumber | Oysters & Pearls

We still have a few cucumbers trickling in, but we have pulled all but a couple vines up at this point.  They are drowning in the rain!

Cucumbers | Oysters & Pearls

Not so pretty anymore – but I hate to pull the last of them up if I can get a few more cukes out of them!

Okra | Oysters & Pearls

Our okra is really taking off these days.  The plants are getting bigger and stronger, and are starting to make more okra!  Overall, though, it’s pretty laughable.  We’ve gotten 2 okra pods off these plants so far… but we’ll see.  They ought to produce all summer long, if we’ll ever get some sunshine!

Plotting Their Escape | Oysters & Pearls

Harold and Wallace, planning their escape perhaps.

Now, on to what we have had the most success with: TOMATOES!

Cherry Tomatoes on the Vine | Oysters & Pearls

We have eaten a ripe cherry tomato here and there, and they are so good!

As for the other varieties we planted (beefsteak, Cherokee purple, and Roma) we have only gotten one tiny ripe beefsteak.  I have high hopes for them all, if it will just. quit. raining!

Roma Tomatoes | Oysters & Pearls

Green Cherokee Purple Tomato | Oysters & Pearls

Tomatoes are not Toys | Oysters & Pearls

Tomatoes are not toys, Wallace.

Which also, note how TALL our maters are now!  We never cease to be amazed at how big they’ve gotten.  See them a little over a month ago {here}.  It’s especially crazy that we started them from seed!

For a tutorial on how we built our raised beds, click {here} and {here}!

Raised Tomato Bed | Oysters & Pearls

Now, if Wallace will just guard them from squirrels while we aren’t home, we’ll be set…

Guardian of the Garden | Oysters & Pearls


Raised Vegetable Beds, Part One

As I mentioned in my previous post, this past weekend the Husband and I embarked on a pretty big project. This post is the first of many related to it, I’m sure. We have been planning to build raised beds for vegetable gardening for a while now, plotting how to go about it in down time for the past few months, but that pesky bar exam studying always got in the way. Well, our first free weekend, and we knocked two of them out!

Please excuse the lack of detail oriented pictures. And a warning: this will not be a photo-heavy post. To be honest, we were so busy working that we didn’t take very many… and I actually forgot to take any before pictures! Such a bummer. Anyway, if you’re interested in attempting this yourself, I’ll attempt to recreate the details for you here.

First off, after looking at various family members’ raised beds over the past year or so, we came to the conclusion that we wanted to build ours with railroad cross ties. We knew that there is some concern regarding the creosote that railroad ties are treated with before they are used in the railroads (see the above link to wikipedia if you need further explanation) and using them for vegetable gardening before we started. However, after some research, it seems most of the concern is regarding the use of new railroad ties. The ties we purchased (from Stone’s, a local hardware store) are old ties, and we felt comfortable using them to build our gardens. In addition, the ties are extremely durable (why they are used as railroad ties, obvi), thick, fairly uniform in size, and readily available. It was a bit pricier than building them out of new wood and metal brackets (about $10 per tie), but we tend to lean toward the more substantial, permanent nature of the ties. So, that’s that.

We had Stone’s deliver the ties (24 in all) to our front yard. We (naively) thought that the two of us could lift the ties one by one and carry them into the backyard to build the beds. Oh MY GOSH were we wrong! When it came time to attempt to lift the ties… I could. not. budge. them. Not one little bit! I have since googled around for back up, and found this that stated that used RR ties weigh upwards of 200 pounds a piece!! Luckily, Wheat is much stronger than me, and the two of us together managed to get them, one at a time into the back of his truck. We then drove them around to the backyard, four at a time, and somehow managed to get them in place on the ground. Now, you can have pictures.

DSCN2153I apologize that this is the first picture I took. Let me summarize. After we got them to the backyard, to start, Wheat would unload one tie, line it up where we wanted the back of the bed to be, and I dug out a trench of sorts along the side of the tie. We wanted to do this because 1) our ground is no where close to level here, 2) we thought it just looked neater when the ties were embedded a little into the ground, and 3) we thought it might help with erosion down the slight incline when it rains. As designated digger, I dug the trenches and eyeballed level, then we rolled the tie into the trench, and checked it with a level. Probably far more painstaking than necessary, but I’m OCD about things like that. And besides, if you’re going to put this much effort into it, you might as well make it as perfect as possible. We did two “inside” and two “outside,” and repeated the trench digging until we had a square, as you can see above. Or below.

DSCN2154You may be wondering what’s with all the beer case boxes… Well, during other veggie garden research, I read that putting cardboard down in the beds before you fill with dirt (more on that in another post) will kill the grass/weeds/whatever underneath and will naturally biodegrade after a while. So, we saved everybody’s beer boxes from Saturday… and Wheat went ahead and put them down. Don’t judge.

The next step is much easier, but still hard, because those ties are so ridiculously heavy. Just loaded four more back up, brought them around, and stacked them on top of the first four. Attempted to make sure they were all level and met snugly at all four corners. The first one was a rousing success!

DSCN2156Here is a close up of the corner, just so you can see how the bottom layer is sort of dug in and how the top layer fits on there.

DSCN2157I may have made the job of designated digger sound easy, but let me assure you, it was not. You may have noticed the loppers laying around in the pictures. We just recently cleared this area of the yard, as it was previously wooded. There are TONS of roots that I would run into in every trench. Some of them I could just pull up by hand, but many of them had to be cut. It was a time consuming and exhausting process. My neck, arms, and back still hate me.

DSCN2159I found it easiest to lay the tie just past where we wanted it, then dig right along side it. The width of a square shovel is almost exactly the same as the wide side of the railroad ties, so that worked out well.

DSCN2161We finished up the second one the same way as the first. After it was said and done, I attempted to even out the ground on the inside of the beds, which is what I’m doing above. We think that they are fantastic! But we are partial. We still have eight ties and one raised bed left to be done, so our work this coming weekend is cut out for us!

I hope that this is the first of many, many more gardening related posts on O&P, and in that vein, I thought I’d share a couple of the items I’ve currently got growing in the herb garden next to the house… which will be reserved for herbs only from here on out, now that we have designated vegetable beds!


Oregano and rosemary, with some scraggly lemon verbena in the background. Oregano THRIVES in South Georgia, apparently. I had been growing it in a pot at my apartment in Tallahassee, but it is taking ovah here in Bainbridge. It’s so pretty, and is also delicious, so I don’t mind. Another fun fact: it can take the frost. Three cheers for fresh oregano year round!


Rainbow chard: because it’s pretty, it tastes good, it makes your salads pretty, and it is so good for you! This rainbow chard also apparently comes with a dusting of pollen. In the very beginning of MARCH. Gotta love the South.

All of this manual labor had us all extremely exhausted, including Harold, who was busy following us around the yard, sunbathing, and barking at the neighbor’s horses all day. It’s a rough life.