Friday, July 11, 2014


Every spring I used to look forward to the day when it was time to plant our hot bed, a simple little construction that looked like a giant toolbox. The cover consisted of six windows, three on each side. After the ground was spaded it was time to plant the seeds of things that needed a longer growing time than what could be expected if we were to plant directly into the garden. Tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, kohlrabi, broccoli, and cauliflower. Often we would also sow a little lettuce and parsley simply to have an earlier spring time treat. This little hotbed was quite different from the garden, we allowed no space between anything, the windows were closed to keep heat inside and we had to water daily.

By late May and the last threat of a killing frost was gone it would be time to transplant the things from the hotbed into the garden.  A lot of Amish transplanted their things earlier and covered the plants with plastic jugs that had the bottoms cut out to protect them from getting too cold. We never did that, thinking we have enough to keep us busy without that extra chore of babying the plants along.

We never had any problem with deer getting into our garden, though starlings and robins were quite another story. We discovered long strips of cloth that resembled snakes finally got rid of the problem we had with the starlings coming to snip off baby bean plants. Little rocks painted red and scattered among the strawberries before the actual berries ripened tended to discourage the robins from coming to snack on the strawberries once they began ripening.

Laundry water used to be saved and poured over cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower to keep it from getting wormy.

Ashes from the wood stove helped the squash and cucumbers from getting blight.

A tablespoon of Epsom salt placed at the bottom of the hole and then a little dirt to cover it when we transplanted tomatoes helped them grow bigger and healthier, we tried adding a quarter cup of sugar to each tomato plant one year after having been recommended to do so to get sweeter tomatoes, but it didn't seem to work. In fact we didn't think they did as well that year and never tried it again.


  1. I knew there was a use for ashes in the garden, I just couldn't remember what it was! I believe they make good fertilizer too, don't they?

  2. I LOVE this tip for gardens, especially the strawberries. I've lost almost all of my strawberries to birds this year. Next year I'll be painting some rocks!

  3. Love, love the strawberry gardening tip. It's so simple, yet profound. I've covered mine with netting, but it was a pain to lift off when I picked or weeded them. I'm trying your tip next spring. Thanks!
    My MIL always planted onions in a spot in her garden where they dumped ashed from their stove, and they were very good onions.

  4. I put eggshells at the bottom of the hole when planting tomatoes to protect against blossom end rot (which comes from lack of calcium).

    1. I do that too. Also give each plant a cup of milk occasionally for the same reason. Seems to work. Sour milk is fine btw.

  5. Epsom salts mixed in water are very good for tomatoes if the leaves show signs of yellowing.
    I think your hot bed is similar to what we call a cold frame!

  6. I think our garden suffers from every problem you described, we will definitely try these remedies. Thanks!

  7. I enjoyed reading your garden memories, and I also learned a few things :)

  8. Now, I 'm excited for next years gardening! :-) I especially want to try your red rocks in the strawberry patch!


Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I love hearing your thoughts.