Adventures of Quarantine Gardening

End of Day Update: May 7, 2020

Remember that fence gate door thing I took down to use as a raised bed? I’m going to use it now! Well, it is in place to be used. Maybe…tomatoes and potatoes? Tomatos and potatos? Endless possibilities — endless possibilities within Zone 7, that is. I also put some Pinberries (white strawberry) roots in smaller planters.

I put straw on all of these planters for tonight; springtime in Oklahoma — we are expecting bad weather.

My 13-year-old planted sweet corn in a large planter today! She is excited to see sprouts🌽 She planted 6 seeds, roughly 6-7 inches apart, and placed each an inch down into the soil.

I also took my first clippings from a plant — English (?) Ivy. Some sort of ivy that is growing in my backyard and is healthy. I am going to replant some of it in the front yard. It’s pretty ground cover.

While I was outside, Koji Bear got out and went for a brief tree climb. I think he was satisfied with himself.

Since Covid-19 quarantine, I work from home, and while I am at the computer, I look outside. I like watching a bird couple, now proud parents of baby birds that are still in the nest near my window. I set out a bit of birdseed for them to chomp while I snapped some pictures. A Blue Jay grabbed a bite, too. Right below their nest area is where I dug trenches and am planning a new garden bed in the front yard.

Update as of May 6, 2020

The front of my house has had a big square patch of rocks. I think the last owner made a rock garden, but it was never attractive to me; quarantine is the time for reconstruction! Not entirely knowing what I plan to do, I have some ideas. Yesterday, I dug out a trench for a boarder and piled the dirt on top. I am considering a garden sitting area and from this position, in the summer, we could put the movie projector out there and watch movies outside in a comfy place. More details to come, but here is what I have so far.

In the backyard where I took down the old fence door there was also a post in the ground that has been unused for years — I finally got that out. PHEW! The large pole next to it is a city light pole that has been out of service since before I moved in and I have recently scheduled for the city to remove it. That will probably be a month or more before they get it done, who knows, BUT…MORE SPACE FOR GARDENING! I may just ask them to leave the deep hole uncovered and I’ll use it to plant a tree.

Not pictured, I flatted a garden bed area to make it more even and used the dirt to fill up the rest of an old fire pit to make it level with the rest of the ground. So, that worked out — but again, it was TIRING. PHEW! It was too dark to get any decent pictures, so I’ll show you guys tomorrow.

My daughter and I went to Lowe’s earlier; I got some Thyme seeds (not sure they are the Creeping Thyme I wanted, but we shall soon see), and my daughter wanted to get some sweet corn seeds to try and plant herself.

I’ve been considering planting peach trees in the backyard. Peach trees!!! I am turning into a farmer. Watch the Nightingale Plantation GROW!! I’ve been scoping out trees at

Other gardening updates:

  • I will pick up proper oak tree logs and saw dust for my mushrooms growing projects.
  • Wildflowers are sprouting nicely in the backyard but not yet blooming.
  • Newly planted plants, flowers, and herbs in the front & back yard garden beds are doing great!
  • The nursery bed with the kale, spinach, and arugula are good; sprouts are coming up, but still rather small. They seem happy, though.
  • I still need to get some mung beans for sprouts, but, I will, I will.
  • Porcini mycelium in the clay pot has not produced anything (yet!)

Lots going on at the Nightingale Homestead ❤

Update as of May 4, 2020

May the 4th be with you!!!!

May the 4th be with you

I missed a couple days updates because I was EXHAUSTED, but, here is what I have done since the last update…

I took down a tree all by myself with a survivalist handsaw. It was not the most graceful of events, but, by-golly, I did it! Now part of my flower beds can get more sun and that damn tree is not jacking up the roof on my house.

I have also replanted the lemon balm and the rosemary in the ground, in their respective spaces, I added some plants to the front yard beds, decorative and not, and was feeling creative so I made a planter out of an intense/candle hanging lantern. Oh! And update on the pinto bean sprouts – they did not make it. I am going to try that project again with Mung Beans.

The Nursery bed is doing well and has about 14 baby sprouts; I also added a Jalapeno plant and Cucumber.

The flower bed edging of rocks are rocks that laid in a rock garden at my house when I bought it back in 2010. I never really cared for them but have not gotten around to doing something with them. I dug a trench and put some of those rocks in there to make a boarder. I think it turned out okay!

Not pictured — I have my wild flower bed in the backyard and have sprouts coming up! Hopefully, they will bring in some bees ❤ Also, I have some Porcini mycelium trying to inoculate in the backyard. Experimenting!

A couple of readers have asked what I did with that old fence door that I will used as a raised bed — it is still coming, I have done nothing with it so far, but I will. Don’t you worry…I will.

Day 6: end of day six update – April 29, 2020

So, thankfully the storm passed by my city just barely, but we did not get any hail, only a little rain, and grey skies. Here is a picture of hail that came down about 15 minutes away from my house.

Hail from Oklahoma storm

This morning while removing the straw from my seedlings, I noticed that some have started sprouting! How exciting!! It is my spinach and kale that have sprung up.

Spinach sprout

In the nursery bed, I removed all the straw and then made a contraption for shade, so the little sprouts get enough sun but not too much during the day. I don’t want them burning up.

I also got into my Porcini mushroom container to see if it began inoculating, and it did! I transferred mycelium to soil and a pot, and also put some in a shaded area in the backyard. I probably should have waited for more mycelium to grow, but… I got impatient! Experiments!! We shall see what happens.

Days 3-5: Update – April 26 – 28, 2020

I took down an old fence door we had lying around and wire-cut the screen off of it. I could use it as a small, raised bed.

Door fence turning to raised bed

We are expecting some severe weather this afternoon, about 70-80 MPH winds and hail — hopefully, no tornadoes. Spring in Oklahoma!! I got some straw to cover my spinach, kale, and arugula seedlings, and will cover my small lavender and rosemary plants with buckets until the storm passes. If the weather holds out until later this evening, I’ll run and get those logs for my mushrooms growing project. Exciting!

Covering my seedlings with straw

A side note on my lavender and rosemary plants, I have not watered them in 2-days. As I understand now, herbs like some dry soil, so I am letting their soil dry out a tad-bit and will let the rain refresh their soil tonight. Move their watering to an everyday to every-other-day schedule/as needed. Don’t want them getting water-logged.

Day 2: end of day two update – April 25, 2020

Phew, I am TIRED! I work seasonally with Calvert’s Plants & Interiors in Oklahoma City, this is the first season I have done bedding with them and it was hard work AND a great learning experience. Gain some knowledge anywhere I can for this new endeavor. When my workday was over, I got one Rosemary plant and three Lavender plants, a gift from my BFF who works there full-time — I. Am. Stoked. As soon as I got home, even tired, I was ready to work in MY garden.

I planted two of the Lavender plants near my Knockout Roses in the front yard and then one in the backyard among the Monkey Grass. I put the Rosemary in a pot, temporarily.

What else did I do today in the garden? I created a space in the back corner of the yard under some trees to put King Stropharia (Wine Cap Mushrooms). I also cut back some trees to let some extra light in. In this area, I will inoculate wood chips; I added some old, semi-rotting wood, that will be covered by dry wood chips before adding spores. My Oak tree log mushroom growing project is still to come.

Check out my new friends! Found them when I was moving wood for the mushroom site.

And lastly, I washed and am doing the first soak of Pinto Beans to make bean sprouts!

Learning something new everyday! Until tomorrow…!

Day 1: end of day one update – April 24, 2020

I decided to start by planting Arugula, Spinach, and Kale. I created a spot for their nursery where it is well-lit, and I will move them to their permanent garden bed in about three weeks. Grow, my little pretties, GROW!

Let my personal gardening experience begin

I’ve tried minor gardening in the past; I’ve grown jalapenos that came out with zero hotness, I’ve killed plants and even cacti, but I am determined to produce things for real this time! Quarantine has given me a new perspective on some things, and I have been really striving to better myself and increase my knowledge in more useful things during this time. So far, I have been very proud of myself, and I want to add “being proud of my gardening skills” to that list. My mom was a wonderful gardener, I just never picked up the skills, so I am going to try now. Better late than never!

I get expert advice on gardening from Agri Planet – Uganda’s (formally Art Planet Academy) CEO and Founder, Ahumuza Ignatius, local Ugandan and friend. He has been helpful, available, and PATIENT with my excitable drive, overzealous behavior, and many questions!

So, what’s the plan?! Still somewhat up in the air, BUT, the idea is to plant corn, arugula, butter lettuce, and potatoes. I am also dabbling in a mushroom growing project using King Stropharia, Porcini, Hen of the Woods (Maitake), and Shiitake mushrooms. I will pick up the Oak logs for that endeavor this weekend! Oh, and maybe some lavender, too. Trying to germinate seeds now.

For not having any gardening experience, or at least very little, I feel like this is a big undertaking, but I am excited, and it is worth trying! Sustainable food is never a bad idea!

Here is the soil I tilled!

In one of the photos, you can see lemon balm growing. That was here when I bought my house in 2010 so that lives on! I love it. I dug it up, potted it, and will replant it when I officially figure out where everything will go.

I will continue to update this post as I go, so check back and see what kind of messes and faux pas I’ve created in the garden.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Elaina M Cooley says:

    Lavender smells great and is really pretty but it can take over. Really easily. I suggest keeping that in a pot. I planted lavender once and I could barely contain it. Even in a pot it might try taking over. Jalapeños need 100% sun and you can get the hotness. I’m more of an herb gardener though. Love me some fresh basil, thyme, sage, oregano, etc. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope my lavender takes over!!! OK, I will try the peppers again and make sure they have enough sun. Herbs are great! I put some rosemary in, today. Thanks!


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