How to plant a rusty wheelbarrow for the garden


After a trip over an old mine road near nowhere last April, Tractor Man and I stopped to follow this rusty cable. At the end of the ‘rusty brick road’ was OZ. A stunning treasure!

The holy grail for flea market gardeners

The holy grail for flea market gardeners.

How many people had passed this up after using it for target practice, I wonder? No Flea Market Gardener, I’m sure!  I know some here on our page who wouldn’t be above wheeling it away, running… There wasn’t a soul around that mine but a few ghosts and I STILL looked around to see if anyone was going to stop me.

We were near Coalinga, California, where ever that is, …a weird area desert like with a lot of benitoite in the soil.  A local man told us that because of all the minerals in the soil plants wouldn’t grow there,…that’s why the area looks like Utah desert.  We went there for the backroads and scenery. Believe me, this wheelbarrow was a GREAT scene!

Without question, my husband helped me heft it into the car,….I think even he admired the rusty patina, although he’s never used that word in his life. It will find a new home in my garden…   Bullet holes are good enough for drainage, right?

Later after stopping for dinner out and mid way through I gasped and told my hubby…”Oh My Gosh! We forgot the wheelbarrow in the truck,….what if someone steals it?!” He just looked at me….

OK, I’m happy.


Here it is in all its rusty bullet-holed glory!

All ready to plant

All ready to plant.

I LOVE it! Ready to plant, Autumn sage, ageratum and purple and magenta wave petunias. I’m not a petunia gal,…never have liked or grown them! BUT, one photo from our Spring Contest inspired me with this color combination, so I HAD to duplicate it. Any tips for me on petunias???

Petunias 101:  See all the tips YOU gave me!

Here’s my wheelbarrow all planted,…you can see where I moved my old wheelbarrow down further.

Newly planted with a few galvanized containers to match

Newly planted with a few galvanized containers to match.

Now, do I cut off the petunia flowers to make them fuller? Next photo not for a couple weeks,…hope it takes off. By the way, my inspiration was Shari McElhaney Telek’s petunia color combination in her “Celebrate Spring” contest photo. Thanks, Sheri! One of the nicest things about this page, I think, is when we get inspired by each other here and then act on it!

Shari Telek's photo and my inspiration

Shari Telek’s photo and my inspiration.


It’s mid summer and I thought I’d show the progress on my petunia planter wheelbarrow.

Mid summer and it's doing great

Mid summer and it’s doing great!

The deep blue and rose petunias, rose autumn sage and blue ageratum are filling in a bit. The galvanized tub below it has anemone which will bloom in the fall, and I just popped the Coreopsis ‘Rum Punch’ still in its nursery can into the bait bucket. I love it! I think I’m liking petunias now.

Categories: Creative Containers, Garden Art, Garden Junk, Garden Vignette, Gardening, Get Galvanized, Rusty Rust, Wonderful Wheelbarrows | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Petunias 101

Petunias are a Flea Market Gardening standby for  rusty or galvanized containers.  Have you grown them?  I haven’t much and asked for tips from the experts, when planting my old rusty wheelbarrow.  Here’s their scoop on growing these common annuals.  You’ll find that they may be ‘perennial.’ 

Mid summer and it's doing great

Mid summer petunias in the wheelbarrow

Diane Renz Davis

I plant in my wooden planter box by putting plants in milk jugs, cut down so that no one can see them and the plants grow around them. they are great cause the water doesn’t go thru and rod out the item below, plus they need less water that way. You might want to try that with a wheel barrow too.

Jackie Doeden

Petunias bloom from early spring until the snow and cold weather freeze them out!!! They take very little fussing over, stick them in the dirt and stand back and watch them grow..a bonus is that they smell so good. This is a basic workhorse in the flower garden. I personally like the regular ones better than the wave as they smell better but even the wave have great flowers. You may have your mind changed by growing petunias, this is one of the old fashioned flowers that are a must grow in my garden!!!

Photo by Jeanne Sammons

Photo by Jeanne Sammons

Lori Brunk McMillon

I love petunias, they remind me of my grandparents who always planted an “English Cottage” style garden. Even as my grandfather aged and could no longer do too much in the yard he built an A-frame stand and grew petunias in pots. Some of them really put on a wonderful fragrance in the evening (I used to have a friend go garden shopping with me and we were always sticking our noses in them to see which had the strongest smell and people would ask us about them as many didn’t even realize they have a wonderful smell) and attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and moths. They really don’t require much care (one of the reasons they’re an old fashioned favorite), just watering and an occasional feeding. Removing of spent stems will encourage more new growth and blooms.

Laurie Linn

Fertilize your petunias every time you water with a very weak solution. Don’t need to deadhead but do pinch ends to encourage new growth once in a while or cut 4 inches off the ends every two months. They will grow like crazy!

Photo by Shari Telek

Heather Rotz

Ignore them. Petunias are grown by everyone because even if you have a black thumb, they grow well. Deadheading is key though if you want them to get huge and full of a carpet of flowers. Water only when really needed.

Marie Niemann

I love the wave petunia’s especially since they reseed and come back! They are really easy to grow, they need water, sunshine and a little fertilizer and they will happily grow and spill over the sides of a wonderful old rusty wheelbarrow! Can’t wait to see it!

Photo by Marie Niemann

Photo by Marie Niemann

Dot Brennan Baker

I had an old wheelbarrow, had it planted with ferns, and placed under a maple tree. Loved it, my daughter has it now. No more maple tree. Your plant combo looks great. I would add a lime green Heuchera to the mix, but then, I would add lime green to just about any mix. I love Wave Petunias, the only kind I plant, and they do a great job reseeding.

Lissa Jane Bitton

I think you do need to deadhead them – make sure and pinch off the whole bud not just pull the dead flower! I cut mine back before I plant them so they bush out and don’t get leggy as fast – so initially they have no blooms! Mine got a caterpillar the past couple years and wouldn’t rebloom so will probably spray the from the get go even though I prefer growing things organically!

Categories: Creative Containers, Gardening | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Skunked! How to ‘deskunk’ your dog

This is a bit off-topic from our usual Flea Market Gardening, but skunks are a reality in a country garden when you have dogs.  I hope our ‘recipe’ works,…I’ll let you know! ~~ Sue

Last night, 2am, our Corgi, Maggie saw some kind of creature amble by the open sliding glass door, leapt up and crashed through the screen to protect us from whatever it was. Well, it was a darned polecat! Maggie, our sweet Maggie, must have got it right in the face because she slunk right back in when we called her.

Maggie May

Maggie May

We’ll be shampooing the carpet this morning since she immediately (before we could snatch her up) began to roll on her back.  Dressing hurriedly, I ran to get our ‘skunk kit’, checking quickly on the computer for exact directions.  Tractor man held her in the bathtub and I doused her with the ‘formula’ with rubber gloved hands.

We had wondered what this experience might be like.  The eye burning smell when it is this close is like very strong onions, burned garlic and a petroleum smell…or propane.  Awful!  And it filled our bedroom!  We washed the dog, washed our hands and faces and threw all the towels and our clothes in the washer.

We climbed into our smaller but comfy queen bed in the guest room with the slightly aromatic Maggie hiding herself on the floor.  I’m afraid I elbowed poor Tractor Man as I tossed and turned the rest of the night, but I certainly could have slept better had he not kept crying out in protest when I did so!

Oh, the skunk kit? Here is what we keep in the cupboard in case of skunk attack.

1 or 2 quarts of Hydrogen peroxide (1 bottle is 16 oz, so 4 bottles)

a box of baking soda

Dish soap is on everyone’s sink so I grabbed that as well.

Maggie, on regular bath day

The recipe is 1 qt hydrogen peroxide in a pouring type container, mix in 1/4 cup baking soda and a teaspoon of dish soap.

In a bathroom with the door shut and the window open, mix the ingredients  a rubber gloved hands.

With the dog in the bath tub wash the dog with the mixture while it is still foaming.

Wait for ten minutes for it to soak in.  Don’t wash the dog’s face or eyes with the mixture.

We washed Maggie with her regular dog shampoo and dried her with old car towels.

I will update this telling if it works or should be repeated.  I’m afraid we’ll have to do so! Poor Maggie!

Here is the page where I got this recipe and it’s explained by the chemist who configured it. I urge you to get your kit together in advance if you think you’ll ever need it because we couldn’t have gotten to any store at 2am!

Maggie, hiding

Maggie, hiding,…”No, it’s NOT time for a bath.”

Categories: Gardening, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

Gloves or no gloves? Hand care after gardening

Sometimes a post on our Flea Market Gardening Facebook page just strikes a chord with everyone.  This one did and the result is many fine tips for caring for our hands after gardening. After all we still want to have soft hands…  Where do you stand on wearing gloves?

Awful hands!

Awful hands!

“My hands! I’m working them to the bone, and today THIS is what they feel like! Dirt under my fingernails just like when I was a kid! I pick up cement stepping stones to move them and feel the rough surface tear at my skin. What really gets me is the rough SIDES of my fingers that have tiny cracks. I should wear gloves more, I know, but I need someone to sternly tell me to do so! :-)

 What do you all do to care for your hands after gardening? ~~ Sue

Deborah L. Cutter- Well, like you, I don’t like to wear gloves. I make sure I have a fingernail brush to get the dirt from under the nails when done and lots of lotion!

Emily Diaz– The Satin hands system from Mary Kay is a lifesaver to me after gardening!! I love it!!!

Tally Calvert– Mary Kay pretty hands and feet works about the best to get them clean, along with sandpaper lol! I have gotten better at wearing gloves and found that applying hand lotion first really helps, I have bottles on all the porches, by the chicken coop…

Sue Walker- Sue, go to the store and purchase some “Bag Balm” (used to keep cow’s udders from drying and cracking) . . slather this on your hands and put on cotton gloves or socks to go to bed at night . . you’ll be amazed how much better they look/feel in the morning!

Carlyss June Van Ness– I put a heavy hand lotion on before I go out and then again when I come in. It seems to help.

Trish Hatcher Cooper– No Cracks Cream – works WONDERS!

Melissa Sisk– My favorite gloves are a $12 dollar pair from Wal Mart that are thin on the backs with an almost mesh material and very thin leather on the fronts. They velcro shut and I can actually forget I’m wearing them which saves my hands soooo much pain when working with tools or moving heavy/sharp stuff. I still weed mostly barehanded so I can get the little stuff, but the gloves make a big difference.

Bianca Tripodi Pickard– Camphor cream… an amazing product for gardening, sun care, dry and cracked skin… so many uses… a must in my home..

Merik Hollis King– Wear the gloves and after you are finished and washed up use Alpha Keri oil. Good stuff!

Tender Lee– Gloves save your hands, especially leather. Cost a tad more, but last 10x longer, and wear like a tough 2nd skin. I get the 3 pack at Sam’s every few years, takes a long time to wear out the index finger, which happens quickly with fabric gloves.

Karen Davis- Make a paste of olive oil and salt or sugar and rub all over your hands and then rinse.

Gayla Jones– My grandma taught me that bleach water in a bowl will whiten nails, also if you put lotion on your hands an do dish’s or wear glove “the plastic ones” while you are working in the garden your hand will be soft once again

Sheila Coates King– Quick and simple… I scrape a dove soap bar with my nails which puts a little under my nails, and then I slip on my garden gloves. Also, I keep a little nail file by my sink and carry small lotions with me everywhere. I even lotion my hands in the car at a stop light. Easy, breezy. :

Angela Dobes Carver– I don’t use gloves either. I use Palmer’s cocoa butter and have a file that I use to smooth the rough skin.

Liz Miller Davey- Bert’s Bees Hand care.

Dreama Bender– Hello Sue !! I’m the same way , When I fuss at my self cause my hands look bad , my hubby always has to remind me, about the gloves he bought , that I never use.

Eliza Jayasinha– Dirty hands are the crown of a Gardner. But do wear gloves tho’ I too hate it.

Shirley Womack Calhoun– Wash the dishes in the sink, not dishwasher… w/lots of BLUE DAWN DISH LIQUID. Then I use a moisture magnet hand/body satin lotion I get from … put on a pair of white cotton gloves & n the morning start all over…. but w/gardening gloves.

Marcia Chretien– Mary Kay here to…put it on at bedtime….:)

Aminah Luqman– I do the dishes after I garden, so my nails get clean and my dishes do, too! Then I deep moisturize with organic coconut oil or some good Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I’m already in the kitchen, so that works out pretty well. :o) (My daughter, Madeline, a cosmetologist agrees with this one because she says, only oils like coconut and olive have molecules small enough to penetrate your skin’s cells.)

Garden Glove rack from 'Instructables'

Garden Glove rack from ‘Instructables’

Joyce England– I use gloves most of the time but sometimes I just forget and start grabbing Mary Kay night cream is what I use I rub it into my hands real good and try to keep still until I fall asleep.

Diane Tyler Button– Wear gloves for everything! Well, almost. I have to force myself but it makes a huge difference. Use Dove soap to bathe. Have hand cream by every sink and use it. When I come in from the garden and wash my hands, I dry them well and pour hydrogen peroxide all over my hands and nails, under my nails, then rinse, dry and put on hand cream. Makes a difference!!!!

Ericka Possehn Ducret- Gloves! I wash them with a cream wash and then use Crabtree & Evelyn’s gardening cream…fabulous stuff that is…I need to hunt some more down before my hard work begins!

Monika Clauberg- Grief, that sounds just like me. Had a pedicure yesterday, my feet are fabulous, but…..MY HANDS are in terrible shape for the same reason. I use “now solutions shea butter” from Whole Foods, comes in a 7oz little pot. It helps, but is very greasy for a while.

Shirley Gaydos Brown– Sternly telling you to wear gloves always!!!!!!!

Lauraine Piquette– First off, I start by scratching a bar of soap to get it under my nails instead of dirt. An old trick I learned in garden club. I always wear gloves and use tools instead of hands to pull weeds. It really helps. Use plenty of cream prior to gloves. I use cotton gloves first then mud gloves. Hope this helps.

Janet Page- Get a pair of Atlas 370 Garden Club Gloves… It will change your life and you will always show up with a perfect manicure. Trust me you will have more than one pair.

Kathy Taylor– I stopped using mesh made gloves for outside work because I almost lost the diamonds out of my wedding set. My body temp got so Hot it heated up the gold and the setting separated…with the pull of the mesh. Heads Up!

Kelli Clukey Richardson– lately I can’t get enough hand cream…my hands are so dry and I promised myself “this year I would wear gloves more”…. well the year is young…. today I think I will rototill some more ,even though its warm its to early to plant a lot of stuff….

Kay Comer- PRID in a little tiny orange tin at most drug stores and Wal-Mart $4…will stop the pain and heal those finger cracks almost instantly…pain goes away instantly and if you rub it in good before bed…they’re healed the next morning….ready to start fresh with new cracks :-) I can’t work in gloves either and we have 5 acres in cottage gardens…a wildflower bluff…a open spot in a woodland meadow that I’m just now working up….and a 2 1/2 acre secret garden….and my hands look like a farmers hands…..I first clean with GOOP….then put some clorox in the kitchen sink and soak my hands for a bit in that….and scrub with a tooth brush to get it out from around fingernails…’s a constant hastle…trying to keep neat and clean hands in the spring for me…..but SO worth it… :-)

Shirley B. Carlen– Today I am making lotion bars from a recipe on Birds and Blooms. Will let you know how they are. I also knit which dries the hands, also.

Pamela Johnson– Spray Clorox-cleanup under your nails when you wash your hands. Dry them and use “Corn Huskers” Lotion! Between gardening and woodworking, my hands can’t catch a break!

Margie Aldrich Smith Pope– I’m afraid I have dirt under my nails this morning as well. I’ve been transplanting and I never remember to put on gloves.

Kathy Ashburn Meinberg– Goat milk lotions

Katie Wellman- Before gardening, I scratch my nails over Bar soap to fill in where dirt normally would go, this helps with clean up after. Then after a good scrubbing I rub pure coconut oil into the dry skin… It keeps ot from cracking and smelling like a tropical island!

Ginny Theilacker– I swear by Gardner’s Therapy Cream by Crabtree and Evelyn!!! An absolute lifesaver for me!

Colleen Patrick Rucker– I found the greatest gardener’s hand soap in Seattle, WA. It’s little bits of lavender in it that help exfoliate my rough skin. I follow it with Angel Farms Deeply Moisturizing Lotion – also found at a kiosk in Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA. I live in north San Diego county, CA but make the trip north a few times a year to see our grandchild and to stock up on these lavender products :)

Susan Hunter– had to force myself to wear gloves. I prefer the nitrile coated ones, because they last longer and keep my hands moist without being too hot. All the previous mentioned products work at one time or another, but can’t always count on them due to temperature, climate, and a whole bunch of other conditions. At times if my hands get really bad I slather them with carbolated salve and put on a pair of hubby’s old white cotton socks and go to bed. Big difference in the morning! Good luck and wear make a conscious effort to wear gloves.

Deb Peltier– I’m glad to hear about the coconut oil remedy…I’m a gloves wearer unless I forget. My hands are always a mess, even with the gloves. I don’t like the “feel” of gloves, so my favorites are the brown jersey gloves with the little nobs on them (better grip) but I burn through them quickly. One thing I LOVE is from Bath and Body Works is their cuticle cream…it really helps after I’ve showered and cleaned up to rub that on my cuticles and the ends of my fingers.

Debbie Rust– Wear the gloves!!!! I’ve worn gloves since beginning to garden years ago and can’t work without them! Weather here in Seymour, IN is GORGEOUS today! Just came in for lunch and a short rest (needing lots more breaks these days!)

Garden Whimsies by Mary– I wear gloves and my hands still feel like this LOL. I love Burt’s Bees Hand Salve . . . a farmer’s friend.

Garden Knicknacks– Most of the time CRY! I have the broken lines around mine nails use liquid band-aid. Burns a little, but heals quickly. Can’t pull weeds with gloves on mine hands.

Diana L. Duggan– I am a retired operator/salon owner specialized in hands and feet. I am also an avid gardener and practicing artist and have been most of my adult life. What I do and have recommended to my clients, is to wear latex gloves (form fitting)

Nancy Myrick Gill– I wear snug fitting gloves and they are very helpful. I have developed a condition that is truly aggravated by gardening and that is tendonitis in both wrists. I’ve been to a hand surgeon and she prescribed an anti-inflammation cream, but even with that and no gardening over the winter, my wrists are still very uncomfortable and easily irritated. Any suggestions?

Little Red Riding Hood– Wear latex coated gardening gloves and when you do get dirty…gently clean hands with a mixture of spoonful of sugar and a spoonful of cooking oil…massage into hands, rinse with warm water, pat dry!

Cheryl Lewallen York– Wow glad to hear that I’m not the only one that does not wear gloves as often as I should! My husband is my stern reminder and he always wears gloves to work in. My problem is that I usually have no intention of weeding or picking up a few rocks when I go out, but it just happens. Lots of lotion (no particular kind) and since I haven’t a dish washer keeps them fairly clean. My nails are all different sizes though from breaking.

East Dallas Art Gardens

East Dallas Art Gardens

Donna Hoopes Shipley– Richie I wear gloves and still get dry hands. Lotion often!

Debbie J. Carter McMahon- I do not wear gloves, and like you when moving step stones they cut my hands up. I got lots of good info from all these comments.

Joann Payne- Oh I know the feeling.. I hate wearing gloves also… when my hands get as bad as yours I use Bag Balm or a first aid antibiotic ointment… that will heal the cuts fast… as.. Love your page… thanks for all the wonderful posts.

Cheryl St.Clair- Bag balm before you go to bed with socks on hands or those cotton gloves..

Marion Cronen– Try wearing rubber gloves…the kind that doctors wear .. they are cheap for a big box of them…the dirt doesn’t get under your nails .. you can deal with the smallest plants…and your hands kinda sweat in them so they aren’t going to dry out ..I wore them while digging and transplanting some plants and they worked great..

Ester De Weese– If I been out working and end up with rough dry hands, at night rub then down with vinegar. You may go to bed smelling like a salad but wake up with very soft hands. Once it a while it may take two nights, but if I’m gonna be home alone I’ll put it on again in the morning after my shower. Just don’t’ rub your eye! lol

Judy Reschner Enzmann– I wear leather gloves (when I remember) they are very soft and save my hands…2 pair for 19.00 at Sam’s. I put them everywhere so I will always have them handy! Living in Georgia with the red clay… it really messes up you hands and nails!

Carol Lee Barth– Crabtree and Evelyn Gardeners cream. Wear it year round and it has a refreshing smell too.

Blondeponders Garden and Duck tales- I learned the hard way WEAR GLOVES. Usually I would get a thorn or something and after a good soaking it would dislodge But one day I could not get a splinter/thorn under my nail bed. As the week went on nothing I could do helped and my finger got yellowy green,swollen and SORE! Off to Urgi-Care where the Doc took one look and said We’re goin fishing! Shot o Lodocaine and a small incision and I was almost good as new. Words to the wise WEAR GLOVES and get a tetanus shot!

3Beeze Homestead– I do wear my gloves. They may have wholes in the fingers but they work. I am always sorry when I don’t so I just do. Looking to get out and do some weeding in the flower beds today.

Tracy Narveson Bantel-  OMGoodness IS ME~ My wonderful nail lady that tends to all my cracks, loose skin torn on my fingertips, bleeding rose pricks, scars, re-nicked sores, she is always reminding me how beautiful my garden is!

Espe Del Sol- I also hate to wear gloves, I love the feel of the leaves and the softness of the petals, just don’t like the thorns, but since it comes with the territory I try to remember to protect my hands a little.

Sydney Van Buskirk Minor– I turned down a gift of a manicure for Valentines’ Day because I knew it would be readily ruined.

Kathy Zeller- ha!…same here, most of the time I end up putting on Vaseline and night time gloves

Connie Springer Schneider Baers– Pure Skin Repair-after I wash my hands with warm water and their soap I rub them gently with this salve. It feels wonderful and the pain, swelling, cracks go away. or on fb

The Meandering Path– Atlas 370 gloves ! In bulk from

Sally Scholes– I have always worn gloves since I ran into some Poison Oak. Never needed another reminder :(.

Kathy Johnson Swarms– I very rarely wear gloves. I love the feel of Gods good earth between my fingers and the more dirt under my nails the better!! Working in the soil, growing things, and harvesting the fruit of the earth makes me feel closer to God.

Rhonda Illar– I work in the garden center at home depot and when I am not there I am in my yard…God’s garden in my yard….I do not wear gloves …love to feel the earth between my fingers….so my hands are only pretty in the winter time…its so well worth it!!!!

Lynne Humphrey– I am guilty of not wearing gloves either. I have found that Mary Kay has an awesome hand lotion.

Becky Shaul Norris– I always put a heavy lotion on my hands and arms before I even go outside. I know when I get there I might forget my gloves and if i do, then the lotion protects and it also makes it much easier to clean my nails and fingers

Cary Itson– Working at a steel mill here in Japan, wishing I was in my garden :-}

Help my hands!


Terresa Stoll– I found a hot wax hand spa at the thrift store. Bought some wonderful smelling wax for it and each morning I treat my self to a “dip” and sometimes two. Or before bed, put vaseline on them and wear white cotton gloves. Learned that from a friend that was a stewardess.

Sherry Heier Haskin- I wear a snug pair of latex gloves under my garden gloves. It keeps my hands dryer and when I need more dexterity to do a task, I pull the garden gloves off and my hands are still protected. Put hand cream on before you put on the latex gloves and you get a spa treatment while you work. They make non latex gloves, too. You can buy them at a pharmacy

Flea Market Gardening– THANKS, everyone,…I think we all may have learned from this post! :-) I’ll be looking up some of the gloves mentioned, will be more diligent about WEARING them, (even if they get wet) and will try soap under my nails, even though it will feel weird. Did you all notice the wedding rings on my ‘skeleton hand?’ ;-P Sue


Soap and Garden- I wear gloves most of the time, taking them off for delicate weeding and separating, etc. I make and use Gardener’s products including soap that is gentle, yet effective at deep cleaning. I also use my lotion and at night, whipped butter to keep my hands in shape. Exfoliating with my Gardener’s Hand Scrub helps keep the skin looking nice!

Donna McCool– I use Dawn hand renewal with Olay to wash and put lotion on!

Jeanne Sammons– I HATE GLOVES but wear them almost all the time now…immune system is lacking now-a-days so I catch stuff…but still dry, rough, etc. ‘Aquaphilic’ Ointment (the white jar stuff, I call it)! Helps a lot!

Carol Swann- Yeah, noticed the rings…they’re in the wrong place. (No, they’re not, Carol) Crazy glue or liquid Band-Aid will heal those cracks in jig time

Elizabeth Torma Lombardo– Vaseline and white cotton gloves overnight! Makes your hands soft AND pulls out any remaining dir

Cindy Klein– WEAR GLOVES!!!

Jeanne Smith- Wear the GLOVES !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kathleen Hussey Switzer- WEAR GLOVES, LADY! Was that stern enough? :P

Would you?

Categories: Gardening, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments

Marie’s Rust Garden

One nice thing about our Flea Market Gardening companion blog, is that we can feature some big garden projects, step by step.

This May, Marie and Randy Niemann, of Ogden, Utah, embarked on an ambitious raised bed project which totally transformed their back garden and patio.  Here’s how they did it over just the last months.

Randy was the architect and muscle for the job, and Marie, a long time member of our Flea Market Gardening Facebook page was the ‘decorator’, embellishing the beds with her collection of Flea Market junkola. Marie certainly did her part of the construction, too, even though she needs to be careful of straining her back.  Here, she says, she laid out the general plan to change their lawn into four raised beds with brick paths between. They also wanted a seating area in which to relax, barbeque and sit and enjoy the garden’s progress.

Garden plan laid out with ribbon

Garden plan laid out with ribbon

In order to complete the job, they needed to rent equipment to do the heavy work, such as this Dingo, sort of a self-propelled push tractor. They also added water spigots and drip emitters to each bed for irrigation. Randy took a week off from work to devote to the project…what a guy!

Marie had to remove all the Flea Market finds

Marie had to remove all the Flea Market finds

First each laid out the plan, Marie with tape, Randy with flags,…just get the lines straight! You might see Marie’s Mr ‘T’ back there in the corner, a scarecrow Randy and Marie made of old Model T parts. He’ll supervise the job until he’s moved to the front yard to join Neighborhood Watch.

Randy removed the dirt with the 'Dingo'

Randy removed quite a bit of dirt with the ‘Dingo’

Nine yards of gravel

Nine yards of gravel!

Filling the space with a gravel base

Filling the space with a gravel base

Since Marie and Randy live at 4500 feet, they needed deep footing to run water pipes.

Leveling the area exactly

“More prep work, the area has to be perfectly level, a good foundation makes for a good end result.”

Marie has a tip, “The main rule of thumb is to have a good solid level foundation to get good results in the brick being level. I actually invented a little tool to help in measuring the tamped down gravel. It had to be perfect! I got tired of bending down measuring the depth for Randy. So I got a piece of white PVC pipe and spray painted the bottom three and a quarter inches florescent orange. Then it was simple to walk along to check the depth against the string to see if we were high or low. Don’t know if that’ll make sense, but I was happy with my invention that saved my back!”

Starting to build the planter boxes!

Starting to build the planter boxes from Randy’s design.

One box done, four to go

One box done, four to go. The blocks inside hold the planks together securely.

All six boxes built

All six boxes built, four large, two small.

“Looks like it is going to take a lot of dirt to fill the boxes now. Marie says, “We have some we saved to fill each one part way up, then add good rich soil hopefully weed free! I have a lot of sand left over, so I’m thinking of mixing some of that with this dirt. It should be easier on my back and also everything will be within reach from each side. I’m excited to get to them filled and get busy planting seeds and rust!”


Boy, that was a lot of work!  We are SO tired just watching you two do the heavy lifting…..

Laying pavers all day in the heat makes a guy dog gone tired

Laying pavers all day in the heat makes a guy dog-gone tired!

Marie says, “I don’t know why Scooter and Tucker didn’t go lay on the nice soft cool grass. Silly Boys!”  We say, “Pavers? The dogs or the bricks? My thoughts exactly! You need more dogs to pave this area.”

A truck load of good dirt

A truck load of good dirt

Now for the best part….dirt!

Ready to plant

Ready to plant.

Any gardener loves this sight….only we know the satisfaction and hard work it takes to get a garden bed to this point.  A blank canvas to ‘write’ on and Marie writes in RUST!

But oops,…not quite yet…

First things first before we plant we need water

First things first before we plant we need water.

Randy and Marie installed water lines to each box with drip lines for irrigation.

What are you planning to plant, Marie?

“Mainly veggies and will for starters use containers for flowers until I get a feel for how it’ll look! Before I had one small garden and one even smaller to plant and decorate. Now I’ll have to give this some thought with five!”

Finished raised bed garden

Finished raised bed garden, complete with the table and benches that Randy also made.

Marie says, “My hubby bought an umbrella for the picnic table he made, and I told him good job on the color! It’s the exact color of rust!”

It should be easier on my back and also everything will be within reach from each side. I’m excited to get to them filled and get busy planting seeds and rust!

Marie's junkola is ready to go in.

Marie’s junkola is ready to go in.

Funnel planters with baby wave petunia's started from seed

Funnel planters with baby wave petunia’s started from seed

A little more Rust, old bike and gate. That new windmill needs to age

A little more Rust, old bike and gate. That new windmill needs to age

Randy, taking a well deserved break with a Blue Bud.

Randy, taking a well deserved break with a Blue Bud.

View from the deck, July 3rd and things are growing and filling in

View from the deck, July 3rd and things are growing and filling in.

“I’m having a blast! It makes me so happy to finally be able to grow more veggies and enjoy my rusty treasures at the same time. I know we’ll be spending a lot more time outside now!” says Marie.

Salad Garden

Salad Garden, July 11

Pepper garden

Pepper garden

“This is the pepper garden with my favorite hanging funnel planters filled with wave petunias I grew from seed.” (see the picture above)

All photos are by Marie Niemann. More detail shots in the slideshow:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Categories: Edibles, Garden Art, Garden Junk, Garden Vignette, Gardening, Get Galvanized, My Big Garden Project, Recycling, Rusty Rust | 15 Comments

Volunteer dill peeks in window

Monster dill

This dill seeded itself next to the potted mother plant, stashed there during Fall patio cleanup. When Tractor Man isn’t tractoring, he looks out this west-facing window and the wispy feathery leaves have been growing up this early Spring to peek in at him. They don’t call it weed for nothing.

Some dill to cook with and some to dry

Some dill to cook with and some to dry

Dill is easy to grow in most every garden and it reseeds enthusiastically. You can plant it along with cucumbers but not next to tomatoes for some reason. Deer don’t bother it. It can grow in containers just fine. To cut it take the side fronds, an 8″ piece yeilds about a tablespoon of chopped dill for cooking.

To dry it, cut off the smaller fronds and discard the stems, spread it out in a shallow tray or cardboard box. Cover it with cheesecloth if you leave it outside in the shade. When it feels absolutely dry you can crumble it up and keep in a small jar.

So what can I do with my dizzying deluge of dill? Besides drying some for later use, here are two (or more) things:

Oven Cajun-dill Salmon with Brown rice
This is my salmon and tartar sauce recipe and Alton Brown’s oven brown rice, the easiest, most reliable way ever to cook brown rice! You can also add seasonings like a dry soup mix of your choice.

Brown Rice
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 T butter
1 t salt or seasoned salt
2 1/2 cups boiling water
Cover and bake at 375 for 1 hour
Lay salmon pieces in a glass pan
Sprinkle with dried or fresh dill and Cajun seasoning
No oil or water needed
Put in the oven 20 minutes before the rice is done to serve them together.
Tartar sauce
relish to taste
dill to taste

This is what I made last night to serve with roast chicken and a green salad.

Easy Cheddar-dill Bread

Easy Cheddar-dill Bread

Cheddar-dill Beer Bread
While looking for dill recipes, I found this one from Alton Brown, a great cook. This bread turned out nice and soft, was fast to make, tasted great warm and was a nice savory bread that cut easily for sandwiches. I’m impressed!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup wheat flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
12 ounces cold beer, ale or stout (I used Fat Tire ale)
1 to 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, optional

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat the inside of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with the nonstick spray and set aside.
Whisk together the all-purpose flour, wheat flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and dill in a large mixing bowl. Add in the cheese and stir in the beer just to combine. Spread the batter, which will form into a ball, evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the sunflower seeds, if using. (I moistened the top with beaten egg and we didn’t have sunflower seeds, I used chopped walnuts)
Bake on the middle rack of the oven about 45 to 55 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve warm with dinner.

Additional things to add:
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, or
1 teaspoon dried oregano, or
1 teaspoon dried thyme, and 2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, 1/2 cup chopped scallions

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary and 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano
2 minced cloves of garlic, and 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

Lunch for Tractor Man
Lunch for Tractor Man

OK, so looking for more dill recipes…
Potato salad
Cucumber, dill and onion salad
Sliced green onions, diced celery, carrot, and cucumbers, maybe some cubed chicken, and finely chopped dill
Chicken, veggies and rice with dill
Snipped dill in scrambled eggs
Dill ricotta cheesy spread/crepe filling
Herbed gnocchi with dill and Pecorino
Ooooh, dill “pesto”, with olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice stuffed under the skin of a roast chicken

Dill Cream Sauce
For veggies, chicken or fish
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1-2 T chopped fresh dill
Melt butter, remove from heat; add flour and mix until smooth. Add milk and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper.

Tuna-Dill Pasta Salad
I recreated this recipe long ago from Take Ten, a sandwich shop near my work. It sounds like a lot of dill, but in this it’s great. Season to your taste and add until it’s right for you.

1 Package small shell macaroni
2 green peppers chopped to 1/2 inch size
1 can tuna (in water)
2-4 T fresh chopped or dried dill weed
1 t Garlic Salt
½ cup Mayonaise (sometimes you need more)

Boil the pasta, drain. Pour into a big mixing bowl; add the green peppers, dill and tuna. Add Mayo….stir and refrigerate. Soooo good, especially in summer.


Update: By the end of May, I have harvested most of the dill fronds and the seed heads, about 6-7 inches across are still on the plant, which has continued to grow.

Dill seed heads

Dill seed heads

Harvested dill, enough for a whole lotta salmon

Harvested dill, enough for a whole lotta salmon

Categories: Edibles, Gardening, Recipes | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Gardening without Pain

What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it. ~Charles Dudley Warner

Spring is here! Many of us are getting back into the garden after a winter of ,…shall I say hibernation??  Since our backs don’t have hinges, we need to take a few precautions, before getting into the strenuous jobs in the garden. Whether it’s simply wearing gloves and protective eyewear or strengthening and stretching muscles, a few tips will hopefully help you protect yourself from garden gremlins.

Keeping fit and warming up
Yoga is a great way of exercising and strengthening your muscles and preventing injury when gardening. “Just few simple poses, says Carolyn Masuda, a yoga teacher in Fullerton, CA, “will tone the legs, stomach, back, the whole body.”

She stoops to conquer
Cheryl, of Oakhurst is sadder but wiser, after a month-long bout with back strain and is determined not to let it happen again. She believes it was from digging, a common cause of injury in the garden, and now calls her new rose area the ‘Garden of Pain’!

She now stoops using her legs instead of her back when digging and also makes a conscious effect to dig with her right foot instead of the left, she says, which helps her back. To lift rocks, like many of us do here in the foothills, she uses a dolly, and then rolls it to where she needs the rocks to go.

*See this entertaining, and informative video, courtesy of The Horse Tail Trails Team, for ways to dig without hurting your back!

Gardening is a matter of your enthusiasm holding up until your back gets used to it. ~Author Unknown

Raking, without aching
The best rakes are wide
Wear a sturdy pair of gloves when you rake
Keep your back straight and don’t stoop
Rake when wind is calm and when the leaves are dry

One ‘back challenged’ gardener, Marcie, uses a small tarp, about four feet by six feet. On the short end, she ties a rope through the grommets so after raking leaves onto the tarp, she can drag the tarp to the compost pile, instead of bending down. What a neat idea!

Another great video from Irene at The Horse Tail Trails Team.

In poison oak areas, keep your feet
One sad gardener, who shall remain nameless, was clipping the poison oak whips growing up around her oak trees and sat on the damp ground to make the job easier. She discovered to her dismay that the nastiness of poison oak can soak through clothing and ended up with an awfully uncomfortable rash.

One tip for preventing contact with poison oak is to apply any oil-based lotion to your arms, wrists and ankles, which prevents any further poison oak oil from reaching the skin. Logical, no?

On Facebook, I asked the question, “Any gardening injuries?” and Clare from Curbstone Valley Farm says:
“I gave myself a black eye. I lost my footing on a slope due to our soft loose soils, and went head first down the slope. I landed on the edge of a shovel blade, which gave me a beaut of a black eye, and a small cut near my eyelid. I felt like such a clutz! Gardening on steep slopes can be challenging to say the least!”

My friend Cheryl did the classic…stepped on hoe and it wacked her in the head.

Tracy offered this, “My Mom got bitten on the finger by a spider when she didn’t shake her garden gloves out before putting them on.”

Amanda says, “No injury stories but I’ve been spooked a time or two….the last time was when I found a foot sticking out from behind a piece of wood….turned out to be an opossum that fell & got himself stuck between the board & brick wall.

Baby Northern Pacific Rattlesnake Crotalus oreganus oreganus

Baby Northern Pacific Rattlesnake, Crotalus oreganus oreganus

I think stress can be injurious, Amanda! I know there are snakes on my property and I try not to let it worry me, believing that they hear me coming, way before I see them. However, the grandkiddies reported seeing this baby rattlesnake on the retaining wall, (the sprig of rosemary shows how small it was, about the size of a Ritz cracker) outside our front door.

Snakus rubberus, so I stay aware

Snakus rubberus, set out on my sidewalks so I stay aware. Works!



I paled I’m sure as I had just been up and down that bank weeding and planting.

Last Fall, I saw two, one 4 foot long gopher snake, which startled me, but I left him alone to do his work., and a tiny, but surprising long garter snake on the patio. I put out these rubber snakes to remind me that I’m not alone out here. (My friends hate these!)

One last tip:

Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Purpurea'

Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Purpurea' Beware of its sap!

When clipping and pruning any plant with white, milky sap (Euphorbia, especially), assume that it is an irritant and wear eye protection, avoiding any contact with your skin. There is an alarming story behind this tip which involves two visits to a hospital!

Euphorbia myrsinites Myrtle spurge

Euphorbia myrsinites, Myrtle spurge has irritating sap to some.

Again, I won’t say who, but will add that during that particular weekend, our unfortunate guests awoke to an empty house because we’d left in the middle of the night to go to emergency. They had to lock the door behind them when they left.


So, get back into the garden and stay safe.  be sure to post your new garden projects at Flea Market Gardening on Facebook.  ~~ Sue

Categories: Gardening, Spring gardening | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

My galvanized wash tub garden

A year of gardening in my tub garden

These were found at an old junk yard.

These were found at an old junk yard.

I guess we at Flea Market Gardening all agree that we like galvanized anything!
These are the galvanized wash tubs I got at the old “Rust Brothers’ junk shop in Coarsegold down the road.  I don’t have a deer fence yet and the idea here is to grow a few veggies close to the house and hope the deer don’t get them.

June 12th
Three tomatoes, two peppers, Tractor Man wants green beans in one. I have each end of this area blocked off to deer, but they could come through the entry bed. I did get deer fencing to put up. I haven’t had veggies for so long because I haven’t had a deer fence, so this is fun!

i mixed all the different soils I had just like it says in the Square Foot Gardening book.

i mixed all the different soils I had just like it says in the Square Foot Gardening book.

July 1
My flea market ‘crops’ are twice the size from when planted June 12th!

Black Krimm. I had never tried this one, had a small yield.

Black Krimm. I had never tried this one, had a small yield, but it was a gift from a friend, so...

Sept 1
So, what do you put on besides tomato? For me, it’s good nutty wheat bread, 1/2 inch slices of tomato, buttery avocado slices and a bit of salt. Mayo, of course. What do you do?  I picked many peppers.  Huh?  And popped them into a zip loc bag in the freezer to use all winter.  Some I used fresh.  Did I mention that this is a garden on a SMALL scale?  Yes, if you have a small space or only want a few things for right now, easing into the whole veggie garden thing,…do try this!

I love this long row of Baby Sweet 100s

I love this long row of Baby Sweet 100s

Just one more ‘leetle babie’ tomato picture.

My 'harvest'

My 'harvest' ....I think I got about 4-5 baskets of tomatoes and hot peppers,...enough for two people, considering Tractor Man will not eat raw tomato.

Sept 12
See my cute little ‘harvest’ I have three tomatoes and two hot peppers plants still doing well in my galvanized tubs. They’re so sweet especially these.

Protected from deer?

Protected from deer?

See how, when we had to go out of town, I used my plastic outdoor chairs to block them off to any deer.  What, I delusional?  I saw no deer munching when we got home, so did it work….LOL!

Another basket to eat, dry or freeze

Another basket to eat, dry or freeze

The garden at the end of July

The garden at the end of July

I know some folks out there are canning and preserving, and soon I’ll be oven-drying a batch of these. I wrote a blog post recently on an easy way to do this. “How to Make Your Own Delicious Dried Tomatoes

Green onion bottoms

Green onion bottoms, 50 cents worth...

About halfway through summer, I poked in a few old green onions from the fridge,…poked ’em in around the peppers.  The green tops grew!  Read more about them here in , My green onion garden.  So I cut some of the growing tips while leaving the roots intact to grow more.  We’ve since learned you can do this with celery and garlic, too!

July 1

July 1st the onions are starting to grow

July 1st the onions are starting to grow

July 26

July 26th- The onions are shooting up!

The onions are shooting up!

The 'onion garden' in winter

The 'onion garden' in winter

Feb 15
Snow doesn’t seem to harm my winter ‘onion garden’ and I planted more this month!

Categories: Edibles, Gardening, Get Galvanized, How to: Easy projects | 7 Comments

A culinary herb basket

Chives, Italian parsley, purple sage, dill and thyme

Chives, Italian parsley, purple sage, dill and thyme fit in the basket

For a Flea Market gardener, finding a large woven basket can be useful as a kitchen garden in a small garden or where deer abound. Sometimes having a basket of herbs close by the kitchen door, will discourage deer who tend to keep their distance. To make the basket last as long as possible fit a piece of heavy black plastic, with some drainage holes cut, inside before adding soil.

Chives are cut, then grow and cut again until the flowers are allowed to bloom, also edible!

Chives are cut, then grow and cut again until the flowers are allowed to bloom, also edible!

Thyme, chives, parsley and sage are the most used herbs in my cooking, just the right amount for this basket. These colorful and pungent chive flowers found themselves in a salad, surprising my guests a bit. I particularly like to grow chives and Italian parsley because they come back each year in my Zone 7 garden.

Since this basket has been sturdy enough to leave outside for several years, when I move it, I’m careful to hold it from the bottom. I know it will eventually wear out, so I’m looking for replacements and keep these sturdy baskets on my mental list when going to thrift shops and Flea Markets.

Roasted Herb Potatoes Cut red or white potatoes in 6-8 wedges each. Mix 1 T olive oil for every three potatoes with a mixture of chopped rosemary, chives, thyme, parsley and sage. Add potatoes and toss. Spread on a baking sheet and roast at 425 for 30-40 minutes. I stand the potatoes on their skins, or mix them halfway through.

Categories: Edibles, Gardening, How to: Easy projects, Spring gardening | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Creating a backyard wildlife habitat

What is a backyard wildlife habitat?
A Backyard Habitat is a transformation of your garden into a place that provides the things wildlife need to live there. You also ‘reduce the civilization’ there to make it more welcome and safe for small, beautiful creatures. My mother did this in 1970 in the suburbs of Los Angeles and I have established a wildlife habitat now that we live here in the country in the Sierra Foothills.

butterfly on the buddleia bush

Swallowtail swooping down, see how it matches the blue of the buddleia?

It’s a bit presumptuous, I think, to say you have done anything having to do with wildlife here next to the forest considering the wildlife and plants have done very well without you all this time. What I mean by applying for a Certified Wildlife Habitat, I guess, is that I will vow to be a steward of this land while I’m living here on our land in the Sierra foothills.


Make an easy birdbath

The National Wildlife Federation certification program can easily be followed to make a sustainable habitat for the wildlife in your area. But why?

Why create a backyard habitat? Whether it’s an apartment balcony or a 20 acre property, it’s fascinating, and joyful, to be able to watch the birds and insects thrive in your garden. Provide food, water and shelter as well as reduce the amount of chemicals you use in the garden, then just wait and watch!

Western Scrub-Jay feeding from an old goat shed feeder tray.

These are the things to provide in your new backyard habitat:
Preserve and plant more California natives. They have the pollen, berries and foliage the birds and insects like. Some plants for a habitat are oaks, crabapple, pines and cedars. Shrubs that do well in a backyard habitat are Dogwood, Elderberry, Honeysuckle, and Viburnum, Currants and blackberry and grape vines. Other plants that can be included are sunflowers, Black-eyed Susans, asters, marigolds, zinnias, and native grasses. You can add hummingbird and seed feeders if you want, but birds may only need the right plants to feed on.

Water Another important element for a habitat garden is a water feature. This can be as complex as a re-circulating stream, or as simple as a birdbath made of a flowerpot saucer that you clean and fill daily. Locating your birdbath near a sprinkler can ‘automatically’ refill it often.

Shelter and space to raise young Animals need brush piles and natural areas to hide from predators and make nests. A large branch or dead trunk can be placed in a flower bed or at the edge of the garden to slowly decompose and provide places to lay eggs and find worms. A small thicket can encourage quail to come to your garden.

Safety Restrict your use of chemicals in the garden and start a compost pile to use for a natural fertilizer. Mulching, and reducing the size of your lawn are other ways to avoid having weed killers and insect sprays and make your garden safe for the wildlife you want to attract.

California mule deer

And you’re done! Finally, spend relaxing time in your garden. You are wildlife, too. Make a comfortable spot to sit and you will find yourself ‘out there’ much more often. Keep watch as beautiful birds, butterflies and other small, interesting visitors appear in your wildlife-friendly haven. Whenever you hear bad news on the news, step into your garden and realize that you have made a welcoming habitat for yourself as well!  ~~ Sue

Things To Do: Certify your Backyard Habitat Teachers, you can start a Schoolyard Habitat

Categories: Gardening, How to: Easy projects, Nature and wildlife | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Create a free website or blog at