The Blue Plate Special

After several seasons of fighting legions of weeds in this humid climate I have finally come to my senses and begun installing raised beds!  Trying to grow food in this weed infested place is insanity without using RoundUp.

And you know how I feel about Monsanto.

So the logical and more safe solution for us is raised beds.  Bob has been helping me in the garden every Sunday for weeks now.  He has rototilled, and scorched baby weeds with the Red Dragon.

(this is not Bob) 😉

Please click the photo above to be taken directly to the Red Dragon site. 

This is NOT a paid endorsement!  We have had our RD weed burner for many years and just love how well it works.   Unfortunately, we can’t use it in and amongst the veggies…  Hence the new garden plan.

So, here is the layout.

Notations in blue show changes and planned additions.  We have the center and right side construction completed and half planted.  NOTE:  The rotation plan I am utilizing is to help with insect and disease control.  You can see the plan HERE

Want more?  Here is the Garden Organic website:

There is still so much more to be done here.  I have to add more soil, and lay down the wood mulch around the beds. 

The strawberries have been moved and replanted, and the asparagus arrives with the new orchard trees next month!


Hello beautiful!


What plans do you have for your garden(s)?  What strategies do you use to help you with chores and upkeep?



32 thoughts on “The Blue Plate Special

  1. pixilated2 says:

    Uh-OH, I promised to tell where all the plates came from… well, let’s just say that there is not a blue plate left in the thrift stores from Meridianville, AL to Fayetteville, TN! AND, they all cost me less that $20.00 total. 😉

  2. Animalcouriers says:

    Wow – it is looking absolutely marvellous! No wonder you’re feeling good about things. We suffer dreadfully with weeds and your raised beds look like a great solution. Our other main pests are the chickens – they are completely free range. Our plan next veg season is to install a fence – we’ll triple the number of things we can grow then 😉

    • pixilated2 says:

      Thanks, Annie! Thankfully, our chickens have a huge fenced yard on the other side of our property, my two footed garden pests are my GEESE! So, we will be building a garden fence too. Those geese can clear out a garden in one day! 😦 Meanwhile, they are behind the movable mesh fencing, and chewing grass in the front lawn.

    • pixilated2 says:

      Oh Julie, Don’t be!!! You saw all those weeds in the photo of the before, and if I blink they will be back! But, at least the soil mix in the raised beds will make them easier to pull out, and I have Violet to help me too. This is going to be so much easier. 😀

    • pixilated2 says:

      Yes, Cindy, it is fall planting season here. (Can’t wait for my trees and asparagus to be delivered!) In California we didn’t get to do this until December or January! It is such a learning curve for me, but suddenly I feel as though I am in my element again. We’ll see!

  3. dogear6 says:

    Really, really nice! I think I’ll be getting rid of my garden next spring. It’s been too many failures and we’re starting to think there’s something more seriously wrong with that end of the yard that we can’t keep anything alive there. Our yard isn’t big enough to move the garden somewhere else and I’d rather wander on the weekends anyhow.


    • pixilated2 says:

      Thank you, Nancy! I’m sorry to hear about your garden, but if you are doing other things on the weekends, then it sounds like ‘no love lost’ over letting it go. Perhaps you might consider putting it to rest for a while? You never know, you might want to come back to it in the future. Or not. 🙂 But don’t listen to me! Just because it is my thing does not make it yours.

    • pixilated2 says:

      Hi Patti! It started as an idea for recycling wine bottles. I called a local restaurant to see if I could collect their empties… NOT A CHANCE! Apparently, there is an old law on the books that says all empties must be destroyed! There is a $5.00 per bottle fine on the dang things if they are not. Not to be put off I went looking at the thrift stores, and that is when I hit on the idea for the plates. I love blue in the garden and it just happened to be a good day for finding blue plates. Oddly, there were LOTS of them on the shelf. It was a good day for hunting. 😀

  4. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    First, gotta say how much I’m LOVING that blue-dish border: fantastique!
    Because you asked… after decades of trial and error and ALOT of plants that just didn’t make it… what do we do??
    Mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch….
    2-3 inches of it – with COMPOST!
    Builds the soil. Feeds the Microbiome. Holds in moisture. Smothers weeds. Stops wind-sown interlopers. AND the earthworms do (almost) all the work!
    Everybody’s happy: )
    But, just to get started – at the absolute beginning – MOW new planting area. COVER with layers of newspaper, 10 sheets thick, making sure to overlap edges. Do the mulch thing. KEEP moist until things start to hold together.
    If you get this done now, you’ll be ready to plant in gorgeously rich soil [hmm, that’s the third time I’ve accidentally(?) written “soul” in place of soil] by Spring: )
    Sorry this was so long (but you did ask; )
    Hugs, Deb

    • pixilated2 says:

      I compost everything available to me here, but it is never enough. However, my leaf mould I started three years ago is finally ready! I am using it to top dress around my fruit trees and my berries. I also used a bit of it in my herb bed too.

      I have two 8 X 4 X 3 foot bins made of landscape logs set on cinder blocks and pinned with rebar. The leaves have slowly broken down and are now ready to be used up. I will move the leftover contents into one bin and start all over again with this year’s fresh new leaves. I never throw them away or burn them like everyone else does around here.
      Thanks for sharing, Deb!

      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        You’re welcome! And hey, you can call me weird, but now that people are bagging up their fallen leaves, I’ll be cruising the in-town neighbourhoods picking up what others discard… Our CBC Radio (like PBS) gardening guru Ed Lawrence, recommends giving leaf mold a helping hand by whipper-snippering it, 1/2 garbage can at a time, into dime-sized pieces that can be spread now for (almost instant) mulch: )

  5. littlesundog says:

    Lynda, I cracked up at the photo that said, “This is not Bob”. When I first saw the photo I thought, “This cannot be Bob”! We have discussed a Red Dragon, but talked ourselves out of it because it probably would be too expensive to utilize on 10 acres. What are the negatives (if any) in using the RD? How effective is it?

    • pixilated2 says:

      Lori, I love mine. Actually, I have owned it for about 10 years and just replaced the tank on it last weekend… granted, we don’t use it all day for hours on end, but still, that is a long time!

      PROS: It works fast to wilt down baby weeds and kill them off. You do not need to char them. Larger weeds can be charred at the base.

      CONS: It is unwieldy on the trolly and likes to pitch and roll over in the grass. Also, it does not kill established grasses and VIOLETS even when charred to the ground!

      WARNING: Be careful around the cherished things growing in your garden. This is the voice of experience here. 😉 Oh, and it goes without saying I suppose, but never use it on a windy day. I drag the hose with me to where I am working just in case. Perhaps for you a shovel would be a good safety tool?

      If I had it to do over again, I would purchase the backpack setup. They didn’t have that model when I got mine years ago. Actually, now that I have been thinking about it, maybe I will investigate trying to replace the wheels on the cart with a balloon type tire. If I can find what I am thinking of, then that should give it a wider wheel base and help to keep it upright! 🙂

      Over all, I love mine, it’s an organic solution to weed killing, and one tank goes a long way.

  6. shoreacres says:

    All this garden chatter is so interesting, but a little beside the point for me. My role in life is to eat the good things people grow and sell. 😉

    I do love the Blue Plate specials! Here again, blue is maybe my least favorite color, but the traditional meaning of the term would be enough to get me to allow them in a garden.

    We’re in that in-between phase here now – it’s killing me that so little local produce is available. But the kale and brussels sprouts have been planted, and the broccoli, and the weather’s perfect for them to establish, so it won’t be long!

    • pixilated2 says:

      Linda, Assuming my success, you are welcome to come eat of my gardens next summer! As for the blue, I find it a serene color contrast and point of focus in an environment that is typically all green.

      Try to imagine it all filled in with my herbs and with a ring of white allysum backing those plates for next summer!

      I know what you mean about the lack of local veg. My Winter veg is a bit late getting started, but it will all be under the hoop house when it gets really nasty and cold. Looking forward to good eating and a cheerful, less weedy atmosphere in the garden.

    • pixilated2 says:

      Diane, thank you! I love to use vinegar for spot weeding, though it won’t make a dent on my violet problem. LOL! They grow up from a flat, plaque of hardened growth and the only thing that works so far is to just dig them up. Even the RD does not kill them unless they are new little sprouts. When we first moved here I thought they were so pretty in the lawn. Then we tore out a 46 X 46 section to make our gardens and the weeds (mostly violets) took over. BUT, I feel like we are winning the battle now! 😀

      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        Hi Lynda, Almost certain this is where you and I first started talking (about plants v weeds?; ) and I said something like… “If it’s not a native species, someone brought it here for a reason…” Well, here we go again, ’cause if you can’t “get rid” of it, then just use it up…
        I LOVE the PFAF database, ’cause bar none, I can (almost) guarantee you’ll find some use for any plant; be it for human food, clothing, medicine, dye weed, animal forage (the list just goes on and on) and yes, even for decoration…

        • pixilated2 says:

          I have heard of, and considered making, the violet jelly. Also, I have heard of sugaring the flowers for cakes and such, but I have never heard of eating the leaves. It does sound interesting. But I think if I started today, and ate them every day for the rest of my life, that I could not make a dent in them. 😉

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