Current setup:

  • Five raised beds with automatic waterers set to go off three times a day.
  • Three self-watering boxes, “Earthbox” style, that I made myself
  • Worm composter
  • All compostable scraps put into the current “fallow” bed for the chickens to process.

Raised bed and self-waterer contents:

  • All have a mixture of composted horse manure and peat moss, along with composted kitchen scraps processed by the chickens, as well as rabbit manure mixed in at every crop change. This is some “purty dirt“! All are mulched with hay.
  • Bed 1 (fenced): onions, scallions, leeks, garlic, cilantro, rosemary, peppers, swiss chard
  • Bed 2 (fenced): peppers, volunteer tomatoes (LOTS!), volunteer sweet potatoes. This was my last composting bed, and it has the best soil right now.
  • Bed 3 (fenced): mixed salad greens, peppermint, swiss chard, cabbage, watermelon radishes, tomotoes
  • Bed 4 (fenced): tomatoes, jicama, volunteer papaya tree
  • Bed 5: My current compost drop. Does have a tomato plant that is currently producing.
  • Self-waterer 1: Cayenne pepper plant. This was until recently, my cayenne pepper factory. I’ve culled the scraggly plants out, and am working on restarting it.
  • Self-waterer 2: Two volunteer tomato plants form Bed #2
  • Self-waterer 3: Mexican oregano and a pepper plant. The oregano has taken over the planter. If you need some oregano, just ask, it grows easily from cuttings.


28 Mar 12     Planted mammoth sunflowers in Beds 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 to provide shade over the summer months.
29 Mar 12     Planted amaranth in beds 1,2,3,4,5 and SW 1, 2, & 3. I just scattered the seed from a bulk seed bag, we’ll see how it goes.
31 Mar 12       Started two moringa seeds today. High hopes for these plants. Currently in the kitchen window in composted rabbit manure/worm castings
1 Apr 12         Picked a purslane plant up while at Green Deane’s foraging class to try to get it to grow in my yard.
03 Apr 12      Found another purslane plant, the first one didn’t make it, this one is looking good.
04 Apr 12      Chickens got into bed #1, decimated it. One leek standing, and the rosemary are all that wasn’t touched. Will let MN see who recovers and who doesn’t. Also planted some small-stalk clumping bamboo (donated from RidgeRunner’s yard) in front of rabbitry along northern fence line.
10 Apr 12       Staked tomatoes. I REALLY need to harvest some, there are enough for at least another quart of tomolives. Also, I have more tomato plants in Bed #2 that is good for it. If anyone wants some tomato plants, just ask!
11 Apr 12        Killed more lubbers in the back yard. I really dislike those things!
12 Apr 12        Picked a quart of green tomatoes, planted 55 moringa seeds throughout the yard.
29 Apr 12        Cleared Bed #1 of weeds and anything not producing. Planted 8 hot banana peppers, as well as sowing some onion and cilantro seeds. Mulched with hay.
03 May 12      The tomatoes in Bed #2 have completely taken over. I’ve been staking them up as the y grow, and it looks like we are going to have Campari, plum, and yes, more cherry tomatoes. I’ve also found basil, sunberry, as well as an avocado all as volunteers in that bed. I have 3 moringa seedlings growing well.
7 May 12         Found some tobacco cutworms on my tomato plants.
13 June 12      Leaf-legged bugs are back, though not too bad just yet. Had two moringa seedlings make it to get transplanted into the front yard (no one would know they are edible, stealth gardening!). Malabar spinach is growing about 6 inches a day, and is a favorite on the table. Tomatoes are producing faster than we can put them up or eat them. I have three sugarcane plant established. Papayas are doing well, and we are getting about 1 a week now, more than we’ll eat ourselves, so have been handing them off to friends. Have established some chayote and jicama, neither very popular in our house, but seem to do well here, so I’m trying it.



  1. Spent the day making a square foot raised vegetable bed. Came here to read up any gardening you do…..have a question. Are you growing moringa trees and why? You write about planting moringa seeds. When I went to read up on this tree they talk about how big the get…like a big tree. How big is your garden? Thanks

    1. I have two moringa trees from 55 seeds I planted. I wanted to grow it as a possible hedge, but that didn’t work out too well. I also wanted to grow it for its edible properties. It has a very wide range of nutrients, and I like the idea of having a food tree growing that 99% of the people that look at it wouldn’t recognize.

      The trees I have are about 3 or 4 feet tall, and are about a year or so old. They look like a spindly royal poinciana… I’m told they get 25-ish feet tall, and grow quickly. I’ve not seen that yet.

      My garden consists of 5 raised beds, each being 4 foot by 8 foot. Each are between 8 and 12 inches deep. I currently only have two producing anything worthwhile, other than weeds to feed to my rabbits. In addition to the raised beds, I also have several self-watering containers made from plastic bins. These are usually for my short-term growing, like herbs.

      Also, I have a lemon tree, a HUGE mango tree, a small fig tree, an acerola cherry tree, three papaya trees, a loquat tree, a pomegranate tree, and some sickly blackberries trying to make it. All of these items are outside my raised beds.

  2. My boyfriend, Joey, and I saw you at Heathcote Botanical Gardens, during the Pioneer Days event. We also saw you at Oxbow Eco-Center, giving a talk on survival skills. If you’re doing anything else publicly, or at your home, that we can attend, we are interested in doing so!


    ~ Emily

  3. I’d like to buy some of your Everglades tomato seeds. How do I go about doing that. I, too, have a raised bed and grow tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and sometimes lettuce and radishes in it. My husband would prefer to buy his vegies, but I like growing mine and then I know what’s on and in them. My neighbor has a child who needs organic produce so I share with her. I also have a lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit tree. The orange isn’t doing so well, and I have no fruit on my four-year-old grapefruit tree, but the lemon and lime trees are doing well. I live in the Tampa Bay area (St. Petersburg/Clearwater). My bed gets sun mostly in the afternoon.

    1. I no longer offer the seeds.

      You can try here:

      Citrus is something I have little knowledge of. With all the other things I can grow with less hassle (we have a citrus greening issue locally), I prefer to go with other unusual options, like loquats, barbados cherries, and moringa. All of these are almost never seen in markets, so I get to taste things most folks don’t. Plus oranges, lemons and lime are readily available in most stores…

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