Garden Photo of the Day

Day 2 in Carol Jean’s Wisconsin Garden–Veggies and more!

I saw on a gardening program where they had built a fake fireplace along a fence to create an outdoor room. I needed something to fill the space on the backside of the garage so I built a mantle to put in my outdoor dining room. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Carol Jean Kadonsky

We’re continuing our tour of Carol Jean Kadonsky’s garden today. She says, “I dug my vegetable garden in 1987. I had one pine tree cut down to make a small patch of sunshine under many other trees. I dug out the sod and planted vegetables, which is all I could afford those first years.

This photo is from July 2009. It shows the volleyball netting I used to trellis my vegetables. For several years I planted green beans in hanging baskets; they were always very dry but had a decent harvest. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Carol Jean Kadonsky

“I’ve tried many things over the years. I read about square foot gardening which is a good fit for my small space. I used their recipe to build up my garden soil and that helped a lot. The main vegetable patch is made up of 3 raised beds – two 2 x 16 beds and one 4 x 12 bed.

This photo was taken July 9, 2013 of the 4 x 12 bed. The 2 containers: peppers & a sunflower planted by the chipmunks and the other- carrots. Behind them are kossack and kongo kohlrabi, then broccoli & cabbage, next 3 tomatoes grown on twine, and lastly green beans and pea pods (on fencing). Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Carol Jean Kadonsky

“I have a 3-year rotation plan for the space. One of the narrow beds is for my rhubarb & strawberries and a waiting zone for plants that don’t have a home.

July 9, 2013 of the 2 x 16 bed. At the front, cucumber on trellis, radishes beside, then swiss chard, next peppers, some bok choy, and lastly fancy gourds & lettuce. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Carol Jean Kadonsky

“Because of limited space I do a lot of vertical growing. To make that simpler my dad helped build the frame over the larger raised bed. And my son made the PVC pipe structure as a gift for Mother’s Day.

Photo taken Aug 13, 2013. The tomatoes reached the top of the twine and the pea pod vines grew above the structure. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Carol Jean Kadonsky

“When I lost the two trees behind my vegetable garden more space opened up to plant and for storage. I have several containers that I plant and I tried a 5 x 5 patch of deep mulch gardening.

8/13/13 To the left is clematis ‘Bonanza’ growing on the garden fence. Next the cucumbers have reached the top of their trellis. Far right are the gourd vines that I trained on volleyball netting. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Carol Jean Kadonsky

“The last two years I have used composted granulated chicken manure in my beds and I see an improvement. I grow raspberries to the east of the garden and blueberries to the north. I also included photos of several of my projects I added to the gardens this year.”

8/27/13 The fancy gourds climbed from the 2 x 16 bed over to the structure over the larger bed. There are 5 plants and I have 4 different patterns of gourds. They shaded my green beans and grew into the pea pods vines. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Carol Jean Kadonsky

I could only DREAM of having such a veggie garden, Carol Jean. I am a veggie-gardening loser. I’m in awe of yours! Thanks so much for sharing for the past two days. Everything looks terrific!

This is the view of the gourd vines from the back side of the garden. The vines grew across the top of my blueberry structure and the frame over the 4 x 12 bed. You can see my compost bins but I never turned my compost so now I just plant directly in them. The broccoli did not do well and kale did better planted directly in my beds. On the right side are two of my containers planted with carrots and leeks. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Carol Jean Kadonsky

You’re running out of time to take some photos in your garden! So get out there with your cameras and send some in! Email them to [email protected].

This is the deep mulch garden planted this year with honey bear acorn squash and delicata squash. Near the right corner of the bed you can see a squash and another metal container planted with zucchini. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Carol Jean Kadonsky
I made an attempt at a “living” picture. I attached a back to a curio/shadow box, drilled drainage holes, filled with well draining potting mix, covered with moss and netting to hold all in place. I filled the spaces with shade loving plants. A neighbor helped figure out a secure way to attach it to the fence. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Carol Jean Kadonsky
This birdbath is made from the light fixture hanging in the bedroom when I moved into my house; it probably dates from the 1950’s. I loved it but didn’t trust its safety. I had stored it in the basement all these years when I thought it would make a beautiful birdbath. The stand is a plant stand that I sawed the top out of. I placed the rock so the small birds would know the depth. Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Carol Jean Kadonsky
I have planted this chair for a couple years but the purple paint is new. I also added the daisy medallion that I sawed out of the top of the plant stand that holds the birdbath. The plant in the blue pot beside the chair is a variegated ornamental pepper (picked up half price late in June). Photo/Illustration: Courtesy of Carol Jean Kadonsky

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  1. user-1020932 10/02/2013

    today is more fun than yesterday. re purposed items, outdoor rooms with clocks, mantlepieces and growing artwork, abundant vegetable production. carol jean you are my kind of gardener! what a great yard/garden and your place should be on the garden tour all season.

  2. Vicky_C 10/02/2013

    Lovely! You have given me lots of ideas for the vege garden I am working on now.

  3. gloriaj 10/02/2013

    Today was worth the wait. You are one creative gardener. Your repurposed items show how creative you are. You have given me more ideas for my veggie garden for next year.

  4. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/02/2013

    My goodness, dear Carol Jean, you are a whirling dervish of creativity and many wonderful things to look at with admiration and appreciation. Where I see a cool idea in picture form and hit the Pin It Now button, you actually go to work and build it! Perfect example is the living picture frame...congrats, it looks awesome. And then there's the purple chair planter and the log mantle...all very cool.
    And your vegetable garden is amazing. So glad to read that you have willing accomplices in your father and son to help with some projects. I'm sure all your neighbors and family members benefit from your great harvest.

  5. Quiltingmamma 10/02/2013

    Yesterday, I knew I enjoyed the sitting spaces, and now I know why. Not only areas to park yourself and view your lovely garden, but also enhanced with your own personal creative spirit. Really enjoy them. Love the veggie garden as well, and I may take a few of those ideas for adding some veggies to my garden. I don't 'do' a vegetable plot, but do some pots and occasionally some trellised veg. Often used the ornamental gourds as a screen during the summer. Really like today's pics. Thanks.

  6. mainer59 10/02/2013

    Thank you for posting vegetables! I am so pleased to see the before and after cucumber trellis. I have not been successful getting my cukes to take up that little space. Is there any trick to getting them to climb? Have you tried trellising the squashes? Are the tomatoes pruned to a single stem? They look great.

  7. flowerladydi 10/02/2013

    Such a GREAT garden!!! You truly have a green thumb!,,,
    LOVE the gourds,,, your garden rooms,,, sitting area,, ALL of it, and truly love the purple chair!!!! The sweet potato is SOOO perfect along with the peppers!
    AND,,, it all looks SOOOO healthy!!! Wonderful!!!!

  8. GreenGrammy 10/02/2013

    Just had to piggyback on all of the above comments--what a fabulous garden! I especially love your creativity in repurposing items like your lighting fixture, plant stand, and purple chair. And the 'living picture' shadow box was truly unique and beautiful. Saved the photo for inspiration. Thanks too for the veggie garden ideas--will try some next year.

  9. Doxnmom 10/02/2013

    My sister and I like to chat about the GPOD and we both want Carol Jean to come work in our yard. She is obviously a hard worker and very talented. I'm sure she'd enjoying helping in our yards in Zone 9 (my sister) and Zone 8 (me). But, in lieu of that, thanks to CJ for sharing her garden with us.

  10. user-7006902 10/02/2013

    So imaginative! And that veggie garden is delicious! I let squash grow out of one of my compost piles this year - I think you're onto something. Compost gardening?

  11. tractor1 10/02/2013

    Just goes to prove that there's always room for vegetables and that's quite an assortment of produce. I too like that purple chair, but especially how you repurposed the daisy from the plant stand. And using that lighting fixture glass for a bird bath was a stroke of genius. Thank you, Carol.

  12. wildthyme 10/02/2013

    The faux fireplace is awesome (and that's not a word I use!). Is that ash-leaf spirea growing as the fire. It's incredible; it really looks like flames!

  13. CJgardens 10/02/2013

    Good morning everyone. Thanks for all the wonderful comments. I'm in a chatty mood so I hope I don't "talk" your ear off. tntreeman, you have been a great addition to the GPOD family; I always enjoy your comments. All the trees and shrubs you grow are very unknown to me but they are gorgeous in your yard. Meander1, yes I worked hard this year but by the photos of your property, you don't sit down very often either. I often show your garden submissions to friends and fellow gardeners. The pink muhly? grass, horse sculpture, water feature, spring phlox, etc etc.

  14. sheila_schultz 10/02/2013

    Carol Jean, you are one bundle of creative energy! Your vegie gardens could easily keep a fresh food bank filled all season long. I'm especially in awe of your vertical gardening spaces, the use of volleyball nets is genius. I'm also amazed that your 'living picture' was your first attempt, it's such fun. You must dream of what you can try next!

  15. GrannyMay 10/02/2013

    I have to echo all the previous comments - beautiful! Imaginative, creative use of "found" materials and willingness to work hard, are only some of the reasons your garden is so wonderful. It is a joy to explore! I look forward to many more visits. Thank you!

  16. CJgardens 10/02/2013

    Meander1 I didn't mean to leave out the "dreamboat Darwin" structures and birdhouses. Mainer59 training the cucumbers isn't difficult. But I do weave them in and out of the trellis. (I've never left them to their own devices.) This year the vines became so heavy they did pull down the trellising in the middle. I used bungee cords to pull it back up in place. In the future I will make sure to attach it to the piping much more securely. I have grown the winter squash on trellising in the past. Like I did the fancy gourds this year. My production was much better this year in the deep mulch bed even with the late start. I have grown tomatoes vertically for many years. Yes I do pinch off all side shoots and wrap the main stem around the twine. Another lesson learned the hard way - tomatoes get very heavy also and will break cheap twine later in the season. I used baler twine this year (leftover over from the bales of hay used to start the deep mulch garden.) Then I had to add extra support at the top bar that I tied the twine to as the tomatoes grew. note to self, next time start with a 2 x 2.

  17. CJgardens 10/02/2013

    wildthyme , the plant that plays the part of the flames is an astilbe. I'm so glad you caught on to what I was trying to portray.
    I feel a bit guilty because my veggie garden is fun for me but isn't super productive. I do have enough to share with neighbors and friends but I struggle to grow kohlrabi from seed (they get tall and spindly), carrots do better in containers for me but I'm lucky if they get 5-6 inches long, this year the peapods did much better but just enough to have several meals, etc. But I still like the challenge of doing better next year.

  18. CJgardens 10/02/2013

    I am pleased with how the new birdbath turned out. What has surprised me is all the different size birds that come to it. Placing it under a tree is helpful drawing them in. As expected all the small birds go to it but mourning doves, robins, cardinals, even some blackbirds traveling through the yard took a drink.

  19. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/02/2013

    Carol Jean, thanks for the shout out on my picture sharings. I once teased with someone that gpod brings out my inner little girl who loved "show and tell" time in early grade school. I think we regulars here belong to an unofficial mutual admiration society and the secret password is "gardening"...any kind, any where, any level of money's all about the doing! I am sincerely inspired by your creativity and innovative problem solving. Doesn't seem like anything stumps you for long.

  20. CJgardens 10/02/2013

    I have a question for fellow GPODers, does anyone have experience growing and pruning columnar apple trees. I planted 2 several years ago before the increase in sunshine in my yard. Last winter the snow got higher than the chicken wire I put around them and the rabbits "pruned" them back to 3ft for me. I allowed a new leader to grow and did some pruning back on the other new branches. But the side branches keep growing. If I remember correctly, the trees are meant to grow up to 10ft tall and 2ft wide. So can I let some the side branches grow to 12 -15 inches?

  21. wGardens 10/02/2013

    An especially! interesting photo session today! I enjoy growing veggies as well and you have some wonderful ideas that folks can try for themselves! Love your creativity~~~ a garden certainly calling me to visit~~~ wish I could! Thank you too, for including what works/hasn't worked for you. All very interesting! Thank you! I also echo others on your "Living picture". Looks GREAT!

  22. quinquek 10/02/2013

    Just affirming all the previous comments. I love the way you've incorporated all these elements into the veg. garden. And I agree with meander1 that you actually do the things that she might "pin" and I rip out and file (older technology! bursting file). The purple chair, "fireplace", and living picture are great. Everything is great. Please don't say that you also work a day job!

  23. user-1020932 10/02/2013

    carol jean, i grow "skinny apple trees" in containers and use them repetitively (that doesn't even look like a word) you can let the side brances grow.
    after years of buying animal repellent (deer and rabbit) and spending LOTTSA money. i discovered this year that vicks vapo rub on popsicle sticks place around works just as well and doesn't wash off in rain and it's much much less expensive than plantskydd

  24. GrannyMay 10/02/2013

    Jeff (tntreeman) I now HAVE to try your Vicks Vaporub on popsicle sticks! I have been reluctant to open a new bottle of Plantskyyd at this time because the rains have been so heavy and the stuff is too expensive to waste. But the rabbits have been nibbling everything to ground level, and a daring buck came right onto my front porch to eat the leaves off a containerized hosta!

  25. user-1020932 10/02/2013

    good luck, May, i hope it works for you. it has been very effective here. i also got plastic "tags" and hung in some susceptible shrubs using christmas ornament hangers. . . so far so good

  26. CJgardens 10/02/2013

    Thanks tntreeman on the information about skinny apple trees. I like the tip about vicks vapor rub. I have bought enough chicken wire to enclose the back yard but I was warned rabbits will dig under so I may need to add the vapor rub barrier also. So the big project next spring is to build a gate to fill the space between my garage and house to complete the back yard enclosure. I have seen many beautiful designs on this blog, I'll have to decide which will look best in my yard and is within my skill set.
    Thank you for everyone for delightful comments. It's been a great couple days.
    Carol Jean

  27. User avater
    meander_michaele 10/02/2013

    Wow, Jeff, great tip about the Vick's vapor rub. Did this eureka solution come to you in a dream as you popped awake, yelled out "Voila'... Vick's Vabor Rub" and frightened your poor wife!? Anyway, knock on all the wood around me, deer haven't turned my garden areas into a buffet bar yet but I know they lurk in our woods. So, it's nice to have an idea for an effective repellent just in case my luck doesn't hold.

  28. TeriCA 10/02/2013

    Looks like I am truly late today with comments.... Carol Jean, you must have the greenest of green thumbs!! Your gardens are lovely and just so perfect looking!! Plus I love all your ideas for "up-cycling": the 50's lampshade/birdbath, the volleyball nets for trellising, and painting the chair purple,plus adding the daisy! You have made it work all so wonderfully! Congratulations on such winning looks!

  29. user-1020932 10/02/2013

    i don't know if i read about vicks or someone told me or i dreamed it but it has worked well for me so far and as an added benefit i don't have to hear all the coughing and hacking of the deer all winter long ,, win win :)

  30. wittyone 10/02/2013

    I love the purple chair. A great color! It looks wonderful with the dark purple plant cascading down the side. And the daisy addition is great. I like how you use one thing from something else that then became a birdbath. Nothing like having things do double and triple duty.

  31. coleuslove 10/03/2013

    Love the purple chair that you planted up,so very creative.Your veggies look healthy and thriving and make me feel inspired to get going with my veggie garden here in the Caribbean.

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