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Garden Blogger's Bloom Day - September 2021

Hibiscus 'Midnight Marvel' Last week I wrote about the joys of new Abba and Vera and this week there is more excitement - we have rain in the forecast! And the possibility of a good rain - at least one inch. Keep your fingers crossed for us. We are in dire need of it and I'm sure the plants would be overjoyed as well. Despite the drought, there are lots of blooms in the September garden. I will start with the container plants which get daily watering. Note to self - less containers next year. Two matching baskets hang on the pergola - they are filled with Begonia 'Bonfire' and Fan Flower ( Scaevola ). I don't remember the name of this begonia. I've overwintered it for the past two winters in the garage.   I tried to overwinter Hell's Bells ( Datura ) last year but it didn't make it. We liked it so much that I got another one this year. Oxalis 'Plum Crazy' Another beautiful begonia (a customer recommended this one) and an overloaded fuchsia at

Visiting the Engineered Garden

Yesterday, some friends and I had the opportunity to visit Jeff's garden in my hometown of Russellville (about 25 minutes south of Florence). I've been reading Jeff's blog, Our Engineered Garden for some time now and I'm constantly amazed at his inventive ways of growing vegetables. He truly takes the art of square foot gardening to another level.

Jeff grows many vegetables on trellises. In this photo, tomatoes grow on one side of the trellis and watermelons grow on the opposite side. I didn't realize that you could grow different plants so close to each other but Jeff says that it is not a problem.

Here is a wider shot of the bed. Okra (one of my favorites) grows in the middle. Beans are planted on the trellises. The beds are fenced in to keep the deer out.

And some yummy squash -

The tomatoes growing in this bed are all "Cherokee Purple", a variety he recommends highly.

Tomatoes growing on a compost pile!

And speaking of that, Jeff is the master of compost -

Turning the compost piles can be back breaking work so he built a contraption that turns it for him -

He also grows many plants in self-watering containers. Here he is demonstrating how he builds one (see his blog for instructions).

These are sweet potato plants growing in self-watering containers.

And more containers made from cat litter buckets. Hmmm, I have a basment full of these...

Another highlight of the trip was meeting the star of Jeff's blog, Jude. What a sweetheart!

We all enjoyed the visit and learned a lot. If you want to learn more about these techniques and more, be sure to visit Our Engineered Garden. Thanks Jeff!

Speaking of vegetables, we had fried squash (from Michael's customers), butter peas (from the Farmer's Market), cornbread, and peppers from our own garden tonight. Delicious, but if I keep this up, I will have to renew my gym membership soon.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Wow! Wow! That is quite the garden!

  2. How original, this would especially be useful for folks living in urban areas with small lots.

  3. What a great garden! I love gardens that recycle and show new ways of using things. I use cat litter boxes when i make chicken poo tea for my garden. They work perfect!

  4. How fun to visit a blogger's garden, and so near you too, Phillip! Lots of good ideas here, love the trellises and that compost contraption is to die for!

  5. What a great idea for recycling those buckets. That is some kind of compost outfit. The auger to stir the compost is quite the contraption. I will have the Beatles song "hey Jude" in my head all day now. What a beautiful dog.

  6. Good morning, Phillip. Jeff has some great ideas. I will follow your link and visit his site. I'm sure I can learn a lot, especially about trellising. Cherokee Purples are my favorite too, really great taste and an unusual color.

  7. Phillip,
    Hello! I stopped by to see your photos of Jeff's Engineered Garden. You have some nice garden posts too. I'll be back. Have a good week.

  8. I enjoyed your tour of Jeff's garden. Some very good ideas.
    You are the first one I've heard of speaking about butter peas. I love them but can't find the seeds. Will have to research further.

  9. What a talented, imaginative and industrious gardener! Boggles my mind!

    Oh, you're eating well. It's healthy stuff. I think you already have a membership to that gym called a garden! :-)

  10. Phillip, i'm glad you and your friends enjoyed it! It was alot of fun, but sure was hot...whew...

  11. I thought that garden looked familiar. haha. That EG is definitely a crafty one. It's interesting to see his garden from someone else's view.

  12. How inspiring. I am getting my "feet wet" with the veggie gardening this year. I will be visiting this blog to get ideas for next yr!

  13. What a great garden full of great ideas! I love all that space he has to grow his vegetables.

  14. Hi! Stopping over from EG's blog. It's nice to have another's view of his garden. I have to say, I'm a little jealous you were able to see it in person...

  15. The man's a genius!

    I've just be checking the construction posts on his blog.

  16. He's really an expert at what he does isn't he? I grow 'Cherokee Purple'. It is wonderful and pretty easy going. The squash bugs got all my squash. I wonder what he does to stop them.~~Dee

  17. I've always admired EG for his wonderful swp/swcs! He's simply awesome is all I can say!

  18. Tidy, intensive vegetable gardens rock. Very cool.

    I'll bet Alabama gets hot enough for tomato volunteers to produce fruit. They're just start to come up in my garden right now, but there won't be enough regular heat to ripen any fruit, so they're weeds.


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