My Gardens


We have a 77.5' x 172' lot with a ranch house. In front of the house I have 2 flower beds. Behind the house I have a rhubarb patch, a 24' x 20' vegetable garden,, 2 flower beds, and a rock garden.

In the vegie garden for 2021, I will be having 2 mounds four different varieties of cucumber growing on a trellis (Calypso, Diva Hybrid, Eureka, and Wisconsin SMR 58), and 22 tomato plants. There will be two Sweet Million cherry, two Sugary grape, four Jet Star, four Box Car Willie, five Celebrity, and five Early Girl tomatoes. The tomatoes are spaced 21" apart and each are in a square tomato cage 48" tall and 20" square with a two 5 foot rebar to keep them from falling over.

Each in the fall I rototill 1/3 of my vegie garden, put 15-17 wheelbarrow loads of compost, and rototill again. They I put 3 to 4 inches of pine bark mulch on it and let it sit thru the winter.

That section gets the onion each year. Onion seedling are traditionally are supposed to be 1 to 1 1/2 inches below the top of the dirt. What I do is I created each hole 3 inches deep in the mulch so that the bottom of the onion seedling is against the top of the dirt and 3 inches of mulch above the bottom of the onion seedling. I have no problem with the mulch since it doesn't pack down and limit the onion during the bulbing phase of it's growth.

This year I planting ten 19 foot rows of Texas Legend yellow onion (3 rows), Southern Bell Red onion (3 rows), and Texas Early White onion (4 rows). I have the rows of onion 8" apart and and in the row the onion are spaced 6" apart.


Flower & Vegetable Garden Layout


Below are pictures of the 2 Earthbox on a cart at the old house with sweet pepper These are now located next to the deck in the back yard.  For more info about the Earthbox growing system, see

Two days after transplanting the pepper plants (5/17/05)

Three weeks later (6/4/05)

Three weeks later (6/25/05)

First picking!!!  72 peppers!!!

Click on image to see larger picture.

Here is the plan for my flower beds for 2021. The color refers to when the different flowers bloom.

I start my own seedlings under a grow light in my basement. The first Saturday of February I start my green peppers. The first Saturday of April I start the tomatoes and zucchini. Here are a couple of pictures showing my grow light and seedlings:

(click thumbnail to see larger picture)

Growlight Feb 13 2014 Seedlings March 21, 2014 (left) Grow light February 13, 2014.
(right) Picture of seed tray March 21, 2014 seven days after the tomatoes were started. Underneath the seed tray I use a 40 watt heating mat to maintain a temp of ~60 degrees. The concrete floor was 40 degrees when I checked the first week of February!
Growlight March 29, 2014 Seedlings March 29, 2014 (left) Grow light March 29, 2014.
(right) March 29, 2014; peppers after 9 weeks, cucumber after 5 weeks, zucchini and tomatoes after 2 weeks.
Grow light May 5. 2014 Seedlings May 5th (left) Grow light May 5, 2014.
(right) May 5, 2014 peppers 14 weeks after seed planting, zucchini 10 weeks after seed planting, tomatoes 7 weeks after seed planting.

In 2003, I found the original plans for my grow light on Cornell University's "Garden Based Learning"  page. A PDF file containing the plans is located here: Low Cost Grow Light Frame Plans.

 I built the double shop light version of the grow light in 2003. The following year I made it wider by replacing the four 17" pieces of pipe with four 24" pieces and added a third shop light.

The next year (2005), I added a fourth shop light. I had originally planned to widen the stand but I noticed that my lights were not fitting thru (between) the legs on each side. So... what I did was lengthen it by 8".

I took the two 49" pieces off the bottom and cut them so that they were now 8" longer than the 2 long pieces at the top. Then I replaced the bottom pieces with two 59" pieces. This modification now allows a shop light to hang between the legs making room for 4 shop lights. This allows me to have 4 trays side by side and 2 at the end. From 2006 thru 2013 (as seen in pictures above) I used 5 shop light and had 6 seed trays.

In 2014 I added an additional  6" length of PVC to the top and bottom of the sides plus an adapter and an additional 24" piece on the top allowing me to add a 24" mini fluorescent light at one end of my growlight allowing me to have 8 1/2 seed trays under my growlight (see below). That May, when I took the growlight down for the season I added 2 vertical pipes because the weight of the lights causing the frame to sag as can be seen in the May 5th. picture. This now allows me to have 9 seed trays (see below).

Growlight tray layout

Hits since June, 2007


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Copyright © 2007 by David Shields of this page and all contents. All Rights Reserved.