May 7, 2012

Jane Madden Is Hiding Something


I suspect some of you may not know but a certain lady from Florence is hiding something in her backyard.  It may be that those closest to her have seen it, I really don't know. I did see this publication in a wonderful magazine April's Issue to be exact in the She Magazine...called playing in the can read it here just in case you missed it. I want you to read about all of the dirt!

Jane your secret is out, you might as well come clean.  I found these pictures and  I am going to show them.. Show us your hands because I know at least one of your thumbs is green!

I am just kidding, well except for the fact that she indeed does have a green thumb.
 Jane's words on this subject:

The Little Back Yard That Could!
     Ours is a tiny back yard compared to many. Once upon a time, I had thought to have lovely flowers growing everywhere. That didn’t work out. The flowers expected me to water and weed them. Moving on, I tried vegetable growing. They had the same demands as the pushy flowers and also wanted fertilizer. Of course, that was probably so they could grow faster to see over the weeds surrounding them. The vegetable stage lasted about two years with nothing to prompt me to continue. Next came the herb experiments. Everything except the thyme, oregano, and chives died. Encouraged, I added lavender. Later rosemary showed up. They did not expect me to water, weed, fertilize or, in general, pay attention to them. Periodically, I would go out and help them fight for existence but it didn’t happen often. In fact, plants got so desperate for attention that they decided to fend for themselves and move. This is not a flight of fancy. It’s true. The parsley had a strong will to live but that’s a story for another day.

     It wasn’t laziness that resulted in such neglect. It was an insane schedule and a heavy workload. Time passed but my job list did not get shorter. It got worse, far worse. When I talk about “free time,” I am measuring in minutes, rarely hours, and absolutely never days. Yet, as the price of gas rose and my love of fresh, baby spinach kept increasing in price, I decided it was time for ruthless honesty about my personal faults which brings me to the question Dolly asked me moments ago. Would I have any advice for someone starting out? Yes. The first thing is to be honest with yourself. If I had not taken that particular step, I would never have found my solution.

     Was I going to weed? No. Would I remember to water every day and sometimes 3 to 4 times a day in hot weather? No. Did I wish to hover over the plants, nurturing their every leaf? No. Was I going to remember to fertilize them and give them whatever plant goodies they needed? No.  Was I expecting the plants to produce food for my table? Yes. Hmmmmm…..having narrowed down the range of possibilities, I needed to focus on solutions that allowed me to continue my neglect, yet which would produce vegetables on demand. That sounded reasonable, wouldn’t you agree? Now, what was out there that would do that? Hydroponics? Possibly, but it seemed too complex. It was about that time that I saw the ad for Earthboxes again.

     Truly, with all the material I had seen that had flat out lied in their advertising, I originally thought that the Earthbox had to be in that same category because of the results they showed. I checked out their user forum online, read the comments, watched the videos on YouTube, and decided to go for it. We found one for sale not far from us in a local greenhouse. It wasn’t cheap but the plastic promised to stand up to UV rays for years and its ready availability satisfied my need to try it immediately. I started with one.  Each of these boxes had a water reservoir, then a layer of air, then a layer of potting mix, not soil, into which dolomite was mixed. It was topped off with a basic fertilizer, more dirt was added to round off the top, then the cover went on. You poked holes and inserted your plants, and then walked away.

     Enthusiasm quickly intensified the experiment. We built others that were less expensive but were rather time-consuming to construct. We bought others on sale. At the end of the first growing season (last year), we had twenty-one in the yard. New ideas and new experiments have added to that this year.  I take regular photos to mark their progress. The plants seem to grow so much faster that at first you think it is your imagination. The photos help keep that in check. The biggest shock to which we are still trying to adjust is having registered plant killers like ourselves with a back yard filled with growing and producing plants.

I want to thank Jane for sharing such a wonderful bountiful vegetable garden with us.  She certainly is a gifted gardener. Isn't it impressive? 
To be able to have such an abundant crop in such small spaces.

Stay tuned this lady has many talents and she is soon to be our local
Spotlight of the Week



  1. Dolly, this is amazing! I have never heard of earth boxes. I was just comparing the size of her squash to ours. They are much bigger. Are these photos from this year?

  2. It sure is! I haven't either, but sure am gonna check on them. You Ms. Jane and Leo are others that have green thumbs! I declare we could eat out of your garden and in it it is so weed free beautiful...lots of work. Yes these are this year most of this display is from April can you believe it? Wow that is all I can say Wow. Thanks for visiting as always Jane.

  3. I love the perststance and creativity Jane had and has for her love of gardening!
    I've seen earth boxes in action in our beach community... They are great for small spaces decks, and patio'. Our neighbors at the beach plant them every year and they really produce! Keep up the good work Jane and Dolly!

  4. I know she is something else. Well I should have known that you would know what those are..Oh thanks sister.

  5. I had never heard of Earthboxes before reading this post Dolly, but now I am certainly going to do some research. They sound very forgiving. Jane's garden is amazing. I am so glad you shared this with us. Have a great week ahead Dolly.

  6. Interesting,I had never heard of Earth boxes either. My garden is in the beginning stages and this is impressive. Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos!