You can find Grama Sue's Rainbow Eggs at:

The Hy Vee on Agency in Burlington, IA


Wednesday - Friday 9am to 1pm at the farm 1/2 mi east of the Nauvoo-Colusa Jr. High then 3/4 mile North on 1050.

Wednesday 3-7 pm at the Painted Corners on HWY 96 in Lomax, IL


7 - 11 am Keokuk Farmer's Market at the mall

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Hugelkultur Dog House

Since Grampa Tom was laid up, so many people have stepped forward to help us out. We are overwhelmed! Yesterday, my sister and brother-in-law from Waterloo came down to help with the garden. The big row gardens were too wet to work in, but it was a perfect day to rip sod and work on my hugelkultur dog house.

Hugelkultur is a raised bed garden style that was developed in Eastern Europe. The base of the garden is a wood pile covered with sod and compost. This type of bed has all the advantages of a regular raised bed plus! It creates more planting space because you can plant vertically as well as horizontally and the wood acts a sponge and long term fertilizer so you don't have to water or fertilize as much.

Most hugelkutures are built as 6-7 foot x 4-5 foot mounds with large logs at the base. My basic aim with this project was to build a nice warm dog house with a garden around it so I started with some pallets on the inside and then I stacked blocks around that to make nice dry walls.

Then I started building the garden beds.


I put up pallets and lined them with straw from my giant feather grass clump and paper feed bags to keep the dirt in. Then, I filled the beds with logs and twigs along with sod from the new garden bed.

I have been working on this for a few weeks now here and there so I had the walls about half way finished before my sister and her hubby showed up yesterday. It had taken me a long time, so I thought maybe we might get the walls to the 3/4 mark, but amazingly we got all the walls up, packed with wood and sod! It must have been Grampa Tom and my dog's expert supervision! Not really ;) Sharon and Clark worked their tails off!

We now have a large flower/herb bed on the corner of my in-laws drive way.

and some nicely filled hugelkultur walls!

The dog house still needs a roof. I'm planning on stuffing Saran wrapped pallets with packing peanuts and scrap styrofoam and wiring them to the top. I will top them with a large sheet of plastic or some tar paper and put some tin on top of that. The wood, dirt and sod that we put in will settle, probably by about a third, so I'm planning to keep filling the beds with yard waste and compost this summer.

TA-DA!!!! It doesn't look like much this year, but next year I hope to fill it with petunias tomatoes and gourds. Can't wait!
Tomorrow we are planning to tackle the big row gardens. We have some people coming to help and Grampa Tom is looking forward to his short stint of pure management :)

God Bless You All!

Grama Sue

Friday, May 2, 2014

Quincy Blessing Hospital

What do you see in this picture? A rock covered roof-top? Not me! I see an awesome space for greenhouses and container gardens :) Blessing hospital in Quincy, IL has lots of roof top space like this. 

Grampa Tom wound up there last week needing emergency open heart surgery. The whole place was terrific! The doctors knew what they were doing. The nurses, therapists and aides work their tails off! The social worker and financial counselor were incredibly helpful. They had a dark, quiet room for me to sleep in the night after his surgery and a very reasonable hospitality house across the road where I could get a shower, wash clothes, fix a meal and sleep for the rest of his stay. The food was even good! 

Yep, the only improvement I could suggest would be to improve the scenery a little with some roof top gardens. Perhaps the master gardeners program that works out of Quincy could make this a project. Not only would it give patients something beautiful to look at, but they could produce a good deal of the fresh veggies for the hospital.