Square Foot Gardening – The Marital Counseling Edition

(Bare with me…this could be a long one. We had a little incident that might require some marital counseling.)

Meet helper #1.

Last week I was feeling adventurous and took the boys with me to the “big tools store,” which also happens to sell plants and seeds. And also happened to have a BOGO (buy one get one free) sale on all potted vegetables and herbs, as well as seeds.  Too bad I missed that sale :(

As I was unloading the baby and the plants from the car, I asked Ryan to retrieve the wagon from the back.  He cheerfully ran off to get the wagon (and his froggy chair) and returned to the van to help me load the plants into the wagon.  He insisted that his froggy chair come along for the ride with the plants, because “I want to have my chair there so I can watch.”

(When buying “dirt”-y plants, take boxes or trash bags to lay on the floor of your car or trunk to avoid getting dirt all over the place.  Boxes work best, as plants won’t topple on sharp turns.)

Well, the froggy chair didn’t make it on the plant’s big ride from the van to the planters. And thankfully, Ryan was cool with that concept.  He just carried his froggy chair along side the wagon as we moved the plants to their new home.

Next up…take out the Printable Garden Planners and place the plants where they will get planted.  Rearrange the plants and rework your plan if need be. (I did. Three times!).

Nope…that’s not where the peppers and basil ended up. This was Plan A.  They ended up elsewhere, according to Plan C.

After I set the plants out and made rearrangements, I placed them into a baking dish with water for a little while.  This allows the roots to soak up water and helps with the transplanting process.  It makes the move a little less traumatic for the little baby plants!

The Romaine lettuce is ready to be moved.  It was in one of the plastic black “9-pack” containers.  After watering the roots, I just gently squeezed them out and plopped them all into the dirt near their new home.

For the plants in the “peat wrap” containers, I find it easiest to cut all the way down the side of the peat wrap, and then gently pull the roots away from the peat wrap.  After placing the roots and plant into the hole, then I cut up the peat wrap and add a few pieces around the plant before pushing the dirt around and filling in the airspace around the plant.  And the plant will live happily ever after in its new home.

Oh, we’re not done yet…newly transplanted plants need water.  And they should be watered carefully.  And gently.

I instructed the boys on how to water the base of the plants and to let the water out slowly. The roots need to be treated with care as they adapt to their new dirt.

So Ryan was doing a great job watering…and then he got to the cilantro. And….


And you can see what happened to the poor cilantro.  It was standing up strong and straight, and then it was dumped on.  And they collapsed.

I really wanted the boys to help with the garden this year…but I think I’ll wait until the plants are a bit stronger and they can help with watering when it comes time to water with the spray hose.

Notice how Charlie so carefully waters the herbs in the Lasagna pot.  He still has his “watering the transplants privileges.” Despite the fact that his older brother lost his.

Below, in the “Lasagna Pot,” we have thyme, oregano, and basil.  In the big black spot, I’ll add in another herb later.

Into the planter, I planted the peppers, onions, Romaine and marigold.  I also planted seeds for radishes, dill and hot peppers.

While prepping the dirt to plant the hot pepper seeds, I made a  stab with my trowel into the next section of dirt.

And something wiggled in the dirt. I jumped back and started screaming like a school girl.  I had no idea what I had hit with the trowel.  A snake. A big poisonous scary worm.  Didn’t think it would be/could be a frog. (I’ve never seen a frog in our yard. Ever!).

Scream like a school girl I did and Steve came running out to see what all the fuss was about.

“There’s something wiggling in the garden. Go see what it is!”

“Oh, it’s just a harmless little frog.”

“A frog. You know how I hate frogs.”

A little background for you.

For six years of my adult life, I lived in the Dominican Republic.  I loved the DR. I loved the simplicity. I loved my ministry there.  I loved those I worked with, and those I taught.

One little thing I didn’t love…the SUCKY FROGS.

There were these little pale green frogs that sucked to the wall. And could HOP like none other I’d ever seen.  They were a little slimy and the secretions from their skin were poisonous.  So needless to say, I developed a little fear.  That turned into a bigger fear with each passing day.  Anytime I saw a SUCKY FROG, I verged on hyperventilation and came as close to an anxiety attack as I’ve ever been in my life. (Even typing this makes my heart race, and I’m thousands of miles from the nearest SUCKY FROG.)

So let’s talk about the HOPPING part.  They could hop from one side of the room to another.  They could hop from the floor to the ceiling.  They could HOP into my hair. And get stuck.

That is the real issue.  You see, I have a lot of hair.  It’s thick and it’s very full.  Growing up in South Texas, I developed what was then a healthy fear of cockroaches flying into my hair and getting stuck.  And then I would have to touch the roach.  And then I would vomit.  Neither of which I was really a fan of doing.

So my healthy fear of cockroaches flying into my hair and getting stuck turned into an unhealthy fear of SUCKY FROGS getting stuck in my hair in the Dominican Republic.

One time when I was still single, I was in my room, when I came across a SUCKY FROG in my bathroom.  I closed the door right away and stuffed a towel at the base of the door so that it couldn’t wiggle out underneath the door.  I then ran to the phone to call Steve, my soon to be Knight in Shining Sucky Frog Armor (we were engaged at the time).  He was clear across town and not in a position to come rescue me.  So I had to do this one on my own.

But I couldn’t do it.  All I had to do was open the door and encourage it to come out and hop out of my room.  But I couldn’t.

So I called one of my roommates to come help.  She bravely opened the door and used a broom to encourage it to hop out of the bathroom.  It did. And now it was high up on the wall in my bedroom and needed a few more hops to get out the bedroom door.  She went at it with the broom again.  And guess what happened.

IT HOPPED INTO HER HAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wanted to vomit.  I almost did.

It was in HER hair and I wanted to vomit because it was almost like it had hopped in my hair.

Oh, but she was SO BRAVE. She let out a shriek. A big shriek. The other roommates came running. She batted it out of her hair. I almost vomited again. It hopped out of my room.

Palpable fear. Y’all.

(My heart is still racing as I type.)

Once Steve and I were married, I had a big strong husband who wasn’t afraid of sucky frogs, and who could get rid of them anytime they showed up.  And that he did.  He was my Knight in Shining SUCKY FROG Armor once and for all.

He was so brave.  And protected me from my fears.

Or so I thought!

Fast forward a few years…to this past week.  And we find this little friend in the garden.

Ready for a showdown. Ready to protect his home.

Or not.

Get off my sprouts little dude.

He had no care for my garden. None at all.  And he needed to be removed.

See.  Sitting square on my greens sprouts.  Not cool dude!

So my Knight in Shining SUCKY FROG Armor comes to the rescue, encouraging the little thing to hop on out of the garden so he can scoop it up and get rid of it.

(Insert school girl scream here. And there. And every 3 seconds. Because I was afraid that the frog I had stabbed and probably wounded would hop up from the ground into my hair.  That’s almost 6 feet folks.)

(Completely irrational. I know!)

It hopped out of the garden fence and my Knight in Shining SUCKY FROG Armor scooped him up.

With fear and trembling in my voice, I asked my Knight to bring the frog a little closer so I could snap a shot of the first garden critter.

He teased. (Knowing full well my fear of frogs. And hopping. And roaches. And hair.)

He started to “toss” the frog my direction as I tried to snap a shot.

He teased some more.

He started to chase me with the frog. And remember the frog is now totally within “HOPPING DISTANCE” of my hair.

I screamed. I shrieked. I ran.

My Knight. My Knight in Shining GARDEN FROG Armor was chasing me. With said garden frog. Within HOPPING DISTANCE.

I screamed some more. I shrieked a little louder.

I ran. In fear.

He ran faster. I ran faster.

At this point, I am in a full sprint around the side of the house, screaming and laughing at the same time.  Almost in tears.  (An interesting emotional state, really.)

But as soon as I stopped and turned around and began YELLING at my KNIGHT…(Who, you should all know, has been DE-Knighted.)

He stopped. It was then he knew.

See the look on his face.  He knew we was in trouble.

(Insert call to the marriage counselor here.)

No really, we worked it out. We’re cool.

And I still love my Knight in Shining Armor.

(But next time there’s a frog in the garden, I’m calling Animal Control. They won’t chase after me with the frog!)

Deep breath.

OK, back to the garden…

The Arugula, Red Cabbage, Greens and Spinach sprouts have all grown their “second leaves.”

And the other plants are happy in their new homes.

And here is how we it all looks today.

We just LOVE hearing what’s happening in your garden each week!!! Or what little critters you may have encountered in your garden! Or any irrational fears you may have for that matter!

Whether it’s small harvest, or a large one, we wanna know! Feel free to link up your blog post below…or leave an update in the comments!!!


  1. PippaD @ A Mothers Ramblings says

    I get your frog fear, I have a snake fear. My other half told me to be quiet and go to sleep the other night and then said… “or the snakes will get you!”

  2. says

    Thankfully I’ve never had an encounter with flying frogs. I’m pretty sure that would freak me out too if they got into my hair. As it is we love frogs, toads & snakes. My oldest daughter loves catching little snakes. :) I don’t like spiders, wasps, mosquitoes. Oh, and ticks! Hate those buggers with a passion.

  3. says

    Your garden is coming along great I wish I would have planted that much variety. Oh well maybe next year after I get some experience undermy belt.

  4. Steve says

    What can I say, I like to get a rise out of my wife every now and then! I wasn’t expecting this frog incident to go that far. I admit I went for the tease, but I didn’t thinkI was going to push her buttons that much. Erin, you are a big girl and I was just trying to stir things up. For the record, we are cool. This was one of those marriage moments we will probably remember when we’re much older. I just hope that you don’t bring up the water incident. I love you honey. It’s great being married to you!

  5. says

    I am going to die laughing here… literally die laughing… You are hysterical and even with an “irrational” frog fear I can totally relate! I’m not terrified of frogs or anything… but my dear, sweet, protector hubbie would pull the exact same stunt. HAHAHA

    Poor Baby is sitting here screaming at me for breakfast because I am so distracted reading your story. Hehe.. Must get back to work. :)

  6. says

    Wow! We really need to plant, too. Traveled in NC’s Pisgah National Forest this week, only to return to some droopy tomato plants still in their McDonald’s sundae cups. A little water and some adventurous planting with the kids and they’ll be A-OK!

  7. Sarah Dymond says

    I HATE frogs and cockroaches! I live in So. FL where we have “palmetto bugs”, which are like giant cockroaches! Once when I was working late in my office, I had the opportunity to have one fly and land on my BARE back! (I had just gotten out of the shower and was typing a quick email while towel-drying). But the worst thing that’s happened to me is when I was taking the dog out in the front yard, only to feel something moving under my jeans on my thigh! I hit it several times, thinking it was just a bug. Only to come running into the house screaming several seconds later. My dear, sweet, hubby laughed hysterically as I had the most trouble ever trying to frantically get out of my jeans! I didn’t care who was there, I just wanted this moving creature out of my pants! As the jeans finally dropped to the floor, down my leg crawls a slimy, squirmy gecko!!! =( Being that I had smashed it several times, it had also so nicely left a trail of feces down my leg! Needless to say, I NEVER go in the grass at night in jeans anymore!

  8. says

    I love your pictures! They paint the story just as well as your words! I have a two year old, so my poor plants get dumped on quite frequently…especially since he know how to turn on the faucet outside now!

  9. says

    Have to giggle about the toad incident. Remember, it just wants to help you in your garden by eating the bad bugs! :) I’m the mom that helps her boys find toads, ants, worms, etc. but living up north we don’t have cockroaches, or sucky frogs for that matter! I don’t care for snakes, or mice though. Those would probably make me scream!
    By the way, I am very jealous that you are all able to be planting! I won’t be able to do that for a few more weeks at least! :) So right now, I am happy to be reading about it and getting inspired for when it is my turn! :)

  10. Laura says

    That is a toad, not a frog. Are you scared silly of them too? Your story was very funny, even my daughters enjoyed it. By the way, my knight would have done the same thing!

  11. Debbie says

    I enjoy reading about the square foot gardening. I also enjoyed, let us say, hysterically about the frog. I myself do not like frogs, toads, snakes and crawly, slithering thing. We live near a creek and when I walk in the back yard I never look out at where I’m going but down to watch for snakes. Needless to say when my husband is with me, we will be walking and all of a sudden in a desperate voice he will say “NO SNAKE” for which I jump and scream (like a school girl) then realize what he said. Unfortunately, he gets me EVERY time he does it!

  12. says

    Best. Post. Ever.

    You had a great story. Fantastic pictures. And veggies! I’m so jealous seeing your beautiful veggies – ours were from seed and look very tiny and sad right now. I’m hungry looking at your herbs and lettuces. And I’m amazed you got close enough to the frog (or toad?) to take close-up shots. So there’s a small dose of courage in there as well (anything for the blog, eh?). Wonderful!

  13. says

    You cracked me up! I too have a frog fear. Growing up we had an in ground pool in our yard and toad and frogs always got in it! Before swimming you must always scan the pool and net out any intruders. One lazy afternoon I was floating around in the pool tanning myself and felt something on my arm. I looked and EHH a frog was sitting on me. I swatted him off and quickly cleared the pool area!

  14. says

    Your garden is really taking shape! I find my self saying “gentle, gentle, GENTLE” a lot when my 3 yo is “helping” me in the garden!

    I had a boy throw a frog in my hair in 6th grade, so I can relate to the fear. My mom assured me that when boys tease you with frogs it is a sign that they like you, so I don’t think you need a counselor. 😀

  15. says


    I had the same experience of finding a frog while weeding soon after moving into our house.

    I screamed SO loud and could not calm down. Our oldest was 2 years old and he still remembers and laughed at me like crazy! I still won’t weed in that area.

    You are not alone!!!!


  16. says

    I don’t mind frogs, but I cannot stand spiders. OF ANY KIND!

    Your garden looks amazing! I love the lettuces. I’m having a problem with my meslun mix. I’m not sure what I did wrong. I planted the mix in 2 square foot sections and one is flourishing (like my use of words) while the other is barely making it. Any suggestions?

  17. Cassie says

    Your square foot garden is awesome! In fact, reading your posts from last year inspired me to do my own square foot garden this year. So far it’s doing great! I’m in North Central Florida, so it’s already pretty warm here and the plants are loving the sun.

    I am and have always been scared of bugs and reptiles. That was part of the reason I’ve never gardened before. I didn’t want any creepy crawlies on me. This morning my husband was outside working on a project and found a legless lizard slithering in our front yard. Oh. My. Gosh. It was basically a snake as far as I’m concerned, just with slightly different anatomy. This was only a few yards away from my garden. You can believe I’ll be keeping an eye out for more!

  18. says

    You had me totally laughing with your story. I totally get your fear of frogs. I am the same way about snakes. I ran over one with my bike when I was about 7 and it coiled around my tire. I can’t even go near the reptile house at the zoo without my heart racing.

    I called Animal Control in hysterics last spring because there was a huge snake on my front porch. (Probably a garter snake – Dayton isn’t known as being a hotbed of poisonous snakes LOL). They refused to come out- despite the fact that I was begging and pleading with them to come take care of it. They just kept telling me not to kill it. My own knight in shining armor refused to come home from work and deal with it. So we needed a bit of marriage counseling too :)

  19. Ginger says

    LOL! Sweetie! No fear of reptiles and amphibians here (1 pet turtle right now and “official toad keeper” when I was younger), but I do have a strong aversion to spiders, large cockroaches (palmettos) and bees (allergic). Sometimes, it’s all I can do to not run shrieking down the street after getting bombed by a bee, but they all have their Purpose, don’t they.
    We are having the earliest spring on record here (Northern MN), but with no rain, it is futility to start the garden in earnest until late May. I have to say I am totally jealous of all of you that are able to get into the ground already.

  20. Kara says

    I spent a summer during college in Hawaii on the Big Island and they have these HUGE flying spiders there. One of the houses I was to stay at that summer had TONS of them in the bathroom I was to use to be ready for church that morning. It took everything I had (and with many prayers too) to get them killed and cleaned up–I was crazy scared of them the rest of the summer. Your garden looks GREAT!! I’m SO jealous since I don’t have a garden because we have starving squirrels in our neighborhood.


  21. says

    We have remarkably few varmints around here…possibly because we have remarkably MANY cats passing through the yard. Every so often I’ll look down and find a little garter snake trying hard to be invisible – always makes me jump and shriek.

    Things are really exploding around here, garden-wise. We finally got some “more typical” weather going and BANG! Everything woke up and got busy!! Awesome…still need to get my herbs going, though. Always something, huh? :)

  22. says

    Oh my goodness, I had no idea there were frogs that hopped that high with poisonous secretions and sucked to the walls! Eeeew! That would give me a froggy fear, too. I feel the same way about bees (all bees) that you do about those frogs – I panic and hightail it out of there if there are too many bees around. *shudder* All because I was attacked by a nest of them when I was a kid – my dad threw a ball and it rolled under a picnic table. I of course went to get the ball and disturbed an underground nest – they clinged to my clothes and stung me over and over, it was awful! Thankfully there weren’t more than about 8 or 10 of them stuck to me, but that’s ENOUGH.

    I’d rather deal with a sucky frog. lol

  23. Sara says

    I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one scared to death of frogs! I didn’t look at your photos, sorry, I didn’t want to see the frog. I had found several in my basement apartment one year, I drove all the way to my parents house to spend the night before I got them to to come remove the frogs for me. Now I have kids to save me because my husband would just chase me with it too!

  24. Jessi says

    OMG! Thank you for this wonderful posting that had my laughing my BUTT off! Good thing I’m home alone tonight or I’d have weird looks coming my way from the way I was laughing at the computer. I’ve also shared your fears, only from Palmetto bugs. I use to live in south Florida and they were AWFUL there. Those stinky flying HUGE bugs! Ewwwww…..time to vomit now. :-)

  25. P says

    That is a TOAD and he is one of the best friends your garden can have!!!! He will eat many, many slugs and bugs so you won’t have to use pesticides in your garden…..

  26. Dena says

    Those are some great pictures.I apologize for laughing all the way through your post.It’s funny because it wasn’t me.Now,I’m wondering what may be out there hiding in my garden.LOL

  27. Laurie says

    That was the BEST! I’m terrified of snakes but its all about the bite for me! Frogs & toads & bugs dont bother me. I almost stepped on a garter snake when I was 8 it was so small a worm was probably bigger but I screamed & hyperventilated the whole way to my house! Everyone thought I mustve seen this HUGE snake or something! LOL I wish I could plant everything outside right now WYoming is a little too cold for peppers & lettuce still. I’m also trying square foot garden this yr after seeing your blog!

  28. katklaw777 says

    That cute little critter is a TOAD and he is good for your garden. He eats the insects and slugs that are bad for your garden.
    Send him over to my garden…I will give him love.

  29. says

    Yep, it’s a toad, and they’re pretty harmless, but trauma makes anything worse. I live in AZ, where we have wolf spiders (don’t google that unless you’re brave), which can get pretty big. On one occasion, I found and killed one, and told my husband to watch out for the one I’d missed, which was two or three inches across its body. He reported back later that he’d taken care of it, and it really wasn’t that big. About an hour after that, I heard him swearing and crashing around. Yeah, there were *three* spiders, and I hadn’t been exaggerating at all. Ha.

  30. Manda says

    That was one of the best stories I have ever read! I was in hysterics reading it !!! Thanks Steve, and Erin!

  31. says

    I loved your story right up to the part that you mentioned the dreaded “c” work (cockroaches)
    That word is NOT allowed in the this house nor are the evil critters. I can understand your fear because I also grew up in South Tx and remember those fearful flying ones and to this day have a very unhealthy fear of ALL roaches. I cannot even be in the same room when they are being “dealt with” I am always afraid they are gonna fly at me too.

  32. Marie says

    My son has a fear of frogs… although I am thinking it is more exaggerated than real fear… and I share your fear of roaches. Loved your froggie story! You cracked me up!

  33. says

    Totally giggling about the SUCKY FROG incident. Sorry…that was a great story though. I’d be pretty freaked out too…and I probably WOULD HAVE cried and hyperventilated. :)

  34. monica says

    Erin, you tell a great story. Now that I’m done laughing, because I totally sympethise. Your garden is looking wonderful already. I like frogs as long as I don’t have to touch them. Cockroaches I can do without. The ones in Texas are huge compared to the ones in California. Glad the marraige counceling wasn’t neccessary. Good luck with the garden and the kids watering it.

  35. Keeley says

    This is proof boys grow up to be men(or to look like men), but they will always be boys! Haha. Love your blog. You have inspired me to grow my own herbs and veggies!!

  36. Betsy says

    It is so good to find another frog fearer. Frogs are my irrational terror…my heart started beating faster just reading about the sucky frogs in the DR. Once I drove up to my garage, used the door opener, and saw the biggest frog in the world sitting in the middle of the garage. I put the door down quickly, unloaded the kids and groceries and took them in through the front door, opened the garage door about 6 inches so it could get out, and put a dresser in front of the door from the house to the garage…..Yep–that irrational a fear!! I wouldn’t park in the garage for at least a week.

  37. says

    Nice. And funny! The part about your roomate with the frog in her hair… it was almost like it was in your hair… well, in a way, it was! Truly… a little reading and YouTube watching on the physics of stuff smaller than atoms and you’ll be talking like this, too! 😉 The Matrix (the movie) makes it all so simple!

  38. says

    Oh, Erin! I’m laughing so hard, I’m in tears!

    I’m okay with snakes and frogs, but spiders? NO WAY. Roaches? They give me the willies!

    Well, I’m not okay if the frog is in my hair… most definitely, vomit-inducing.

    Your garden looks great!

  39. Chris J. says

    As someone who works for Animal Control, let me just add my two cents. You are correct that they would not CHASE you with the toad you found, but they would most certainly LAUGH at you! Sort of like I was doing while reading your hilarious post :) Would you believe we do actually get calls from people just because they spotted a bunny, duck, garter snake, lizard, etc??? Your garden looks great by the way! I’m still babying things along in my basement and on my enclosed back porch under lights right now. I don’t dare put them out in the big, potentially cold, scary world of the garden to fend for themselves yet! :) I think this time of year I am enjoying your garden posts more than any of your other posts. Keep ’em coming!!

  40. says

    Loved your post and the frog incident. I’m glad your knight in shining armor quit while he was ahead! Husbands can be that was sometimes.

    My sprouts are still alive but some seeds I planted didn’t make it. Will be setting up garden next weekend now that I have more money to get the supplies. Take care! :0)

    Oh could you tell me the name and author of the crockpot cookbook that you posted some months ago. She cooked for a year with a crockpot and now i can’t remember what it’s called cuz I might ask for it for mothers’ day.

  41. says

    I see your grids are looking a little leary this spring. ;P If you are in need of any string, we have plenty of it left over from building our deck last year. I just put a nail every 12″ and then wound the strong around them and its perfect for making grids! Let me know if you’d want some.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *