As a gardener you learn that each year is a new year and no two years are the same, so reading though your Journals of the past years is as important to your success as this is because weather, pest, soil and time spent all effect growing and no two years are presented with the same conditions. I have my Journals 7 years back on this web site and invite you to read and see how each year, each growing season is presented with vastly different conditions. I also have videos in the Journals of our efforts and fun and some even funny which will give you some ideas to create your best gardens and landscape for you.

 This is good point to let you know that all the rain and snow melt that hits the roof of our house is funneled from the downspouts to the goldfish pond, so the pond gets a fresh water source and when it gets filled it overflows to the orchard to water the trees and feed the trees from the fish waste nutrients. As an organic and a green family it is a easy way of creating some great fruit. One of the great things I did when we bought our house is that each year at Christmas we bought a Balled and Bur lapped Evergreen Tree, brought it in for a week decorated it and then planted on Christmas Day. We did this ever year and landscaped our quarter acre and also created a wind break for winter keep our house warmer, made our yard aesthetically appealing and to save energy. The Last couple of years we harvested Red Cedar trees from our yard that have sprouted in our yard because the neighbor has Red Cedar that floats seeds through out the yard and I let some of them grow in areas with no impact to use as our Christmas trees when they got to Christmas Tree size. Very nice trees and the smell is great.

During the summer, it got warm and the frogs came to visit


I encourage you to feed your local birds and the migrating birds in the spring as they will eat bugs that are coming out in the spring to feed their young as they nest or stop off to their ultimate nesting area. This will help in keeping insect populations to a more manageable level without using pesticides. We planted a couple of types of Milkweed to help the Monarchs and since the first year each year we get Monarchs stopping off . Please plant Milkweed, you will be richly rewarded. Ponds attract Firefly's (Lightning Bugs) which need our help which are great for the garden!!!

Jan. 1st

Its cold and best thing to do is peruse the Seed Catalogues

Feb.. 6th

Did package all my seeds that I saved. Seed catalogues are getting me though the cold. The wife made Raspberry preserves, great on Brownies. The fruit we still have are peaches, pears, raspberries and gooseberries, We also have allot of frozen Tomatoes.

March 6th

I planted Lettuce, Spinach and Peas in the Greenhouse. I got the seeds that I ordered and also the Mushroom plugs that I plan to put in three tree stumps. I got about 20 seed catalogues this year. The weather is slowly warming but most important sunny days for the green house. I Have been putting my canned peppers in my homemade burritos all winter. Canned pears for my fruit . My wife is eating the the canned peaches. The pies so far Raspberry, Gooseberry and Peach Rhubarb. Raking and Mulching the leaves that blew in this winter.

April 1st

We got a really good rain and tulips, daffodils, and Globe Flowers are breaking ground. The lettuce, spinach and peas are coming up in the greenhouse. No sign of anything in the raise bed with planted peas and lettuce. Cold spring no sign of buds breaking to blossoms yet. Grass starting to turn green. We have Robin's nest again in our yard. Started the pump in the pond, the sound of water will attract allot of birds migrating north for a stop off. All the leaves are mulched into the raised beds.

April 10th

Planted Onions in the garden and lettuce, spinach, and peas in the raised beds. Also planted Tomatoes and Pepper seeds in the greenhouse. The Tulips, Daffodils and Globe Flowers are doing well. The Rhubarb is breaking ground. Our tradition each year, I planted the Purple Pansy's in the planters in the front yard and by the greenhouse. Cool spring has slowed the trees emerging from winter. The Magnolia is just starting to enlarge its buds. Grass is starting to green up. In the greenhouse peas, spinach and lettuce are up and growing.We are still eating canned pears, frozen raspberries, gooseberries and peaches. There are 4 bags of frozen tomatoes and only 2 jars of Hot Peppers left to put in my burritos.

April 17th

Rototilled the garden again and planted Turnips, Rutabaga, and Parsnips. The Tulips, Daffodils and Globe Flowers are doing well. The cactus is lifting its arms and following the sun. The Gooseberries are starting to flower. Some of the tomato seeds are sprouting but we need allot more sunny days for the greenhouse to get warm enough to get them to really grow. Ever thing is late this spring, the Apricot trees will probably be first to bloom. Some the outside seeds I planted in the raised beds are sprouting. I got some more Strawberry plants and planted them in the raised bed with the others. The Golgi berry plants are waking up. The Magnolia is just starting to have its buds major swelling. The Rock/Rain garden is still pretty much asleep yet. In the Green House we have Lettuce, Peas and Spinach growing. We lost 2 White Spruce to a diseases, but opens up for the Apple tree to get more light, maybe some Apples this year.

April 24th

It hit 77 degrees today and the Raspberries have wakened up started to grow. The Apricot trees have bloomed and the bees are out pollinating them. Daffodils are blooming. The Onions are breaking ground. I purchased some Pepper Plants (go in Green House) to go along with the ones I am trying to grow from last years saved seeds. This year the Tomato I purchased to grow was San Marzano (put in Container on South Side of house) to go with the ones I am growing (in Green House) from last years saved seed. I purchased 3 Cauliflower plants and will get more. Looks like the Pears will bloom next. Lettuce and spinach growing in Green House and outside containers. Tomato seedlings breaking through in the Green House. The Black Berries have come to life. It rained allot, it is a good time to move some rogue Raspberry plants.

May 1st

Still a cool Spring yet, only the Apricot trees are in full bloom. Some seedlings are breaking ground in the garden. Some of the peas are breaking ground in a few areas. More tomato seedlings are coming up in the Greenhouse. Daffodils are blooming all over. Rhubarb is 3 inches tall. The Cactus is up and facing the southwest.The onions are breaking ground. The Golgi berry's, Black berry's, Elder berry's, Gooseberries and Strawberries (from last year) are coming alive. The Hostas are all breaking ground. The Peony is also coming up. It looks like the Peach trees next to bloom. The Rose bush came alive. The new thing I am trying this year is growing Mushrooms and I purchased the Mushroom plugs as I have cut down a couple of trees and putting half of the plugs in the logs and rest of the plugs in the stumps I left.

May 15th

We have the Redbud, Magnolia and Weeping Cranberry all in bloom. We have the Apple Trees in Bloom, a great moment as the neighbors trees dying and letting morning light in triggered the Apple tree to finally bloom. We have asparagus ferns growing and I planted a few more. The Onions have taken off. The Turnip and Beets are up. We have Tomato and Pepper plants started in the green house. The lettuce in the green house is growing well. Beans and Milkweed breaking ground. Put some more Mushroom Plugs in tree logs. I have 10 different Peppers from the local nursery plus what is growing from seed. The Peppers I canned last year lasted till 2 weeks ago so I am growing more plants this year. We lost 3 White Spruce from the disease and I cut them down. Daffodils are just about done but the Hostas have taken off. Planted Celery again same spot. The Raspberries, Golgi, Goose and Elder Berries are are all doing well.


May 22nd

Beans, Corn and Pumpkin are up in the garden.The Tomato and Pepper seedlings in the Green House are growing slow with these cloudy days. We got some rain so it should jump start the garden. The Lettuce, Rhubarb and Onions are eating size. There is little Apricots on the trees. Planted Cabbage, Cauliflower, Okra and Asparagus from the nursery. The Radish, Beets and Turnips are big enough to identify. The Milkweed are up and growing fast. The Raspberries are flowering. Did some more Mushroom Pegs in a log. The Black Berries are coming to life. All the Fruit trees are done blooming now to see what fruit we will get this year.The Hostas and Peony in the Rock/Rain Garden are doing well.

May 29th

It is getting warmer but the sun is missing on half the days so my Tomato seedlings are growing slowly but my Pepper seedlings are doing better. We have Apricot, Cherry, Pear, Peaches, and Crabapples starting to form. We are eating Lettuce, Rhubarb and Onions so far. Planted some of the Local Nursery Tomato plants that I don't have and want to try. The Apple tree so far looks good for Apples but in another week or so I will know for sure. The Beans are doing good in all areas. Planted some Okra and more Asparagus starts. Cabbage and Cauliflower are starting to grow. We have Radish, Beets and and Turnips getting bigger. Some Pumpkin plants are up and growing. Sunflowers are up and growing. The Raspberries have flowers on them. The Pepper Plants from the nursery have flowers on them already as does the Tomato plants in containers on the south side of the house. They are always first to produce tomatoes. The Milkweed in the container is thriving. Brought the Fig tree in the house outside but no sign of the one that is in ground yet, it needs to warm up more. The Rock/ Rain garden is doing good, no flowers yet. The Butterfly garden is doing good, no flowers yet. The Robin started a second brood. The Golgi Berry plants are growing fast. The gooseberries are forming. The Elder Berry Plant survived and is growing.

June 12th

The Tomato plants are not doing well that I have grown from seed, something stunting or just killing them, maybe got too hot in the greenhouse. On the other hand the Pepper plants grown by seed are doing great. Peaches, Pears, Apples, Apricots and Cherries are forming. We have Gooseberries, Raspberries, and Mulberries forming. Onions doing well. Cauliflower Heads forming. We have some Corn so the the chipmunks and squirrels didn't eat all the seeds. We also have Pumpkin plants growing so the seeds were not all eaten by the wildlife. Looks like the year of the Beans and Peppers. Did some more Mushroom plugs into logs. Milkweed plants are doing great. It is going to be Hot this coming week. Lettuce is still growing, hasn't bolted yet. The Rock/Rain Garden is taking off.

June 19th

We picked our first Peppers for Burritos. Looks like it is going to a good year for Peaches and Pears. It is good because we are on the last of the frozen Peaches from last year. Beans are doing well and we see 2 Cauliflower heads forming. We have Pumpkin vines. Cherries are in large numbers. We have Gooseberries, Mulberries and Raspberries forming. Planted some more Tomato plants grown from seed saved from last year. This year the seeds from Peppers saved from last year are growing in large numbers. May give away all the extras. Did some more Mushrooms plugs drilled into logs. The Rock/Rain Garden is doing well. The Cactus is growing new lobes. The Tomato plants in the containers have Tomatoes on them already. The Milkweed in the Tub are doing great. The Beans look like for a good year. Onions still doing great we have eaten about a third of them. Have not checked the Turnips or the Rutabaga. The Apple tree still has Apples on it so far.

June 26th

It was 96 on Tuesday and just hot the rest of the week. Planted some more tomato plants grown from seed. Picked Radish, Lettuce and Onions. Also ate some Figs from the container Fig tree The Mulberry tree is a regular stop for nibbling. All the fruit trees are holding their fruit so far and growing bigger. The Raspberries and Goose Berries are growing well. There are Nuts on the Walnut tree. The Corn that got past the animals from eating are about a foot high. THey also missed some of the Sunflower seeds, so we will have Sunflowers. Picked some more Peppers for the Burritos. The Rose Bush is in Full Bloom. Green Beans are are growing well. Cauliflower and Cabbage stopped growing in this heat.

July 3rd

The Raspberries are about ready to start picking. A section of the Onions where they all were picked I rototilled and planted some more tomato plants from the green house that I grew from seed. There are some left but most were lost due to disease or too hot in greenhouse early on. The Milkweeds are blooming, it is another hot week. I pulled most of the Radish as they started to bolt. On the other hand I have over a hundred Pepper plants from seed. Drilled another log for Mushroom plugs to put in. I have allot of Peppers growing and put some more in my burritos with my Onions out of the garden . The Lettuce is starting to bolt so a few more salads yet. Had to Water just get the Cabbage, Kalirobi and Cauliflower to start up again. It is just been hot and dry, no rain. I have volunteer Tomato plants at least ten of them. It is always fun to see what grows and then save seeds from these plants as these plants have genetically selected for my soil composition. Mulberries are really starting to ripen, always a great treat as I walk by. The Cherries are just about to ripen, time for pie. We do have some Walnuts on the trees. The Apple tree dropped about half of its Apples but it had a huge number of them. The Peach tree I grew from seed (pit) has peaches on it so we will see what kind it is as I had 5 types of Peaches in the beginning. The Rose bush is still blooming. The Butterfly garden is doing great. The Tiger Lilies are blooming.

July 10th

We have Peppers growing great, put some in my burritos with onions. Tiger Lilies are in full bloom with the Milk Weed. Corn, Tomato and Beans doing great. Picked Raspberries just beginning. Black Berries have Flowers on them. The Apples are dropping fast, I hope some stay on the tree. We have lots of Peaches and Grapes about another 3 weeks. Browsing, Eating the Mulberries right off the tree as also the Cherries. The Pears are growing well. May have to start canning the Peppers. Drilled some more Logs for Mushroom plugs. We have Pumpkin vines and Sunflowers. Need to dig up some more Onions. The Fig tree in the ground has taken off finally. The rock/rain garden is doing good. Too hot for Cauliflower and Cabbage. Some Walnuts on the tree. We have Goose Berries. Okra and Celery doing good.


We got some rain, but we still got 2 new frog occupants in the pond. Picked some more Raspberries but most are drying up because the rain was too late. We got a couple of Apricots so far, the squirrels are sampling them. The Peppers are doing great, using them in burritos. Soon have enough to start canning them. We have some kalirabi forming. We had our first Green Beans. We have Okra ready to pick anytime. The Gooseberries just enough to graze on but good. Few Mulberries still ripening. Planted some more Tomato plants replacing the Onions I dug up. We have a bunch on volunteer Tomato plants growing in the garden, they are doing good. The Corn is foot and a half tall. We had only one Cauliflower, the others got some rot and died. We have allot of Peaches and Pears doing well. There is still Apples on the tree but dropped many of them. Pumpkin Vines took off with the rain. Grapes are getting big. Black Berry Vines have flowers on them.

July 24th

We finally got some rain. The heat did produce some great vegees. Picked Beans, Peppers and Tomatoes. Dug up some more Onions. Picked and ate a few Crabapples on their off year. Picked a Baggie of Goose Berries. Also got my first Okra to pick. Mulberries are still being produced. Got some Kalirabi forming. The Hostas and Purple Cone Flowers are blooming in the rock garden. My first Sunflower of the year bloomed. The rain started everything to grow again. Saturn Peaches just about ready to eat. Most of the Lettuce has bolted. I left a few Radish to go to seed to plant later. The Pumpkin Vines have taken off with the rain.

July 31th

We are eating Saturn Peaches now. The Tomatoes are ripening and we are having them regularly also freezing any extra. We have our first Okras.We will freeze them as they reach picking size. Dug up some more Onions. Picked allot of Peppers and cut them up for canning but first soak in salt water. Black Berries are forming. The Pears are getting bigger. It will be a good year for Peaches and Pears. We got a soaking rain so all looks better. We had a few Apricots, the squirrels got the rest. There is still Apples on the tree so it is looking good. The Apple tree literally Bloomed and produced Apples after 20 years because all the neighbors White Spruce trees all died and let in the light, huge amounts of light. All the Hostas in Rock/Rain garden are in bloom. The Milk Weed is producing its pods after flowering. The Joe Pye weed is in full bloom. The Tiger Lilies are done blooming. We got a couple of Strawberries, the birds are finding them first. The Gold Finches are back now the Sunflowers are blooming.


Aug 7th

Canned the first Peppers and started to freeze Tomatoes. Also picked all the Saturn Peaches and cut them up and froze them. The First Reg. Peach tree is about ready to pick also and freeze. Picked some more Okra and froze it. The Peaches are very Juicy this year. Dug up some more Onions. The Pears are doing well. Picked some more Beans. The Kalirobi is getting bigger. The Pumpkin vines are growing greet, no pumpkins yet. This is the the Year of the Pepper. There is two frogs in the pond so far. The Monarchs are starting to drop by the Milkweed and Joe Pie Weed. Got a few more and Tomatoes. The Purple Cone flowers, Black Eyed Susan, Pinks and Hostas all in bloom.

Aug 14th

We picked about 2/3 of the Peaches off the tree, sliced into 6 pieces per Peach and froze them, as we will eat daily picked off the tree as many as possible during the next 2 weeks. The other 2 Peach trees are of another type and will ripen later. Dug up some more Onions and got some more Tomatoes. Picked more Peppers and are going to can them later this week. Beans should be ready to pick this week. Also picked a few more Okra. The Golgi Berry plants are starting to flower. The Bartlett pears are still hard yet, soon, as the the Kiefer Pears are still growing and won't be ready till October after the first frost. The Goldfinches are visiting regularly to eat Sunflower seeds. Racoon is visiting and testing the corn, not good. Pumpkin vines are growing all over, so far a good sign.


Aug. 21st

Picked some Peppers, Okra, Tomatoes and Beans. Got the Peppers soaking in salt water for canning them. Picked and froze the last of the Peaches on the Peach tree. We have a bowl full of peaches in the frig to eat fresh. We have 2 more Peach trees to ripen. The Pears are getting bigger. There are few good Apples on the Apple tree. The racoon has eaten the corn even though it wasn't ready yet. We got enough rain to keep the Pumpkin vines to continue to taking over the garden. Found a couple of Strawberries. The Rock/Rain Garden is in full bloom. The Fig trees are doing good. The Golgi Berries are blooming . The Pods on the Milkweed are getting really big.

Aug 28th

Froze Peaches from 2nd Peach tree and kept some for eating daily. Canned some more Peppers. and picked more to be canned. Picked Beans, Okra and Tomatoes. A few Strawberries I found that the Chipmunk missed. It rained so the Pumpkin vines have taken over. There are Figs on both trees. The pears are not ready yet. The third peach tree is not ready yet. The kalirobi is doing good. Most of the Apples have dropped off. There are a few that look like they may make to full size.

Sept. 4th

Picked Some more Peppers for canning, need to soak them in salt water first. Dug up the last of the Onions. Picked Beans, Okra and Tomatoes. Picked the Last of the Peaches and will eat them fresh out of the refrigerator. Picked a coupe of Figs off the Chicago Fig trees. The Kiefer Pears are getting bigger and won't be picked until late October. The Pumpkin vines have taken over the garden. Had a couple of small Apples, good flavor. Picked 3 Kalirobi and steamed them. The days are getting cooler so I leave the greenhouse door closed all day as the high temp is perfect for my Pepper plants to keep producing Peppers.

Sept. 11th

Canned some more Peppers. Picked Tomatoes, Beans and Peppers. Had a couple of Apples off the tree, not many on the tree. The tree dropped most of them as it was first year of producing apples and not enough sun reaching it yet. Pears are getting larger . The rain came just in time again and the Pumpkin vines are going all over. The Golgi Berry plants have flowers on them. Picked a couple of Crab Apples (off Year). Distributed some home maid compost. Had a couple of Figs. The Milk Weed Pods are are starting to pop open. The Sunflowers have been picked clean by the Gold Finches.


Time put the Peppers that are still out of the greenhouse inside to keep them producing as the nights are going down to the 40's. Picked Peppers, Tomatoes, Okra and Beans. The Pears are getting bigger and we will pick them in October after a couple of frosts which makes them sweeter. Had a couple of small Apples, good flavor. I have at least one Pumpkin as the vines have taken over the garden. Had another Fig. Starting to clean up the yard. Going to dig up some Horseradish. The Milkweed pods are starting to pop open.

Oct 2nd

Canned some more Peppers. Picked Beans, Okra, Peppers and Tomatoes. All the Pepper Plants are in the Greenhouse where it gets to 80's even though we barely hit 70. The Pears are still growing and need more cold nights to get them to sweeten up. We have at least one Pumpkin in all those vines. The Milkweed is popping its pods.

Oct 9th

Started canning Pears this week as the Pears start to fall off the tree (30 ft. tree) . The longer they stay on the tree and the more colder nights the Pears get sweeter. Picked a few Peppers and Tomatoes. The Pumpkin I can see is getting bigger. It almost got down to frost. Very little amount of rain has fallen in last 2 weeks. The cold nights have shut down the Beans. A couple of Okra are still growing. The Pepper Plants in greenhouse are receiving 80 degrees on sunny days so they are still doing good. Starting to clean up the Butterfly Flower beds the Milkweed Pods are popping open and dispersing their seeds. Few Figs on the Fig Trees. The Golgi Berry plants producing flowers but no berries yet.


We canned 12 quarts of Pears and this is the beginning the tree is full and the cold weather is making them sweeter as the Fall season begins. Picked a couple of tomatoes as the tomatoes by the house are still producing. Picked some Peppers for my Burritos as the Peppers are still growing tin the Greenhouse. It is going to be a cold week. Pumpkin vines are still going. Starting to clean up the gardens. Collecting seeds for next spring. Fire bush is bright red and the leaves are starting to drop on a variety of trees.

Oct. 23

It is a warm weekend but last week the pumpkin vines died of the cold. Canned 8 more quarts of Pears. Picked a couple of Tomatoes by the house. Picked a few Peppers in the Greenhouse as it was a very cloudy and cold week. Mowed down the Rock/Rain Garden. Also cut down the Joe Pye Weed. Lite up the Greenhouse for Halloween, looks real Cool and Spooky. Collecting a variety of seeds for next year. The Celery is doing good so we should have some for making Stuffing. Cleaning up the raised beds.

Oct 30th

Canned 9 more quarts of Pears. Picked enough Peppers for my Burritos. A frost killed the Pumpkin vines. Mowed down the Garden and found another Pumpkin. A couple more Tomatoes on the Container Plants as they started to turn red. The Celery is still OK. It is not getting very warm in the Greenhouse for very long as few real sunny days. Mulched leaves under trees that have dropped most of their leaves. Got the Greenhouse Lit up for Halloween.

Nov 6th

Canned the last of the Pears. Picked some more Peppers for Burritos. Still warm for fall. Brought in a couple more tomatoes by the house. Mulched the leaves about half. Trees have lost their leaves. The celery is OK yet.

Nov. 13th

Brought in last of the green tomatoes on the tomato plants by the house as it is going down to 28 this weekend . Brought in the Fig tree in the Planter. Brought in some Peppers for Burritos. Mulching leaves. This weekend will be the test on the Greenhouse as it goes down to 25 degrees. Cleaning the gutters. Pulled the pond pump out as water is freezing over.

Nov 20th

The greenhouse is now in cleaning out mode as the last of the Pepper plants were killed off with the 19 degree reading at night. Really cold week for Fall. I do not use any heating to keep it above 32 degrees. I let nature end the season, I just extend it as I picked the last of the Peppers for my Burritos. I am collecting all the grow in cups and will sterilize them in the spring for planting again. 95% of the leaves have been mulched. I collected a good variety of seeds for planting next spring. I will begin some pruning of trees that need it as I can see the bones of their structure. I will put in some more used tires for table legs in the Greenhouse. As the tire heats up in the day it releases the heat at night. All the beds have been cleaned up. The Weeping Crabapple has allot of berries on it so we will see allot of birds as the pond attracts with the fountain running yet too!!

2021 Garden Journal

2020 Garden Journal

2019 Garden Journal

2018 Garden Journal

2017 Garden Journal

2016 Garden Journal

2015 Garden Journal

2014 Garden Journal

2013 Garden Journal

My Name and Address

Arthur Hillson

Zion Illinois

About Me

For more info call 847- 731- 7301


E-Mail me at


Grow Vegetables

Home Orchard

Flower Garden

Saving Seeds

Trees of Great Environmental Value and Beauty

Gardening Better Health

Spring Photos

Summer Photos

Fall Photos

Photographing your Gardens

Web site Designer& Garden Photographer

About Designer

For more info call 847- 731- 7301

E-Mail me at

Have Compost Will Garden


Listen Live