Friday, May 31, 2013

6th Grade Science Class

                                                Sugar Snap Peas, Okra, Sweet Corn

I learned this trick in Elementary School. These Seeds have hard, thick outer layers. It is much easier to get them to sprout before putting them in the soil, rather than after, especially the Okra.

1. Soak the seeds overnight in a cup of water.
2. Drain.
3. Wrap in a damp towel
4. Keep moistening the towel for 2-3 days.
5. One they grow tails, plant in soil.

One Sunny Spot in the Shady Back

 We've got a shady backyard. Initially, when I figured this out.. I was pretty upset. I had dreams of vegetable and full-sun perennials in the back. But now, I am quite pleased! I have investigated the world of Shade Gardens and am bursting with excitement and ideas of how to fill this area.

Along the left side, under the Pines, we'll till up a new bed this fall and plant some bulbs and dependable perennials to look forward to year after year.
Eventually we'll dig a small pond and fill it with water plants.
If we stay here long enough.. it will eventually look like the Secret Garden.
 There is ONE spot in the back that gets several hours of sun each day, in the far right corner.
For now, we've filled it with Hydrangeas, Coreopsis, and Black-Eyed Susans.

Front Yard Beds

 Most of our Front Yard plants have not bloomed yet. This is a long work in progress. Many of the plants going in the front are Perennials, and are either first year plants or are still quite young.

These are the gardens I am currently most excited about, mainly because of their EPIC potential for the future. Once established these plants will reseed themselves, be divided, fill out, get bigger and bigger.. and its gonna be amazin'.

For now, we have filled in with some annuals while we await the maturity of the perennials.

Starting Flowers & Herbs by Seed

Here is a Great way to do it!
1. Get some cheap plastic pots & fill with potting soil.
2. Label them with what you're planting
3. Drop as many seeds in there as you like. Cover, water, sunlight, wait.
4. Once they grow, you can carefully pry seedlings out of the loose soil & transplant them wherever you like!

Edibles Around the House

 We have filled in nearly every possible space around the house with plants.. even a few edibles!
 Strawberry & Raspberry plants growing on the side of the house
Mints and Rosemary

...stay tuned for more Herbs growing around the deck..

New Shade Garden & Pergola

Yes! Finally, our fence & pergola have been built. Here, you can see us laying the pallet floor. Treated plywood has been attached to the tops of all of the pallets. Next, we filled it in with mulch.

 After the patio floor was filled with mulch, we tilled around the sides to remove the grass and turn the soil.
 The tilled sides were then topped with landscaping rocks.
 And then filled with shade plants! We have filled in the area mostly with perennials, but also a few annuals for extra color.
Overtime the plants will fill out/in, and eventually it will probably be an entirely perennial garden.


 I've been harvesting all of these greens and more for the last month! There are also tiny seedlings in the Greens Bed now that I will continue to plant through Summer and into Fall. Satisfying.

Butterhead Lettuce

Kale and Arugala
Green and Red Mustard

More Garden Vegetables

 None of these are ready to harvest yet, but most of the plants are quite photogenic

Sugar Snap Peas
 Summer Squash
 Sweet Corn
 Sweet Peppers

Growing Root Vegetables

Beets! We have 1.5 rows of Chioggia Beets and 1.5 rows of Golden Beets. When you get up close you can see the difference because the leaf veins are brightly colored.

Carrots! We have red, violet and orange varieties growing, there are 5 rows total. Weeds are a terrible nuisance, obviously, so I pulled for 2 weeks then laid some straw. It helps, but some giant weeds still grow up through the straw layer. And the backseat of my Prius is now covered in straw.

                                                     Red & Yellow Onions

Radishes! We are growing Daikon and Watermelon varieties. They'll be ready to harvest very soon. I'll harvest all the roots in the next month or two, then replant again for a second harvest in the Fall.

New Root Vegetable Bed

This was tough work. My much older Garden neighbors watched me turn this patch over for 4 hours. There were 4 of them. Two Ladies in lawn chairs drinking lemonades and smoking cigarettes, and 2 men taking turns with a tiller. They have 5 plots! When they were finally done tilling their plots (5,000 sq ft!) they came over with a tiller and offered to do mine! Everybody is very nice out here.

I added 2bags of sand and 2 bags of peat to make the soil super loose for the Root Veggies.

I got a massage a few days later.

There are about 15 rows in the Root Veg Garden. I marked them with wine corks and rocks.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hardening Off aka Toughen Up

My darling little seedlings have been living under fluorescent lights, in a heated basement, with good circulation, plenty of water & tons of nutrients.. but eventually, and soon, they'll need to fly the coop and survive in the great outdoors.

To prepare them for the switch I've been setting them outside for incrementally longer and longer periods of time. I started this about a week before the transplant. First for 2 hours, then 4, then 6, 8, and eventually overnight. Tomorrow... they're going in the ground. Today feels like Christmas Eve.

Transplant & Sow Tomorrow!

We've got a 50x25ft community garden plot to plant all of our edibles, herbs and some flowers. Its been snowing like crazy this year, so the ground has been super wet & I'm just now getting the chance to start planting. The last frost is anticipated to be next week, so this isn't a bad time to get growing.

Our Garden is about a mile away, so I've got to load up the car & haul some gear. I made a list of what I'll need, so that I wouldn't forget anything (fingers crossed.) I also made a "to-do list" .. because thats how we get things done around here!

Items to bring to Garden

Hand Shovel
Buffoloam, Guano, BloodMeal
Plant Labels

Buy Sand
Prepare Root Beds
-Peat & Sand
Direct Sow

Roots like to grow in loose soil, so the first task Ill do in the garden is
1. Locate & Label my root rows
2. Top the rows with peat moss & sand
3. Turn the soil very well
4. Plant my carrot, radish & beet seeds.
5. Transplant onion seedlings

I went out to the garden last week & designated the rows for Greens & Broccoli. I dug up the soil, buried fresh kitchen scraps, and covered it back up. The idea is to attract lots of worms! Tomorrow I will transplant 6 green varieties and broccoli to these rows, water well, add some more nutrients.. and wait.