Friday, February 27, 2009

Updated: Big Garden beds

Building beds

The kids and I built two 4'x4' garden beds this morning. We took 8' long 2x6 pieces of wood and Tom cut them in half for us last night, then we drilled pilot holes in one end of each and screwed the pieces together in a square. We will take these down to the veggie garden, place wet newspaper under it to kill the grass/weeds and then fill with dirt, mulch, compost, straw and leaves. We will cover it with black plastic to "cook" the mixture until we are ready to plant in it. In our region (zone 7), we should be able to put most crops out in early-mid April, some sooner.

We have more beds to build! These are for the paste tomatoes and the chard/eggplant/peppers/herbs bed. We also need the following:
5 - 4'x6' beds for beans, broccoli and tomatoes
1 - 6'x6' bed for corn
1- 8'x6' 12" deep bed for asparagus, carrots, garlic, etc...

So, by my calculations, we still need to get 9-12' long and 9-8' long 2"x6" lumber. Eeek!

Updated: Yard Plans

This is the current plan. We got the dog lot up this week and are hoping to get the greenhouse up this weekend, which would be good - I have LOTS of seeds to get started tomorrow and my kitchen is cramped already.

Tomato Varieties

Carol at May Dreams Gardens has a post today entitled Queen of the Garden in which she asks what varieties of tomato everyone is growing. So here are mine!

These are mostly heirlooms, click on the name to link to a pic and more info.

Amish Paste
Aunt Ruby's German Green
Red Cherry
Yellow Pear

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Moved the collards and cabbage to bigger pots made from newspaper. Their roots were growing out the bottom of the jiffy pots, so they needed more room! They look good and are getting their first "true leaves" (see 2nd pic).

I also seeded some rosemary in a bed of potting soil and covered it with plastic.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Garden Bed drawing plans

2009 Planting Guide

I created a Planting Guide for the seed varieties that I am planting this year. Wanted to have everything easily accessible in one place. It is a huge spreadsheet. It has important info like planting times, companion plants, light and soil requirements, harvest info, spacing, preserving, etc...

If you would like me to e-mail you a copy, just leave your addy in the comments of this post. I will send as a pdf. Hope it can be helpful for others!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


These are the cabbage and collards that sprouted last week. They seem to be doing well under the grow light. On top of the light, I have sitting 10 brussels sprouts, 2 egg plants, 1 wonder egg, 1 huckleberry that I started by seed the other day. The 3 pepper plants are still in there (they take a couple weeks), and there were 3 collards that have no sprouted yet (may not?).

First round of peas planted

I plan to put peas in several locations and sow them successively so we have a longer picking time. Today, I put the first round in the ground! This pic is from our high porch looking down onto the bed. Planted about 30 seeds in 2 rows there. Soaked the peas before planting and added an inoculant to the soil. The peas will be able to climb the trellis and porch rails. Can't wait!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More snow

We have had some snow/sleet/rain this morning and there is a bit of snow dusting the ground. Haven't planted the peas yet as it's been so muddy and nasty. Will do soon!

First Sprouts!

I have little baby seedlings! Yesterday there were a few scattered, today over half had sprouted. I removed them from under the plastic and put them under a grow light.

So far there are...

7 of 8 cabbage

7 of 12 collards

0 peppers

Monday, February 16, 2009


It is snowing today, just gentle flurries this morning but quite a few of them. Wonder if anything will stick?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mulch and first seeds started!

We picked up a trailer load of aged manure today via freecycle. Met a nice lady with bunnies and chickens and quail = lots of compost! :-)

Heather and I also got our first seeds started in peat pots today. We planted 12 collards, 3 bell peppers, 1 cayenne pepper, and 8 cabbage. We put the little pots in muffin tins, covered them with saran wrap and put them on top of the fridge to stay warm until they sprout! It felt great to get that started.

I found some old seeds from previous years... I may try to germinate some seeds from them and see if they are any good. There were a few that I wished I had ordered, and also some peas which I can start now since the ordered ones are on backorder.

We went to Lowe's and got some of the intial supplies for our greenhouse project (see post below). We got the plastic, rebar, furring strips, and hinges. Tom will get the pvc pipes cheaper at his supply house, and will pick up the 12' and 16' pieces of wood another time (wouldn't fit in the van).

We grabbed a shovel and hand shovel and rake while we were there, we needed those here at home desperately.

So, that's the fun in the garden today!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Seed packets...

I am so happy to have piles and piles of seed packets on my desk here. :-) Part of my 2nd order came in the mail today, there are several items on back order but nothing crucial - the only thing I am kinda bummed about is the peas, as they can go out before too long. I'll call them on Monday and see how long the expect the backordered items to be. In the meantime, I plan to spend tomorrow getting little seeds planted indoors!

Yard Diagram

I've had lots of sit-down time lately with us all being sick, I haven't really had a voice for a couple days now... makes it hard to do much! So, I took some time today to work on more notes for planting and to make this cool little diagram of our yard and planned gardens, etc...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

First bloom of the season

Found this crocus blooming today in the rose bed by the porch!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

First workings outdoors...

We got outside a bit the last few days and talked about where we are going to put these gardens and the greenhouse and the chicken yard. Will and I pruned the butterfly bush and cut down lots of dead stalks from flowers. I found crocus and daffodils poking up and some small signs of new life in the rose bushes.

Today, Tom and Will laid out newspapers on the small bed where the lettuce, spinach, broccoli, etc... will go. Then the kids and I went out this afternoon and we added a layer of leaves and then 2 buckets of bunny manure and 2 buckets of well-aged compost. We then covered this with black plastic held down with rocks. We are hoping that the sun will "cook" the mixture and make it break down soon so it will be good for planting.

I found a source for some more manure, need to get Tom to help me go get it this weekend hopefully. I want to get the rest of the gardens planned and drawn so I can share here, will work on that soon.

It feels great to be outdoors!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Itching for Spring!

These last couple days have been balmy and spring-like! It hit 70 yesterday and melted the bit of snow that had fallen last week. It isn't quite as warm or sunny today, but I do have the windows open (so nice to air out the house, especially after sickies!) and I can hear the wind chime and the branches rustling... ahhhhh!!!!

I got one of my seed orders in yesterday, waiting on the other, I was surpised this one came so quickly. It was the Southern Exposure one and did not include the garlic or onion (fall planting - will come then) or the valerian (back-ordered).

I was chatting with a friend yesterday about how much this weather makes you want to run out and buy soil and start digging!!! I will settle for getting some seedlings started indoors for now. :-)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Greenhouse plans

Thinking of a 12'x16' with hoops every 3' (one off-set by 1') and one door. Wonder if Tom would build it for me?

Plans from Dave at Alberta Home Gardening who has a great blog with detailed plans and pics. Check them out!

Prices from Lowe's unless otherwise noted.

20' x 50' clear 4 mil plastic = $59.99 here
3 10' x 10mm rebar = $6.28 each
2 2x6 12' = $6.99 each
2 2x6 16' = $8.99 each
6 2x4 12' = $4.36 each
7 1/2"x20' pvc piping = $3.22 each (Tom may have this, which would be free)
3 1x2x8 furring strip = @ $.91 each
2 door hinges = $1.47
2 door handles = $4.58
zip ties
nails or screws

Total cost = approx $160.00

Orders made!

Tonight I placed orders for our heirloom seeds (per spreadsheet posted below) and also for 25 Rhode Island Red chicks! Such great fun. The chicks should arrive March 16. I can't wait to get everything all started indoors and start planning out where everything will be going.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Why Heirloom?

Wanted to share an interesting article on Why Heirloom Seeds Matter from a blog I came across.

Sunday, February 1, 2009