Thursday, July 23, 2009

Almost ready... I get to plant again soon!

The countdown is on for August. I get back from the beach on August 1st and I don't think anyone would be surprised to find me out back putting in seeds. :)

I have decided that I am going to just plant my seedlings early instead of trying to keep them alive while I am gone. If they survive, great! If they don't, well I can just plant the seeds when I get back. Just trying to get an extra start.

The horse manure is spread and I have 5 extra bags, plus a big plastic container full left over. I will need some when I pull the sweet potatoes out in October. Other than that I guess I will just continue to compost it. I may add it to my leaf pile and let them compost together.

So there is one of my boxes before I worked it into the remaining mix. I was 6 inches low on this one. There's a bunch of dainty ground cover around that box. I am torn about removing it. One, it has such pretty flowers that the bees and butterflies are always visiting - that's good! Plus, I like the way it looks. On the other hand, I read that "weeds" around the boxes encourage bad insects to nest. Good insects, bad insects.... they both like the same spot. What to do, what to do.

The corn is going in this box. I hope the netting will keep the raccoons out. If it doesn't I'll go up another 3ft around it and will have to figure out some way to actually access the garden myself LOL. It's slightly floppy plastic netting so that they can't get a good climb on it. DH says they'll probably just chew through it. I hope not! Maybe if I toss some squirrel food (mostly corn) out behind the fence they'll just happily eat that. haha!

Alrighty, I'm off to get things done!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Horse Manure - it's a Beautiful thing!

I found some horse manure compost on Craig's list and today Jake and I headed out to the farm to load it up. It was $10 a truck bed load. I know some people say don't pay, you can find it for free. But this farm was close and why shouldn't they make money from it? If I ever have extra bunny poo I would try to sell it to make something back from the food and care I put into him.

Since we don't have a truck, it was filling the trunk with garbage bags full for us. I shoveled up 18 bags of manure, heaved them into the trunk, got them home, heaved them out of the trunk into the wheelbarrow, then out of the wheelbarrow and over to the beds. My first 4x4 bed was so low that it took six bags to fill it. I'm so glad I do alot of heavy weightlifting when I workout because flinging around 50lb bags of manure wasn't as hard. So, I did skip my workout today because I figure that is a good one in itself!

The guy was so nice. He told us to come back tomorrow and fill the trunk up again so make sure we got our money's worth. I am taking him up on it, but told him what I got was already cheaper than the box store. Plus he's going to let Jake ride one of the horses when we go back tomorrow. And this is GOOD stuff, tons of worms. After I filled my first bed I stepped back and looked at it and it was moving. I'm taking Ted along after work so he can heave the bags instead of me LOL. I actually enjoy the shoveling part.

With my 18 bags I topped off almost 6 beds. I went out and looked at it and it just looks so rich and ready for planting. Several of the beds had just been "watered" with worm tea this weekend that I had brewed up. Then I brewed up some bunny poo tea and poured that on. Then also spread the bunny poo over the beds. Now they're topped off with horse manure. I'm very hopeful about this fall's turnout. I have the compost from my previous mixing (cow, mushroom, chicken, worm castings), with all of this good stuff added in. I will work the manure into the beds better after we get it all and I'm not so tired. Maybe I'll even let it settle while we're on vacation next week and do that when I get back.

Anyway, I'm very happy about horse manure. How crazy is that? :) :) :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Watering Dirt

Yes... I have been faithfully watering peat pots full of dirt and nothing else! Those 3 "mystery" pots have nothing in them at all. Now i recall that I was saving them for the new seeds I was expecting in the mail. LOL!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cage Building

That's what we've been doing the past few days and this past weekend. I have been caging in my boxes to save my veggies from the raccoons. I really don't mind sharing, but they don't share! They just take it all and I'm left with nothing. So hopefully the cages will keep them out.
I only need about 5 cages. The boxes with trellises I just wrapped the netting around them using the posts. It is sort of a flimsy netting so that they can't climb it. But I don't know if they'll chew through it?? I guess we'll find out! And if they do I'll go the chicken wire route. But I hate dealing with chicken wire. It is such a pain to work with. Anyway, once I got it up I noticed no one dug out the squares I had just prepped so that is encouraging. And the garden will be rather empty until Aug/Sept so maybe they'll forget about me!! :)

I have some seedlings sprouting in the back room. I'm very excited about the broccoli sprouts that came up first. Why? Because I let one of my broccoli plants go to seed last year and harvested all of the seeds out of those little pods myself. So these are sort of my first generation broc's. I was wondering if they would sprout at all, if I'd waited long enough to harvest the seeds, etc. This is just a nice little confirmation that I did it right :) .
Three of my seedlings are mystery peat pots. I didn't write names on them??? I am certain I wrote on each pot what was in it because last year I had mystery stuff. Well I'll be darned if I know what these three will be. Nothing has sprouted in them so now I wonder to myself..."did I even plant anything in them?" LOL. If they are a squash I'll have no clue which ones they are because I have several varieties. I guess it will just have to be a fun surprise!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Finishing Fall Plans

Whew, I think I have the fall garden planned. Doesn't seem like it should be that hard, right? I'm not going to be as passive about the garden this year. I'm hoping for better yields now that the first year of learning and experimenting have passed. Not that I'm done learning, LOL, but I think I have the basics.

Here's a pic of my plans for fall...

Yes, the words are a bit small, but you can click on it to see it better. Only 2 boxes will stay the same - the strawberries and the sweet potatoes (which won't be ready until Oct/Nov). Jake hasn't decided what to do in his box, and I had to rotate the watermelons and am using the top portion of his for the cukes.

I got some seedlings started in the sunroom for the August planting. Still don't know what I'm going to do to water them while I'm gone on vacation.... I read a few ideas online. One is watering them well right before we leave then sealing them in airtight bags - propped up with straws or something to keep the bag from sitting on the leaves. Another is setting the peat pots in a shallow tray of water and allowing the water to be drawn up through the bottom. Jake and I discussed a drip system involving cups and strings. It is similar to when we made stalactites and you hung a string out of water and it dripped slowly for days. We're going to test it this week.

I also have made plans for more cages for my boxes since the raccoons seem to be here to stay. The other night I laid trellis pieces on top of the beds I'd prepped. They dug through the little holes and pulled out all of the kitchen scraps!! LOL. Gosh I would have loved to have seen them doing that. Wish they weren't so darned cute so that I could dislike them!

I have more seeds ordered; some herbs, purple beans, rainbow carrots, etc. I'm interplanting all kinds of herbs and flowers in the boxes (not on the diagram) to help controls pests. And I will probably mix up a bit more Mel's mix to top off a few of my boxes. With harvesting and rain and all that stuff they are sinking a bit low. I did 4 of my boxes earlier this year without the mix and I really do prefer the looser soil of the good mixed beds over just compost.

Alrighty, I'm off to get more stuff done today!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Prepping in the Rain....

I got another box prepped for fall today - out in the rain! I simply had to get it done so I got out and did it, rain or shine. Mostly shine though LOL and just a little rain. That leaves me with just a few more squares to prep and I will be all ready for the Aug/Sept/Oct plantings.

I'm really going to try to keep up with the garden better this year. Last year was my first year gardening and I enjoyed planting and looking at the garden. But I didn't really "help" it along much. The corn got hit by corn borers, and the squash got taken over by squash bugs - and by some overzealous attack against the squash bugs by yours truly. Yes, I killed the squash.

Anyway, I'm going to interplant more crops to help keep certain things away. And I am going to fertilize the garden. Last year I just followed the SFG book and it said you don't have to fertilize. But I've seen other gardens on the gardenweb forums and I think they said they fertilize. I'm not sure what to use though. I do sprinkle worm tea on the garden from the worm bins. And maybe I'll get some seaweed or fish emulsion - but why and what for? Guess I'll have to research that. Oh, and of course the bunny berries get sprinkled on the garden too.

And I need to find a good organic way to keep the bugs away, beyond the interplanting.

Oh, and maybe mulching the boxes this year. I have so many dead leaves I could use, I wonder if that's ok? I did it for my strawberries so I guess it is ok elsewhere too, duh.

I have pretty carrots and purple beans on the way - I'm so excited! And I'm going to start some seeds in peat pots in the sunroom to be ready for August- hurray!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Night Sounds

Here's a "video" that is really just for audio. The sound of the garden at night after the rain...

It's going to be a boring month in the garden in July. Nothing to plant, nothing to harvest this month. Just prepping beds and getting ready for August. So while my garden blog will most likely be lacking, at least my adventure blog will probably pick up! (except it rained ALL WEEK this week and we didn't go anywhere.)