Tag Archives: garden

Garden Update: 4 May

Potatoes, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, radishes, bell peppers. And, if I’m not a dumb-ass tomorrow, some jalapeños as well. That’s what’s in the garden this year. Things are looking pretty good, though!

Unfortunately, though, there was some natural selection that happened. One of my basil plants died and most of my slicing cucumbers haven’t come up.

Pictures (taken with my Samsung Captivate Android smart phone) after the jump

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Garden update: 25 May

Just a quick update: Today I took a look out in the garden and noticed that I have potato plants making an appearance! Pics tomorrow (been busy with homework today, so no pics) I’ve also seen cucumber seedlings of both types, as well as radish leaves. One of my basil plants looks iffy, but 5/6 is a pretty good number if you ask me!

Tomorrow I’ll be planting the jalapeño plants and the English lavender after work, if I have the energy. I will likely have to put my feet up for a while, though.

Bog fat blob

Oh. My. God. I am in the process of tilling up my garden area, and have discovered something: I don’t think I will be able to do it all as I wanted. One of the 4×8 beds down, one more of the same and a pumpkin patch to go. I can barely lift my forearms.

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Happy windfall FTW

You never know when something will fall out of the sky and make your life just that much easier for a little while.  That happened to me today. I got a check for my unused vacation balance from the old job.

I ve about where the money to rent the garden tiller was going to come from, as well as where the cash to put into the potato towers to get them ready to grow. Then there is the consignment order that I have for the end of May that I need to fill to get Gentleman’s Cabinet off on the right foot. A friendly couple that we know will have a vendor table at WisCon over the Memorial Day weekend and they have expressed a willingness to take some of my goods to try to sell. Look for Traditional Treasures if you’re there and say hi to Betsy and Warren!

Anyway! The funding for these projects was not clear or obvious, but it is not a problem now. I’ll have the funds available for use next Monday (After Kristen and the kids get back from ACen) and will be able to order a number of things that I need early next week. Yay!

It really takes a load off of the mind, knowing how I can make the garden work soon. I can rent the tiller and get the garden prepped and some seeds sown. I can make some products to hopefully sell them over Memorial Day weekend. And, I can buy some canning stuff in order to be able to preserve some foods. I may even have enough left over to get a small pressure canner, so that I can put up some vegetables from the garden some way other than just pickled. Not everyone in the house likes pickles.

In other news, I have orientation at Target next Friday, and hopefully I’ll be able to start working soon after that. I need to be doing something that makes some progress, since most of my plans, like the garden, are mostly on hold at the moment. Once that money gets into my hands, things can progress. I can finally get the garden started, too, which will make me feel less useless.

Have you ever been in a situation that a windfall of some sort turns you right around? I’d like to hear your experience!

Light weekend reading

While Kristen was out running errands with Kirk and Katie, the mail came. However, I wasn’t paying attention, so they brought it in when they got home.

Side note: Kristen is starting to get freaked out by the numerous packages that are arriving with my name on them lately. Fortunately, there are only a few left pending. One on Monday, which is my water bath canner, and one that will ship on May 5, which is my birthday money from Barnes and Noble.

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Planning on potatoes

Today’s goal is to develop a plan to grow somewhere around 60 – 80 pounds of potatoes in a staged or staggered harvest.

The idea is to start three or four groups of potatoes with a week or two between each, so that they have a chance to mature in sequence and we don’t get a too-large harvest all at one time. Since the spuds can take a lot of space, I won’t be planting them in the prepared beds, but rather in some sort of potato tower or (new) trash barrel container.

At this time, I’m thinking that I’ll be doing three or four stages of growing, so I’ll need at least the same amount of barrels or towers.

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Food in Jars

While I was looking for some home canning gear (I am in need of a water bath canner for this Summer’s expected harvest) and I stumbled across the blog Food in Jars by way of Googling for “Steam Canner” information.  I had no idea what a steam canner is and I saw the reference in my search for water bath canners.

Anyway, I found Food in Jars.  What a cool site!  Clever Girl Marisa McClellan talks about home canning and small-scale food preservation, among other things. She’s got recipes galore, and may have me begging for a pressure canner in the moderately near future.

She’s also got a big list of other canning bloggers as well as a list of what she calls “flavors” and appears to be food-related blogs.

Check her out!

Starting the garden off

We are not past the danger of frost, as evidenced by the past three nights of sub-freezing temperatures. In fact, I’ve been bringing in the pots of herbs just in case it gets too cold.

That being said, there are a bunch of things that I can and should be doing in order to get the raised beds ready for planting. Since they’ve been growing wild for a couple of years, I need to rent a tiller in order to break through the weeds and loosen the soil. After due consideration, we’ve also decided that there will be a couple of regular beds opened up along the fence line, so that we can grow some melons and squash (e.g. pumpkins for Halloween) for later in the season.

But, like I said, I need to rent a tiller. I found out that Home Depot rents them, either by 4 hours or all day, and for less than $50.00 so the price is decent. There is a rental place closer to home, so I still want to check that out, but the Home Depot is available. The plan is to rent the tiller this coming weekend and have at.

Some other things that I am able to do at this point include obtaining soil amendments for the raised beds in advance of the tilling, and picking up seeds and the like. I’m also planning on planting a “potato tower” that I saw on Pinterest. Potatoes make up a fairly large portion of our family diet, so having some home grown would make for an interesting experiment.

Since I’m getting what many “serious” gardeners would consider a late start, I’m going to be using seed packets from the garden centers this year, though I would like to plant heirloom varieties next season, so that I can save seeds and not have to buy all over again. Why can’t I save seeds from the garden store packet plants? They’re often trademarked or copyrighted (not sure which applies) by companies like Monsanto, or they grow sterile seeds

So, here’s my plan for today: scope out the fence line for planting melons and squash, and decide where I want to put them.

Learn to garden NOW!

I stumbled across this blog post by way of Pinterest today and had to read it a couple of times for it to really hit home for me.

New Life On A Homestead » Blog Archive » You Must Learn To Garden NOW!.

Why did this hit home?  Simple: I waited too long and now find myself really, REALLY needing the skills that I could have learned already.  I need my garden to be well and truly productive in order to help minimize our food bill this year, since I’m not working at this time.

In light of this, I am a bad “prepper” in that emergency preparedness is one of those things that I am a fan of and I was complacent. I’m paying the price for that now, though.

That’s a feeling that is definitely NOT comfortable.

Besides that, though, I’m thinking that managing the garden may be good therapy to help me stave off the depression that I am sure is coming. It hasn’t hit yet, at least not overtly. But I’ve been trying to stay busy with planning the garden plots this year, as well as making plans for herbal concoctions to sell on Etsy. The problem with that, though, is that there is a moderately high cost of entry and a LOT of competition. Would be less at a farmers market, though.

Call me Mr Green (?) Thumb!

With my unemployment, I have to be able to provide SOMETHING for my family.  Kristen decided (with some input and acquiescence from me, since use has great logical reasons) that I should renew our garden beds and make them work for us this year.

Thanks to Pinterest I have quite a bit of inspiration and some guidance to fall back upon.  Also, I discovered a neat website that helps you plan planting times based on your ZIP code! Sprout Robot tells me that I am not, in fact, behind on my planting despite what the weather may be seeming to tell me. I just wish that it had more information on a greater variety of herbs.

What I did accomplish so far was planting two little pots of kitchen herbs that Kristen uses a lot: Chives, rosemary, and oregano are growing on either side of our front step, as seen here:

2herb planting, phase 1: chives, rosemary, oregano

When we first moved in here, we put in a couple of raised garden beds with the best of intentions. However, we were overwhelmed with “life” plus the garden, and it quickly got neglected, even after we had too many cucumbers to spare.  We left them fallow for a couple of years, but with the current state of our household economy (and my copious amount of spare time) the conclusion was reached that I need to put my “farmer” hat on and grow some food.  That will have the added benefit of giving us the opportunity to save money at the grocery store on some staples of our veg intake.  We likes our potatoes, yo!

No-dig potato tower

SWMBO says that I should grow some little red potatoes, since she hates the purple ones. I just hope that I can get the potato tower built without killing myself. The directions *say* that it should easily generate 24 pounds of potatoes by season end.

That’s all I have for today.  I’m headed out to weed her flower garden and see if the lavender that she planted last year has survived the winter.

Wish me luck!

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