Saturday, April 5, 2008

My Raised Garden Beds

So, with all the free bricks I got a week ago, I built 5 raised garden beds for my Growing Challenge. Here are some pictures of what I did and how I did it...

Here is a "before" picture... This is the garage; the house is on the left, just out of the picture. This is my little "courtyard" area. It gets sun from about 10am until about 5-6pm. This is the best place in my yard for a garden. Well, I think it is, I guess I will find out soon enough!
Here is a picture after I took out the topsoil and that walnut tree. That tree should have been gone when we moved in 2 years ago - boy was it hard to get that sucker outta there!!! I just removed about 2-3 inches of the topsoil and grass. I did this to try and level the ground before I started building the beds. It didn't exactly work that way, but oh well, the plants won't care too much lol. You can also see in this picture that I put down some cardboard. I wanted to make sure that no weeds came up from the bottom. There is about 2-3 layers of cardboard at the bottom of the garden beds.
Here is a little more progress. I've started laying the bricks down in this picture...
The actual beds are built now! Woo Hoo!! I ended up with 5 beds, the one closest in the picture is a little wider than the rest. I am going to attempt corn in that one - its pretty small for corn, but I'm going to try it anyway! The other 4, well, that has yet to be decided... I figure the tomatoes and beans will go up against the garage on some type of trellis. That's as far as I've gotten on what will go where... (any suggestions anyone??)
The beds are about 10-12 inches deep. The next step is filling these in, which I did today. I will post some pictures of that tomorrow.
Here is a picture of whats left from my stack of bricks from last week... Hmmm...what else can I do with these?!


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Other People's Junk...

So, I haven't posted in over a month, but that doesn't mean I haven't been at least thinking about my garden!! I bought the book "All New Square Foot Gardening" a few months back and have been thinking about how I can take what I've learned from the book and incorporate it into my own garden. I am not the type of person to do everything by the book - I normally just incorporate new info into my own way of doing things. (Usually on the cheap lol)...

Well, while surfin' the net looking for cheap, easy gardening ideas, I came across Freecycle. I joined the local group on Yahoo Groups and have since been addictively monitoring the emails for anything I can use in my garden. This led me to start checking out the free listings on Craigslist as well. Last week I found someone needing their brick patio dug up and giving away the bricks. I ended up with 8 trunk loads of free bricks!! There's the free raised beds right there. I love other people's junk!! (Anyone out there trying to give away a free truck? lol)


After building the raised beds over the weekend, I posted a "wanted" ad on Freecycle asking is anyone had some sand they needed to get rid of. I figured I could use sand to mix with the clay and soil and leaves from my own yard to cheaply fill in my new raised gardens. So why not see if I could find some that no one else wanted?? Well, it worked. Two people emailed me back offering some sand (Thanks Patty and Karen!!). Awesome! Now I'm almost ready to start filling my gardens. Did I mention I love other people's junk??!!

I will post pictures and explain how I made my raised garden bed in the next post. Until next time...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cabin Fever Cure #2

Playing with my seeds!!! I took pictures of some of the cooler looking seeds… Can’t wait to take pictures of some plants! Where is Spring???

Can you tell which ones are Pie Pumpkin seeds and which ones are Atlantic Giant Pumpkin seeds? Got these two types in a trade a few weeks ago. I think I will probably plant the Pie pumpkins, not sure if I have it in me to give the Atlantic Giants the care (and food and space, etc) they really need!!

Above is some cool looking Indian corn I got from a trade. Not sure what type it is though. The lady who sent it to me said she got it from a North Dakota Sioux who told her they grow it every year. I really want to try it, but I think I am going to grow the Bloody Butcher Red Corn (below) and some Hopi Pink (not pictured).

Below are some castor bean seeds. Not sure what type, I just know they will be tall! I got these in a trade also. These seeds are kinda creepy looking… Like a big fat tick that just got done gorging itself. The plants (and seeds) are very poisonous, maybe it’s a good thing they look kinda like big ticks! Watch out all you nasty squirrels, don’t be digging around the wrong plants!

Well, that’s enough for now, I will post some more in the next day or so.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I'm still learnin'


So, a couple years ago, I bought some Love Lies Bleeding Amaranth from Baker Creek because, well, the picture just looked neat…er, unusual. I had never heard of that plant before I saw it in the catalog and it doesn’t look like anything I have seen in any yards around where I live. So I just had to have it! Of course, the first year I got it (2006), I didn’t plant any… HA! That’s just like me… Well, that’s a lie, I did try to start some inside before the frost date, like a good little new gardener, but it died. Along with everything else I tried to start inside. WAA! So that year, I ended up going to the local Lowes and bought some stuff to stick in the ground. Instant gratification, American-style lol. But I saved the rest of my seeds – ‘cuz I’m a pack rat like that. Kept ‘em in the basement, nice and cool.

Well, along comes “next year” (2007), and just when I thought “its time to start my soon-to-be-dead seedlings inside again”, we decided we might move and sell the house. Well, these plants were just too cool to let someone else enjoy, so I was going to take them with me and didn’t start any inside (good for them!!). Then, around June we decided not to move and sell the house. Now I am thinking, it’s way too late to plant this, but I did anyway! At this point, I didn’t care if I saw flowers or not. I just wanted to plant something! So, I sowed a bunch of seeds in the corner of my garden to see what would happen. Wouldn’t you know it, they grew! And grew!…. Boy did it grow! Everywhere online I read about this plant, it’s supposed to be around 3-4 feet tall. Mine got over 6 feet tall!!! I wish I had taken pictures… Oh well, there’s always next year.

Well, I guess I just didn’t have faith in myself, or the plant knowing when to set seed. I figured since I put it in the dirt a month too late that I wouldn’t get seeds out of it. Plus, I guess I was thinking that I would see seedpods or something at the end of summer (forgetting how small those suckers are!). I didn’t, so I figured there were no seeds. So, around the first frost, while cleaning out the garden, I just chopped everything down and stuck it in my little ‘compost’ pile out back. I did cut some of the flower tassels and hung them on the fence out back. ‘Cuz they look pretty cool hanging there lol.

This was months ago, around October. A few weeks ago, I was reading some forum talking about how Amaranth self-sows. Would the seeds survive the winter? That got me thinking maybe I do have seeds in those few flower tassels hanging on the fence. I went out back to take a look. I trudged into the back yard, in the snow no less! Of course they were no longer hanging on the fence. They were buried in a pile of leaves! Argh… Not to be deterred, I dug around till I found it! I tore off a piece, and, lo and behold, SEEDS! Pretty, tiny, little seeds all over my hands! I hit a little red goldmine!

Ok, so now I have seeds, but are they viable??? The next step was to see if they would germinate… I took some out of all the chaff and stuck them on a moist paper towel in a little plastic sandwich bag. Two days later, they sprouted!!! Wow. So now I know what “self-sow” means. LOL… I just wish I didn’t throw out 10 times that many seeds out back in the compost pile!!

I wonder if I will have some Amaranth growing out of my little wanna-be compost pile out back this spring???… We’ll see.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Few Conclusions...

As I sit here waiting for my granola bars to come out of the oven, I am pondering what will grow in my little urban jungle this year. This is what I know for sure I want to attempt…

Edibles – I am for sure going to attempt tomatoes – I have enough of them that’s for sure! I am also going to try all the beans. From what I have read on both of those, they don’t seem to easily cross-pollinate, so I can save some seeds. (With my luck they will and next year I will have some mutant tomatoes and beans… Oh well, my own little heirlooms lol.) I will also definitely grow any and all herb seeds I come across. I have a special little place out front to grow them all… How I will mix them up in the garden is another story, but they have a spot already marked out. I love peppers, so those will go somewhere too. I have some heirloom seeds I got in a trade from a guy in Atlanta that have been grown in his family for three generations, so I feel obligated to keep those going. Plus they are some type of hot peppers, and I love hot peppers. I will probably also grow a different type in another part of the yard to keep them from crossing (I’m always trying to think of ways to keep the seeds pure – or maybe I’m just cheap and don’t want to buy seeds next year lol). I’m going to try a watermelon too; I think the moon and stars. It looks neat. I’m just not sure which type; looks like SSE has 3 different types for sale. I also have some spaghetti squash and lumina pumpkins I want to grow. I was reading about hand pollinating those to keep them from crossing. That will be fun… I wonder if I can post pictures of it on my blog or if it’s considered plant-porn? Lol… Anyway, those veggies I know for sure I am going to try.

Flowers – I am definitely growing some amaranth this year. Last year I grew the Love Lies Bleeding that I got from Baker Creek the year before. I have some seed from that plant that I harvested (funny story about this, I’ll wait till next post to tell that one lol). And I have a bunch of different types from trades that I will grow as well. I think I am going to force some on my mom so that I can harvest the seed and keep it pure (he he he). … Actually, looking at my list, I am sure I will grow all of the flowers I have listed here… Yeah, its going to be a jungle!!

Until next time…

My ever growing seed list

Here is a list of all the seeds I have… Now I just need to figure out which ones I will grow in my garden for the Growing Challenge and which ones I need to give away or save for next year… The majority of these came from trades, so we'll see how well they do. The only things on this list that I have grown from seed are the Love Lies Bleeding Amaranth, Basil, Hyacinth Bean, Gourds, Parsley, and Peppers. My peppers didn't come out very well a couple years ago, but they were growing in pots, this year they will have their own spot in the garden... Wish me luck.

Amaranth – Unknown type

Amaranth - Fat Spike

Amaranth – Globe

Amaranth - Hot Biscuits

Amaranth – Love Lies Bleeding Red

Amaranth - Marvel Bronze

Amaranth – Oeschburg

Amaranth – Prince’s Feather

Arugula - Rocket Eruca

Asparagus – Mary Washington

Basil – Lime

Basil – Sweet

Bean – Arikara Yellow Bush (Heirloom of the Chickasaw Nation)

Bean - Chinese Yard Long Bean (Red Noodle)

Bean – Dragon’s Tongue, bush wax bean

Bean – Jacob’s Cattle

Bean – KY Wonder Green Bean

Bean - Purple Podded Pole Bean

Bean – Soldier Beans

Beet – Chicago Red Hybrid

Blanket Flower

Blue Balloon Flower

Bok Choi

Broom Corn (Sorghum)

Cabbage – Early Flat Dutch

Cabbage - Red Acre

Carrot – Chantenay

Carrot – Danvers

Castor Bean (unknown type)

Giant Castor Bean

Castor Bean – Purple

Chard – Five Color Silverbeet

Chives – Garlic

Clematis – Sweet Autumn

Collards – Georgia Southern

Coneflower – Purple

Coreopsis – Lanceleaf (yellow?)

Corn - Bloody Butcher Red Dent Corn

Corn – Hopi Pink

Corn – Unknown type from ND Sioux Indian

Corn – Strawberry Popcorn

Corn – Sweet Corn, Silver Queen

Cornflower (Bachelor’s Buttons)

Cornflower (Bachelor's Button indigo)

Cucumber – Lemon

Cucumber – Spacemaster

Devil's Trumpet – White

Eggplant – Ai Qwa (Ai Gua) Long Purple Japanese/Chinese

Eggplant - Auberdine du Burkina Faso

Eggplant - Italian White

Eggplant - Listada de Gandia

Fennel – Florence

Flossflower

Four O’Clocks – Pink

Gourd – Mix

Gourd – Birdhouse

Hosta – 3 types, unknown

Hyacinth Bean – Moonshadow

Ironweed

Joe Pye Weed

Lambs Ears

Lettuce – Bibb

Lettuce – Grand Rapids Tipburn Resistant

Lima Bean - Red Persia Lima Bean

Marigold – unknown type

Marigold – small creamy white

Marjoram Sweet

Melon – Banana

Melon – Cantaloupe, Hales Best Jumbo

Melon – Muskmelon

Mesclun – Gourmet Greens Mixture

Mesclun – Mild Mix

Mexican Hats

Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Money Plant

Mustard – India, Florida Broad Leaf

Nicotiana – Scentsation Mixed Colors

Nipple Fruit (Solanaceae mamosum)

Okra – Burgundy

Okra – Clemson Spineless #80

Oregano

Parsley – Plain

Passion Flower “Blue Crowned”

Passion Flower “Purple Passionfruit”

Peas – Melting Sugar (Snow Peas)

Pea – Oregon Sugar Snow Pea

Pepper – Cayenne Slim Hot

Pepper – Chinese Ornamental (Capsicum annuum)

Pepper – Hot Pepper Mix, heirloom from Atlanta, GA

Pepper – Unknown type, probably Cayenne

Poppy Przemko

Prickly Caterpillar (Scorpiurus muricatus)

Pumpkin – Atlantic Giant

Pumpkin – Lumina

Pumpkin – Pie Pumpkin

Rosemary

Rudbeckia – Black Eyed Susan

Rudbeckia – Brown Eyed Susan

Sage – Common

Savory – Summer

Sensitive Plant (Mimosa pudica)

Shoofly (unknown color)

Spinach – Bloomsdale Long Standing

Squash – Dark Green Acorn Winter

Squash – PA Dutch Crookneck Winter

Squash – Spaghetti

Squash – White Cushaw Heirloom Winter

Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana)

Sunflower – Del Sol Hybrid (Burpee)

Sunflower – Mammoth

Sunflower – Mixed

Sunflower – Moonshine

Sunflower – Moulin Rouge

Sunflower – Red Sun

Sweet Pea - Pink/Magenta

Thyme – Common

Tomato – Banana Legs

Tomato - Black Cherry

Tomato – Black Plum

Tomato – Black Sea Man

Tomato – Brandywine

Tomato – Earl’s Faux

Tomato – Esther’s Cherry

Tomato – Evergreen

Tomato – Giant Belgium

Tomato – Golden Egg

Tomato – Green Zebra

Tomato – Hillbilly

Tomato – Old German

Tomato – Orange Sundrop

Tomato – Pink Oxheart

Tomato – Pruden’s Purple

Tomato – Purple Calabash

Tomato - Red "Tommy Toes”

Tomato – Schimmeig Striped Hollow

Tomato - Silvery Fir Tree

Tomato – Snowberry

Tomato – Striped Cavern

Tomato – Tennessee Britches

Tomato – Tennessee Surprise

Tomato – Uncle Mark Bagby

Tomato - Volgradskiye 323

Tomato – Voyage

Tomato – White Wonder

Tomato – Williams

Tomato – Window Box

Tomato – Yellow Belgium

Tomato – Yellow Brandywine

Tomato – Yellow Stuffer

Tomato – Yellow Zebra

Tomato – Yellow Plum

Trumpet Vine

Watermelon – Moon & Stars

Watermelon – Rainbow

Watermelon – Sugar Baby

Yarrow – Bright Yellow

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cabin Fever Cure #1

Another snowy day in Columbus… boo hoo! Just more time to sit around and ponder my garden!! I have a lot of ideas for my garden this year. Let me explain how it all went down…

A couple months ago, I developed a bad case of cabin fever! What was I to do? Get online and order some seed catalogs of course! A couple years ago, I got some things from Baker Creek that did well, so that was the first website I went to. I love sitting down with their catalog and dreaming of the jungle I want my yard to be. I also ordered a catalog from Seed Savers Exchange. Love that catalog too! I actually ordered some things from them this year, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

While I was googling SSE, I came across some other websites and just kept digging and digging and viola! I found the world of seed swapping!! Needless to say, I am addicted!! I had to do something while I waited for my catalogs.

The first website I joined was Garden Web. I absolutely LOVE this site. I discovered all this just over 3 weeks ago and I have completed over 25 trades so far and have met some very nice traders online. I have also used these websites to make trades – Almanac.com, Blossomswap.com, and joined a round robin trade here Plantswap.net. Everyone has been so nice to me at these sites, especially on Gardenweb – there are many posts offering free seeds for self addressed stamped bubble envelopes (sasbe’s). One generous trader even found my “wants” list and just sent me 24 seed packets out of the blue… I even offered to mail back stamps to cover postage, but he wouldn’t hear of it.

Here are a few of the things I have received and plan on trying in the garden this year: many types of heirloom tomatoes, a few eggplants, many, many beans – both pole and bush types, some corn, pumpkins and squash, and some mesclun and lettuce. I will post more in a day or two about what specific seeds I got and plan on planting. I have never grown any of these things, so I will be researching a lot in the near future! Spring is right around the corner!!

Oh yeah, if anyone out there has any suggestions on how to start seeds for any of the above, or sites I should visit to learn more, I am more than open!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My first post! :)

So, this is my first post on my new blog about my soon to be gardening adventures. I set up this blog a couple weeks ago, but never really did anything with it until now. The other day, while surfing some garden blogs, I came across The Growing Challenge. Ah ha! I will join this challenge and it will give me something to start blogging about… Maybe someone will even read my blog and give me some pointers – pointers about anything, since I am new to both blogging and gardening!!

I will post more tomorrow or maybe later tonight about what I will be growing and what I have been doing to cure my cabin fever this winter!! In the mean time, thanks to Melinda at elements in time for giving me a good excuse to jump into the blogosphere!