Monday, December 13, 2010

New project. The garden bucket.

I used:
-5 gallon bucket
-measuring tape
-razor blade
-heat gun
-drill w/bit
-tree stake
It took me about three to figure it out but I can probablu make the next one in about an hour. This bucket has 16 pockets on the side and of course the large opening at the top.  I drilled 4 holes at the bottom for drainage.

The top has a Cabbage and a Broccoli.

The sides have a Cauliflower, spinach, arugula, nevada lettuce, swiss chard, parris island romaine lettuce, buttercrunch lettuce.

Bucket garden completed 12/12/2010

It is an experiment to see how these things grow in these little pockets.  I am very curious to see what the cauliflower does.  I'll keep you posted.

Monday, December 6, 2010

What is going on with the peas!?!

I don't know if I should be excited or disappointed.  The package said that they would grow 4 to 6 feet tall so I built a 7 foot trellis cage just in case.  One of them just grew 4 inches in two days to 7 feet tall and I don't see any sign of pods.  They keep branching and even the branches have made branches.  They are the crop that I'm most excited about and they may not produce... I will try again in the spring either way.  Here are some progressive photos.

12/6/10 7 feet tall. Will it stop?

Transplanted Nevada Lettuce to the cart.

I moved some of my overcrowded lettuce into the cart.  Their roots were pretty shallow and very fragile. Here is a pic from the day I moved them.

Nevada Lettuce transplanted 12/2/10
Here is a pic from tonight.  Looks like they will be fine.
Nevada Lettuce 12/6/10 four days after transplant.
They are standing back up and look like they have grown some.
The beets are looking better too.
Early Wonder Beets transplanted 12/1/10

Early Wonder Beets 12/6/10 five days after transplant.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Transplanting Beets to the Salad Cart

I was wanting to eat my existing beet leaves in salad but was afraid that it might delay the root development.  About a month ago, I threw a bunch of beet seeds into a bucket knowing that I would be able to transfer them into my salard cart.  Last night, I made the transfer.  I was told by the nursery that you should always grow beets from seed because they don't transplant well due to their long tap root.  I think I got to them before the roots got too long, although some were about 5" on those little sprouts.

I took 35 beet seedlings from this pot!
I made about 7 holes and put approximately 5 seeds in each hole when I first planted the bucket. I was told the each beet seed is actually a cluster of seeds.  I stuck a metal ruler deep into the soil to pop up each cluster of seedlings and had to pull them apart.  I heard the occasional snap of roots breaking during this.

Tallest seedling was about 3".  Longest roots 6".
35 beets transfered, we'll see how many survive.
They are planted with just enough room for the roots to develop, but I will be stealing leaves continuously.  We'll see how they do...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Planting the lettuce cart!

Going to make a soil mix suggested in the All New Square Foot Gardening book called Mel's Mix. Equal parts vermiculite, peat moss, and blended compost.  I will fill the cart and plant the seed today.

Compost, Peat Moss, Vermiculite

To get equal parts, I seperated all ingredients into buckets.
Left to right; peat moss, compost, vermiculite.

The seeds that I will plant.

A previous harvest.

My lettuce cart is here!

I completed my lettuce cart on Friday, November 26.  More lettuce for salads and less kneeling down to get it.  It will be easy to inspect lettuce for problems with minimal bending, yet not too tall for my wife.
Dimensions = 60" long, 30" wide, 48" tall

2' x 5' meaning 10 squares of planting space inside.
Weed block lining to keep soil from falling through the drainage gaps.

Soil depth will be 7".

2x4s at the bottom have small gaps for drainage.
Wheels to relocate for weather, sunlight, and convenience.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Not much work to do in the garden...

Since my last post I have harvested 4 radishes(crisp and spicy), and lots of lettuce.  I don't think I am getting enough sun to my garden because of it's location, and my 6 foot tall peas are creating shade since they were all planted in the wrong places.  The good news is that it won't be too difficult to move.  Aside from the slow growth, everything appears to be really healthy.  I have only pulled about 2 weeds in the last 3 weeks.  I would give myself an A- on my first garden attempt.


I haven't needed to spend any time in the garden except to water every 2 or 3 days.  I have been doing some research and drawing up some plans for what I call a Lettuce Garden Cart.  I am gonna build it with 2 by 4's(because they are cheap) from Home Depot.  My soil will be Mel's Mix(found in All New SFG by Mel Bartholomew)1/3 Vermiculite, 1/3 Peat Moss, 1/3 Compost at 7" deep.  I am spending about 15 minutes gathering lettuce each time I harvest it and have to be bent over or kneeling down.  That is the reason that I wanted to make this cart for the veggies that I will be visiting frequently.  They will be easy to tend and harvest if they are waist high, and if it's designed well, it will be easy to relocate.  As soon as it's done I will post a picture of it.

Adynn ate one of my strawberries and said it was really good.  That is a good sign because she eats store bought strawberries all the time.  They are still in the 4 pack that they came in.  And I hope to get some more from the nursery soon while they are cheap.

11/12/10 Strawberries at bottom left.

I was told that you have to sign up to contact me or leave a comment.  I now have my email on my profile so you can use that if you don't want to sign up.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wow! They were right. Home grown salad does taste better.

We came home from Yosemite today and it seemed like my garden grew a lot in the last three days.  My tallest sugar snap pea is now at 32", and the shortest is at about 3".  The short one sprouted late and it seems like a dwarf version of all the others. 

My oh my have you grown... 10/24/10
I looked at the lettuce and thought it looked ready to eat, so I started gathering it.  I cut a near mature leaf from each of my lettuce, arugula, and spinach.  Kim and I were excited to finally harvest something from the garden and eat it.  I was really interested in the arugula because it is described as having an "oily peanut buttery" taste and it gets spicy as it gets more mature.  That was a very accurate description, it has a lot more flavor than the stuff that comes in the bags at the store.  It feels good to get something back from the work that was put into the garden.  In the future(maybe spring), I want to dedicate more squares to salad greens.  I am still waiting for the beets to get a little more mature to use their leaves.  I harvested enough to make two small salads for Kim and I.

Lettuce Harvest 10/24/10

Red Lettuce, Nevada Lettuce, Spinach, Arugula

Two small bowls of delicious crisp salad.
 Oh, I bought the Red Lettuce a week ago and planted one in each empty garden square and two plants in two buckets.  They were decent sized plants when I bought them.  I wanted to buy something that I could eat before it freezes and dies.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Garden Blog Evaluation

Are you there? Do you care?

I want to know if anyone is checking this blog out.  If you are, please let me know via email, phone call, blog post comment, or face-to-face.  I would also like to know if I am giving you enough updates and info on the things I do between the updates.  I really like to answer questions and hear advice/info about gardening.  You can simply say things like:

More pictures
More info
Please post close-up picture of _____(Carrots, peas, pest insects, etc)
More posts

This blog is helpful for me to look at for encouragement when it seems things are growing slowly and I would also like it to be helpful to anyone interested.  I have some pretty good links and other resources.

I plan to get some potatoes planted this week and I am looking forward to planting a lot more stuff in the spring like squashes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, pumpkins and much more.  I have already started planning the expansion and layout of my spring garden.  Am I getting ahead of myself, or planning ahead?   How about both.

Some more veggie containers.

I have asked a couple friends for buckets to use to experiment with container gardening and I have been planting things every few days.  I have been planting more salad type veggies(although everything I planted can go in a salad) like lettuce, spinach, and arugula.  I know that it's a little late in the season for some stuff, but it's kinda fun to try it anyway.  Maybe I'll get to eat some before they freeze and die.  Here are some of my containers. From the left, first pot has 5 Lettuce, second has 6 Spinach, third 1 Cauliflower, fourth 1 Broccoli, fifth in orange pot is the 2 Cheddar Cauliflower.

October 7, 2010

October 17, 2010
Check the sprouts after just 10 days! You can see where the seeds are planted in these pots, and in the garden because I dig a hole for the seed, put in some vermiculite, then the seed, then some more vermiculite.  I was told to do this in the book I read and it has been working great.  Vermiculite is a strange flaky mineral that is very good at holding moisture, but plants are able to suck it out.  Put plainly, it helps keep the seeds moist.  I also read that I should just plant one seed, probably because the vermiculite works so well, but I planted 2 or 3 seeds in each hole.  It can take up to two weeks for some of my seeds to germinate so if I plant one per hole, I wait for two weeks, and nothing grows... then I have to re seed and I've lost two weeks of growing season, and two weeks longer to get to eat it.  So, I plant at least two seeds and thin(cut weaker, or extra sprouts) them out once they get a good start.  This also serves as a little insurance against cutworms.  Sometimes they will eat one or two of the sprouts and leave 1 alive.

Things are growing well, but I have a little bit of a bug problem.

Sugar Snap Peas are getting tall, they are already at 22" tall.  Carrots and beets seem to be the food of choice for cutworms.  And catapillars seem to like the cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and radishes. I have been fighting them off and winning but they have left my garden with some battle wounds.

Here is a current pic of the garden.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Never showed you my container garden..

I am experimenting with container gardening to see how easy and productive it is.  Some people don't have enough space for a garden plot.  Containers can be put just about anywhere, and then moved somewhere else.  I have moved my 5 gallon bucket at least 4 times and I'm not done.

Here are my Cheddar Head Cauliflowers.

I was only supposed to put one plant in this bucket, but I had to try to prove the experts wrong on something I know nothing about.

And this is what they look like now.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My New Trellis

OK, making my own trellis wasn't as easy as I thought.  Or maybe I just did it completely wrong.  My first mistake, I used a 3/4" EMT pipe bender on 1/2" EMT pipe causing my careful calculations to come out wrong.  Second mistake, I bought a trellis net that I didn't know how to attach tightly to pipe.  I hope it works out considering it took me about 3 hours to tie all of the twine.  This trellis should be holding up my tomatoes in the spring, but for now it is for my Sugar Snap Peas that are along the edge of the garden.

Oops. Didn't read the seed packet.

Well, I didn't read the entire seed packet before planting my Sugar Snap Peas.  I planted them in the middle of my garden block and was getting ready to plant some more when I realized... 4 to 6 feet tall & needs to be trellised(supported).  How the heck am I gonna do that?  It took me a few days to come up with this design... It's experimental, we'll see how it does.  It is made from a 30" tall fence stood on it's end, and then bent at 90 degrees in 3 places.  There are 3 stakes(1 wood, 2 rebar) that will hopefully keep it from falling over.

The are over 8" tall now. They grew 6" in a week.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

8 days later and every veggie type has sprouts.

Square 1 Broccoli

Square 2 Beets

 Square 3 Cauliflower

Square 4 Onion
Square 5 Spinach

Square 7 Cabbage

Square 8 Lettuce

Square 9 Arugula

Square 11 Sugar Snap Peas

Square 12 Carrots

Square 13 Sugar Snap Peas

Square 14 Carrots

Square 15 Carrots

Square 16 Carrots