Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I forgot that I planted new tulips along the entrance of the house. The red is starting to show through which reminded me that I planted red tulips to go with my red door. I can't wait to see them.

Monday, March 29, 2010

it's Spring!

Some of my daffodils that I planted 2 years ago. My lilac bush is in the background which I pruned last year. It will be blooming soon along with the tulips.

In other news, my basil and chard have germinated. The peppers are doing really well in the picture below. Once the second pair of leaves grow in, I'm going to repot them.

The zinnias are getting huge. They have grown even taller today since I took this photo yesterday. I can't wait to see these. I am going to plant these in between the veggies.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Raised Veggie Bed

We completed my raised veggie beds on Saturday! It was cold out, but it had to be done. Last week, my husband built the frame for me. It measure 12' long by 4' wide. I also turned the soil over about 10" deep. On Friday night I picked up up the first batch of soil and then went back for more on Saturday morning as soon as the nursery was open.

Here is the finished bed. In the beds are fully mixed humus, peat moss, homemade compost and the original soil that I turned over.

I used two 3.8 cubic ft of peat moss, 20 bags of humus, and 2 wheel borrows full of my compost. My husband was a big help in pouring all the bags into the frame for me. Then he tilled it all together. It helps to do it in small batches because the tiller can only go so deep. I still had to go back and mix it through with a rake and my bare hands.

Compost from my compost pile. This is all grass clippings from the last 2-3 years. It's well decomposed now. My husband said, "Wow, it feels warm!" (Heat is generated from the decomposing process)

The tiller breaks up the grass and other growth enough that you can just smother it by burying it. Since I did it last week, it was still early enough that there wasn't much grass growth. However, if you have sod, you will have to cut it and remove it entirely because it's so thick. But I still had to go back and hand pick through the soil. Get rid of any twigs and rocks which will inhibit root growth. Bag up weeds that you pull out and throw them away entirely so they don't reseed. Remove clumps of grass (like in the picture) and plug them somewhere else. Another use for the clumps of grass is turn them upside down and line your paths with them. The fibers give you footing.

As a last minute decision, we used the leftover wood to divide out the beds. I decided I wanted 2 paths dividing up a larger center bed between two smaller beds. It just makes the bed easier to maintain and organize.

Now, I can plan what I want to plant, where and with what other companion plants. I checked the forecast and it's suppose to rain on Sunday which is perfect. I raked the beds into mounds (as opposed to raking it flat to the edge of the frame) and I'm going to wait until the rain packs it down. After it settles, I'll plant some peas.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I sowed some zinnias on Sunday and they started to pop up yesterday. I'm looking forward to seeing what these look like. They are supposed to be really big and beautiful with bright colors. I hope I have enough room to place them all in the garden.

Also, the fairytale eggplant seeds have finally germinated and popped up. It only took 4 weeks! They need 80s to germinate. The chard I sowed has also germinated. All the peppers are doing well

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cold Weather Crops

Today I directly seeded some lettuce, bok choy, radish and spinach seeds into my herb garden bed. The herbs won't be ready until it gets warmer, so I thought I would put the bed into some other use for the time being.

Instead of straight rows of seeds, I drew a curved pattern into the soil and seeded them along the curve. I just thought it would look cool once things begin to grow and I can plant the herbs and space them in between the curves while staggering them.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Let's Talk Dirt

Today I went to our local nursery and pick up my usual concoction to fill the raised beds with. I was so early that the staff had to rip the bags open from the crates they were delivered in.

8 bags of humus (organic compost) and 1 cubic foot of peat moss.

First I pour in the bags of humus (black colored underneath the brown). It's black in color which tells you that it's really rich. Break up any large clumps. Then when it's 2/3 full add the peat moss and mix it together. Because this is next to the house, I need it to drain really well so I added some vermiculite as well.

The mixture should have a consistency like this where you can make it into a ball but then it breaks up really easily. *Keep in mind the soil type that your plants need. Some herbs and vegetables thrive in poor soil (such as carrots), so a rich soil like this won't work. To make it "more poor", stir in more peat moss and use top soil or dirty from your yard as opposed to organic humus or what stores call garden soil.

Evenly mixed. It's supposed to rain tomorrow so after it rains I'm going to cast some seeds in the bed. This bed is 1.5'x16'. I am going to sketch/note where I want each herb. The left of the bed is really rich and the right is less rich for the different types of herbs.

We also put together a raised garden bed for the main crops which I'll post soon.

Spring Cleaning

It's the end of March and I'm taking advantage of the warmth this weekend.
  • New garden bed - I finally made the decision to put a small (4'x12') raised bed along the North fence. It gets 6-8 hours of morning sun and then it's all shade. I was hesitant about this, but I don't like working on the South side (my neighbor's dog poos and pees all over the fence). 6-8 hours is just enough and if my plants aren't AS successful as previous years it would still be fine with me since I feel confident that I will still get veggies out of it. Also, it's shade by the time I get home from work which would actually be better for me so that I don't have to work in the blazing heat. My dream would be to have a large round bed in the middle of the yard. Basically I would take up the whole yard and lay flagstone paths and such. Some day.
  • Raised herb bed - I'm looking forward to this! I'm going to start a variety of herbs and lots of basil!
  • Added bone meal to the soil around my Irises.
  • Added Epsom salt around my roses.
  • Added ashes (from my neighbor's fire pit) around my Peonies.
  • Raked up all the leaves and sticks from the fall and winter. I broke them up with my hands and sprinkled them along the back garden bed as mulch to keep the weeds at bay. Every bit helps.
  • Repotted my tomato seedlings to the next level up. I used some store bought garden soil this time and mixed in a tiny bit of the seed starting mix that I had leftover to make a loose soil. I have 4 grape tomatoes, 4 black krim, 6 persimmon, and 4 roma tomatoes. The roma tomatoes fruit all at once so I'm going to scale it back to 2 roma tomato plants and then start 2 more later in the season.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Project Raised Garden Bed has begun!

Last year I started an herb garden on the side of the house. It was wonderful! All I had to do was go from my kitchen to the side of the house to snip some herbs to throw into my cooking. I made delicious batches of pesto every week. In order to keep it going, I decided a raised bed would be perfect. A raised bed keeps the edge tidy and would help the plants reach the sunlight better.

I have browsed a few different raised bed tutorials, but this one from The Pioneer Woman was the most useful in my opinion. From her step by step guide, I think it's important to point out a few things that are helpful if you should decide to do this. Pre-drilling pilot holes seem tedious, but well worth the time and effort. Also, driving the stakes into the ground on the inside of the frame BEFORE screwing them to the frame will also save you a lot of trouble later.

The goods. Long galvanized screws, stakes, and 8"x8' pieces of untreated wood (fir).

Basil and I supervised while my husband assembled the first bed. Measure your dimensions before going to the store. Decide what height and lengths you need. Make sure you use untreated wood.

After he assembled it, we lifted it up and I drove the corner stakes and frame into the ground with a hammer. It was surprisingly really difficult. It could be that the ground was still too hard from the cold winter we had. Be careful not to split the wood. Use another scrap piece of wood between the hammer and the frame to keep the frame from splitting.

Then drive the remaining stakes into the ground pushing them up against the frame to keep it sturdy. THEN put screws into them.

Tadaa! In time, the wood will weather and blend into the surroundings. Tomorrow, I will fill it with garden soil, peat moss and compost. On each end, I'm going to lay some rocks down or plant a skinny tree of some kind.

This is where my herbs will go and hopefully I won't have to replant them every year. Now that I have a permanent bed, I am going to let the herbs self sow or just rake in a packet of seeds rather than starting seeds indoors.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Seedling Update

So far, all the tomatoes, the bell and chili peppers have germinated. So has the artichokes. I really don't like the seed starting mix I use. As soon as the seedlings grow their first set of leaves, I'm going to repot them.