Showing posts with label sodirty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sodirty. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

5 Tips: Preparing For Your Spring Garden

Here are five tips I have for you all if you are like me and are impatiently waiting for your spring and summer gardening to begin. These tips are mainly for those of you who live here in New England as for those of you living in warmer weather, or who have a 365 day growing season, I envy you, but I do love my fall foliage.  Around here in zone 6a, technically, our last frost day is around May 10th, give or take a few days, which is only a few weeks away, in the mean time you can plant some cool weather crops before that (like I posted in instagram). 
1. Clean up your raised beds & till the soil, to "fluff" up the soil aka aerating it and promote growth, cover them with plastic to warm up the soil or plant some cool weather crops like peas, onions, cabbage, lettuce and broccoli.

2. Check soil for any necessary adjustments, pH balance kits can be purchased for cheap, or just add some rich compost.

3. Make any adjustments to your beds now before its too late -- I moved one of mine and added a fence so I don't have any unwanted guests this year. Also check to make sure they are good to go and don't need any repairs. 

4. Plan what you are going to plant, and where you are going to put them, Maybe try some companion planting this season?

5. Start your seedlings indoors (if you haven't already), or you can always buy plants from garden centers or farms near you, they often have tons of options really good options. We have a ton of places around us, I try to buy from the smaller organic farms near us vs. the larger stores. 
This is my garden 2015, I added a fence this year to keep the critters out, and moved all my beds to one location. I also added a fourth 4x4ft bed. (one in the back) I am hoping to have a higher yield, and sooner this season and maybe try a few new things. If I learned one thing last year it was to plant at different times so everything is not ready to be harvested at the same time. Last season I had enough lettuce to feed the neighborhood, but only for 2 weeks! 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Fresh Flowers

These days flowers are a must have in my home, they just really make me feel better in my home. I feel like a lot of other people feel the same way, but in Boston and even in Connecticut flowers are SO expensive! I wish I lived in Portland where flowers are so much cheaper, I would have fresh flowers in every room. Now I have to limit myself to the kitchen and living room, maybe the bedroom if I am getting a good deal. 

Have you ever thought of growing your own cutting garden, or do you grow one? I think I may try it this spring/summer, last summer I had the chance to have my first official veggie garden, which I will of course continue this year, but I was thinking, what is something else I can grow that I will use as much a veggies...FLOWERS! I do have some hydrangeas, peonies, tulips and calla lilies planted around the house, but you only get a few at a time. We also have this amazing lilac tree that I am waiting very patiently for it to bloom this season, but again it only lasts for a few (beautiful) weeks. I am thinking, if I plant a cutting garden I can go out in the yard and cut a handful of flowers to make a pretty bouquet every week, for free! I will let you all know how my cutting garden goes this season, along with of course year two of my veggie garden! 

Let me know if you grow a cutting garden, and if you have any tips or tricks in the comments below! Happy Spring! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

officially a "GREWBIE"

I recently came across this great article on a blog I recently discovered called The Yarden. Such a great website, and they have a project called the Peterson Garden Project so if you live in Chicago, please check it out. As a growing newbie, or a "grewbie" I appreciate all of the tips and advice I can get, the more and more I get into gardening the more I want to know, and the more I realize there is deeply rooted history when it comes to gardens and gardening. For example Victory Gardens, and no not just the show on PBS, even though that is a good one but, more to come on that in a later post. 

Here are the 10 tips from The Yarden, so insightful.
1. Mother Nature is our best friend… and sometimes our worst enemy. One of the joys of gardening is becoming less distracted from our high technology, media stimulated world and settling back into the rhythms of nature. She is a little moody these days due to climate change and she’s keeping us on our toes. Last year on this day, April 18, it was 76 and dry as a bone. Today we’re in our third day of non-stop rain and there’s a chance of snow tomorrow. You never know what nature is going to throw at you but, as a gardener, you learn to adapt.
2. You will make mistakes. This is a promise and part of the fun. Even as a lifelong gardener I make lots of mistakes. Sometimes the same ones – see Top 5 Dumb Gardening Mistakes as a case in point. Just forgive yourself and move on – gardens are a good place to learn to not take yourself so seriously.
3. Your garden won’t look like Martha Stewart’s garden. (or the garden from the movie It's Complicated)  Most normal peoples’ gardens aren’t photo ready and perfect. Sometimes leaves are brown or plants are scraggly as they’re getting started or ending their growing cycle. Sometimes insects like to camp out and there might be disease. You will learn to deal with these things and love your garden with its imperfections.
4. In fact, you might over love your garden but not in the way it needs… while last year over watering seemed impossible due to the stinky heat, you can over water, over prune, over tend. Find the balance of what your plants need and admit it if you have a little OCD. Save that for work, let the garden be your relaxed place.
5. Chances are you will over plant. If I had a dollar for every time one of our new gardeners showed up with enough plants for the back forty vs. their 4×8′ I could buy a house in Hawaii. I gently explain over planting, expecting the dejected look, and then remind them (and myself) gardening is all about trial and error. If you must plant all that then you go on andplant all that. It will be a great learning experience. (And I’ll smile next year when I hear, “you were right, we planted too much” and smile more when you do it again…)
6. You need 200 square feet per person to feed someone all season from a garden. Your 4×8′ will not feed your family of four. You will get a lot of produce, herbs, great stuff and save yourself some money, but you’ll still need to go to the grocery store. Sorry.
7.  You don’t have to buy a lot of fancy stuff to garden. You can if you want and you have the dollars but, even then, I don’t recommend it. Gardens are great places to recycle things and spending more money won’t make your plants any happier or make you a better gardener.
8. While it would be great if every seed and transplant provider grew their material organically, it is how you raise the plant that matters. If the seeds or transplants you buy aren’t organic, it isn’t the end of the world. You’ll raise them organically. That’s what counts.

9. Gardeners are the most generous people I know. Why? Because after all that love and care you bestow on your plants you can’t stand the thought of something going to waste. Extra produce is a great excuse to get to meet your neighbor. Since you’re a gardener now, why not get a head start and meet your neighbor ahead of time? Chances are they might have some good advice to share, offer to water while you’re on vacation or be really happy at the prospect of homegrown tomatoes. Share the love, people!
10. The most important piece of advice is this - plants want to grow. As much as we like to complicate gardening today with special methods or gadgets and create anxiety over it all, we have civilization because of agriculture so it can’t be all that hard. And it isn’t a contest. Gardening is a partnership with you, your plants and your patch of soil. So be nice to yourself – you can do this! – and welcome to a lifetime of adventure.

I hope some of these helped you, I know I got a good smile and some, yea your rights out of it. Happy gardening folks! Let me know any of your gardening tips in the comments below, I would love to hear them. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

garden toys: Williams and Sonoma

You can take the girl out of the mall, but you can't take the mall out of the girl. Yes, I LOVE gardening, but being a total consumer, and "product" junkie, I want all of the gardening stuff I can get my hands on, there is a small amount of very cute garden products, but as gardening becomes more main stream and "trendy" adorable and must have garden items are becoming much easier to get your hands on. There are two very cute nursery's near us in Mass that have adorable gardening items Mahoney's & Russells, if any of you live in the area.

But if you don't, I recently stumbled on the Williams and Sonoma website, oops online shopping, who knew they had such cute gardening items. I am really in love with their chicken coops, and I am afraid that having chickens will be my next addiction, my husband will officially think I have gone off the deep end. I am imagining all the fresh eggs and I just love animals so why not. Maybe once we find our own home, I can't imagine moving my chickens from one place to another!
I mean who doesn't want chickens, and how amazing is this coop!! Many of our new neighbors out in the suburbs have chicken, I can see them running around their yards when I drive by, then I almost get into an accident because I am staring in their backyards instead of at the road.

Anywho, day dream aside, how cute are these other gardening items on their website:

Left to right: 

Gathering Basket $39

Vintage Galvanized Potting Table $699

If anyone would like to gift me any of these items I would not be upset. There are hundreds of other adorable items on the website, from herb drying racks and garden markers, to seeds, trellis's, vertical garden planters and cute compost bins if you can believe it. The list goes on, and in well known W&S style it is all so rustic, adorable and just totally my style. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

how to build & fill your own raised garden beds

Raised garden beds are GREAT. We recently moved into a place that has a backyard!! We LOVE it, I am finally able to have a real garden, not just some containers on my overly sunny porch. There is one catch, we are still renting, so I wanted something that was not 100% permanent, I wanted to be able to move these beds, or take them with me when we move. I did a ton of research on what to do, I didn't want to go overboard because it was my first real garden so I wanted to take things slow, and I didn't want to grow to regret gardening, or have it become a chore. When I was researching I came across all of these blogs with do it yourself raised garden bed and I decided, heck, I can totally build these myself.

Here are some simple easy to follow instructions for (1) 8" deep 4ft x 4ft raised bed. 
I also built (2) 8" deep 8ft x 4ft beds earlier in the season. 

 Lie boards out in the shape in which you want the bed to become 
--  4 x 4 bed for this tutorial is square --

Swap drill bit to a Phillips head screwdriver bit to drill the screws into the pilot holes you just created. Drill in 2 screws. 
Keep going around to all 4 corners until you crate a square, or rectangle. check for correct angles with a carpenters square. (but the veggies wont know if it is perfect or not)

Under where you are planning to place the garden bed, lay down landscapers fabric under the bed, or you can till up the grass if you have decent soil, we do not, we have very sandy bad soil. Then, insert 2-6 inner stakes, drive them down with the mallet as far as you can to level, if you cant not get it to level as deep ad you can, then drill 2 more screws into the stakes to the side of the bed, to ensure the bed goes no where.  
Yahoo! a new garden bed for veggies or flowers whatever you prefer! Now just fill with the mix I mentioned below, or a special mix of your choice. 
Then, plant away, I added some more tomato, pepper plants, along with a later planting of lettuce, radish and beans. Yumm!
These are my two 8 x 4 beds I planted earlier in the season, they are way more full now,update to come. 
I followed the instructions from here when building my beds. I really love the Pioneer Woman on HGTV, who knew she had a DIY on raised beds. You can make any adjustments you wish, on size, wood type, amount of beds you make, shape. etc. That is the great part about these beds, because you can totally make these how ever you want.
supplies from my first set of beds. 
4 – 2 x 6 boards @ 8 feet long (I used cedar, just make sure you don’t use pressure treated lumber.)
4 – 2 x 6 boards @ 4 feet long
1# 3 – 3 1/2 exterior screws
1# 2 – 2 1/2 exterior screws
1 bundle 18″ – 24″ stakes

Tape measure
Small sledge hammer
Carpenter’s square
Cordless drill
7/64 #8 counter sink bit
Landscaping fabric

Basic instructions:
Set the first side, attach ends with large screws. Attach ends on second side with large screws.
Square and level first side. Drive stakes in corners. Attach stakes to boards with small screws.
Square and level second side. Drive stakes in corners. Attach stakes to boards with small screws.
*Make sure the whole thing is level*
Drive more stakes all along the inside of the box, leaving about 4 inches of stake sticking above the board. 
Attach stakes to boards with small screws.
(if you are making a "double high" attach upper layer of boards to themselves as you did on the bottom layer, then attach boards to stakes.)
Lay down landscaping fabric under location of bed
Add soil mixture 

Grow tons of veggies for flowers!

how to fill you new raised garden bed:

I did more research on what to put in the beds than I did how to build the beds, they are really so easy to build, but I wanted my garden to grow to I looked into what mixture to add to the beds, rather than just garden soil. I also used this nifty tool online to see how many cubic feet I would need to fill my garden! (most bags are 1-2 cubic feet)

I filled each of my beds with: 16 cubic feet -- (8 bags @ 2 cubic feet)

60% Organic Topsoil
30% Organic Compost (I used cow manure)
10% Soil-less growing mix (I used Peat Moss)
Some organic fertilizer - follow instructions on the bag

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

garden progress 2014: week 5

Week 5 came with my very first harvest! I could have harvested a bit earlier in the week, but I wanted to make a nice fresh salad to eat all weekend long, and man did I. An amazing chopped salad with all the fixings and the freshest romaine and butter crunch lettuce. YUM!
My first harvest of the season! Romaine & butter crunch lettuce. 

Doesn't look much different than last 2 weeks,
a few good sunny days coming up will really shift the garden into drive. 

Herb container I mentioned in my last post. 

Strawberry plants are flowering, and the zucchini are hopefully preparing to climb the trellis.

The fact that I grew one thing in my garden and got to enjoy it really makes me want to keep growing more and more. Gardening is so rewarding, I never really loved vegetables, but they do really taste so different when they are grown by you in your own garden. Have you harvested anything yet this growing season? Happy Growing!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

the beginning: my vegetable garden week 1-3

My first official garden adventure started at the beginning of spring here in MA. Which seemed to take forever to get here after the long winter we had. I planted my first transplants around May 3rd, I bought my transplants from a great organic farm in Stow, MA called Appleseed farm. Such a great family owed farm. They only sell what they grow in their gardens.

Here are a few photos from the first few weeks of my garden. With many more updates to come.
Week 1. After first spring vegetable transplants - lettuce, broccoli, brussels sprouts, onions (even though it is as bit late) radish & carrots sewn in the same row & sugar snap peas.
Week 2.5 Added in trellis's & the remaining transplants from Appleseed farm. cucumbers, peppers (sweet, green bell, jalapenos) zucchini, eggplant, green beans, cherry tomatoes & some basil. I also have a container with the rest of my herbs growing by the house for easy access.
Week 3.5  I added marigolds to attract some bees for pollination, the rain finally stopped and it was sunny!
The peas and beans are coming along, the peas are starting to climb on the trellising.
The lettuce is coming along really well (romaine & butter crunch), and will be ready to eat soon, I am planning on picking the outside leaves so I can enjoy it longer than harvesting the whole head. 

Look out for how to make these garden beds coming to the blog soon. 

I can not wait to start harvesting and eating fresh veggies all summer long. Do you have any other tips or tricks for my first garden? I would love to hear them!
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