Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spring Seed Starting

So you want to start your plants from seed?

First off congrats this is a big step that will save you hundreds and give you the satisfication of knowing that tiny seed you planted turned into this huge green growth that is producing the fruit of your labor.

Here's how you save $$... take a average pack of tomato seeds... let's say it has 25 seeds in it (and normally there is more) that pack will cost you about $2... now let's say you go to your local nursery... a single 6 inch tomato seedling runs about $3...
Let's go back to the seed pack for a minute let's say 20 of those 25 seeds sprout and become healthy little seedlings... you know have 20 plants for less then the price of that single tomato plant from the store..

That's how you save money but how do you start these seeds? Well there r many ways but here are the 2 most popular direct seed or seed tray.

Direct seed: where you prepare your garden bed and plant the seed directly into the soil. The are pros and cons to this method. Let's start with the pros... there are some plants that hate being moved so direct seed is the best option, less stress on the plant (anytime you transplant you will bother the roots cause stress), and less costly (no trays, seed starting soil, labels, etc)
Cons: the seeds must fight nature for surival. Just think there are birds and other animals ready to scratch up your seeds and eat them also if you have a heavy rain it might wash your smaller seeds away.. this is a ongoing battle that is sometimes lost.

Seed Tray: starting seeds in a tray of some sort.. sure you can buy those black trays with the little dips that you stick in a soil block and water but I use any tray that has sides of about 2 inch or more and I fill small cups with seed starting mix after I poke holes in the bottom. I set the cups in the tray and pour water into the tray. I do this because the best way to water seeds is from the bottom it encourages strong root growth. Make sure you give your seedlings plenty of sunlight!

What ever way you start your seeds have fun and enjoy : )

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Todays Work : Saturday Feb 19th 2011

Today I started 2 small garden beds a 3x3 and a 1x8 first I dug out the grass/dirt and flipped it (grass under/ dirt top) then I cleaned out the chicken coop and laid the chicken dropping straw in the new beds.. next a layer of compost.. and topped it all off with soil : )

Also I finished the chickens nest box.. I took a milk crate cut a piece of wood to fit and nailed it in place. This will keep the eggs from rolling out and breaking.

I pulled of my broccoli plants and some of the devoured lettuce.. the chard and spinach sprouts were raked under (they have been sprouts for 3 months and never grew) and the weeds were pulled.

I have one bed full of straw which will be topped and filled with compost and soil ASAP.

Tomorrow I will be going to home depot to scout if their landscape wood is on sale. And hopefully starting and finishing my picnic area : )

Hope your having a fantastic weekend!

P.S Here are a couple pictures taken this weekend in my yard!

Above: Where once I had beautiful blooms I know have baby peaches growing!

Above: A beautiful scented rose bloom

Friday, February 18, 2011

Redesigning Myself and My Backyard

As I continue my quest to fill my closet with items that I love and that express me I am also changing other aspects of myself.
When I got pregnant I was not thin but as thin as a big framed person can be... flat belly etc
With my baby I gained near 100 pounds I'm not proud of it but I had not done anything about it.

With my recent engagment I looked in the mirror and at my dress size. I don't want to get married in a size 20 gown.
I'm on a mission! Eat healthy, exercise daily, and garden!

I want to combine gardening in as stress relief but as a way to sweat out some extra calories.

By Jan 2012 I want to lose 65 of those 100 pounds I gained, also by Jan 2012 I want to have my backyard paradise completed.

My first start is creating my picnic space so I can enjoy my outdoor space as it grows and expands, next comes 2 or 3 bean beds which are 2 ft by 8 ft and that have A frames all the way down for my pole beans, then come the other 3 4x8 garden beds.

Both 2012 deadlines will take a lot of work but I plan on winning : )

I will keep updated on both my transformation and my gardens : )

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New Tattoo

My mom and I have been through tough times with each other... now that we are close again we have been talking about getting matching tattoos.

Today we finally did just that!

My mom and I may have different living styles, music choices, and lives but we have one huge thing in common.. our love for gardening and urban farming!

What better to celebrate our common love then chicken track tattoos??

They are small tasteful and on our feet! : )

P.S- Thank you for the congrats on the engagement! We are now starting to plan for a Fall 2012 wedding : )

Garden Frustration

Ugh. So all my little seeds that I have started have been sitting in water for the past 4 days but the cups seem to not want to soak it up.. at all!!!

Also today was in the 70's which means my cold weather plants will start tasting better or just go to seed.
My lettuce though it didn't get big produced nicely, my broccoli which also produced ok but I didn't get to taste do to the chickens eating it all, my rainbow chard did not produce at all and neither did my spinach... my turnips were my best producer by far.. though in about a month I will harvest my carrots and in august I will harvest hopefully my onions..

If my seed starts do not work.. I will direct seed mid march : )

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Big News

Well this weekend is offical seed starting weekend here! I stopped putting it off and went and bought my supplies!

- Plant Labels
- Organic seed starting mix
- Small plastic cups

I already have the shallow trays.

I can't wait I love seed starting!!

I also bought a small rose bush today with large pink blooms that smell amazing!!!

But that's not the big news.. actually the big news has nothing to do with gardening but its very important to my life...

I'M ENGAGED!!!! We went on a wonderful dinner cruise for a early valentines date and Ronnie propsed there on the top deck. It was perfect and romantic and I couldn't be happier!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Garden Plans.. Spring 2011

I have pulled out my seeds, companion planting book, paper, and great ideas!

I have come up with a partial garden plan.. I say partial because as of right now I have 3 garden beds one- 4x8, one- 5x10, and one- 8x11.. I plan on creating 3 more for this season! One being built around A-Frames for my pole beans to grow up!! We also have 1 of 3 bean cages built for the cowpeas!

Here are my quick draw garden plans.. Garden plans don't have to be fancy they just have to be accurate.. Each square represents 1 sq ft.. most plants fit 1 per sq ft.. so draw up this correctly per plant.. also if you are using abb. make sure to make a key so you dont forget what you want to plant!!

Here's my 3 current garden bed plans!!

Pictures Around the Garden (Feb 2011)

My Nutri Green Broccoli Head Forming

My Carrot Patch!


My Peach Tree Coming Back To Life and in Bloom!!!

Turnips! Ready to Pull!

Beautiful Turnip Greens!!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lets get busy!

With spring fast approaching my family is getting busy!

Yesterday my wonderful boyfriend built a bean cage for us. Its something I have been thinking of for awhile.. I bought some 2x2's and screws... lesson learned screws will split that size wood so we ended up using nails we had on hand.
It consists of four 7 ft pieces dug 1 ft into the ground and then ladder looking pieces running horizontal going to the top..
I think its amazing and he did a great job! It took six 2x2's which came to around $7

Today I cleared out the grass around and underneath the cage and got it secured. As soon as the Landscaping wood goes on sale I will buy a piece and cut it into 2 ft sections to fit around the 1 1/2 ft cage.. I plan to make 2 or 3 more cages for our cowpeas to grow this spring.

The chickens are doing very very well and we are even looking to expand our small flock with 3 more chickens. As my daughter was herding them into their coop (yes I said herding she runs around yelling yee haw and chasing them into the coop) I picked them up 1 at a time.. I must say they do not want to be held as I was trying to get her settled she was flailing her legs and flapping her wings cut my chest up with their sharp claws. I still held all of them to try to teach them to be calm. I came inside and applied hydrogen peroxide to clean all the scratches that were bleeding.. Ouch!!!

Tonight I plan to sort out how I'm going to plant my beds, and tomorrow I will start the seeds : )

Fresh from the Garden: Mashed Turnips

Having turnips right for the picking outside I decided to make mashed turnips as a side dish tonight!

Right from the garden peeled and cubed I'm quite sure it will be so yummy!!

I have white globe turnips that have produced wonderfully this year and I hope I can find recipes to match.

Mashed Turnips:

3 or 4 peeled and cubed turnips
1 to 3 Potatoes peeled and cubed (amount depending on your prefernce)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Milk, Cream, or Ranch
A tablespoon of butter
Tablespoon minced garlic (optional)

Boil turnip and potato cubes for around 15 min or until easily cut with a fork (DO NOT add salt to water).. drain water and mash until your desired consistency (some people like chunky some smooth), add butter and ranch (or milk/cream)
Mash together.. add salt pepper and garlic to taste... serve with whatever toppings you enjoy on normal mashed poatoes.. ENJOY!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Landscaping Boxes.

Landscaping is vital to almost all backyard/ front yards anything.. but what do you use to create those cute beds of flowers, or veggies?

There are many options to choose from but first decide on a budget.. more and more people in this day and age are having money problems.. do you let your lifestyle suffer? Not if you are frugal!

Bricks or concreate pieces make a great box they are expensive if bought new.. but instead check out any demoltion site, or building site.. normally they are lugging away concreate and bricks that can be soo useful in a garden

Wood.. I use mostly wood which has a downside it eventually rots and must be replaced, and because this rots and decomposes you MUST make sure the wood you use has not been treated with any chemical (at least if your organic and I strongly urge you are).. home depot has landscape wood used for this purpose its $4 per 8 ft piece.. this can become pricey if you are boxing a lot of space.. but watch for sales every couple weeks those $4 pieces drop half off to $2..

Containers.. 1 gallon, 3 gallon, 5 gallon buckets on hand? Fill them with rich dirt plant something in it then make a garden box using those...

Anything that is solid can be used to make a garden box so go crazy and have fun!!!