December 8, 2010

Winter Garden Started

A few days before Thanksgiving I started my Winter Garden in my cold frame. I pulled up the weeds and planted Lettuce, Swis Chard, Kale, Spinach and other winter crops. The seeds came up good and are still doing good. It's been very cold (20's at night and low 30's in the day) for awhile but they are doing well under the glass. As soon as it warms up I'll think them out some.

November 13, 2010

Fall Garden Update

The summer gardening season is over. I could have grown a fall garden but I chose not to this year because of how busy I am w/ school and work. Now the process of cleaning up the garden area begins. I need to mow the field, clean out the garden shed, shut down my water system, close up my cold frame, and organize everything. In just a few months the process of planning for a spring garden will begin. I better be ready!

April 20, 2010

Mini Garden Update

I have been very busy lately and have not had time to keep up with my blog. Yesterday I tilled a new area of the garden before it rained. Today we got a lot of good rain. It has been about 12 days since we have had rain and my garden needed it badly. I will soon be uploading more pictures from my garden. 

April 8, 2010

Garden Picture Update

I took pictures of the garden today so here is a picture update on how things are doing. 

My cold frame closed for the night. I have tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers planted in it so I need to be sure I close it on cool nights. (30's. 40's) 

When it warms up be careful about keeping the glass or plastic on your cold frame. Today I put it on in the late afternoon and it warmed up 20 degrees in it in less than 2 hours. ( it was 60 and it warmed up to 80) One day I left the glass on and found it warmer than 120 degrees. Always keep a temperature gauge in your cold frame. It lets you know if it's getting too hot or too cold.  

I made a small speciality garden where I am growing Comfrey and I might grow early tomatoes in the empty lasagna I have there. I marked the beds 20 feet long and 30 inches long. (That makes it 50 square feet) Then I tilled the beds and put wood chips in the walkways. (Don't put wood chips around the plants, it takes up the nitrogen in the soil until it breaks down) 

This is a picture of Comfrey, a great mulch, compost activator and fertilizer.  

Below: This is 5 bales of hay that my mom bought for me. I will use this as mulch around my plants.

The person who brought me the hay didn't realize how wet my field can be under the dry surface. =P 

Another example of how wet and low my field is. 

The solution for having low land. Raised beds! They are wonderful. The small green plants you see in the picture is my experiment with planting under peat moss. I sprinkled radish seeds over the area and then covered them in a thin layer of peat moss. I watered them every day or two and they all came up very fast. It was easy and I didn't have to do any digging with a hoe. 

I mulched my kale and swis chard. It has been very hot lately and the hay will keep the soil cool for the kale. There are many benefits of hay, I will have an article on it later.

April 7, 2010

Mini Garden Update

Yesterday I planted some watermelon, cucumbers, and tomatoes in soil blocks. I did them in soil blocks so I could move them inside if it gets cold again this year. After planting I went down to the garden and planted carrots. Then I gave most of my plants some alfalfa meal and then watered them all. I called the Barn Owl and asked if they had Buckwheat seeds. They didn't but they said they could order for me. I'm going to call them today to get the price. I want to plant buckwheat in the lower part of my garden where I probably will not plant anything for a few months. Then I'll till the buckwheat under and plant summer stuff.

Ellis Richards

April 5, 2010

Mini Update

This afternoon I went to the Barn Owl. (It's a small gardening store) There I bought two 50 pound bags of Alfalfa Meal, to use as a fertilizer. Last night I left the glass over my cold frame and I forgot to take it off until about 4:00 this afternoon. It got about 92 degrees today. It was over 120 degrees in my cold frame when I took the glass off. I believe I just fried my poor lettuce. Later this afternoon I'm planning on planting the rest of my potatoes. 

April 4, 2010

Mini Garden Update

This afternoon Mrs. Mccasland and Kristi Horn came and we worked in my garden. We planted Beets and thinned the Radishes. We made a Lasagna Garden for Tomatoes. It will rot and be perfect when we plant the Tomatoes. We put newspaper down for the weeds and then did layers of hay, leaves, peat moss, lime, horse manure (we get it free at a local stable), and alfalfa meal. After that I tilled a part of the field and we transplanted comfrey into it. We watered the entire garden. I will try to get Kelp Meal, Alfalfa Meal and Gypsum tomorrow to use as a fertilizer. I also need to get Buckwheat seeds to plant a cover crop on the part of my garden I'm not using now. I'm planning on tilling the covercrop in as I need more room for my garden. It will keep down the weeds and also add nitrogen to the soil when I till it under.

April 3, 2010

What Every Garden Should Have Part 1

Cold Frame

Last fall I built a Cold Frame out of blocks and two glass doors. I used my Cold Frame to grow Lettuce, Kale, and Swis Chard plants over the winter so that in the spring the plants would be ready to be transplanted. Once I moved the Kale and Swis Chard out of the Cold Frame I planted Tomatoes, Eggplant, Peppers, Lettuce, and Comfrey in it. Having a Cold Frame lets you start things earlier in the spring and later in the fall. If you use glass you can use build the sides out of blocks or wood. Try to stay away from using  Railroad ties if possible, they leach creosote into the soil. Another option is plastic railroad ties. If you don't have glass you can use PVC and a plastic covering to build a hoop house. I have not built one of these before but I planning on it this fall.              

Water System

Last year I got a water system that uses the rain water off my house's roof. We got Soy Lecithin tanks from a company for free and we bought the PVC pipes. The entire system can hold 2,000 gallons of water and is 100% gravity fed. My garden is about 1/8 a mile down a hill from my house. Even if your garden is not down a hill from your house and you can't have it gravity fed, you can still save rain water. I encourage you to create a water system and save the rain water off your roof. There is so many uses for it and you don't need to drain your well or pay for city water to water your garden. I'll write a detailed article about how to build one later.

Wood Chips

I believe every garden needs a wood chip pile. Last year I got a pile by seeing a group of workers clearing the power lines of branches along the road and asking them to dump their load at my house. When they were done they dumped the load the wood chips next to my garden. I have used the wood chips for so many things. It's best not to put it in the soil with your plants because it takes up the nitrogen while it's composting. But there are still many other uses for wood chips. I built a ramp for my mower and I fill in holes in the field with it. I put it in the walkways between my raised beds in my garden. (I will tell more about raise beds later)  

2009 - Early 2010 Summary

The 2009 gardening season has long been over, but I never told what the end of last year was like. I had a pretty good harvest for a first year. Late in the season the deer discovered my garden. They ate all my soybeans and some of my okra, sweet potatoes, and Red Eyed Beans. We got a few really large, sweet watermelon. I have never tasted a watermelon as sweet as that one was. I've heard that watermelons do well in unused soil and my garden area hasn't had a garden on it in 18 years. I believe that's why they were so good. Once I started school in the fall I had little time for gardening. I managed to find enough time to clean up the garden area and have someone come till it. His tiller broke in the middle of tilling it. (okra rapped around the tines and finally broke something in the tiller) When the leaves started falling we raked up all the leaves on our driveway and dumped them on the garden. Late in November I built a cold frame and Mrs. Mccasland helped me plant some things. She gave me Swis Chard and Kale plants and we planted lettuce from seed. I left the glass on the cold frame most of time through the cold winter. We had a extra cold winter this year with much more snow than normal. Early this year I cut up all the leaves on the garden with my mower so they would break down faster. My grandma gave me a tiller and I have bit by bit tilling part of the garden and making raised beds. I transplanted the Swis Chard, Kale and Lettuce out of the cold frame and into the garden.

One of the major projects last year was getting a watering system in. We got 8 free Soy Lecithin containers plastic shipping containers from the company that my dad works for. We bought PVC pipes and hooked them up to get the water draining off the roof. We ran 1 inch PVC to another pipe that goes to the garden and  now I can use all the water I want, for free. Because our house is one a hill there is a lot of water pressure at the garden.

My Corn harvest along with Lettuce seeds. I saved my own lettuce seed last year and they grew this year.

Random Pictures from Last Year: