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)  

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