Monday, March 30, 2009

Planting Time!

All of the seedlings are now in the ground and looking pretty good. Most of the seeds and the onion set are in, so far the only growth we can see there are the onions sprouting.

In the first box we have 8 Quinalt strawberries and 8 Sequoia, both everbearing. The Kentucky Wonder pole beans have been started behind them, we're staggering those so hopefully it will spread out the harvest.

Left to right we have 2 Straight Eight cucumbers, 2 Burpless Hybrid cucumbers, a California Wonder Bell Pepper and a Sweet Red Bell Pepper. In the front row we have a Jalapeno our onion set which was just some generic yellow onion we got at HD to try for fun and our carrot seed which I can't remember the variety of right now. Like I said the onions are the only seeds sprouting right now, the 2 burpless cukes don't seem to be doing as well as the straight 8s but that may be because their peat pots were much drier than the others.

Here are the squash, a yellow crook neck and a green zucchini. These were planted mostly for Mom well cause she's the only one who'll eat them. But I do plan to try some zucchini bread and carrot cake cookie recipes to sneak more veggies into the kids with.

This is our slicing tomato we went with an Early Girl 50 this year, turns out the Celebrity we grew 2 summers ago and loved so much wasn't a Celebrity so instead of trying to guess what it was we went with the highly recommended Early Girl, who has 2 tiny little tomatoes starting a week after transplant. Surrounding the stalk we've planted Parsley seed, they're good companion plants and it keeps us from finding another spot for it.

Our picking tomato is a Sweet 100 Cherry tomato. We love cherry tomatoes around here, it's what I use in salads and Joe will eat the entire plants' worth if we let him. This one is blooming after just a week in the pot.

The other box, which I don't have a pic of because it would be a pic of dirt, has had Oregano, Cilantro and Vivian Romaine Lettuce planted in it, all seeds which none have decided to show up yet. I'm not worried this is our first year trying seed and if it doesn't work oh well, try a different route next year.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Planting Begins and of course and New Plan!

We started planting a little earlier than planned last week when we went to go check out the seedling stock at the HD. We figured hey we'll look around at what all they have in stock and find out when the delivery truck will be there next.

Little did we know or plan for him to be sitting there and all too willing to take our list and pull fresh stock off his truck. He really was quite nice about it and even went searching for specific varieties.

Of course we really were not intending to plant yet so of course plans had to be changed.

Now to back track a bit, cause I'll have more on the actual planting next week....

Shoveling poo sucks.

Our soil blend consisted of 4 parts MiracleGro flower and veggie soil, 2 parts steer manure, 2 parts peat moss and 1.5 parts compost (that had a variety of assorted poos in it).

We blended roughly 29 cubic feet of that mess over 3 days. Boy can my shoulders tell it too.

But we got it all in the boxes and pots and all ready for seeds and seedlings.

This is the small lettuce and herb box, it's since been moved to a sunnier location.

This is the beans and strawberries box, the trellising is done with pvc pipe and bird netting.

The far box is the yellow squash and zucchini, the closer has cukes, peppers, carrots and onions.

You can also see how small our yard is and how you can you know hear everything your neighbors do.

And now for the new plan layout. I've also added a widget for to the sidebar over there, if you click through and become a member I gets points. It really is a cool software, I've already plotted our garden and started notating planting dates and expected harvest dates. Click to make it readable size.

That's it for this week, I've got a load of photos to format of our plantings to do before posting them, but things are looking good.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Boxes are Done!

So we got our boxes made. They look really nice, we found some 12 x 2 x 12 redwood on clearance and they had just enough pieces to make our 4 boxes. The bottoms are fence planks cut to size. We also coated everything with water sealer to help prolong the wood life (even though redwood is recommended for garden boxes) and it makes them all dark and pretty.

We've got them built and lined with weed cloth, mainly to keep the soil in while giving ample drainage and we are now getting the soil started, oof are my back muscles not liking that.

Ha! and there's mom who does not really like to be in pics, but I told her I needed a visual reference for a 4 foot tall box.

Next week we should have all the boxes filled and the trellising done.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Garden Plan version 273465

So it's been a real experience trying to figure out just what we wanted to plant and just how to go about doing it. After a multitude of revisions on what, where and how we now have a working plan to go by.

I also found this really cool online software to use in planning and record keeping for our garden to make sure we not only do it right but to see the results in numbers at the end of the season.

Here's a picture of our plan so far. You can click on it to make it readable.

This is a rough sketch of our back patio area. Seeing as we rent, we don't want to destroy what little grass there is in the back yard so we are going with a mix of containers including leftover 20 inch round pots for the tomatoes, 3 2 foot by 4 foot "square foot" planting boxes, and one 16" by 3' leftover scrap box.

The patio has a pergola installed above it but do to lack of common sense somewhere in the line of contractors and builders, it's actually installed the wrong way, instead of providing shade it creates weird tan lines if you sit under it too long. But that had also given us some vertical posts evenly spaced around the area to which we are going to attach trellising. Which might by the late summer actually provide us with some shade to relax in.

The trellis will be used by the cucumbers, pole beans and squash and zucchini, we'll use tomato cages for well the tomatoes and also the peppers.

We haven't narrowed it down to what varieties we're going to plant yet, that will be decided mostly by what we can find locally as far as seedlings and seeds go. We are also thinking of adding a few dwarf fruit trees since one of the local nurseries had trees already producing nicely.

The plan is mostly laid out according to companion growing charts, which veggies like each other enough to help produce better yield. We haven't seen too many pests in our area except for the overabundance of snails (ick ew ick) which will be discouraged pretty much if anyone wants me anywhere near the plants, and cats, which due to the foreclosures in the area are being abondoned in greater numbers, spayed or not ( the local shelter had been great in helping with this problem).

The software program I used is called PlanGarden it offers a 45 day free trial which I'm taking advantage of and if at the end of the trial looks to be helping then I'll buy the $20 one year subscription. So far just for ease of use in setting up a plan it looks to be worth 20 bucks. If I do make a subscription I'll add a widget to the sidebar.

You can find PlanGarden here.