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Funny Story April 11, 2009

Posted by liajo in Bubba & Allie, good things, Greenhouse Gardening, life.
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Wednesday was a beautiful day here so I decided to get in some yard work.  One of things I wanted to get done was some prep work in the vegetable garden.  groupwinter06I can’t go outside without the dogs, Bubba and Allie wanting to come with me, so we all went out back.

I was in the fenced garden clearing out all the coverings I had left on the beds during the winter.  I also had a pocket full of trash that had blown in.  Needing to dump the ground covering material in the compost pile and throw the trash away I came out of the garden. 

There was Allie wagging her tail and running around.  But no Bubba, I didn’t see him anywhere.  So I asked Allie “Where’s your brother, where’s the Bubba dog?”

greenhousesAs soon as I said his name Bubba comes a running, from the greenhouse.  Now at the end of fall I knew I had gotten the greenhouse ready for winter and all zipped down tight.  But somehow Bubba got the front zipper up just enough so he could go inside.  I’m guessing to lay on the warm, dry ground.

After putting both dogs in the house I checked to greenhouse.  Bubba had done no damage, there really wasn’t anything to damage.  I also check the thermometer that I had put in the ground.  It was reading 80 degrees.

I didn’t plant in the greenhouse this winter and hadn’t gotten it ready yet to move the tomato seedlings into.  But it’s being used, as an over sized dogie sauna.

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Proceed with Caution April 1, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, How to tips.
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organic20produceIt seems like everyone is looking for ways to save money, and many have decided that growing their own food would be a great way to do that.  I agree, I haven’t bought a tomato product in years.  But if your new to vegetable gardening please proceed with caution.

One local gardening expert was on the news saying anyone could grow their own vegetables with an investment of $30 or less.  I think the money estimate may be kind of low. 

And besides money you need to consider time.  Watering, mulching, weeding, pruning, staking and even harvesting, it all takes time.  I love doing it but my husband considers it a form of punishment.  He helps with fence building and greenhouse building and then heads inside and waits to eat the fresh produce.

In order for the garden to be sustainable through the winter you need to plant a lot, and know how to store it.  Last year I had about 12 tomato plants for 2 people.  That’s a lot of tomatoes,  and they’d rot if I didn’t preserve them.  My favorite way of persevering is drying.  I dried pounds of tomatoes and zucchini which I then froze in single serving.  Their great in all sorts of dishes.

Trust me, I want everyone that has a yard, patio or window sill to grow a garden.  But I also realize that as fun as I think my growing gardens are, they aren’t every ones idea of fun.  I also want all these new gardeners to keep gardening for years to come. 

So plant your seed, but realize the true cost pay off may be a couple years down the road.

Everything you need to know… March 30, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, good things, How to tips.
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about starting seedlings you learned in kindergarten, or day care or girl scouts.  Really, I promise.  Think back.  The teacher had a paper cup for each kid.  You made a couple of holes in the bottom and filled them up with soil.  Then you read the story of Jack in the Bean Stalk and each kid got a bean seed which you poked down into the soil with your finger.  Some water was added and a piece of plastic wrap or baggie was put over the top of the cup.  In about a week all the kids had a bean sprout.

seedlings1Guess what???  It still works, and is a lot cheaper than buying seed starting kits at the local nursery. 

I started a bunch of pepper and tomato seeds this weekend.  I used paper cups (with holes in the bottom) filled with a seed starter soil mix.  I made one mini greenhouse out of an aluminium cake bottom pan with a plastic top.  Actually Saturday morning it had cinnamon rolls in it, which I finished off before planting the seeds.

In about six weeks I should have some good sized seedlings ready to go outside.

Naming the garden March 29, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, good things.
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ffgp133I think I’m going to name my gardens this year.  And with all the additional beds going in this year “garden” just doesn’t seem to cover it.  I haven’t decided for sure, but I think I’ll name it “Park Ave Farms.”

We actually live on Park Ave and the place is turning into a vegetable farm. 

Maybe I’ll have a nice sign made up and put it in one of the new vegetable beds that will be taking the place of the front lawn this year.

What do you think, is a farm name just to over the top?  Or is it carrying on a tradition, all the homestead and farms used to have names.

Garden Crops March 25, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, good things, life.
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0000597029008_51motherearthnewsmagazineMy latest issue of Mother Earth News arrived yesterday and I’m still making my way through it, literally page by page. 

One of the feature articles this issue is about picking the best garden crops for your region. Since I have already ordered all my seed I was interested to see how my picks stacked with others from my area.

The first thing that I discovered is that my region is kind of shady, sitting right on the line between North Central and Rockies and Central Midwest.  So I’ll look at both areas.

Top picks for the North Central & Rockies are bulb onions, cherry tomato’s, carrots, spinach, snow/snap peas, lettuce, bush beans, slicing tomato’s, potato’s and radishes.  All but the radishes are on my list.

Top picks for the Central Midwest are slicing tomato’s, sweet peppers, cherry tomato’s, onion, bush beans, carrots, garlic, paste tomato’s, snow/snap peas and lettuce.  All but the garlic are on my list and you’ll notice quite a bit of over lap. 

Also on my list are black eyed peas and zucchini which are both highly rated in both areas. 

So, I guess I selected seed pretty well.  And yes the garden is going to be really big and packed this year.

What’s Your Favorite??? March 11, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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veggiesWhat’s your favorite type of plants to grow?  Flowers, vegetables, berry bushes, trees or shrubs?

I really don’t have a favorite and I’ll try almost anything.  I spend most of my time concerting of the vegetables but probably enjoy the flowers more.  But I really like eating the berries while I’m watering.  In fact most of the berries never make it to the kitchen.

So what’s your favorite?

Put it on Paper February 23, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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gardendesignWe plan on adding lots of new gardens this year.  The grand plan includes taking out most of the front lawn to add vegetables beds.

The seeds have all been ordered and I have a pretty good plan in my head.  But before any of the actual work begins I’ll put it on paper.

We’ll need hard scape materials to make the raised vegetable beds out front, but how much.  I’ll also need to plan pathways to walk on.  I’ll need to make sure that the beds aren’t to wide.  I don’t like to walk on the growing beds so they need to be small enough for me to reach from each side.

In the back the biggest thing to consider is the dogs.  The last thing I want to do is to put a new bed right in the middle of one of their running paths.  Since the grass is still dormant it will be easy enough to find their paths and work around them. 

Making a detailed garden plan is more than worth it.  It should insure that we get it done right the first time.

Catalog Order Day February 15, 2009

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veggiesThis morning was plant and seed catalog ordering day.  After spending sixweeks reviewing all the catalogs I’ve received I went with just one for the whole order, Gurney’s.  I’ve had good luck with Gurney’s in the past and I couldn’t beat their $25 early order discount.

We plan on really expanding the vegetable gardens this year so I ordered things I never have before.  I’m also adding lots of berry’s this year.  I had good luck with the raspberries that I planted last year and will be adding more of them along with blueberries and blackberries.

Since most of my flower beds are pretty well established I just ordered a few seed packs.

Everything should start arriving in a couple of weeks.  Shortly after that the real work will begin.

Herbal Help January 19, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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herbsI’ve had pretty good luck growing most vegetables and flowers.  I usually just sprinkle a few seeds or transplant a few seedlings and watch them grow.

Not so with herbs.  I’ve tried seeds and transplants inside and outside.  I’ve tried giving them almost no water and watering almost daily.  It doesn’t matter, they almost always die.

I’ve heard and read that herbs are basically weeds and easy to grow.  Supposedly they are so easy to grow if you’re not careful they will take over the entire yard.  I wish.

I’m not giving though.  For Christmas I got a Chia gourmet herb garden.  I’ll plant it sometime this week.  I’m also planning a special spot for a herb garden when we dig up the front lawn this year.

I’m counting on the law of averages, sooner or later some of these herbs have actually got to grow.

Seed Catalogs Keep Coming January 13, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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amazing_flowers_smallThe seed, plant and bulb catalogs just keep coming.  I look through every page of each one of them.

There really are some great deals and some really different plants.  I’d love to have one of everything.

But instead I’ll stick to what I need and can use.  Mostly this year I’ll be buying vegetable seed and berry bushes. 

I don’t really need anymore flowers, even if I would like to have more.    Over the last five years or so I have gotten a good base of bulbs, perennials and self seeders.  

I’ll be making my final picks in the next month or so and in the mean time I’ll take another look at all the catalogs.