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Tag: garden

Fall garden update

Now that the kids are back in school and vacation time is over, I finally had an opportunity to take a long look at the garden and see what is going on back there. A little over a week ago we had our first pumpkin detach from the plant so Julie moved it to the front of the house. I’m not sure how much longer a lot of the big ones are going to last. Note for next year: plant pumpkins a month later than we did this year if we want them for Oct.

By far, the most bountiful of the vegetables were the cucumbers. They were the first to show signs of life and are still producing. We’ve had so many that I have made several trips to work with a bag full of them to give away to co-workers. Dobson’s Organic Produce has done well and I had several requests for more.

We have had several meals with the green beans but the carrots and potatoes have yet to make an appearance. I think they are more of a Fall item, so we will keep waiting on them. The cantaloupe have done alright, but don’t get to nearly the size of a grocery store melon. Julie calls them ‘snack size’ or ‘single serving’ cantaloupe.

From the look of the backyard, we will have a half-dozen, basketball-sized pumpkins and then another half-dozen smaller ones. It’s too many! Besides decoration, what are we going to do with these things?? Maybe I can convince Julie to try her hand at a homemade pumpkin pie or some other wonderful pumpkin delight… that reminds me, pumpkin spice lattes are back at Starbucks, Fall is officially here.

One more thing, Google Maps updated the satellite shot of our house, and guess what you can see now?? That’s right, the garden!! Woot woot!

(I put my hand in there to give a size reference. These puppies are BIG.)

Mini cucumbers are in!!

Garden update, July edition.

Today we got to eat the first edible item from the backyard garden. Mini cucumbers accompanied tonight’s dinner. Odd little things. I picture them always being compared to their bigger, juicier, older brother and never quite measuring up. It was interesting to think about the life of this little cucumber while I was eating it and all the things we did to make it happen. Julie had a huge smile on her face and from the looks of the yard, we will have a couple hundred of these little suckers coming in over the next couple of weeks so she better like them.

Peonies at Eastgate

These couple of weeks at the end of May and start of June are always a special time around here. It’s the time when irises and peonies are in bloom and considering the love that Julie has for peonies, she seems to have a smile on her face when she is in the yard. There were just a few peony here when we moved in and now there are dozens of flowers coming up, more each day and in three different parts of the yard.

They are mainly dark pink in color but a few are pale pink. When Julie’s Grandma had her house on the market a few years ago, in preparation for a move into a nursing home, Julie and her dad decided to dig up all the peonies he had planted there many, many years ago and give them a new home. It’s a comforting feeling to know that the same plants that brought Grandma K enjoyment also bring it to us.

Julie’s dad is the peony planting wizard and it’s thanks to a lot of hard work on his part and Julie’s tending to them, that they look so great!

There’s food in that there garden

Wow! Only 4 days and already signs of life in the garden. Cantaloupe and cucumber are the first to pop. Some bean plants that we put in a pot are also showing signs of life. The girls, including Julie, are so excited!! Next step is to put the lawn clippings from this weekend’s mow in the bed as mulch to help keep these hot days from drying the bed out too much.

A vegetable garden for the vegetarian

For Mother’s Day, I told Julie we would build a raised vegetable garden bed in the backyard. We had talked about doing this for a couple of years but never got around to it. A few weeks ago I started doing some research and came up with a plan that combined a few of the ideas I had seen.

Prep

We staked out where we wanted it to go in the yard using wooden stakes and we decided on an 8’x4′ layout. Since we don’t really know how this whole thing is going to work out, we didn’t want to go too big, but Julie was excited which meant she bought way, way too many things to go into a small starter garden. She agreed to cut back her ambitious plans to a more reasonable number of vegetables and we were ready to start getting material.

It took two trips to the hardware store to get all the top soil and material for the project. The final material list was:

  • 8′ 2×12 Cedar (3)
  • 8′ 1×6 Ceder (3)
  • 8′ 1×2 Cedar (2)
  • 6′ 4×4 Cedar (1)
  • 18″ metal landscape stakes (4)
  • 6″ bolts with washer and nut (16)
  • 27 cu. ft. of top soil
  • 3 cu. ft. of peat moss

Total cost was around $225. The 2×12 cedar boards were $32 a piece! I looked at using treated lumber or something that might be cheaper than cedar, but when building something that will be containing food that we are going to eat, I wasn’t going to risk it. Several websites warned about using pretreated lumber around vegetables. Don’t do it!

I found a cool website to estimate the amount of top soil I was going to need. Thank you internet.  How to Calculate How Much Soil Is Needed in a Raised Bed Planter Box

Build

With all the material on hand, it was time to get to work. the overall design was fairly simple, the sides of the bed were made out of the 2×12 and would be bolted to 4×4 blocks cut for each corner. The whole structure would be anchored to the ground by the 18″ stakes and on top there would be 1×6 going around the top lip to make a spot to sit your butt while gardening. I know what you are asking yourself, but Ryan, what are the 1×2 pieces for?? I know, I know, I am getting there. To finish things off, I bought some 1×2 so Julie could staple/write what she is putting where.

Power tools are the best way to start the day.

The site we chose for the bed gets plenty of sun and is out of the way a little so it won’t interfere with the kids playing in the yard. The shots below show the progression of the bed from beginning to end including removing the sod, leveling the bed, assembling the frame and finishing it up.

Final Thoughts

Overall the plan came through and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. We still need to get a few bags of mulch to go on top and install the rain barrel at the downspout that is 8′ away from the edge of the bed but for the most part, it’s done. Julie and the kids spent some time yesterday afternoon planting everything and marking it with the stakes. Now it’s just a waiting game. I have a feeling this is the first of what will turn into many of these raised beds if we have a good harvest.

Now if only I can keep the vermin from eating it all!

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