Friday, April 26, 2013

Plant Us! Plant Us!

I know it's a bit early and it's still getting cold at night, but I don't think I have a choice.
These plants are starting to flower and grow stuff...I think they need to go in the ground.
Pretty sure flowers are starting to bloom on the string beans
 This is the yellow squash.

Look, it's a tiny cucumber.  Which is odd since I thought everything flowered
then started growing veggies.  Did I have it backwards?  I'm so confused.

Either way, they're getting too big for the cups and are starting to look sad.
See how happy the peas look? 
Like they're saying, screw the cold, let's party!
Henrietta Hen looks indifferent. 
I can almost hear her saying, "Stupid peas.  Stop dancing around like idiots.  Yeesh."
Maybe if she had feet, she'd dance too.  Just saying.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Our Curry Leaf Tree Made a Comeback!

My weirdo dog has an anxiety disorder.  Long story.
Anyway, at age 12-ish, he started chewing things up while we're at work.
(Mind you, he's only home along for a very short period of time, whatever.)
A victim of this annoying new habit was the curry leaf plant
my mom grew me from a branch of her own 20+ year old curry leaf tree.
I thought it was dead.  I was absolutely beside myself.
But my wonderfully sweet husband took it upon himself
to place every broken branch in a pot with dirt and even braced some
branches together with popsicle sticks and twist ties.
Even though I appreciated the effort he made,
I honestly didn't have much hope.
And guess what? 
Last week, I saw a few leaves appear and unfurl.
Then more and more leaves everyday.
And now I have a mini tree!

Thank you my love, you rock!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Seed and Plant Spacing Ruler

How cool is this?  I usually just lay a yard stick down and hope for the best.  I would bed this makes for much neater rows.  And if you're spatially challenged like me, it could certainly simply things. 
 If you're not as motivated to sit around drilling holes, my suggestion is to either ask someone to do it for you...oh my sweet, dear, husband....  Or of course, if you're not a cheap ass like me, you could buy the Burgon & Ball Seed And Plant Spacing Rule, as pictured above.
And if you're not into the holes, there's this one from Prima Gardens.
Wooden Planting Stick/Ruler
 Can you tell I'm itching to get my seeds in the ground.  Stupid cold weather.

Friday, April 19, 2013

And the Gardening Season Begins...

The Hubby worked very hard to turn over the garden and mix in some new garden soil and compost.  Looks good right?  The boxes on the right are the ones we used for the potatoes last year.  The Peanut has finally decided she wants her own space to garden so she planted strawberry popcorn and snap peas.  Soon we'll transplant strawberry plants from its old box that it's doing badly in to her box.

For those of you new to this blog, those huge structures in the front are the cantaloupe and cucumber trellises the Hubby made me.  They grow over the top and everything hangs down.  Makes for easier access to the flowers for the bees and easier to harvest for me.

I had a bunch of peas I didn't pick in time last year.  They were hard and dried out so
I saved them and planted them this year.  I wasn't sure how well they'd do,
but as you can see, they are happily growing.

As usual, the mint has made a comeback with no effort on my part...
as did the chives that I forgot to take a picture of.

This was an onion from my onion box that grew so big I felt like it deserved to be put into the ground.  I don't know what will happen but I figured it couldn't hurt.  It seemed to so desperately want to grow.  I recently read it won't really do anything, but I don't care.  Live and let live.

The strawberries have also made a comeback, but they never do so well.  Lots of plants, no berries.  Maybe this year will be different.  Especially since they're going to move to the Peanut's garden boxes with full sun. I'm sure the gotu kola will come back and take over this box soon enough.

I was really surprised that the parsley survived the winter and
is spreading out and growing all on its own.

The thyme I expected to come back and as you can see, it did.

I was also surprised by the oregano coming back on its own.
I guess I didn't need to buy so many new herb seeds.

I thought the basil would come back on its own too, but so far no luck.  The weather has been hit or miss.  It's definitely on it's way to beautiful, hot summer days.  I'm itching to plant stuff in the garden.  I know as unpredictable as the weather has been these past few years, that I need to hold off or I'll risk losing all my seedlings.  The waiting is making me crazy.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Woo Hoo! Asparagus!

Why am I so excited about the asparagus you ask? Because growing asparagus is a long term investment of time, energy and space. The Old Farmer's Almanac gives a nice, concise description of the process that's worth the quick read if you're interested.
The Hubby built me simple boxes out of plywood and we filled it with good soil, not the weird clay stuff from the yard that holds water like a sponge.  I picked up asparagus crowns from Home Depot, soaked them, and planted them in a trench.  I didn't really fuss over them.  I weeded and watered them sporadically, cut the dead foliage in the fall, and piled on a layer of manure in the spring. 

We've spent two years being amazed at how cool they look coming up from the ground, thin, green asparagus that would eventually get better as the summer progressed.  But this is year three, which means we can finally harvest the asparagus.  And I have to say I don't remember them ever being this big and thick coming up.  I can only hope that we get twenty years of asparagus from this patch.  For now right, I'm just happy to finally be able to eat it!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Palram Grow Station Review

The Palram Grow Station arrived safe and sound in a large box at my door.  The directions are pretty craptastic.  All pictures, no words.  But as someone who assembled a ton of IKEA cabinets, this was old hat.  Pay attention to all the little arrows and numbers and you'll be okay.  When they say assembly will take half a day, that's no joke, it really does.

I'm not sure why I thought it would be sturdier.  The plastic panels are kinda flimsy.  Have you have ever put together one of those inexpensive aluminum sheds from the big box stores?  This is the greenhouse equivalent to that.

I will say once assembled, it's actually quite sturdy.  I did think it was odd that it didn't have a bottom piece.  Maybe my expectations were just too high?  Some people online mentioned having to shave the panels down or make bizarre maneuvers to screw things together.  I didn't have any of those problems.  The panels were snug going in, but all I needed to make it work was patience.

Assembled, it seemed so sturdy that I held off on screwing it onto the deck.  Well, as luck would have it, we got hit two days later with a horrible storm that blew the grow station completely across the lawn.  The doors were a little wonky, and the top came off, but the Hubby fixed it no problem.  So I guess if it can survive being blown twenty plus feet across the lawn, then it is sturdier than even I thought.  He has since then placed some wood boards on the bottom and screwed it down to the deck.

 It is in no way air tight. Obviously, it's not, it has no bottom. But it gets crazy hot in that thing!  With the weather being wonky, I put them inside during the day and take them out before bed.  As of today, the beans, cucumbers and squash are currently hardening off in there full time.

Maybe the grow station wasn't what I was expecting, but I have to say, I'm happy with it.  There aren't a lot of options in the under $200 range and I think this was a better buy than the shelves with the plastic covers.   Hopefully it won't decide to take anymore strolls across the yard.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I Ordered the Greenhouse!

Well, not a greenhouse, the Palram Grow Station, I'm hoping it's comparable to a greenhouse.  I'll have to make extra sure to monitor the temperature...but I think you have to do that anyway...
All I know is it was cost effective...especially since Home Depot was able to price match Linens n' Things much lower price.  And the shipping was free!  I would've just bought it online at Linens n' Things, but I wanted to buy it somewhere that I knew I wouldn't have issues if I had to return it.  Home Depot, for anyone that doesn't know, will take back just about anything.  Even the plants you kill!  Although, I'd never do that...that's tacky.

It's small enough for my patio and as my seedlings are getting very large, I'm running out of room inside to safely let them grow.  (The mutt has an anxiety disorder and has been chewing up random stuff...I swear, it's always something.)
I decided against the cheaper plastic covered ones since I didn't want to have to replace it every few years.  I also decided against the lean-to greenhouses because I couldn't find anywhere local to buy it from.  I'll keep you posted on what I think about it...if it ever gets here.  It was supposed to be 3-5 days shipping...yet two days later and they're still processing the order...and they haven't adjusted the price despite an email from them saying they would....
Like I said, it's always something.