Eric decided that today was his Sunday to goof off. Here’s what he built.

 


Practical Gifts

13Apr14

The finished hose trolly

My friend laughed when I told her I got my husband a greenhouse hose trolly for our anniversary. I have definitely become more practical since moving here, so it was interesting, after giving him his gift, he said, “I need to give you a water hydrant as your gift.” I said, “Oh! Was I being too practical?” He said, “No. It’s just that we need it.”

Eric got me the garden wagon I’d been eying. It’s come in handy this week for transplanting. Practical gifts aren’t really that bad. At least it’s not a vacuum.


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The days are getting longer here and everything is coming to life. April 10 was our one year wedding anniversary and it just so happens, it turned out to be the perfect sunny day; perfect for working in the garden.

Our herb garden has been an evolving project. Last year we removed an existing children’s play yard and redefined the space for herbs. We planted boxwoods, chives, curry plants, garlic, lavender, rosemary, sage, thyme and two varieties of basil (sweet basil and purple basil). In containers we planted parsley and oregano. The only things that survived our winter were the boxwoods, chives, garlic, sage and thyme.

Preparing the garden is well worth the effort. The past 3 weeks we’ve been cleaning out the beds, adding compost, and cleaning up the path to prepare it for mulch. Putting down newspaper and filling in the path with mulch was a nice aesthetic improvement. Now, let’s hope it does what it’s intended and controls some of the weeds!

There’s just about every herb you can imagine planted in our greenhouse. My sister-in-law said we should plant flowers with our herbs. Through our master gardener class, we were happy to learn some new herbs and discover that most herbs have beautiful flowers: Bee balm, borage, cat mint, chamomile, chives, echinacea, feverfew, geranium, hyssop, lavender, marigold, nasturtium and Russian sage. The herb flowers are just as edible as the plants and make nice garnishes.

Growing seeds in the greenhouse has been a learning experience for me. I haven’t grown from seeds since I was a child. I separated some basil, parsley and marigold seedlings. The next morning I was happy to see them all standing upright.

Starting seeds has been a great way to save money, but seeing them grow has been just as rewarding. I love going into the greenhouse and seeing the seedlings peaking their heads up. Not only have we planted herbs and vegetables, we also planted flowers: 4 0′clock, canna, columbine, floxglove, hollyhock, lupine, pansy and Shasta daisy.

It’s almost time to move some of the transplants to our herb garden. I will wait a little longer to move the basil and lavender which tend to like the soil a little warmer.

Tomatoes grew nicely in the greenhouse last year free from disease and relatively free from bugs. We moved some of our tomatoes and eggplant transplants into a bed in the greenhouse. We will try eggplant and cauliflower there too and see how they do since last year they were overriden with bugs in our garden.

We’ve applied a new approach to our garden. Our CSA friends, Eric and Cher advised us to prepare the garden and let it sit before planting. It sat for about 2 months before we planted; no activity and no water equals no weeds.

Next month we will add the drip irrigation to both the greenhouse and garden. This will also control the weeds. We are still doing a little at a time, but we are evolving more and more each year. We are happy with our progress and feel we’re still learning every step of the way.


My sister-in-law invited me to go to the Cheekwood Garden plant sale this weekend. Unfortunately, when we got to the plant sale there were no plants left. Fortunately, that left us time to walk the gardens and have a scrumptious lunch at the Pineapple Room.

The Cheekwood Garden is known for their Japanese, herbs, perennials and wildflowers, as well as a woodland sculpture trail and nature sanctuary. It was my first time there. All the bulbs were in bloom. It was absolutely beautiful.


Too Many Seeds

31Mar14

It’s not a bad thing to have a lot of seeds. Not having a system to organize them all makes it impossible; you either forget what you have or you can’t find what you need.

I found two plastic storage bins (6.25″ x 11.5″) and 4″ x 6″  index cards. I used Post-it-Notes tabs on each of the index cards to divide the vegetables, herbs and flowers. It’s nothing glamorous, but it sure fits the need.

The first bin holds all the vegetables, herbs and flowers. The second bin holds our bulky items like peas, corn, beans, and pumpkin seeds.

We can actually find our seeds now. Much better than a shopping bag! It will also store well in the refrigerator during the winter.

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Part of the fence is up

Part of the fence is up

This year we’re putting up a permanent garden fence instead of the ugly netting and t-posts we had up last year. Last week we put up the posts and cemented them in. It’s going to be nice once it’s completed. It will have four gates; one on each side. We’re building the fence to keep the dogs out, but will also make it aesthetically pleasing; It will be one of the focal points of our yard. Eric wants to build different arbors on each of the three entrances to give the garden some personality. The entrance to the greenhouse will remain plain so we will have room to replace the greenhouse plastic when the time comes. Eventually, we’ll add a path to the garden from the house.

Earlier this week, Eric came to me and said he had a “brain fart” (which in my mind means he forgot something or is having a senior moment). He continues to tell me he wants to use timbers from around the farm to build the fence rails. I had a good laugh, but thought it was a great idea. It would certainly make our fence more meaningful.

Our neighbor allows us to harvest some of his down trees, so the next day, we brought in some of those timbers. After turning off the electric fence and disconnecting the barbed wire, we used the tractor with a chain hooked up to the bucket to drag them over. Next, we used the tractor and loaded them into the truck. We brought them back to the barn where Eric is set up to make the planks. It’s going to take a lot more timbers, so hopefully we’ll find enough of them. We need about 74 planks to complete the fence. That’s a lot of planks!

So far, we’ve installed 8 planks (photo above). It’s going to look great when it’s complete. Eric says each plank is painstaking hard to make as it puts a lot of strain on the body when holding the chain saw to cut them. Cutting 2 planks uses 1 tanks of gas. We are hoping to complete these and have the fence finished by the end of April.

We are happy to be making progress. The mulch came in yesterday and will cover the herb garden and the perimeter of the vegetable garden. Not too long and we will start enjoying Spring. The weather is mostly beautiful right now.


Every morning Eric walks out to the barn to feed the cat and all the animals follow. Today, the puppy thought she’d join in too. Usually the cat and Tank are in tow, but not today. I just thought it was cute.

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