Thursday, March 26, 2009

Children in the Garden

Check out Children in the Garden for a list of articles about including kids in your gardening experience!

Pole Bean Staking

Here's an interesting website outlining some of the ways to stake pole beans:

How to Stake Pole Beans

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Is Gardening "Fun"?

My back aches, my nails are no more, my fingers are dry, my feet hurt,...but I got my compost shoveled in/around the garden and all cool weather crops planted!!!!!! So, maybe I'll look back on today with fond memories when I'm actually eating my hard work. For now, I'm looking forward to an easy dinner and a night of vegging out in front of the TV.... Anyone else out there feel the same way? Isn't it great that we're not actually dependent on these food crops for survival? I'm now thinking that folks who garden to survive probably don't miss TV--they just go to bed as soon as dinner is over.

Rundown of what I planted (this is sufficing for my garden journal)
  • 20-foot row of sugar snaps
  • 20-foot row of snow peas
  • 4 bok choy plants, some seeds as well
  • 4 broccoli plants
  • 3 spinach plants plus some seeds
  • 3 spinach plants (different kind) plus some seeds
  • 3 spinach mustard plants plus some seeds
  • 3 mustard greens plants plus some seeds
  • 4 napa cabbage plants (seeds, too?)
  • 3 lettuce plants plus a TON of seeds.... oops.... we might be eating mesculun for dinner a LOT

See everyone tomorrow!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Seeds Have Sprouted!

Just a note to say that ALL my herbs have some sort of sprouted representation. I'm still waiting on some peppermint seeds, but in general, at least a few of all the herbs (haven't started basil yet) have come up--even the "old" seeds. So, that should encourage everyone.

Also, I have sprouts for all cool weather crops (save cabbage) and peppers and tomatoes. I'm going to transplant them into bigger containers (the peppers and tomatoes) and harden off the cool weather stuff so I can plant it in the garden soon! (Of course, I still have to get that garden ready!!)

Don't forget, Katie and Alicia, about the seed chart I emailed you out weeks ago--it has timing, companion planting, and other info on it in brief. It might help if you're trying to figure out how to fit this massive, over-zealous garden of ours into a smaller space..... I just figured out how to link it in the side bar--so the charts are in the Gardening Resources!


Don't forget to label your posts! Then we can find them more easily later on. I tagged a few of my older ones--feel free to create your own or use a label already in use (they're in the right margin).

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Neat site on how much to plant.

I forget how I found this site (clicking through links from one site to another, I presume), but it has some interesting information on what you would want to plant to feed a family of 4 for each type of plant. I know we were discussing not knowing how much our garden would produce and how to make sure we plant enough to not only feed us through the summer but to also put up via freezing or canning if possible. Anyway, I thought it was interesting, and hopefully not a re-post of something!

Hume Seeds

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More thinking - on bugs

(I'll edit as I come across more info and have more time)

Ants - cornmeal works good at getting rid of them. It's safe for kids and pets too. Sprinkle liberally around the nest if you know where it is - or around problem areas. I've heard that tansy works well too (planting around your garden or sprigs placed in cabinets), but I think it may be poisonous - so if you have little ones or pets you'll want to do a bit more research on that before using or growing tansy. I think it's also invasive, so if you do plant it - probably best to do in pots.

Cutworms - are these a problem in TN? I read that you can put little sticks (like toothpicks or twigs) around your seedlings. I got to thinking - why not toilet paper tubes that are trimmed down? Certainly not in short supply around here, and likely to break down with relative ease.

Nematodes - I've heard that planting marigolds and nasturtiums help with these little buggers. Especially around your tomatoes.

Thinking about companion planting...

I'm considering picking up some corn. I'd love to get the colored kernels that you can make into popcorn so that it doubles for neat Christmas gifts, but we'll see... At any rate, I've been doing some reading on companion planting. The Native Americans used to do what they call the "Three Sisters" planting - planting members of the corn/bean/squash families together.

Apparently, you form a hill. In the very middle you would plant corn. Then, around the middle of the hill, you would plant the beans; and at the bottom of the hill you would plant your squash. The sister plants are: corn, beans, peas, sunflowers, white potatoes, squash, melons, cucumbers, and pumpkins.

Okay, so I know we have some sunflowers already, and I have spots picked for those so I'll probably just throw some beans/peas and squash in with them. I just mainly wanted an excuse to add some corn to my plan. LOL.

Can anyone help me with ideas for how to plant my herbs? I know some are invasive - but if they are planted with other herbs, does that mean they will eventually overtake the others as well? I have a place in the front yard by my mailbox/driveway that I'd love to use for a giant herb bed - so I'd love to know what would be a good way to plant the herbs for maximum capacity/usage. It's a wide-rounded pie shape if that helps...

Oh yeah - still looking for ideas on how to box in my big garden area. Anyone ever use landscape rock? I'm thinking that maybe with some hunting around, I may be able to find some decent rocks to use for this...

Oh - I just read that Larkspur companions with beans and cabbage!

Welcome, Sara!

Fellow composters and pitchfork-wielding ladies, we have a new member: Sara J! Welcome, Sara, to our very incomplete online gardening journal! Maybe Sara can help us out with her advanced plant knowledge (anyone growing poplars?).  

My garden right now is growing a bumper crop of random spring onions (wild ones), some unidentified weed, and miscellaneous leaf litter. Hmmm... time to get to work. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Canning Jars

Just a reminder to save all canning jar possibilities. If you want to actually can/seal things, I think you have to have jars that will fit the canning jar lids/seals. If you're just pickling stuff, you can get away with just about anything!

Local honey (at Pratt's and, eventually, the Fruit and Berry Patch) comes in canning jars. Peanut butter often comes in glass jars. Of course, pickles and things come in those jars, too! I bought a bunch of quart canning jars last year to store grains and beans in (the bugs can't get into them that way). I'm now trying to use up some of those supplies so I can use the jars!

You can also use quart jars to make yogurt in. Mmmm....

Any other uses, ladies? I'm gathering quite a collection of "trash" (I prefer to think of it as possible planters, canning jars, food preservation containers, and the like). I'm glad I have a basement, even if it is more radon risk :).

Today's gardening task: compost (if hubby is amenable) and transplanting seedlings (herbs, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, etc.) into bigger pots (i.e. yogurt containers, cottage cheese containers, etc.). We'll see if it all gets done! The transplanting might be saved until a rainy day (i.e. tomorrow (sigh)).


Pratt's has herbs for $1.99--some varieties we haven't planted by seed: variegated oregano, variegated mint, variegated sage for instance. I bought a couple--they'll be so pretty next to the darker green ones! They have great, healthy plants, and I've always had really good luck with them (that's where all my herbs have come from). 

New Look

I changed our template/look--thought the old one was a bit hard to read after a while. Any other thoughts? Whenever we have time, we can browse through the myriad free templates/looks out there, but that's for another time....

Monday, March 9, 2009

Nature's Best Organics

Katie and I've been discussing this possible compost source for our gardens (while our own compost piles are working hard to get ready). It turns out that they sell their products to local retailers, so I'm including a link below if you're interested in trying out their products (I think this is what I'm going to do, partly because Hall Nursery (in Halls) is just up the road from us). Shamrock Organics (which I've had a hard time finding info on) and Natural Resources Recovery (which produces Nature's Best) are the two sites that kept coming up as good sources for Knoxville folk. It appears they're a step up in quality from Lowe's. Hines Fine Soil was mentioned, but most seemed not to like this place much. I don't know what the pricing is like--I may be in sticker shock after I call the nursery and hope that my bare dirt can suffice!

Anyone else have any thoughts in this area? I'm going to try to get some pea seeds in the ground. Can we put broccoli and the greens in the ground yet? I have some broccoli seedlings which I'm pretty excited about. I also have parsley coming up like crazy, some greens, and some tomato seedlings (all in our basement).

Gotta run! Hoping to take advantage of today's GORGEOUS weather.

Our snow peas came in the mail this weekend--I forgot to bring them to church, but if you want them before next week I can get them to you!