Saturday, April 24, 2010

at last!

The garden is 100% complete! Today I planted the last item, a row of beans. Then I weeded around the existing seedlings, and watered it all. The first batch of seeds that I planted a little earlier are all starting to come up! Onions, carrots, sunflowers, tomatoes, and cilantro, everything except the basil so far, oh and the garlic...I can't really tell if its doing much of anything at this point. The other day I finished spreading out and blending the organic gardening soil, then I planted the rest of the watermelon and pumpkin seeds. I'm not sure if I left quite enough room, since I just read that their vines grow up to 10 feet and take up a good amount of space! I also dug up my tomato plants and gently separated the roots, then re-planted them in smaller groups. I will need some poles for the beans and also some cages for the tomatoes when they both get a little bigger. Until next time.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

a little help from a book

Today I picked up a gardening book while I was out. I figured I would check on the things I've done so far and help myself out for the future.

Mistakes made so far:

1. the garden top soil could have been tilled in with the regular soil to make the texture more fine and smooth
2. carrots and garlic are cool crops that grow better in the winter and fall (so I may not see anything from them)
3. I may have planted a little too deep. (Its only recommended to plant 1 inch or less below the surface but I put my seeds down a little deeper just in case...oops!)

I probably should have picked up a book earlier or checked out more tips online, but I didn't so I will have to work with what I have at this point. I plan on getting a couple more bags of soil to spread over the rest of the garden, and raking it to mix it in with the native soil. Then finish planting the rest of the watermelon and pumpkin seeds, and also separating and spreading out the tomato plants and anything else that starts growing in bunches. I'm also going to pick up some liquid plant food to spray on them and help them out.

puppy power!

After I secured the garden with the chicken wire barrier it was time to plant! I poured a giant bag of gardening soil on the first third of the garden. I didn't have enough soil or seeds to fill up the entire plot. I mixed the native soil with the bagged variety (1 part to 1 part) and smoothed it out again. I decided to place the tomatoes along the back side of the garden edge. This way they will get plenty of sun in the afternoon and won't block the others from the sunlight. The tomatoes were still going strong so I transplanted the seedlings from the paper cups into the garden soil. The rest I started again as seeds, following the directions on the seed packets. I labeled each row with a plastic marker and left a small row of empty space as a walkway. I closed up the gate and gave my thirsty little plants a big gulp of water from the hose and called it a day.

Approximately five minutes later, after I had put away my gardening tools and washed my hands I saw it. My fear had come true. My dog had found a way in to the garden and was trampling over everything! I immediately panicked and screamed! All of my hard work gone down the drain! My dog looked at me and realized she was trapped. She had snooped around and discovered a way in but had not thought about how she would get out. I ran over to the garden and let her out, and knew that I had to make some adjustments if my garden was going to remain a dog free zone.

The next day I hammered the stakes into the ground deeper, so that the chicken wire was flush with the ground and no longer resting on the top of the railroad ties. Then I got a heavy duty stapler and stapled the chicken wire to the wood so there were no gaps large enough for anything to slip under. So far so good. Catastrophe averted!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

the real deal

I finally got a chance to work on my real garden, you know, the regular sized one in my back yard. My sweet husband tilled up all of the soil for me, then I pulled up the remaining grass and weeds and raked it out nice and smooth, well kinda smooth. It is surrounded by four giant rail road ties that were already in our yard when we moved in. The previous owner apparently had a beautiful garden, as I was told by our neighbor earlier this year when our yard was looking more like a jungle and less like a residential back yard. I already knew about this dream garden. Sadly, my husband and I pulled up most of the remaining veggies that were hanging around and downsized the garden to a more manageable size when we first moved in last May, about 1/4 what it was prior. No one had lived in the house for several months so much of the yard and garden was taken over by weeds or just dying from the heat.
After it was tilled and raked I left it alone for a week or so until I had time to finish and plant. At this point some of my little seedlings weren't looking so good. In fact a few that were going strong had shriveled up like the wicked witch of the west! Did I water them too much? Not enough? I personally blame it on the sun, which hadn't shown it's shining face in days. And everyone knows that plants need the sun to survive.
To protect my garden from intruders, aka my dog the feral cats in the neighborhood, I dug tall stakes into the ground in each corner. Lucky for me the stakes were already behind the shed at our house, along with several tomato cages. Then I bought a roll of chicken wire and wrapped it around the edge and tied it with zip ties to the metal garden stakes. The chicken wire is about three feet high and very flimsy. I ran string through the top row of holes on the long sides of the garden to give it extra support and stability. I would have done it on all sides but I ran out of string. I also left the top corner of the end of the chicken wire open so I could go in and out of the garden more easily. I tied the bottom of the wire to the metal stake but left the top open and tied it with a twist tie for easy access.
And then I was good to go ahead and start planting....or so I thought.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

sprouts! glorious sprouts!

here are the pictures of my beautiful baby sprouts. the tomatoes, one of the carrots, and one of the sunflowers have really taken off so far (pictured). some of the others are still not breaking through the soil, however the onions have just started to sprout but it was too small for the photo.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

the first sign of life

yesterday, as i went to water my precious cups full of earth and seeds, i noticed the tiniest little green thing barely making its way out of the soil in one of the cups labeled "P" for peppers. it was a sprout!!! my first sprout! this means its actually working and the cups lined up on my window ledge are not just full of dirt and secretly mocking me that it will never work. it did! well at least it is starting too. and even better there was a second sprout this morning emerging from one of the carrot containers. the sprouts are too tiny for pictures at this point, but after they get a little bigger i will post some.