Thursday, June 26, 2014

UPDATE: Garden 2014

So here is our garden for this year....
It's bigger!
It's badder!!
It's all ours!!!

Above is the plan we created while planting.
We used the "Carrots Love Tomatoes" plan and adjusted it where necessary.
Some plants we already had planted in other areas of the yard, so we
weren't able to adhere to it very strictly.

The above shots are of our red and white potatoes.
The metal bin at the back is actually filled with spare soil.
Potatoes need to be mounded as the get we save
some dirt for that purpose.

Red and white onions in the above shot.

Many jalapeno plants as some other hot peppers at the front.

Our field of tomatoes!
There are 24 plants in this area, some romas and some hertiage varieties.
While I am loving not hauling water, the tomatoes are not loving all the rain we've been having.
Can you see the leaves that are yellowing at the back?

Heritage white corn...we grew it last year and saved the seeds
for this year!  Looks like it worked!!!
(we found the wood under our pile of logs for the campfire...
nicely repurposed to keep the weeds down)

Directly to the left of the corn are our two sweet potato plants!
We tried growing sweet potatoes once in 2011...
it didn't turn out we thought we'd try again!
The last time the plants spent the whole growing season just trying to grow leaves!
The bunnies thought the leaves were mighty the plants never got a chance to grow tubers.

Our yellow zucchinis are starting out great!

The green zucchinis...not so much...

We dismantled a black composter...and filled them with dirt.
The sides have you don't have to worry about the plants drowning
in rain water!  Score!

Our pumpkins...with one sad trellis...
I have to get me some T bars and do these
trellis thingies right!

The radishes are coming along...

The beets are shy.
We planted dill with them (as per the book)
and the dill likes the bed...

Our cucumber machine makes its triumphant return.
We had such a great year with cukes last year.
We're taking a small break and only planted about a dozen of them this year.

Our kale seems to love it here!
The swiss chard on the left hand side of the bed...not so much.
I want to make kale chips so badly...
mainly so I can see what all the hype is all about...


Above shows our salad bar!
We have 5 different packs of lettuce and salad greens sprinkled
in this bed.  We forgot almost instantly what kinds we planted...but does it really matter?

Our spinach bed is pretty pathetic right now...
Hopefully it will make a come back...
or a decent fall crop from a second planting...

We have 2 rows of peas this year...cuz why not?
No seriously...we love peas.  
Especially sitting in the garden eating them straight out of the pod.
Each year we plan to store some in the freezer...and sometimes we actually do!
This year I am determined to get a whole large freezer bag full!

We also have to get to work on trellises (or is it trelli!?) for these peas.
Pea plants have a tendency to fall over and grow in the dirt.

We saved beans from last years crop.
We have no idea which beans are which...
but in this bed are green, yellow and purple wax beans.

Finally we have our acorn squash.
Again with the sad trellis...

So I've been pinning a TON of trellis ideas.
I will be posting soon with the results of my adventures into trellising.
(Trellising?  I have no idea...but you'll see some cool stuff for sure!)

I have to admit...last year we didn't plan much.
In fact, I made the mistake of having a few libations while planting seeds.
The result was that I had no idea what I planted and where.
(Laugh all you like)
It was a surprise when everything started growing...which was funny for about a week.
(oh who are we kidding...I'm still getting ribbed for that!!!)

Don't forget to send me your garden love!
I want you to post photos of YOUR gardens on my facebook group and page.
Lets celebrate our accomplishments together!!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Critters we have known....

This year has been a very eventful year!
It is our third summer at our place in the woods.
We have seen some wildlife...but not like this year!!!

So far we have had muskrat (when the water levels were so high!)

We had a porcupine hanging out in my son's favorite climbing afternoon...

Now we have TURTLES!

Wait, what?


Less than a week after planting our vegetable garden,
We noticed some rather largish holes.
The holes were randomly placed around the garden.
Too big to be a chipmunk or a snake (we have those too).
No footprints to speak of.

It was a mystery!
Ches suspected it might be a raccoon or skunk looking for grubs.

One morning, Ches happened to notice something...
A snapping turtle!

She was laying eggs in the dirt right next to our chicken coop.
When we made room for the coop, it was in an area that was previously 
riddled with sumacs.  Ches painstakingly dug up all of the sumacs and their crazy long
roots.  It left a big ankle-breaking/twisting hole right outside the main door for the coop.

As we tilled the garden, I moved excess soil over to the hole.

Apparently the dirt was deep enough to lay turtle eggs!

We watched her cruise around the garden...maybe looking for her previously
dug holes to lay more eggs...

What critters have you encountered in the quest to grow your own food?
(And how you dealt with the issue...curious minds want to know!)
Sound off below!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cleaning the Coop...

Once we got the run built, 
I thought I would treat the ladies to some clean digs!

(Had to kick them out somewhere so I could get the deed done.)

First, I rounded up all of the necessary tools required:
A spare snow shovel was re-purposed into a coop scraper.
A paint scrapper for the hard to get areas.
A cloth for wiping down surfaces.
An old jug of apple cider vinegar.  (recommended by the blogger The Chicken Chick)

Most of these items I had rounded up and actually 
hung from the outside wall of the shed.

I removed all of the milk crates we chose for nesting boxes.
I hosed them down and let them dry in the sun.

I shoveled the old hay and leavings into a wheelbarrow
and trucked it directly to a black plastic composter by the garden.
We'll keep it in that bin (adding some leaves and some food waste) until its rich black earth!

  I added some fresh hay and reinserted the milk crates.

I wiped down the shelf and the roost with the vinegar and the cloth.
The walls got a wipe down too.

NOT TO SELF:  Do not use cloth in future
(It was gross by the end...I'll be sure to pick up some sponges from the 
dollar store for the end of the year big clean)

On loan from our friend Blaine:

A galvanized chicken waterer!
He had it at his trailer...for the chipmunks...
Pretty convenient for us, I might say!

We put it up on a cement block that we dug up from one of the old garden beds.
It's great to have the waterer up higher.
The hay and waste doesn't get in the water trough, so it stays fairly clean for a few days!

So what do you think of the coop so far???
Sound off below...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Beginning of the Garden 2014

With all of the chicken mayhem going on the past few weeks...
we almost forgot we are gardeners first and foremost!

A week ago Wednesday, we got our rototiller delivered.
Handsome husband went right to work, churning away.
We rent the machine once a year, this year from World of Rentals in Kingston.

Our garden is twice the size it was last year
...and 4 times the size of our garden in Verona!!!

There is a strong possibility that we are officially nuts.

This year, due to the sheer square footage of the garden, we decided to try something a little different.
This year, we raked up all of the loose soil into pseudo beds.
We used everything we could find to wall in the beds.
Old railway ties, recycled wood 4x4 posts, fence posts...
you name it...we used it!

The bugs finally got to Ches...he shaved his head last week!

In the end, we were left with 14 slightly raised beds!
There is a nice few inches difference in height between the walkway and the planting area.
Each walkway area is wide enough to mow...
Each planting area is wide enough to till.
This way, we don't have to pull weeds where we walk..
Or till the entire area!

Each row (walkway or planting bed) is approx 2 feet wide.
Some wider than others...but we didn't measure them.

The beds are in the area that was our garden last year.
The newly tilled zone at the back is now home to
6 rows of corn and 24 tomato plants of varying types.

We planted all of our seeds and seedlings...more on that in a future post!

Can you spot Chester at the far back of the garden?

That felt like enough garden construction for this year...

Then we sat back and enjoyed a lovely evening on our deck.
That was last year's project!
Ready to fully enjoy this year, complete with dollar store bling!

Handsome husband fired up the grill...

And cooked some of the sirloins I picked up at Gilmour's Meats on Hwy 38.
I talked about this on my Facebook page and group.
I had ordered a freezer pack from a local butcher shop.
It was called "The Cottage Special" for $ tax.
When ready, I brought home 3 luscious boxes of meat!
The white box contains 10 pork chops.
The other 2 boxes contained the following:
Sirloins: 14
Packs of wieners: 6
Packs of hamburger patties: 40
Packs of Bacon: 8
Packs of sausages:  
Oktoberfest - 1
Mild Italian - 1
Hot Italian - 2
Garlic Chives - 1
Honey Garlic - 2

All I can say is WOW!
Not only was it GREAT quality meat but the customer service was exceptional.
Highly recommend this local producer!!!

I'll try to work in a post about Gilmour's on 38 once I get a hold of the owner.

How is your planting going?