Saturday, April 30, 2011

Taking Wagers On The Pile Of Dirt

Here we are, another Saturday morning where I can't sleep because I'm thinking of all the stuff I want to get done this weekend, but too early to piss off the neighbors with any noise. So I am sitting here making plans on what to do, how to do it, when to do it etc... Problem is that I'm great at plan making, it's the execution that never goes as I think it should.

I introduce you to my huge pile of dirt...
This was delivered last monday via dump truck and plopped down in the middle of my front yard (I'd say lawn but I don't really have a "lawn".... I have something that looks like grass (sometimes) and grows really great weeds & mini wild pansies all summer but not beauiful green grass.)

Hence, I now have a large pile of lovely, dark, topsoil-peat-moss-mix that everyone assures me will grow a beautiful green lush lawn even up here in the cold north. It probably will, as evidenced by the piles of dirt that you drive by at the nurseries. Their piles are all covered in wonderful green grass on the "backside" where they aren't digging it out and dumping into people's trucks.

The question is... will it grow a lovely plush grass when layed out horizontal and not in a vertical pile? That is the question I'm attempting to find out this year... I'll keep you posted with the answer IF we get as far as planting seed.

Now in interest of full disclaimer:
The garden beds (in previous posts) were suppose to be done in ONE weekend. It's now weekend #2. We still have to complete the hoop houses (I did cut them last night) and get the plastic sheeting attached.

I also had great plans to plant the Potato seeds, Asparagus crowns, Rasberry & Rose bushes during last weekend... that didn't happen either. We did get the dirt into the box & the grids laid out for the raised beds so that was something we DID get done. My plans never seem to match up to timing... it tends to be that everything takes 2 times longer than I plan or I have children that want to add their plans to my plans for the day...

With that fully disclosed, the plan for the dirt pile is to spread it out and to use the rototiller to mix it into the present yard. The next step would be to level it out nice, plant grass seed, water & hope like hell it grows...

I'm taking wagers on if we get this done:
1. In May
2. In June
3. In July
4. Between August - September
5. It's still a pile of dirt to be used as a launch for the kids to sled down in the snow next winter.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Who Would've Thought That Dirt Cost So Much?

So we have now lined the beds with weed fabric and started to fill the beds with a growing mixture of Vermiculite, Perlite, Peat Moss & Compost (various types like plant based, chicken & steer.)

This is the most expensive part of the project, costing more than the beds & hoop houses themselves, but luckily one that will not have to be repeated for quite some time. I never thought that dirt would cost so much!

Hopefully we will finish filling the beds today then mark the growing squares off. For any of you interested in reading about Square Foot Gardening there's a really good website/blog I found called My Square Food Garden.

First Hunter & Dakota were helping put in a 1/2 a big bale of Peat Moss & 1 extra big bag of compost. Then we mixed that up and put on some Lime, Vermiculite & Perlite.

Just as a side note... Aren't the mountains in the photo below really pretty?

Miss Molly wanted to help also...

Once that was all put on we found it easier to just start mixing it up with out hands... 

Next step... grids & planting (that's the part I'm looking foward to!)

P.S. I'm putting the weird photos of Hunter here because eventually he may learn a lesson to not be a dork when I'm trying to take photos...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

You Just Gotta Love Men.... Sometimes...

My new garden is making progress thanks to Hunter and Papa Earl who have now completed the construction of my new raised garden beds. I just love men with power tools that keep me from having to do stuff like this myself. I get to do what I consider is the fun part... planning and planting!

The picture you see below is where we placed them yesterday to test the layout before digging the trenches and leveling them. The picture is a bit deceiving with the distances, there is 3 feet between all the beds for easy access. The very far one you can't see very well backs up to the rear porch and the fencing there so I can use as a trellis/support.

The white posts you see are for the hoop houses to go on top while the weather is still cold here and protect from any last minute frosts, which has been known to happen in June.

Being that everything got moved around I reworked the garden plan for each bed. The one on the bottom right of the plan below looks a little crowded but I want to experiment using the "three sisters" approach to Corn, Beans & Pumpkin/Squash.

The box that is on the bottom left of the plan is where I put the peas so I can use the little fence in the photo above as a trellis (it's the raised bed under the window there.)

Today I'm hoping that Hunter and I can finish leveling them up, putting the cardboard and garden fabric on the bottoms so we can move onto filling them with the soil mixture and putting the hoop houses on to start warming up the soil. We'll have to see how much actual progress will be made this weekend.

(*note - you can click the photos above to see them larger)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A New Direction - A Try at Gardening

Spring 2011 - Changing Direction ~ Initially when starting this blog we had a goal to sit down to dinner as a family for one whole year. Well, needless to say that didn't work out too good with our lifestyle. Our new direction is gardening as a family. It provides exercise as well as the opportunity for the kids to see the results of their labor.... We'll see how this goes :-)

Yesterday, Hunter and I went to Home Depot and he helped me pick out supplies to make some raised garden beds. We are starting out the cheap way using cheap lumber that they have marked down because of defects. If it goes well we will eventually make beds using better, longer lasting material.

We have supplies for 2 beds that will be 4x4 square and 10 inches deep and 3 that will be 4x4 square and 8 inches deep. I've decided to try the "Square foot gardening" method for our first run in addition to the planters I had last year on the deck.

Here's a shot of the garden plan so far. I am thinking of not wasting the space for the potatoes since you can actually grow them in black plastic trash bags instead to use less space.

Anyone have any input? Good, bad or otherwise?