A couple of garden projects

drip irrigation bits

I am FINALLY installing drip irrigation! Holy cow! It’s taken me long enough. I started this project last year and got ONE BED done and then…well…you know. I have that problem with finishing things I start. So…a few months ago I read a blog post by Garden Betty where she described her set up, which uses the same drip kit that I already had, just configured differently. I liked hers so much that I ordered a few extra bits and elbows and other bits and have been busy assembling said bits. So, good thing I only did one bed, right?

And since I am sort of on the topic of finishing things…

Boom. Cold frame. DONE. I got that window from a coworker over a year ago (at least) and it’s just been taking up space in the garage this whole time. It seriously took Jefe and I maybe an hour to build it. I’ve got some veggie starts under lights that are almost ready to transition into their awesome new home!

I planted sunchoke, or jerusalem artichoke tubers in a spot in the back of the kitchen garden. I’m excited to see what they do this year. Also planted but not shown: potatoes, garbanzo beans, peas and fava beans.

On a whim I decided to start saving egg cartons and toilet paper rolls because I often see people use them for veggie starts. I tried it in the past and it’s never really worked for me, but this year I COMBINED THE TWO and I feel like magic happened. I feel like a recycling genius. Although, I am positive someone has probably done this a million times before.

Look at this little pallet house! My next grand project is going to be a pallet planter for some bamboo, so I am all about pallets right now. I saw this at a local garden center and fell in love with it. It’s not practical in any way, shape of form, but it’s just so clever I can’t get over it. I’m hoping to tackle the planter project a couple of weeks so I’ll let you all know how THAT goes!

April 08. 2015 by Erica
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Make Art That Sells-Part B Week 1

This is my finished piece from the first week of the Make Art That Sells course I am currently enrolled in. The theme was toy trains and winter holidays, and the market we were exploring was the paper market, which would be things like cards and the like.

I LOVED working on this, especially the train, which surprised me…so I am trying to remember to keep an open mind about subjects that on the surface don’t sound all that appealing. It was also an opportunity to experiment painting a shiny gold effect and overall I am quite pleased with the outcome.

March 16. 2015 by Erica
Categories: Illustration | Leave a comment

Repotting and Preparing

My poor african violets finally got transferred in to some larger, brand-spankin’ new pots. A local store had pots on sale so I was able to give a bunch of my house plants new digs. I am finding that attractive, AFFORDABLE pots are really hard to come by, which seems strange. I guess next time I am IKEA I need to stock up.

I am all about weeding right now. This is the “kitchen garden” and the first bed I am going to be planting into is the long skinny one in between the raised beds and the pathway. It’ll be filled with things like spinach, lettuces and peas.

Here’s the horror that is currently what I am calling “the south garden.” This one used to be beautiful, but I got super lax on mulching, then it got ran over, and now holy cow the weeds. Looking back, I should have planted fruit trees here. We are also sort of, in a fantasy kind of way thinking we could put a tiny house in this space, so…I’m just trying to keep it under control. I am mainly going to be growing potatoes in these beds this year.

It doesn’t’ look so bad from this angle. Well…minus the hoses and crap lying around. I’m thinking a chicken coop would totally fit in this space. I’m like the only person I know that doesn’t have chickens. Urban Gardener fail!

I also got my growing closet sorted out and will be starting some celery, celeriac, leeks, onions and cabbages in the next few days.

And as far as projects go we bought ourselves a fancy compound miter saw for Christmas, and I have a window and extra lumber in the garage that is just screaming COLD FRAME! Yeah!

March 04. 2015 by Erica
Categories: Garden | 1 comment

There and back again

I just got back from spending some quality time with my best friend and her family in Richmond, Virginia. These photos were taken before a gigantic snow storm descended upon us and kept us locked inside the house for four days with two sick children. They are my people, I love them. But I am GLAD to be home!





I wish I could have spent more time exploring the area. So many beautiful old homes in like, a two block radius.

In other news, as per usual at this time of year, I am totally obsessed with the garden. I got my tree collards in the mail while I was gone, and I just ordered some jerusalem artichokes, and I’ve pretty much got all of my seeds. I’ll get my potato seed from my local urban farm center next month, and I think I’ll be all set.

I told myself this week that I would spend an hour each evening after I get home from work (if it’s not raining) preparing the garden beds by weeding. I ALWAYS forget this step when I am planning my weekend garden activities and what usually happens that I get outside and realized that I need to weed, which takes up most of my energy and time, and I poop out before I can get around to the real work. Tonight will be my first test, so I’ll let you know if I actually weeded or if I sat on my butt with a cocktail.

February 24. 2015 by Erica
Categories: Garden, Travel | Leave a comment

Gardening


This is my super messy garden plan for this year for part of the yard.

I have gardening on the brain right now. I just watched this awesome show by Alys Fowler I found on YouTube about edible gardening and it’s got me really inspired. Now that the seed catalogs have arrived, I’ve gone through my stash and am starting to figure out what will go where. I am still surprised how hard gardening is. Not only the physical labor, but the timing, the soil, the pests, the weathe, crop rotation…so much goes into it. My grandparents and great grandparents were able to feed their families with produce from their garden and I would totally starve if I had to depend on what I grow. Each year I get a little better, and I am hoping this year will be the best yet!

I was searching around my computer looking for a planting list from year before last and I found some half-completed graphics I started a few years ago:


I actually like that succession plan, but I don’t know where that info or idea came from. I wish I would have taken better notes. It’s also a tiny bit confusing. I guess that’s the good thing about giving things time…you can come back to them with fresh eyes.

I am going to focus on companion planting this year, which I did year before last, but not so much last year and I noticed a difference in the health and beauty of the garden. I also have a lot more space to fill up that I’ve had in previous years which is another challenge.

The main concept I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around is crop rotation within a growing season. I understand that you don’t want to grow the same thing in the same spot year after year, but I am still new to the idea that lettuces sown in the spring are going to peter out in mid summer, and I need to have something ready to stick in their place, like cucumbers or squash. And whatever that thing I choose in stick in that spot needs to be a companion to the other things that are already there and still growing, like onions. It can get confusing. Add to that the idea of succession planting, which is planting things spaced out over the course of a few months so you don’t end up with a glut of food, but a steady supply. I have NEVER been able to master that. I think I am going to have to bring in the big guns and use a Google Calendar.

I think I have finally got it figured out. I hope!

February 09. 2015 by Erica
Categories: Garden | 4 comments

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