Gardens Are Looking Good

I know I have not updated for some time here so I have several pictures to share also. The gardening is going good this year. Just enough rain at the right times so far. That means the plants are all thriving. My tire gardens are looking wonderful. IMG_20160703_200626659 IMG_20160703_200643583 IMG_20160703_200636394 These are all different types of gourds. They should be starting to vine up the chicken coop very soon. It will give the birds more shade and make harvesting easier for me also. IMG_20160703_200613838_HDR My cherry tomatoes are off to a good start. The chickens and hubby have enjoyed some of them so far. IMG_20160703_200745150 I am not sure what kind of gourd this is. I set the marigolds in the pot to make it easier to keep them watered. Next thing I knew I had new plants coming up. I transplanted them today. I will find out what they are in a couple of months I hope. IMG_20160704_192632519_HDR The full size tomatoes. They are loaded and just starting to ripen. I will soon be busy making spaghetti sauce. IMG_20160704_192623904_HDR Watermelon, muskmelon, and pumpkins are all spreading and blooming nicely. The cucumbers are already producing and taste wonderful. IMG_20160704_192614963 The white half runners are climbing the fence and starting to bloom. These will pay for the garden when I sell them at the auction. The bell peppers are in bloom. I should not need to plant any of these next year. IMG_20160704_192605757 Last is my indian corn and blue lake green beans. This is the green beans that we like and I will be canning to get us through the next year. IMG_20160703_201119393 Last is my sweet potato tower. So far they are growing good. Hope to get some nice big ones out of it. As you can see I will soon be very busy harvesting and storing for the upcoming year. It is worth the work to know that our food is fresh and has no chemicals added to it. All I need is onions and they are getting cheaper at the auction.

Sweet Potato Tower

Ok I will admit that this was not my idea. I seen it on pinterest for potatoes. But as I do not plan on planting any of those this year and had the sweet potato plants, I decided to test it with those. So first I had to cut some old fence wire that I have down to size. Next I rolled it into a circle and fastened the two edges together. On pinterest it suggested cutting the bottom up a few and folding the strips out so they could be hooked down. Instead I wired another piece of smaller holed wire to the bottom. I can hook the edges down, but if for some reason I need to move it I should be able too without spilling the dirt out. Speaking of dirt. I cleaned the wood chips out of the horse trough where I had the baby ducks. I used that to fill the tower as I planted the potatoes in it. They will hold moisture good but not pack down extremely tight which will allow the sweet potatoes to grow good. So I put a layer of wood chips in, then three potatoes. I stuck the plant part through the wire and laid the root part on the wood chips. Then I put another layer in. Repeat for a total of four layers. On the last layer I did use dirt and potting soil to help hold everything in place. Here is how it looks. DSCF1467 It should get a lot prettier over the next few weeks when the plants start growing good. If this works I will make a bunch more and plant regular potatoes next year also.
I will be working on my strawberry garden tomorrow. I finally thought of a way to do it that I think will look very nice and be easy to care for. Hopefully I can share that tomorrow.

Tomatoes Transplanted

I spent my early afternoon getting the tomatoes transplanted. These are called beef steaks. They are a bigger tomato when grown. This is the ones that I bought at the auction on Saturday. I am hoping to have a tomato or two on them soon as a couple are just starting to bloom. So I spent the time taking it from this DSCF1442 and this DSCF1441 and transforming it into this. DSCF1443 So much better looking I think. They seem to fit in there pretty nicely like I was hoping they would. Three of these will go out to the garden sometime next month. I need to come up with a divider for in the center part of that cold frame. I have some plexiglass laying out by the driveway that I might be able to cut down to fit in there later. I just planted my watermelon seeds yesterday so I still have plenty of time. I am going to put three or four of those in there to grow also. Then the rest will go out to the garden. If they grow great in the cold frame I will have to get a couple of more made for next year. This is my first year trying them this way so it is a learning experience. I might evn have extra watermelon plants to try to sell if all of my seeds come up good. That will be a nice change from buying just enough plants for myself like I have always done in the past. Never know, I might get a little summer business going this year without even meaning too. It would be nice just to get all of my money back that I will be spending on seeds and plants. I did manage to do that last year by selling my white half runner green beans at the produce auction. I already have plans to do that again this year.

Got My Greenhouses Set Up Finally

I finally thought of a way to set my greenhouse where I originally wanted it at. I dont know why I had not thought of stacking my bricks and tieing it to them before this. DSCF1435 I lined up the holes to set the legs in them and ran a wire though to hold every thing together but still be easy to take apart for storage. Once I got all of that done I planted some more sponge seeds and my watermelon seeds. They should come up fast. My next proect was to put my cold frame together. First I did the base to ake sure it would fit where I wanted it. Then I brought two skids up and set the base on them. Once I got everything adjusted I tied the base to the skids with fence wire. DSCF1436 Then put the rest of the frame together and added fence wire to it so it will fit tighter and not lift off in a wind. DSCF1437 Last was to put the plastic cover on. It went on easily but I was aggravated to see the zipper is loose at the bottom on one side. I can tape it and it will work just fine. But I should not have had to. That will be reflected when I leave my review of it. DSCF1438 As you can see it is good sized. I will transplant my new tomato plants into bigger pots tomorrow. Then they will be set inside there on one side. I need to make a divider in it as I want to try a couple of watermelon plants inside there also this summer. When it gets warm enough three to four of the tomato plants will be going to the garden. It will be interesting to see the difference in them as the season moves along. Last I just wanted to share a picture of my pretty tulips. DSCF1440

Planning the Garden

We still have at least a month and a half before we will plant anything outside, but I am already starting to plan the garden for this year. The first thing is to remember where I had things last year. It helps if you rotate your crops as different plants leave or take from the soil different things. So last year going from the north to the south end of the garden, I had green beans. Next was a row of cauliflower and cabbage. Third was our tomato plants. Then a few more rows of green beans. Two rows of sweet corn then the rest was different vine type plants until the very south end which was my indian corn. But I lost about half of that last year to flooding. A couple of different times this is how the garden looked. DSCF0846 But we still managed to get enough out to make it through to this year. But that is with using up what I had left over from the year before. I always try to can enough for about a year and a half’s supply in case something like this happens and I just dont get enough. So this year I am planting green beans, sweet corn, pop corn, indian corn, bell and hot peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, muskmelon, gourds, pumpkins, cucumbers, and maybe some cabbage. The sweet corn and cabbage will just be enough for us to eat fresh as I do still have about two years worth canned and frozen of those. Plus I can buy sweet corn fairly cheap by being patient at a produce auction we go to in the summers. So for the planning the sweet corn will go at the very north end of the garden. Then one type of green beans. This year I may have some of my gourds or pumpkins next to put enough space between the types of corn. Then indian corn followed by the rest of the green beans. I need to plant more than usual of those to get back ahead. My cucumbers and smaller gourds will be planted in tire stacks this year so that gives me room in the garden for those beans. I will also throw some sunflowers in the garden also. I usually let the birds have those but might work some of them this year. They are just very tedious to work for no more than what you get. I prefer to buy those for that reason. Well that is how far I have got with the garden so far. Have you started planning yours?

Loofah Sponge

My loofah sponge gourd plants are looking great. DSCF1413 I will be planting these in a couple of the tire stacks. They grow a lot better if they are up off the ground. They seem to rot easy if the gourd is laying on the ground. It might be that they hold too much water like that. Once mature you peel them and the inside can be used for a sponge. The seeds are in the very center of that. I tried to grow some last year but got them planted too late in the year. So the gourd did not finish growing before it turned cold.
Hubby started working on the garden yesterday too. He had burned some scrap lumber and brush in it last fall. But the scrap lumber still had some nails in it. So he spent the last two days gathering those up. He bought a magnetic picker upper today. He said it was pulling stuff up that he did not even see laying there. Some of the stuff was under dirt and ash. So it seems to be working good. After he is done out there I have a spot in the yard that we need to use it. It is the spot where we used to burn.
We got rain today so will not be doing too much outside tomorrow while waiting for it to get a little drier again. But hopefully Saturday we can get back to work. We still need to haul the manure to the garden before he tills it this spring.
Like I told hubby if we keep moving now, we might be able to get most things done by summer. Then we can sit and relax and he can enjoy being retired. But at that point I will start making him take walks with me. He cant sit all day and stay healthy.

Gardening In A Wood Pallet

DSCF0538 Gardening in wood pallets can be an easy way to help control weeds and allow you to grow more in less space. As I had the room I just laid my pallets flat. But first I stapled heavy plastic to the back to act as a weed barrier. The plastic was the bags that our wood pellets come in for the pellet burner. That is less trash in the land fill. Then I filled it with good potting soil. Next was to plant. In the one pictured here I have strawberries in it. It is very easy to control the few weeds that do try to come up in here. This is a picture from right after I planted them. They did set off runners and fill in a lot more. I also planted flowers in another one and they grew wonderfully also. If you are more limited on space they can still be used. You just need to nail wood onto the bottom of each slat that you wish to fill with dirt. Then you can lean it against a wall where it will get plenty of sun and pick the plants you want in it. Another way I have seen them used is to stand them straight up and then plant in them.You will need to use a post to hold them in place like that. I have seen them hooked together to make a fence if you can get enough of them. Then just plant about anything you want to make it a lot prettier. If I did not have dobermans I would probably fence the yard like that. But I know Bunny would just leap over it anytime she wanted too. A wood pallet is no where near tall enough to hold her in. If you dont want to plant directly in the wood pallet you can also attach pots to the slats and plant in those.

Tire Stacks Are Ready

I spent most of the day outside today. It was extremely nice. The first thing I did was get my new greenhouse put together. It was not hard at all. DSCF1387 This is the bottom of it. I had some weed barrier cloth left from doing my mum garden last year that I wrapped around the bottom of it. It should control the grass from growing under it. I also set bricks on this to help hold it in place as it is very light. DSCF1388 After getting the tarp on it I also put a step in fence post at each corner to help hold it also. DSCF1390 These have a flat piece that sticks out at the bottom and I turned it so it rests on the bottom bar.You can get them at most farm stores for a couple of dollars. I will not put anything in there for a couple of more weeks to make sure it stays in place.
Next I started getting lattice up by my tires. DSCF1392 That was left here when we moved in six years ago and I have been moving it every year it seems like. I finally thought of a good use for it. I am very glad now that I never threw it on the burn pile. I had thought about it many times. This area has cost me no money as I got the tires for free and already had the fence posts left from where we lived before. Those will look great with gourds and cucumbers climbing up on them. I did finish the whole stretch before I stopped for the night.
Next was to take count of how many other tires I already have for my next plans. I am a little over thirty laying around that I can use. But eighteen of them have been used the last couple of years for planting flowers in. I dont know if I want to move those or not. I have plenty of time to decide.
Hope this gives someone some ideas for a cheap and easy garden.

Seed Shopping Now

I have spent my evening shopping for seeds. I love to find unusual things to grow when I can. Many of my strange gourd seeds I can buy at Rural King in town. Things like snake gourds and cannon ball gourds. Which are not as heavy as they sound. But many other things I can not get here like I just found this Dwarf Weeping Larch Tree It looks very interesting to have around. The same seller has my Kochia or fire bush seeds also. DSCF0822 The bushy plant in the tires is what I am referring too. They turn a very bright red in the fall. I had saved seeds from these but did not get them completely dry before storing them. So I have made a note to self to buy brown paper lunch bags for next year. I had ran out and put the seeds in a plastic sandwich bag. Very bad idea. It works for my pumpkin seeds as I freeze them until time to plant anyways. They also have what is called a Peter Pepper plant that grows hot peppers in a certain shape. I think I will order some of them to grow for fun. This seller has many seeds that I can have fun with it looks like. I just need to go through and decide what I do want. I need to be ordering soon so I can get the plants started. Then I still need to get my tomatoes, green beans, and corn to plant. I already have most of my gourd and pumpkin seeds and also my indian corn seed. A lot of this is saved seed from last year. That saves me a lot of money each year. Some of these I will start soon and others will be sown directly in the garden once it is warm enough. I have also been thinking about trying carrots again this year. But I have trouble eating those so not sure if I will. As you can tell I am getting anxious for springtime to arrive.

Last Years Tire Garden

DSCF0719 This is what I tried out last year with tires. I planted a fire bush in each one of them. Then some flowers around each of those to fill in the space until my vine plants could come up that I planted by seed. I had cucumber and three types of gourd divided between the stacks. As I mentioned in my previous post we stayed flooded most of the summer. There was standing water everywhere. But these drained the extra water away so that the plants were not in it. DSCF0822 As you can see they were growing wonderfully. Here my vines are just starting to get going good. You can also see how much the bushes have grown and filled out. DSCF0986 This one was taken after high winds blew through overnight. The bushes did straighten back up over the next few days. Hidden in and around the bushes are several gourds. Out of sight in this picture was my cucumbers. It kept growing and producing into the end of September while the plants in the garden that did survive the flooding were done in August. I was extremely pleased with the way this worked out. There is a few things I plan on doing different this year. Before planting I want to get some trellis set up behind each tire. That should not be too hard as I have fence posts laying around. Then I just wire some old fence onto them and in no time at all the vines will be reaching for the sky. I also want to set some more stacks out by the garden, or maybe by my chicken run when and if I get it moved in time. I plan on leaving enough room between each stack to get the weed eater in between. I do have to pull some weeds by hand with the tires this close together. All that is in the tires is homemade potting soil. Or some might call it old horse manure. But store bought potting soil should work just as well. Just remember that you will have to add some over time while it is still settling in. Great way to grow lots of things without having to till a garden up.