Sunday, April 30, 2017

ALMOST MAY! Azaleas, irises, peonies

YEP, it is April 30. We have just had our first 90 degree day, humidity at least 200%! Thanks to the almost 2 inches of rain we got spread out over the last week. We did need it. I promised a couple people some pictures of the yard, the irises that have started blooming... I would have taken more, but it was getting too hot out there and I needed to cool off. 80 degrees by 10 AM. Durn. I should have started earlier, it was 70 when I got up, but so many things got in my way. My greatest achievement for the day is that I got my first 3 rows of yellow wax beans planted. YEA! I hope to get the Italian flats in next. Still haven't started planting in the new Stand-Uppity garden... that is for tomorrow.
Anyway, here are a few high-lights from the flower side of things - and a shot of my laziness - some peas growing in a flower box and climbing up a store bought trellis. Well, when your body does not want to do like it used to do, you find ways to compensate, right?
But first, the iris, backed by azaleas:
azaleas and peonies
azaleas, purple iris, and peonies
 and peas.

There are, of course, lots more in bloom... maybe later when it gets cooler.

4 hours later... and 85 degrees... I have my yellow wax beans and Italian flats in the old Stand-uppity garden and a row of yellow's in the new one, just for comparison in blooming time, maybe difference in pony poop and wholly cow organic poop, planted a flat of lavender and a peat pot flat of snap dragons, both sitting in the new garden for now. Just way too tired to do anything more outside. Hoover and several dragon flies kept me company. I disrupted the lives of 3 blue tail skinks, tho one was missing his tail. I bet Hoover could tell me about that. Heard then saw an eagle fly over.
It has been an awesome if tiring day!
Heading for the shower.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Stand-Uppity Garden #3 - Cedar

As requested by several folks, this is a picture How-to-do-it for my latest Seriously Raised Garden.
These materials - the Cedar Raised Bed kit came from amazon - as did the Wholly Cow poop bag of fertilizer. All other materials were acquired locally.
The kit came with 21 4 ft cedar slats, dove tailed at the ends to fit in the corner posts, already grooved, as you can see. Rather than build this as a 4'x8' raised bed on the ground - since I have serious trouble getting DOWN that far to plant, weed, or harvest, I build my garden areas up on concrete blocks. This is workable for me and it also seems to help with weed control. However, it requires daily watering. And I find a 4'x4' size more manageable, so that gave me the left over parts, like slats, for the bottom.
 There are salt-treated 4x4s on the concrete blocks - the cedar frame fits on top, the extra pieces of siding are nailed to the 4x4s leaving a drainage space. Do NOT use treated wood next to your soil - the chemicals can leach into the dirt and be absorbed by your plants.
To keep the soil in the garden and not let it wash out, we put a cover of "rat-wire" over the cedar and a double cover of heavy garden cloth (that roll of black stuff) over that, stapled to the sides.


The 'garden' is filled with a mixture of garden/potting soil, peat moss, perlite, more garden/potting soil, and about a quart or so of dehydrated cow poop. Stir well, level it, and add seeds or plants! In this case, however, since it is the Ides of April and the soil is not warm enough, we may have a few more cold nights, I covered it with a garden cover (that gauzy stuff)  to keep it clean until I have a chance to get my heirloom seeds and plants next week, and the maple trees stop sending their whirligigs down on everything.
Those are extra grooved boards on the edges holding the cover in place - freebees from the local building supply scrap pile. The actual garden soil goes all the way up to the top, almost 12 inches. It will settle and will get topped off again later.
It will be interesting to see how long the cedar lasts. The first Stand-Uppity garden rotted out rather fast and the wooden legs were not very stable. The second one is still standing - but it is a garden bag with a 4+ foot diameter on plywood on a pallet (another freebee from the building supply folks) but set on concrete blocks. It will soon have its 6th crop of yellow wax beans on one side, and Italian flats on the other. I have learned not to grow so much that it gets wasted. You can give just so much away, and southerners are not generally fond of yellow wax beans. So I feed my Yankee neighbors that surplus. I gave most of my pole beans away last year, preferring the yellow wax and Italians.
The theory is your food is better for you if it is grown near-by. This new garden is 10 feet from my kitchen!
Also, this way I know exactly WHAT poisons are put on my food - or in my case, zero poisons. No pesticides, no herbicides, and the gardens are small enough pest control is easy.
Next, after planting is done, I need to attach some 1x1s to the corners and some nylon fencing to keep the deer from munching. The loose nylon keeps the coonie-bears from climbing into the garden, too.
Have fun! It is easy to build - just a few hours once you have all your materials together. The only tool I used was a hammer to tack down the rat-wire and slats and a heavy-duty gun stapler for the garden cover. That's it. Even an idiot can do it. I am proof!!!!!