Monday, May 30, 2011

Garden Gates from, You Guessed It, The Junk Pile

Our fenced-in garden was in need of two gates and this weekend's spectacularly nice weather provided the motivation to get that job done. As with 98 percent of the rest of this project, the materials for the gates originated from the "trash" left behind by the previous occupants. There were two of these gate-like structures in the rafters of our green shed:

A bit of measuring, cutting and fastening....

...fitting, attaching...

...latch installation...


...and, like magic, gates!

Utilizing what's laying around couldn't be more fun and also tends to result in creativity rooted in "necessity being the mother of invention"!

Incidentally, the butterfly (above) was made in Haiti from old oil drums and purchase in a fair trade store in Carlsbad, NM. The wagon wheel (above) was pulled from the trash in Grove City, OH.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

And the planting begins...

We've planted the garden over the past week or so in between bouts of rain.  The weather looks great for Saturday so the final first round of planting will wrap up then.  Here's some of what's went in thus far:

Onion and potato raised beds...

These are onion sets we picked up at a local box store for super cheap.  We will compare yields to our...

onions started from seed.  (2 trays this size)

We planted 3 kinds of potatoes for eating this summer and storing.  The potatoes are planted in the depressions to allow room for hilling as they grow.

The tomatillos grown from seed are happy as can be!

There are lots of flowers; now we need some warmth so the pollinators come out.

Beets are germinating.  Mmmmmmm can't wait!

The tomatoes grown from seed are doing well too.  New green growth came on this past week even with the cold and rain.  Flowers are ready to open this weekend in the sunshine. 

We planted ~30 plants.  Yep, hoping for LOTS of tomatoes!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Warm hike at Inniswood Metro Gardens

Just last week we took a lovely warm, sunny hike at Inniswood Metro Gardens (where Jennifer works).  It's hard to believe looking out the window at the cold rain that's now settled over central Ohio this week.  Thinking good thoughts for sunny warmth asap!  Here's a few highlights:

Woods ablaze with Trillium grandiflorum... 

Bumblebee nectaring on sweet violets...

A red-spotted purple (butterfly) caterpillar feeding on a young cherry tree (our first butterfly cat of the season!!)...

Pawpaw flowers in bloom.  Gorgeous!

And a funny shot of Jennifer checking out the many many tadpoles, frogs and salamander larvae in the pond.

Can't wait for so much more!

Monday, May 16, 2011

More Raised Beds

After we finished the sod removal....

Steve crafted a new quick raised bed building system...

Utilizing lots more wood scavenged around our place.

The pre-constructed sides were nailed in place in situ...

by one happy carpenter!

Here's the view from the roof our house...

10 raised beds made completely from leftover/scrap lumber.  WOW!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Welcome to the Machine

 We finally got a chance this weekend to cut our garden beds with a sod cutter that we rented for a day. While running this beast, Steve kept thinking of that old Pink Floyd favorite, "Welcome to the Machine"!

But before we could cut, we had to mark the beds:

Enter, The Machine:

About 3 passes gave us...

...a bed width we liked:

 The cut sod roles up nicely:

 Soon we had plenty of sod rolls piling up but also a lot of beds taking shape:

After we made all the cuts we'd planned to make we put the sod cutter away and hauled sod roles (from at least one corner) to a compost pile.  Here's a shot from the roof showing about 1/2 of the garden. The circular area is the footprint of a burn pile that will be a big wildflower patch and sitting area.

Next time: six more raised beds and garden bed finishing touches...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Spring migrants

New birds are showing up at our feeders daily and it's so fun to watch!  We took a few photos through our kitchen windows to share so forgive the quality please.  Below you see a Baltimore oriole on our suet feeder.  A younger oriole is also hanging about, but didn't show up for the photo shoot.

A male rose-breasted grosbeak is dining happily on sunflower & safflower seeds.

If you look in the middle of the photo below on the feeder opposite the cardinal you will see the female rose-breasted grosbeak.

Two male yellow warblers were hunting bugs in our lilac bush a few days ago and those are just the easy ones we've noticed!  Time to get outdoors and pay attention. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

And the tomatoes are moved outdoors...

We configured a coldframe out of straw bales and a window panel for the out-of-control tomatoes and tomatillos.  They all completely outgrew the light rack, but are unable to go into the ground yet.  Tonight we expect a bit of a frost so hopefully our design works!  Two more strawbales are added on the west and east sides in the evening (north is straight ahead in this photo). 

Happy greenery under the rain splashed glass...

Beautiful plants!  We can't wait to plant them once the weather warms and dries.

The kale in the coldframe is growing by leaps and bounds and commonly finds itself on our dinner plates.

Ditto for the lettuce...

Fresh greens, there's just nothing like those first fresh spring greens!

Monday, May 2, 2011

An update of sorts (fence, bluebirds, path)

We enjoyed an hour or so of sun this past weekend and we soaked it up!  The rain this spring is incredible.  We've not yet removed the sod due to the moisture, but we did finish our fence.  We fenced all 280' with sections of fencing left from the prior owners.  Amazing!  We attached chicken wire along the bottom of the fence to help keep hungry four legged critters out.  Jennifer watched Groundhog emerge from his whole north of the garden and skittle quickly along the edge and around the corner to head for the compost pile.  Let's hope this keeps up.  Two fence gates are on the agenda for this upcoming forecasted rainy weekend. 

The bluebirds aren't super fans of our garden work since their box is so close (it's just outside the fence in the above pic), but they tolerate us and are currently incubating 5 eggs.

Slowly but surely we are digging in flagstone we unearthed from our back door area.  The house shades much of this area so we are planting woodland shrubs, flowers and ferns.  Hopefully next year this time there won't be near so much mud.

Relaxation is always built in at some point of our day!  The calling wood thrushes and gray treefrog made this time perfect.  More soon....