Sunday, March 27, 2011

Seed Starting...maybe

Seed Starting
OK got the cold frames up and going and are now homes to the 4 flats that have been planted. Not that all four flats are actually homes to stuff. They just happen to have seeds. Being this is the first time in my life that I have started seeds it is like all of this an experiment. We planted 4 flats of 72 pellets each. We have 1 flat with about 30 starts in it. Not the best ratio, but we will figure it out. We planted an entire flat of tomatoes and not one has come up! AHHHHHH! There goes some $10 in seeds.Oh well.... Most of the impo have kertant things in the world have been accomplished by people whopt on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. Dale Carnegie quotes.
The last of the 4 pictures here contain the 'poor poor tomatoes' that have never sprouted. So sad..... the first 3 contain the cucumbers, peas, and broccoli. The flat with the cucumbers and broccli have sprouted! We have about 30 healthy little sprouts and had it not snowed this weekend they would be int he ground. They love the cold frame and I'm so excited that they are growing. But that is a lot of broccoli and cucumbers and I don't do pickles.... So i guess we need to buy one of the vacuum sealer thingy so we can freeze. Add one more new thing to learn to do.

I'm so excited. Because of the snow and the freezing rain that hit this weekend the flats are currently sitting on the wsher and dryer next to the cat food. Much the the chargin of the cats. I keep spraying them with the mister I have for watering when they venture a step onto the seedlings. Ya they hate me right now.

Cold Frames

Cold Frames
So the next step in our journey to self sufficiency was to figure out how to get the most out of our growing season. We stumbled upon the idea of cold frames. Which is a miniature green house of sorts. Now there are several ways, effective ways to build these. We took a more permanent route as we wanted to have separate and more gardening space. We were able to make 2, 3x6 cold frames for about $40. Now granted we only had to buy wood and screws because we recycled out old sliding glass doors, but still these can be built very inexpensively. (Oh we also took the legs from an old prop we built. That is why they are neon green.)You just have to know where to look. Recycling old windows is the most common way to cover the cold frames. We were just lucky in still having the doors and that they survived the winter sitting in the yard! So we started by measuring the doors, and buying the woods. We took advantage of the free wood cutting service at Lowes and had them cut the wood for us, just to save time. (Which is huge around here with the kids wanting to help!) Andy then squared the wood screwed it together, adding legs. They are 3 feet tall with 16-18 inches of wood directly under the door. Added hinges to the doors,set them and FAIRY DUST, FAIRY DUST, FAIRY DUST we have cold frames!

The next step was to dig the holes for the frames to sit in. We did this because it helps to keep the plants warmer by filling the hole with about a foot of compost/manure covering with straw then dropping soil on top of it. As the manure decomposes it will create heat for the plants and provide nutrients! Plus we got the manure for free! Love free stuff! We did pay for the soil, but that is ok, $30 for a

truckload of soil that I know is gonna grow stuff, no problem. This was a huge job to do by hand, but thanks to my loving husband we quickly had 2 ‘graves’ in the front yard. I’m not kidding you, they looked like graves! Same shape, both a little over

4 foot deep and the bus drivers were wondering what was going on for a week or so. But we just have to plant now! And try to figure how to utilize these in the hot humid Summer of Indiana.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New beginnings...

So this spring marks new beginnings for all us in various ways. The kids are all growing like weeds, I have taken on a leadership role in the Cat Tails 4H Club, Andy is being hauled kicking and screaming into the 4H as well, just as slave labor as he puts it. But we all know he loves it! He will be helping to build a float for the 4th fo July parade this year for the 4H kids to walk/ride in. Um I will be speding much more time at home now due to budget constraints at work. (Sigh) So as a new goal I am going to be the best little housewife I can be, which will be rather limited since we all know that I proudly and loudly wear a sweatshirt that proclaims me Domestically Disabled.
Part of this new domestication will include learning to cook healthy food and food that tastes better, I hope to be able to find local sources for this, as well as our own garden. We will can this year. Or at least try. Thanks to the Freelands we have 400 jars sitting in the garage waiting for us! And to catalog all this we have launched another blog called The Garden Wars with everything pertaining to gardening and how green we can be. Should be interesting. I also intend to update this more frequently as it now seems to be a way for me to keep a tab on the things I do. Even if I am the only one reading it, it makes me feel better. So here goes....

getting started.... last year head start

So here is what we did to get the garden started. First we built it (last year). We choose the best spot we could which was not ideal. Ideally your garden needs lots and lots of sunlight, well, not a whole lot of that in space that is not popular with the minions! So we chose to put our garden just beyond the back fence and rather close to our trees. Hmmmm.... as previously posted it was a learning experience. Our garden is 8 feet wide and 24 feet long. It is a raised bed of about 1 foot and surrounded by used railroad ties. Big heavy railroad ties! Needless to say, even if I wanted to for the sake of sun, Andy has vetod moving the garden and just cut the trees back this year! Plus I don't think that Israel would help again. He swore a lot at me last year after he had to help Andy move them. Sorry, I couldn't pick them up! Let alone carry the dang things!

Basically all we did was lay out the ties 3 long and 1 wide. hammered some rebar down through the wood and ground (3 foot lenghth) to hold in place, not that there was a lot of danger of the things moving!) Tilled the ground up, removing what we could of the grass, laid newspaper to help keep weeds out and filled in with about 2 1/2 truckbed fulls of good workable soil bought from Good Earth, garden mix.

Thankfully we were able to just back up the truck through the yard and shovel it from the bed of the truck! And voila! Instant garden... well almost instant. It took us about 5 days of hard work, mostly Andy, but I tried to help.driving in the re-bar....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Restoration of the Senses... all of our senses

Deciding how to start can be tricky for anything. There is just always so much to consider. I find this to be the one unchanging thing in my life! No matter what I do, getting started is the most difficult, so we will try this... The Bartlett Family, Andy, Mindy, Izzy, Xander, and Dimon- however unwillingly- are finding their path to Sense. We are starting by way of a garden. After 10 years of marriage and 3 kids later, Andy and I last year finally built a garden and planted. It was definitely a learning experience. After hours of backbreaking work to build the thing, I neglected it because of work and just being plain tired and yielded a very sad amount of food.

However we have our hearts set on it this year as well as our extended families hearts set on it. Plus we have a growing buddy this year! Melanie, Joe and Bria, albeit a long-distance gardening buddy-set! But we will take all the encouragement we can get! We plan to be rather productive this year by not only having a 'regular' garden, but we also have cold frames in place, that while started late will still be used, as well as hanging mini gardens and maybe some extensive hanging gardens. We also want to try a few other ideas out. I fully intend to faithfully record all highs and lows. Even if we fail utterly and will try my hardest not to let myself take the blog down if that happens! So here starts, the first day of spring, let The Garden Wars begin!!!

and yes we also have a garden gnome!

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