I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Having a (re)purpose in life

The garden is still pretty bare. It is amazing how many ways one can put off the grunt work of actual planting.

Here is one of my favorites: stop paying cash money for plant markers and start making your own. This is not new or innovative at all, but I'll waste space on it anyway.

Small yogurt cups (6-8 oz. each) work great for tags for seed starting flats, and you can get at least 8 out of one cup with a fair amount of room for writing (more than those 1/2" wide purchased ones anyway). A 1-lb. margarine tub (such as from Earth Balance, even though it's only 15 oz.), will get you 12 tags. Cut from the top to the bottom of the cup, then cut around the bottom edge to remove the bottom circle. To cut out the desired number of strips (whether it's 8 or 12) after the initial cutting, I usually cut the whole thing in half top to bottom, then in half again, then cut two or three strips from each of the four sections.

I used a larger yogurt container here (from a 24-oz. Whole Soy container) and got 12 tags about 1" wide by 4 1/4" long. A nice size for in the ground. Plus you can use the bottom circle that remains after cutting 12 strips as a shrub tag- just use a hole punch on the edge to put a tie through. If you have quart size containers lying around, you'll get longer tags still.

I never used to point the bottoms but decided to do it on these; they should go into a garden bed a little more easily. If you want no waste at all (see the 'chads' in the glass bowl), don't give them points, they will still work.

Root around in the recycling bin and devise your own way to procrastinate on garden chores!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Got seeds?

Then you need seed envelopes. Admittedly it's too early to really be collecting any seeds yet, but one can always prepare.

Here's a tip of the hat to the hapless chard seedlings that never made it into the ground last year. (Their brethren this year are doing much better, thank you).

Download a PDF (4 envelopes per page) here, or open a new document in your word processor, set to landscape, and the margins to one tenth of an inch (0.1"), and copy the JPEG to the right four times onto the page. If you center everything, including the page layout, the margins will be even all around.

These end up to be about 3" high x 2.25" wide after folding and gluing- fold the side and bottom tabs in first, apply stick glue, and fold the back flap over them to seal. Small, but I've found this to be an almost perfect size for most of my seed collecting. Plus you get four to a page.

I swiped the envelope shape off the web a couple of years ago, then ravaged it in Paint Shop until it suited my needs, and have since tried about a baskillion different labels on the front. Beats paying real money for premades!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cooking the books

Amazon told me my order for Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen and Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan Brunch shipped yesterday- yay!

Since the garden is going to have lots of greens, roots, and fruits this season (if I ever get the freakin plants in) and brunch dishes are great for baby showers (of which I have at least two coming up) I am all aflutter.

Please God help me to stop buying cookbooks. Think I need a 12 step program.

Update 5/16/09- arrival! and I promise I am going to actually cook something from these and not just read them in bed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The best laid plans

Now we have to figure out what goes (grows) in the squares.

Each full square is a square foot (like you didn't know that). Each half square on the top and bottom end beds will host herbs or garlic or marigolds or some such little bittle crops. Still working out the details.

The final dimensions ended up to be 18' across by 19' deep. This is not a huge garden by any stretch, but it is the biggest one I've ever attempted. Here's to you, garden gods!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

It takes a neighbor

OK so it's probably way late to be digging a (sort of) new garden but that's the way it goes here. The little baby tiller crapped out yesterday, probably due to the five year old gas in it's little tank, so my next door neighbor was kind enough to drag out his tiller and BAM in ten minutes, I now have 342 square feet of bare ground I have to do something with.

Actually only 234 square feet will be planted, as the walkways are a little more than 100 square feet, but the last actual productive garden (a couple of years back) was less than what the current walkways are. No further tilling should be necessary as long as I keep traffic on the walkways.

Guess I should have had the garden plan figured out ahead of time. However the plan developed after the fact: one 30" bed along the neighbor's fence, a 2 foot walkway, a 4 foot bed, 2 foot walkway, one more 4 foot bed and 2 foot walkway, and a 30" bed at the opposite end. Turned out perfectly, as I'm going to fence the whole thing to keep critters domestic and wild out. The 30" beds at each end should be OK for reaching in from only one side. The ancient patio is going to come up little by little too, so the pavers can be put to use in the walkways.

There will be peas, beans, greens of all stripes, maybe beets, potatoes (!), tomatoes, peppers, eggplants (although the seedlings are not doing too well), and whatever else can get shoved into this sort of bastardized square foot garden setup.

A week or so ago I also found out why many of the seedlings don't always make it.