Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Snow is here.

Well we were wondering if we were going to get any snow this winter as we have not had any significant accumulation until this week.  This is why there isn't much to do in the garden this time of year, unless we had a big heated greenhouse! Maybe someday. :)  Here are a few pictures, enjoy!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Tear and Repair

It has been windy lately. Our poor little greenhouse, which we discovered had a separation in the seam (when we got it) finally gave way. We attempted to patch this repeatedly by first taping, which didn't stick for very long, and then hand sewing, which worked for awhile until the sun weaken the thread.

Sun weakened seam, ripped by wind.

To fix the big rip, we dissembled the structure.  It wasn't too much work, mainly cutting some zip ties off.  As we worked on the tear we found the plastic was disintegrating from sun and wind damage.  Now we know why the manufacturer has a one year warranty as that is about how long it has lasted.  We are hoping to get another year out of this one, and extending its life by taking it down during the hot summer months.

Uncovered Greenhouse

To repair the tear we stapled the plastic to a wide piece of heavy ribbon to strengthen the seam.  We used staples because they would not be affected by the sun.  We then added a strip of heavy clear duct tape to seal the outside.  Since we were able to burnish the tape (rub it hard against the plastic) we hope it will stick better than before.


We recommend that assembly of a greenhouse should be done on a windless day.

Adding some final zip-ties
Fresh Swiss Chard for breakfast made possible by our greenhouse.
Project Supervisors Ubu and Rooper

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Year, New Garden Plan

Well, since we all apparently survived the end of the Mayan calendar, we get to create a new food garden plan.  Since I (Shannon) am a weird combination of artist and organized, I really like this part as I get to color and make order at the same time.

4 boxes of seeds

I recently cataloged, organized and re-boxed our seed packages that we have collected over the last few years using an app that Timothy created called Stewardship 101.  I was surprised to discover that we have 282 different varieties of seeds, actually a few more as some of them have duplicates.  Hmmm.... I have a lot of plants to plant or I need to trade some seeds.

Seed list in Stewardship 101 app on Kindle

So once I had all of the seeds cataloged, we then decided what we were going to plant this year.  Even though we have 10 raised beds totaling 320 square feet of planting space, containers and a few small areas in the flower gardens, it shrinks awful fast when you start making your list.  Something had to go and it ended up being a lot of brassicas, because we found that they took up a lot of space, performed poorly and pretty much were Cabbage White fodder most of the growing season, despite my hand picking and squishing.

To do list in Garden Time Advanced app on Kindle

Once the list was created we plugged it into the Garden Time app that Timothy also created.  It forms a chronological list of when I need to start seeds, location, transplant times and such.  No guess work involved here.  Makes it very easy to keep track of tasks and plan ahead.

Garden bed maps for planting 2013

Then I began to allot space for each plant group in the beds.  This is always a puzzle as I need to rotate crops by family.  I try to plant the entire bed with one type of family group as this makes it much easier to keep track of where the solanaceae and brassicas were and where they need to go.  In the end, it all fit and I got to color away on my graph paper.  When I go out in the garden, I take the clipboard with the bed maps with me.  I jot down dates, plant names and positions in the bed on the white space below the bed drawing.  When I come it it is easy to transfer the data to the computer and the Garden Time app.

We have recently started to study more intensively into GMOs, mutated seeds and chemical use on food crops.  This has pretty much solidified our desire to eat whole, recognizable, sustainability grown clean food and encouraged us to continue to grow our own food.  Our role models are Joel Salatin, Will Allen and Micheal Pollen.  They have done some incredible work to encourage, teach and live a sustainable life of eating what is truly good food.

If you are interested, here are some links:

Stewardship 101 Android app
(Free) Stewardship 101 Lite Android app

Garden Time Advanced Android app
(Free) Garden Time Advanced Trial Android app

Joel Salatin - Polyface Farms website:
Will Allen - Growing Power:
Michael Pollen - Author / Investigative Reporter:  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Water Plan

Well, it is finally done!  After much time spent in calculations, research and designing in CAD the watering plan is finished (for now) and the items are ordered.  I completed the plan just in time for a one day 20% discount sale from!  This was such a blessing.

I will have to do a future update with pictures after it is installed.  For now you can take a look at my finalized plan shown below.  Sorry the image is hard to see.  Just know that a lot of time went into the design and layout of this.  I designed a shutoff at each bed.  I won't be able to water everything at once because there will be too much water demand but should be able to do it in 2 sections.  I basically have 1/4" emitter tubing with 0.5 GPH emitters spaced every 6" filling the 10 main beds.  For the blueberries and gojis I am using what drip works calls a shrubbler.  There is also 1/2" emitter tubing going to the terraced raspberry and strawberry beds.

Hopefully this watering system will deliver a consistent amount of water with a great deal less physical labor.  More time for working this year in the flower beds!