Everything is planted in my square foot garden

Well, with the exception of some flower seeds, but everything else is in as of yesterday afternoon.  I transplanted the pea & bean sprouts I had going in the window, although I think I broke the stem of one of the pea plants.  If it doesn’t recover I’ll just put a sugar snap in its place.  Hopefully though, these most recent transplants do alright.  There isn’t too much of a difference between the temperature indoors on the windowsill compared to outside right now, except they were sitting behind a high-UV blocking screen and now they have full-blast UV from the sun.  I’ll check them later when I get home to see how they did.

I did acclimate them a little bit, I placed them outside for a few hours on Saturday but since they were in peat pots the soil dried out pretty quickly so they were a bit wilted when I brought them back into the house, but they perked up after being watered. 

I also re-did my drip hose.  I had first fashioned two of them out of a 50′ length of rubber drip hose but those didn’t cover well enough, so I bought a 75′ length of a different type of drip hose and have it snaked across the gap between the two beds so I wouldn’t have to cut it.  I put the drip hose through about a 4′ length of swimming pool vacuum hose that we aren’t using anymore to keep the water that would drip from the section over the gap from hitting the ground, and propped that up over some taller buckets so the water trickles out into either ofthe two beds.  Not a pretty set up, but it works and the coverage is better.  And it doesn’t take long for it to get things properly watered, and whatever it misses, I can hand-water.

I still need to figure out the shade though.  This week it’s nice and in the low to mid 80s, but it will reach the 90s before too long.

Creating a shade for my square foot garden

So here’s the pickle we’re in; our summers here regularly surpass 110 degrees, but I’d say we probably average around 108 or so until September at best.  We’re often running our air conditioning well into October, when suddenly the weather will snap and for a time we’ll need neither a/c nor heat.

But the problem for my Square Foot Garden is going to be the blistering summer sun.  Vegetable plants like a lot of sun, but to be frank, they will roast here.  I think I’d like to save the veggie roasting for when we’re about to eat them, thanks!  If we’re not careful I half expect to find popcorn laying about the yard and the ears of our corn bare to the cobs! LOL

So, we will need to build some sort of shade structure to protect our garden.  We currently have only two, 4’x4′ boxes, and they are arranged about three feet apart, in a north/south direction.

At first I thought, build one big rectangular shade; not only would it shade the veggies, but it would shade us as we go about our business of tending and harvesting in the garden.I was envisioning something about seven to eight feet wide, and about twelve to fifteen feet long.  However, a couple of factors are putting a dent in that idea.

One, we get some awful winds here sometimes – like last night… currently we have tarps covering the soil in the raised beds until we get stuff planted, and we were constantly checking on them and adding river rock to hold the tarps down.  So, the bigger the structure, the more damage there could potentially be if it were to fly away in a wind storm.  I picture it landing in a neighbor’s yard, in pieces.

Two, costs.  So far, to get a large piece of shade cloth to cover both the gardens and provide a little extra shade on the sides, is going to cost right around $100 – JUST for the cloth (because it would have to be a custom size).  Ack!

So now I’m wondering if I should just go with an arched design, specifically sized for each bed rather than encompassing both.  But on the flip side of that, it would not provide any shade for US, so working out in the garden would be even worse than if it were shaded.

It’s not going to be a permanent structure (that is, not BOLTED to the ground), but we will probably use rebar and tie lines to keep it in place, unless I just use enough PVC pipe to cross over each individual bed in which case, it would sit inside the box and the sides of the box would hold the PVC in place…

I’m still trying to work out the pros and cons of each and decide whether to fork out the extra $ for a larger structure with potential to make working in the garden more comfortable for us,  or go cheap and end up hating every second we step outside just to retrieve some veggies and make sure the soil has some moisture in it…. *sigh*

Any suggestions out there?  The actual structure itself is either going to be entirely PVC (which is cheap and flexible), or electrcial conduit (stronger, but more expensive as it is priced by the foot), or a combination of both…

I caught the gardening bug, Part 2: building our square foot garden

I decided to start small and only bought enough wood for two 4’x4′ boxes.  I built those over the course of two days; the first one I did without pre-drilling guide holes for the deck screws, which I do not ever recommend anyone try – it literally gave me a headache by the time I was done.  The second one I had purchased some drill bits (I already had the drill, but it was packaged primarily as a screwdriver so didn’t come with any drill bits) so that I could make the guide holes, which made the process a whole lot faster and easier.  And no headache!

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I caught the gardening bug, Part 1

It’s been “Spring” where we live since probably February.  However at the Kiddo’s preschool, they started doing a lesson about plants at the beginning of March, to coincide with the actual calendar start of Spring.  One of the projects they are working on is starting seeds – two bean seeds and one sunflower seed – in a plastic ziploc baggie with wet cotton balls to provide moisture, taped to a south-facing window.  Basically, a miniature greenhouse.

When I saw that my daughter’s seeds were struggling while another classmate’s was taking off like crazy, it sent a lightbulb up and gave me an idea… Why not try it at home, too, so she could see the plants growing both at school and at home?

So I went and bought a packet of bean seeds and a packet of pea seeds, and a special “grow cup” for some sunflower seeds.  I have other various seeds from previous attempts to grow things in the windowsill, so I pulled those out too, and prepared about seven or eight baggies to put on our sliding door which faces south.

I started: a few tomato seeds, a few small sunflowers, strawberry seeds, two different type of other flowers, bean seeds, and pea seeds.

The peas and beans were the first to take off.  Shortly after they sprouted I put them in some soil in some peat pots.  Then I did the same with the sunflower seeds, forget-me-nots and the strawberry seeds, including any that had not sprouted yet.

At first my idea was to just grow them in containers.  But then I got the hairbrained idea of actually having an entire garden.  I even went outside and marked off a square to till up, but when it took my husband almost an hour just to do one row of digging to remove the rocks before we tilled…. I changed my mind and decided I would try a Square Foot Garden instead.  Not just because of the backbreaking work of digging up all the river rock out of our yard, but our soil is clay-based so we’d have to add all SORTS of additives to get it garden ready… With a Square Foot Garden, we simply have to build the raised boxes, and purchase three ingredients for the soil, make or buy a trellis for any climbing plants, and plant.

I’ll continue this in a second part since it ended up being REALLY long! 🙂

Poor, neglected blog

Yeah, I know. I just haven’t been in the mood really to post anything, and other than my daughter splitting her head open on our dresser drawer handle last week and getting stitches, and my husband and my trip to Vegas for our anniversary, nothing really of note has been going on.

Still clinging to our jobs (thankfully) amidst some minor (major for some) changes going on within, but so far no lay offs (yay!).  Though they do have us taking five unpaid days off before June.  I’ll take it though; better than anyone losing their jobs here.

Still working a bit with polymer clay but not being overly productive (quantity wise, anyway).

Still looking around our house at the clutter wanting to pull my hair out over it, but not feeling the energy to get up and do much about it.  The “I’d rather do’s” overtake the “I *need* to do’s” all the time… Then when I seem to get just a teeny bit of headway, more stuff just takes its place.  Gah!

Oh well.  Maybe if I just start using like two hours a weekend to pick up and declutter I’ll maybe start seeing some changes.  We’ll see.  Bleh.

TGIF

Unfortunately just because it’s Friday doesn’t mean it’s the end of my work week.  This weekend our manager is pressing us to work in our spare time to whittle away at our queue.   Our “perk” is extra work-from-home days depending on how many tasks we complete, and we can get up to a full week at home if we go for that number.

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Hopefully this will be an easy work day

Thank goodness today is my telecommute day… gosh I’m tired this morning. Of course I stayed up probably two hours later than I normally would have if I had to drive to work, with the knowledge that I didn’t have to drive today… So I guess that is probably why I’m tired. LOL

I think I may try to hit the hay a little earlier than “usual” tonight.  If I’m as tired later as I am now that won’t be a problem.  But we’ll see, if it’s a typical night I’ll probably get engrossed in something and end up staying up later than I intended…  I’m shooting for no later than 10pm.  Ha.  We’ll see.

My dreaming mind teases me

Last night I dreamt that I won the Publisher’s Clearning House sweepstakes.

It felt so real, I was extremely disappointed when I woke up and realized it had never happened.

I don’t always remember what I dream about, and this is one instance where ultimately I would have prefered to not have remembered.  That’s just cruel teasing. 🙁

The Superbowl and drunk driving

Oh the Cardinals.  So close.  They were SO CLOSE!  Only to have the Steelers steal away their lead at just over half a minute left in the game.  And then to see the Cardinals just fail miserably in the last 30 seconds with a stupid fumble to give it back to the Steelers for the last five seconds… Oye.

It was a good game, though.  And at least the Cardinals gave the Steelers something to work for instead of being an easy win.

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Caution: infrequent posting may lie ahead

Yeah I know, I’ve been less than great about keeping up around here.  Sorry. I just tend to get in moods – some weeks I’ll post every day, multiple times a day… Others you may not hear from me for an entire week.  That’s just the way I roll (ha ha).

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