Category Archives: adventures in gardening

Sunday, April 29, 2012

How To Build A Pea/Bean Trellis

(thank you to my 5 1/2 year old daughter for snapping a quick picture of me). I’ve had this post ready to go since December, if you can believe it.  I remember this day (December 9th) because it was unseasonably warm.  My snow peas were really taking off and I needed to create a trellis.  My design last year didn’t work so well, so I needed a new plan.  I took my son to the lumber yard that morning, purchased a few 1×2 boards, some cotton twine, and drilled this together later that afternoon during his nap.  I can’t seem to find the picture of the peas right before I tore them out last week, but they were growing far over the top!  So this simple trellis held the weight of 32 snow pea plants. And this is an eco-friendly design, no plastic or metal wire used to guide the peas.       
Here are the plants in mid-February:  
Materials:
-7 1×2 boards
-Screws
-Drill
-Cotton twine
-Small saw
How To:
 
1.  Drill two of the boards onto one side of the bed
2.  Secure the first two boards with a third 1×2
3.  Add two more boards to the opposite side of the bed.
Measure and saw a small piece of board and secure to the end. 
4. Add another long 1×2 to the side
and repeat on the other end: saw & drill to secure
Continue adding cotton twine as the peas grow.  
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Labels: adventures in gardening, how to.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Butterfly Garden

 Looking to attract more beautiful butterflies to your yard?  Here are just a few popular butterfly flowers.  Bees love these too, so expect any and all sorts of bright flower, pollen loven’ insects!
 
Resources
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Labels: adventures in gardening.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Roasted Fingerling Carrots ~ Fresh From The Garden (SCD Friendly)

Last weekend we harvested most our winter garden.  Still have some onions and garlic growing.  They do take a while, but worth the wait.  We grew a TON of carrots this year.  The kids LOVED pulling these big gorgeous fingerlings out of the dirt.

I roasted these sweet, tender carrots for dinner that night, and boy were they delicious!  I’m sure we all have our favorite way to roast veggies.  Mine is pretty simple.    
Ingredients
-1 1/2 pounds carrots
-3 tablespoons of oil
-2 teaspoons garlic granules
-1/4 teaspoon salt 

How To
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1.  In large baking dish, mix ingredients
2.  Roast for 20-30 minutes, until desired tenderness. I like mine with crunch.  

Shared on: Shared on: Just Another Meatless Monday, Melt in your Mouth Mondays, Monday Mania, Ruth’s Real Food 101 (Mondays)Fat Tuesdays, Traditional Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Kids in The Kitchen Tuesdays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Whole Food Wednesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Real Food WednesdaysPennywise Platter Thursdays, Full Plate Platter Thursday, Wellness Weekend, Freaky Friday, Fresh Bites Fridays, Friday Food, Pot Luck Party Fridays, Feed Your Soul Friday, Fight Back Friday, Food Adventure Friday, Superfood Sunday,  Potluck Party Friday 

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Labels: ACD, adventures in gardening, SCD, sides, vegan, vegetarian.

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Monday, February 6, 2012

A Winter Garden – From Beds to Planting

You’re probably thinking, isn’t it a little late to start a winter garden?  According to my gardening guru, Don, it’s never too late.  Just make sure you seed inside and transfer (opposed to seeding directly in the ground or bed). Not sure where you’re located, but we are having a very out-of-the-ordinary winter.  It’s more likespring.  Seriously, yesterday (February 4) was in the upper 60s, sunny, warm and just gorgeous.  My winter garden is growing like mad, so I thought I better get my pictures and gardening posts going here.  

Before you start your garden, you might want to read this post.  
Okay, so you’ve thought about it, processed all the appropriate considerations (for example, locating the sunniest part of your yard), now it’s time to rock-n-roll.
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#1  Vegetable Beds

We didn’t follow any particular design when we made our beds.  But I can’t stress how easy it is to make your own.  One important element is to purchase untreated wood.  And we use redwood.  Remember you can ask your lumber yard to make the cuts you need (if you don’t have a circular saw).  

The pictures below feature 3 beds. 
Two rectangle and one large square.  

-For the rectangle-
Two:  1″ x 12″ x 6 foot long planks
Two:  1″ x 12″ x 2 foot long planks
 Four: 2″ x 2″ x 12″ long boards
Screws 

-For the large square-
Four: 2″ x 12″ x 6 foot long planks
Two: 2″ x 2″ x 12″ long boards
Screws
  

Weed barriers are a great idea under your beds.  

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 #2  Dirt & Soil

When I started gardening I was completely overwhelmed when it came to soil.  So many freaken’ choices out there.  How do you decide what’s best?  Here’s a simple way to get started when it comes to soil.

Look for organic potting soil and compost.  If you’re not using yard dirt, then purchase 1:2 ratio of compost to potting soil (e.g., 1 bag of compost to 2 bags of potting soil).  My beds contain equal parts potting soil, yard dirt, and 1/2 that amount in compost (soil conditioner).   

Using my square bed as an example, first, I add dirt from the yard (about 4 inches or so) then 1 1/2 bags of potting soil, an equal amount of dirt from the yard, 1 1/2  bags of potting soil, and mix.  Then 1 1/2 bags of compost (soil conditioner) and mix.  As I move to the top of the bed, I use less and less dirt from the yard and more potting soil.  My last few layers are a mix of potting soil and compost (soil conditioner)  Total for the square bed: 6 bags of soil, 3 bags of compost (soil conditioner), and yard dirt. 

First layer of yard dirt on bottom: 
Finished rectangle bed:
 Gardening with my daughter is the BEST!  

Okay twinkle toes, enough foolen’ around, back to “work”
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#3  Planting & Growing

Check out this video from Don, my gardening guru, with some great winter gardening advice.  In a nut shell, seed outdoors before the first frost (a good 4-6 weeks before the first frost).  So if you live in Northern California like me, then you can start planting your winter garden late September, early October.  I follow the directions on the back of seed packs (how deep and how far apart to plant seeds).  But don’t fret if you’ve waited too long, simply seed indoors and transfer to the bed. 

Here’s what I planted this winter
-Snow Peas (seeded outside in the fall)
-Kohlrabi (seeded outside in the fall)
-Carrots (seeded outside in the fall)
-Broccoli (seeded outside in the fall)
-Garlic (seeded outside in the fall)
-Lettuce (planted starters)
-Onions (planted starters)

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Planting the snow peas
October 22
 Mid-November
Early February  
First snow pea flowers – February 
Kohlrabi sprouts early November 
Beginning of February 

Carrot spouts November 1st (sprouted up 9 days after seeding)
Carrots beginning of February 
 Broccoli sprouts November 5th
Beginning of February 
First little broccoli heads popping up!  So exciting!
 Lettuce starters – planted early November 
Beginning of February 
Planted garlic cloves directly in the ground – November
Showing some good growth early February 
Onions starters planted in November 
Onion progress early February 
Winter garden beds mid-November 

Winter garden bed early February 
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Stay tuned for the next gardening post
How to build a pea trellis (during your child’s nap)!
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Labels: adventures in gardening.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Winter Gardening Advice from Don at Redwood Barn Nursery

I live in a big gardening town.  So naturally I became very interested in gardening when we settled in, but I was lost and confused on how to start this whole gardening process.  I wanted to feel successful and competent at what looked like a very easy and natural activity.  A friend told me about a magical little place call Redwood Barn Nursery and the rest is history!

I walked into Redwood Barn one warm summer day and there was Don moving passionately among the flowers, vegetables, and organic soil.  I roamed around for a while and then thought, maybe next year…this is a little more involved than I had anticipated (how am I supposed to choose between 15 different varieties of tomatoes?).  But before I left I approached Don and said, “I know nothing about gardening, can you help me?”  Um, help is an understatement.  I’m guessing I learned more about summer gardening in that 1/2 hour than I would have in a month long class.  Why?  Experience.   Don has been operating his nursery for 30 years! So long story short, I left Redwood with a Prius full of dirt, starters, fertilizer and hope.  I can do this!  I was excited, motivated and you know what…I did it.  That summer I became an official gardener.  I fell in love with the process and I don’t sweat the technical stuff because Don is there to save the day and keep me feeling competent and successful.  You are a lucky soul if you have a Don in your town to consult when your garden is overthrown by snails, when you can’t choose between 15 varieties of tomatoes, when your cabbage stops growing, when you have no idea when to plant strawberries, ph balance what?, when your carrot sprouts disappear or if your soil needs conditioning.  He’s the man with the answers, a man with a passion, he’s Don, my gardening guru!

 I had the pleasure of speaking with Don recently about growing winter gardens here in Northern California.  Although specific to our particular climate and region, his advice translates to similar climates and you could easily adapt the advice to fit your region.  This was our first video, first take.  We will film inside for future videos, as the traffic buzzing by the barn is distracting.  But I wanted to get this video up for those of you still contemplating a winter garden.  It’s not too late!
Check out Don’s advice on winter planting and come on over to the the Redwood Barn Nursery for your organic seeds and starters! 
Here’s what I came home with today
Onion starters (about 20)
Some lettuce
And garlic (you just pop these cloves right into the ground – so easy!)
One of my garden beds with the addition of today’s new finds
Shared on: Homestead 101
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Labels: adventures in gardening.

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

4 Easy Steps to Get You Up and Gardening This Winter

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So you want to start a winter garden?  Good for you!
Gardening is extremely satisfying and cathartic.  
I highly recommend it in any shape or form.
But where to start?
Check out my 4-Step guide to starting out.  
This is meant to get your wheels going here.  So join in.
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I see gardening as a hobby with the added benefit of eating my labor. How many hobbies can offer that?  Plus I love playing in the mud.  I remember one year, I was dead set on growing carrots, parsnips and beets.  I tried 3 or 4 times and nothing.  No carrots. No parsnips. No beets.  I felt defeated.  But then I looked at what I did grow, and with great a success (peas, potatoes, radish and lettuce) – not enough to live off of, of course, but thought now wait a minute, my entire garden doesn’t have to work.  It took a while for my type-A personality to get this.  Amber, it’s all good!  
It’s about the process!!
 
It’s about being outside with your kids, digging in the dirt, playing in the mud, making a garden bed, adding the dirt, placing those delicate little seeds in the soil, watering, and the waiting…waiting…waiting until that exciting day when you see those first sprouts!  Joy. 
Garden pics
Step#1: Set a Goal and Have Reasonable Gardening Expectations:
Check out books and online resources to help guide you on what crops  grow in your climate. Pick five or six crops.  Research these crops.  Visit a nursery and talk to the owners. It’s very important to set a goal for the season.  What do you want to accomplish this growing season?  Be realistic.  When I started gardening I came from a place of “all or nothing.”  So vegetable garden = self sufficient food supply.  But if you’re like me, you tend to tackle projects in the extreme, so you must practice letting go and pull in the reins when gardening because there is so much out of your control in this department. It will behoove you to separate two expectations:  Expectation number one: Successfully grow something start to finish (seed to harvest) that you can actually eat.  Expectation number two: Completely live off your garden and be successful at growing everything. These do not have to be one in the same. Expectation number two is waaaay too much!  This is how I started. Bad idea.  If you hold this high expectation you will never feel satisfied with what you do grow and harvest.  You will still have to buy carrots, and broccoli, and sweet potatoes at the store, but you may not have to buy them as often (ah, yes).  If you can accept this, you have defeated expectation #2 and can move on to realistic gardening.
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Step#2: Know Your Soil.  
Get your soil tested before you start gardening.  Who knows what was here before you.  This maybe a good place to start or contact your local agricultural department for more information on soil quality testing, kits. how to, etc.
Step #3: Know Your Climate. 
I live in Northern California.  We have long HOT summers and mild wet winters (no snow in my region).  So I don’t need to make any sort of covers for my plants.  You may or may not need to do this depending on your climate.  I plant what thrives in my region to ensure success.  I urge you to do the same.  Visit your local nursery and ask what they recommend for your region and climate.
Step #4:  Find the Sun.  
Find a sunny spot in your yard (front or back), balcony, roof, etc.  Just find the sun and watch the pattern of the sun in this spot.  How many hours of sun?  This is important.  Sun is sparse in the winter, so your garden should be where the sun is shinning.  This tip will help your garden immensely.  I once planted a garden in the shade.  Sad.  But don’t fret if have little sun, some plants are shade tolerant, so look for these varieties.  
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And remember:  gardening is fun!
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Labels: adventures in gardening.

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