25th Hour Organizing

"Because 24 Just Isn't Enough"

Organized Gardening – Garden Expansion is Underway August 4, 2009

Filed under: Gardening — Christine @ 7:03 am

Well…partly underway. The rainstorm this morning will affect productivity dramatically. Despite this, I currently have two new 4×8 beds, assembled, filled with compost and topsoil, and ready to plant. Thanks to the small mountain of dirt in my driveway we will be able to fill all of the…

Seven 4x8s

Five 2x8s

Six 2x4s

With enough vegetables and fruits to keep me busy harvesting and canning next year! I plan to get in a fall harvest this year as well: cabbage, radishes, kale, beans, peas, potatoes & zucchini.

Raised beds really make things easier. We used 10 inch boards, so our planters are nearly 1 foot off the ground. You can sit on the edge, reach in and pick the errant weeds with less strain on your back than if you the plants were directly on the ground.

We also put structures to work – our privacy fence and even the outside walls of our house, have trellis or chicken wire attached in order to grow vining plants on. Check out my husband’s hop plants.

Just a few nails and twine is holding these plants up. Next spring we may get a little more ‘supportive’ and attach a trellis to the wall.We will also be doubling the space allowed for the hops. Hops grow quickly, up to a six inches in a day, and require something to climb on for best results. These plants are about 20 foot high right now and would happily grow all the way to our roof if we gave them the opportunity.

My husband is busy planning the new chicken coop and enclosed yard and we will be getting Araucanas in the spring. I expect that by this time next year we will begin to have eggs. Pretty little pastel-colored eggs!

I sat down and spent a good day planning my garden in regards to what plants worked best with others (look up ‘companion planting’ in a web browser). As much as possible I want to NOT use pesticides or even commercial fertilizers. This year I used none, but I did lose my summer squash crop to something (probably the squash beetle). I hope to remedy that problem by growing my squash with tansy, which repels ants, cucumber beetles, and squash beetles. Check out Louise Riotte’s books “Roses Love Garlic” and “Carrots Love Tomatoes” for more details on companion planting. And stay tuned…there’s more planting and beds to be installed!

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Organized Gardening – Retire the Weed Whacker July 30, 2009

Filed under: Gardening — Christine @ 8:32 pm

Boing! My eyes snapped openĀ  at 3:15 a.m. this morning with a novel solution to a multi-faceted problem.

A few months ago my husband and I laid down mulched paths bordered with black plastic edging. It wasn’t the best solution, but it went in quick and it was cheap. Since then he has commented several times that we need to replace the black plastic with something nicer like landscape stone.

So at 3:15 a.m. this morning I awoke with the perfect idea in place of the expensive landscaping stone we can’t afford right now.

Strawberries.

Yes, you heard me correctly. Strawberries.

I noticed the other day that there are sections of edging I no longer need to weed-whack, because the strawberries have grown so dense that there is no grass protruding and we just push the mower right up to the edge of the strawberries, probably clipping a couple in the process. The other thing I’ve noticed is that the strawberries are so thick and prolific you can’t even see the edging at all.

Hmmm…

More strawberries can’t be a bad thing. Just think of the jam and fresh fruit in the spring! And it would cover the ugly edging AND remove the need for weed whacking which always leaves my hands shaky and unable to type for a while afterwards.

I’ve been busy propagating new plants over the past few weeks. Propagating strawberries is foolproof, truly! Simply place a runner with a node that shows little white roots starting into a pot full of potting soil. Wait a few days and the plant will root. Then just cut the runner off and transplant the new strawberry plant somewhere else.

In any case, I had managed to accumulate about 30 new plants. This in itself is such a win-win. No more paying for strawberry plants! I simply pulled six inches of grass away from the black edging and dug small holes for the strawberry plants.

I managed to plant about 12 feet of plants and estimate that in three more weeks, one entire side of a walkway will be planted. In the end, I plan on sticking strawberries wherever I can plant them and then walk away from weed-whacking forever!

Just imagine what my strawberry harvest is going to look like next year!