Monday, March 17, 2014

Pangs of Spring

Spring is nearly here! I noticed the tulips coming up and the fruit trees budding, as there are clear signs that we're about to be done with the winter that lasted forever! We got a good soaking from a thunderstorm on Saturday, and the cold snap won't drop us below freezing.

I'll snap some pics of the impending spring growth and post them up! We should be seeing some flowers soon!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Got the raised beds finished and more!

Things have been moving very quickly at the abode, but I love taking a step back and enjoying the nature. I'm sitting at home on the porch, listening to a rooster crow in the distance, and bird song abounds.

The cat is up in the tree, enjoying the sun and the birds!

  The dogs are acting guilty for some reason!

The raised beds are finished and in place, just waiting for a few improvements and some soil!

We finally have a (temporary) place to put our compost.

And potatoes are started in their cylinders!

 On a whim we pull all the ivy off the garage wall, because it was all dying or dead. We like it, but not when it is causing damage to the attic and all brown.

I'm really proud of how the raised beds have turned out! We just need a few small things before filling them in with soil. 1) I want to add small tubes for putting hoops in the future. 2) I want to put some 6' tall beams on either end of the bed to string up some growing twine for tomatoes, viney plants, and melons.

I think we've already outgrown the compost. It's now full to the top since we've added all the vines from the garage! We need to see whether we can expand it, and possibly find a permanent home.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

HOW TO: Build a raised bed from fence pickets

As mentioned in a previous post, I've been looking at ways to build a set of raised beds for a vegetable garden for cheap.

The first thing I did was buy a bunch of cedar pickets (30 to be exact).

I took them and threw them on the ground!
Then, the miter saw came out of its slumber to cut the pieces to size.

I want to build it about three dogs long by two dogs wide

This miter saw is getting a good workout
 Using the saw, I cut a pair of 11" long pieces for each side of each raised bed
Finished pieces on the left, unfinished picket on the saw
 Then, I clamped the endpiece to two pickets, creating a 6' long side to the bed.
 I made sure that the endpiece overhung the pickets by 5/8" all the way across (the exact depth of the pickets).

 Then I drilled pilot holes and sunk some 1-1/4" galvanized screws in the endpieces.

I built two 6' sections and two 3' sections for each raised bed, all in the same exact manner. Then, I used the corner clamp to line up the pieces and screw them together using galvanized 2" screws. I made sure that the 3' sections overlapped the 6' sections (they fit together like tetris pieces), and made sure they were square before screwing them together.

The end result was quite good! I'll post pictures once I finish up the assembly of the last two. They're currently partially assembled, leaned up against a tree.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sleet, Compost, and Finishing the raised beds

Today is a "work from home" day, as the roads were icy and slick this morning. It was a balmy 16 degrees, and there's a small coating of ice/sleet on everything.

I brought in the lemon tree yesterday, as it was already showing signs of withering, and I brought in our ornamental potato plants, as they weren't happy about the cold either.

After a month of having a compost bucket in the house, it was finally time to set up an actual compost to dump the scraps into. A trip to the home improvement store and $20 later, I had some half-off chicken wire, and some 3 foot metal stakes. With the assistance of a hammer and a block of wood, I pounded the stakes into the ground, giving us an approximately 3'x4' compost pile. I dumped some bagged compost into the the pile, and added the food scraps from the kitchen. Easy breezy compost pile for less than $20!

The left over chicken wire was made into 2 cylinders for growing potatoes, but I haven't decided where they go yet.

The raised beds are almost done, with final assembly waiting on the last two. Each side of the bed is done, it's just fashioning them into a box that awaits. This is easy and simple, so I'm hoping to have it done early next weekend.

It was a good, productive weekend! Lauren took 4 hours on Saturday to cook freezer meals for the month, and I spent some time taking care of outdoor projects. Now it's just a waiting game until we thaw out, and more work can continue!