Within a couple of days we started noticing how hard it was to keep the dirt even remotely damp. After a little bit of research, we found that the egg cartons themselves were soaking up all the water, leaving none for the dirt and our precious seeds! And once our seedlings had sprouted, we really started seeing the effects…our poor sprouts kept getting pitiful and wilted.
We were having to constantly water them, which in turn was making our egg cartons turn to mush (many of them tore and started falling apart when we’d move them around to water them).
So, we made the decision to transition all of our seedlings to plastic trays that will be much more stable and can be reused for at least a couple of seasons.
Last year we built six raised beds to kickoff our first real foray into gardening. They were made out of cedar fence pickets and, while they served their purpose for the season…they clearly weren’t going to make it much longer. The fence pickets were just too thin and had a strong tendency to warp and bow.
Also, we’re about to jump head first into the Mittleider method of gardening. We’ll be posting at length about that in the coming year, but ultimately…our beds just weren’t going to cut it for that method.
Plus…we’re doubling our gardening space. Which can only bring good things.
Pests in your garden can quickly make a good day head south really quickly. The type of pest you have will generally vary by your location and climate. One major one for a lot of people are slugs and snails.
Thankfully, The Rusted Vegetable Garden has a great tip on how to use beer and yeast to eradicate those slimy little purveyors of doom and destruction.
More and more I see gardeners using row covers on their raised beds, and the number of uses for those covers are just as varied as the folks using them. Veggie Gardening Tips has a great overview of both ways to use row covers as well as methods and fabrics for the type of covers to build.
The plants just seem to enjoy the cozy environment that row covers provide. Whether it’s the result of additional warmth, taking an edge off the intensity of sunlight, adding a little boost in humidity levels, or just reducing the amount of wind that buffets the plants; row covers are definitely good for more than just frost protection or keeping insects at bay.
A couple of weeks ago, after a tree had fallen during a storm, I was out cutting it up and managed to saw right into the ground. Which, for those who haven’t experienced this, literally instantly dulls your chain into a strand of useless metal that couldn’t cut through a tomato plant. It’s pathetic.
Well, Sunday we had a tree we needed to cut down to make room for our upcoming garden overhaul and so I needed to put on a new chain. After multiple trips to Lowe’s, thanks to my inability to actually purchase the right thing, I finally get the new razor-sharp, wood munching chain on. I crank it up while making my best Paul Bunyan face, rev it up a few times to make sure the neighbors know who’s boss, and put the teeth of the beast right up against the trunk and lean in to it. And. Nothing.
At best, the tree just giggled at me because the most the chain did was tickle its bark. Seriously. Hardly a scratch. Manhood: deflated.
I went back to the garage, took the chain off and as soon as I put on my detective monocle I realized the problem! I had the chain on backwards, meaning it was just the backside of the “teeth” that were trying to pummel the tree into submission. Who knew you could put a chain on backwards? Clearly not me. I’ve changed the chain on this thing multiple times, but apparently I was just lucky putting it on correctly the other times.
So…if you find yourself stumped about why a fresh chain won’t cut through that innocent tree like butter…try turning it around.
After that little fix, I got so chainsaw happy I ended up cutting down four trees instead of one. Manhood: replenished.
As with most meals, our 3-year-old’s instant response to telling her what we’re having to eat is met with a passionate “I don’t want that!” So I jokingly told her this morning that we’d be having green eggs for breakfast, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.
She went through her typical response, but then Ashley and I looked at each other and thought…why not?!?! So, we made green eggs. And made them healthy, to boot!
Instead of using green dye, we opted to use some pureed spinach and it worked wonderfully.
I used about 1/2 cup of baby spinach leaves, a couple teaspoons of olive oil and 5 eggs. Pureed them all together and then scrambled them, and just like that…we’ve got green eggs.
This year, we’re changing over our raised beds to use the Mittleider method for gardening. I’ll post more about this in the future, but for now this is a great book talking about a way to get high-yield vegetable gardens.