Beautiful Morning on the Farmstead

It’s a beautifully sunny and foggy morning here.

Our Garden Helper

Baxter - The Garden Helper

Yes, that’s dirt on the tip of Baxter’s nose. He likes to “help” in the garden.

Building Our Raised Beds

Last year we made our first foray into raised bed gardening. Our attempts directly in the ground had always failed (most likely because of the awful soil we have). But last year was a big success, so we’re sold on using raised beds.

I wasn’t very happy with the beds we built last year (1″ cedar just isn’t strong enough to hold in dirt without warping) and we wanted a much bigger garden this year anyways, so we pulled out the old beds and significantly expanded our growing space by building some new beds!

This past week I went to Home Depot and picked up the materials to build seven new raised beds using pressure-treated 2×8′s. I’m aware of the “pressure treated” controversy, but decided based on the research I’ve read, that it’s just not an issue.

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At any rate, here’s the materials we used:

  • 17 – 16 foot 2×8″ pressure treated pine
  • 4 – 6 foot 4×4″ pressure treated pine
  • Box of 3.5″ screws

Each box was made of…

  • 2 – 15′ lengths of 2×8
  • 2 – 3′ lengths of 2×8
  • 4 – 10″ lengths of 4×4

I made the 4×4′s a couple of inches taller than the main boards to give me some room to work with our painfully un-level yard (which turns out was a GREAT idea on my part…high five, me!).

Then you just put the 4×4′s in the corners, put 3 screws on each side of each corner and BOOM! Raised bed. That weighs a metric ton (pressure treated wood is stupid heavy).

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Then, we hauled the beds out in to the yard and got them leveled.

Using the skid-steer definitely saved us a ton of time and energy, but I still had to pickaxe for a couple of hours to get the beds how I wanted them.

Next up, we’ll truck in a few yards of top soil to fill in some dips in the yard, then it’ll be compost time! Whoohoo!

We now have about 315 sq/ft of planting space, compared to the 144 sq/ft we had last year.

How about you? Do you use raised beds?

Dream Come True: I Rented a Skid-Steer

This past Friday, I finally fulfilled one of my dreams: to run a heavy piece of machinery.

Skid Steer

We had an old tiered garden area built in to the side of a hill that needed to be regraded, and I wanted to smooth out our new larger gardening area as much as possible. Given the ground around here is all clay and rocks, doing it by shovel was a sure-fire way to make me gouge my eyes out. So, skid-steer to the rescue!

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Photos From the Farmstead: April 2, 2013

I’m starting what I hope becomes a weekly featured called Photos From The Farmstead. It’ll largely be a gallery of photos from the past week.

So, here’s the first installment. Enjoy!

Stump Grinder Escapee

I spent about 4 hours this morning grinding stumps from trees that have recently been cut down in our yard.

This guy somehow managed to escape the wrath of the stump grinder. Little does he know that he’ll be making his way into my fire pit shortly. Muhahahaha!

First Sprouts of the Season

Took the family on an overnight camping trip and returned Saturday afternoon to find a number of our seeds we planted last weekend had sprouted!

Sprouts

Quite a few of our seeds broke ground…

  • Beets
  • Scallions
  • Garden Beans
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Peas

I expect we’ll have quite a few more sprouts this next week. Exciting!

St. Patrick’s Day: Green Eggs

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.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Broccoli Leaves

Broccoli is definitely on my Top 10 Favorite Vegetable Leaves list. Yes. I have a list.