August 25, 2008

Time to Thin

Today Tom thinned out the collards and cucumbers. This is what he pulled out...

and this is what's still left.

As things continue to grow we'll do a first thinning of each bed. Then once plants are ready to harvest, well do another thinning.

Cucumbers and beans are moving along quickly!


August 18, 2008

Everything Has Sprouted

It has been exactly 1 week since the seeds were planted and everything has sprouted! There was just enough rain so we haven't had to water, which is great. The rain gage has come in very handy to help us monitor water quantities.

We'll take pictures on Sunday and post them on Monday to show how things are progressing from week to week.


August 14, 2008

Sprouts, Already?!

We had rain Tues night and a good rain most of the day Wednesday. And guess what happened? We got sprouts! The veggies that sprouted are....


collards, and


And I made a rain gage to monitor how much rain the garden gets.


August 10, 2008

Planting Day!

Today we planted! It was an exciting prospect for us, having put so much work in such a short time into our new garden. Yvonne took a Tiffany & Co. box someone had given us a gift in, and using some paper and tape turned it into a perfect seed box. From left her organization was greens, vegetables and herbs. She plans on bifurcating each section in time for the spring seeds.

But Yvonne's organization didn't stop there, nosireeBob. A new garden meant exciting and endless opportunities for planning, research, more planning and organizing everything into a neat binder. Of course we'll both reap the rewards of her organiztional sickness, er, talents.

Because she'd diagrammed the garden out, we knew exactly what was going to go where and what size. We both wanted a central walking area down the middle. It was also important that we had half of the garden space reserved for walkways, which will make tending and harvesting the garden a snap. Yvonne used the rake to even out the bed and walkway areas while I installed the fence.

Luckily I hadn't thrown away this nappy little green fencing the previous tenants left behind. They used the fence as a doggie corral. We're using it to keep rabbits and neighborhood kitties out of our veggie patch!

We demarcated our walkways with sticks. Then it was time to plant the seeds. We decided to plant in beds rather than rows, since we can maximize our space that way. We have beautiful 26-inch beds. We spread the seeds out in the beds, tapped the seeds into the soil with a hoe, then raked dirt from the walkways over the seeds. Finally we used the back of the bow rake to smooth and even out the dirt on top.

We made 10 planting beds and planted 9 of the 10 today: lettuce, Swiss chard, collards, spinach, carrots, beets, beans, broccoli & cucumbers. We'll plant the yellow squash when Y gets the seeds this week.

Yvonne found us a free wheelbarrow on, which was perfect for collecting garden tools to put away, not to mention moving mulch. A gardening book that showed us how to use the bed method also recommended organic mulching in the walk-rows. It'll help retain moisture in the garden as a whole, and keep our shoes from being so muddy when we work the garden. Also it helps to distinguish the planting beds from the walk-rows. We'll mulch in-between the plants themselves if we're still in a bad drought and only after they're well established, which is what the NC Cooperative Extension Service recommends.

The yellow jackets left us alone during the entire process over the past couple of weekends. As I was finishing up the last mulch row, I got bitten by a nasty little ant, a fire ant I presume, which really hurt like a booger. Now we water and wait!

August 9, 2008

Preparing the Soil

The Manits Tiller/Cultivator came in this week. I put it together (yes that's right, I put it together) as soon as it came so Tom would be ready to till first thing Saturday morning. Ain't it purty?

Tom was SO excited to get started - he couldn't wait to get this thing going. He filled it with gas and started tilling...

Woops! Got some serious blockage here. What to do, what to do???? Hey, because this IS the Mantis Tiller/Cultivator, how about turning the tines around to the "cultivating" position and see if that will break up the sod first?

IT WORKED, IT WORKED! Look at a very elated Tom and his Mantis cutting through the sod like butter! Next it was time to add some nutrients into the soil.

Look at me spread that cow poo!

NOW it was time to till. Tom and his Mantis went to town and tilled like there was no tomorrow.

It took Tom about 2 and a half hours to break up the sod and then till the soil to a loamy depth. While Tom cultivated and tilled, I went to the store and bought all the seeds for our fall/winter crop. We'll plant them tomorrow and there will be yet another post showing our continued progress.


August 3, 2008

Our first veggie garden!

This blog chronicles our progress, blackslides, successes and failures as it relates to the veggie patch. We'll report how things progress from ground to table.

We broke ground for our 2008 Fall/Winter vegetable garden today. I laid out where the beds will be in the backyard using string to denote the two beds.

Then, I spread AP flour where the string was.... we could pull up the string and begin digging. Tom dug up the perimeter of the beds, in case it rains and washes away the flour.

We ordered a Mantis garden tiller which should be here in the next day or so. Then we will till the ground!