Kim’s 2013 Veggie Garden: Pond in a Pot!

This past week I had replanted the veggie garden (Pics to come) and added a container watergarden to the backyard. It’s super easy to do if you’ve got a small space, or if you’re like me and don’t want to commit to maintain a large water garden.

First I bought a DIY Container Fountain Kit and ceramic pot at Stauffers of Kissel Hill Garden Center. The LED Lit Container  Fountain Kit has everything you need to get started. It offers three different water pattern options as well as extensions to make the spout longer if you have a particularily deep container. There is also light that glows at night, so that’s pretty cool!

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I put together the unit, which took all of 3 minutes and then strung it through a hole in the container. To plug up the hole there is an epoxy that you can mix together and use to plug in holes. The box does suggest you use gloves, John just used a screwdriver. 20130517_181911 20130517_181916

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Once you’ve got your epoxy all mixed up you can fill in the hole with chord. If you don’t have a hole in your container that the plug fits through, you can always drill one and fill it in later.

Let the epoxydry overnight.

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The next day just add water and plug in. Adjust your spray as you’d like it, this is the water bell pattern. It can be adjusted to be wider, but this seemed just right for me. This will stay plugged in and running all summer long. Mosquitos won’t nest in this as the water is consistently moving so have no fear of that!

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Check back next week when I showcase my re-planted garden and Dad’s summer garden.

Posted in May | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

2013 Week 11: Pepper is Digging the Potatoes

The summer garden has been put through the wringer. Last week we experienced heavy rain and hail at our home, which destroyed all of the peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and broccoli plants. The hydroponics kit was out on the patio as well when this storm happened so the cocoa mulch and herb seedlings overflowed and spilled out onto the patio.

Survivors included the zucchini seedlings, potatoes and early spring crops.

The weekend following the storm, I planned on going out and purchasing replacement plants from Stauffers of Kissel Hill Garden Centers. It was raining and on that Saturday morning I sipped my cup of coffee and sized up the backyard when I noticed…a spotted dog, digging furiously to get underneath my tater tower.

I went outside to look at what she was trying to dig out. Perhaps a rabbit? She had killed a bunny most recently and gifted it to me on the back steps.

For fear it was a bite-y creature, I stuck a stick under the tower and banged it around and hoped a rabbit/groundhog/mole/vole/anything that isn’t a snake would bounce out. Alas, nothing emerged.

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The pup and I went inside. Later, Pepper needed to escape the vacuum cleaner and begged to be let outdoors. After a bit I again looked outside and saw her at the tater tower… but this time she was in it! Her speckled tail waving furiously as the dirt flew behind her. I screamed out to her, “HEY!” She stopped the digging. Then I proceeded to explain that she was “killing me” and asked, “Are you nuts?”. She didn’t have much response. It seemed to me, she thought that if she couldn’t get the animal she smelled from beside the tower, she’d go in from the top.

Let’s not forget that the potato tower was wrapped in chicken wire to keep animals out. Now the wire was bent and ripped out due to her jumping in and on top of it, as well as scrambling out. Oy Veh! It’s almost like Hurricane Pepper all over again.

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I buried the potatoes back in the ground. I have no idea if they’ll live. *sigh*

Later at the garden center I picked up 1 Roma Tomato, 1 Grafted Roma-style Tomato I think it’s a moscato. I’ll be curious to see the difference. 2 – Cherry 100 tomatoes, 1 – Italian Long Pepper, 1 – Bell pepper, 1 – Jalapeno Pepper, 6 – Marigolds, 1 – cucumber and herbs.

Though I bought all of this I found out I couldn’t plant any of it. The following 3 nights were dipping into the 30s. Since the herbs were in containers I could just move them in and out each day.

Do you see my rescue basil in there? It’s pretty happy! There’s basil, rosemary, oregano, mint and thyme.

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Unfortunately the zucchini’s didn’t survive the frosty evenings and they also died. This next week I’ll be headed to the garden center again for more plants. :/  I’m attributing all this craziness to a Mother’s Day curse. It is said that one should wait to plant until after Mother’s Day. I put eveything in about 5 days too early and therefore was jinxed! 😛

Check back next week when we plant again! Here’s hoping this round lives…

Until then, beware the spotted dog and the Mother’s Day curse!

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Bad Girl Pepper

Posted in May | Leave a comment

Week 9/10 2013: Kim’s Destroyed Veggie Garden

Since we’ve been having really beautiful weather, we decided to plant the garden one week before Mother’s Day.  The rule of thumb is that one should wait until right after Mother’s Day to avoid all frost, but since the plants are so healthy and leggy, we put them out.

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This includes the herb hydroponics. As you can see in this photo one of the herbs did not grow. I think this was due to lack of sunlight the way the box was angled in our kitchen window. Hopefully it being outside should help the seeds germinate. It is still plugged in with the air pump.

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The spring mesculin mix lettuce, spinach and bok choy are about ready to harvest! I am thinning out out carrot and beet rows.

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John was my assistant in planting, yes that’s an official title in my world. We noticed that the roots of our seedlings were poking through the cocoa pots and it really was time to plant!

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If there’s any advice I can give about planting your seedlings , it would be to dig a hole that just covers the pot/root ball so that the stem isn’t buried. That and wear stylish gloves while you do it.

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There’s a small bet going on between John and I about the Red Cherry pictured here. John believes that this plant is going to die because in the process of moving it, the stem snapped. However, I think that plants are more resilient than we give them credit for, so I’m rooting (pun intended) for it to live. We will see!

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Please note John’s watering technique, it’s our irrigation system that he’s using to spray. Am I the only person that finds this hilarious?

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Anywho, the seedlings were planted and ready to go!

But this isn’t when the story ends…. it’s when it gets SCARY.

Four days after I wrote this, pre- publishing, I got a call on my cell phone from John saying, I’m calling to prepare you for when you get home. We had a hail storm at the house.

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What does this mean for our garden? DEVISTATION! When I arrived I saw piles of ice near in the yard. I was dumbfounded. It’s May! It’s supposed to be mild but nice outside NOT hailing on my baby plants! What’s next?! Frogs, locusts, more of that awful William Hung She Bangs song again?! (I mean that’s in my version of the end of the world…)

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The hydroponics kits overflowed (despite the drainage holes) onto the patio and the seedlings and existing plants have been pummeled. Some ripped with holes in them. The peppers are completely gone. The larget leaf zucchini plants look less messed up:

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In a few days I’ll take inventory to see what will survive. 😦 Though I have a feeling I’ll be buying everything new from Stauffers of Kissel Hill Garden Centers. The good news, this years devistation was not from Hurricane Pepper.

Did you have any hail at your home?

Posted in May | 1 Comment

2013 Garden Week 8: This Beat is Hydro-Ponic

This past week the seedlings have grown a little more, both inside and outside. We had some freezing nights so we threw a sheet over the ones outside. They seem to have survived. Speaking of survival, it looks as if my cucumbers and broccoli aren’t going to make it.

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The broccoli got pretty leggy and then the cucumber shriveled up. What’s up with that guys?! Looks like I’ll have to get some seedlings that are already started. 😛

This past week I got a Hydro Picker Hydroponic Raised-Bed Gardening System. It’s a great way to grow inside all year long. I figured that I could plant herbs in there to startand if this worked out I could always try other veggies like tomatoes and peppers too!

Anyway in my mind, I would be growing in all water in the windowsil in the kitchen. The kit comes with everything you need, pH testing strips, fertilizer, air pump, coco grow media, cover and simple instructions.

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First thing was first you had to soak the cocoa mulch in a 5 gallon bucket of water “overnight” or in my case all day. Pepper was exhausted having to wait for this sludge to dissolve.

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One that was done, we dumped in the “sludge”. This is when it got really messy. John poured it in the empty box while I held it…

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Water and cocoa splattered all over the place, and on us. We probably could’ve strategized it a little better in retrospect.

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We then added the seeds which are thyme, rosemary, oregano and parsley.:

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The final step was to pour 2 more gallons of water into the tube that would then feed into the bed as the air pumped. For each gallon we a 1/4 teaspoon of the nurtients.

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Now it gets even messier… the water went right out of the two small drainage holes on the side. So we had to put towels in the ground and clean up what was going on. I was worried Pepper would try to drink this stuff. Thankfully she didn’t.

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In the end, everything is planted and we’ve got  bucket under the drainage holes to keep from getting all over the kitchen. As soon as the weather clears up, I’m definatley moving this outside since it’s significantly more messy than I had anticipated.

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On a less messy note: I started this hydroponic madness on Sunday, I noticed something spectacular…lilacs are blooming outside! 🙂

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Posted in April, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2013 Garden Week 7: Growing

The outdoor seeds we planted and bulbs are happily growing with the warm and rainy weather we’ve had. It seems like April Showers will bring May flowers/salads 🙂 Here’s a little photo tour

Even the nectarine tree is flowering.

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You can see all the seedlings popping up right in a row! 

 

 

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The tater tower has sprouts juuuust popping out.

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And even more importantly, I’ll have Lilacs in a few weeks! Last year we only had one shrub with purple flowers, but John planted two more at the end of season so we will have more blooms soon. The name of the ones he planted are Miss Kim Lilacs! Clearly meant to be.

 

 

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And in other news, We filled up the rest of the bed with soil. John brought home something like 30 – 40lb bags in his truck. A storm was rolling in soon so I abandoned all heels and strapped on my sneaks for emergency bag transportation and spreading of soil. We were certainly working as a team! lol

 

 

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There’s not much else to report on my end other than I did manage to re-paint our shutters over the weekend as well. I like the new look though I will admit I should’ve waited until afternoon to paint as the sun would’ve been on me, instead of just clouds and wind.

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Next week I’ll be using my hydroponics kit to grow herbs indoors!  Have you ever grown plants hydroponically (is that even a word?)?

Posted in April, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2013 Garden Week #6: Seedlings and Sunshine

This past week the weather has warmed up to almost 80 degrees! Though that would be perfect for my tomatoes, peppers and other seedlings…I’m not ready to move the plant outside just yet. 🙂 The one zucchini and  one cucumber seedling are both getting weird spots on their leaves. See picture:

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I’m not sure what that means. So I’m going to Ask the Garden Guy at Stauffers of Kissel Hill. Maybe I’m over watering them?? I’ve also thinned out a lot of my seedlings so that there is only one or two sprouts in each pot. I learned from this Seed Starting How to Video from Stauffers that you’re supposed to only have one seedling per pot.

Whoops! I certainly did not execute that method in the past. lol I think I was going with the more is better concept. More Seedlings = more food. Yay! Not the case. Another weird looking veggie I started in the Broccoli. They’re getting pretty leggy. I’m afriad to thin them out any more since they’re so fragile. This is my first year starting broccoli from seed, so maybe they’re supposed to look like this.

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Outside, the seeds and bulbs that were planted last week haven’t sprouted just yet but I think any day now we’ll see shoots. Interestingly enough a critter has been digging in the tater tower. Not eating any of the potatoes, but just diging them up. Mole? Vole? Pepper? Nah, not Pepper! She’s too big to get in the box and besides the size of her, Pepper has been really into sunbathing and not digging.

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To prevent further digging we added chicken wire around the tower. Will it work? Hopefully! Did you plant anything this week?

Posted in April | Leave a comment

2013 Garden Week #5: Planting!

It’s the beginning of April and unlike the Spring-s of garden past, this one is a cold one! We had snow just before Easter and freezing temps at night. Needless to say I’ve been holding off putting my veggies in ground. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not bursting at the seams to get started!!

I nagged my fiance just about twice a week about…”When can we start building the extension to the raised bed” and “What about that “tater tower“? Let me also preface this with by “we” I mean him. 🙂 Sometimes I’m allowed to mess with tools, even power tools but typically I leave that to folks more handy.

What’s a tater tower? Here’s a graphic to explain:

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Anyway, I’m at work when I get an email filled with pictures of what my fiance did on his day off:

Build a tater tower (<~~Read another bloggers how to):

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Dug out the irrigation system from last year:
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Added the extension (we’re now at a 20ft x 8ft bed):

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And he added wire around to create a fence:

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To prevent THIS from happening again (Pepper digging up or laying around in the garden)!

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Just sayin’ after all this work he did for us, I’m further convinced that I’m going to keep him. 😉

Anyway, it pained me to have to be at work all day, THEN go workout because I was missing out on all the fun. Once I landed home at 7:30pm I couldn’t hold back. I needed to plant some seeds in ground!

So, in the dusk of early Spring freezing temperatures we went out and planted:

  • Beets
  • King Carrots
  • Multi colored carrots
  • Bok Choy
  • Spinach
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Mesculin Mix Lettuce
  • Yellow Onions
  • Red Potatoes (in the tater tower! … seriously the words tater tower never get old)

Here’s the potatoes looking “leggy”:

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We added Espoma Garden Tone for fertilizer on the soil. I managed to lose the labeling sticks so we marked where everything was planted with pieces of wood and drew a diagram. Nothing can go wrong with that plan right??????????? ……..

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LOL Honestly, it was getting darker and darker, and colder and colder so we got everything in ground but figured we could go back and label properly later. Here’s hoping we figured right!! Worst case is that I have to taste test everything.

Have you planted your early spring vegetables yet???

Posted in April | 1 Comment