Garden Update – Plants Survived!!!

I was so scared to take the blankets off the beds yesterday.  It looks sunny in this photo but places with standing water had a nice layer of ice…

THEY SURVIVED!!!!! Thank you universe.

FENCING:

Before the storm I finished the fence. Since chicken wire is not very sturdy I had to reinforce the fence so it would stand up straight instead of sag. I accomplished this by weaving small 5′ plant stakes thru the holes of the chicken wire.

The storm caved in one corner. This corner had a smaller post and it couldn’t take the load of the snow. This photo was taken about 8pm on Wednesday when the corner was still ok. By Thursday morning it wasn’t pretty.

I tried to pound the stake upright again with no luck. So I pounded in another stake in front of it and then wired them together. It worked great!

RAIN BARREL:

I finally got the platform for the rain barrel level. I don’t want this bad boy fallen over with 60 gallons of water in it. Unfortunately my house doesn’t have gutters so I can’t use it the way it should be used. I use it as a holding tank, so I have water to use when I don’t want to drag the hose out. 

STARTER PLANTS:

Are looking great!

 

I buy these high walled folding baskets from my produce guys at my local grocery store. Each basket can hold 24 3″ square seed starter pots, and they are stackable. They have plenty of room for the plants to grow without crushing them when they stack. Here is the product number that I use…

During the day I lay them outside to soak up the sun. During chilly nights, it is so easy to carry them inside and stack them up in my tiny livingroom like this…

One of my bare root strawberries sprouted! I started a crap load of strawberries for a strawberry tower project I’m going to try this year. More to come later.

MASON JAR HERB GARDEN:


Everything sprouted and is growing wonderful. 

PLANTS:

I am so thankful that everything in the garden so far has survived a huge snowstorm and 24Ā° weather.

Peas look good and I still can’t believe I have carrots that didn’t sprout from last year growing. 

All the strawberries and the one lettuce plant all came up from last year. 

Poor chard plants are cut back very small but look beautiful. The chard that I planted not too long ago are starting to sprout now. 

Thyme growing well.

Sage is huge! Need to cut back. 

Two of the square foot planted red onions did not get squashed from the snow. I’m sure these babies will come back just fine.

Well that’s all for now. Thanks for reading and until next time Happy Gardening!

Garden Update – SNOW

I know Wednesday was going to be a crappy day but I didn’t think it was going to be this crappy. The snow was so wet and heavy it accumulated on the chicken wire fence and actually collapsed one corner. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

I covered the raise beds before I went to work but I covered them very lightly. I wasn’t expecting the snow to be so damaging. Mr. Snow crushed everything in the garden that was living.

Hey, I did get my first harvest from the garden tho. šŸ˜€ I guess I have Mr. Snow to thank.  I had to cut back all the chard and the onion greens that got flattened.

So today I covered the beds up correctly. I covered with frost blanket and then afterwards an actual blanket.

Because of this…..

A wonderful 24 degrees tonight! I think my plants have a shot now that they have some hope of warmth. I guess I will find out soon enough.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Update

It has been raining for a few days then this happened yesterday…

SNOW!

Today was a beautiful day. So I finally got some more stuff done in the garden.

FENCE:

In the rain and cold my honey helped me put the chicken wire fence up. It’s almost done. Waiting for some stakes to come in on Wednesday.

PLANTS:

Sage

Sage grew a lot!

Strawberries

I cleaned up the strawberries. For the most part they did pretty good in the cold. Some leaves were hurt but I picked them off.

Chard

Same with the chard. I removed all the damaged leaves from the cold.

GROUND COVER:

Since I got the fence up I was able to lay down the rest of the straw. This will help the large and vine plants that grow to the ground stay cleaner and dryer.

Before
After

STRAW BALE CONDITIONING:

Unfortunately because of the rain and cold I have done nothing with the bales. I did give them a good watering today but that’s it. ā˜¹ļø Ā The bales seem to be staying 60 degrees inside. That’s good considering our night temps have been 28-30 degrees, day temps 40’s.

Tomorrow I start work again. Won’t be able to play in the garden until Thursday. Bummer.

MASON JAR HERB GARDEN:

I did put together my mason jar herb garden today.

 

Rosemary, Spearmint, Lemon Balm, Cilantro, Basil, Thyme, Oregano

 

Parsley, Sage, Dill, Chives

INDOOR STARTS:

Are looking good! Started tomatoes today.

Until next time – Happy Gardening!

Straw Bale Gardening: Watering with Soaker Hoses

Just a quick post because I am so excited! My Automatic 4 Zone Water Timer just arrived!!


This baby is going to free up so much time for me this summer. Hopefully, no more worrying about having someone water the garden when I need to leave for a few days.

Maybe I’ll do more camping this summer with the family!?!?

Until next time – Happy Gardening!!

Straw Bale Gardening: Watering with Soaker Hoses

So in my last post I believe I mentioned I didn’t think one soaker hose going down the middle of the bales would be efficient enough to water the plants . . . I just upgraded!!

A simple “y” fitting, another 100′ of soaker hose, a coupler and I’m satisfied!

I grid out the bales into three rows. So I could plant in each row and the soaker hoses will do thier magic of slowly watering eveningly.

I was a little concerned towards the end. One row of hose was too short to reach the end of the bales and the other was to long.

So they have a fitting for that! I just wrapped the long hose around and attached to the short one with a female brass hose coupler. It worked perfectly! My upgrade cost less than $22! Approximately $13 for 100′ feet of soaker hose, $5 for the “y” fitting & $4 for the coupler.

Well as you can tell in the last picture it’s getting dark. I had to use the flash to take the photo.

Until next time – Happy Gardening!!!

Straw Bale Gardening: Bale Conditioning Day 7-12

Things are moving along slowly but it is still cooler temps here in MT and raining. Also since I have so many bales to water at once I’m just using my well water which is cold. During the conditioning process it mentions to use warm water to help break down the straw faster.

Using cold water and an organic nitrogen source duringĀ conditioning will most likely prolongĀ the process a week or more.

I followed the instructions for day 1-6 exactly. I’m changing things up for day 7 – 9+.

Here are the oringinal instructions for day 7 – 9:

Day Seven to Nine

Days seven through nine use half the rate used on day one. This would be Ā¼ cup of a complete garden fertilizer or 1 Ā½ cups of Milorganite fertilizer. Thoroughly water the bale each time.

Since I’m not using warm water during the conditioning process the Milorganite fertilizer is not breaking down quickly. It’s actually accumulating a good pile on top of the bales. See the pic below…

Since there is so much nitrogen still on the bales I’ve decided to just water in between the days that I add 1.5c of Milorganite. So this is my new conditioning schedule:

DAY 7: 1.5c Milorganite and water

DAY 8: water (I’m here right now)

DAY 9:Ā 1.5c Milorganite and water

DAY 10: water

DAY 11: 1.5c Milorganite and water

DAY 12: water

I am at day eight right now. I have a long compost thermometer pushed in one of the bales and yesterday morning it read 40 degrees. The whole day was beautiful and warm, finally. This morning the bale read 60 degrees. So it seems the bales are finally starting to cook. Yes!!!

WATERING!?!?!?

I’ve added a soaker hose to the bales. One hose doesn’t seem to be enough. I’m thinking of attaching a “y” fitting at the beginning of the hose and running two soaker hoses instead. I feel this will water the bales more efficiently.

I’ve also decided to create a soaker hose irragation system for the main garden. Ā At this point I have expanded my garden to 380 square feet of growing area, so watering everyday, sometimes twice is going to be a harder challenge for me.

I did a lot of research and sketching. After a few headaches I figured out how I was going to build it. I have ordered everything and now just waiting.

Until next time – Happy Gardening.

Straw Bale Gardening: Bale Conditioning Day 1-6

Today was windy & cold but sunny so I spent the whole day outside in the garden.

I broke open my first bag of organic nitrogen “Milorganite” to start the conditioning process of the straw bales.


I am using the conditioning guidelines from the milorganite website…

Day One to Six
On day one, spread fertilizer over the top of the bale. Use a Ā½ cup of a complete garden fertilizer or three cups of an organic fertilizer like Milorganite. Then completely moisten the bale. The organic fertilizers feed the microorganisms that help decompose the straw into a nutrient rich planting medium. Thoroughly soak the bale everyday. On days three and five you will add more fertilizer at the same rate used on day one…

PROTECTION:

I decided I didn’t want the deer to have a feast on the straw bale garden plants, so I’m going to build another fence. I needed 11 t-posts, checked my stash from last year and had the exact amount. I took this as a good sign. So I pounded 11 t-posts in the ground today! I’m pretty sure I’m going to be sore tomorrow!

I have a large roll of chicken wire that was given to me two summers ago. I’m finally going to be able to use it. I hope it’s enough.

LIGHTING:

The lighting I put in last week looks pretty cool.


Next weekend I hope to get the fence up. If anyone has used the straw bale garden method with success, please share your stories.

Until next time, happy gardening!