Yet another garden update…

I promise this will be the last garden update for a while until I actually start picking vegetables. I finished planting this past week and here’s how it looks:

garden box

Because I procrastinated so long, I got a bargain on the plants at $2.50 a piece. Since they were so cheap, I bought two green pepper plants, a cilantro plant, and one pumpkin plant that I hope I will yield at least one pumpkin (hopefully two) that can be carved and used for pumpkin bread this autumn. I also planted cucumbers, radishes, and yellow onions.

Unfortunately, I’m noticing a lot of insects hanging out on the leaves which I hope are not the kind of insects that kill off your plants. Below are some pictures of the sprouts, and I promise this is the last garden post for a while.

cucumber sprouts

radish sprouts

Garden Update

So I am a little behind on my original plan of having everything done by Friday (go figure). Rather than admit the probable amount of time a task will take, I’m a man who likes to schedule projects according to time intervals that I prefer to work in, and then make adjustments later. I am noticing this is a trend amongst academics.

I have, in fact, made good progress in the past few days. As you can see in the below photo, the bed is in place now.
bed in position

After thinking about the planting season and how much time I have left, I took my mother’s advice (always a good idea) and partitioned my bed into two, four-by-four sections and I will only fill and plant in half this year. The black liner material is something called “weed block,” a polypropylene fabric material that prevents soil and weeds from entering through the bottom of the bed whilst allowing for drainage and air flow. I don’t remember this stuff being around when I was a kid, but it’s pretty amazing. The only drawback is that it is very fragile and a little hard to measure out since it is overly cohesive (think plastic food wrap when it gets stuck to itself). Putting the bed in place was not overly difficult, though I did hit several roots from my neighbor’s trees that I had to work around when digging the post holes (another tool that I wish I had thought to borrow is a post hole digger).

We went on Friday to HD and picked up 18 cu. ft. of top soil:
top soil

Here’s a picture that I took largely to rest my back while I was aerating the soil:
bed with tools

Finally, yesterday I showed Nicole how to use the saw and drill and together we built a small flower box for the front yard:
small flower box

We’re hoping to buy some cheap perennials and grasses to put in the rather drab looking bed in the front yard. All of this going to HD has reminded me of when we were renovating our apartment (shudder). Hopefully we will be able to go there today and buy the last things for our garden for the year. My revised goal is to have everything planted by Tuesday so I can work on the flower box this weekend.

Making a garden

garden space So this is the space where I would like a new garden bed to be in my yard. A couple of days ago (the hail storm day) I looked at plans to build a raised garden bed at this site. So far, things have been going okay, though not stellar. I have to say that since I renovated my apartment, I have at least learned how to use the right tool for the right job. Of course, at the time, I was working with my father in law, who is a master carpenter, woodsmith, electrician, locksmith, and skilled at many other trades as well as the owner of every tool imaginable. What I seem to struggle with is how to use the tools at my disposal (which are usually the wrong ones) and the materials I have (which are usually subpar) to try to approximate the work of a master craftsman, or at least not fall apart moments after assembly.

garden materialsOn Friday, I bought some materials from Home Depot including lumber and PVC piping for the frame for a bird net (to keep out Robins which are pretty numerous in my neighborhood). At HD, they would not cut down the 10′ PVC lengths for me, and instead handed me a coarse tooth, tree hack saw and told me to cut it myself; I don’t see how having, for all they know, and unskilled person who might have never held a saw in his hands before today try to saw a 10′ bendy pipe on a pipe rack where it is wobbling all over the place is a good move for their insurance premiums, but who am I to question. After some work and help from a dude passing who took pity on me, I finally hacked down the pipe and got it in my Honda Civic. I got the materials home and was ready to work. You can see them stacked up in my garage on the left. The only problem: apparently, the “indoor” yard at HD is really and outdoor yard where they move in the lumber every morning, because the wood was thoroughly soaked when I got it home. My guess is that it was either kept outdoors and soaked by the hail/rain storm Thursday, or it was on a flatbed on its way up to Chicago that day.

Despite the soaking wet lumber, I tried to get some good cuts, but to no avail. The wood was soaked and hard to cut down, gumming up and just being difficult in general. I got nothing but bad cuts the first day, so I let the wood dry out one day and it was still pretty wet today when I went out to cut. I finished up my cuts today, but they were not too great. I will need to chisel and file down some rough cuts to make it look semi-respectable, and it will certainly look nothing like the image in the plans with ultra plumb fits on their boards. Hence, why it matters to have a chop saw when needing nice cuts like this (birthday gift anyone??).

Today, I laid all my pieces out and was ready to start fastening, when my cordless drill crapped out on me. I tried to recharge the battery and puttered around the house while I waited, but all for naught. The batteries were totally drained and the power was just not there to drive the 3.5” deck screws into the boards. With disappointment, I had to pick up all my materials and tools and wait since I had no time to clean up and make a run to HD for a new drill. I found a Ryobi 3/8” 4.5 amp driver that looks like it will get the job done, so I will pick it up tomorrow and hopefully build the box Monday afternoon. I’m really hoping to have the bed in, filled, covered, and planted by Friday, so I will try to post an update then.