better pictures

Here are some less washed out pictures.

This shows how high the peas are climbing.  The 'sugar snap' peas have gotten noticeably taller recentley then the 'oregon snow pod' peas.

This is a spot that I am prepping for watermelons.  It's ugly, but the weed supressing fabric warms the soil up and also should keep the weeds at bay when the melons go in.  I've never had any luck with melons, and I'm hoping that'll change this year.

These are better pictures of the 2 bean areas.  The unmulched one first, and the mulched second.

I built this low stone wall around the herb/ flower garden. The stone was taken up from the area where the gravel BBQ pit now is.  I wish there weren't such a tangle of weeds in the back.

The roses are just starting to bloom.  Aiden fell into one yesterday and scratched his arm.

I planted Dhalia bulbs and Zinnia seeds in this bed in the middle of the yard.  I am not sure if there is enough sun for these things to really do well.  But I'm hoping.

The deck, freshly stained and freshly rained on.  It's dark, but I really like how it turned out.


Memorial Day Weekend

Wish I had some better pictures, but I snapped these in a hurry in order to have some some record of how things are going.

The peas are working their way up the trellis.  I am wondering if I should have thinned them out more as right now they are climbing into each other as much as up the strings.  In the picture the wire fencing is still in place, but I did take it off afterwards.

The beans are progressing interestingly.  The group in the non-mulched soil have been doing great, and look really healthy.  Also, the sunflowers I planted inside the teepee are coming up.

However, the beans planted amidst the leaf mulch look pretty bad.  A couple of them have been chewed up completely, and the few surviving look pretty pathetic.  There must have been some kind of bug that was introduced with the leaves.

The tomato experiement, though, doesn't show nearly the differences of the beans.  Both sides look to be doing quite well, and at this point I can't see any noticeable difference between the mulched and the unmulched groups.

Peas and potatoes are both looking fine.

All 3 lettuce types.

The yard as it is looking now.

The latest patio addition.  An old wood stove that we brought home from the Maine cabin to use as an outdoor fireplace.

Some other things that I've done recentely that I don't have pictures of.

-The deck is stained
-I powerwashed the patio
-Planted zucchini and squash in the beds alongside the beans
-planted rows of sunflowers along the side of the garden facing the parking lot
-working on building low stone wall as edging around herb garden

Some things I'm hoping to accomplish soon:

-Stain the picnic table
-build step for deck
-plant melons
-plant more herbs
-plant Dhalia bulbs and Zinnias in flower garden


quick notes

-gravel BBQ pit area is done.

-planted Zinnias, Morning Glories & Sunflowers over the last 2 days.

-yesterday we had our first taste of the garden.  I picked some small mixed lettuce and chard leaves for a salad.  Very tasty and not at all bitter.

-hard to say yet but I maybe should not have planted the tomatoes in the middle of a 6 day monsoon.  They all look relatively healthy, but definitely a little beat up.  Today I planted some tomato seeds as a safety net in case all the original plants suddenly die.


Sunny day to-do list

After 6 straight days of rain there is finally some sunshine this morning (although they are calling for possible thunderstorms later).  The list of things to do has piled up as I haven't been able to spend any significant amount of time in the yard for a full week.  Some of the things that should get some attention in the next few days:


-work on pea gravel barbeque area

- plant/weed in garden

- pressure wash patio

-stain deck


Tomato Day

May 3 was officially tomato day for 2009 as all of the tomato plants that I've been nurturing along since March were finally planted out in the garden.  Here are all 10 of the plants sitting back by the shed, ready for planting.

There are two beds that I prepped for the tomatos, with 5 plants going in each.  I decided that, since there were two seperate areas I would prepare each area a little bit differently as a comparision test over the course of the summer.  The first bed I prepared by buying bags of mushroom compost and topsoil from a local garden shop and incorporating them into the soil.  This more traditional method should insure that the bed is really fertile and rich for growing some serious tomatos.  On the downside though it was fairly labor intensive because I had to dig the materials in, and it also was more expensive from having to purchase the bags at the store.  This is the first bed prepped and with the tomato stakes in place:

The second bed I prepared using a version of the "no-dig" technique.  I did not add any extra materials to the soil and, with the exception of pulling some weeds, left the bed largely untouched.  What I did do though is spread a 2-3 inch layer of chopped leaf mulch over the top of the bed.  This method was less labor intensive, and less expensive, then the first bed as I already have a big pile of leaves in the yard and just had to spread them out over the soil.  The idea here is that the leaves will act as mulch (retaining moisture, blocking out weeds) and will eventually decompose into the soil adding to it's fertility.  I am pretty sure that this technique is healthier for the soil in the long term, but I'm interested to see how the two techniques will stand up against each other in the first year.  We'll see!

Here is the second bed prepped:

Yesterday was a wet day, it wasn't raining as I was planting but everything was pretty soaked.  Here are the two beds with the plants in place.

Closeups of both beds.  The 'No-Dig' bed:

The traditionaly prepared bed:

As for the other things growing in the garden.  Here are some tiny carrots coming up.

All of the lettuce types are doing well.

And the first beans poking up.

Haven't seen any sign of the potatoes yet, but hopefully they'll emerge soon.  The peas are growing safely in their enclosure and will soon be scrambling up the trellis.

Looks like more rain this week.