Thursday, June 24, 2010

Long Time No Post. Busy Gardening

a furry visitor checks out our large clay flower pot.I had a furry visitor in the large clay flower pot in our front yard one day this spring. I think this squirrel was digging up and eating the roots or bulbs to last year's plants.

After some replanting this clay pot looks different.After visiting our local garden center I came home with lots of plants to brighten up our yard. This is what our large clay pot looked like after digging out and replacing last year's dead material.

Our newly built 'Square Foot Garden' areaI read about the "Square Foot Gardening" method after seeing a neighbor to the east of us with outstanding results from her own square foot garden. She told me all she did was just follow the advice and instruction given in the book. I got started late this year since we had some clean-up to take care of in our yard first before we built the boxes. My husband moved our patio (which used to be here where the boxes are now) up closer to the back door. These boxes are 2"x6" boards screwed together to form 4'x4' boxes.

I know we'll get a great crop of tomatoes among other stuff this year. We'll have to see how it all turns out with the late start. The long planting box area, just beyond these four planting boxes, has strawberries. We've had strawberries for a few years, but it was just too small an area to get much of a crop. This year we'll expand by spreading the runners out and fill this new strawberry box area.

Our patio table is filled with plants from the garden center awaiting placement into their garden beds.Here's a view of some of the great plants I got to plant this year. It is a mixture of annuals and perennials. I've learned in the long run perrenials end up being less expensive (though they cost more at the check out stand) because they will continue to come up year after year. Plus you can divide them and get more plantings over time. I'm learning to give them plenty of room to expand as they grow. When I first started gardening here I used to plant the perrenials too close together. It didn't take long to see they tend to spread out and become larger and more robust over a couple years. Some of those along the back fence need to be divided and moved around a bit.

It was a wonderful day for planting with the warmth of the sun on this day. It took quite awhile to get all the planting accomplished. You'll notice the pots near the grape vines. Here they are as they looked after the winter, filled with dead plant growth still. We emptied the top half of the potting soil and renewed it with some fresh soil. Then I filled these pots with flowers and positioned them around the patio.

The garden planter box closest to the house is taller. I backed up a few steps to include this other new planter box in this photo. I requested my husband build this box taller for me so I wouldn't have to do so much bending to weed and harvest here. It is a nice height that enables me to reach across to each section easily. These are 2"x8" boards stacked two high.

The sections closet to the back door contain a variety of different herbs. That makes them quick to pick for cooking up some yummy meals. This view shows how things looked once I got these boxes planted.

Shortly after getting all the plants into the ground we got a good rain to water everything. Then within a couple days of planting we went outdoors to find our local neighborhood rabbit taste testing the broccoli and kolarabi. Those two seemed to be its favorites. We decided pretty quickly we needed to go out and purchase some netting and create a barrier to keep the rabbit from getting to our new plants. That night we built a frame and secured netting over the four planter boxes in the back. We didn't think the rabbit would hop up onto the taller planter box near the house so left that one uncovered. By the next day we could see the plants in the back were safe from scavenging, but that pesky rabbit had nibbled the kolarabi in the taller planter box all the way to the dirt and was starting in on the broccoli plants that we had planted there. So we defended our garden again . . . this time with a bit of fencing around those plants.

It was a pretty persistent rabbit as it came back again the next day. I saw it run off with a broccoli leaf in its mouth when I let the dogs out. My hubby told me to keep an eye on it while he ran into the house. He came back out with a sling shot. Apparently he needs to practice a bit more since he missed the rabbit with each shot as it dodged the rocks whizzing past its head. I think it got the idea, though. I haven't seen it since that day, although I'm sure it is still around. And no more nibbling of plants that I can tell so far.