Saturday, October 4, 2014

The last summer crop, three peppers and a blossom.

The last summer crop, three peppers and a blossom.
I'm trying to put a post together... the first part in a series about growing your own cabbage and then making your own sauerkraut.  Unfortunately between Burpee sending my seedlings, but then taking a week to get here, UPS having a delay with one of their pallet trucks, and other delays, the first post is about a week later than I wanted.

However, I do have two new garden beds installed.  I just have to get about four more bags of dirt to fill them (we're prone to flooding in this area, so I don't want to create any low spots in my yard by just shifting it) and we can get this thing started.

Warning, there are a lot of Amazon affiliate links in this post.  Help a sister out and click 'em if you're interested.  I only get compensation if you order something within a certain time frame, so feel free to browse all you like.

I have twelve cabbage seedlings, six broccoli seedlings, and six cauliflower seedlings on the way.  The broccoli I will make into florets for the freezer, shredding the stem parts and adding that to the cabbage for some of the kraut.  The cauliflower is my favorite part of my home-canned jardinere.  Okay, the pickled cauliflower and the pickled carrots.  The celery is actually quite good too, not mushy at all, which was a surprise from last-year's batch.

I got two more beds very cheaply on Amazon... Greenland Gardener 8-Inch Raised Bed Double Garden Kit.   Compared to other raised bed kits, this is pretty inexpensive.  What cheesed me off though was that I didn't do the proper math, and didn't realize they weren't a full eight feet long.  So now that they're lined up next to my full-length cedar bed, they're coming up short.  This is gnawing at my OCD/Asperger's side to no end.  If I'm still here next year, I am totally getting two more of the short beds and installing them on the other side of the cedar bed so it is symmetrical.

They are super-simple to set up... it's just a set of boards with inter-connecting tabs and grooves.   Once the boxes were in the back yard, I could set them up by myself with no problems and no tools... although I did have a rubber mallet handy.  They're made of a composite of wood and recycled plastic, so I expect them to last for quite a while.  The color is a bit... blah.  I considered painting them, but don't want the chemicals near my food crops.
The dogs helped with this one.  :/

I always put down a weed barrier of some type.  For this pair I splurged on a roll of weed barrier landscape cloth... mostly because I wanted to start a barrier between the beds so I wouldn't have to use the trimmer to keep the grass down.  This allows me to make the space between the beds a little narrower than normal, too.  Eventually I will fill this space with pea gravel and stepping stones I make myself.  Inside the beds I also put down weed barrier cloth in overlapping layers.  I topped that with cardboard boxes (what do you think I do with all my Amazon boxes?  Compost and weed barriers, baby).  The Amazon boxes use soy ink, so I'm not too worried about those... except the shipping labels, which come off a standard printer.  I peel those off as best I can.

On top of the cardboard, I put down a brick of coconut coir that I've re-hydrated in a plastic storage bin.  That's one 11-pound brick in each segment of the garden bed, so I put down four in total.  I am thinking about another four, however, as the large bags of potting soil from Walmart or Home Depot are a) friggin' expensive, comparatively and b) of terrible quality.  It's supposed to be potting soil, and it's got more wood chips in it than most bags of topsoil or mulch.  It's like wood chips and bits of Styrofoam.  And I'm really not happy about Styrofoam, but most of their "garden soil" bags ask for them to be mixed 50/50 with local soil... and I've already stated why I don't want to dig one part of my yard to move it elsewhere.

The coconut coir is NOT a nutrient rich growing medium though, so I will have to seriously amend it with compost and liquid fish/seaweed fertilizer.

Now... figuring out the most sane and humane way to keep my dogs out of the garden beds.  :/

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