vegetables and fruits

First year for celery

I planted celery this year for the first time and it did very well. I don’t know what kind of celery it is but the stalks were dark green down to the ground not blanched like in the market and it lasted in the fridge longer. There is one stalk left in the garden that has survived some hard freezes down to the low 20s and looks great. I wonder how hardy is celery.

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Categories: vegetables and fruits | Tags: , | 3 Comments

24 th of August and I just picked our 3rd and 4th tomato

24 th of August and I just picked our 3rd and 4th tomato. Every thing else did great but we had several days in the 90s and the tomatoes did not set blossoms until late. The first photo is what I am use to and the second is what I got this year. We still have a way to go though but who knows what will happen next maybe a early Fall.tomato

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Categories: My Gardening Journals, vegetables and fruits | Tags: | 6 Comments

Butterbush squash

These squash are supposed to be Burpee’s “Butterbush” and the squash I can see around the edges are smallish and the correct shape. The raised beds are 20” high but the vines in front of the beds are maintaining the same height as the ones in the bed. We have had a lot of rain this year and the last year that we had so much, the squash did not keep well. I will post the other beds tomorrow.

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Categories: Accessible gardening, Square Foot Gardening, vegetables and fruits | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Grape arbor

I had rail road tie stepped flower beds and a wooden hand rail that mother nature was reclaiming. I purchased the garden dry wall block and the people that mow the grass built the beds at a very reasonable cost. The total cost was about $2000 including the block.

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As you can see I have some paving brick work to do but that is on the back burner. For now how do you attach a hand rail to garden dry wall blocks? I always wanted a grape arbor and I figured I would kill two birds with one stone. $150 later and two recycled hand rails I have my arbor.

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Categories: Accessible gardening, Arbor, Grape, My Gardening Journals, vegetables and fruits | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Modular Raised Bed Prototype

It’s been my goal to tidy up the garden and eventually move to a raided bed system.   I’d independently slated a deck for demolition, and put two and two together.  The main problems which I’ve tackled are, forst, the pressure treated wood from the deck is not to be used without a little research and planning.  It contains ‘CCA’, which is Copper Chromate Arsenic.   The second aspect of this raised bed design was to come up with something that was flexible enough to let my garden continue to evolve.  By that, I mean the garden is forever changing, and I wanted a raised bed system that gives me options.

First, on that CCA issue, and whether I should even go ahead with the pressure treated lumber.  This link was probably the most cautionary.  http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda%20chalker-scott/horticultural%20myths_files/Myths/CCA%20wood.pdf  She has some other good ‘horticultural myths’ sorts of information, here:http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~Linda%20Chalker-Scott/

Some other sites mentioned that diffusion of the CCA goes mostly straight down, not lateral across the bed, and that most of the free CCA will come out in the first year.  Without getting into the details you can read at the site, I am going ahead with using the pressure treated lumber with the following precautions:

  • Wood stain on the inside, and/or heavy plastic.
  • No cabbage family, as they concentrate arsenic,
  • no root crops within 6″ or so from the edge,
  • No tilling after initial planting, till only in fall.

My research was not comprehensive, and I welcome comments and new information, but I did not find an overwhelming amount of ‘negative’ data on the topic, so I’m going ahead thinking it’s not completely safe, but manageable.  Certainly, I’m glad the timber I have is from a 20 year old porch that should be somewhat leached out.

Well, on to the second aspect of this, the design of the prototype.  Here’s a picture of the deck in dissassembly to show what I’m working with:

Above I’m just tearing up the old deck surface, and removing the nails.  Still have to fabricate the building blocks.

Below, I’ve built two pieces, the first two, in order to se how it works.

The base unit is 12′ 1″ long, and 4′ wide.  The top unit, sitting at the back there with the little pink flag,  is 4′ square.  In the corners, I nailed (ring nails using a framing nailer) a block 5 1/2″ long, which is the same height as the 2×6’s on the frame.  The trick is the corner blocks are secured 1 1/2″ lower than the frame, so they form little guides that sit into the frame below.

With this system, I can stack the 4′ squares on the base frame and increase the height of the frame as compost is added, or as I switch from one crop to the next.  For instance, I have onions in the lower 8′ x 4′ long section of the 12′ bed.  The upper section, contains lettuce, which is a bit of a waste, as I have a foot of soil below the lettuce.  But, that part of the frame would work very nicely for carrots or some other root crop.

With the base frame at 12′ 1″, I can stack 3 sets of the 4′ squares, one set might be two high, for a total of 18″.  If I put another 4′ section on, it goes to 24″ of height.  I reckon in the fall, if I want to pull a top frame off, and refresh a bed, I can do so and not have to dig down in alongside the frame.

I ‘secured’ the 12′ base frame with a couple bits of re-bar along the side, and at the lower end, I used some PT lumber to keep the soil in the frame.  Those I call ‘dirt skirts, and they also help hold the base frame level, (at least till the frost?).

My plan is to build more of the 4′ frames and have them at the ready as new crops go in, and to install more of the 12’ 1″ ‘base frames’.  I might put those base frames at various angles to the first one to make the garden interesting, and I might make some really long ones, perhaps 16′ 2″ or thereabouts.  The extra 1″ and 2″ is so I can have a little wiggle room to stack either 3 or 4 of the 4′ frames along the length of a longer ‘base frame’, and not have them fail to seat properly due to small inaccuracies in my framing, or the squaring of the base frames.

I hope the pictures post OK…..I’ll take a detailed construction picture next weekend.   Happy gardening all.

Categories: Square Foot Gardening, vegetables and fruits | Tags: , | 3 Comments
 
 

Adding an offset fire box to a vertical smoker.

I used a “smoky Mountain” vertical smoker and a “Brinkman” off set fire box. I thought this would be a long and detailed post but the big time consuming part was assembling the smoker and fire box. The tools you would need to join the two are a Phillips screw driver, crescent wrench, drill/w 1/4” drill bit and a saber saw with a metal cutting blade.  I put the two on a work table for a more comfortable working height.

I positioned the two where they would be located. I was surprised that the fire box had a large elliptical shaped hole for heat/smoke transfer. I traced the ellipse and bolt holes with a pencil then cut the ellipse and drilled the bolt holes.

Man that looks like a big hole but every thing lined up nice.

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Brinkman includes the parts necessary to use the fire box as a stand alone grill, a larger elliptical plate with draft control. I decided to use them to reduce the heat/smoke to the smoker. If the reduction is to much I will cut a 4” diameter hole through the ellipse. If the reduction is still to much I will just eliminate the ellipse. As soon as the weather breaks I plan to build a fire in the fire box and burn off any manufacturing residue and see what kind of temperature range I will have.

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Categories: My Gardening Journals, Smoking, vegetables and fruits | Tags: | 7 Comments

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