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Garden Update

Spring is a crazy time in the garden. It's sort of a hurry up and wait situation. Getting the yard cleaned up, starting seeds indoors, growing spring crops outdoors, planting annuals and splitting perennials is a lot of work that needs to be done in a short amount of time. Then the waiting begins. When will last frost arrive, when will the seeds sprout, when will I get that first red tomato?

Today is sort of a catch up post because for all this activity that's been going on in the garden, The Compost Bin blog has been too quiet. Here's what I've been working on lately.

vegetable gardenThe homemade compost tumbler is working out nicely. The other day I stuck my hand deep in there and I could feel the heat. I may use the thermometer from my turkey fryer to check the temperature to get a real reading. They say that weed seeds are killed at about 160 degrees. I'm no where near 160 but it's really doing well since I added some grass clippings.

Speaking of grass clippings, I'm now the proud owner of a reel lawn mower. My cordless electric lawn mower finally died and Black and Decker wanted $140 to put a new motor in it so instead I bought a reel lawn mower with a bag attachment for $100. No gas, no tune ups and very little noise. It sounds like scissors when I'm cutting the grass. It's taking some getting used to but I'm happy with the purchase. I keep repeating that real men use reel lawn mowers whenever people laugh at me.

The mulch pile is down to about 10 wheel barrows left. I stopped mulching my beds when the trees declared war on the humans. What's with this crazy pollen this year? Everything actually has a thick film of yellow dust on it and allergy sufferers (like myself) are dropping like flies. Once the assault of pollen and tree litter is done, I'll finish off the mulch. I'd love to order some more because of course I underestimated again but I don't think it's in the budget this year.

And of course, the vegetable garden. After some good success last year with broccoli rabe and other cold season greens, I really expanded my early plantings. In the garden right now and doing well is arugala, brocolli rabe, turnips, swiss chard and pak choi. This weekend I planted some beet berry and chiaga beets too. The blue potatoes are doing well in both a raised bed and also a whiskey barrel type of planter.

brocolli rabeMy indoor seed starting rack with grow lights is pretty empty. I only started 48 seedlings this year and they only fill up 1 of the 4 shelves. In fact, my wife has decided that those empty shelves should be filled with laundry baskets and other junk. Of those 48, half are tomatoes and half are peppers. I'm going to start more, probably perennials but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I'd like to grow some balloon flowers, amber wheels, columbines, lanterns next. The seeds are sitting there waiting for me to do something with them. Poor little guys.

And I'm very happy with my purchase of a 24" iMac. You may have noticed that I've created a movie or two around here lately. It's very easy and actually lots of fun to do this with iLife 08. Plus I picked up a High Definition Camcorder for about $130. These two purchases have inspired the filmmaker in me and I'm hoping to someday get up the courage to start a gardening podcast.

Next up, I have to find time to build more raised beds, get the spring vegetables in, build a cucumber trellis, make a batch of compost tea, and build these cool self-watering planters from Rubbermaid bins that I saw in a gardening forum. It should be a fun season.

What have you been up to in your garden lately?

8 Comments:

  1. Brenda Hyde said...
    I love your raised beds. I want them, and must show them to my husband when he gets home. I haven't tried compost tea, and I need to do that too!
    kate smudges said...
    Your template looks good - just saw your comment on Twitter. I had no idea Blackberries grew so quickly. Your raised beds are cool too.
    Anthony said...
    Hi Brenda,
    Then I think you'll love the How To Make Raised Garden Beds video that I've been working on.

    Hi Kate,
    Thanks, gotta love Twitter for instant feedback. And yes, I agree that it's surprising how fast that one blackberry plant took over the back of my garden. Lately, I'm actually pulling runners out of the other beds too.
    Kate said...
    We harvested our first spinach today, which was very satisfying. And we too are putting in two new raised beds this weekend, for melons and squash.
    Anthony said...
    Hi Kate,
    Enjoy your spinach! I have some arugala that I plan I picking tonight. Going to add it to a pasta, & shrimp dish with white wine sauce. Yum!

    I actually put in 3 raised beds (4'x4') over the weekend but still have to fill them with compost and soil.
    Compost Guy said...
    Great update, Anthony! Makes me feel really behind though - haven't had much opportunity to get out for yard work yet.

    Funny you mention the Black & Decker reschargeable mower - I've been thinking VERY seriously about purchasing one. Now I'm wondering if that's such a good idea! How long did yours last?

    B
    Anthony said...
    Hi Compost Guy,
    Don't feel behind, aren't you way up North?

    My B&D Cordless Lawnmower lasted 8 years and I loved it. They say that you can mow a 1/3 acre lawn on a single charge but since I have a little more than a 1/2 acre, it presented a problem. I would mow my property in 2 or 3 mowing sessions a week. Not fun.

    Other than that, it was a great mower. 8 years without gas, fumes or tune ups, plus it's a lot quieter than a gas mower.

    I'd recommend it for anyone with a small lawn.
    Compost Guy said...
    Wow - 8 years?! That's fantastic. My last gas mower didn't even last three (but I'm convinced it was a bit of a lemon).

    Anyway - thanks for the info!
    I wonder if you can get back up batteries? (or is it totally built into the mower itself)

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