Garden Checkin 2017

Well all be. It’s summer this week. I haven’t said anything about my garden yet. We’ll I have reason for that, let’s start at the beginning.

It’s January and I cannot wait for planting season, last year I had a HUGE amount of help from Colorado Urban Farm.  They not only set up my beds, filled, them, planted, but with their laminated checklist/references I was able to keep things alive/weed and ultimately enjoy eating from my garden! It was a major success, but I felt like this year I could own the whole thing.  So I came up with a new design – add 2 4ftx8ft beds, and some containers for container corn.

I still planned on practicing square foot gardening. So I had 128 squares to fill and three large felt pots. I got on burpees.com and went ape shit. $100 worth of seeds later I had:

  1. Pickling Cucumbers
  2. Tomatoes (Beefsteak + Big Boy)
  3. Cauliflower
  4. Celery
  5. Spinach
  6. Container Corn
  7. Shasta Daisies
  8. Sunflowers
  9. Green Bell Peppers
  10. Jalapeños
  11. Banana Peppers
  12. Beans
  13. Summer Squash
  14. Zucchini
  15. Radish


Then I started the celery, cauliflower, peppers and tomatoes inside around March 15th. I bought this light from amazon, set up a room where they would be undisturbed and warm and spent a lot of time planting, making sure everything had good light etc. I used this kind of seedling tray from Black Magic – was really unhappy with it.  It said it was peat, but the peat never broke down even after it was soaked. It was more hydroponic style, which in hindsight is Black Magic’s whole ‘thing’.


I lost 50% of my seedlings when I transferred them to soil three weeks later. What remained were some hardy pepper plants, some spunky tomato plants and some super hair-fine celery plants plus one random cauliflower plant. That core group of plants was doing great – I had about 12 total and was feeling great about next steps with them. Then it came time to plant them outdoors. Four days later – IT FUCKING SNOWED IN MAY IN COLORADO.


But everything survived. It was a miracle! But a short lived one, three weeks after the snow another 50% of the plants were gone. Just POOF gone on 70-80 degree days under their shade/hail tent. I was/am/will always be disappointed.

I ended up just buying new plants at $2 a pop from Home Depot, O’Tooles, Walmart.


All in all, my seedling experiment was a bust. I’m glad I tried it, but I won’t be doing it again.

Cost of indoor seedlings: $50 for seeds, $80 for electricity, 8 hours total working time

Cost of new plants: $32

Also my home made compost that I used to plant my tall pompous grasses totally has veggies growing around it lol

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Garden Update!

Well, I’m officially keeping the garden alive and things are starting to sprout and grow!  I can’t tell you how much pride I have in this garden.  My neighbor is a garden-pro and encourages me/offers advice not to mention helps me fix my irrigation system 😉

Seeds that have sprouted/are above soil:

  • Micro Greens
  • Arugula
  • Radishes
  • Kale
  • Pole beans
  • Beets

Still waiting on:

  • Carrots
  • Nasturtium (edible flowers!)

Plants progress:

  • Tomatoes
  • Summer Squash
  • Jalapeno peppers
  • Sarano peppers
  • Bell peppers
  • French Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Dill

Now just to start thinking of all the amazing recipes/meals that I can use these in!

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The Garden is a go!

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I’m gardening! I’m gardening!  Well sort of… now I’m watering and waiting, but that’s probably 80% of what gardening is.

I’m sure I have a few gardener friends that I could have heavily relied on to help put this garden together, but I chose to circumvent the years of trial and error that plague some novices and just hire a great company to help me get started.  Obviously, it’s in my hands now, but the folks at Urban Farm Colorado really gave me a huge head start and lots of advice.  They came out with the materials and set up the beds with their nutrient rich soil and provided me with either starter plants or seeds. All in all, the cost was great!  I actually price compared several times to see if I could do it cheaper and I couldn’t. Plus, they are available to help me if something is weird or if I have questions. Which is a great comfort since I have a nice little investment out there and have already planned on not shopping for produce this summer 😉

I decided to go with 2 4×8 beds.  It wasn’t until I was planning the layout that I realized that 2 beds is going to yield A LOT of produce.

Here is what is in my garden:

  • Micro Greens
  • Kale
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Parsley
  • chives
  • Basil
  • Jalapenos
  • Serrano Peppers
  • Bell peppers
  • Squashes
  • Beets
  • Plus some more things I can’t remember 😉

Here’s all the pics!

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urban farm builds the beds, while I mowed my lawn.
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We set a grid on the bed first to figure out where everything would go.
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the irrigation system is on! drink plants drink!!
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the ‘herbe’ section
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2 beds, irrigation systems, sun/hail protection netting on both
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i put vladimir’s ‘memory totem’ here also.

 

 

What do you grow in your garden?

For the first time ever, I have space for a garden!  So of course, I’m embarking on full homesteading! My dream come true – You know two summers ago I got to help my buddies at IGLOO – Sustainability Group plant their garden so I’m so excited to have my own! Here are the tentative plans for this upcoming season.

Space: 

We will locate 2 – 4x8ft garden beds on the west side of our house which gets full sun exposure.  We also know this part was used as a ‘garden’ before and was not used for some weird renter parking lot*.  We also know that if we have success and want to expand forward we can do so on this portion of the house.  Further, I HATE grass – so using the space would be not only beautiful, but help make less wasted lawn space. Sorry Lois, I know you are sad you raised someone who doesn’t love a green grass yard as much as you ;).   *see photo below

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What Will We Grow?

Cold Season Crops:

Beets, Kale, Cilantro, Broccolini (tiny broccoli!)

Warm Season Crops:

Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, Hot Peppers, Zucchini, Cucumber, Chives, Rosemary, etc. herbs.

Materials:

We are going to be using Douglas Fir wood for the beds (not Cedar due to small savings in cost).  Yes, we will probably have to replace these in 5-10 years, but oh well – who knows what our garden will look like in 5-10 years anyways.

We are going to install a drip irrigation system on each bed that will be attached to a spigot timer.  We will also install some PVC frames for UV/Shade/Hail protection covering. Since it is Colorado this is a must not only for our location of the beds in full sun, but also for those freak hail storms that can ruin months of work in one afternoon.

We plan on getting underway with the garden on April 30th so expect a mapped out update for grid placement in the beds before then!

Of course I’ll also start my SCOBY/Kombucha up again and possibly dabble in some mushrooms if not too intensive.

Some other cool things will be all the canning, cooking/recipes – that will follow this summer/fall.

Anyways – any tips or advice to this newbie are MORE than welcome. Can’t wait to share what I discover.  What do you grow in your garden?

 

 

 

Resilience Group with Igloo

A few months ago I saw a tiny little business card for a sustainability group here in Chicago. I was dying for some homies that were into sustainable and economical initiative and decided to inquire. I luckily ended up stumbling upon Igloo – an epic learning cooperative created by my friend and fellow life wizard Kyle King. Anyways, we meet every Sunday in Pilsen here in Chicago. Each week Charlie facilitates an amazing discussion about a certain topic pertaining to our local and global sustainable agendas. We’ve talked about local v. organic, waste water management, zero impact, we have learned about zero scaping, we have canned salsa together, and just had really impressive and well thought conversations about our world pertaining to sustainable initiative.

This past Sunday we actually went to Charlie’s casa and helped harvest his summer garden and plant his fall/winter selections! I love being able to work in the dirt and be a part of a community that allows for me to dabble in urban homesteading even though I don’t have the space in my current apartment.

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