Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Garden frame review

Frame 1: The kale planted this spring is still going strong. The lettuce started bolting a couple of weeks ago and was removed.

Frame 2: I have been harvesting parsley from this frame since the lettuce was harvested. Soon we will be picking beets.

Frame 3: More beets and carrots coming along.

Frame 4: This frame is filled with four tomato plants that I bought from the Co-op in May or June. These plants look very healthy and have lots of fruit.

Container 1: These two plants were attacked by blight. I have one tomato turning red and a dozen more that will be soon.

Fall garden: I have a tray of pac choi, lettuce, kale, and chard ready to be planted.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Composting tower

I have been looking for a composting solution for some time. We have to be careful near the city because of the presence of rats, so it has to be an enclosed system that they cannot easily access. Then I saw the composting worm tower at http://www.instructables.com/id/Worm-Cafe-Compost-with-earthworms-right-in-your/ and was intrigued.

The idea is that food scraps are placed in the tower which extends below soil level where worms can easily gain access. I had looked at worm based composting previously, but it sounded like it would be a hassle to maintain the correct environment for the worms to survive and reproduce. The advantage of this system is that the they can come and go from the tower at will and in doing so they will distribute their castings around the garden. So ideally, one places food scraps in the tower and the worms do the work of spreading it around the garden, so one never needs to think about the scraps after dropping them in the tower. Another big plus is that it is built with natural materials.

So, I built one with a 1x6 cedar plank that I bought for $12 from Home Depot and I also built one out of pine ($6). Over time, I will compare the difference in longevity of the different woods. Having one of these towers in each garden frame, will also provide a convenient place to recycle soil-laden roots from harvested veggies and weeds.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Late July Update

I picked the final lettuce from the spring planting on Sunday. A couple weeks before that I picked about 7 grocery bags full and gave them away at work. Everyone was very appreciative and seemed to like it, especially the Two Star variety from Johnny's which appears to be a cross between green leaf and romaine. We harvested the tops from the basil and made another quart of pesto.

The tomatoes in the grow box have been suffering from what I believe is blight with the leaves turning yellow and brown, also some of the fruits have developed blossom-end rot (see photo below). I picked the worst affected leaves. Interestingly, the tomatoes in the frame right next to the grow box show no signs of blight. I have added some calcium to the soil, hopefully that will have some effect.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Early July update

We made one pint of pesto with the 6 cups of basil that were harvested this weekend. The peas are beginning to yellow and will be pulled soon to make room for the burgeoning tomato plants. I had hoped to fix all of the garden protectors that were broken by the heavy snows last winter and to mulch the garden over the July 4 weekend, but alas. Maybe this weekend! Fall planting will be happening soon!