Saturday, February 25, 2012

Progress on Our Garden

You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. 
-Psalm 128:2 
I can't explain how exciting it's been putting together our little garden in the backyard. It's such a fun, rewarding project that the kids can help out with. Isabel  loved planting the seeds with me, and she is extremely excited about all the other fruits and veggies we will have soon. I know I said before that we were going to wait to make planters, but we decided just to do it! We are not going to do a lot of veggies, so we will just start with plants (not seeds like the herbs).

The herbs are making some progress in their mini greenhouse. I saw a couple of them with teeny tiny sprouts (it's only been a couple days). We will probably work on putting up the rain gutters on the fench next weekend. It will be awhile until they are ready to be planted. The basil might sprout up within 5 days, but the rosemary and lavender could take up to 25 days.

The other day I read this amazing tutorial from Thy Hand Hath Provided to give me a jump start on learning how to start a veggie garden for us. The first step is planning your garden. (Just like I did with the herbs). The tutorial talks about making a planting schedule, but the one available on the blog wasn't specific to my area. I found this cool tool online that tell you what zone you are in for planting. I've learned so much! I didn't even know that there were zones! Today I've been reading about companion planting because I haven't for sure made a final decision on what fruits/veggies we will plant.

Our patio is all concrete except one small dirt square that is just shy of 4'x4'. It's not suitable for planting in, so based on the sun exposure, we decided to start with an above ground planter. I've seen a ton of friends making them, so I feel kind of like a copycat posting this. But, I want to share ours!

Here is a our little dirt square...full of the kid's toy balls. In the corner is the half wine barrel that we are planting a dwarf mandarin tree in. The tree can grow in there for years, and once we get a house we can transplant it into our yard! Also there is the pot for my tomatoes, and the blue (dirty) bucket is meant to hold ice and drinks, but I was thinking about drilling holes in the bottom and planting some flowers in it. See the white sign? We are going to paint that soon, with something quirky on it about our garden. I made it when I was pregnant with Julian, and have yet to do anything with it.  Like the Halloween mat?? The backyard is a work in progress...

The measurements for our square are 42"x46", and we are making our planter 12" high. If we had more space, I would have made it bigger simplified the size based on the lengths that the wood comes in. I didn't get a picture of all of the supplies before Adrian started, but here is what we used:

{$5.71} Galvanized Wood Screws
{$5.20} Waterseal Spray*
{$46.40} (2) 2in x 6in x 16ft pieces of redwood
(4) 38" long pieces
(4) 46" long pieces
(4) 12" long pieces **
We didn't get the soil for this yet, but it will be about $40
Total: $57.31

Mandarin Tree
{$29.90} Half Wine Barrel
{$23.98} Dwarf Mandarin Tree
{$14.91} 3 bags All Natural Patio Plus Potting Soil 
Total: $68.79

{$9.90} Plastic Tomato Pot
{$3.48} Patio Tomatoes
{$3.48} Tomato Trellis
{$4.97} 1 bag All Natural Patio Plus Potting Soil 
Total: $21.83

*I wanted to avoid any chemicals, but caved in with sealing the wood to protect it
**I know we would only be able to cut 3 of these pieces from the wood listed above. Adrian was able to find a scrap at the store, so we wouldn't have to buy another big piece.

We chose redwood because we really wanted a quality wood that would last. And since this planter will stay if we every move, I wanted it to look like a built-in. The 12" long pieces were for the corner supports.

Juju lost a shoe! Haha

I kept tried to keep the kids occupied while Adrian put it together. 

I love this picture! I think I'm going to frame it! (below)

They were "picking flowers". So cute.

Juju was a big helper! And the box is coming together....

For some reason, I really love this pic of Julian. I was trying to get him to smile in at me, but he just kept turning from side to side...with that little smirk :)

I thought the box looked too big, so I made Adrian test it. I got kind of scared, because I was the one who figured out and wrote down the wood to buy and measurements to cut it. Needless to say, it fit perfectly!

Isn' t that wood so purdy!

I still have to pull the weeds (aka: the most resilient mint ever! It's still growing from the previous owners over 3 years ago...even though we try to pull it out often.) I also need to clean up the area (rocks, a few kid's toys etc), and I'm going to till the soil a bit, so it will drain better.

Mandarin Tree
We also worked on the wine barrel for the dwarf mandarin tree. We almost planted the tree before we drilled holes for drainage in the bottom! Luckily we thought, "Maybe we should rinse it out", then realized that this thing was meant to hold wine (or whiskey), and nothing is seeping through it. I drilled all the holes by myself...working with power tools is fun! hahah!

I wanted larger holes, but this was the biggest drill bit Adrian had. Should work fine. I'm really excited about this project...I'm picturing how beautiful all kinds of things would look in these wine barrels. Maybe I will get more of these when we want more veggies, instead of making more planters (as I originally planned). They are only $29 each at Home Depot! Everywhere else that I've seen them, they have been over $100. That's a steal for this size container. A terracotta pot this size-- 30 gallons-- would be upwards of $250.

Here is our dwarf mandarin tree. I can't wait to see the joy on Isabel's face when she gets to pick an "orange" off the tree and eat it! Not planted yet, it got too late.

And the tomato plant. Adrian laughed at how huge the pot was for the little tomato plant, but tomatoes like big pots!

Next thing I need to do it work on cleaning up the dirt in the veggie planter. Then we can get the soil and plant our veggies. I'm thinking of doing carrots, lettuce, strawberries & spinach in there. Need to decide for sure though...

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