gardening


We have had a beautiful start to the summer, so thought I would share some of my favourite pictures so far.  

Happiness is biking with your beagle.

Happiness is biking with your beagle.

The joy of sliding.

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding HeartTulip After the Rain

 

White Flower

Love watching Seed sprot and Grow

 Thank you for the beautiful pictures my sweet Bride. 

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After getting my plants in the garden it is now time to think about getting the tea brewer going again. Same process as last year but with a couple of changes. First I found a suitable tea bag at the dollor store. I found one of those bug nets you put over your head and it makes a good tea bag. Second I have some compost left over from my turning this year that I will use.  

Here is a repost of the compost tea from last year. 

Would you like a nice cup of tea? No, but your garden will thank you with its bounty.  I first heard of compost tea when looking through a Lee Valley catalog and their compost tumbler collects compost tea as part of the process. Being curious about that I of course went to my trusty http://en.wikipedia.org and checked what they say about it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compost_tea. Of course as usual my thirst for knowledge sent me Google searching and of I ended up getting tons of sites, options, recipes, people selling stuff. After reading I decided why not try it, minimal expense which I love, and an opportunity to experiment. 

 What you will need What do you need to make compost tea? 5 gal pail, aquarium pump & hose, descent compost either home grown or purchased, molasses, and a tea bag material or not, I will explain later. You can add, also optional, an additive of fish extract or kelp extract to change your brew slightly.

  
Air pump is added to bucket and running   

The process is pretty simple, fill your pail with water, if you are on city water let the water sit to reduce the chlorine. Plug your pump in and place your hoses in the water, some people use air stones but my pump isn’t big enough to power two stones so I add a nut to each hose to add weight to keep it on the bottom.   

PB Container of CompostAdd your compost.  Now this is a question? Do you want a tea bag or do you want the compost lose? Another question is also how are you going to use the tea? Are you going to flood the roots, or spray the leaves? If you are going to spray you are best to make a tea bag. If you are going to flood then to me what’s the point in wasting time just dump the compost in and stir. To make a tea bag use something that will allow good water penetration and allow the compost goodness to come out. Some tea bag materials are; burlap I used this it works not bad, panty hose (make sure you ask before you take your wife’s/girlfriend’s or mother’s and if you are a woman then use away), cheese cloth. You get the idea. Get out the extremely accurate measuring instruments for this part (I use a 500ml large PB jar full) add compost to the water or the tea bag into the water and let steep.    
Compost added to water  This is when I add the extract if you are using it of fish or kelp. 

 1-1/2oz of Molasses  

After the first 12 hours add the molasses. The steeping time is all over the map with what people do. What works for me is 24 to 48 hrs ,I find longer then that it doesn’t appear to work as well. But I think environmental conditions play into steeping time also. Also give it a stir every now and again just to make sure nothing is settling on the bottom of the pail. 

  

 

So after your tea is steep and ready you Ready to useneed to remove the tea bag if used, and air pump hose. Decide on how you are going to spread it. If flooding I like to use a watering can, if you are going to spray then of course a sprayer that isn’t used for herbicide or pesticide and you will want to use a strainer of cheese cloth so you don’t clog the tip. So empty your solution into the appropriate container I use an old watering can that has no sprinkler on it, go fertilize your garden, flowers, grass and trees. Remember if you are spraying on leaves don’t spray plants that have edible leaves like lettuce or basil etc. There is a lot of talk about the benefits of compost tea as foliage spray, I haven’t tried this yet, but I plan to and will post of my experience later.   

I use a funnel to pour the tea into my watering can
I use a funnel to pour the tea into my watering can

  

Okay how often to use compost tea? Most web sites don’t have a common time. I look at it as being every 2 weeks during growing season. Next year I’m going to try an experiment and see how plants with no tea perform then plants with tea so check back next year if you can control yourself.

Over the last two weekends we have planted both our veggy gardens. We seeded our older larger garden that we put in 9 years ago. The new garden we did this year is a small 5 X 10 by 15″ deep raised bed. I planned this last year after reading a blog from the Pioneer Woman. I planted this to give me more garden space and also to give me a place to plant items we use more often and in smaller amounts. It is a salad garden, so I planted it with spinach, rocket, red and green lettuce, romaine, butter crunch, musclin, and radishes. Still left to plant is some swiss chard. I also made this garden to try a cold frame this fall if time allows.

Next is to find someone selling straw to keep the weeds under control once the crops grow. Already the weeds are starting but I guess I just need to learn to love my weeds.

Sorry for the lack of posting, I have been busy training and getting spring chores done.

This time of year is full of early signs of life in the garden and around, from the tree that is bare to the tree in bud to the first leaves forming, it is a truly amazing to see spring slowly and steadily coming around us. If you don’t go outside for a couple of days things would look so much different, new buds, new leaves

Enjoy this time of year, it is short but also leads us to more nice things, like getting our hands dirty in the garden.

Okay Veseys got me this morning with an email about Vermicomposter. It is the use of worms to compost materials. Wonder how this works? How does it work? Can it go outside? Will the worms live in the cold of winter?. Most interesting definately going to have to do some research into this. For those that are intrigued here is a link to the Veseys site http://www.veseys.com/ca/en/store/tools/composting/thewormfactory  I still wonder how it works.

 

The Worm Factory® Composting Worm Bin System

The Worm Factory® Composting Worm Bin System

The seed catalog to me is one of those things that you need to be in the form of a paper book. Yes you can go online and look and order. But the seed catalog to me must be a paper version, that you can take to your favourite place and sit and look and dream. Last year I had decided to attempt to grow some organic seeds, I also decided to try couple of heirlooms tomatoes. But both where a flop for me, not sure if it was weather or my soil but something combined last year to not give me a great producing garden.

I find it interesting that there are still the main seed people like Stokes, Veseys, but there  is an ever-growing selection of small seed companies appearing, some are online but a couple do my favourite paper catalog. The neat thing about them is they are generally local so you tend to get seeds that are hearty in your climate. I have couple that I have used or plan to use.

There are lots of others, use the power of google and look up your local seed people.  These are ones I’m planning to maybe use this year. Seeds are so interesting to me. I have green bean seeds that where given to us by my late father inlaw, and evey year I have planted them it reminds me of him and his love of the soil. And yes I hear the teasing he would do about weeds, unstraight rows, small cucumbers, just thinking about that makes me smile. It is like a precious gift that he has given us that comes every year. 

Also find the idea of not shipping seeds accross borders interesting.  I guess because of concerns of diseases. But to my logical mind I can buy fruit and vegetables from all over the world that get composted into my garden, so isn’t that doing the same thing as shipping seeds accross a border? But the rules are rules right.

One of my favorite garden pictures from last spring

One of my favorite garden pictures from last spring

Hard to believe that I’m thinking or typing the following.

I’m excited for spring to come this year, I blame it on our extremely rare year for snow. I have only blown the driv way once this year. So myself like other bloggers that have an interest in gardening are starting to think about what they want to grow, plans for more gardens, or trying something new. Well I have several plans for the spring but will have to see if time and energy can translate into success. Here are a couple of the plans for the new garden season:

  • Build two new raised beds. I now have a 20′ x 20′ raised bed that I made 10 years ago, but the problem I have is I’m running out of room. So this year I plan to make three smaller ones in the pioneer women style. I will use these for tomatoes, herbs, peppers and then the third I’m planning to give to my son to plant whatever he wants to. Then that will leave the bigger garden for things that need more room and more harvesting.
  • Potatoes in containers. I read about this last year so think I’m going to try experimenting  with container grown and traditional and see how they compare.
  • Waterline, this is a self serving item, I want to run a waterline in the ground to my garden that is 140 ft from my house. This will also allow for an easy method of using my rain barrel water in the garden with out making 100 plus trips with a watering can.
  • Irrigation, going to hopefully try this out as a method of watering some of my garden, kinda the reason for the waterline.
  • New compost, I have gotten better at composting but my current problem is that I need to add some more volume to my system. I now use a plastic store bough unit and a homemade polyboard one, both are full and need emptying and moving, but I want to make a third unit. I have some ideas but will need to plan that over the next couple of months.
  • Expand my compost tea, attempts from last season, I would like to try some more of this in the garden and flowers this year.
  • Research more environmentally friendly methods of weed control since we are out of the weed man frustration of 2009

Lastly spend more time in the garden with the boss.  

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