No, I Didn’t Build The Peas’ Support Too High

by Admin 7. June 2012 04:42

Sugar Snap Pea Vines Reach 6 ftBy: Eliza Osborn

Last year I thought I’d built an adequate support for the Green Peas and the Sugar Snap Peas in the garden. After all, it was about 4′ high.

I was so wrong. I just put bamboo in the corners of the raised beds and then strung jute for the peas to climb on. The whole thing collapsed from the weight of the vines and peas. I spent all season trying to prop it back up and not very successfully. Picking the peas was made difficult because we had to hold up the heavy vines to get to the pods. I’m sure we missed a lot of peas last year.

This year I decided to get more creative. I built a scaffolding out of the bamboo poles (we have lots of bamboo, bought in bundles at a thrift store) and then strung twine back and forth. I made it about 6′ tall. I got a lot of comments about how tall it was and was convinced that I had gone overboard a little.

Not so. This week the vines reached the top rung, at least the Sugar Snap Peas have and the English Peas aren’t far behind. I am so glad now that I made it so tall. The vines are loaded with pods already and lots of blooms still coming. Looks like a good year for peas.

Thanks and happy planting!

Growing Your Own Food Is Easy With a Vegetable Garden

by Admin 4. April 2012 09:59

Raised vegetable bed ready for plantingBy: Eliza Osborn

Vegetable gardens are popping up all over the place. Next summer, notice how many people are carving out a little portion of their yard to start a garden to grow some of their own food. I remember back in the 40′s and 50′s small kitchen gardens were the norm, along with a few fruit trees.

It really doesn’t take much space to grow a few vegetables, vegetables that tastes so much better than anything you can buy in the store. The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot of know how either. A little research on the things you want to grow, and you will be a gardener before you know it. If you happen to live where there really is no room for a garden, then grow some things in containers. The containers don’t have to be fancy, they just have to be big enough that the roots will have plenty of room and big enough that there is plenty of soil so that it doesn’t need watering every hour. Good drainage is a must. Boards nailed together to make grow boxes, or barrels cut in half and holes drilled in the bottom will work.

Growing your own vegetables can be a fun family project. Let the kids choose vegetables to plant and help them to learn how to take care of their own plants. I noticed that my children ate vegetables out of the garden so much better than ones from the freezer. I think it was because they had part in planting, weeding, watering and harvesting them.

Times are tough for a lot of families right  now and buying a few packets of seeds might be a really good investment. As the winter months drag on and we plan for the spring and summer, consider giving the vegetable garden a shot.

Raised beds in in front of grape vines on fence in August
Even though I’ve been gardening for so many years, it still amazes me that we can take a little seed, put it in the dirt, and it will make food for us. Isn’t that just amazing?

Thank you and happy planting!

Planting Time Is Finally Here

by Admin 22. March 2012 06:53

Vegetable seeds for this years gardenBy: Eliza Osborn

I finally made it to the garden center to select the seeds for our raised-bed vegetable garden. We have 3 beds that measure 16′x4′. One is located in the back yard by the peach trees, and two are in the side yard, on the other side of the driveway.

We usually grow the peas and lettuce in the side yard beds but this year I’m moving them to the raised bed in the back yard, mainly for convenience sake. It’s easier to dash out the back door and pick peas and lettuce, it’s much closer to my kitchen. The corn and tomatoes will go out in the beds in the side yard.

As you can see from the picture, I have quite a variety that I plan on growing this year. All have done well before, and I really look forward to having them much closer to the kitchen.

Almost all of the ones in the picture need to be planted soon and I’ll be trying to get them all planted today. We are in zone 6, so the time for planting early veggies in your zone may vary. Check the seed packet for that info.

The beans, squash and cucumber will go in later, when the soil warms up a little. I’m planting two kinds of peas, regular English peas and Sugar Snap Peas. Also, I’m planting 3 kinds of lettuce, for variety.

I did get a few packets of flower seeds, but I save so many seeds from my annuals each year that I don’t really need to buy many of those.

The timing is perfect for planting tomorrow because it’s suppose to rain over the weekend, which will water the seeds in really well and give them a good start. Also, I’ll be soaking the peas seeds overnight to give them a little head start.

If you want a really good selection of seeds, now’s the time to get to the garden center and make your selections.

Thank you and happy planting!

Starting a Vegetable Garden…It’s Easy

by Admin 7. March 2012 10:34

A very small vegetable gardenBy: Eliza Osborn

Many people, who have never gardened before, are considering growing their own food this year and backyard vegetable gardens are becoming quite popular. If you're reading this, then likely you are already a gardener, but if not, and you want to start a garden, don't be intimidated.

It's easy, if you follow these simple steps:

  1. Plan
  2. Prepare the Bed
  3. Layout the Plan and then Plant
  4. Water and Keep Moist Till Germination
  5. Watch Garden Grow

For information about each of these steps, check out this article: How To Start a Garden in 5 Easy Steps
Gardening should come with a warning, because it is very addicting.

Thank you and happy planting!

Using Versatile Bamboo Canes In The Garden

by Admin 22. February 2012 06:39

By: Eliza Osborn

Some plants in the garden can’t ‘stand alone’, and they need to be staked. This is true of Delphiniums, Peonies, Dahlias and some others that have tall stems that are unable to hold up in a wind. The flowers then flop over and are ruined.

Some vegetables grow vertically with support, such as beans, peas and cucumbers. Tomatoes need support to grow on as well.

There are all types of supports and stakes you can buy in the store, from metal to plastic, and most of them can get pretty pricey if you need a lot of them, like I do.

I really like using Bamboo canes to stake my flowers and vegetables with. They can be shoved into the ground and then cut off at the length needed. I like to make teepees with them to grow my cucumbers and beans on. They can even be used to create cages for supporting tomatoes. Also can be driven into the ground around the wire tomato cages for more support. You can really do a lot with Bamboo and twine in the garden.

Bamboo comes in a variety of diameters, the wider the stronger, of course. Bamboo is strong, even strong enough to use to prop up branches heavy with fruit. It should last several seasons, and in the right climates may last much longer.

Using Bamboo is easy.

Because of the natural joints along the canes, it is easy to ties plant stems to it without them slipping down. Just drive the Bamboo into the ground near the plant (trying not to injure the roots)  and tie the stem to it in a figure 8 with a piece of hemp or twine. It’s important not to tie it to the plant too tightly. That’s why the figure 8 helps. Tie the twine to the pole tightly, then to the stem loosely.

Another way of supporting flower stems is to drive Bamboo canes into the ground throughout the bed of flowers and make a grid of twine, going back and forth between the canes. The flower stems can grow up through this grid and be supported.
To make a teepee for cucumbers or beans, I drive 4 to 6 bamboo poles into the ground in a circle (you can use as few as  3), before I plant the seeds. Then I pull them together at the top and secure them with twine.  From the top down to about a foot from the ground, I go around the teepee 4 to 6 times with twine (wrapping the twine around each pole as you come to it).   Then I plant the seeds near each pole. As the plants get big enough, I begin to train them up on the teepee. Pretty soon, they get the hang of it and just cover it all the way to the top. Make sure you know the approximate height the plant will grow in order to know how tall to make the teepee.

Bamboo is a natural in the garden.

Thank you and happy planting!