Monday, April 11, 2011

Germination within a week

Wow - I planted the first salad table last Wednesday. Just now as I was watering it I saw some germination on the Arugula side of things. Sweeeeeeet!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

First salad table of spring

One of my core beliefs to is say f*ck conventional wisdom and trust my own gut, beliefs, and experience. So in light of that - I'm already more than a week behind last year.

Ok - so this winter was a motherf*cker. But I'm looking at a week of straight 50s with some 60s action (and even a bloody flirtation with 70 this Saturday). Night-time temps are going to be low 40s - and tonight's will be 38.

So with the hoop-house frame designed by my friend and neighbor Jack over top of one of my salad tables, and plastic sheeting over top of that, my first salad table should be warm and moist by day, and should sleep soundly and well protected at night.

Into the first - some good hardy stuff that we LOVE to eat...arugula (aka rocket, both wild and domesticated), lacinato (aka dinosaur) kale, and a mix of endives and escaroles. Everything organic. Everything edible.


Let's see how the actualities align with my own gut, wisdom, and experience. Last year, we were eating greens by the end of April. I'm guessing this year it will be no later than May 1st!!!

It's spring again

A long time since I've posted. But spring finally came this week in Minneapolis and like a genetic switch in me, the need to plant has come on strong!

It's still chilly at night. So I've only started to plant my fresh herbs. I start them indoors, in my front porch, where they can get some tremendous sunlight during the morning and early afternoon hours. BIggest thing is that they're protected from the chill at night.

Yesterday I planted three square home-made earthboxes.

1: Rosemary, basil x 2, mint
2: Thyme, basil, Italian parsley, mint
3: Oregano, marjoram, thyme, sage

You can see that I've got the cornerstones of the herb garden going, what I like to refer to as Simon & Garfunkel (parsley, sage...)

Also, basil for pesto (to freeze for winter) and caprese salads for a summer of goodness.

And mint for a summer's worth of mojitos (the warm-weather gardener's best friend).

It doesn't take much room to get these precious babies started. All you need is a sunny window.

And then you can stop paying for those little plastic packages of herbs at your local grocery store! (At least until November).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How to make your own earth boxes

First of all - massive apology for taking two weeks to get this video uploaded. Technical issues uploading through blogger. So I think I'm now going to upload to youtube and post the links here.

I make several types of earth boxes.

These instructions are for using a plastic planting pot - the kind you'd buy at a nursery or garden center. I believe I got these years ago at a large big box hardware place with an orange & white logo.

It should take you less than an hour to convert one of these into a container suitable for herbs.

Another post will show you how to make the big 20 gallon ones I use for tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, watermelon. etc.

Here is part one...

Here is part two...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Home made container gardening with crazy yields

OK. So there are these things called EarthBoxes. They're brilliant. My buddy Tim turned me on to them. I'd been doing tomatoes in pots (echos of my apartment-living days in NYC). Once I switched to these babies, I was AMAZED at the yields. I'm talking 12' high heirloom plants, grown organically. Crazy yields.

Downside - they're expensive.

So I started making my own.

Another day - I'll show you how to make the big 20 gallon tubs that I use a lot for bigger plants (cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers).

But here is how to make the little ones I use for herbs.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mid April Update

First serious rain of the season Monday night. Thunder & lightning and everything, including a lightning strike on a house just five blocks away!

Luckily with the rain, the garden is looking good.

First daffodil blossom of the season...
The thrice-moved Peony is starting to break ground...

The mystery bush (dare I say Mighty Boosh?) is flowering...
Rhubarb is coming up...
More importantly, the herbs are coming along nicely in the front-porch/green-house...

Cucumbers and zucchini seedlings coming along beautifully. I'll transplant into home-made earth boxes soon....

Tristan and I were so excited to see the first strawberry blossom...

Then we noticed another plant with FOUR blossoms...

More to come soon on how to build your own earth boxes for less than $10 each.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hoop houses for salad tables

So yesterday - after only 6 days since planting!?! - my rapini and arugula started to hit the underside of the old windows acting as cold-frame covers.

I bumped into my neighbor Jack, who told me he'd rigged a hoop-house over his salad table. He showed me what he did, gave me some of his wood-strips and plastic sheeting.

And now we have the Salad Table Mach Two.

Low and behold how easy it is to cover. Jack and I intend to leave our hoop-house structures up all season. Come the warm weather, we might cover with mesh for a bit of shade. Come fall - I'll put the plastic back on to give us a few more weeks (or maybe even months - we'll see how it works) of fresh and essentially free greens.

Here is how to build the hoop-house frame...

Here is what it looks like the the plastic cover on top...