Monday, August 27, 2007

Growing what we eat one ingredient @ a time

A Winter's supply of celery growing in a raised bed 2' wide by 6' long. There are also some volunteer tomato plants growing in the far back portion. Not sure what type don't remember ever planting this variety - pale round yellow almost beefsteak like. Of course could be something that popped up from scavenged compost ingredients from a local restaurant.
The celery will be dehydrated and stored in jelly jars vacuum sealed closed to be used in soups and stews this winter.
In earlier growing seasons this bed has housed zucchini, salad greens, pickling cucumbers, and paste tomatoes.
The cinder blocks and pavers were a great free find years ago at my city dump.

One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato ... Four

The two big buckets just in front of our wood pile are potatoes grown using the barrel method. The purplish barrel is something DH had around before we got married. The green barrel is an old plastic trash can cut down that was found curb shopping. There are two more full sized trash cans planted with spuds in the back 40 (feet that is not acres).
Unfortunately I lost my planting sheet that holds such valuable information as species, date planted, and cost of seeds/seedlings. So if memory serves me correctly then there are Red Pontiac and something with a starting with a K planted in each.
Perhaps I am more than just spatially challenged ?
Directly in front is yarrow that I bought from a church sale, then an old cracked crock filled with marigolds and then my Mother's Day Gift a pink clematis.

Look up ...

One of the many stratgeries of an urban farmer is go to vertical. Vertical as in gardening in hanging pots or using a trellis. Sometimes the back of a neighbor's garage or fence. This is my first year growing lemon cucumbers. Worth a do over but still perfer a good tart and tangy green cuke.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Happenings on the back 40' (feet)

This is the cold frame my Go-To-Man built for me out of scrap wood collected from a local shed factory's scrap pile & some upholstery plastic bought with a coupon. Yes, I know you thought that it was just for covering your Aunt's living room furniture.
This little project came after I had spent some time curled up on the couch reading vintage MEN mags about harvesting a salad in the depths of winter. Reality was that shortly after this pic was taken everything growing in here froze.
Upgrade for this coming fall/winter is to insulate the end panels with scrap insulation foam covered with foil (reflection factor) and add a second layer of plastic so there is a 2" or so dead air space between. Will run tests to see if side vents need to be installed.

To the left is our cold frame minus the lid in early June.
There is spinach along with mixed salad greens, a few red onions intended to be compost, beets, and some marigolds for bug protection.
Directly behind in a landscape timber bed is about 8 green bell pepper plants and two red something or other peppers.
To the right is two rhubarb plants on their 3 rd year.
Wood chip mulch curtsy of my city organic dump a.k.a. free.

Almost two months later about the same time of day.
As you can see very shady. In an urban environment there is allot less control in where you plant or what affects your garden outside your lot limits such as neighbor's walnut tree that shade's the very back of my lot/farm.
Despite this so far I have picked 1/2 a bushel of green peppers and numerous salads for DH & myself.
Last year there were 3 hanging baskets of Nasturtiums so this year via falling seeds the pepper bed is full of those edible blooms. To the left in the houseplant container is my Husband's Bloody Butcher Heirloom Tomato plant. A great salad type tom very prolific. Mulched with used hay from our buns.

Satellite Farm

This is a pic of our satellite berry farm located somewhere in our city limits. We don't weed, water, spray, or fertilize.
Just simply enjoy our booty of wild black raspberries, blueberries, and fox grapes.

A good harvest is about 6 - 8 pints total. That's picking every other day in season. Competition is mostly birds (Blue Jays) sometimes deer, and the person who mows once a month.
We make cordials, jam, and fruit syrup for yogurt and ice cream.
Nothing we really depend on like our garden just a nice add on that is free. DH & I have a nice quiet early evening in which there is no conversation just a quiet peace between us.
Something that keeps us bonded much like reading in bed together.

Close up of wild black raspberry shrubs.
Bring off spray and wear old ace wraps on your arms otherwise it's a blood bath.
Scattered in with the berries are some wild concord type grapes (fox grapes), and other odds & ends. Big one to i.d. is of course poison ivy.
On my to do list is to actually take a foraging class Ala Stalking the Wild Asparagus/Euell Gibbons. No matter how many books or photos a person has read and seen there is nothing like learning first hand.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Keeping the Milk Cold

This is a great example of an gas-absorption cycle refrigerator the Crosley Icy Ball Refrigerator in working order. The following link explains in detail the non-electric method of refrigeration better than I can.
It was a true excitement to see one as complete as this @ the Pageant Of Steam in Canandaigua, New York. My only regret is that I wasn't able to speak with the owners who were away from their campsite.

Expanding on a resource

The following Spring after I bought my city home I stumbled on a nursery run by two elderly brothers who had the most varied selecting of plants I had ever seen. The Purple Cone flowers a.k.a echinacea took my breath away despite costing $10 a bucket. I bought 6.
Now seven years later I have new cone flowers that I re pot & sell in my annual plant sale, a beautiful view in my side garden, and when there's a breeze a faint lovely scent fills my home.
The flowers share this bed with Ever bearing Strawberries and an occasional pussy cat on the prowl.
Behind the Cone flowers is a pale Lilac shrub obtained from a vacant city lot for free. Re potted shoots have made me a bit of change.
As you can tell my good neighbor's 1915 there is less than 20' between our homes. The flowerbed defines and provides a buffer.

This honey bee isn't exactly part of our livestock since we can't harvest the honey - yet. Just a matter of my can-do man building us a hive.
It is a possibility waiting to be enhanced.

~~ pelenaka ~~
addicted gardener