Sunday, March 29, 2009

Recent Veggie Patch Happenings

I am building again. To the right we have the beginnings of Rich's famous Build As You Grow Potato Bin to be made with 1x6 boards and structured with 2x2 & 2x3. In the center we have 1/2 pvc electrical conduit, most will be used for a small greenhouse over an oak half barrel planter and the left over will be use for an electrical outlet I am installing out front. The last bunch is assorted lengths of 2x8 and 2x2 to be used for the additional raised beds I am installing this season.

Are the ripples drops from heaven or a crafty photographer?

I started soaking my peas & broad beans on Friday for planting on Saturday. I am going to start them in peat cell packs in the coldframe. This way they will germinate fast in the warm soil and the squirrels won't eat all my seed. I will transplant them out into the cold hard world April 12th(ish).

Here is the small greenhouse over the oak half barrel planter. I will use this to grow mesclun mix lettuce during the spring on a cut and come again basis. The lettuce and greenhouse will then make way for the three Jersey Devil tomatoes I am growing this summer for salsa and sauce. The tomatoes will then make way for more greens in the fall. Pretty busy planter I must say. I used 6mil vapor barrier plastic I had in the basement and held it in place with a ratchet strap that was in the truck. Well on the greenhouse topic, the 11mil plastic was ordered for the poly tunnel last week and is on its way.

Here we have the first ornamentals of the season, pansies. I plant these ever year around this time in the urns out front. In previous years they have been frosted, snowed on and pelted with sleet and still grow just fine. I will plant them today in the rain, that's how much I need to garden after a long cold winter!

My next post will be an overall update on the seedlings inside and out.


  1. I thought about those build as you grow containers and decided it was too much work. I'm thinking of using a chicken wire enclosure instead.

    I love your barrel that gets so much use. What kind of soil do you have in it?

  2. Daphne - I have used this barrel to grow tomatoes for 5 years now. It is filled with 60% potting soil & 40% bagged compost. It works really well. The chicken wire bin sounds like a great idea and would be really easy to construct.

  3. NO fair, there selling pansies where you are. Okay, I guess it would have been hard to crowbar the frozen soil in parts of my garden to get the pansies in but still... they are my kids favourite. I'll have to look out for them next week as NSD (no snow day) has almost arrived for my front yard.

    I plant peas with some chickwire on the ground to prevent the rascally rodents. Or at least, I usually remember to do this... (better go check my open coldframe).

  4. The materials for a construction project are exciting to see - all the potential of things yet to come!

    I started my snap peas in peat strips yesterday. I like to start snap peas, pole beans, and corn in peat strips and then move them to the garden rather quickly - for the reasons you cited in your blog entry - keeps the birds from eating my seed, better and more complete germination and one more benefit - when I plant them out into the garden I dont' get "blanks" in the planting area from seed that did not germinate. My garden space is valuable to me so I want it filled out with plants as much of the time as possible. Transplants help me achieve that goal more fully.

    Pansys are so cheerful and definitely say "spring".

  5. Hope you have success with your peas and beans! Should be up in no time.

  6. Oh...I love the pansies, Dan! I have three that overwintered, and I really think I need to go buy more. I should have though to start them from seed.


  7. You are such a handy man. I wish I had the know-how to do the things you do. What a busy beaver! I just started my seeds inside, and am very excited, and late. I am planting lots of tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower/broccoli mix thingy. But over all I am just trying to keep it simple since I will gone all summer, and my mom will have to keep up the garden.

  8. We've just planted some pansies out in the village - to brighten up our entry for Britain in Bloom.

    I also sow my peas and beans and transplant out later. Compost is much cheaper than seed and you know that each one is good to go.

  9. I love the barrel greenhouse - how crafty!

    Those pansies are so pretty. I should get some of those for Chiot's Run.

    Hey, can you send me the hi-res version of your Dress Up 2 Cure Veggie man? I want to include it in my blog post tomorrow about the event.

  10. Ottawa Gardener - Our squirrels like to eat the little shoots too though so they would still kill the peas probably if protected with chicken wire. I do use chicken wire well potting the pansies so they can't dig them out constantly. They seem to be really interested in anything in a pot.

    kitsapfg - I hate blank spots too. I have so little space I need every inch full.

    Matron - Thanks, can't wait to see the broad beans bloom.

    Granny - I wish I had thought of start them from seed as well. Next year I will have to remember to have seed by Jan to start them.

    Zach - All my building know-how came just from building things, trial and error. I have never taken a class or been taught by anyone. Your not really late start things, there is lots of time left. The brassica's could have been started a little sooner but they still have lots of time to grow before transplant.

    Vegetable Heaven - Pansies are great things to see in the spring and they are so hardy. I agree that it is better to start the peas and beans before transplant, much better approach.

    Chiot's Run - Glade you like my barrel, it is getting really steamy inside even in todays cold. You should pick up some Pansies, they are so hardy, they just got lightly snowed on today and still look great. I have sent the photo.

  11. We are getting down to 33 here at night in the midwest. I put my early potted plants under a towel on the porch and take them out during the day. I wish I had your mini barrel greenhouse tent thing. It would make like more easy.

  12. You reminded me that sometimes I cage peas for that reason. Often after planting, I like to cover my tracks by spreading a little mulch or something. So the squirrels won't know I've been there. Pots and any dug place in a squirrel's mind must be worth investigation.

  13. Wow -- lots of lumber for your building projects! We've been frequenting Lowes and Home Depot quite a bit ourselves lately LOL It's actually one of my favorite places to shop. Imagine that -- the lumber yard instead of a shoe store.... LOL Nope, I'm just not that kinda girl. Give me a shovel and turn me loose outside and I'm happy.

    Those pansies are beautiful! I love pansies. You know that they are edible? Yep, I saw that on the Dervaes website. They sell pansies to restaurants!

  14. Your blog is so delightful. I am jealous that my pansy shots are not as colorful.
    BIG FAN... who can't wait to stop back soon!

  15. Looking good Dan! Glad to see you're working out making the bins your own! I'll be tracking the progress to update the page. Well done and great pics as always!

  16. Red - You should put one of the PVC tunnels up. The 1/2" PVC is really cheap, about $4 for 8 feet.

    Ottawa Gardener - Those crafty squirrels are enough to drive a gardener crazy.

    Judy - I like going to home centers as well, always something new to find or figure out what to do with. I have heard about eating pansies but have never tried. I did plant a bit of mesclun mix lettuce in the one pot of pansies so maybe I will eat some with the lettuce this year.

    Bren - Glade you like my blog! Yours is very nice as well, great photos.

    Sinfonian - I will be working on the bin next week. My spuds are coming April 10th so I need to get moving.