Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Repurposed Wire Fencing

A while back I mentioned getting my neighbor's old wire stock fencing.


It turns out the gauge is a bit heavy to make tomato cages, so I had my son build some trellises.  He would say that I hung over him, giving him needless orders.

The first is against one fence panel. It turned out better than I envisioned it, which is always good!  He used cable staples (Try explaining what a cable staple is to the young men in a hardware store.  No, they don't go in a staple gun. No, they are not next to the nails.  You'd think employees, and men to boot (sexist remark I know!) would know what a cable staple is, if I do!) to fasten the wire up.  It was just the right measurement to go between the fence rails!  I did not build the fence, if I had the rails would have been nailed differently.  This way uses hangers, which I am not a fan of, but will see how they last.  I was not living here when I contracted for the fence, so I get what got built.

Trellis on the fence for some sort of vines, perhaps gourds and baby pumpkins

Cable staples fasten the wire to the fence rails
Two of the big plastic containers will be filled with soil at the base of this trellis.  My son already drilled drainage in the bottoms.  Teenage sons are handy!


Then with 4' lengths of the wire, and two posts, we (he) made three portable trellises for peas or cucumber, or whatever needs some support.  The stakes are pointed on one end and the trellises span the cinder block raised bed perfectly, with the stakes in the holes.


Salvaged wire trellis - Boo and his ever present tennis ball

Cable staples again
Then... with the remaining wire, I had it cut lengthwise, and into smaller pieces, which I bend into arcs to set in planters to protect the growing baby plants.  For some odd reason Boo had been taking bites out of the newly sprouting Meeker raspberry canes.  He was also in the habit of placing his tennis ball in the first or second boysenberry pot.

Meeker raspberry with new protective barrier

Boysenberries with ball repellent barriers
A lot of nice trellises and barriers from some free scrap wire fencing and stakes costing a few dollars a pack.  I did have to make a quick run to The Grange for some bolt cutters, the wire cutters we had were not sufficient.  But, I don't count those into the cost of the projects, since tools are reused other times. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Spring has Sprung!

While the nights are still quite cold, and we are expecting below freezing temperatures, the days have been gorgeous.  The trees, flowers, bushes, seeds, etc. are bursting out.

The asparagus is coming up.  The spears are not at all uniform in size.  There's something to research.

Asparagus




The peas started to come up a week ago. I took off the netting that kept seed eating varmints away.
The lettuces and spinach emerged today, just a tad.

Cascadia Peas

Spinach
Berries are doing great.  The strawberries in the new bed all have new growth already.  All seven boysenberry "sticks" are getting buds and leaves.  The Meeker raspberry has come up in all over.  It's a good thing it's in a planter!

Strawberry with new growth - March 16

Meeker Raspberry

Boysenberry
The forsythia is in bloom. It isn't as showy as in the past, as I have yet to properly prune it!

Forsythia

Spring isn't all good news though.  The tree frogs have abandoned our yard, migrating a few doors down, where there must be a pond or an unused pool.  I hope some return, I love their little croaks. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Indoor Seedlings!

THEY'RE UP!

I have teeny baby tomatoes!
I sowed them indoors on the 9th, and here it is, only 5 days later, and some are up!  You know the best place to sprout seeds?  On top of the refrigerator. The warmth comes from underneath, and there is no need to buy a heat mat.  Cover them with plastic and once they sprout move them under the grow lights.  The light is so bright, I put a piece of cardboard over the front so it wouldn't bother me.  The light is just over my shoulder when I am at the computer. 



Saturday, March 9, 2013

Spring Gardening To-Do List

To-do lists motivate me!  Crossing each project off in turn as they get done gives me a feeling of accomplishment.  Too often I think I am getting nowhere, but looking at my to-do list shows just how far I have come.

My current "To-Do" list is as follows.  The items in red have been finished.   Red and black mean I am currently working on it! 

1) New "Magenta" rockroses near sidewalk (one done, I haven't decided where the second one will go)
2) Rock tier around stump by deck, fill with soil and extra strawberry daughters
3) Rock edged flower bed under Erika’s bedroom window
4) Plant iris under Erika’s bedroom window
5) New plant where barberry was
6) Plant peas 
7) Plant boysenberries
8) Fill new raised bed with soil
9) Cement in rock edging of lawn
10) Remove junipers in front yard
11) Trim tree over herb garden
12) Remove plants in corner of lawn area (the ones with something wrong with them)
13) Start seeds inside (bell peppers and tomatoes, other veggies in a few weeks)
14) Direct seed carrots, lettuce, radishes (March)

This morning I finished the new strawberry bed!  More black plastic to remove of 
course.  It had been unkept bed of succulents and rocks.  The strawberries are some of the daughter's from my plants last summer.  I gave dozens away, and was left with 12 extra that didn't fit in the main strawberry bed. 

New Strawberry Bed - before
New Strawberry Bed - after
    Only in my yard can a person build up a bed with another tier of rocks, and have a pile of rocks left over!  (See April 8, 2012 for "My Many Rocks")  This is after some for the new iris bed too!

The lower tier was existing, I added the top ones to make the bed deeper

Leftover rocks- how is that possible? 

The wire trellis is just a temporary barricade to protect the strawberry plants from the dogs, predominately Edward, who thinks the new soft soil is an ideal  nap spot for dogs.

(This post's format got all fouled up somehow.  The font changed, the photos moved over some... yet, I didn't set anything different.) 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Peas and Blueberries

Got the peas planted right on time, February 20.  They are the same kind as last year, in fact they are from the same package I bought last year!  Most seeds last for more years than the seed companies want you to believe.  These are Cascadia, which can be eaten as sugar pea pods, or as shelled peas.

Erika, my daughter, planting Cascadia peas.
We planted them on both sides of my new metal trellises.  Cascadia doesn't grow much more than 3' high, so the trellises will do fine.

I put netting over the bed, which will stay until the peas are well up.  When I planted a fall crop something dug them up, and I assume, ate all but four.




Since my four blueberries are all one variety, Bluecrop (or at least that is what I was told), I bought a different variety for better pollination.  Blueberries are self-pollinating, but they do much better with another variety nearby.  I got a Draper, a mid-season variety.  Both the Bluecrops and the Draper have formed flower buds!  Draper's are larger and further along.  I have decided that if my Bluecrops don't do well, they're out, and are being replaced by nursery stock.  My $5.00 Craigslist bargain berries (the Bluecrop) don't look nearly as nice as the $6.00 nursery Draper!  I had no idea the nursery stock was so reasonable!

Draper Blueberry Bud - the top bud is the flower, the buds on the stem are the leaves.