Wednesday, February 11, 2015

a little progress on the to-do list

Back on January 19 I created a list of goals for the garden.  You can see the list here.  I am pleased to report a little progress on a couple of the items on the list. 

On the weekend we had a bit of sun and some warmth so it was a good day to work outside.  I always like to reuse items if I can and last year Nikole and Brad shared some fencing that they had purchased for their yard hoping to deter their large number of bunny visitors to their garden.  They did not feel that the wire was successful and brought their excess to the farm.  There was a lot of fencing and last year I cut a bunch of it to make a trellis for the pole beans and a second one for the peas.  I used some of it to make a few tomato cages from this plan.  I wanted to see if I liked them and if they worked as well as advertized (they did) I would make more.  I also had spotted a couple of wooden rectangles constructed of 2z4s in the machine shed that at one time had belonged to my dad and he was willing to share so I topped each of the frames with fencing to make racks for curing/drying vegetables after harvest.  This was not on the to-do list and would not be needed until harvest but since they required a bigger section of the fencing it made since to cut those bigger pieces first and then the smaller pieces for the tomatoes from what was left.  I was able to get fencing cut and attached to the 2x2 posts to make six tomato stakes.  I have a bunch more to do but was glad to have gotten a start.  The next warm day I hope to knock out a few more. 

Also on the list were several items in the greenhouse. I am always looking to make better use of the limited growing space in the greenhouse.  Note to anyone thinking of building a winter growing space: if you can, build it bigger than you think you want!  Back in December I added a shelf for germinating seeds.  I was able to find a coated wire shelf at Menards that fit my seedling heat mat and mounted it on the wall.  This freed up table space for another couple of tubs of lettuces.  Not long after that Caitlin and I were back at Menards and bought 10 metal L shaped shelf brackets to put on the East and West end walls for more shelving.  This shelving would hold flats of seedlings that come off the heat mat and trays of shoots and cresses that are grown right in the black trays.  I put up four of the brackets and scrounged up two 48 inch long pieces of plywood for two four foot long shelves on the west wall.  For a few days the boards rested on top of the shelf brackets without being fastened as I wanted to make sure that I had it right before committing to it permanently.  I was kind of glad that I waited to fasten as I decided that I would put longer boards and more brackets onthe west wall and move the shorter boards to the east wall. I left that arrangement for a couple of days to make sure that it was right and then fastened it all down.  Number of square feet of growing space added: east wall 8, west wall 16.

east wall

west wall
I did something similar to create suspended shelves over the row of tables in the center of the room.  I wanted a way to use the space above the tables without too much shading of the plants on the tables.  I picked up a couple of coated wire shelves and temporarily hung them with bale twine to see if I liked it.  Once I determined that it would work we purchased more shelving and used hardware and chain that dad had to permanently hang the shelves.  Number of square feet of growing space added above tables: 20.
temporary suspended shelves
new chain supports replace the twine

I am thinking that those spaces will become vital once we get started with growing the summer transplants.

Right now I start my winter greens seeds in the greenhouse but I am starting my tender summer plants in the house where the temperature is consistently warm.  When I have guessed that we are done with below zero temps I will move the seed starting out to the greenhouse but for now, when it drops to way below zero even with supplemental heat it still may drop down to 25° in the greenhouse overnight.  25° degrees is tolerated by the greens but most of the others would be goners.  It is kind of early yet for starting most things but the asparagus seedlings are up and flourishing.  On my to-do list is an item to plant the remaining asparagus.  I am planning four 16 foot long rows of asparagus in my big garden. One went in two years ago and another two went in last year and the last will go in this spring.  We have started all of our asparagus from seed and had good success. 
asparagus seedlings
 Because the asparagus seed packet did not fill my tray I planted some herbs thinking that even though it was too early to start seeds for transplant to the outdoor garden these could be potted up as houseplants until spring.  So I planted some of two kinds of basil, some sage and some thyme.  Below is a basil seedling.  It is so darn cute but also pretty amazing.  It is less than two inches tall and has four leaves but even when it was only two leaves it already had that wonderful basil aroma.  One little whiff has me dreaming of caprese with homemade mozzarella and ripened-on-the-vine-and-warm-from-the-garden tomatoes.
baby basil plant
Think spring!



  1. do too have an indoor green thumb! ;)

  2. Ha! I saw your garden last year. Your thumb is green my friend! Emerald green! ;)

    1. Thanks, but you know I didn't take too many pictures of the dead stuff.