May 31, 2009: The New Garden Shed (Part 3) & Garden Doings

There were a few interruptions on the shed building. First was the air compressor dying and its subsequent replacement. Then our neighbor decided to remove part of the hedge that separates our properties, a decision that made us happy as we have had some close calls getting out of our driveway lately. With the first few Bridal Wreath shrubs removed, we will have a clear view of the street and oncoming traffic. Son John was pretty handy with the shrub removal, having access to a fork lift! When he'd finished that job, it was too miserably hot to work on the shed. By noon we'd tied the old record for the hottest day in May at 98F.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

John pulls out the neighbor's hedge

Today it's time to get back to work.

John and Scott work on the roof. That's the garden cart Mr. H bought me for Mother's Day! It certainly has come in handy for hauling lumber and tools to the back yard.

At least we bought new 4'x8' sheets of OSB for the roof. We kind of messed up John's original plans by using the free OSB, as it came in sheets that were only 6' long and under four feet wide. He really has to work at patching them in, but it will all be covered by siding in the end.

Granddog Kobe supervises.

So while the boys built, I did a few chores in the garden. I noticed the bush beans were growing over my raspberries, so I pounded in a couple of stakes and wove some twine to make a makeshift trellis to hold them back. Then I wrapped the twine around the raspberry supports for the morning glory to climb. Something has been eating the morning glory, it may never get strong enough to climb the twine.

Bush beans aren't crowding the raspberries now.

The morning glory has twine to climb if it ever decides to actually grow. I wonder if I can get John to help me straighten those posts. I tried installing them by myself, and I couldn't hold them plumb and drive the screws at the same time. Things like crooked posts really annoy me!

While I was putting in the stakes, Mama Sparrow came flying out of the birdhouse. Knowing she wasn't in there, I opened the roof (I made them with hinges) and took a photo of the inside. Sparrows build deep (tall) nests and burrow into them, so I couldn't see if there were eggs or babies present.

Look how Dan's melons grew with two days of intense heat!

I have a pea! This is Super Sugar Snap, and there are a few pods growing now that the plants are better protected from the birds.

The first potato blossoms.

The potatoes just keep growing. The Yukon Gold, which were slow to start, have now caught up and surpassed the others in growth. The plants are nearly three feet tall now. I hope they aren't all leaf and no potatoes!

I picked 14 ounces of the loveliest spinach! It was more like early spring, baby spinach than almost-ready-to-bolt summer spinach. Not a sign of leaf miners in it, either. I did have to pull two plants that had bolted, but I've been more than happy with my spinach crop this year. I also pulled 10 ounces of sweet green onions, so tonight we'll have a Wilted Spinach Salad for dinner.

Back at the shed.....

The drip edge and fascia boards have been installed. I wonder why I never had this kid build me a house! Hmmm...we've been wanting an addition.

The roofing felt goes on. John built a roller to feed the roofing felt onto a 4'x8' sheet of OSB, then cut it into 8' sections that he could manage by himself. There was a bit of waste in the overlap, but it was much easier on my worker.

A closeup of the roller....a broom handle, two pieces of heavy wire, two 2x4s and a sheet of OSB on sawhorses. Simple but effective.

The end of another day.

May 28, 2009: Carrots & Compressors

Mr. H got the new air compressor. Isn't it a beauty?

I just couldn't wait any longer. I had to pull a couple of carrots, just to see how close they are to eating size. They're still way too small, but I'm sure Cookie will love them....stems, leaves and all. In fact, he's nibbling at them like mad right now.

I also cut two individual heads of lettuce for our dinner. The pretty one on the left is a Yugoslavian Red from Dan, the green one is Buttercrunch. I pinched back some of the basil so it will bush out a bit more. With another small bowl of lettuce leaves, that brought today's harvest to 13 ounces. That puts my total 2009 harvest at exactly 13 pounds. Not bad for mostly greens!

I didn't weigh the four strawberries I picked today. They went straight from the garden to Mr. H's tummy. It's been a long time since we've eaten fresh picked berries!

* Added another 6 ounces to the produce total, I needed onions for tonight's chicken & noodles.

May 27, 2009: The New Garden Shed (Part 2)

Not a good day. The air compressor died, so John has to use a "real" hammer. I'm hearing "Ouch!" quite often, and a few expletives. Building sure goes faster with a nailing gun, so I think I'll go to Harbor Freight tomorrow and buy Mr. H a new air compressor as an early Father's Day present.

I believe the framing is finished now, so it's time to put up some OSB. We're cutting our construction costs by recycling the OSB (that's oriented strand board for the non-builders). My son-in-law is installing vinyl fencing around the mobile home park he and my daughter manage, and the panels come in boxes made of OSB. It's new stuff, there are just a few nails and screws to remove, but it's slightly smaller than the standard 4'x8'sheets. We figured what the heck, it's all going to be covered by siding and shingles anyway and it would be a shame to haul it to the dump.

Not much got accomplished today.

We will also be recycling the 3 windows, an exhaust fan and a skylight! John works for a big RV sales and service company, and if anything comes from the factory with even a little scratch, it's disposed of and replaced by the factory. I'm more than happy to give these items a new home!

May 26, 2009: The New Garden Shed (Part 1)

Our son, John, came over yesterday morning with a load of lumber and supplies, and began construction of the new garden shed. He's not a builder by profession, and he didn't have any blueprints, I just told him what I wanted and he began building. He's smart like that! As usual, click on the photos to enlarge.

He spent yesterday constructing the trusses.

The concrete pad had been extended from 8'x10' to the new 12'x14', and had cured for a few days. John, our other son Scott, and Scott's friend Richard did the concrete work.

John begins building the west wall. It won't be long before the neighbor's horrid fence will once again be hidden from view!

The east wall goes up.

Scott shows up in time to help with the south wall. He's not a builder. I wouldn't even trust him with a hammer! He does, however, make a pretty good gofer and has the muscle to help raise those walls.

Four walls are up, and they put up the trusses.

Now THAT was a good day's work!

May 25, 2009: Pictorial Tour of the Garden (Part Two)

A Pictorial Tour of the Garden (part 2)
(click photos to enlarge)

The north garden

North garden bed #1 contains borage from Cheryl, godetia and pole beans. The mighty cutworm did his work on this garden, too. I have resown seeds of godetia in the center, but I think it's too late for them to do anything. Again, I have some nasturtiums that are ready to fill in, or I might sow some more carrots. One can never have too many carrots! The pole beans were planted too early, and are looking rather sparse. I think I might add another double row on the other side of the chain link fencing, as the lettuce in that small bed is almost past its prime.

North garden barrel #1 holds two kinds of melon seeds from Dan.

North garden bed #2 contains my strawberries and two varieties of onions, sweet and yellow.

The first ripe strawberry. I will savor it this afternoon.

North garden bed #2 holds the new Canby raspberries, which are doing very well and pushing up a lot of new canes, bush beans and spinach. This was the main spinach bed that exceeded my expectations. Once the leaf miners discovered the beet greens, I had very few problems with them harming the spinach.

The bush beans in this bed are just about ready to blossom.

We'll actually get a few raspberries from these new plants.

I cut the spinach right after taking its photo. It was my largest harvest to date, and it filled the kitchen sink.

I didn't even have a bowl large enough to contain it, so I had to weigh it on my cookie pan. It was a whopping 1-pound 10-ounces! I'm actually getting rather tired of spinach, so this will be blanched and frozen for later use.

North garden bed #4 holds the indeterminate tomatoes, a couple of stray brassicas, a pumpkin from Daphne and some lettuce and carrots that got a bit messed up when we installed the posts. The barrels against the fence contain two new blueberries (one growing well, the other doesn't look so good) and more nasturtiums. The pots of peppers that were grown in AZ are also against the fence. The peppers seem to be recuperating from their day of being wind and sunburned in a less sheltered area a couple of weeks ago.

North garden bed #5 is the squash garden. It has zucchini, yellow crookneck and butternut squash, along with a couple of sunflowers. I planted a lot of sunflowers here, but the birds must have made a meal of the seeds.

The tipsy pots got their own drip tubing installed yesterday. Today I'll see just how well that works. Each pot got a double coil of tubing with built in emitters. The lavender colored flowers are a bit washed out in this photo...they really are quite lovely. But that blue Wave petunia really jumps out at you, doesn't it?

And finally, the west garden with it's SWCs of tomatoes, a pot of bush cucumbers (there are also 2 pots of these in the north garden), calendula, basil (something is eating it) and marigolds. I stuck a few leftover lettuce plants in here last night, but this seems to be my most bug chewed bed of all, so I'm not sure they will survive. The tomatoes look great though, and are growing much faster in the containers than those in the beds.

May 25, 2009: Pictorial Tour of the Garden (Part One)

A Pictorial Tour of the Garden
(click photos to enlarge)

The east garden, looking south

Bed #1 in the east garden has carrots, radishes from Cheryl, a few extra lettuce plants and two varieties of beets. The beet leaves are being ravaged by leaf miners, so there will be no greens from this crop. Thankfully it doesn't hurt the beet root. All of the green onions have been harvested from this bed.

Bed #2 in the east garden contains a couple of small cabbages (2 others succumbed to cutworms and were replaced with radishes), nasturtiums and dill. The tall dill in the back is from Daphne, and the compact dill in the front from Dan.

Bed #3 in the east garden contains two varieties of bush beans and parsnips. Birds ate some of the parsnip seedlings, so I had to resow.

Bed #4 in the east garden contains (maybe) broccoli from EG, nasturtiums and onions. The brassica seedlings got mixed up, so it's a tossup whether this is broccoli or cauliflower.

Bed #5 in the east garden contains a variety of lettuces (some recently cut, so not too pretty), a few spinach plants that will be pulled soon to make room for the two varieties of peppers that were recently planted here, and nasturtiums. The peppers haven't yet shown a lot of growth, due to the cool weather we've had. Now that the daytime temperatures are in the 80s, and the night time in the 50s, I expect them to really take off.

Bed #6 in the east garden contains (maybe) cauliflower, parsley and nasturtiums.

Bed #7 in the east garden contains carrots, two more varieties of peppers and more leaf miner ravaged beets.

Bed #8 in the east garden is the potato bed, still growing like mad. The Yukon Golds, which were way behind the early reds, have now caught up and are even surpassing the others in height.

The sugar snap peas on the south fence are finally blooming. They have grown up through the netting now, so I hope the birds don't snap them off again.

Bed #1 in the east (fence) garden contains shallots, which are hiding a potted pepper plant. I'm going to have to start using the shallots, as they are planted too closely, and I noticed one had begun to go to seed.

Bed #2 in the east (fence) garden contains mixed up brassicas, marigolds and tomatoes. Cutworm got one of the brassicas from this bed, so I will be filling that space with nasturtiums.

Bed #3 in the east (fence) garden contains the garlic, which is hiding four pepper plants in the small bed in the back. The garlic is really looking good since it got the cornmeal tea spray. No more yellow (that's sunshine on the tips of the leaves!)

Bed #4 in the east (fence) garden contains mixed up brassicas, marigolds and tomatoes, same as bed #2.

Bed #5 in the east (fence) garden contains chives, Chinese parsley and lemon cucumbers from Cheryl. The pot of cucumbers is getting water from the neighbor's yard as well as mine, so I'm afraid it will have to be moved before it succumbs to over watering.

These lemon cucumbers, also from Cheryl and planted at the same time as the others, look so much better. They only get water from one source.

Remember the large tomato that I brought north from Arizona? It was more than 50 inches tall when it got transplanted to the garden, and the shock made it lose most of its leaves. It's showing new growth and blossoms now, so I think it's going to make it!

To be continued.....