Sunday, April 3, 2011

Gardening with kids and so much more!

There are some days where you just take a step back and really see what is happening. The kids and I accomplished so much in the yard today. We started the day outdoors right after lunch. I set the kids to clearing the yard of fallen branches while I assembled my daughter's new raised garden bed in the exact spot she wanted to put it. She picked the spot very carefully - making sure that it was sunny all year round and could be seen from her window. This project took a little longer than expected, but we got it assembled, weed barrier down, filled it with soil and some compost and planted the flowers she picked out. She planted Day Lilies, Alyssum, Wildflowers, and sunflowers (behind the bed), some mounding perennials, and left enough space to put in a small hill of cucumbers with a trellis. She was very pleased with the results:

After two hours of hard work on the garden bed, the kids needed a break and here are the results:

After I hosed off the kids, I spent time building an extension on my Lasagna Garden. I have three lasagna beds and I have lots of ideas on how to expand. Last year I quadrupled the length of my biggest garden bed and added a grape arbor to another. The one with the grape arbor will also be expanded this year, but I'm still working out the thoughts on how to do it in my head. It is my oldest and I have some tree issues in it - meaning I have three trees that are quick growing and just won't die. The bed I expanded today - nearly doubling it's length - is the middle of the three beds. My plans are to leave this bed at its current length for this season and work on solving the problems in the oldest bed and working on its expansion.

Then, while the kids picked up around the play set (read: played on the play set and pretended to be picking up) I brought out my nine tomato plants to perform my mom's early planting experiment. The other day she suggested we try using a quart jar to cover the seedlings so they do not freeze at night. This way they can be planted two weeks earlier than I normally would. This feeds my clinical diagnosis of - Gardener's Impatience Disorder with 4/15 Date Yearning. GIDDY for short.

I took one plant from each strain of tomato I am growing, buried them deep, covered them with jars, and covered the jar about halfway up with the surrounding bedding. Looks good! Let's see if they live or die!!

Look! I grew 1 Quart Mason Jars!

I am really looking forward to my first tomato sandwich this year! For now, here are a few other pictures from my day today!

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  1. Glass Quart Jars will probably overheat the tomatoes on a day like today (April 4.) Using salvaged 2 liter drink bottles full of water around the tomato to give it radiant heat won't overheat them. I have heard of people using a jug just on one side of the plant but I prefer to send in radiant heat from each side. I have seen tomatos go down to 16 degrees with this technique.