Okay, so it has been a while since I posted. Summer is here and since Mother’s Day weekend, things have tended to be a bit busy. Over the Mother’s Day weekend, my family and I spent time at a Carnival at Ocean View, took the ferry over to Portsmouth to the Seawall Festival that included a huge amount of artists and craftsmen and swung by the Greekfest at the Greek Orthodox church in Norfolk.
I just had to get my yearly fix of Loukoumades. Unfortunately, yet another group of God’s special squad was there telling everyone that we were all going to hell. Does anyone else find the oddness of this scene?
(Please read the following in the voice and style of Lewis Black) In case the oddness eludes you, the Greekfest is held annually at the Greek Orthodox Church in Norfolk on Grandby Street.
Yes, we are at a church, but evidently not he right one for this particular local God squad.
Onto better items; Yard Projects.
I like to garden as in grow my own food. Just one slight problem. I do not own that much land and, more importantly, I do not have the time to tend to any garden of substantial size.
Due to these limitations, I have developed and adopted both size and time saving techniques. I have even grown cucumbers using a static hydroponics system.
The two biggest rules I follow are to grow items that produce a lot in a small space and to do it as cost effectively.
This includes using rain barrels to supply most of the water I need and to get my seed from produce I know I like. So far I only have two 45 gallon water barrels but, I do plan on getting or making more. the ones I currently have are commercial ones and I would like to make some more cost effective ones out of 50 gallon barrels.
The seed is more simple. there are several types of tomatoes I like and, much to my delight, produce seed that you can actually grow plants from. The easiest thing to do is select a container you want your seed to start in or grow in once spring and summer arrives and place a few of these tomatoes out in the container during the colder months.
Yes, tomato seeds are not that expensive, but have you ever spent time growing something only to find out that the final product is a huge disappointment? All that time and resources wasted.
I have tried to get seed from cucumbers I like from the grocer and even though I can grow cucumbers next year, they cannot compete with ones I have grown from Burpee cucumber seeds.
Now, what if you don’t have a container to grow something in? Well, obviously, you can buy several or you can, if you are a bit handy, build your own. This is very cost effective as such custom built containers often last much longer that mass produced plastic or wood containers. They can be even more cost effective if you are re-using materials.
Here you see several re-used containers that originally held evergreen bushes. Why would anyone throw these away when they paid for them and they can be re-used?
The five clustered together are tomato trees. This is the first year I have tried to grow them. These variety of tomatoes are supposed to need no external supports. You do have to trim of some of the suckers, but the main plant is supposed to get up to 6′ tall and produce tomatoes.
The plant off by itself is a collection of what is commonly called Moon Flowers. I was really upset over these. Out of a bag 12 seed, only four grew and one of them was eaten by something to the point that it died. These three will be placed in a custom built planter, painted to match another one I made and placed int eh front yard with one trellis per plant. the trellis for these are called a flower obelisk.
The rather beefy looking planter behind them is made from re-used wood. Here is a look from a different angle.
Yes, for a cucumber planter, it might be a bit of overkill, but it will support a great deal of weight and, again, all re-sued wood. The 4X4 posts were originally used in a fence on my property that I no longer need. The 2X6 planks were part of a section of the fence that required a footer to hold back soil. It has since been replaced by the raised flowerbed in my front yard you have seen in other pictures.
So making this box cost me nothing but time. the posts were 10′ tall originally and are now cut down to 5′ each. I may add additional upright supports made out of 2X2X8′ depending on how tall the cucumbers want to grow.
The planter next the cucumber planter is new and will be the format I plan on using as standard. The “standard” design I came up with is to build a box out of 1X6 PT lumber with 2X2 PT posts in the corners. The height of the 2X2 posts depends on what the planter will be used for. The one pictured will be used for Brussels sprouts. These plants grow a large stem, but it tends to fall over if unsupported. As the stem grows, I will attach them to the support.
The one I will build for the moon plants in the front yard will not have the large upright supports. The box will be 3′ x 1′.
Here is another view of the box. The large plant is the only surviving one from a first batch where an over-zealous cabbage worm went to town. there are a series of new ones just planted.
And now we come to the largest experiment in my garden so far. I say experiment because, depending on who you listen to, the following items are either fantastic or a total disaster. I also say experiment because any experiment requires repetition.
All of the plants were grown from seed. There are a combination of heirloom tomatoes, wine tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and one cucumber plant.
So, what do you think? Too much? What’s the use of performing an experiment unless you go big.
I have to admit, this was not my initial idea or plan for these. I was only going to use one post and only go for four TopsyTurvy planters, then I saw these pictures from this Amazon link.
Now, in all honesty, at this point, I am highly skeptical I will get these results for many reasons. Whatever the outcome of the experiment is, I will details the reason then. It should only be a few weeks to tell.