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Old April 25, 2018   #31
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April 4th - April 18th

Well, I never got to go on the canoe trip, Dad ended up in the hospital and I wasn't comfortable going away for the weekend.

I decided to refinish my Sons room, the poor kid has been asking me for two years to do his room. New paint, tore out the carpet, installed a wood laminate floor, new trim work, next up is the door, ceiling fan, closet space, furniture.

  • Sadly gazing at my garden from Stephens Room while installing the Laminate Flooring.


  • Anyhow the garden stuff was a bit on hold, I did get all my plants in Saturday but in retrospect, I should have waited for a cloudy day. I checked the 10 day and all looked good with the exception of one day being 39°F anyhow, two days so far have been 37°F low and Thursday-Friday the 19-20th, it's supposed to be 38°F for a low it even snowed yesterday for a bit. It really peeves me that the forecast dropped at least 5 degrees the day after I checked the 10 day.
  • I really don't like to put the plants in until the lows are at 40°F and above.






I think I lost all but one of my Asparagus crowns and I'm really down about it, they were on their third year. I ordered another 10 but they wont be here till May.


  • The turtles were out and about.


  • I hooked up a valve to the rain barrel.


Oh, wait, I did get to finish installing most of my irrigation. I tied the new planter into the line, replaced all the single drip emitters in the raised beds with drip lines and put a valve on every bed so I can shut them off individually.

  • I ran a line through my back retaining wall to feed the trellis garden. Drip line couldn't be on the ground because the turtles go in and out here.


  • Got to play with my canning stuff, Redesigning the pantry in the basement, I'll try and get better pics after I finish the shelving this week.






Yay! It hit 35° early this morning.



April 21st - April 25th


My brother and I headed over to the Fairmount Park Recycle Center and picked up some compost and triple ground mulch.


On the way home we stopped at Moms and topped off her Hugelkultur beds and picked up her trimmings from a few of the Arborvitaes she was cutting back.


  • When I got home I covered the rest of the grass on the top garden with cardboard, placed down Moms Arborvitaes trimmings and topped with the triple ground mulch. The grass really never grew here and I wasn't sure what to do with this area so I'm gonna try keeping it Mulched.




  • I ran an irrigation line from the hose bib in the front of the house, inserting the 1/4" line in the expansion joint of the driveway and securing with black silicone. It runs in front of the garage...

  • ... then up along the side of the step and across the sidewalk...


  • ...under the pavers and comes up through the bottom of the Hugelkultur bed... trust me it looks better than it sounds.



  • I then T'd off of the line from the Hugelkultur bed and ran another line to the planter.


  • I placed a shut off valve on each line.




I also emptied out the compost bin and done some mods. One thing I will be doing differently next year for composting is to cut back on the cardboard, I had way too much cardboard in the bin that didn't break down, other than that, everything looked good.


It has been a rough week for my plants with the weather dipping down to 35°F. I may have lost a few more tomato plants, I will confirm what needs to be replaced this weekend, what's odd is that almost all of my peppers don't appear to be adversely affected.


My Cilantro and Dill sprouted and are residing under the Grow lights for now.


All of my Hardy Kiwi plants came back, I will be starting a trellis for them this weekend, my Grapes are budding.

  • Laura picked some Bok Choy and we had Garlic Roasted Bok Choy.


  • This is a picture of my neighbors yard benefiting from my Hugelkultur beds, the area that is real green is where my yard drains into his, we are on a hill and the way the houses are designed is they all slope down to the next yard. I put in a retaining wall over 20 years ago and leveled the yard, the area that is real green is a cut out in my retaining wall. I built the wall then the fence because I got tired of sliding off the hill and getting stuck under the fence when mowing the lawn, that and the fact we had our first child and I didn't feel it was a good idea to have such a slope. I benefit from the runoff too because I ask for his grass clippings sometimes.



I recently got into canning in an effort to "hopefully" can some of my harvest and free up the freezer. It seems that I'm not diligent enough to rotate stock in the freezer and food will sometimes go to waste, well compost actually, hopefully canning will be a better approach. The Pressure canner came in Friday so I got some "practice" canning done, I'm a newbie at canning so I got much too learn.










  • I'm excited about this one "Buffalo chicken"


This weekends (garden) project are to;
  • Dig out the dead Asaparagus bed and dig down 18", and refill with compost, plant new crowns and remulch
  • Build the Hardy Kiwi Trellis
  • Run an irrigation line to the front of the house planter.
  • Install a doggie septic system "Dog poop Digester".


Some other to do items, purchase a larger planter for the Koi Pond Patio, pick up some compost and mulch from the recycle center, remulch the front lower garden, clean up the hill to make room for the Hardy Kiwi's, tighten up the compost bin with some stainless steel bolts, plant the leeks and do a final check on which plants need to be replaced.


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Old April 27, 2018   #32
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April 25th - April 27th

The Canine Waste Digester idea is out, the hole failed the perc test, so I'll be filling in the hole with some house garbage, compost and other yard waste, I busted my nuts digging out that clay, I'll be dammed if I put it back in there!!

  • Started digging out the Asparagus bed, I am going to dig 18" deep this time and add Black Kow, my compost and some city compost to the bottom. I set aside the top 6" of soil as it was good, the clay soil is going to my brother for fill. This crown pictured below actually had 2 sprouts, but I removed it anyhow. Purchasing the Black Kow is another thing that has me a bit peeved, my goal for 2018 was to rely on my compost and the recycle center ONLY!!


  • Hitting hard clay and granite.




  • I dont know if this is some kind of test or some higher power doesn't want me to be a happy gardener, but after I dug out the crowns and started on the sides I hit something hard, well it appears one of my turtles picked a bad place to hibernate, only the shell was left. I am wondering if it was due to him having a piece of his shell broken off in the front where he couldn't seal up tight. He did overwinter last year... very sad! His shell will be going to an environmental center for an educational display.
Turtle shell top left.



This morning before work, I picked up a new planter from Lowes for the Koi Pond Patio. I also grabbed some "Detroit Dark Red" Beet seeds. I hopefully will try canning some Red Beets this year.


After work, I stopped at Home Depot and picked up some Black Kow and Peat Moss for the Asparagus bed, I was really annoyed having to do this. My goal for 2018 was to not purchase any type of soil amendment, but with the death of my asparagus bed I had no alternative.


  • Started on the trellis, I'll be cutting the laterals Saurday but will "loose fit" them so they can easily be removed in the fall to be stained.


  • The horizontal 2" x 6" supports will be stained to match the fence, the upright 4" x 4" will be stained the same color as the Hugelkultur beds.


  • I had to get a bit creative installing the 10' 2" x 6" horizontal supports with no assistance.


  • The area under the new trellis will always be used for garden supplies and firewood as well as other miscellaneous stuff, but I wanted to be able to grow something in this spot, I felt the space was wasted from a gardening standpoint, hopefully the Hardy Kiwis will do well here. I need to reorganize the area under the trellis and get my Hardy Kiwi plants in this weekend.


  • Next up, reinforcing the compost bin with some stainless steel hardware.

  • Last week I installed a piece of "all thread" to keep the sides of the compost bins 6"x 6" sides from spreading, what was happening was, the weight of the compost was bowing out the sides of the compost bin (plastic part) and the wood below it as well. I'm debating if I want to leave the front open as shown, or cover it up, the jury is still out on that one.


  • Back to the asparagus bed, dug out a bit more, probably a little shy of 18" total, loosened up some of the clay soil.

  • Layered in some compost, wood ash/char, Black Kow, Sphagnum Peat moss and 5 gallons of rain water.


I have some more amendments, including some of my clay soil that I'll be adding this weekend, mixing real well and then topping with the original top soil that was removed. The Asparagus crowns are supposed to be here by Saturday.


  • Planted some Detroit Dark Red Beets. The small Planter is just Red Beets. Large planter has some beets around the perimeter, the center was a Sprite Tomato plant that died, I will be replacing with another cherry type tomato, hopefully.


  • Planted some beets with my Listada Di Gandia Eggplant...



  • ... also around this tomato plant.


Planted some perpetual spinach the other day that seems to be doing OK, I tossed in a bunch of sunflower seeds in the Hugelkultur Beds for the wildlife.


  • Raspberries

  • Bok Choy



  • I'll definitely be growing this again, Laura cooked some the other day, sauteed with a tad of oil and garlic, and we both liked it, but she really liked it.

  • When I built this Hugelkultur bed last fall to replace the planter, I wasn't happy with it, because to be quite honest, it looked a little obnoxious. I was going to tear it out at the end of this season. After we added the uprights (other side, not finished yet), stained it, and moved the bench back to the edge of the patio and added a more proportionate planter it makes the area look much nicer. "Proportionate", lol, thats just my way of justifying a larger planter to plant more stuff. The new planter will be for flowers and leeks. Laura wanted flowers in the planter, I usually plant Leeks in it, so I compromised, I purchased the larger planter that will be half leeks and half flowers... see, I'm easy to get along with.


  • Phlox



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Old April 27, 2018   #33
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I continue to enjoy reading about your on going projects, I am in awe of how many things you have going on at once. You must be an engineer by profession, right?

Too bad the canine waste digester didn't work out. My sister has a "doggie bathroom" at the end of their yard where the dogs are encourged to do their business. They are pretty good about it most of the year, but get lazy when the snow is deep, and spring clean up is always a pain.

Sorry to hear about the deceased turtle, that is sad. Do you have any mating going on with the rest of them? Any eggs laid that you know of? There is nothing cuter than a baby box turtle! Not that you need any more turtles.
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Old April 27, 2018   #34
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Thanks, my goal is for 2018 to be the last year for building stuff and concentrate more on actual gardening in 2019
I had a female years ago that would lay eggs but pretty sure they weren't fertile and never took.

Yeah, you get attached to these guys, especially after they're taken from the brink of death and nursed back to health, its a joy to see them come out of hibernation, you then know they can make it on their own, because sometimes you dont know if it was a pet and has no clue how to hibernate. You would think its instinctive but I had one turtle walking around in the snow, I had to bury him several times until he got the idea.

This one is getting released this year I believe



My daughter had a snapper turtle in the bathroom a few days that was recently released after a bit of patch work.
He likes looking out the car window like a dog lol.
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Old April 27, 2018   #35
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Quote:
My daughter had a snapper turtle in the bathroom a few days that was recently released after a bit of patch work.
He likes looking out the car window like a dog lol.
Oh, how funny! He'd probably stick his head out if the window was rolled down! Thanks for your tender care in fixing and releasing these little creatures. Life is tough for them with roads and cars and destruction of their environment.
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Old April 27, 2018   #36
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I really enjoy reading your documentary and love all the pictures you share. Some great projects!
One winter, we had a box turtle hibernate in the corner of our garage under a pile of leaves that had blown in. Found him during spring cleaning.

Keep up the sharing!
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Old April 27, 2018   #37
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A great read. Sqwib, you must have boundless energy to do all that work!

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Old April 27, 2018   #38
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Hey sqwibb! Great thread and I wish I had seen it earlier. I'm sorry to hear about your garlic dying...mine looks amazing and has been one high point during this seemingly extended winter which rotted a fair% of peas I so
wed in mid-late March!



I do a lot of compost from shredded leaves, grass, and kitchen waste. Coffee grounds...I tried a couple years ago and it was like having to pull teeth and being made to feel like a beggar at the same time. That waste stream is sinful. This fall I will get horse manure again, which wouldn't be feasible for you in the city/suburbs. Leaves, when I see a pile I want, particularly in Nov/Dec when I see someone raking, I'll stop and ask and we load them in my 8ft bed. I didn't really like cover crop results, but I do leave many roots in the ground and lay shredded leaf mulch over them for winter. Maybe I will give cover crop another chance, but basically my beds are still going into Oct so there is not much time to start a cover crop.

Depending on your situation, you might benefit from adding redworms right to your compost bin. I have a lot in my piles. Some I added and inevitably some come with the horse manure as well. Even in hot compost they seem to survive by moving to outside of the piles, and manage to overwinter in the center of a big 1+ yd pile.

Still and all, I don't know I'd start seeds without buying peat moss for seed starting. I use soil blocks with basically 50% peat, 25% perlite, 25% finished vermicompost (leaves/horse manure in a big plastic bin left outside) and maybe 1% combined lime/blood meal/greensand/rock phosphorus. It is a lofty goal to cut those bags out entirely but I don't think it is worth beating yourself up over when you are forced to buy some.

I guess I hit post at some point so was editing it...I was going to offer to catch you some "real" turtles but then I saw you have one riding in the car. I found a big dessicated toad this spring that tried to hibernate in a roll of agribon in my shed. It's a shame he froze solid while the mice make it through, but that's the way of it some times.

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Old April 29, 2018   #39
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What a beautiful thread.
This is well written, interesting and unique. Thank you for sharing your garden adventures.
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Old April 30, 2018   #40
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Thanks MissS, I enjoy writing the progress and sharing, I feel that when I write and post pics, I get so much feedback and its helpful.

@JR, I had some garlic survive on the lower area of the yard, nothing to write home about, but I'll try again in the fall.
I hear you on the compost, I just keep nagging away. I dont like getting any yard waste from anywhere but my own yard and on occasion my neighbors. Just made another decent haul at Starbucks but thts even a hassle.
I can get Horse Partially composted manure at the recycle center, Ill post a couple pics in my next update.
I have thought about trying redworms but to be hones I am much happier when I get soldier flies in the compost heap, them boys work! Plus I was worried about redworms not overwintering, curious that yours survive, its great to know there's another option.

Seed starting, forgot all about that. I will still purchase my potting soil once a year.
Frogs, thats another sad note. I have 2 ponds and a few frogs always end up in the pond and never make it, I dont know why they dont move on and chance overwintering in a pond that has no muck.

@ddsack, yeah I was hoping to get a picture of him with his tongue hanging out lol.

@Nan, no boundless energy here, I really hurt the next day, plus I pace myself during the day. I will do a bit of work and try to stay out of the sun, I can take a little heat but I absolutely can not be out in the sun, I get fatigued, short tempered and headaches some times, hell I squint at night, no I'm not allergic to garlic lol.

@Hensaplenty they are awesome creatures and its sad that they are an easy target to be scooped up and taken home as a pet. I have caught them in the past taken them home to show the kids (when little) then later that day take them back to where I found them.
The ones in the yard have been rescued from uncaring folks that captured them and a few that lost their home due to total devastation (construction)
There should be a law that when a wooded area is decimated that a sweep is done by professionals (Volunteers) to relocate as many helpless animals. So many nesting creatures are destroyed. I'm not a tree hugger but have grown to respect all wildlife, mostly since my daughter has been rehabbing wildlife.
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Old May 8, 2018   #41
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April 27th - April 29th

Friday after work I stopped at Starbucks for some coffee grounds, they gave me a bag that was maybe 2.5 gallons worth, driving all the way over there felt like a waste, so I went in the back of the building and found another bag of grounds, maybe 3 gallons worth. I don't think I'll be getting grounds from Starbucks anymore, who knows.

  • When I got home, my Yacon replacements have arrived, I tossed them in the raised bed immediately then a little later the Asparagus came in. I dipped the asparagus bag in water and tossed in the peat moss bag for Saturdays planting. Then I worked on my Asparagus bed, Amanda had just finished cleaning out the rabbits cages, beds were amended with bunny poo, coffee grounds, then another thin layer of sphagnum peat moss.





  • Cleaning out an area for the Hardy Kiwi's, I original wanted to plant three but a few looked as if they had died so I contacted Rare seeds and they sent out a replacement set, anyhow after a few weeks they started to bud so now I need to get 6 in the ground, they're planted pretty tight.



Saturday was very productive and I knocked a few things off of my list.

  • Saturday morning it was time to hit the recycle center, my main goal this trip was to pick up the double ground mulch and remulch the two front gardens.


  • It was pretty busy today at the recycle center.


  • Loaded up and headed home.


  • Todays haul!


  • Mixed up the amendments and dug a trench and hilled up the center and tossed in the asparagus. Topped with some compost and the earlier removed top soil.


I closely inspected the old asparagus looking for a possible reason as to their untimely death, I couldn't find any insect damage or rotting. What I did notice was that all but three plants had hollow roots like straw, there were three plants that had very hard roots and upon further inspection looks like these three may have budded, I replanted these three and will see what happens.


  • Setting up my new planter on the Koi Pond Patio, the irrigation line comes up through the center.






  • I got all my leeks planted, those 2 larger leeks overwintered.


Mulched the entire front yard.

  • Planted my peppers in the Aquaponics, veggie filter.


Fixed my Landscape lighting out front.




  • Trying Perpetual Spinach this year.



  • Finished the Kiwi Trellis




  • Planted my Hardy Kiwi


  • I seeded half of my yard with some Oats in an effort to try and break up my rock hard soil a bit to allow for better ground absorption. Hopefully the neighbors wont call CLIP on me! I guess I should explain this a little better. The ground is so hard that hardly any water gets absorbed and it fills the yard up like a pond and sits there creating a mess, so I seeded half the yard with oats to hopefully loosen the soil, I'll be adding some sunflowers and alfalfa this weekend
  • The other half of the yard is grass but I have been seeding in white clover. For the last 16 years or so we have had a dog(s) and their urine wreaks havoc on the yard, I'm hoping both of these ideas work. I also had a pool that was put up in the summer and taken down each fall, this helped compact the soil even more. Grass has been the bane of my existence, planting seed year after year, watching it grow beautifully then be killed. In the front of my house and side, I removed all the grass and put in pavers and gardens.


2014


  • Dinner



April 30th
After work I stopped at Lowes and picked up some Mulch for Moms Flower beds, she wanted the Black bagged stuff so it's not for me. lol. I grabbed a couple 10 foot 2x4's to finish the fence and Koi Pond Patio Hugelkultur Bed.

While I was there I was looking for a decent hose, one of those springy ones, the one I have now is a "beotch", its about as flexible as black pipe!
Anyhow, when in Lowes, I came across this Zero G hose that I figured I would give a shot.




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Old May 8, 2018   #42
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May 1st - May 5th
After work today, I stopped at moms and redone her flower beds, laid down cardboard and mulched. (She wanted the Mulch from Lowes so this don't go against my new strategy, lol.)

I planted some Alfalfa seed and Sunflower Seeds in with the Oats and some white clover in some bald spots in the lawn, we will see!

As the dogs kill the grass I'll be putting in White Clover.



Replanted a cape gooseberry in the Koi Pond Patio Hugelkultur bed and in the larger planter in front of the house. Replaced a Box Car Willie that looked near death, and replaced a Black Beauty Eggplant seedling with a Listada Di Gandia Eggplant seedling. Planted out all my parsley and a few Marigold seedlings.


Tossed an Imperial Star Artichoke in the back area of the pond, the "Tickled Pink Perennial" that I planted last year at Easter died.



May 5th - May 6thI got a few small things done this weekend;
  • Saturday morning I got a little more work done on the Koi Pond Hugelkultur bed, this is mostly for Aesthetics, I didn't want a plain simple box out front so I tweaked it a bit.


  • We stopped at Lecks Nursery and Feeney's Nursery and picked up our flowers. I usually get my pond plants from Feeney's but the plants were horrible. My better half and I got the flowers in, we always get the bright red sunpatients, they really pop.








  • The Spaghetti squash has made an appearance


Laura was talking to our neighbor and she was saying that they were gonna hire someone to remove her shrubs, I said you go back over there and tell her well take care of it!!






  • This of course meant...



Sunday

  • Planted some Swiss Chard.


  • Tied in the front planters and the planter on the deck to the irrigation line.


  • I put a valve on every line to give me better control of the watering.


  • My other project I am working on is trying to restore my yard, half the yard is planted with oats, clover and sunflowers, the other half has been seeded with white clover. Once the dogs kill a spot, I drop down some compost, seed with clover then top with compost.



  • This week is cleanup week, I'm just trying to get everything back to normal, I decided to remove the small vertical garden.

  • Cleaned the Koi pond a bit, when we start getting some really hot days, I'll get in the pond and really do a thorough cleanup.



  • Plants are coming in nicely. Spearmint



  • Chives


  • Looks like its time for another chive omelet, pic was from 2016



  • Sage, Phlox, Horseradish, and Chocolate mint . The sage died back completely this year but last year it held onto its leaves all winter, very odd.
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Old May 8, 2018   #43
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I get tired just reading about all the work you're doing! Great Job!

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Old May 8, 2018   #44
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Beautiful pictures of your garden projects, you make me feel like such a slacker! You'll have to name one of the turtles Waldo, so I can look for my "Where's Waldo" fix when you add new pictures. (I found them.)
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Old May 8, 2018   #45
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I agree with Nan. You get a months worth of yard work done in one week.

Here is a link that might help you with your asparagus problems.
http://msue.anr.msu.edu/uploads/reso...us_(E3219).pdf

You have a beautiful German Shepard. I once had Elsa who was marked just like yours. She was one of the best dogs that I ever had the pleasure of caring for. Thank you for showing yours and bringing back some fond memories.

Do you have a waterfall in your Koi Pond?
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