Ms Robin's Garden

  (Caneyville, Kentucky)
Happenings on the Hilltop
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More unconventional Gardening

Remember the posting where I determined I was an unconventional gardener?  Well, I just wanted to share the progress of some new growing techniques I've been testing. One is Winter Sowing and the other two are using Grow bags and Self-watering Planters.
I have 36 Winter Sowing containers with flower seeds and herbs. There are 21 half gallon juice jugs and 15 disposable pie pans with clear plastic dome tops. These containers and jugs of seeds were to be sat outside in the winter weather and would germinate at the proper time for each of them. I didn't get the Herbs outside soon enough and they started sprouting in just 4 days. They are all doing very well and are close to being ready to plant out in the garden. The flower seeded jugs did get moved outside and just started sprouting a couple of days ago, but appear to be doing well, too.
The 4 Self-watering Planters are home-made using a bucket and a colander. These are working great for the Cherry Tomatoes. They provide a constant supply of water, which is essential to tomato health. I'm planning on making up several more of these.
I started a few Potatoes in homemade Grow bags in the greenhouse a couple of weeks ago, just to see how these would work. I took a bunch of large dog food bags, punched a lot of holes in the bottom, turned them inside out and rolled the tops down. I put a few inches of soil in the bottom of each bag and planted a couple of seed potatoes. As they grow up, I'll unroll the bags a bit and stuff some straw into the bag. I'll continue doing this until the bags are totally unrolled and filled with straw, then, when the plants start dying back, there are suppose to be Potatoes that have grown in the straw.
I would love to post pictures of these projects and other sights around our place, but I haven't yet figured out how to post pictures here. Hopefully, I can figure it out soon!

We've started planting!

Nothing quite as entertaining as the adventure with the Butterfly Bush the other day to report. Unless of course, you were actually here to witness my hobbling around the place the next day. I didn't hurt myself, but I sure hurt all over. Especially my right arm. You know, from patting myself on the back? Honestly, I was just a little stiff and sore, but nothing serious. It actually felt pretty good to do something really physical.
The neighbor farmer came the next day and finished up the garden. It looks fantastic! I've been working on marking off the wide rows and pulling soil from the walkways up onto the rows. I prefer gardening with wide deep rows. They heat up better for planting and drain well. By planting intensively, it also cuts down on weed growth. We'll have at least thirty 3' x 20' rows. Maybe more, because he overshot the outline I had staked out before he started plowing. The soil is nice and crumbly, perfect growing condition. I'm still waiting on the results from the soil samples to see if I need to add anything, but they should be here soon. I did a preliminary at-home soil test, before I dropped the samples off at the County Extension Office, for comparison. If it was accurate, I shouldn't have to add much more than a little lime.
The tomatoes were moved out to the greenhouse today. Tomorrow, I'll pot them up to the next size, as they are getting way too big for the pots they are in now. Still have about three weeks before I will feel confident enough with the weather to plant them out in the garden. The Cherry Tomatoes in the self-watering buckets are doing great, already about 3' high. A wide row each of Broccoli, onions and potatoes have already been planted. Planning on planting 2 more rows of potatoes and a row of Sugar Snap Peas tomorrow.
I worked on the perennial garden the other day and fluffed up some empty rows for the new herbs. The strawberries are starting to leaf out. I'm going to add a heavy layer of mulch on top of the Asparagus to keep it from coming up too soon. 
Things seem a little slow in getting planted out in the garden, but I'm juggling dates to time everything so that it starts coming in the week we start deliveries.

The unconventional gardener

That's me, the unconventional gardener. Nothing weird mind you, just doing things a little different. When I come across something that makes my work easier, or my body ache less, the decision to switch methods comes easily. No matter how silly it makes me looks.... 
I've been putting off clearing the small asparagus bed of last year's growth. It looked terrible, but it served a purpose over the winter providing shelter for birds and rabbits. I decided today was THE day to get it done. I couldn't stand it any longer. I headed to the asparagus patch with pruners in hand. It only took cutting back the first plant to decide my back wasn't going to hold up to all that bending over, practically standing on my head. I layed the pruners aside and resorted to my usual method of cleaning up rows. It's quite a sight to see a grown woman crawling through the garden, but let me tell you, it works and it feels good stretching and reaching. As I made my way down the row, I found tell-tale signs of our rabbit visitors. Yeah! They leave behind wonderful treasures that fertilize the gardens naturally! I pulled the old asparagus stems out and some of the clover that was coming to life. I used to be kind of obsessive about weeds, but I've since learned that some weeds are a good thing. Like the little clover being a wonderful green manure. Unlike the Johnson Grass, which gets to 4' tall before I decide it's NOT corn. By being so up close and personal, I also have the opportunity to see how well our soil improves from year to year. When I reached the end of the bed, still on my knees, I turned around to admire my handiwork. At that point, I thought of how thankful I am for the life we have here on the hilltop....and that no one saw this old gal crawling in the garden.
Half of the herb seeds I started just four days ago, sprouted today. I feel just like a new mama! The others shouldn't be too far behind.
Had to go into town to Walmart today for a couple of bags of organic fertilizer. I walked the seed and plant section just to to remind me of anything I might have forgotten to order, that we'll need later for our CSA. I still have two orders laying on my desk, that haven't been sent off yet, with one of those orders being for 500 Gladiolas bulbs. You would think that would've stopped me from buying bulbs today. It didn't....we now have another 100 Gladiolas bulbs.

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