Tag Archives: gardening

CHEAPSKATE Hints-Cheap nd Free Supplies And Skills for Garden

The original inspiration for this blog was the garden I was building in a $-rented-$ space in a city garden. I was building my soil, creating beds and starting some compost for future use. All of these items were done for free, but some work was needed to be successful. [and of course I was using tools purchased at retail price- but some of them could have been acquired at thrift stores/ yard sales.]

This post will put forth a list of free items for use in the garden.   Your garden  and my garden are places for peace ,fun, sweat and food. All of that can be attained with a big checkbook but there is something rewarding about reusing, and repurposing items for beneficial use in the garden .

The first is a free ( inexpensive) technique not an item but it still keeps things cheap. It is called lasagna or sheet gardening. Lasagna gardening starts your garden with NEW SOIL MADE BY layering yard and food waste. No need to break nor till the soil(buy/rent root tiller???)  just take a little time ,plan ahead and build new soft soil.  Make your new soil where you want your garden to be.  This is free if all of the material built into the layers is also free(see below). If this is done in the fall the soil will be ready to,plant in the spring and if started in spring some good topsoil or compost can be added to the lop layer as seeds or seedlings are planted.  Lasagna Garden HOW TO:  latest of cardboard or newsprint(15-20 sheets) on the bottom ,on top of the old grass.  The alternate layers of grass clippings, leaves, compost, manure. Shredded wood chips can also be built into the layers.

GRASS CLIPPINGS-

If you have a yard , you have a gardeners gold mine with all of the grass clippings you will generate spring to fall. These can be used in the lasagna garden, added to compost pile/container and used in the growing garden as a weed barrier that eventually breaks down and keeps the soil developing. If you don’t have a yard of green you can collect bags of cut grass around the community . Do this by driving around or do a search online for bagged grass ( see FREECYCLE for,your community).

LEAVES –

These can also added directly to the  garden as weed barrier but in many areas th leaves fall as the garden is finishing for the season. They can be added as fall-winter cover , shredded and added to compost pile or bagged and set aside to,creat leaf mold for next springs garden.

If you do not have trees and leaves you may be able to find them from friends, or others in the community and in many communities leaves are collected and piled in a central location for local citizens to use.

WOOD CHIPS/shredded wood mulch-

The wood can be used as weed barrier or as layers in the lasagna garden. they can also be added to the compost pile sparingly. Much like leaves and grass clippings when added to garden as weed barrier they will eventually break down in to the soil.

Most folks will need to get wood chips and shredded wood mulch as few have the wood/trees AND equipment to chop them. Many communities that collect leaves and make them available also collect downed trees and branches AND  Christmas trees and shred in a central location available to the community.

COFFEE GROUNDS-

Coffee grounds make a great addition to the compost pile, garden soil and directly for acid loving plants in the garden and yard. When building a lasagna/sheet garden-coffee grounds area a addition . Worked into the soil grounds loosen the soil and break down leaving it nourished.

They may also be spread under acid loving plants like azaleas and even broadcast out on the lawn.

If you drink coffee you will generate some supply but real volume can be found at most local coffee shops and many locations of large chain coffee shops. Some places bag them for you and others ask you to bring buckets.

COMPOSTED KITCHEN SCRAPS-

If we eat any fruit or vegetables we will generate peels and scraps that can be composted for use in the garden. The scraps eggshells plus fruit and veggie only, no other animal based scraps ( meat , fat or bones).

They can be collected in an airtight table top container or the freezer until taken outside to the composting area or tool. The compost is usable after 3-9 months , depending on the method used.

 

Summary list of Cheapskate supplies:

1.Lasagna gardening

2. Grass clippings

3. Leaves

4. Shredded wood/chips

5. Coffee grounds

6. Composted kitchen scraps

 

 

@martyroddy

 

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65 Degrees at Christmas- My Bulbs are Sprouting

Welcome to Christmas season 2015 and in Central Virginia a time of spring-like temperatures have delivered a very warm and unseasonable Christmas holiday.

Now the lack of fireplace use and chestnut is not the only concern with this weather,especially if you are a gardener.

This warm weather has caused many trees to begin budding early and many flowering bulbs have sprouted after the short cold period early in the fall.

Will the flowers be ruined for spring time color? Will they be damaged?

What about the trees? AND

Is there anyting we can do to counter the problem?

*****************************

There is not much threat of damage if the bulbs do not flower and only the green leaves sprout. There is a good chance that the flower will arrive in spring , though it may be ealier than is the norm. Do not to do anything to try and help the bulbs. The flowers are still inside the bulbs.

Mulching is not recommended as this may kill the plant and bulb and prevent future growth. A heavy spread of frozen mulch can do more damage than strange weather. Now a light spread of compost or composted mulch around and on the leaves might be helpful – I would suggest that the leaves still be visible and open to the sun. Photosynthesis cn still occur and the bulbs will remain viable. You may still lose the bloom this year but the bulb will survive to produce another season.

There is even less that can be done for trees that have begin to Bud Out.

Be patient, enjoy the weather since snow shovels may be needed soon enough and this warmth will be gone.

Sprouts- ‘Baby’ Food that is Easy to grow and Get Healthy With.

I have experimented with packets of sprouting seeds and a few days of twice daily rinses and watching the taisl pop out and then the baby leaves and then DIGGING in.

 

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/05/23/edible-garden.aspx

   ***  HOW TO Grow sprouts for Healthy Food and Life

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/606515-how-to-grow-sprouts/

Alfalfa Sprouts– (procedure similar for others)

http://www.dallasnews.com/lifestyles/home-and-gardening/headlines/20130313-see-how-to-grow-alfalfa-sprouts-in-your-kitchen.ece

GARDEN 2014 – Updates and photos

The garden for 2014 is going great and the joy is abounding as we gaze at the growing plants and stems and leaves. There are flowers blooming and fruit forming.

 We have tried a few new things this year- 

FREE COFFEE ROASTING CHAFF– as compost bulk and garden pathway coverage. It works great for both uses and is free at local coffee shop/roaster and this keeps chaff out of the garbage.

 

Path mad with newspaper and Coffee Roasting Chaff

Path mad with newspaper and Coffee Roasting Chaff


The next new thing we tried was OLD SCHOOL- 3 Sisters-   

Corn-beans and Squash in the same plot- sharing the same bed.

The basic idea is that the Corn serves as a post for the beans to climb and the squash grows out to cover the soil and prevent weed growth. This symbiotic relationship can produce a large amount of food in a relatively small space- with reduced need for watering/feeding/weeding.

 

3 Sisters- Corn, beans and squash- 1 month old

3 Sisters- Corn, beans and squash- 1 month old


We have also experimented with potato towers and the plants seem to be growing strong and we look forward to the FALL when we can break the towers down and see our harvest- The tower can, in theory, produce 20-40 pounds of potatoes per tower.. We will see in a few months

 

 

Potato Towers protected by onions

Potato Towers protected by onions

ASPARAGUS – The great skinny spears. Still buying mine.

One week until the Charlottesville farmers Market kicks off an 8+ month
run downtown . See https://www.facebook.com/CharlottesvilleCityMarket .
One of the things I look forward to in the first few weeks of the market
is spring asparagus ( beets too) . My current garden doesn’t work for
growing my own asparagus (though I may do this with some friends in their
garden.    

Image

Young asparagus spears – READY !

Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that pops up every spring , but
unlike much of the rest of the KITCHEN GARDEN it takes a few years to
enjoy the benefits of these delicious spears.

Root crowns are planted in spring or fall and prepared to grow BUT can
not be harvested until the 3rd ( maybe some 2nd ) year. So we must learn
some patience and remember that THIS SPACE IS TAKEN.

So we care for “nothing” while harvesting beans and cukes and tomatoes
throughout the garden. BUT on the plus side- Well planted and cared for
plants can be productive for up to 20 years.

Aparagus is planted as “crowns” (year old plants) in a clean garden bed
in trenches 6″-12″ deep and separated 18″-24″ . The soil should be well
drained as the plants don’t like to have WET-FEET. Dig the trench and
work in 3-6″ of compost, manure and/or soil mix. Spread the soil in a
ridge in the trench. Place the “crowns” on this ridge spreading the roots
over mounded soil.        Cover with enough well composted soil and mulch 4-6″
and water well.

Image

Asparagus crowns ready to be set.

YEAR 1

Do not harvest the spears in the first year, allow them to grow and cut
down dead foliage in the fall. At cutting top dress with compost.

During this year letting the asparagus go to seed will give the crown a
chance to establish and get strong. This will set it ( and you) for long
time supply of spears.

YEAR 2
During the second year, keep the bed thickly mulched, side-dress with
compost/manure in spring and early fall, and cut down dead foliage in
late fall. You may be able to harvest and enjoy a meal of two of spears.

                                                                                      

Image

Asparagus plants- fueling and replenishing the crowns.

YEAR 3
YUMMMMMMMM!
The asparagus can be harvested for a relativley short period (2-3 weeks)as soon as the spears start to show. You will want to keep a close eye on the bed, Clean it after winter so mulch and debris are not too deep. After harvest allow the “ferns” to grow- these plants feed the crowns/roots for future spear production.

https://twitter.com/martyroddy

Found a few blogs with similar info. ENJOY !!

http://tendingmygarden.com/growing-asparagus/

 

http://www.gardeningblog.net/how-to-grow/asparagus/

Thoughts ideas- borrowed from the web/brain of others

I am dying to jump into the garden- tomorrows morning run will include a 30 minute visit to the garden plot and some work…..(CROSS-TRAINING anyone? )

 

Helping friends with a garden and have a few stumps to play with so the following may be good idea. 

http://audaxdesign.co.uk/2014/02/22/picpost-stumped/

Also concerned with heavy rain/flooding that we dealt with last year. I have added a 2nd layer of wooden pallets to raised the beds even more- here are some more ideas.

http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/using-permaculture-design-prepare-floods

 

Always glad to find pallet ideas for garden and home- 

http://audaxdesign.co.uk/2014/02/10/pallets-into-gardeners-delight/

Image

Some pallets for double decker raised bed(burlap bags for weed control)

Snowy day- Garden Planning, Reading and Dreaming

 

I spent a little time at my garden plot yesterday – dropping off coffee grounds from the coffee shop and mixing with dried leaves as I build up the beds for spring and summer.

The beds being developed are for beans, peas and squash. They will also have poles/teepees to climb and maximize the space.

My favorite poles are bamboo cut from a local “wild”patch.

I have been thinking of adding some potatoes to the garden this year. This is just for fun since they are quite inexpensive to buy at the Farmers Market- BUT they are such a rewarding plant. I have seen a few plans for building towersto maximize the growth of spuds in small spaces- The following was the first I found on a random search.

http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/how-to-build-a-potato-tower/

I am also adding a 2nd layer of wooden pallets to raise the beds in the garden to provide for deeper roots and protect against the flooding like we had last year. Hopefully I will grow some full sized veggies this year , rather than the stunted babies I got last year.

Image

 

Some of the following ideas I found with a quick search. I may add starwberries as well as potatoes. Pallets make great sense for this sweet treat.

http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/pallet-gardening-the-strawberries-are-going-bonkers/

This article has a lot of fun ideas- many of which i have seen and read and tried in the past.

https://brightnest.com/posts/learn-to-make-a-pallet-garden-in-7-easy-steps