Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Garden Table is Done!

It started out as this:


A little concrete and tile later and I've got a really inexpensive garden table/stool:


The top was supposed to have been a sunflower, but I wasn't able to find yellow ceramic tiles in quantities smaller than a case. So halfway through, I modified my design to just go with what I had:


LOTS of things I'll do differently with the next one, mostly having to do with the cement and how heavy this is (we won't be moving this puppy anytime soon). And after having to abandon my design for lack of supplies, I'm definitely going to make my next mosaic out of 3/4" mosaic tiles that I can get on line in all the colors I want. I tried going with the larger format, but it's just too hard to find pretty colors in small quantities. Also, the ridges on the back of the ceramic tile make it a pain to keep the tiles level once they've been cut. And forget cutting porcelain without a wet saw!

But this was definitely a fun project, and a bargain table to end up with at about $30 for all the materials.

My best new discovery is the Lastiseal water based color concrete sealer I used on the base. I was really pleased with how it came out looking like an acid stain without all the harsh chemicals. And it comes in a zillion beautiful colors.

Today's Harvest

I've been pulling the tomatoes during the "turning" stage in the hope that it will let the plant focus on the remaining fruit.  I don't know if there's any science to it, but that's my thinking.  I'm also getting such a sparse harvest that I'll be rather infuriated if I lose any of it to critters and birds.  So I'm yanking them to keep them safe.

I've got lots and lots more green beans sprouting from the second planting I did.  They are overgrowing my supports and shading the broccoli I planted one bed over.  I think my green bean arbor I'm planning for next year is a good idea.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Summer Garden Update

I'm down to one squash plant that is showing signs of mildew.  Because it still has zucchini on it, I've cut off all the leaves that have mildew and am hoping the plant will give me a few more fruits.

Tomatoes are growing strong, the big ones are finally starting to turn and the weather man is forecasting a 4-day warm spell.  I'm crossing my fingers I can get the bulk of those big tomatoes in before the frost.

Green Beans are still going strong.  I've got flowers all over and more beans coming out.  Luckily, I can freeze them because Al says he's tired of eating them (already!).  I'm hoping to keep the beans and tomatoes going for another month at least.

And I've finally pulled the last of the cucumber.  Probably won't plant those again next year, because no one likes to eat them.  I'll be better served using the space to try to keep peas going, or see if I can get broccoli or carrots going through the summer.

Never forget the slug bait!

Grrr.  I went out to survey all the wonderful little plants I'd put in the ground last weekend, only to find that something has devoured half my broccoli.  I'm guessing slugs.  I sprinkled Sluggo everywhere and hope that takes care of it.  I hope so, because the poor little broccoli probably won't survive another invasion.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall Planting

I spent Saturday turning over my beds, digging in some steer manure and Super Soil and getting fall vegetables planted. These are starts I bought at Lowes and Raley's because my own broccoli starts still aren't ready for planting.

This year, I'm trying my hand at bok choi.  Last year, aphids won the battle over my chard.  This year, I'm trying neem as a preventative measure (instead of waiting until after the bugs show up).  I'll be spraying neem weekly and will see how that works.

Behind the chard in a "V" shape is the snow peas I planted from seed about 3-4 weeks ago.  The birds keep eating the the little seedlings and I've had them netted, but I had to pull the nets out to get the bok choi in.  Hopefully, the birds will move on to other things.

On the other side of the cucumber plant that's still producing, I'm giving cabbage a try. That's new to me also this year. We'll see how it does.

Here's my Lowe's broccoli. I'll succession plant my seedlings in a few weeks when they're ready. By then, I'll be done with the cucumbers and zucchini, most likely, and will have room.

I'm giving brussel sprouts a try here next to the zucchini. I've crowded them in with some herbs, and behind them I've started shelling peas from seed. I know these brussel sprouts will get big. Hopefully, I've given everything enough room.

In the midst of this, I've still got some gorgeous tomatoes growing. They're beautiful. Now, my only hope is the weather holds out long enough for them to turn. I think both of these are the yellow brandywine I planted. We'll see.

The sunflowers came out Saturday as well, uncovering some vines I had planted. This passion flower will take over the corner hopefully. They supposedly attract birds and butterflies. They are also invasive, so I'll be working to keep them trimmed.

And then I had this pretty Black Eyed Susan vine that I'd planted from seed. It didn't get as big as I'd hoped it would, but I think that's because the sunflowers overcrowded it for most of the growing season. Hopefully, I'll be able to enjoy this for a couple months before it's done in by frost.