"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away?"

Author: Unknown

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Somebody Ruined Our Paint Job

      My husband pressure washed out back porch to remove lose paint, and we added a fresh coat of paint. First we applied the white to railings and trim last night. Then this morning My husband rushed right in and did the Darker stain to the deck and steps. Everything looked so clean and fresh. He then placed the ladder in front of the steps to try and deter the cats and dogs.

                                                        Well the dogs got the hint.
 And cats do, as cats please. I don't think they cared one way or the other. Actually I should say "cat" singular. Because the fella was caught in the act. My husband said yesterday, no one would bother it except our black male. He figured he would end up rolling in it, just to prove he could. Well, close.
He left his little gray paw marks all down the upper railing:
  Then over the next railing:
Then down the hand rail:

Then down the landscaping timbers framing the walk
But dont feel too bad for the poor kitty, he did finally get his feet cleaned off:

 His finished his little trail of destruction down the landscaping timbers then if you look closely you can see where he left the last of it in the grass.
                                    Now it's time for a nap. Funny, he don't look too guilty.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

T-Frames For The Tomato Supports Installed

     My husband finished building and installing the T-Frames into my tomato bed this morning. All thats left is to put in the tie wire at the base of the plants and tie them up. Things are really looking good. We plan on finishing the irrigation this weekend as well. The potatoes on the far left are now a whopping 2 foot tall and growing.
This shows the two big beds outside the potager fence, and the T-frames installed in the one bed.
This bed is 5 feet wide so the top of the frame extends a foot on each side. As you can see, he placed 3/4" conduit on the edges between the frames instead of the traditional 2x4's. He thought these would tend to sag less over time. If you were going to make this into a high tunnel or greenhouse sometime later by installing hoops at the top with the pvc, then you would need to use boards. Next year I am only going to place the hoops at the bottom for a low tunnel for an earlier start on the tomatoes.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Potato Comparison, 3 Days Later

     My potatoes continue to grow like crazy. The plants look very healthy and lush. Some of them are already about a foot tall. I just took another updated photo.
the pic added to the far right, shows the plants as they are today. Three days after the middle pic. You can't eve see the irrigation pipes now.

I also gave all 80 of my tomato plants about a tsp of calcium nitrate today. I will gradually move them up to about a tablespoon every 10 days.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How Much Does Mittleider Costs?

     You may have looked at the growfood website, and thought the Mittleider Method was going to be very expensive. I want to tell you, "It's Not". You can make it as expensive as you want tho. There are only a few materials needed. some can be purchased locally at your stores. The only thing "required" to be bought through growfood.com is the Mittleider Natural Mineral Fertilizers. Found HERE. It costs $13.95 plus shipping but should last the entire season. They are simply essential micro-nutrients that get expended out of the soil that your plants need.
This provides two bags. You sinply mix one of these bags with your 25 lbs of fertilizer bought from Lowes, Walmart, Home Depot, etc. They recommend 13-13-13, up to 19-19-19. Most people buy fertilizer anyway for the garden, so this really isnt an extra expense. Also add 4 lbs of Epsom Salts which can be purchased at Walmart for a little under $3. This will make up your "Weekly Feed" which will be applied weekly at a rate of 1/2 oz per linear foot in an 18" wide bed. So not a lot required.

Then for your "Pre-Plant" mix, you will use 40 lbs of lime or gypsum, depending how much your average rainfall is.  If you get more than 20 " rain per year, then you apply Lime, If less, then apply gypsum from the concrete department of your home improvement store. add this to 2 lb of Epsom salts, again under $3 for 4 lb bag. also add 1/2 lb of 20 Mule Team Borax for the boron , which can be found at walmart or other stores in their laundry supply area. for about $4 for a large box.

Now for the "Recommended". Most will recommend you purchase the  "Mittleider Gardening Course" book. For a full understanding of the program. It ranges from $14.95 for a downloadable E-book, to the $19.95 paperback book. some people like that they can take this in hand right to the garden with them.It can be found HERE.

PDF CD.jpgOthers like the wonderful SEARCHABLE pdf version which is $59.95. It can be found HERE.

So for a re-cap you need:
20 Mule Team Borax.....about $4
Epsom salts...................about $3
Fertilizer...for 40 lb bag..........$16.99
Micro Nutrients..... ...............$13.95 plus shipping
Lime ( or gypsum) for 50 lb.......$3
So for around $40 you can fertilize your entire garden (depending on size) for the entire growing season. Plus reap the benefits of healthy, strong plants, and dramatically INCREASE your production from the vegetables and fruits you plant. Making the little expense more than worthwhile.

As for raised beds, you dont HAVE to make raised beds or use the soilless mixes, just plant directly into your current garden soil. You also dont have to have the irrigation, you can just water by hand. So why not test this method out for yourself?

Huge Growth Of Potatoes In Just 3 Days!

      I tell you, a picture really is worth a thousand words. I have been admiring the before and after pics showing plant growth in the Mittleider facebook  FORUM for a few days. Then I would look at some of my vegetables and think I havent noticed much change. I wasnt going to bother taking a pic of my potatoes since it had only been 3 days since the last, and I really didnt "see" any change. Then I thought, "what the heck", take it anyway, then you can compare later. So I did. Then I went ahead and played with Pait, and placed them side by side for an accurate comparison. Whooaa! Look at the change in just 3 days!. I think this Mittleider method, is what I have been looking for. Plants look very healthy, and the growth rate already is unbelievable, literally. I know some will say, its probably just due to the nitrogen, but that doesnt mean you will have an increase in harvest, but look at my strawberry blooms I posted previously. I can't be more pleased.
3 Days! Unbelievable!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Automatic watering System Going In

   We have been working all weekend on getting this system in. Remember in a previous post I showed my plans for the system.
The first two beds to the far left are done. still working on the long narrow one on left side of potager, and the side on the far right. The first two center 4x8 beds are done, but need more connections to finish the 4x8 ft bed on right and the piping to the front of the garden. 
This is the 5x16 ft bed on the far left. It has three irrigation lines running down it, with potatoes planted on each side. The Mittleider system usually uses a single line in an 18" wide bed, or 2 lines in a 4' wide bed. But my husband wanted two 5' wide beds, so thats what we did.
This is one of the 4x8' beds in the center with 2 lines. I tend to plant pretty thickly trying to get as much in as possible. This is the bed with the huge  garlic.

Information on how to cheaply design and install your own irrigation, check out my other Mittleider posts, and the LINK to the left at the top of my right side bar.

ps: We are expecting temps down to 31 degrees for tonight and tomorrow night, so I got as much of the garden covered with tarps an plastic as I could. Praying my precious plants survive.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Automatic Watering System For The Garden

            Today, we started on the automatic watering system for the garden. I never dreamed it would take as long as it did. We got all the buried lines done and everything is in, except the lines that run down each bed with the holes drilled in them. I worked on getting 10 of the 19 lines drilled. We have one more fitting we were short on, so probably should get it done about mid week. The whole system will be set up on a timer so that the garden can be watered for a couple of minutes every morning. But this timing may need to be adjusted when I see how moist it keeps the soil. So Now when we are traveling, the garden will get watered all by its lonesome. Pictures coming soon.

ps: If your interested in a very detailed video on how to install this system for your own garden, check out youtube video by LDSprepper. I couldnt explain it any better myself. So I will just link to his. By the way, check out his other video's while your at it. Lots there. Same goes for video's by Reaganite71 on youtube. Between these two, I have lots of plans,lol

If you want to try The Mittleider Gardening Method for yourself, you can find lots of info at the link at the top of my sidebar on the right. There are also links there with free plans to build  your own greenhouse, and a free gardening journal to download. If you have any questions, I will do my best to help.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Second Update On My Garden With Mittleider Method

               I must admit, I am not going to strictly adhere to all aspects of the Mittleider method. I am pretty much following the rules except I have combined a few plants in with others. Mittleider recommends growing like things together. I tend to cram things into all available space. However, I am trying to get the hang of growing some things in Spring and again in Fall, and others in between. In the past I tended to put everything out at once. I am now realizing I can grow things like lettuce,onions, and peas etc early spring, then when they are done the warm loving plants such as tomatoes and beans etc can be placed, then in Fall those Spring plants can be done again. In past years I have planted successions  of bush beans which worked out very well.
               The parts of Mittleider I am testing this year is the pre-plant mix, the weekly feed, automated irrigation, trellising of vertical growing plants,and plant spacing. I just placed my third dose of weekly feed down. At the advice of a tomato grower I read about on Tomatoville, I will also be added a tablespoon of Calcium Nitrate to each tomato plant every 10 days. Her plants were huge, her fruits were huge, and plants very healthy looking.
This is an updated look at the Potager/ Kitchen garden. I am getting ready to frame in a bed at the front with a shaped brick like stone as soon as the weather permits. I also need to get some junk picked up. I don't have anything on the towers yet. I will probably have to move them outside the garden this year to grow beans on. I think I went a little overboard on the seed starting,lol
My Kenebec potatoes have now sarted coming up. There will three irrigation pipes down this bed and the potatoes are growing with a row on each side of each pipe. This bed is 5x16
This 5x16 ft bed has three rows of tomatoes for a total of 51 plants in this bed.  In the other beds I have some more for a grand total of 74 tomatoes planted. I still have about 10 more in cups yet.They are mostly 10" apart. I hope to get the standard Mittleider T-trellis on this bed, to support the tomatoes.  I just started the dosing of calcium nitrate on the tomatoes. Since they are only about 6"- 8" tall, I just gave them a pinch each.
I also moved some of the cabbage I had in another bed to the edges  of this bed. I also have some beets sown in the upper ,left edge, and some Cilantro, Basil,  and Marjoram. They are Chioga and Detroit Red. My first time trying to grow the cabbage, brocolli, and beets.

In the previous post, the strawberries were below the bottom rung of my tower. Eight days later they are now a couple of inches above this rung. They grew probably 6". Roughly 16"- 18"  tall.  This fantastic growth has to be attributed to the Mittleider Fertilizing method. (see info at end of post) There are 17 elephant garlic in this bed that I planted last Fall from grocery store bulbs. Some of the bases are almost 1 and 1/2" across. There is also some broccoli in this bed, scallions at the edges, and more tomatoes that are planted near where the irrigation pipe will lay. behind the strawberries, along this 16 foot fence I planted more pole beans, Stringless Blue lake.
Look at the growth comparison on these strawberries. see the white line? Thats how high the plants are. This growth was in only 8 days with using the Mittleider fertilizing plan.
This bed gets a little more shade, so I am growing my Buttercrunch lettuce here. This is the first time I tried head lettuce. So far so good. 
This bed has my Onions along the edges and either cabbage or broccoli growing down the center. I was so diligent about marking the cups, but got lazy when I put them out, so I am not sure which of these two they are. They kind of look alike to me. I also have 11 sweet peppers planted here, and in the next bed over there are 12 hot peppers. In the bed running long ways on the far left I have 16 feet of pole beans sown.  Ten foot are Fortex, and 6 foot of Emerite. Both a first for me. I was surprised they are dark beans. I am used to eating the white.
This cute little 6" tall squirrel statue was bought for me by my now 7 yo grand daughter last year. I glued him on top of a fence post. he appears to be eyeing my growing raspberries.
I tried to get some what of a panaoramic view of the 60 ft long raised bed at the back of the house. Things are just starting to bloom. The table in the center is getting a good coat of charcoal colored textured paint. Hopefully this weekend. You can barely see the cups with plants still sitting on the edge waiting to be planted.

If you want to try The Mittleider Gardening Method for yourself, you can find lots of info at the link at the top of my sidebar on the right. There are also links there with free plans to build  your own greenhouse, and a free gardening journal to download. If you have any questions, I will do my best to help.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Mowing strawberries...The Results Are In

    If you remember, back in mid June of last year, I wrote THIS post about mowing back June bearing strawberries for increased production the following year. For the past two years I have gotten only a handfull of berries from my plants in this 16'x2' bed. I have now got them extended around the backside tho, as I removed new plants on runners and planted them elsewhere. I also read that you should remove runners as well, which I have not done. I just re-plant the stragglers that escaped the raised bed. I have never tried mowing them before, but I knew I had to do something. This many healthy plants should have been producing a lot more.
      Well, the results are in. This evening we were mowing and trimming around the backyard and garden. I couldnt believe the blooms on my plants when I had time to check them out. They are LOADED. I am guessing probably three times more berries than I got for the last two years TOTAL! Just take a look:

                                        As always, you can click on the pic to enlarge it.