Deep Feeding my Tomatoes

I like to get water and nutrients deep into the soil beneath my tomato plants. This encourages a strong root system and a more sturdy plant overall. Plus, a deep watering means I don’t have to worry as much about the plant drying out on those hottest of summer days.

Just a juice bottle

Just a juice bottle

I use a juice bottle with the end cut off and the top removed.

Bury the bottle

Bury the bottle

I like to add some compost to the feeding bottle. Occasionally I add Epsom salts this way as well, providing the plants with much needed magnesium.

Compost added

Compost added

Just add water and let that absorb over the next several hours.

Just add water

Just add water

 

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Plums, Cherries and Haskap Berries

What could be better than watching your fruit trees produce abundant flowers in the spring? How about watching the fruit develop, or the actual eating of the fruit? Yum!
I planted fruit trees and bushes in my yard for the joy they bring and food they produce. Beautiful flowers, lovely scents and delicious fruit. I’ve got a Princess Kay plum tree, Carmine Jewel cherries, haskap berries, gogi berries, and raspberries. They each produce at different times in the season, and some I eat straight away while others become jams and jellies.

Princess Kay Plum in Blossom

Princess Kay Plum in Blossom

Carmine Jewel Cherry

Carmine Jewel Cherry

Haskap Bush in Flower

Haskap Bush in Flower

 

 

Square Foot Seed Tape: My Lightbulb Moment

Have you ever had an idea that was so awesome that you’ve thought, “OMG I’m a genius, why has nobody ever thought of this before”?

Well, this week I had one of these inspired brain explosions and I came up with Square Foot Garden Tape…or Sheets.
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Anybody who plants their garden using the square foot technique has discovered that typical carrot and radish tapes don’t work. What we need is a sheet of thin paper with the seeds imbedded in the appropriate pattern.
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Unfortunately a little research led me to discover that I wasn’t the first person to have this LED light bulb moment. Turns out it’s been done before.
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No worries, I went ahead and did my version of square foot seed tape using Sweet Nantes carrot seeds and tissue paper cut to size. I decided to plant 25 seeds per sq ft, which is more than the 16 recommended by Mel Bartholomew in his best selling book “All New Square Foot Gardening”. After laying out the pattern on a sheet of tissue paper,  I placed a dab of flour/water paste on each dot, the embedded a carrot seed in the paste.
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When it came time to plant my garden, all I had to do was lay the sheets on the soil, water them gently and cover them with a thin layer of dirt. It was so much easier on my back.

I planted some carrots the “traditional” way as well so that I could determine if there was any difference in germination time. I’ll let you know in a future post.
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Note:
For more information on square foot gardening you should have a look at this previous post.

Cold Frame on a Budget

I have a two tiered raised bed that happens to be five feet long and four feet wide, each tier being two feet wide on its own. I usually plant tomatoes in the upper level and lettuce in the lower level.
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Last year I found someone selling an old window that fit perfectly over one of my 2×5 raised beds and I bought it for $10. Instant cold bed!

Switching things up for 2014, I planted cucumbers, onion, lettuce and spinach in the upper tier in late April and covered the whole lot with the two-pane glass window.

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It’s been cool on and off since then but we’ve also had some fairly warm days when the temperature in the improvised cold frame gets rather balmy, encouraging those seeds to germinate long before they might elsewhere in the garden. The result? Hopefully I’ll be eating my lettuce 2-3 weeks before my neighbors.