Saturday, April 4, 2009

Rise and Shine, Baby. It is on, now :-)

Here is the background music for this post. I know it appears that I am complicating things, but Five for Fighting must not allow video embedding. So all you get is a link today. It is meant to be opened it in another browser while you read the post below. I'll try to be less complicated in the future.

If today's weather didn't inspire the gardener in you, then you are probably here to just find out when the next beer tasting is ;-) That's OK. But if you've never given gardening a chance before, you ought to try it this year. We can learn together. Sunny and I met with some good friends last week and one of our friends said she had very little space in the sun to garden, which has been a deterrent for her. That issue easily solved in many ways but here is one...

Check out his site, it is great resource for people who have very little sunny space in their yards. It is the square-foot gardening method. We are not 100% followers, but the theory is definitely sound, and we certainly plan to incorporate many of his ideas into Our Family Garden this year.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are putting in two 12x4 foot raised beds at the back of Our Family Garden. Raised beds have so many benefits and if you read the square-foot gardener's book, you'll begin to covet raised beds as well. Look at the picture below and you can see that for less than $50 you can have a great raised bed garden that could support a small family using the square-foot gardener method.

Sunny's dad built this to surprise her when she came over to tend to the greenhouse today. The PVC hoops are to support plastic so we can plant earlier this year. Man, this will be fun. We certainly have a lot to experiment with this year...

OK, back to the greenhouse. Check out those pots. Daisy, our 13-year-old who took two North Idaho College gardening classes with us this winter, made those. Gardening does not need to be expensive. You can buy compost pots, re-usable plastic pots or make your own out of newspapers like Daisy Girl did on Saturday. I should get the Press or Spokesman to sponsor a Youtube "how-to-video" (but ,actually ,we plan to do one at our own expense tomorrow).

Those are pepper plants above. I can't tell you what variety because Sunny has over 100 pepper plants and probably a half-dozen varieties. They all look the same at the beginning. In fact, Sunny already has about a 1,000 plants growing in the greenhouse.

Have you started you plants yet? It doesn't take a greenhouse to do it. In fact, I'll probably start some plants at home for the Bent Family Garden, and use cheaper methods that most people can do at home.

Hey, and by the way, even though we are no experts, we have done a lot of research and we have expanded the Bent Family Library with many resources on gardening and canning. So we are more than willing to take requests. We'll try to answer your request best we can, or we'll find you the best resource to get your question answered.


  1. This is a fantastic article and I love the newspaper pots. I'd like a how-to on those. We have a single raised bed but without the hoops and I can see where those would come in handy for those towering tomato trees we get, after sweating and praying over the seedlings that just won't grow and then finally they shoot up like teenagers. And I love the sunflowers. Do they have to be in a special place - I mean - so many feet away from the tomatoes? (I'm not so dumb that I would shadow the tomatoes with the sunflowers.) I have to come see your garden!!!

  2. I've got some tomato starts going, about 4 have made their appearance out of the I don't know how many seeds I planted in the starter pots. i am hoping more will pop up soon, or else I'll have to buy seedlings if I want any tomatoes this year. I'm waiting for the mud bog that is my garden spot to dry up some so I can finally get some seed int he ground. I am seriously jonesing for fresh greens straight fromt he garden.

  3. Jeanie, thanks for the comments. We will be doing a video starring our little Daisy girl and her newspaper pots very soon. Actually you can find them on Youtube already, but we want our own original version -- Daisy's has her own technique.

    Those hoops are real cheap. It is just PVC pipe, and yes, you could also use them to trellis plants, or to stretch bird netting to protect strawberries, etc.

    As for the sunflowers, they are not advesarial to tomatoes in any way, but as you said they could shade them. But we've never had a problem with that. We literally have thousands of vounteers every year. We let the healthy survive (in various locations all over he garden), and try to beat our personal record of a 13-foot-4-inch multiple bloom sunflower.

    Seriously, if anyone a wants sunflower plants, we can make that happen. The only thing is that we can't tell you what variety you're going to get. That's kind of exciting in its own way...

  4. JeanC, Give them a chance. Sometimes if the soil is too damp, it will inhibit germination. Plants need Sun, Water and Oxygen to survive. You always hear about plants needing carbon dioxide, and producing oxygen for us, but they need it too.

    If the soil is too damp, seedlings can't get enough oxygen to thrive. Most plants take up oxygen through their roots, so let the soil drain out and if the soil has compacted loosen it up some and cut back on your watering until the plants are in larger pots.

    BTW, if you do have to buy plants this year, buy the smallest hardened plants you can find. They are cheaper and they will catch up and start producing at the same time as any of the gallon sized plants that most people are suckered into buying.

  5. At first look I thought that photo with the hoops was some kind of covered wagon you were making lmfao.....