Sunday, June 23, 2013

Busy Week Part 3-Gutter Gardening

gutter gardening
Thanks to Larry Hall from YouTube I couldn’t get the idea of growing my own vegetable garden out of 5 gallon buckets.  I had spent most of my day going to antique and junk stores with my son.  The prices were not what I was willing to spend and I kept thinking about this idea and how I would rather spend money trying it out than on some over priced junk.   I had shown a few of his videos to my husband-he was impressed, but not in the green light kind of way.
We didn’t get home until 3:30 in the afternoon and I showed my daughter what I was talking about.  She was enthusiastic about helping me with it so we headed off to the Home Depot again.  The supplies needed for the irrigation system are simple-2 lengths of 2x4 10’ pressure treated wood, 1 10’ length of vinyl gutter, and two end caps.  I couldn’t find the screws and rubber washers called for in Larry’s directions so I just bought the screws sold for the gutters (2 boxes of 25 each).  I didn’t buy any glue-the gutter end caps I bought snapped on with a foam gasket.  I figured if the screw holes leaked I would just stick some caulk on the screw heads.
We laid the 2x4’s out and put the gutter caps on.  Screwed the gutter on the top edge of one 2x4 about every 6”, and worked the same way on the other side.  I was thinking we might have to dig in the scrap pile to find a few lengths of 2x4’s so we could get it outside, but it was it surprisingly sturdy.  I had to add a few bricks leftover from my path the even it up where the ground slopes. 
The next list of supplies include net pots used in hydroponics, 5 gallon buckets, potting soil, hole saw, and plants.  I didn’t want to hunt all around town in search of the net pots that I doubt are sold here locally.  I also lack patience for ordering online, besides they are too spendy for what they are .  My solution was going to be plastic drink cups with holes or slits cut into them, but I couldn’t find any with the right diameter.  He calls out for a 2 7/8 hole saw which I forgot to buy at Home Depot.   Walmart had 2 1/8 so I had to find something to work with that size.
gutter gardening
Guess what we had for our dinner that night?  My daughter managed 4, I had 3 and my son refused to eat more than one-I think he grabbed a sandwich afterwards and disappeared from sight.  I didn’t want to mess around with a craft knife and cut out holes.  Since the plastic is flimsy it is hard to drill.  We ended up grabbing a swimming noodle to jam in there for some resistance.
gutter gardening
I drilled my holes in the bottom of my buckets-I figured 8 would fit nicely on the gutter.  I took the drilled yogurt cups and filled them with potting soil-firmly.  Soaked them until the water was running through the drilled holes and put them in the holes in the buckets.  I used two scrap 2x4’s to prop my buckets off of the ground.  I Filled the buckets with soil and tamped down in the center of the bucket to encourage the wicking action.
gutter gardening
Planted my vegetables and watered them until it was draining out of the bottom of the buckets.  I did one at a time so I could place them on the gutter as I went along.
gutter gardening
My work station:
gutter gardening
We started actual work at 6:30 at night and finished up around 9:00 pm.  It probably added a 1/2 eating the yogurt and drilling the holes in the cups.  This area of my yard is part sun so I am hoping for the best.  When my husband gets home from his trip I want to disguise the buckets with some lattice-I don’t want any hassle from my homeowner’s association.  We had a good rain the day after, and I need to figure out how to prevent some of the splash back on the siding.  I know my husband won’t like the mess it is making.
gutter gardening
I planted 3 different kinds of tomato's, a couple of different cucumbers, green peppers, orange peppers and one blueberry plant.  If it works out I’d like to go buy some stair risers and go vertical with two more gutters.  I’m hoping to plant some broccoli in the Fall.
Comments are welcomed and appreciated!
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Raised Garden Bed 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Busy Week Part 2-Scrap Wood Garden Bench

scrap wood garden bench
My husband had a hoard of wood that needed to be reduced.   It mostly consisted of 2x4’s and 1x6’s.  There were some other pieces I would have liked to have used, but I’m not comfortable crosscutting wood on the table saw and avoid using the circular saw.  I wanted an easy project for my daughter and I to complete in a day.
We saved the longest of the 2x4’s and put the various scraps in order of length.  We cut down 4 lengths of 2x4 @ 18” for the legs using our compound miter saw-I love that thing!   We then attached the two longer pieces of 2x4’s cut down to 47” using 5 screws on each leg.   I used two l8” 1x6 for the side pieces.
scrap wood garden bench
After that it was just a matter of cutting the rest of the 2x4’s to 18” and spacing them out with a carpenter's pencil.  We managed to fit 13 boards on top.  I secured the two end boards with 2 screws on each side and the rest we used one on each side.  My daughter didn’t like the way the legs looks even though by that point the bench itself was very sturdy.  So we grabbed a few more boards that were left over and found two that fit inside the legs.  It did help give the bench a more substantial look.
004 
My daughter will be leaving in a month for Navy basic training so this is a special time for both of us.  I’m thrilled that she is wanting to spend some time with her Mama instead of only hanging out with her friends until her ship date.
scrap wood garden bench
After that it was time to get painting.  My son joined us at this point-he wanted to go swimming and hurried us along.
scrap wood garden bench
We added some decorative wrought iron we found on sale at Hobby Lobby.  It really didn’t need anything, but we enjoyed putting them on.  I may tone down the contrast with some more paint at a later date, or remove them. 
wicker chairs
Resting and enjoying a job well done.  You rock Evie!  I’m loving our little seating area.  I bought the two wicker chairs from Goodwill for $8 a piece then promptly went and bought two cushions (that I still have to modify) from Walmart  for $30…oh well I feel justified  with the money saved on the chairs.  I still can’t believe how expensive outdoor furniture is.

Comments are always welcomed and appreciated!

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New Trellis and Steps
Quick Chalk Paint Makeover

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Busy Week Part 1-Garden Path

My husband went out of town for a week.  My goal was to finish one project before he got back and I managed three with the help of my kids.
garden path
I wanted a path from our new stairs on the deck to the lawn to keep down the mud and divert traffic away from the sprinkler head.  My first choice was to use a concrete path mold that I have, but the small area would have been too difficult to work in especially around the steps and local Azalea bushes.  I took my daughter to Home Depot to have a look around.  We chose these flat paver bricks at around 60¢ each.  I had some perforated bricks (fired bricks with holes in the middle) on hand that I used for the edging.  I initially bought 40 to help gauge how many I would need, and three bags of paving sand to level areas and use as filler.
I had a lot of weedy, spongy root mass to remove in this area, along with some root removal.  We mainly used a hand tool with a weed hoe and cultivator in one-I don’t know the name of it.  It was the perfect size to bury the perforated bricks level with the paving brick, and is a gem to use in removing the spongy root mess.  Unfortunately I stepped on it and broke the handle.  It was a cheap tool I have had for several years.
garden tool
I started out with the paving bricks on level soil.  I didn’t worry too much about having to compact the soil or having a gravel and sand base.  With this just being a simple garden path I think any unevenness will  add charm and character.  There were quite a few high and low spots and we worked with what we had.  After laying out the supplies we had I guesstimated that we needed another 48.  I went over by 15-better than under and another trip to the store!  After we laid out the path we took the perforated bricks used for edging and buried them *somewhat* level with the paver bricks.  When we got near the stairs I had my daughter begin filling the gaps with the sand mix.  There simply wasn’t enough room for two.
garden path
I had to improvise around the steps.  With the big roots from a nearby tree and some substantial ones from nearby Azaleas and the sprinkler system it didn’t fit as neatly as I would have liked. 
garden path
I added some pine bark mulch and that helped a great deal with how it visually looks.  There are areas where I need to lift some bricks and add more sand.  The perforated bricks are taking up  a lot of sand as well with it washing into the holes.  I think this will be a summer long project of picking up sand and adding it as needed until all the crevices get filled and things settle in.
garden path
garden path
Comments are always welcomed and appreciated-and hey if you know what that garden tool is called let me know-I need a replacement!

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New Trellis and Steps 
Big Box Update 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Big Box Update

smelling lavender
I’ve had a few years now to find what works best in the big raised box we put in a few years ago.  Plants that do the best are ones that can take direct sun.  The lavender has really found a home around the bird bath.  My roses are doing well.  They never really quit blooming and since I hate to prune back when there are blooms they have become a bit leggy.  This year I am going to try and prune as I go to get them to fill out some more.  I’m hoping that with using the Bayer all purpose feed that they will take the shock of it well.
raised garden bed
I added some Delphiniums this year to try and break up all of the green.  The green in the lower areas is Apple Mint.  It really fills out the area nicely and helps keep the weeds down.  It makes it very pleasant to work in the box due to the smell.
raised garden bed
I had added some Pansies this last winter so there would be some more color.  They are still doing well so I just added some Impatiens to keep things filled out.  It  is really hard to get a good picture because of the size of this box.  I still really love it and it is one of the best projects we have completed in the yard.





raised garden bed

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Comments are appreciated and welcomed!