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25 February 2011

Back Yard Plans for this spring

We're remodeling our back yard this year!

It starts next week - having three small trees removed from the left side of the house.  Two of them are sweetgum trees that just matured enough to start dropping those annoying "gumballs" all over the place.  I hate those things!  In the place of these three trees will be a nice unobnoxious River Birch.

Next - hopefully this weekend - we're going to tear down Emily's playset.  Adrienne's mom has requested the wood.  I'm pretty sure this custom made set couldn't be sold anyway.

In place of the playset, we're going to build a shed and some raised bed gardens and a walkway between the gardens.

We'd like to expand the left side of the deck to the edge of the house - and expansion of about 8'x12', and move the stairway to the otherside of the deck.  On that side, we're putting a patio, which will probably be in the neighborhood of 12x14, and may be as simple as poured or stamped concrete, or maybe even pavers if I'm feeling anbitious.

And finally, once all this is done, the rest of the back yard will be sodded with a nice heat tolerant "summer" grass - probably Bermuda.

Sounds like a lot of work doesn't it?

Posted by rickroot at 8:10 AM | Link | 0 comments

Spring Garden - The Beginning

It's late February.  The WRAL weather guy has guaranteed no more accumulating white stuff!  We'll see about that.  We're in a nice weather pattern now with lots of 60 and 70 degree days, somewhat above normal but it's got me in the gardening mood.

That being said, I did a couplethings yesterday.  From Amazon.com, I purchased a Hydrofarm JSV2 2-Foot Jump Start T5 Grow Light System, along with a 20"x20" heat pad and a digital heat pad thermostat.  Total cost with free shipping, about $100.  Then I went to Home Depot and picked up a pair of Jiffy Seed Starting Greenhouse kits (like this one), some seed starting mix, and some seeds, including:

  • Cucumbers (Tendergreen)
  • roma Tomatoes (Roma VFN)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (Supersweet 100 VF hybrid)
  • Pole Beans (Kentucky Wonder)
  • Peas (Wando)
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Anaheim Chili Pepper
  • Jalapeno Pepper
  • Eggplant
  • Zucchini

Now, after doing some reading, it sounds like Peppers are a little harder to germinate than some o ther plants and need about 10 weeks indoors before moving outside sometime in May - so I decided NOW was the time to start my peppers.  I stopped at home depot this morning and bought a Jiffy Heated Professional Greenhouse kit (it was cheaper at Home Depot than at amazon, go figure).  I have it set up on my desk at work.  Soaked the seeds in warm water for a couple hours to speed germination, and planted.  Now, I wait.

As for the rest of the crops - I need to get the peas in the ground - yesterday!  They'll harvest in 2 months, but right now I don't have enough light in my back yard to grow anything - the sun is still too far south.  So I'm going to put some of the peas in a half barrel or something similar out in front.  Probably gonna do that this weekend.  Apparently, peas grow just fine here even though we certainly haven't seen our last frost.

I probably won't have my gardens ready in the back yard until early April, so most everything else I'll be planting under the new grow light system at appropriate times, probably starting with the tomatoes and basil.  I'll be able to seed 144 plants in the grow light system, and transplant some of them into 4" pots, and I can have two flats of the 4" pots under the grow lights so that gives me 24 plants to keep and others to give to friends and family to keep in their windows.

Adrienne and I discussed plans for the back yard last night.  We're going to put in a 8x8 or 8x10 shed near the back corner with the door facing the house, and a gravel walkway coming out of the shed between 2 raised bed gardens that will each be about 4' wide and 15' long.  These are my "sunny" gardens where I'll have to plant most of my stuff.  I'm definately doing corn again - probably will get 12 plants in a 4x4 space.  I'll also put the eggplant and peppers over here, along with the cucumbers and maybe some of the tomatoes, depending on space.  I am going to hang some of the tomatoes again this year in a topsy turvy.

The sunniest of the side yard gardens will get the pole beans - there's already a nice sturdy trellis in place that the bird feeder gourds were on last year.  In the less sunny garden I'll plant the zucchini, since it did very well in that location last year.  The other side yard garden I will not use because nothing grew well in it last year.

Posted by rickroot at 7:58 AM | Link | 0 comments