Trials and tales of a not-so-advanced gardener--both in the dirt and beyond.

Monday, November 10, 2008

RIP: Raised Garden Bed

This weekend was one of many triumphs. The rest of the brush/limb/tree pile was chipped into tiny bits (it was left over from the last time we rented a chipper). The lawn was mowed and leaves collected. Many annuals were uprooted and composted. Indoor plants were repotted and brought inside.

But one of the most exciting things done this weekend, was tearing apart the raised garden bed. This is where the tomatoes and the zucchini were earlier this year and where the previous homeowners planted tomatoes and squash and eggplant for years and years. You can see it in this photo it's small, but it's the best one I have.

But now it looks like this:

This bed is approximately 4' x 20'. While this was plenty of space for the sparse garden of 2008, I have big vegetable plans for 2009. So we're going to build 2 beds in it's place. This one runs east-west. The two new beds are going to run north-south and will be 6' x 10'. We'll gain 40 square feet and it will all be usable space (where as at the end of this bed, it was pretty messy and the boards didn't align correctly at the end).

Look for a post soon on the finished product! Well, it could be spring by the time this happens. Perhaps the sun gods will bestow some more 60 degree days on me, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Someone should tell those hornworms they are too late!

A week or so ago I decided it was time to compost the tomato plants. While cutting them into smaller parts, I noticed some small white things on some of the leaves. Upon closer examination, I see there are more and they are attached to the ugliest, most disgusting thing ever: TOMATO HORNWORMS!

ACK! Someone should have warned the hornworms that they were a bit too late. They didn't get a hold of my tomato plants until after I was through with the harvest. Nevertheless, we squashed them. No hornworms are going to go into my compost pile. I found three in all. And they all had these little white things on them. I had no idea what they were, so I consulted my good friend Google on the matter.

According to this article they are parasitic wasp cocoons. They are wasp larvae that attach themselves to the hornworms, eat it's insides and eventually kill the thing. Good to know me and the wasps are on the same side.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Some days I do really like fall

Like the other day, when Tod and I went for a walk around my neighborhood. We collected pretty leaves to press. They will perhaps be used next fall in Emily's wedding.

I like fall colors.
I like fall smells--pumpkin, bonfires.
I like fall sounds--crunchy leaves.

Crisp, but sunny days. We've been really lucky to have such wonderful weather in November. I hope it stays around for my big clean-up weekend this weekend!

Monday, November 3, 2008

My new favorite garden tool

With fall clean-up comes several special projects this year. It's my first fall at this house and there are several projects I'd like to accomplish before winter settles in.

I've found a new favorite gardening tool for edging the flower beds.
Enter the Fiskars edging tool (I thought they just made scissors). I picked this guy up at Lowe's.

And it's done some amazing work at my house so far. I forgot to take a before picture, but here is an "after" picture of the bed between the sugar gum and the patio.

You can see the lovely edge the tool has created. And it's so easy. I assume I could have done this with another hoe, but I felt like this tool would make the job so much easier.

You can see the clumps of grass and soil it unearths when in use. The grass will go to the compost bin and once I have some bulbs planted beneath the tree, I'll add some wood chips on top.