Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gardening Season is on it's Way (Hopefully)

I mentioned in an earlier post that I love to garden. That's probably an understatement. I really love gardening. You can take this gal away from the farm, but you can't take the farm outta this gal.

We have plans to expand out garden. Did I mention that our backyard is about 600 square feet? Where there is a will, there is always a way. Our growing season is short, so I had to plan this all out with that in mind.

So far, we took our little garden plot from last season and put a raised bed in it with a cold frame to protect it. There are rose bushes to the left of it, honeyberry and raspberry bushes behind and more raspberry bushes to the right of it. I hope I left enough room for the bushes to grow. They all recieve plenty of sunlight, despite the cold frame.

The raised garden bed is 6 feet by 3 feet and fits the cold frame that we purchased here.  I want to get some salads and spinach started even though they are calling for snow again! I plan on putting my watermelons in there in the summer. I want to give them the best chance possible to ripen.

Hubby started to actualize my plans yesterday afternoon. He took a trip to the hardware store with our oldest and got some lumber (not enough) and started building my potager garden. He built an arbor and one raised bed. Mind you, the lumber wasn't his fault. The lady at the cash missed some on his order sheet and he went to the lumber yard without realizing this. He waited 20 minutes for someone to finally show up at the lumber yard and just picked up what he had paid for. He didn't go back into the store to fill out another order because it was already getting late (close to dinner) and was frustrated enough. So, he came home, had dinner and built this...

I know that it doesn't look like much yet, but it is a start and I am thrilled. I didn't have a hand in the building at all. I hate stomach bugs! I love helping build things. I wasn't feeling well and didn't get a better picture. I sent my six year old to take some pictures, but his chopped the arbor in half. Gotta love his point of view. The arbor came from plans out of a book that we got from the library. If he had had more lumber, he would have built the box on the other side of the arbor.

There are plans to build a few more boxes and another arbor. When you look through the arbor from the entrance into the potager, you see this...

Around Our Lady, we plan to plant a Mary Garden. Maria has started several flowers from seed and is working on recording their meanings and significance. I made her a notebooking page to help her with this. I will share it with you, so that you can use it with your children. I also made one for younger children. Owen really wanted to do what Maria was doing, but I made him a little easier worksheet. Gardening with children is so much fun and is very rewarding.

Our seedlings are doing very well. We planted them a few weeks ago. So far we have started:

sugar squash
Minnesota midget melons
shasta daisies
lemon balm
yellow pear tomatoes
tiny Tim tomatoes
Manitoba tomatoes
mini bell peppers
California wonder peppers
green onions
sweet peas

Hubby bought me a concord grape plant for Easter.  We have to keep it alive indoors for a while longer. I hope I don't kill it or any of the other plants for that matter.

I know that I often preach about trying to live simply. It looks like we spent a lot of money here. The truth is this, we did spend some of our tax return money and the rest we spent using gift cards. We rack up points when we use our Visa card. We use the Visa like a debit card and it is paid off after purchases are made and we hardly ever buy anything without having the actual money in our account. We have made a few exceptions, but prefer to carry a $0 balance. If you carry a $0 balance even though you use your card regularly, you can reap the benefits of having a great credit rating as well as (depending on your card) collect points that are redeemable for gift cards or merchandise.

It also helps to shop around, online and instores. Our local hardware store had a deal on Saturday that allowed you to take 15% off of one item. You were also allowed to use this for up to 15 of the same item. So we bought a good garden soil (.37 cubic yards) for our cold frame for $48 instead of $56 using the instore coupon. So our gift cards could get us a little more than we planned. We bought straps for that money saved. This allowed us to stow the lumber on our van's roof and kept it out of the vehicle for once.

Our local hardware store advertised on Saturday, that they would give you a $15 gift card if you spent $75 or more on Monday. So instead of buying all of the lumber on Saturday, we bought enough for the cold frame and hubby went to the hardware store to buy the rest of the lumber yesterday. Now we have another gift card, which we will need to buy the remaining lumber. When you live paycheck to paycheck, you have to learn to make the dollars stretch even further. With God's help, we always seem to have enough money and are able to make wise choices.

It is time for me to get back to reality and get some lunch on the table. I look forward to sharing more of our garden as it progresses. I just hope that the weather will agree with us and that the kids and I have green thumbs.

God Bless friends and thanks for stopping by.

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