Sunday, July 26, 2009

Growing Up

I'm pretty greedy when it comes to garden space.  I want to grow as much as I can in a pretty small garden.  One way to expand that space is to garden in three dimensions: don't forget the vertical space!  Space-hungry plants like squashes and cucumbers can be trained to grow up a trellis, which keeps the squash clean and dry off the ground, and also keeps the plants from sprawling all over.  Unless you're growing huge pumpkins, the stem grows to support the squash, so there's really no need to worry about them falling off.  I grew butternut squash this way, and they really did stay on the plant, even the largest ones.  Just be sure your trellis is sturdy enough to hold them!

My trellis is a permanent structure made out of steel tubing sunk into the ground, with heavy-duty plastic fencing material on it.  This works well, but isn't the most attractive option.  The other down side of the permanent trellis is that I pretty much have to grow the squash there every year. I like to at least try to rotate crops and I try to make up for the every-year squash dilemma by planting peas on the trellis first every spring to give me a little rotation.  But a moveable trellis would better in hindsight.  These vegetable ladders that I found from the Territorial Seed Company would be one moveable option. They're a bit pricey for what they are, but I'll bet they'd be really easy to make for yourself.  (Or find an old wooden step ladder and put it to a new use!)  So, when you're looking for more space in your garden, don't forget to look up!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Garden in a Bag

We've been eating lots of baby carrots and parsnips lately, from a bag! Not a grocery store bag, mind you, but from one of these garden bags from Gardener's Supply Company. They sell them for potatoes, but I thought they'd also be great for other root veggies, and so far the carrots and parsnips have done great in them. The potatoes seem to be growing well too, but I'll have to do an update post when we actually harvest the potatoes.

We wanted a bit more growing space at the garden since our raised beds are pretty much stuffed to the gills with plants, and I saw these in the catalog. They're made of heavy-duty felt, and are supposed to last several years. Just fill them with nice sifted soil, water well, and plant your seeds. These would be great for small-space gardens like patios. So, even if you have cement for a "backyard", that's no excuse not to grow some food!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Thank You!!

Thank you so much Charlotte at Canning Jars Etc. for passing this award to me!  Your blog is a must-read for anyone interested in putting food by. It's well-researched, seasonal, and really informative!  Thanks again!

To get this award I have to first list 7 things about myself that you might find interesting.  Here goes:
  1. My longtime companion is from England, and I'd like to think I'm channeling his father who was an avid gardner but sadly passed away a number of years ago. 
  2. I'm a research scientist at the University of Pittsburgh's Lupus Center of Excellence.
  3. I have a much-beloved 15-year-old tuxedo cat named Chester.
  4. I love to cook and read cooking blogs.
  5. I aspire to have 3 backyard chickens (hens) next year.
  6. I love British humor.
  7. I used to be a classical musician in my younger life--I played the viola and piano.
  Next I need to nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.  I nominate:
  1. The Humans at Seven Trees Farm
  2. Farmgirl Susan at In My Kitchen Garden
  3. Anais at Little Homestead in the City
  4. Kelli at Sugar Creek Farm
  5. Amy at Eggs on Sunday
  6. Tina at Craftiness
  7. Thomas at Urban Chicken
To accept this award please do the following:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
  2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
  3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
  4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
  5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
  6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
  7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.