Build a Raised Bed
A simple way to build raised bed frames
How to build a raised bed using four pieces of untreated framing lumber, with not a scrap of waste. Each bed requires:
  • Three 2-by-12 boards, 8 feet long
  • One 2-by-4 board, 8 feet long
  • 21/2-inch galvanized deck screws (approximately 28 screws)
When purchasing lumber, inspect it for straightness. Straighter boards will result in tighter corners. Cut one of the 2-by-12 boards in half to make two 4-foot lengths; these will be the two end pieces.
Cut the 2-by-4 board into one 4-foot length, to serve as a center brace, and four 1-foot lengths for corner supports. The two uncut boards will become the sides of the raised bed.
After drilling pilot holes, attach one of the side boards to an end board with three evenly spaced screws.
Place one of the corner supports in the angle between the boards and attach it to the side board with three screws. Repeat for the remaining three corners.
Attach the center brace to join the two sides at their midpoints. Use a square to position the brace at a right angle to the sides. The brace prevents the sides from bowing outward when the bed is filled with soil.
The finished bed measures 4 feet by 8 feet—a size that makes seed sowing, weeding, and harvesting easy—and raises the planting level by almost a foot. The wood can be stained, if desired.
Why Garden in Raised Beds?
  • The soil can be liberally supplemented with compost and other organic amendments, creating a rich and porous root zone that nurtures plants.
  • The bed sides act as an edging, helping to keep out weeds and turf grass.
  • Many gardeners, including those of restricted mobility, find that the slightly higher soil level facilitates maintenance.
  • The elevated soil of raised beds drains quickly and doesn’t become waterlogged, and it warms up earlier in spring. (Although those two characteristics are beneficial in cool, rainy climates, gardeners in hot, dry regions may consider them to be negatives.)


My Herb Garden

My herb garden is doing pretty well considering I had to dig up a lot of the plants this spring and move them because the Rhubarb was taking over the garden.

I left enough room in between the plants this time for them to grow before I have to either move them or replace them.

The Artichoke is doing great from what I can tell. I have never grown artichokes before and really like to looks of the plant. I think I will need to separate it this fall though. I believe there are now three plants in this picture that are planted together. It has 4 artichokes on it this year.

The bees really like the flowers on the thyme. I do too. It really makes the garden look pretty with purple mound. I have three different kinds of thyme in my garden. Mainly just for looks. There is the regular thyme you see above and in the picture below I have variegated thyme and lemon thyme. I am trying to expand my use of different kinds of herbs in my cooking.

Along with rosemary, oregano, french tarragon, parsley and purple sage I plan on expanding my herbs to more of a variety.

How to grow calendula
Calendula prefers a rich, well-drained soil, in full or partial sun. Because the plant self-seeds so easily, I recommend you find a place you want to grow your calendula and stick with it! Calendula germinates very easily, so you can sow the small crescent-shaped seed directly into the soil. You can start sowing your seeds from early/mid-spring onwards. Make sure your bed is weed-free and finely raked over, scatter-sow the seeds and once they’re established, thin to around 20 cm/ 7 inches apart.
Caring for your calendula
Dead head the flowers throughout the season to encourage new flowers to form. Towards the end of the summer you’ll need to leave the old flower heads to develop seeds to grow into new plants the following year. Water them when it’s hot and dry and you can add a mulch of well-rotted compost around the base of the stems each autumn.
Using your calendula
Calendula is perfect in a salve for daiper (nappy) rash and as a healing salve to treat other mild skin complaints such dry skin, acne and even open cuts. Calendula flowers are edible can liven up a green salad with its zingy peppery taste, give color to egg yolks and cheeses and can be used as an alternative to saffron.
Try Including calendula petals in your homemade soap, Homemade soap with calendula petals because usually calendula retains its color during soap making. Unlike many herbal ingredients, calendula will not turn black or brown in a bar of herbal soap. Use 1 tbsp. of calendula petals to just enough oil to cover. After your soap reaches trace, stir in the petal and oil mixture and blend thoroughly into your batch of soap.


Maintain health of tree: a) remove all dead, dying, and diseased limbs; b) remove crossovers,
which can rub together and damage limbs and harbor disease; c) remove hazardous
branches before they fall; d) correct and repair damage.
Fruit trees: a) increase fruit production; b) develop strong 45-degree angles to support fruit
load; c) remove limbs that grow down or straight up; d) maintain tree size (5-10’ is ideal
size for home orchard in terms of accessibility); e) maintain fruit spurs.
When to Prune Trees
The best time to prune trees is generally during the dormant period, usually in late winter (November–March). However pruning can be done year-round, as needed; for example, dead or diseased branches can be removed any time, the sooner the better. When pruning trees, keep this in mind: Pruning done during the dormant season tends to have an invigorating effect on tree growth. Pruning done during peak growth times tends to slow growth by removing leaves that manufacture nourishment, but too much summer pruning can damage a tree. Pruning during the spring (post-dormancy) and fall (pre-dormancy) is generally the least desirable time as the plant is most vulnerable during those times.
Generally, berries and tree fruits are pruned November until bloom; prune blooming ornamentals during and immediately after bloom.
Types of Pruning Cuts

Heading vs. Thinning Cuts
(reprinted from All About Growing Fruits, Nuts, and Berries, (Ortho)
A tree’s response to a pruning cut depends on where on the branch the cut is made. Both types of cuts
are used in pruning fruit trees and grapes.
Heading Cuts:
Several buds left on the cut branch grow, making denser, more compact foliage on more branches.

Thinning Cuts
 Branches are removed entirely, leaving no buds to grow. Their energy is diverted into remaining branches, which grow more vigorously.

Angle of Cuts
Always make cuts close to a node. Branches grow only at these nodes, and if you leave too
long a stub beyond the node, the stub will die and rot.

Placement of Cuts
Prune to the lateral bud that will produce the branch you want. The placement of that bud on
the stem points the direction of the new branch. An outside bud, pruned with a slanting cut just
above the bud, will usually produce an outside branch. A flat cut above the bud allows two
lower buds to release and grow shoots. (See diagram to right.)
Pruning Thick, Heavy Branches
1. Undercut the bottom of the branch about 1/3 of the way through, 6-12 inches out from the trunk.
2. Make a second cut from the top, about 2-inches farther out from the under-cut, until the branch falls away.
3. Cut back the resulting stub to the branch collar (not flush with the trunk).

Starting to prepare for gardening

Well today is the 3rd of March and I am already starting to get spring fever. I plan on getting outside today, since it is beautiful this morning, and starting to prepare the areas for gardens this year. I already have the corn seed tapes done, Don helped me with that. We have other seed tapes ready to go also, such as radishes and beans. I hope to get my corn bed ready to go with the make shift hot house cover for it. I will try to take pictures later when it is done to show all.
My strawberries are really crowded so I am going to try to clean them up and spread them out a little. We have lots of compost almost ready to spread on all of the gardens this year. It sure helps with growing the vegetables.
We got some seeds started in the greenhouse now that it is put back together again. Hope they do better this year. The cage I made is suppose to help stop the mice from eating the seeds out of the pots and the new green growth of the seedlings. I really hate it when the mice have such a great meal and I am feeding them regularly with my new seedlings. I hope to get things going early again this year. We have such a short growing season and not much heat up here on the mountain that I need to start really early and use lots of make shift hot houses.
I have learned a lot since we have lived up here. We are normally from areas where growing seasons are long. I don't mind not having such hot days, although I do miss them sometimes. I do get tired of the shade all the time. We live on the north side of the mountain so our sunshine is limited.
Hope everyone has a great gardening year this year. Learn something new if you can.
Until next time, happy gardening.

Winter Spraying
I was able to get out yesterday and spray all of our fruit trees with lime sulfur. Was suppose to have a December spraying as well but didn't get it done like I had hoped since we were so busy doing other projects, like wood shed roof and calf pen and the biggest project of all the horse stalls and corral. I will need to do another spraying around the end of February, again just before bud break and one more time right after the blossoms fall. With a routine of spraying most of the problems we have with the trees are eliminated.
I hope, that since the weather is so erratic this year, we will get a crop of apples and cherries as well as plums and pears. Last year the weather was so bad during blossoming that the pollinators didn't get the trees pollinated like they should have and we didn't get the fruit set like normal. I guess it was bad all around the country here in Oregon and not much fruit was grown. I sure did miss my plums last year and didn't get the applesauce I got in previous years.
The Farmer's Almanac predicts bad weather most of the spring. Lets hope that it will break long enough for the pollinator's to do their job.

Spraying Trees

Fall is here and the trees have just about lost all of their leaves. The weather has been beautiful and I have been thinking it is time to get ready to spray the fruit trees with dormant oil. This helps the trees rid of insects that thrive on them during the winter month only to come to life in the spring and damage the new growth on the trees. I have to wait until the leaves have fallen off to do this. I hope that the weather will be nice when the time arrives.

Lasagna Gardening

When Don and I moved into our new home here on the mountain, we had lots of plans for gardens everywhere. So with no hesitation we started digging and tilling. We soon discovered that this wasn't going to work. Our soil is all rock and little dirt. I would swear to this day that the rocks reproduce overnight. We dug and tilled and dug and tilled and got no where. So we got smart and instead of going down we went up. We started building beds on top of the soil. What a wonderful thing lasagna gardening is. So easy and works great. The rocks don't bother me now.

To lasagna garden you take all the old cardboard and news papers you have been saving to take to the recycle outside where you want to build your bed. First you lay down the cardboard then add some grass clippings, mulch, dirt what ever you have. Then start layering your old newspapers and amendments on top just as you would when you make lasagna. Rodale bookstore has a great book on this.

I love it. We also started just building beds and adding the compost that we make. I wish we would have started this earlier in our process of building our gardens. We would be a lot farther ahead in our plans than we are now. Better late then never.

We are still building beds and going forward on our plans. This year new hot beds on the top of the yard. Hope to take pictures as we go for documentation. Stay tuned.


Seed Tapes

We have a friend that likes to make seed tapes in the winter time. This consists of Elmer's glue, create paper streamers and your favorite seeds. Roll the create paper out to the length desired and place dobs of glue, spaced as far apart as recommended on the seed packet, then drop a seed on the glue. When all the dobs of glue are full, fold the create paper in half and let dry. Roll up and store in a cool dry place until planting season. When the season comes around you take the roll of seed tape and place it in the ground and cover with dirt.Viola, the seeds are planted and you go on to the next project.

This sounds easy. I think it could be very useful although the create paper streamers are quite wide so I am going to cut the lengths of paper in half lengthwise before starting the gluing process.

If you try this let me know how you like it and if it works for you.

Gardening is enjoyable way of relaxing and unwinding from a busy, hectic or stressful day. When you pull weeds one can imaging the weed the stress in ones life and when you pull it out it removes the stress from you. At least that is what I have found. I really enjoy working in the dirt, digging and planting. I can't even go outside in my nice clothes and stay clean. If I see a weed, I pull it. Gardening doesn't have to stop in the winter time.

No comments:

Post a Comment