Tag Archives: building raised beds

My Favorite Urban Farmscaper Gifts

25 Nov

Seriously, haven’t you heard enough about cyber Monday and all the deals that could be out there?  Well, I have…except for the deals I find for my gardening friends! The holiday season is upon us and  honestly, I won’t tolerate another gift that is marketed to gardeners that really has no useful purpose.  Like a Chia Pet for example.  I love plants, and love growing them, but have no desire to have a terra cotta bust of Homer Simpson with chia hair!    So, with that, here are some of my favorites with the links to these awesome gardening products on Amazon  as well as suggested gifts for gardeners.  When you click on a picture it will take you straight to the product.  Don’t forget to come back to My Urban Farmscape!

Happy shopping!  Remember, click on the pic to  send you to Amazon, or a link  like the one here for all of the Cyber Monday Deals.    Shop Amazon – Cyber Monday Deals Week

My Favorite Urban Farmscaper Gifts!

The Ultimate Urban Farmscaper’s Gift!  Why not have it all in this compact space.  A raised bed with an optional greenhouse to extend your gardening season.  A great idea for a senior or  Farmscaper who has everything…except this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love  this Jewel Coldframe that I mentioned in an earlier post and use at My Urban Farmscape to extend the season.  When you aren’t using it in the garden, it can be broken down for easy storage.

This Earth Box below is great for those of you with little space and with little time tending to garden chores.  Maybe you didn’t find the time, or forgot to water last year?  A perfect gift for the busy Urban Farmscaper.

Some of my favorite pruners to use in the garden for harvesting as well as in the kitchen for cutting fresh herbs.

For indoor growing and seed starting, supplemental lights are a must have.  For quality and compact sizes, here are two of my favorites.

For the garden photographer the right kind of lens or camera can really help to capture the tiny life living in the garden.

Books for Urban Farmscapers that love to grow food in small spaces, and even for those growing in not so small spaces.

Books for preserving and cooking food you grow or buy at the farmers markets.  Great gifts for someone that is trying to eat local and seasonally.

Magazine subscriptions that are full of useful information about gardening, cooking and homesteading.  I keep every issue of mine for reference.

Garden fun and games for farmscapers of all ages and for the future farmscapers.

Indoor Urban Farmscaping  for someone who may have limited indoor growing space.

Make sure you click the pic to go to Amazon! 

Happy Holidays!

Patti and the My Urban Farmscapers Team

Urban Farmscape: Florida Style

21 Oct

Just because gardening season in Michigan is about to end, it doesn’t mean that I will stop gardening.  Like I said in previous posts, my mind is always in the garden.  Not because I want to dig in the dirt, but mostly because I love nature and the beauty it offers.  I feel in total awe and hold a true appreciation for how plants grow, providing us with their delicious fruits, roots, and leafy flavors!  I guess I mostly garden for the love of food.

I took a long weekend trip to southern Florida to visit my daughter and her family.  I thought I was taking a vacation from the garden, enjoying the sun, a little swimming, playing with my granddaughter.  Both  my daughter and son-in-law work and don’t have much time for gardening, but wanted to offset the cost of their grocery bill by trying to grow more of their veggies.  Today, my daughter wanted to plant her garden.   She had already bought seeds and started some plants in peat pots. She had been gardening in containers and decided it was time to expand her growing space.  Now is the time to plant in Florida, so we headed to the local box store to buy lumber, topsoil, and a few other supplies to make a veggie garden.

After following directions from the post I wrote on March 18, 2012 Contained Chaos, my daughter and her husband decided on the best location to build their raised bed.  The morning is the sunniest on the southeast side of their house and it is totally shaded by 2:00 p.m.  Perfect for Florida when the afternoons are really too hot.  This will be good for working in the garden later in the evening with their daughter.  It didn’t take long before my son-in-law had the bed put together, trellises up, and then both he and my daughter filled them up with topsoil and potting mix.

 

They planted pole beans, zucchini, and cucumbers today as time was running short.  My granddaughter planted the plants she picked out this morning, along with a little tropical bird she fell in love with that adds a little garden whimsy.  Ha!  My daughter said she would never have one in her yard.  Funny what parents (and grandparents!) do for their kids.  There should always be a little fun in the garden.

It was a good day building and planting as a family.  Now I will go home to Michigan, where the leaves have probably fallen off the trees, and where I will finish some garden chores, pruning, cleaning and putting away my garden tools.  Next time I visit my daughter and son-in-law may be around the holidays, when I will expect fresh green beans for dinner!  As well as the amazing risotto that she makes.

Have you planted your garden yet?

Contained Chaos

18 Mar

My gardening style is what I like to call, Contained Chaos.  I like the look of wildflowers growing in nature, but I also like neatly arranged plants, like using boxwood as a border, or rows of plants like grown in a farm field or orchard.  I think that’s why when I designed the culinary garden at My Urban Farmscape, I wanted my veggies to be planted in raised beds.  Each raised bed is laid out in neatly arranged patterns providing several individual sections to grow my veggies, fruits and herbs.   But that doesn’t mean that when the plants start growing outside of thier boundaries I want to hold them back.  They are allowed to wander and intermingle as much as they like.  It’s like, I try to control them, but then I give up because I know they will grow where they want.  Plants have a mind of their own right, or maybe, the instinct and desire to follow the sun.

When I decided to make my raised beds, I researched the options and chose to make them with 2” x 12” pine lumber.   DO NOT use treated lumber of any kind for growing anything edible.  I looked into options for preserving the wood, but then realized that the wood I chose will last a very long time, and by the time it was rotted, I would have gotten my money’s worth just using the plain pine and it wasn’t worth the added expense.  So, here is what I did.

April Garden

This is the space between my house and the driveway.  It is the sunniest space in the yard, which is what I needed for the culinary garden.  So…..out with the old and in with the new!  I didn’t remove the lawn though.  No need, since 10” of soil would be on top of it, it won’t grow any more.  I did have to transplant the shrubs and cut down an ornamental tree. 

The 2” x 12” boards were cut to the desired lengths.  If you don’t have a saw, you can ask your lumber store to cut them to the lengths you want.  They will typically do this at no charge.  It is easy to ask them to cut a 2” x 12” by 8’ board in half.  Do this for two boards and you will end up with a 4’ x 4’ garden.  I chose to use 3” deck screws to screw them together.  There are fancy type corners you can get, but it was getting a little too expensive for my garden.  Some of my beds are 2’ x 8’ or longer, so I added a board in the center for additional strength and/or to keep it from bowing.

Autumn Garden Showing Raised Bed Design

Once the boxes were made, they were place directly on the ground.  I filled them about 3/4 full with topsoil.  If you don’t have access to free topsoil, then try to purchase it by the yard.  It is cheaper.  Otherwise, you will have to buy it by the bag.  A 4’ x 4’ box takes about 1/3 yard of topsoil to start.  I then mixed in compost to the remaining portion, ending a couple inches from the top.   My cost for a 4’ x 4’ garden last summer was about $25.00 each.  That is the wood and the topsoil and compost.  You can make these any size you like, and they will fit in most every Urban Farmscape.  These will last for years.  If the ends start to come apart or the boards warp, I will make small adjustments as they come.  I just found this method to be the most practical and affordable. 

September Garden

The first year I was able to harvest a bushel of tomatoes from a 2’ x 12’ raised bed.  I spaced the tomatoes diagonally about 2’ apart.  So in a 2’ x 4’ space I was able to plant 3 tomato plants.  They were indeterminate types which I pruned and staked them.  I will talk about that more when I write about tomatoes.  I also planted blueberries, corn, cucumbers, carrots, peppers, squash, beans, garlic, parsley, oregano, basil, sage, thyme, and several edible flowers.  I planned space for cold frames also.  I overwintered carrots under straw (see poem on Winter Carrots).

Winter Garden

This will be the second season for the culinary garden at My Urban Farmscape.  The warm weather we have been experiencing has made it EASY to clean up and prep my gardens, but the only thing I am planting are my cool season crops such as spinach, arugula, lettuce, carrots, beets, and radishes to name a few.  And that is still in my cold frame (open ends and tops off for now).  Don’t be fooled by Mother Nature!  Our frost free date is about May 15th, still a long ways away.  For now, continue planning and if you like your garden chaos contained like I do, start building your raised beds!  Before you know it, it will be time to plant for the summer!

Coming soon to a garden near you…

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