Welcome to Bepa's Garden!
This blog is about organic gardening, healthy eating and healthy living.
Each month I will be posting Garden To-Do Lists, Tips & Techniques, Garden Project Plans, Photos from the Garden, Recipes and Book Reviews.
I hope you enjoy reading and I hope I can inspire others to start a backyard garden!
Happy Gardening!
~Rob~

Friday, May 24, 2013

The adventures of seaching for night crawlers!


My wife and I are running a Thrilling Thursday's - Fun Friday's program at the elementary school and we decided that our first project will be learning about earth worms.


We gathered several books to share with the children including:

Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin
Wonderful Worms by Linda Glaser
Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof
and
Junior Science Earthworms by Terry Jennings

 We printed and laminated several anatomy charts, worm pictures, and posters and my wife created an "Earthworm Exploration" activity.

My job was to gather worms from the compost bins to use for the activity. It had rained most of the morning, then became partly sunny and humid, so I wasn't sure if the worms would be buried deep at the bottom of the compost. I went our after supper and collected several rather small worms. We were expecting showers later in the evening so I decided to wait until after dark to collect some night crawlers.

About 10:30pm I put on my raincoat, grabbed a headlamp and headed outside in the pouring rain. There were probably hundreds of fat juicy night crawlers sprawled out all over the lawn, plus several hundred small sticks that I mistakenly thought were night crawlers! 

It has been a while since I searched for night crawlers, especially in the pouring rain, so I was a little rusty. Most of the worms darted back into their holes as soon as the headlamp shined on them, others were just too quick for me to grab. 

As I walked around the backyard, hunched over in the pouring rain wearing a headlamp at 11pm, I thought to myself, my neighbors are probably looking out their windows right now thinking that I have completely lost my mind!

I managed to gather a bucket full of large worms and decided to check the garden area on the side of the deck before heading inside. I walked around the deck, hunched down, and started checking the ground when I heard a rustling sound coming from under the deck! The noise was getting louder and I could tell whatever it was was heading in my direction! The first thought that raced through my mind was that it was a skunk, raccoon or the opossum that I saw earlier in the week, so my first reaction was to quickly get out of the way. Without thinking, and completely soaked from head to toe, carrying a bucket of worms, in the pouring rain, I attempted to jump up onto the edge of the deck which sits about 3 feet off the ground! 

Needles to say I didn't make it! 

As I tried to jump onto the wet deck, my foot slipped off the edge, scraping my shin and smashing on my right knee as I fell back into the mud! In a state of agonizing pain and panic, while whatever was under the deck starting running past me, I managed to leap back up onto the deck.

I stumbled into the house to find my wife standing there with this bewildered look on her face as to say, what the heck did you do now!
 The pain was unbelievable and I could barely move my leg, but after I explained what just happened we both burst out laughing! 
Luckily after applying an ice pack and some neosporin the swelling and bruising aren't as bad as last night!


Who knew searching for night crawlers could be so dangerous!

~Rob~

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Garden Dibble Giveaway!



Garden Giveaway #1

This is the first of my monthly garden giveaways!
This month one lucky winner will win one of my hand carved garden dibbles!


 Growing up I worked side by side with my grandfather in his greenhouse, potting up and transplanting seedlings. I remember working with an old rounded dibble that my grandfather had obviously made himself. The dibble was old and worn, but it was functional, aesthetically pleasing and had history.


After many years of gardening and using just about anything that I could find as a makeshift dibble, I decided to design and make some proper dibbles for myself. Like the old dibble I used with my grandfather, I also wanted these new ones to be functional, aesthetically pleasing, and constructed out of quality material that could survive use over time and become heirlooms that can be passed on for generations.


After several attempts turning and carving various shapes, I came up with a design that met and my expectations. I created 2 different style dibbles, a pointed body for planting seeds and a rounded body for planting bulbs. I also created different sizes, a smaller ones for tiny seeds and small transplants and larger one for bigger seeds, larger transplants and bulbs.

 
I wanted to use a material that was durable and would hold up to years of vigorous use. I also prefer to use reclaimed lumber whenever possible and just happened to have a large lot of mahogany blanks that I salvaged from a woodworking shop. The mahogany has a nice rich grain, will hold up well in the elements and is very durable. The dibbles are coated with a natural bees wax finish to keep them looking nice for years to come and are fitted with a nylon strap to hand when not in use!


The winner will get to choose the size and style dibble they would like.
You can view the different style dibbles available in my ETSY store.



Raffle ends May 31, 2103!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A peek into the greenhouse - May


Today is a bit dreary. It is windy and we have been getting some well needed showers. I am having a hard time concentrating on work because I just don't feel like working, so took a break and headed out to the greenhouse with my camera to see how the seedlings are doing.

The plants have grown quite a bit since the last "Peek into the greenhouse" post a month ago. It's amazing to look back at the pictures to see just how big everything has grown in just a month's time!

Bell Peppers
Purple Tomatillo
Lettuce, Romaine and Butterhead
Collards
Sunflowers

Marigolds and Petunias
Zinnia
Kale
Purple Tomatillo flower.
Basil
Cucumber, Squash and Pumpkins
More Sunflowers

The greenhouse is pretty crowded right now, especially with the extra trays of flowers, pumpkins and squash that I started early. I am now anxiously awaiting warmer weather so I can get the seedlings into the garden and the direct sow seeds planted!

What's seeds have you started already?

~Rob~

Shared at:

From the Farm Blog Hop

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A duck house made from recycled materials ...

After many, many, ... many months, the duck house is finally finished!


I had originally planned on having it built it before last winter, but just never seemed to find the time to work on it. In the meantime, I have been using a portable pen, that I built, to put the ducks up in each night before wheeling them into the garage.

The new house is much larger and more comfortable for the ducks than the portable pen, and is made completely from recycled materials!


The frame is one of my old cold frames that I cut down to make a winter shelter for the ducks and the base is leftover lumber from an old work bench that I made.


The flooring is 1-1/2" cedar from the old swing set that I took down last year.


The walls are also lumber from the swing set and the roof is from the old rabbit hutch.



The side walls are off-cuts from the raised bed boxes for the school garden and all the material for the door, including the hinges and latch, came from the old rabbit hutch!




The ducks spent their first night in their new house last night and seem to be happy with it. They now have their own little corner next to the garden and it is so much easier to put them up at night!


~Rob~

Shared at:

From the Farm Blog Hop

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Building a school garden - one raised bed at a time!


Today was our raised bed building event at the school garden. It was a gorgeous day with perfect weather and we had a fantastic turnout of volunteers!


We had so many volunteers that we finished constructing all the beds in an hour!


The children seemed excited to have a hand in assembling the beds, especially when we asked, "who wants to use a power tool?" The raised bed system worked out very well and went together easily. The children were able to put it together themselves with very little adult help and seemed thrilled to have a hand in creating our school garden! We are very grateful for the amount of school and community support we are getting with this project.


You can read more about the event on our School Garden blog!



Several people were interested in building the raised bed boxes to use in their own gardens so I decided to make the plans available. You can download them for free from my Project Plans page on my website if you wish to build some raised garden beds for yourself!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Garden Journal - May 2013


Garden Journal - May, 2013

To Do:

  • Turn beds to prepare for planting
  • Begin moving transplants to garden
  • Finish building the duck house
  • Layout and cut in new garden beds
  • Design irrigation system for garden
  • Construct raised beds, fill with soil and start planting school garden
  • Design pergola covered flower bed for school garden

Notes:

It finally feels like spring around here with day time temperatures reaching into the mid 70's. The greenhouse is overflowing with vigorously growing seedlings patiently waiting their move into the garden. The overnight temps have still been dropping into the 40's, so each night I move the seedling into the basement where they sit on heat mats. Once the morning sun heats the greenhouse to 60° I move them back out again. Next week the nights are supposed to be warmer so hopefully I won't have to bring them in anymore.

 My system for starting seed seems to be working very well as each season I get better germination rates and healthier seedlings. This year I have included flowers to my seed starting schedule, starting marigolds, petunias, zinnias, morning glory and lots of sunflowers! We will use most of them around our house and in the school garden but I eventually plan on selling them at the local farmer's market.

The school garden project is moving along rather quickly, thanks to the help of some very generations donations. Ring's End Lumber gave me a discount on the materials for the raised beds, Beach Brook Farm Equine Rescue has agreed to donate compost, Lombardi Gravel & Excavation gave us a donation of FREE screened loam, and Jennifer Burcke of 1840 Farm included her heirloom seed collection in our order of seeds for the garden! We are very grateful to have so many generous people support and help make this project a reality!



 Last night we put up the school garden sign and this weekend we will be having a raised bed building event where the children will be assembling the raised bed systems. There is a lot of excitement at school over the garden so we anticipate a good turnout of helpers!

We have launched the school garden blog and facebook page and are looking to increase interest in this project. I hope you will follow us and be part of this exciting journey!

What is on your garden to-do list for May?

~Rob~