Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"Planting My Strawberry Bags for Hanging....."

My "Strawberry Kit" from Park Seed Company arrived today. The kit includes 24 strawberry plants and 2 plastic bags for hanging. Each bag will hold a total of 12 plants, but the top 2 will be planted later when the bags are ready to be hung outside. I had purchased extra bags with plans of taking some of my existing strawberry plants from one of the raised beds and transplanting them into a hanging bag, too.

Each bag is filled with potting soil to about 2" from the opening at the top of the bag.  The top back of the bag will be laid over the front and taped so that no soil will be lost when the bag lies on its side. The directions suggest having the planted bags lie on their side for a few weeks to give the plants a chance to become established.

I added a couple more slits in the bottom to allow for better drainage when hanging.

After the bags were filled, I hung them on a shepherds hook and thoroughly soaked the potting soil, using warm water so it would be absorbed easier/quicker.

Here are the 2 bags from the kit filled with top edges taped so no soil will be lost and ready for planting.

Planting is done by using my forefinger as a dibble, creating a nice sized hole for inserting the plants. Nice bruise on my arm ,eh? I have no idea how I got it........but know my old skin bruises so easily the older I get.

Here the plant is inserted into the planting hole. The soil is pressed around the plant by putting pressure on the plastic around the opening and moving the soil underneath towards the plant.

Here are the bags filled with the plants that arrived today. I will add more strawberry plants to the 3rd bag and to the top of the bags which now hold 10 plants, using strawberry plants from my garden.

Heres to hoping I have saved this years strawberry crop from the local chipmunks by "raising the bar" so to speak.  ;)

Monday, April 27, 2015

"Abigails Day With Us......"

Our granddaughter, Abigail, spent last Friday with us. Let me preface this whole post to say we ALL slept well Friday night.  ;)

Abigail and Grandpa Don took a hike in our woods after she and I got back from picking her up from her house. "Hike" might not be the correct word for her outing in the woods since she moves much faster than Don. She does occasionally stop and explore whatever takes her interest. Thankfully, she is not squeamish when it comes to bugs, etc.

When they came back to the house, we got in the, excuse me, Abigail corrects me each time I say that.......we got into the "Jeep" and drove over to the playground in Grawn, the little village next to Interlochen. They have a wonderful playground, which includes a "splash pad", too, for the warmer days. I "assume" that opens up after Memorial Day, but do not know for sure, although we WILL be going back there.  :)

This may explain why Abigail slept so well Friday night.  :) The girl runs and runs!

Grandpa Don joined her in moving some sand......

No fear of heights either......

Moving some sand by hand, too.  That is the splash pad in the background.

One piece of the varied playground equipment is a HUGE Goldfish, featuring its spine as a climbing ladder.

After a lunch stop (and ice cream), we came home and once again the paths in the woods called. I tagged along for some of the hike but Grandpa Don and Abigail soon wore me out. They came back a bit later carrying this organic sculpture, which now resides on our front porch. Abigail had seen my bundle of dried Dill hanging in the garage and asked for a few stalks to add to her piece. It is quite attractive in my opinion. Perhaps she will work in or own a nursery/florist shop, eh?  :)

Monday, April 20, 2015

"A Little Construction........"

On Saturday, I removed the stationary hoops from one of the raised beds. I decided to build a frame, covering the entire bed, attaching it to the raised bed with hinges. This way I'll be able to open it during the day and close it at night until the nighttime temperatures are warmer. The warmed soil inside should keep the inside temperature higher during the night compared to the outside temperature. I chose to open it along the wider side, but am now thinking I may have to change that to the end so that I can easily reach everywhere in the bed........although, I suppose it depends on what I plant in the back center area.  :)

I still need to tweak it a bit so that I can open it up in increments and have it safely stay in place without the wind blowing it wide open.

Sundays project was to build 2 potting benches for along the insides of the new pop up greenhouse. Unfortunately, I miscalculated in my lumber usage and shorted myself one 1"x3"x8'. I will be able to easily cut the pieces and install them with the bench in place. Luckily the missing piece was for the top and not for the main construction.  :)

The containers underneath the benches are filled with water, soaking up solar heat during the day to release during the night. See a reoccurring theme here?  ;)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

"About Time, eh?"

I finally sat down after months of silence to write a blog post. Amazing, eh?  ;)

Today has been an absolutely gorgeous day for doing some outdoor Spring work. The day dawned bright and sunny with a somewhat mild temperature, which only gained warmth as the day progressed.

Don started us off by washing a few of the windows inside and out.....

I set up the pop up greenhouses.....yep, I said "houses".  We bought another to add to last years because I have planted more varieties of seeds this year and need more room when I set them out to harden off in the greenhouse.

Here is last years greenhouse that I set up this morning. I set it up with the doors facing the opposite direction than I had last year. I wasn't able to easily reach one of the doors last year to unzip it, so decided to have it this direction this I wanted to add the 2nd greenhouse to it as seamlessly as possible. Both greenhouses are 5'x5'. With both set up, I now have a 5'x10' greenhouse.

I installed the potting benches and the 55 gallon drum, filling the drum with water so it can begin gaining solar heat to help temper the fluctuation of daytime and nightime temperatures........gaining heat during the day and releasing it at night. I also had several kitty litter buckets that Patrick and Julie had given me, so those, too, were filled with water to serve the same purpose. Those, along with numerous gallon milk jugs filled with water, will "hopefully" do as I hope with the temperature fluctuation.

Here is what the two look like attached together.

I also laid the plastic sheeting, which is weighed down on opposite ends with 2'x4'x8' lumber (that I had configured for the  hoop raised bed), over the top of the 2 greenhouses.  It will protect the area where the two come together, plus perhaps give the greenhouses a layer of extra warmth due to the dead air space between them.

Now to let the filled containers soak up solar heat until I am ready to move seedlings out into the greenhouses.