Sunday, September 27, 2015

"A Bit of Refitting......."

You may remember my building wood frames covered with hardware cloth and hinged to the top of my 2- 4'x4' raised beds to prevent the chipmunks from going in and taking bites out of strawberries? Well, I was certain it would do the trick and as the season progressed, I found out that nothing is certain when it comes to our chipmunk neighbors and their devious ways. ;) The little guys ignored the caged tops and dug their way inside by tunneling under the raised beds wooden sides!

So today brought about some refitting to the raised beds. I hoisted one of them up and off of its planted interior and turned it upside down. After cleaning the underside of the bed frame, I stapled 1/2" vinyl covered poultry netting (wire mesh) to the bottom of the frame.

Here is a closeup of the stapled poultry netting.

I have moved the bed frame next to where it stood prior to the refitting but have not refilled the bed yet. I need to purchase more bags of compost, etc. before transplanting the strawberries back into it.

You might also recall how I filled the beds originally using bales of straw standing on end, then covered with compost and soil. That worked well for the first season. I knew the straw would deteriorate into compost, too, but I did not think ahead and plan for the planting bed to sink so far below the top edge of the sides. I would have been better off filling the beds with compost and soil top to bottom since I was planting perennials rather than annuals. If I had planted annuals in the beds, then I could have added more compost and soil prior to transplanting this spring to offset the sinking due to the straw composting. Live and learn, eh? ;)

Here is a photo that gives you a better idea of how much the planted area had sunk compared to the top edges of the beds. Originally, the plants were even with the top of the frames. You can also see how dark and rich looking the composted straw and potting soil are now, too.

Once I purchase more compost, etc. (you probably remember that our soil here is almost pure sand so amendments are necessary to build a good planting mixture), I will transplant the strawberries back into the bed and then do the same thing with the 2nd raised bed.  I have 2 other 4'x8' raised beds that should have the same treatment but I do not know if I will get to them this year.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that this solves my chipmunk issue! :)

Friday, September 18, 2015

"Grow Tent"

I had bought a variegated lemon tree last fall and then ordered 3 tiny citrus trees (Meyer Lemon, Dwarf Orange, and Key Lime) this past spring. They have lived out in or around the pop up greenhouses all summer and have thrived! With the outdoor temperatures fluctuating from the low 40's at night to the 80's during the day, I decided it was time to give them a more stable environment by moving them inside for the winter.

I ordered a grow tent and grow light from The Grow Store (for you Facebook users: and it arrived yesterday.

With some help from Don, I set the grow tent up in the basement, next to my weaving area, and moved the trees into their winter accommodations.

I was able to use 2 of the potting benches I had built for the pop up greenhouses.

The variegated lemon tree is the largest of the trees.

I decided I wanted to have more space between trees, so added a couple of plastic totes, allowing me to set 2 of the trees on them.

I will probably rotate the trees weekly from level to level so they get to take advantage of the better light higher up when sitting on the potting benches. I will be going out in a bit to see what I can find in timers (for the lighting) and small fans (for air circulation).