Saturday, May 22, 2010

Harvest to Date

So far this year we have harvested the following from the backyard:

Strawberries:  4 lbs 8 oz
Lettuce: 1 lb 4 oz
Spinach: 8oz

More updates to follow on the great Root Maggot infestation of 2010.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Snow Peas

I planted the Oregon Sugar Pod peas that I bought from They look very healthy and I can hardly wait until I get to snap off my first one of the season.

Broccoli Raab

So this year we will try broccoli raab instead of traditional broccoli. It looks a lot different. The leaves ar enot a thick and sturdy as regular broccoli.


This year the potatoes are growing fast! I plan on adding soil to these boxes until it gets too high and tehn adding to the box as it grows. At the end of the season when they're ready to harvest I will dismantle the box to harvest them. NO DIGGING!


We have a plant that is getting very old. It's going on it's fourth year of producing hot jalapeno peppers. In the same pot. It got it's first flowers this year already. We move it indoors to our solarium when it's getting too cool in the fall and we move it back outside in the spring when it gets warm enough.


Never grown them before but I lucked into quite a few sets (thanks Amanda!).

They're pretty too. Pretty delicious!


Blackberries will be plentiful this year as well. I think it will be worth the wait. We bought this bush 3 years ago. The only thing that we have to work on is how to keep it from throwing up canes 3 feet away into the nearby flower bed.  I'll have to dig a trench 24 inches deep and place a fiberglass barrier to prevent it.


This year we will be up to our necks in berries! I'm so excited to make preserves, pies, jams, and maybe wine!

I've never grown berries before so this is especially exciting!

Lettuce be Friends!

It's now time to eat the first salads of the season!  I think lettuce is so beautiful.

I also have planted mesculin mix right next door to shake things up.

Don't forget the butterhead lettuce! A favorite for it's texture in my book.

Did I mention my love for fresh salads?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I just planted 29 tomato plants. I'll let you all know how it goes.  Hopefully last night will be our last near frost!  Things are growing very nicely.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Great Bean House Adventure

So I was reading a gardening book- big surprise and I came across a project to build a structure for beans made from PVC pipes and fittings. With the materials so inexpensive and since I was unhappy with using bamboo last year I figured I'd make a go of it.

You will learn dear reader that when I undertake any sort of crafty project/new idea I will take it to the next level. I mean ridiculous. The first version of my bean house was about 8 feet tall. No lie. They sell PVC pipe in 10 feet sections. Why would I try to make too many cuts or bother measuring? Let's get real here. I'm gardening for fun (and food) so let's not make this too difficult. Keeping it simple is my favorite thing to do.

When I finally decided that standing on a ladder to harvest pole beans in mid summer was probably not the smartest or best case scenario I opted to shave two feet from the height of the structure and keep the same width. With help from my friend the architect who gave me advice on how to be sure the structure will not fall down and will stay anchored I finally have a finished product.

Now you're probably wondering what's going on underneath. Since I kept the same width for the house I realized all of the potential waste of space the middle would be. I planted my lettuce, mesculin mix, and spinach inside the house. This may not work out but I'm hoping that when the pole beans cover the house that they will shade the spinach and lettuce just enough to keep them from bolting and burning in the hot sun of the summer time.  I do know that by the time the beans start shooting up the sides of the house that the first lettuce and spinach of the season will already be in my belly.  I planted snow peas on both sides of the house and hopefully I'll be able to train them to climb up the strings I've placed.

I still have to place more twine all along the house like you see on the end there. I ran out. This year I hope to can a LOT of beans. I'll be growing Christmas Pole Lima Beans and Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans.

So the project ended up costing around $40. Not counting twine. I spent this much but I did not use ALL the PVC since I cut it down by a few feet. 
Tools needed:
1- small Hack Saw
Two hands
1- Can-do Attitude
Parts list:
10 - 10 feet lengths of 1inch PVC pipe (I bought extra in case I goofed on cutting anything)
2- 3 way connectors (on top to hold the roof pole in place)
4- 45 degree angle connectors
4- 90 degree angle connectors
7- T- connectors
2- Cross connectors (4-way)
All connecting pieces should be 1 inch fittings

If anyone is interested I can give you more details in an e-mail if you want to try to build your own. It's not too bad. Really fun actually.  It only took about two hours to build. Cutting the pipes took the longest- not because it was difficult but because of measuring once and cutting twice-- wait reverse that.

The coolest thing about this crazy project is that I may be able to use the structure as a mini green house come fall. Just add plastic. 

More pictures below:

Spring has Sprung!

For the next few days it seems so but I'm not holding my breath. I'm expecting at least one more chilly snap but hopefully we won't get anything too major. I've had a great time working the garden the past few days. Getting all of the cold weather crops planted this week has been fun and challenging!

I've sown spinach, mesculin mix, leaf lettuce, buttercrunch lettuce, and snow peas. I also put out my onion sets.. red and yellow.

 I did cheat and buy brussel sprout and red cabbage seedlings. Last year the plants worked so well I couldn't resist spending the money on them this year to get them into the ground.

I've started some cabbage seeds, broccoli raab, broccoli and lettuce seeds indoors. They are not quite large enough to plant outdoors but hopefully by the end of the month I can get them outside. They are just now getting their first true leaves. I started them on March 9th.

My tomato seedlings are coming along wonderfully! I started all of my tomato seeds on March 3rd.  I feel a bit guilty about not getting some of them into deeper pots yet. Tomorrow I will get them all transplanted so that they can get thicker and stronger. They look very leggy but they'll be fine once I get them into a deeper container. I usually reuse plastic cups from year to year (with holes poked in the bottom for drainage). I do have some pots I've saved from purchasing flowers. I'm always all about reusing anything I can which can make me a pack rat but it all comes in handy.

More tomato seedling updates after transplanting and when they have their first true leaves! I've been happy with the germination rates of the heirloom varieties I've ordered. They were slower to start than other seeds I've used in the past but they look hearty and healthy!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Seeds! Seeds! Seeds!

I ordered seeds a few weeks ago and I've already received nearly all of what I ordered! It's always a fun time of year to look ahead at things you'd like to plant again and choose some new and fun things to grow.

This year I did order from Gurneys again since they always give a great coupon whenever you order. Nothing like getting $25 off a purchase of $50 or more, eh?

From Gurneys I ordered:
Spinach, Vital Green
Butter Crunch Head Lettuce (excited about this one I've never grown it)
Leaf Lettuce, blend (grew amazing last year)
Mesclun, Mild Mix
Cabbage, Hybrid Stonehead
Broccoli, Hybrid Coronado Crown
Sweet Potato- Beauregard

Seeds saved from last year from Gurneys:
Cucumber, Hybrid Classy
Watermelon, Sugar Baby
Summer Squash, Hybrid Gurney's Pride
Pumpkin, Connecticut Field
Summer Squash, Hybrid Multipik
Carrot, Rainbow Mix
Winter Squash, Waltham Butternut
Winter Squash, Vegetable Spaghetti
Pole Bean, Kentucky Wonder

I'm most excited about all of the heirloom seeds I ordered this year!
The Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds was fast with the delivery of my seeds and they give a lot of information about the origin of the varieties they sell. They only offer open-pollinated seeds that are pure, natural and non-GMO.  

I ordered from
Lima Bean Christmas Pole
Corn Rainbow Inca Sweet
Tomato Moneymaker- An Old English Heirloom
Roma Tomato
Yellow Mortgage Lifter Tomato
Henderson's Pink Tomato
Oregon Sugar Pod II Snow Peas
Dragon's Egg Cucumber
Beit Alpha Cucumber- pickling variety
Jelly Melon Kiwano- African Horned Cucumber
Squash Jarrahdale- Blue pumpkin
Melon Collective Farm Woman- heirloom melon from the Ukraine 

Seeds purchased at local stores: 

Sweet Basil
Pepper Sonoma Sunset Hybrid
Pepper California Wonder
Tomato Supersteak Hybrid-Recommended by a gardener friend
Bean Edible Soybean (Edamame)

I know. You're thinking how is she going to grow all of this? Will she have enough room? The answer is yes. (I hope so)
I will be expanding where I can and where it's appropriate and doing some interplanting to maximize my garden space. I may also buy a plot in our community garden for some of my squash or melons. This year I also plan to grow my potatoes in upright containers for easier harvest. It will give me more space as well.

 If I can only keep from buying more seeds when I see them on sale. I don't think I will be able to fit much more. I'm getting so excited for the spring!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Today was a gorgeous day! While walking around thinking of ideas for the garden, I discovered that our garlic had already sprouted. We have about five or six shoots showing already! We planted about sixty cloves back in November. We ran out of garlic before the fall last year. We'd like to be able to grow a whole year's supply  so we increased how much we planted this time to see how long it would last.

Garlic is very easy to grow. We actually buy garlic from the grocery store and plant it. It worked very well for us last year and tasted amazing. All you need to do is divide your garlic bulb into individual cloves and plant them pointy side up in the ground. You should space the rows about six inches apart and each garlic bulb six inches apart. If you plant them closer then the bulbs will be smaller since they don't have much space to grow.

This year I was given some garlic seeds and garlic bulbs to plant from a friend who saves her seeds each year. She says the garlic is a Purple Italian variety that was given to her by one of her friends. Hopefully it comes up and does well. It will be my first experience with growing my own bulbs from seeds for the next year as well. 

Most websites I've been to while reading about growing garlic say that garlic is temperamental and hard to grow. I've found the complete opposite was true in my yard anyway. All I do is plant it, cover it with about six inches of leaves and by spring they're shooting out all over the place.  It's usually ready for harvest by July. Garlic also seems to last a fairly long time as well if you braid it and keep it dry. We'll see how long it will keep this year once we harvest.

How did my garden grow?

I was inspired to begin gardening when my husband and I finally purchased a home of our own three years ago. We bought an old victorian home on a 1/4 acre of property in the City of Cincinnati. When we first moved in we revamped the flower beds and spent a lot of time caring for our lawn.

We started growing some vegetables our first year with the standard tomato plants that everyone likes to have around. The second year we ramped up and tried a few more veggies. We planted squash, bell peppers, jalapenos and even tried a small bit of corn. That year we did enjoy a lot of squash and a lot of hot peppers but I wanted bigger. I knew that we could potentially replace our store bought produce with our own.. at least during the summer. We have the space to do it. I got obsessed and at the end of that growing season I began planning for the next year. I wanted the whole side yard. A section that was roughly 50x40 feet.

I borrowed two rototillers from my father and then when spring came I took out the yard. It was so much fun. My neighbors probably thought I was losing my mind. It was a lot of work but it was well worth it. All last summer we ate tomatoes, brussels sprouts, broccoli, eggplants (lots of eggplants), squash, zucchini, spaghetti squash, lettuce and cabbage among other things.

I have to hand it to my husband for helping me harvest everything we grew last year. I had time to plant but if it weren't for him harvesting each day while I was working at the day job then I'm not sure how long the garden would have lasted. He has also been very handy and helpful in general when it came to helping out when I needed it.

This coming year we hope to be more efficient in our gardening choices. We'll try to plan more with succession planting so that we can have a continuous harvest. We will try to grow more things that we can store away for the winter. We will plan more for our home preserving and plan to work together more often.

This blog will serve as an online journal for us and hopefully help to inspire others to grow some food! It's been difficult to find other local Cincinnati vegetable and herb gardening blogs so I figured I should start one and keep searching. Perhaps I'll end up helping someone or perhaps some readers will be able to answer some questions that I may have.

Next post.... some pictures of last year's garden!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Last Year's Garden Photos

Cabbage and Broccoli
Cabbage and Broccoli Later
Strawberries at planting in March
Strawberries in late May
Garlic Bed

Garden view from the back yard
Garden View from the second floor
Garden View from the second floor