Friday, March 27, 2009


I for the longest time, have had this fixation for having everything new. No matter what it was, it had to be new, but lately -i guess because of this economy- i have been trying to make the most of what i have, trying to be more resourceful.
I use to help my Grandfather do yard work when i was younger, and just recently realized that the same tools we would use were still at Grandmother's house, stored away (new ones had been purchased) So i gave my Grandma a call and asked if i could borrow them, and well now the tools are back to good use.
Thanks Grandma!!!

Raised Bed

Now that my soil is turned and i've added organic matter, it's time to make the raised bed. For this i needed to stop at Lowes to pick up some wood.
 Vic helped me out with this one, and for that, i am very greatful, he helped me turn some ideas into a reality.  I can't wait until i can introduce my seedlings into it.

The "Bed"

This right here is what i have to work with, she's a good 15 ft by 4 ft . Like i had mentioned before, i really wasn't too sure what i was getting myself into, until i first dug into the soil with my Grandfather's shovel. A few boxes of rocks later, and a couple of days later of digging and filling.          I decided i wanted to do a raised bed, as i was digging, i sure enough came across a ton of clay, and i figured a raised bed would most likely be better for the roots of my vegetables.  So after a couple of trips to Farmer's Market Garden Center (local Nursery/ Garden supply store). I bought some Top Soil, Peat Moss, Composted Manure, and Compost to help build my soil. Now i know, why buy compost when you can make it yourself?...
        Well i have some in the works...but its still a ways away from being done. I'm hoping i won't have to buy anymore of the above after this year.
        The soil looks and feels healthy, its rich and dark, yet light.

Update on Seedlings

here are the sugar pod peas that i planted 17 days ago (the one in the middle of the pic) i want to say its a good 6 to 8 in tall..

Monday, March 16, 2009

Beautiful Day Out..

                  So today was definitely a beautiful pre- Spring day, so i decided to work my little patch of land. I wanted to see what the soil needed, it was my first time working with it, so figured how bad can it be?... It looked workable, and at first felt nice, and soft (right amount of clay and sand). I felt lucky. I didn't think i was going to have to add that much into it.. then i stuck my shovel into the earth and knew right then and there i was going to be spending a good amount of time on it. There were tons of rocks all shapes and sizes. I dug about a foot deep just to ensure that my vegetables would be growing in the best conditions that i could offer. By this i mean, removing every possible weed and rock that i could find. As i dug deeper, i noticed that the soild was primarily clay.  
          After i cleared the area i was working on from the old soil, i alternated  the top soil, compost and old soil, and would mix it up, hoping that it would help make the soil workable. As of right now the soil does seem loose, but only time will tell. 
Clay throughout work area.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Farmer's Market Garden Center

I was trying to a find a local nursery here in Chicago, i know there are few, but didn't know which one to check out. I came across Farmers Market Garden Center, and it seemed to offer a few things i was interested in. So i decided to check it out.
I bought:
     Organic Vegetable Fertilizer
     Blackforest Topsoil
     Organic Compost
If you live in Chicago, then this is definitely a place to check out, very helpful staff, and a wide variety of everything pertaining to gardening 

New Seeds!!

Just a few days ago i recieved the third shipment of seeds ( i have one more on the way) and bought a few today.     

Todays Purchase: 
          Lemon Basil

Mailed in:
        Mammoth Dill
        Black Zucchini
        Cherry Tomato
       Spanish Onions

So Far So Good

The above picture is a sprouting sugar snap pea, that sprouted in two days! i was pretty surprised about that..because what i have read it takes anywhere from ten to fourteen days!

The picture below is a trio of purple cherokee tomatoes, they were the first to sprout of the tomatoes, and seem to be growing well.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Now that i have my seeds (most of them anyway), my grow light, paper pots, and soil...i'm ready to go.

  • First i wet my soil to get it evenly moist, i read that it is better for the seed to moisten the soil first, so that you don't flood the seed or wash it out.

  • Then i added the soil to my paper pots.

  • Added the seeds, topped the paper pot with more soil, and lightly pressed down.

  • I put them in a warm spot in my houseso that they germinate and under a grow light to replicate natural sunlight.

Now this is the moment of truth, will it grow?

How to Make Paper Pots

Paper Pots?

In doing my research, i came across these handmade paper pots by Lehman's  now i know what you might be saying.. $14.95 ?  I know...but i thought i'd give it a shot, and so far so good. The idea behind this is similar to the peat pots. When it comes time to transplant your plant, you can just put the paper pot in. no transplant necessary. The paper pots will naturally decompose.

Grow Light

Now i live in the Midwest, Specifically, in Chicago, so we have cold long winters and what seems like a short spring. I really wanted to get a head start on this growing seaon, so i wanted to start my seeds indoors, but because of the weather, i didn't want to put my seedlings near a window because of the fear of draft. So i went a head and bought a Grow light on line. Now it wasn't what i expected, but it seems to be working out well.

Composting Indoors

             I have been reading several articles regarding composting, most of them were for outdoors, and well, i just don't have the space or the weather to do that (yet) So, what i did, was take what i learned about composting outdoors and brought it indoors. 

             My compost bin isn't one that was bought from the store, just a simple bin i had laying around...that consists of vegetable scraps, fruit scraps, tea bags, a little bit of newspaper, and some personally dried out herb stems.

           Honestly i'm a little nervous about this..i wish i would have taken a picture of the start..but its i want to say about three weeks old...and for the most part smells sweet, but is starting to pic up a pungency..which i believe is part of the decompostion process. .But i'll keep you posted 

My Seeds Arrived!

So i just recieved some of my seeds in the mail, i know its a little late, but i decided that now is better than never. 

Seeds (left to right):
           Sugar Pod Pea
           Rutgers Tomato
           Jalapeno Pepper
          Cherokee Purple
          Serrano Pepper

wish me luck!