Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hoops On Raised Beds

A member of another group that I am in, asked about hoops on beds that people used and I just realized that I never posted about my hoops that my husband and I put together last year at the end of the summer.

Putting the project together, I think overall the cost was probably about $25.00:

9-PVC pipe

18-metal brackets to hold the pipe to the bed (or you could put the pipe in the inside of the bed and that will work fine, but I wanted extra security)

3-boards to act as place holders at the top to prevent the boards from swaying

18-black round circles that go on both sides of each PVC pipe to prevent the board from sliding down (not sure the name of them right now)


1-paddle bit that it a smidge bigger than your PVC pipe to make holes in the boards (thanks to my neighbor I did not have to run to the store to buy another bit, I bought one that fit exactly and I needed it to be a little bigger)

1-a second person to help you bend the pipe down into the brackets

BE VERY CAREFUL because the pipes are used to being straight , so when you try to bend them and slide them in the the brackets they want to snap back to be straight. Ask me how I know (I GOT SLAPPED IN THE FACE BY ONE OF THEM), oh my goodness, if that is what it feels like to be punched in the face by a boxer, you will never catch me in the ring.

A few months ago due to the strange winter weather that we have been having her in Texas (yes I know you say but I thought if you wait 15 min. it changes, well for us this is strange), I purchased row cover (not as thin as you put on to prevent bugs, but a little more thicker and it still allows rain and the sun to come in, but prevents frost from landing on the plants (which will usually kill them) and they are not beat up by the wind. I purchased this after searching for weeks at my local garden center (not big box, they only had the ones you use to shade yourself from the sun while relaxing outside). I will post photos this week showing the plants all nestled in their bed. I also had to purchase some clamps and I was told to try a local store that sells all kinds of things at VERY reasonable prices and I got each clamp for $0.99, great deal, so I bought 20 of them (you never know when you will need a clamp and they have come in handy because I was able to really secure the cloth down during the most windy days and my plants were fine).

I chose not to use plastic because I would not always be around during the day to take the plastic off if it got to hot. I have been told from other people through their experience that sometimes the plastic can over heat your plant and then before you know it the plants bolt. If you see the photos below when these plants were at their highest you could still work with the hoops on the beds.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Starting Seeds Indoors

I think I made a big Boo-Boo. I purchased a new bag of seed starter mix to try something new, however I did not read the directions as carefully as I should. I missed the fact that this seed starter mix needed to be dampened once put into pots prior to adding your seeds. I have soaked the fiber pots since about 1:30 today and they are slowly wicking the water up, but not like my other brand of seed starter mix. So I did the inevitable, I added water from the top to get it wet and of course I am sure some of the seeds were disrupted from the force of the water (although I dripped it in slowly). Well we will see in a few weeks if the germination process still takes. You have to live and learn to become better at what you do. Believe me I am LEARNING.

Preserving Seeds

I discovered another purpose for the little plastic bags that earrings, buttons, beads, etc. may come in. When I open a seed packet, usually the little seeds ends up at the bottom of my storage container and there is nothing to do but to throw them away (because of course you can't figure out what is what). I am discovering that this method will save my seeds and also protect them from the air (because once you open the paper seed packet it is of course no longer resealable unless you fold it and tape it).

I put a label on the front of a little baggie and pour the rest of the seeds into the plastic baggie and put it into the paper seed packet. This way if you drop the packet, the seeds are safe as well as I feel the seeds will last longer since they are not subjected to air that can get in the paper seed packet. Below is how I organize my seeds:

Take some labels or tape that you can write on, your open paper seed packets, along with your assortment of plastic bags:

Write the name of the seed on the label and place the corresponding seeds inside (try to pick a baggie that will fit all of the seeds, if not use 2 baggies, the paper seed packet should fit the baggie(s) you have just filled.

It is not all fancy, but it seems to work for me and once again you are recycling something that you may have thrown away.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New Digital Camera

I have to thank my husband for buying me a new camera. I have put it off for a few years now and complained a lot about my Kodak little camera. I had issues with it and I could not rely it when I really needed it most.

My husband got me the Cannon PowerShot SD1200 IS Digitial ELPH. I really like this camera (still trying to learn it, but I figured that would be with any technical thing you get). The quality of the photos are truly amazing.

More Strawberry Jelly

This week, I noticed that my husband was almost out of the strawberry jelly that I made him a few months back, so I decided to make some more. I still had half a bag of frozen strawberries from the last time I did preserves and I whip up 5 more containers for him last night (the no cook method comes out great and it only takes about 30 min.). Well when I cam home today they (husband and now my daughter) consumed half of a jar. I guess that tells me that they loved it (also they verbally told me as well. I am now looking forward to make other kinds of jelly (I really only like grape, but I think I will stick to the store bought kind). See my previous post from July '09 on the first time I ever made this type of jelly (well jelly period). These plastic jelly containers freeze very well and the cost is very good. For a better view on how to make the no freeze jam, check out this video from Ball.

My next venture will be to make my own salsa. Sometimes I just want chips and salsa for a meal and there seems to never be enough available. Ball has a video on how to make quick/easy salsa. Very much looking forward to this.


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