Monday, February 27, 2012

Greenhouse for Seed Propogation

I'm so building one of these. I think this will work for propagating seedlings and add FRUGALNESS.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Breaking Ground

Today was an interesting day.  We set out to cut out some rows, plant potatoes and onions, and hit Plant and See nursery to get our early crops.  Instead, we cut the underground fence line trying to expand our garden a couple of feet.  After a quick fix patch job, we cut out a couple of big rows (18 in. wide) and planted potatoes.  We were slowed down by trying to pick a ton of grassroots out, hoping to head off the attack that is coming a little bit.  The eleven month old, who either wants to eat dirt, pick up dog poop, or just be annoyed that she can't do whatever she wants didn't speed things up.

Here are some before pics: 

We did formulate our plan of attack and plant about 25 potato plants.  Hoping to get our onions cabbage, broccoli, carrots, spinach, brussel sprouts, and spinach in tomorrow.  That's a tall order though.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Your Mission, if you choose to accept it, is CHEAP!

I would like more than anything to be able to say  authoritatively that "I am your Frugal Farmer. And this is the Frugal Garden on a Hill."  A little Darth Vedar meets John Winthrop.

I, however, have not been as enamored by Darth Vedar since I learned that he commonly went by the name Annie as a child, and I'm too popish to be a Puritan. In reality I'm not a frugal gardener, just a cheap one.  I am not a Jedi gardener and my garden is a far cry from that "Garden on a Hill." More accurately, I'm a Padawan gardener and my plot is more like the Fraggle Rock of gardens. I do want to be a frugal gardener though.

My wife and I started our garden two years ago as a hobby.  We had hoped to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to our diet at a low cost.  Turns out, gardening is too much work to be considered a hobby, and when you do treat it as a hobby, you just end up dumping a lot of money into it.  Well with the current state of our economy (ahh moan & cry, I'm cheap and poor), gas at $3.81 a gallon, and milk a $4.25 a gallon, I can't afford to treat gardening as a hobby.  I need it to be economical.  I need to be frugal and it to be productive. So I have started this blog to see if this year brings me one year closer to being able to say "I am your Frugal Gardner. And this is the Frugal Garden on a Hill."  My goal this year is to put as little money into my garden as I can and harvest, preserve, and use from it as much as I can this year. 

Here are a few goals that I would like to meet this season. (I'll more than likely be revising these notably as the year progresses and the heat and humidity rises.)

  • Harvest enough to clearly demonstrate the economy of having garden
  •  Preserve and store as much produce as possible (freezing & pickling)
  • Creatively integrate fresh produce into the family diet
  • Keep operating costs low
  •  Get Compost System Up and Running
  • Test soil finally so I can properly amend it in the coming years
  • Add a rain barrel system 
  • We would like to go a season were we get production from everything we plant.  (We have had some problems with tomatoes (blossom end rot), bell peppers have never really produced and have had problems with cross pollination, and we get hammered by the squash bug.)
  • Plant a fall crop!
  • Next year work to raise my own seedlings.
  • Maybe even sell or barter a little produce at the farmers' market
I've already had some wins and losses.  I did not attempt to raise seedlings this year.  I can't figure out if this is in or out of line with my "frugal gardening."  I would have to do this inside, which would require buying grow lights. So that would be some investment.  We tried doing this our first year, and we did let the seedlings get as established as they needed to be, had problems with the little cups that we used, and we ended up losing a lot of plants and time (because we didn't really know what we were doing) and having to buy seedlings anyway.  So this year we have opted to buy seedlings for many plants and sow seed whenever we can.  Ideologically in or out of line, still to be determined.

I have had some minor wins.  Historically, we never get the garden going as early as I would like.  I have tilled the garden twice now and it is ready to have the rows cut out and the early crops go in.  We hoped to have done this today, but we had some violent storms for the last 24 hours.  We will see how the soil looks tomorrow, but it may have to wait until Monday.  I also got a new compost system set up.  This is definitely in line with our "frugal" goals.  I built it at no cost.  Its effectiveness also still to be determined.

So if anyone is reading ever or still.  Stay tuned for some cheapo gardening.