Welcome to Bepa's Garden!
This blog is about organic gardening, healthy eating and healthy living.
Each month I will be posting Garden To-Do Lists, Tips & Techniques, Garden Project Plans, Photos from the Garden, Recipes and Book Reviews.
I hope you enjoy reading and I hope I can inspire others to start a backyard garden!
Happy Gardening!
~Rob~

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mini-greenhouse

Carrots started 2 weeks ago for winter harvest

With the winter garden coming along nicely it is time to get started building the mini-greenhouses to protect the plants from our northeast winter. This weekend, if all goes well, I will be building four 4' x 6' units to cover my lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. The design has changed several times, but I think I have finally come up with something that will work well for my garden. The original plan was to build a structure and just wrap it with row covers, using bricks on the sides to hold down the covers. After pondering the design more I decided to add hinged roof panels that will allow easy access for watering and harvesting. They will also be able to be propped up to regulate temperature if it gets too hot inside. I purchased greenhouse plastic from Growers Supply to cover the units when the temps drop below freezing.


After I build one, and work out all the details,  I will be posting pictures and the basic plan if anyone is interested in building one for themselves. I may also put together a package that includes full size plans, materials lists, cut lists and exploded view drawings with assembly instructions, available for a small fee to cover the cost of printing and postage.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Planting the winter garden

Asparagus seeding out

As the last of the tomatoes & eggplant are being harvested and the herbs are about ready to pick and dry for winter use, I am beginning to plant my winter garden. For the past few years I have wanted to plant crops for winter harvest but always seemed to be too busy to get them planted. Last year I did manage to get carrots in which we harvested until January - they were absolutely delicious! This year I planned ahead and was able to start seeds and plant on time. I started cabbage (red and savoy), broccoli and cauliflower seeds in soil blocks on a heat mat in the beginning of August. A week later I was able to transplant them into larger flats in the greenhouse. After a minor attack from cabbage worms they are in the garden and growing nicely.


Floating row cover on lettuce

Cabbage plants
I direct sowed carrots, romaine lettuce, fall & winter lettuce, mache, spinach and kale on September 13th. By the 16th almost everything had started to come up. The night temps have been in the 50's with daytime temps in the 70's, other than being dry the weather has been perfect. I have 4' x 4' x 1' wire baskets covering the plants with row covers on top. In a week or two I am going to build "mini greenhouses" to cover the plants for the winter.  I am planning on making three 4' x 12' mini greenhouses to start with and will be covering them with plastic to protect the plants from the winter frost.
Spinach Seedling
Lettuce Seedlings
The mini greenhouses will be running east to west with hinged lids on the south side. They should be adequate to keep the plants from freezing and help keep unwanted pests out. In the spring I will remove the plastic and replace with row covers to start next spring's crop. You can find great books by Eliot Coleman on growing a winter harvest in my resources section.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Breakfast in the Garden

Niffer, Maisy and Mimsy

I woke up this morning and turned on the TV to watch the Sunday morning news. As I sat down I started smelling the faint smell of a skunk coming in through the open upstairs bedroom windows. The smell was now getting stronger so I decided to see if maybe a skunk had gotten in the garden. I looked out the back door and on the patio was a black rabbit standing there looking in at me! At first I thought it was a rabbit that had maybe escaped from someone in the neighborhood, but then I realized it was Niffer. Maisy, our grey rabbit, was in the pen stomping her back feet, obviously angry about something. I walked out to the pen to see how they could have have gotten out. Over the years they have dug a series of tunnels inside their pen. In the fall I put a bale of hay in their cage that they take down into their hole for the winter. They have dug very deep tunnels, but have never tried to dig out, something they could easily do in a matter of minutes. Maisy was now at the other end of the pen sticking her head through a hole the size of a baseball, luckily she was too fat to fit through. I can't tell if they chewed the wire, or if something ate through trying to get in. Niffer was now following me around, but when I went to grab her she ran towards the fence. I was worried that she might get startled and run underneath into the neighbors yard. She finally jumped onto the wood pile where I was able to catch her. I put her back in the pen but I couldn't see Mimsy, our little tan rabbit, anywhere. I looked around the yard but still couldn't see her. I happened to look at the garden and there was Mimsy, happy as can be, enjoying her breakfast of my newly planted cabbage seedlings! I called her and she came hopping to me like it was no big deal that she was outside her pen snacking on my cabbage plants! Everyone is now back in their cage safe and sound. These are the most spoiled rabbits. They have a 3' x 8' double hutch, up off the ground with sleeping boxes inside connected to an 8' x 8' fenced in run. They get daily vegetable scraps left over from our lunches and dinners and whenever I am harvesting cabbage, carrots, beets or salad greens I always throw a bunch or two in to them. I have to wonder if this was a thought out plot, that Niffer was the look-out at the patio door while Mimsy helped herself in the garden. Maisy was probably trying to fit through the hole in the pen to join them when a skunk saw what they were doing and sprayed, trying to chase them away from her feast!

I think tomorrow I will build them the new pen that I have been wanting to build for a year now!