Saturday, April 24, 2010

Trial and Error Gardening: An Eco-friendly lawn and 55-gallon drum planters

Today was a big day in the yard, Woo!
We made the conscious decision to be Eco friendly in caring for the lawn last more scary pesticides or fertilizers. You know it can't be good when the warning label is longer than the list of ingredients.
We used Eco Smart Organic Insecticide (which smells a lot like wintergreen milk of magnesia) and Scotts Organic Lawn Food. We may have done better had we not shopped at a big box store, but it's a step in the right direction seeing as the stuff the hub used to use was toxic. My goal for this go around was to use products that wouldn't hurt our water supply and wouldn't hurt our puppy...she likes to eat grass and has a very sensitive tummy.
So Eco-Friendly Friends unite! Please pray that this stuff works GREAT on our lawn so the hub is sold on it too!

We started the morning making our list and gathering supplies. I've been saving toilet paper tubes and egg trays for months!

The goal? Plant corn in a container...specifically half a 55-gallon drum.
We got 3 of them from my father-in-law a few years ago. We used them to store camping equipment, we turned one into a rain barrel, and we had 2 failed attempts at compost bins (no holes for aeration...stinky but it did make some good organic matter!

We hosed them off, marked the "middle" with a strap and hub hacked them in two.

I filled them each with a mix of organic potting mix, cow manure and potting soil and turned it all in with a bit of water to feed the seeds...

I sectioned off the barrel with some dowels I had laying around from banners I turned into curtains and used a tp tube to remove a plug of soil for each corn seed.

I planted two half-barrels with 8 sections of Golden Cross Bantam which has a 7 to 10 day germination period. Once the seedlings are about 3 inches tall, I'll add another layer of soil to keep the stalks strong. My goal is for the "block" planting style to aid in self pollination. If that doesn't happen then we'll play some Barry White and shake the stalks on a moonlit night

The next half barrel is home to stringless Blue Lake Pole Beans which have a germination period of 6 to 8 days and can climb up to 6 ft tall. I made a tee-pee trellis (as opposed to the tp tubes used with the corn) with 8-ft Bamboo dowels

In the next half I planted the Bush bean variety of Blue Lake beans. These seedlings should emerge in 7 to 14 days It will be interesting to see if there is a different flavor or texture to the bean. Honestly, I didn't do this on purpose and had I noticed they were both in the same family I may have picked different seeds but, it will be fun to watch the pole beans climb the trellis and both varieties keep well through drying or freezing...I may even try pickling some!

This was another "accidental gardener" incident.
The wheelbarrow broke while transporting all the supplies from the truck so... I turned it into a planter and have 2 rows of Bloomsdale spinach marked with more banner dowels. We LOVE spinach so this is one accident I'm hoping pans out. The seedlings emerge in 8 to 10 days.

Hub noticed the wheelbarrow was propped up on a cinder block and suggested I flip the block so I could use the holes as planters...woot woot! Burgundy beans there. We should start to see them peek through in a about a week. Too bad they don't stay purple when their cooked!

Radishes 4 - 6 day germination period
I finished out the day trying some seeds in left over containers.

Fennel  8 - 12 day germination

Green Onions 8 days to germination

Left: this year's dwarf banana. Right: last year's dwarf banana resurrected

I rescued last year's dwarf banana plant. We thought we had lost it to the un-Florida-like cold we had this year but it was peeking up from under the grass so I transplanted it into a pot and placed it next to a mentor.

And finally...
I planted some mint in my new hanging planter. I'm seeing mojitos in my future!

No comments: