A Front Yard Gardener's Tales and Adventures

Sunday, February 28, 2010

New Starters

Started more crops two days ago. I used an egg carton that we had around, poking holes in the bottom and using the lid as a water catcher. Twelve cells in all I planted: snapdragons (2), basil, R.G. double cosmos rose bon bon, nigella blue love in a mist, morning glory, arugula, lucullus chard, forellenschluss, bright lights swiss chard, aji amarillo pepper, and a yellow pear tomato.

I also planted twelve pots that are about 2 x 2 x 4. I planted four of the spitfire nastys (experimenting with clipping part of the seed in two (I will go in further detail about this later for the GROW project), four more chard, 2 more snaps, 1 cilantro, and one violet wave kale.

This brings me up to 50 cells/pots/containers of plants. All strategically located on the window sill.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sunny Day / Renee's Garden

Pretty sunny morning as the snow continues to melt. Cold frame is already at 82 degrees. The top number is the other part of the temperture gauge (the 57.9 is apparently the temperature of some cold closet in my house). Also, check out the bulbs coming up. I have no idea what they are...

I got a package from Renee's Garden yesterday. In included seeds of cosmos and the spitfire nasturtiums. The nastys are a part of a garden blogger experiment, check it out --> http://grow.gardenbloggers.com/

As part of this experiment, I am encouraged to blog about my experiences, successes, and failures.From the grow.gardenbloggers.com website, the following are a few 'Ideas for topics after the 1st month: growth rate, what kinds of insects are visiting your plants, what kind of fertilizer are you using, how are you using the plant in your garden, what uses are you finding in the home and kitchen for the plants, photo essays, video reports, and an artist? show us your painting or crafts created from your plants and flowers.'

I'll volunteer Julia to tackle a few of those topics. I have only just begun to brainstorm about different ways I can experiment with seeds. (Obligatory end of blog post questioning) Do yoooouuu have any ideas?!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Squash 2 and GG

The first squash flower has come and gone (Taylor and I ate it). But, don't fret, the next flower will bloom tomorrow. Then, there are a half dozen more coming right after that one. Still no signs of any actual fruit, but like I said before, I'm sure when I plant it outside, it will go crazy.

I've been reading more about this guerrilla gardening idea. Who knew that the Boulder Public Library would have the book 'Guerrilla Gardening: A Manualfesto'? Anyways, I came up with a few possible locations. When I walk to work, I try to take the straightest route possible, cutting through alley ways and yards. It would be cool to scatter seeds (like snapdragons, hollyhocks, and nasturtiums) along the route.

I would also enjoy planting edibles (flowers, greens), specifically plants that are native to Colorado (and therefore need little human care) and that will blend in to the natural environment.

Thus, the GGs can be both visual appeasing and nutritional.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


The squash bloomed this morning. Looks really cool but there are no signs of fruit yet. Perhaps when it is planted outside it will start doing it's thing.

The fence has held up nicely. No dog has taken the plunge over the fence and into the garden. Hopefully, this continues.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Guerilla Gardening



I found two websites that I thought I would share. I like the concept of guerrilla gardening. At the very least, it creates a few more plants in the world. Flowers and plants are visually pleasing and are enjoyed by, not only the owner, but also to anyone passing by. Plants create an environment or habitat for animals and can even feed these animals.

At the very most, guerrilla gardening feeds people. Though Colorado is quite dry, I'm sure I could find a few plants that could thrive with little or no attention. I know I could not commit my time to going somewhere other than my front yard and plot to water plants.

However, if I could find a spot close by, I could easily visit once a week perhaps. For example, there is a trail head pretty close to my house. As you enter the trail, you pass over a farmer's ditch. All I would need is a cup if I wanted to water. I could find a little hidden corner, plant some lettuce or some plant that doesn't demand attention.

Like the article suggests, GGs are like Johnny Appleseeds of the urban landscape. I think there is a purpose in this idea as well: to grow something that is either visually pleasing or can feed somebody.

GG ties into rogue eating: the act of scavenging, either the cabinet or in the environment, to supplement a meal. Rather than go to the grocery store to get lunch, I can piece together a lunch with the food I already have. Similarly, like Brookstar knowing all the good apple trees in the neighborhood, one can find food by simply walking around. Native Americans are a great example of a group of people who were able to live off the land (they did this with very low impact to boot), eating roots, wild onions, and fruit.

Perhaps, when the weather turns warm, I will guerilla garden. Until then, I can walk around and have fun scoping out some potential spots.

Friday, February 19, 2010

How to spend an hour on a snowy day...

...creating a compost cocktail!

What I used:
cinderblocks, scrap wood (leftover from James' coldframe supply scavenge) and bamboo poles lying around the backyard

What goes into the ultimate compost:
1. our old "special compost" pile, consisting of organic food scraps from Abbo, Builder and our own garden, mixed into the topsoil at the end of our lettuce bed
2. coffee grounds (most coffee shops or juice bars will give you these if you're not a coffee drinker at home)
3. organic veggie pulp obtained from a juice bar (you must sign a waiver to take it home - don't eat it!)
4. wheat grass mats, also from a juice bar

I started by building a little wall around the area I want to fill with compost cocktail. Always start with the perimeter and define your boundaries.

Then I turned over the soil and the old "special compost" pile that had been living in that spot since the fall. To my surprise, many of the veggie scraps still looked vibrant and green! They've been living in the cold, snowy ground like it's a refrigerator. I stabbed at it with the tip of the shovel almost parallel to the ground to aerate the soil and break up the scraps a little.

In went the veggie pulp and the mixing continued.

I also threw in some old squash seeds as an experiment. If a few sprout when it gets warm, I'll let them be and see how they do. They are in an unobtrusive spot, but it may be too shady for them to thrive. We'll find out! I call this the Juliatific Method...not quite scientific, but experimenting and observing nonetheless.

Then I just covered it up with some boards and a plastic lid I found out back. As another experiment, I put one mat of wheat grass on a little patch to compare whether the compost underneath breaks down more quickly. The boards and wheat grass mat can all be easily lifted to add to the cocktail.

I plan to continue adding the aforementioned cocktail items and turning it over for the next few months. Hopefully it will result in delicious, black, nutritious garden food come summer!


Did a little transplanting this morning. The chard and lettuce are looking good in their new homes. The anise looks a lot better too. We need to pinch off the tops so that it doesn't get too leggy.

Julia picked up a nice wooden box (originally for 125 lbs of kiwis) that is perfect for a raised bed. It is about 2 feet by 3 feet by 1 foot (depth). We still have left over windows from the materials I gathered when I was making the cold frame. I think one of the extra windows will fit perfectly on top. If we use it for cold tolerant plants like lettuce and chard, I think I will use the window as a top but not secure it onto the box so that it can easily be taken off. Also, our backyard has some trees and the house blocks the sun there as well. When it gets too hot, we could move this kiwi box to the back yard so that the lettuce can live in partial shade.

I read somewhere that chard is a good container crop. This made me start to think... I am too lazy (and I don't want to mess up too much of the yard) to expand the garden in the front yard. The wave and shark fin are fine. However, container growing is a great way for me to increase my gardening space. We have a nice flagstone patio that we could literally fill with container plants if we felt like it. We could even line the 'wave' with containers. Perhaps this can act as a buffer between the dogs and the garden.

Julia did some work on our compost heap as well. This is located close to our backyard at the end of the lettuce patch.

On a side note, the Russian women's curling team is really hot.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Milk! and Valentine's Dinner

Our hearts they beet as one.

Julia and I lowered our carbon footprint by buying premium (priced and quality) local milk from Longmont Dairy Farm. Every Monday (that's today!) at 6:30am, the company will deliver the milk to our front doorstep, left in a cooler. If we wanted to, we could order cream, eggs, and cheese from this dairy as well.

Oh, how tasty it is!


Because of work schedules, we had valentines dinner on Saturday. Yesterday, however, I cut back six (count 'em six!: green leaf, wild card, forellenschluss, 'rugy, hyper red rumble, merlot) kinds of lettuce. Just enough to make a small salad. I know it is nothing much; it is a sign of things to come.

For Valentine's Dinner:

-Our Daily Red organic California table wine
-Pomegranate Spritzers
-Beet Soup
-Grilled asparagus with a pomegranate cream sauce
-Ribs with NC style sauce (a la Pitmaster)
-Baked brie with a homemade red onion marmalade
-Cake - strawberry shortcake layers with fudge frosting and pomegranate soaked cake
-Homemade ice cream - vanilla bean custard with three different kinds of cookie dough marbled into tiny hearts

Needless to say, it was delicious.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Here are a few good ones from my hike around west and north Boulder this afternoon. One of the pictures is North Boulder Park; check out the ski tracks. There was a class going on in addition to about fifty other skiers. All of the other photos can be found at the bottom left of this screen. I walked about five miles in all.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Star of David

Check out the perfect snowflakes falling on our neighbor's dog.

Julia cooked a wonderful chicken last night for our friends. Lemon, apples, egg noodles, rosemary, onion, with a pomegranate cream sauce.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I built a fence yesterday out of bamboo sticks and garden netting. It is a little difficult to see from this photo, but the netting is there. Time will tell if it holds up against the dogs. But, for the time being, it was a quick and cheap way to keep them out of the onion and garlic patch.

The squash plant is loving life in the sunny corner, growing huge leaves and budding. The lettuce and chard are doing well, too.

Even some of the basil is starting to come back (a la 2nd edition). No sign of the onions yet, but it is too early.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Started two different kinds of onions yesterday, six cells. I hope they sprout... I read somewhere that onion seeds only last one year before the germination rate goes way down. I think one of the kinds of onions are valencia from Abbo and the other came from the seed pods harvested from our garden.