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Jewell's Blog

Ramblings from the Puget Sound

New Bed Bench

Category: Winter projects | Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:21 am

Had plans to build a little sofa bed. An old wooden coffee table worked great instead.
Here it is right after I brought it how and tossed an old piece of foam on top. Was thinking of painting it, but decided I liked it just the way it was.

New sleeping bed/bench ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Here it is after I got the baskets online. They store a lot of craft supplies and fit perfectly.

Bench with baskets for storing craft supplies ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Then I remembered using another one up at the cabin for the old TV, games and videos. A small DVD and stereo are behind the doors.

original used as entertainment center for cabin ( photo / image / picture from Jewell's Garden )

Last edited: Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:58 am

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Mulch, Mulch, Mulch that Winter Garden

Category: Winter projects | Posted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:56 pm

It feels like winter with temperatures going into the low twenties. I have been slowly through the fall adding back to the soil with the bean and pea vines, cabbage leaves and other garden left-overs. I also have an abundant source of leaves from the filbert trees that almost overhang my garden area(ivy hedge trimmings are another biggy for me to use as mulch). This week-end the leaves are finally all down from the trees, and I will get out the leaf-blower and rake and get the last of the leaves into the flower and garden beds. I don't want my soil exposed to the elements. The hard beating of constant rain will compact the soil's surface and leach nutrients from the soil. I try to get a minimum covering of 3 inches of composting materials (and often twelve inches or more of light leaves - the worms break them down by spring) Where I have my soil covered in composting materials it lays like a warm blanket protecting the soil that is alive with worms and beneficial micro-organisms.

My leaf source for mulch is very close to my vegetable garden ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

The first fallen leaves are already beginning to be worked into soil by quickly multiplying worms. It also helps protect my winter garden of primarily cole crops. I have a variety of Brussels sprouts, all-season cauliflower and kale as well as spinach, beetberry and broad beans. Next years project should be a portable cold frame to extend the cold hardy varieties of spinaches and lettuces.

I love worms! I don't believe that the benefit of worms and their castings can be over emphasized. They play such an important part in soil fertility. Worms are naturals at aerating the soil with their tunnels. They make minerals available to plants since their castings (poop) contain a diverse microbial population that helps increase soil fertility. It is a fertilizer that is naturally occurring, free (unless you choose to buy it in sacks at a local garden store ) water soluble and immediately available to plants. Worms do it for you so you don't have to do anything. "Yeh! for worms."

In September I planted my over-wintering cover crop of broad beans. I start the cole crops in July. I am not sure how this cold weather will affect them, but it will be fun to see. My cole crops usually hold up well until the temperatures drop into the teens. Snow helps to insulate them, but we have had none so far this fall. I don't harvest unless the daily temperatures get above freezing. The broad beans definitely got big enough to help do some valuable nitrogen fixing to the soil and maybe add a little organic matter. We've enjoyed several meals with brussels sprouts and kale makes the most lovely vegie lasagna. Wish I had taken the time to mulch between the broad bean and beetberry plants, but didn't think we would have such cold weather for such an extended period of time this early (a full week so far).

My vegetable garden as it looks today ( photo / image / picture from Jewell2009's Garden )

I love having a garden full of edibles even in the winter. It gives me such pleasure and comfort knowing I can still go out into the yard and get some fresh produce even when the temperatures dip.

This blog entry has been viewed 380 times

Winter Garden Containers

Category: Winter projects | Posted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 2:49 pm

What to do with my garden containers now that the temperatures have dropped and all the fall flowers are looking gone, gone, gone? I take care of the schools two large planters in the front of the building and have been trying to decide on what I could put in them that would look good through the winter. It is hard because plant matter that looks too good gets up and walks away. I hope it finds good home(s) when it wanders.

This last week I pulled the chrysanthemums, brought them home and put them in pots to hold over for next year. Don't know how that will work, but it seemed a waste to just toss them. If they live through the winter in pots I will prep them for going back into the planters for next fall. The ornamental grass grew legs and walked off. I have five varieties I keep in pots for the patio area at home. A couple of pots need to be divided, so in the spring I will divide and hold some for planting back in to the school containers for the fall of next year.

But that still leaves me with what to do with the planters for winter. I'd put in evergreen trees, but am afraid someone might think of them as free Christmas trees. Just got to pick the right "somethings".

I want to spruce up the large containers by potting them with a combination of colorful evergreen shrubs, perennials and flowering annuals with varied form and texture. I could start with something spiky, and fill in with intermediate-size shrubs with variegated foliage such as Gold Coast Holly. Maybe add some bold texture with a leathery-leafed hellebore (wish I had some hellebore left from what I gave away at the plant exchanges). I should check over the beds and see if I have any nice looking but crowded hellebores that I could pot up and take to school. There is already some Angelina sedum for a spiller effect along the outside with stems that weep over the pot. I wonder if a splash of color with winter-blooming pansies would work?

I will "have" to visit the "big box" stores today and see if I could round out the selection from some sale plants. Despite the challenges it is always fun to plan.

This blog entry has been viewed 410 times

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