How to Build a Garden Bed in the High Desert

Growing vegetables is a big part of our spring and summer around here.  We like to grow our own food as much as we can.  Once you start you get spoiled.  The produce in the grocery store, while it looks good, pales in comparison when it comes to flavor and freshness.   We just had green beans last night from the store.  They looked great.  The taste?….Meh…..

Don’t get me started on Whole Foods Paycheck either.  You don’t really save money gardening unless you happen to shop there.  I don’t know why they have all those buttons on their cash registers since it seems that they simply take the number of items you picked out and multiply it by $20.

Back to gardening… » » »

Sprouts!

In the fall we put our garden to bed.  With the exception of a few spinach plants that winter over in a cold frame we say goodbye.  Come early spring we start dreaming of what should get planted.

Mike:  We’ve had a veggie garden since we’ve moved here 9 years ago but the last few years I’ve gotten interested in gardening on a much larger scale.  Last year we really amped up what we grew and how much we grew.  

Molly:  We started seeds inside for the fist time last year.  It was great, kind of.  

Mike:  It was/is a learning curve.  We got real excited last year and planted our seeds a little too early.

To help satiate the need to garden in the spring Mike discovered that planting sprouts indoors is quick and easy.  You can do it all winter if you have a seed starting station.  (or a window) » » »

The New Plant Starting Station (AKA the laundry room)

A few weeks ago Mike showed you how you can make your own seed light station and how to make seed flats.  That light station was our first attempt at growing seeds indoors.  The idea was to get a jump on the growing season and avoid having to purchase (those oh so pricey) vegetable plants at the store.  Molly loves flowers but hates the price so she spent a goodly amount of time starting flowers from seeds.

Mike:  The small seed station was a great start but we wanted to have much more going on.

Molly:  It just wasn’t enough space.

Mike:  I ended up building  a makeshift growing station under the large art desk we have in the living room.  I attached some lights to the underside of the desk and we started shoving seed starts underneath.

glowing table » » »

Seed Starting Flats

Back in the day nurseries used wooden trays to start their plants.  Rather than having plastic six packs with a cell for each seedling, seeds were sown in the tray and allowed to germinate.  Soon after the seedlings appeared the plants were separated and replanted into individual pots or transferred to a garden bed.

The idea of using durable reusable trays rather than flimsy disposable plastic pots appealed to me.  I wanted to try it out so I decided to make my own set of planting flats.

Scrap Wood

The scrap wood pile is always a good place to start for a project like this.  I happened to have a pile of short boards that our weird neighbor gave me. (I consulted with Molly and she agrees he totally goes into the ‘weird’ category). » » »

Seed Starting Station

Reading gardening books might be the end of me.  I get tons of ideas and don’t know where to start.  At one point I got smart and decided to start at the beginning:  indoor seed starts. First thing was to build a  light stand.  Then we could grow greens  in the middle of winter without having to finish the greenhouse.

light stand01

A trip to the Re-store yielded a couple of two foot long florescent lamps. » » »

Veggie Seed Saving

It’s that time of year when we pull out the seeds and start some indoor gardening.  Even though we have snow on the ground and currently falling we have to start preparing our garden.

Currently our back garden

Wintertime in our back garden

When we (Mike) expanded our vegetable garden to 460 sq ft last year our intention was two-fold: 1) grow food so we knew where it came from 2) cut back on our grocery expenses.  The issue with the latter is that yes, we can spend less at the grocery store but we can easily see that savings go right into growing our own food.  Over the next few weeks we will share some ways we’ve been learning to keep our costs down.  It takes a little forethought- last year we learned so much we can’t wait to start this year’s garden. » » »

Baking Contest

This post is part of the  Hearth-n-Soul blog hop. Click on the badge to see all the other participants for this week’s blog hop!

Hearth-n-Soul Blog Hop

About a month ago Molly’s girlfriend, Leslie, called to tell us about a baking contest that was going to be held at the farmer’s market.  It was sponsored by the Santa Fe Alliance as a way to promote local food production and the local economy.  A key part of the challenge was to use as many locally sourced ingredients as possible.  Since we already shop from our backyard I figured it wouldn’t be too hard.

Eggs?- check
Honey?- check
Fresh fruit?- erm, well, not this year….

Surely we had something that could be teased into a confection?  Beets were floated as an option so was corn.  I had heard that the Crack pie at Momofuko was really good and for some reason Corn and Crack pie came to mind.  I don’t know, it just had a certain ring to it.  I had just harvested the last of our sweet corn.  I imagined little crunchy bits of caramelized corn encased in a sweet almost toffee filling.  I’d never had crack pie before but in my mind it was delicious. The contest was still 3 weeks off but as I rolled the recipe over in my head it just got better and better. » » »

Dear Flowers,

Dear Flowers,

Thank you for coming out this year.  With little hope for water I know many of you decided to stay away and I really don’t blame you.  For those of you that took the plunge and grew up tall and colorful I just want you to know I appreciate  all your efforts.  It’s getting cold so I will say adieu!

P.S.  I hope the bees didn’t tickle you too much when they were doing their ‘thing’.

Sincerely,
Molly


Sunflower
» » »

The Vegetable Harvest

This was going to be so easy.  Just plop a few pictures and and BAM! there’s a great post about this year’s vegetable harvest!  Not so fast turbo, it took hours to sort through all the images from the garden this year.  We have a tendency to take a few too many pictures.

Molly:  It took me all week to go through the pictures and make the decision if the photo stays or goes.  It was a lot of pressure.

Mike:  That was a lot of pressure?  I think you may want to go back to work so you can remember what intense pressure really feels like.

Molly:  I know, I know!  When I have more time and fewer projects I can get a little bit finicky.  Building someone’s dream home within budget and time constraints seems so simple from this distance.

Mike:  Hmmm,…. » » »

Fresh-n-Tasty Veggies in the Winter

This is post is part of the Hearth-n-Soul blog hop.  Their mission is ‘about food from your hearth, made for your soul. Food that follows your intuition. Preparing food from scratch to nourish your family…body, mind AND soul! Food made with your own hands…infused with energy and passion and intent. Real food made by real people to feed real families (big and small, in blood or spirit). Ingredients from scratch, be it something grown in your garden or raised on your land…food foraged in the field or woods…food from local farms, farmers, or farmers markets…or even ingredients chosen by you from your local market that will be turned into something that feeds your soul. Tapping the food memory that each of us has stored inside; letting it guide and influence our own time in the kitchen.’  It’s definitely something Mike and I can get behind!  Don’t forget to check out the other participants! » » »