Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Look of Summer

So maybe, just maybe, I got a little carried away. Hey, I was having fun! Kids clothes are sooooo easy to sew! Lots of fun fabrics to use and you can accomplish a complete project in an hour or two! Following are some of my personal favs:

Too bad it was such a grey day when I took my photos! I'm sure you get the idea all the same!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wheel Hoe

My husband and I really wanted a rototiller to help us keep up with the garden weeds. When it came down to the purchase, we realized we couldn't pull the trigger on a gas guzzling machine for several reasons. 1) You rarely need the force of a full blown gas powered machine 2) pollution 3) gas prices are going up 4) we need the exercise! After much research we decided on the Hoss wheel hoe. After about a weeks wait, the box came in the mail.
There are two types of wheel hoe. The high wheel and low wheel. Everything we read indicated the low wheel hoe to be the most efficient at getting work done. They say you can do ten times the weeding in an hour that you can do on your hands and knees. I'm going to venture to say what would previously take four people 2-3 three hours will be done by one in 20 minutes!

It took a little bit of assembly and the handles are going to need several coats of linseed oil but I think this is going to be well worth it! You can buy several different attachments for this garden machine to make your gardening experience worth while. The investment was a bit hefty but since we don't have to add gas, I think it is going to be worth it. We used the cultivator teeth to till in the compost.

We would still be hand digging 1,800 square feet of garden if we had not purchased it! Maybe this year my garden will look more like Martha's....probably not!

Monday, April 11, 2011


To begin this garden season we decided it would be best to jump start our soil improvements by ordering four cubic yards of compost. We have a sandy loam soil that lets the water run straight through. By continually adding soil improvements, I hope to increase its water holding capacity and provide natural nutrients for the plants. Since I cannot possibly make enough compost to feed my whole garden, I had to purchase. There are a few things you need to know when purchasing compost. First is to figure out the amount you will need. In general, about 4 cubic yards per 1,000 square feet is good for just about any application. You can add more, but this depends on the product. The picture above, is a four cubic yard pile of compost. It took two of us about 2 hours to spread by hand so don't be intimidated. When you purchase compost it can come from varying sources. You will need to ask. You can buy a manure based product or a yard waste based product. The safest way to go is to buy a yard waste product. This product does not run the risk of being hot and burning your plants if you over apply. It should be dark in color, show no signs of its parent product and smell like rich dirt. A well composted manure product can also be very useful. It should not smell like manure if it has been composted completely and will generally cost more than a product that still needs to break down some more. If it smells like manure be cautious! Not to say this isn't a good product, you just need to be more careful in your usage of it. It will need to be tilled or spade in well and not over applied or it will burn your plants.
Spread the compost evenly over the surface of your area. If you need to till it in you can use a spade, rototiller or wheel hoe. Yearly applications of compost along with tilling in leaves goes a long way to improving your soil the natural way. We went with a manure product this year that needed tilled. Let me tell you, it was a bit stinky! I hope the neighbors don't notice!
This is my garden. Tilled and ready to plant! Happy Gardening!