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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Middle Earth Garden starts to take new form.

Posted Saturday, October 8, 2011, at 11:41 AM

(Photo)
The NEW Middle Earth Garden paths/cold-frames?
A while back I tilled my out-of-control garden and in the process combined the main wildflower bed with the main veggie bed.

Four to five weeks pass and I now have one large, lush garden of morning glories, numerous annoying grasses, Squash, several types of Bok Choy and dill. That is what I have found so far.

I used to have railroad ties in neatly defined beds but when I had to re-till after 4-5 years I had to move those darn ties and I decided to not put them back. Instead I am making narrower beds(36"+-) and angling them to the lay of the hill.

The walking paths will be more numerous but they will be filled in with wood chips exclusively so the roots of plants planted near the edge can grow into the chips, should they take a liking to them.

I used to have wider beds, reducing the walking paths to increase the growing space, but being more hospitable to plant roots in the wood chips will probably give me as much growing space, if not more.

AND, when I feel the need to till again, I will be tilling composted wood chips and not having to move my garden walls to make way for the tiller. That took me down this summer and I don't think I need to do that anymore.

I have all kinds of plans for the smaller beds. I think I regained the gardening fever! Yeah!!


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While I was digging the first few walkways I started to think that before I fill them in with wood chips, they might make excellent "cold frames" by placing a window or sliding glass door panel over the trench.

I think I will experiment with one trench having pots with wood chips around them, then the glass.

Another trench I will dig deeper so I can loosen the soil and use that as the planting medium.

I will start all plants now and cover when necessary. Too early and I will cook them with the heat, but I need to protect them from THE PITA.

Hmmm, maybe I could rescue one tomato plant and let it run the full trench to see how long I can keep tomatoes this winter.

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Oct 11, 2011, at 11:33 AM

I might let one of the squash plants have a trench as well. Just wish I knew which one it was. Maybe I will plant one I know as well, like a Chinese fuzzy melon. That would sure surprise our Chinese friends in the middle of winter! Me too.

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Oct 11, 2011, at 11:49 AM

I will also move a clump of garlic chives into trench to see if I can have fresh chives all winter and of course, there are all kinds of cold weather veggies that I am sure will grow, just can't let them get too tall.

What happened to putting the garden to sleep for the winter? I think I need some mental counseling.

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Oct 11, 2011, at 11:58 AM

I got absolutely NOTHING done last week. Was hit by the "crud" going around and basically in incapacitated until yesterday and even then did not have the energy to get anything done. At least I had the desire, 'cause even that had left me over the week.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Oct 17, 2011, at 9:35 AM

I think I finally settled on my design and materials for my new cold frame. I had been considering using some exterior plywood but settled on old 2" by 6" planks (actually 1.5 X 5.5) Never sank in why a 2 by 4 is not 2" by 4" but....

I was going to use old sliding glass doors as the top glazing but it is much too heavy for Deb to open, so I am using 32" by 36" windows that I inherited from somewhere years ago.

I will put some rubber door insulation on top of the wood to seal cracks between less than straight planks and the window wood.

Each cold-frame (assuming I make a second one) will be 70" long and 30" deep. This will allow for at least one inch overhang by each window and 30" depth should make the whole growing area accessible from one side.

On extremely cold nights I will need to cover the whole frame to give extra insulation, and on extremely warm sunny days I will just slide the windows aside a little bit.

If I open it enough for a cat to go in, they will and if a cat is in there, PITA will want to mess with the cat. You can fill in the rest.

Since the windows are relatively light, I may need to strap them down on windy days. I would not have to worry about that with the sliding glass doors but wind could easily lift the windows. A simple set of hooks or nails on each side with elastic "tie-downs" should do it.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Oct 19, 2011, at 5:57 PM


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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter and live on a farm outside of Bell Buckle. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.