Monday, September 12, 2011

The Heat Won't Give Up...

We live in the South, so as much as we long for cooler weather, the heat doesn't want to give up. The next few days we'll be in the mid to upper 90s, if not low 100s and that's not good news for my newly planted fall garden. The varieties I planted are heat tolerant, but not satan's armpit tolerant, so I used a bed sheet to create a tent over the bed. It seems to be working like a charm. I'm still having to keep an eye on the plants at each end because they aren't covered all the time, but they seem to be doing okay with some heavy watering.

In other news, Tony started drilling holes and setting pipes for the plumbing drainage system this weekend and realized he bought some of the wrong parts for the pipes so I'll be making a trip to Home Depot this week so we can work on that more this next weekend.

As for me and my personal projects, I'm looking into switching us to a diet that isn't so heavy with meat and dairy. I'm tired of battling sinus infections and I'm hoping that by eliminating the dairy from my diet it'll clear up the chronic infections. I also watched Forks Over Knives on Netflix and I'm amazed at how a plant heavy diet can reverse so many medical conditions. It's inspired me to figure out more ways to expand our garden beyond the 5-6 raised beds we have planned.

I have several knitting and crochet projects I'm working on, but the one I'm most excited about is the Palindrome Scarf. It may be hot outside and I'm forced to sip iced green tea but I'm daydreaming of winter and mugs of hot green tea. The local/little yarn shop in Fort Smith is closing and she has all her yarn on sale for 50% off. I picked up a couple skeins of a no-pill acrylic in Iron that is super soft. I'm in love with this yarn and so I decided I wanted to teach myself to knit cables with it. The "palindrome" comes from the scarf looking the same on both sides.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

First Square Foot Garden Bed

I finally got the first bed built today!!! With the heat it's just been impossible to do anything. Today we have a cold front pushing through so it'll be the first week we haven't been over 100 in 11 weeks here in Oklahoma (Texas was over 100 a few weeks before Oklahoma).

It was still hot this morning, it got up to 89 with a heat index of 91 while we were building the bed, but there is a chance of rain this afternoon so we wanted to get it done so it could soak up some water before I plant this week.

I made some changes from my original plans that I posted earlier in the summer. First, because of cost we decided to go ahead and try 2x6x8 pine boards instead of cinder blocks as the frame. When/if the boards need replacing, then we'll use cinder blocks. Next, I used perlite instead of vermiculite. There are a few reasons for this. One, I couldn't find vermiculite in our area. Two, perlite is about half the price of vermiculite. Three, asbestos has been found in vermiculite and one company was shut down which may be why it's so difficult to find vermiculite and why the price has skyrocketed.

What is the difference between perlite and vermiculite? There are many, and while similar products, perlite allows for better drainage while vermiculite tends to absorb water. I'm not worried about the perlite not holding water. If anything, because of the heavy clay below, I'd prefer perlite that drains so the soil doesn't become soupy. We are going to set up a laundry to landscape greywater system, so retaining moisture won't be an issue.

Here's the before shot.

Tony built the first box and we raked up the area underneath to remove any weeds and big rocks.

Then Tony built a second box and secured them together. 

Next I layered old cardboard underneath to block weeds, while Tony screwed in another board to help keep the box from bowing.

Then we layered and mixed peat moss, perlite and cow manure until the box was full.

Frugal Thrifty Green

A friend and I have started a joint blog that I thought I'd mention here. Frugal Thrifty Green is a place where we are going to share inexpensive recipes, money saving ideas, ways of doing things cheaper in a more environmentally sustainable manner, etc.

The co-author, Amanda, is a friend that I've known since 2006 when we met after trading a book at It's a coincidence that Tony and I ended up moving an hour from where she lives. She's been such a blessing helping us out by letting us come over to do laundry, get water, and just being a great friend that helps keep me sane during all the chaos of living in a new place. Plus she knows a lot of great places to eat and shop.

It's awesome to have someone with the same values yet different perspectives so we can bounce ideas off each other and think of new ways to do things. I'm really excited to see where things go.