Tag Archives: (Sub)urban Farming

Presented For Your Amusement,

the evolution (not yet complete) of the vegetable garden:

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Looking forward to improving this every year!



Filed under Gardening, Sustainable Living

FINALLY, A Real Vegetable Garden!

We moved to the Garden In The Woods in 2009, and it’s take this long to clear, build, dig, mulch and plant the vegetable garden I planned on.  It’s not quite complete, but the end is in sight!

A variety of things slowed us down:  a broken ankle, health issues, three school age children, and that pesky job that pay for all the lovely plants.  The Chief of Implementation has had to help handle all those things AND work too.

Last fall, the Chief of Implementation built an additional 4 raised beds built for a total of 8 central beds.  This spring, I dug those beds over with my new Miraculous Broadfork from Meadow Creature, and mulched them heavily.  The 6 previously unplanted beds were set up for sheet composting with about a foot of garden debris and a sheet of cardboard under 8 to 12 inches of mulch.  Four of these were seeded with clover as a green mulch to prepare for warm season vegetables.

We also worked together to create 8 side beds.  Four are finished and planted; the other four will need to be raised beds, which the Chief of Implementation will build when the weather cools down.  These side beds contain reseeding or perennial plants and are  NOT rotated.

Here’s a diagram of the beds followed by what’s currently planted in those beds:

Bed Plants
Rotating Bed A Bed 2
Spring Planting
Cascadia Sugar Snap Peas – short variety, devoured by deer
Super Sugar Snap Peas – tall variety, devoured by deer
Overseeded with

  • Jericho lettuce
  • Lollo Rosso lettuce
  • Merveille de Quatre Saisons lettuce
  • Pinetree Seeds spinach mix
  • Bright Lights chard

Summer Planting
Day Neutral Winged beans (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus) – started inside
Asparagus pea (Tetragoholobus Purpureus) – started inside, devoured by deer

Rotating Bed B Bed 3
Spring Planting
Clover – poor germination and growth; add inoculant next time

Summer Planting
Miniature White Cucumber – yummy!
Vegetable Spaghetti winter squash
Buttercup winter squash
Horn of Plenty summer squash
Caserta summer squash

Rotating Bed C Bed 4
Spring Planting
Tyfon Holland greens
Seedling peas
Barefoot Farmer kale
Harris Model parsnips
Large Prague? celeriac
Neon calendula – direct seeded
Rossia, Carioca & Soprano Batavian lettuce
Rattail radish
Calypso cilantro

Summer Planting
Malabar spinach
New Zealand spinach
Cranberry Hibiscus (Hibiscus acetosella)
Neon calendula – started inside

Rotating Bed D

Bed 1
Spring Planting
Clover – poor germination and growth; add inoculant next time

Summer Planting
Yellow Currant tomato
Red Currant tomato
Yellow Brandywine tomato
Sugar Plum tomato
Bloody Butcher tomato
Opalka tomato
Red Mini Bell pepper – devoured by deer
Yellow Mini bell pepper – devoured by deer
hot pepper – purchased transplant
hot pepper – purchased transplant
hot pepper – purchased transplant
hot pepper – purchased transplant
marigolds – purchased transplants
Lettuce Leaf basil
Cinnamon basil – purchased transplant

Stationary Bed A Spring Planting
Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)
Chinese Temple Bells (Moricandia arvensis)

Summer Planting
Physalis peruviana – devoured by deer

Stationary Bed B Spring Planting
Ladybird poppy (Papaver commutatum)
Blue Pimpernel (Anagallis monelli)
Ammi majus

Borage – direct seeded and started inside
Verbena bonariensis – direct seeded and started inside
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) – direct seeded, started inside and purchased
Kurrat perennial leeks

Summer Planting
Physalis peruviana – devoured by deer
Prezzemolo Gigante d Italia flat parsley

Verbena bonariensis – started inside

Stationary Bed E Spring Planting
Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata)
Cilantro – reseeded late spring & midsummer
Crimson Forest bunching onion – no survivors
Nigella bucharica – no survivors

Summer Planting
Physalis pubescens – devoured by deer

Stationary Bed F Spring Planting
Black Swan poppy (Papaver lacinatum)
Linaria maroccana ‘Licilia Peach’
Ambrosia (Chenopodium botrys) – no survivors

Summer Planting
Physalis pubescens – devoured by deer
Petra curly parsley



Filed under Gardening, Sustainable Living

Introducing Our Girls!

After years of studying, six weeks of classes, and several months of waiting, our girls were finally ready to move into their new home. We picked them up from a local bee business in nucs. Nuc is short for nucleus, and it’s a small colony of bees with a queen who has proved she can lay eggs and workers who have accepted her. For absolute beginners, I think it’s a little easier than package bees.

A package of bees contains worker bees along with a queen who has mated, but may not have laid eggs and probably hasn’t been around these worker bees before. To keep the queen safe in a package, she’s in a private cage with a retinue of her own workers. When introduced to an unfamiliar queen, workers may kill the queen. Her cage is blocked with a candy cork, and by the time the worker bees eat the cork, they’re (hopefully) ready to accept their new queen.

Our nucs consisted of five medium height frames in a cardboard box with screens added to keep the bees from escaping. We had an interesting drive home because there was a tiny break in one of the screens on one hive! There were a few bees loose in the car trying to figure out where they were.


We set the nucs in the shade and got to work getting their new homes ready. Here’s how the hives looked before we started.


We set the hives up so we could transfer the frames from the nuc as quickly and gently as possible. We started out with two supers (boxes) stacked on each other. The bottom super has 3 frames with wax foundation and will be filled when the five frames from the nuc are added. The second super has 8 frames of foundation, so the bees will be working to fill 11 new frames with comb, start raising brood and storing up honey and bee bread.


The Chief of Implementation lit the smoker and got lovely cool smoke going to calm the bees. Possibly the smoke confuses them. Beekeepers aren’t sure WHY smoking bees works; they just know that it does work.


We smoke the first nuc, waited about 30 seconds and then began carefully transferring frames from the cardboard box to the hive.



Each frame was transferred to the hive with a minimum of disturbance to the bees, being VERY careful not to drop any bees off. There’s always a chance that the queen is one of the bees that falls on the ground, and she’ll most likely die if that happens. Notice that the nuc box is very close to the hive here.


We also made a point of keeping the frames in EXACTLY the same order they were in in the nuc: no need to traumatize our girls any more than needed.

When the box was empty, there were still a LOT of bees in it, so we left the box close to the hive hoping the bees would find their way to their new home.



We added a third box to hold a feeder, and fed each colony a gallon of sugar water so the girls could get right to work building comb in their new home.

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