Catie George

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since Oct 20, 2016
Catie likes ...
dog foraging trees tiny house books bike bee
Ontario - zone 6b!
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Recent posts by Catie George

The plan for this year was to fence the yard for the dogs. Today the province announced they were halting all new construction. Ok, fair, but I really want a fence!

I am stubborn, but dont have much time or strength, so am now wondering how feasible it would be to keep a 50 lb and 10 lb dog back behind a 6 ft fence made of t posts and welded wire mesh? Would I need to anchor the corners(which sounds like the hardest part) How could you construct a gate on this kind of fence?

Any other low-effort fencing ideas?  I am not a fan of invisible fence for a number of reasons (starting with it not keeping things out).
4 hours ago
I have a bottle of unscented foaming hand santizer I am quite pleased with. I looked in to how to make more when I run out, and the recipe was quite simple - a small amount of liquid soap, the remainder rubbing alcohol. You just need a foaming hand soap dispenser, or a foaming dish soap dispenser + soap + 70% alcohol.

My father has been carrying around a cloth in a ziplock bag saturated in bleach-water solution and is using it to sterilize his hands and surfaces, but I personally wouldn't recommend it for hand cleaning!
4 days ago
My favourite community garden was a 3 x 3 m (~10 x 10') plot. No raised beds, just in the ground, with access to a hose for water. For the first year, 10 x 10 was enough, as it had been neglected the year(s) before i had it and was completely covered in mint and grass. I wished there were mulched or grassed paths between the beds so I didn't worry about stepping on other's beds. Some people had two beds (if there were multiple members of a household, they could each have a bed, and managed to switch to have them next to each other). For me, 2 plots would have been perfect, but I was happy to start with my single plot. A lot of plots(75%) were overgrown/got away from people by the end of the year, even with a single plot.  I liked that they allowed you to have perennials, including small bushes.

Another garden (4x6' raised beds) was better in terms of community spirit (gardeners had a work schedule and were responsible for general chores for 2 weeks/growing season including watering the food bank plots and mulching paths and refilling the central water barrels))  but the plot sizes were way too small and i disliked having to water my garden by carrying buckets of water. I also liked that this garden had a communal tool shed. I also liked that some mulch was provided for gardeners (they put a pile in a corner, then you could carry it yourself). I also liked that they had a pollinator/wildflower garden along one fence (with raspberries!)

Both gardens were fenced, with a combination padlock to keep out "hungry snackers"

Personally, I wouldn't grow potatos in a raised bed, I'd grow them in the ground covered in mulch and save raised beds for things that really benefit from the extra effort.

That being said - I'd probably plant them without companions in a raised beds, or with companions filling in the gaps between plants which finish earlier. When you dig out the potatos you will disturb the roots on everything else - so maybe peas might work, trellised on the sides of the bed (and still fitting two rows of potatos in). Beans may mature too late, corn is a heavy feeder and may mature too late, onions you would need to reduce to one row of potatos...
6 days ago
My adventures in making a large (hopefully) first year successful garden bed began today.

Today I covered an approximately 25 x 15 ft area in a single layer of cardboard, weighed down by rocks/stones/boards/bricks. It's due to rain for 48 hrs or so, and the idea is to try to keep it wet for a month or two until planting time, to rot the grass below.

My mom and I (mostly my 60+ year old mom, who always makes me feel like a slow, lazy "lunchbucket layabout" in comparison when we work together) also raked up all the leaves in the yard and on last years gardens.  The leaves will be piled on top of the cardboard once it's saturated enough to hold itself down and I can take off the rocks/boards/bricks. My mother has also volunteered my services for raking up and wheelbarrowing away the leaves in the back corner of a neighbours' yard. Yay, i think?

We may have another load of wood chip mulch delivered, as well.  I think the apocalypse must truly be here - I was stating a 15x 15 foot bed, and my mother kept egging me to make it as big as possible (and providing more cardboard). She maintained a 60x 40' bed for a few years, and always swore she never wanted to do it again, and is usually after me not to make too large of a garden! I think watching how my mulched beds last year performed has changed her mind. We'd both rather spend a few days putting down mulch in the spring then hours weeding in the height of the summer.

I don't want to buy topsoil/soil, so for fine seeds (carrots, turnips, parsnips, etc), I started cutting sod with an edger, spearing it into the wheel barrow with a digging fork, and wheelbarrowing it away to compost and kill the grass/weeds before returning it to the garden. The goal is a 5 x 15' garden with fine, weed free soil to start carrots, parsnips, and turnips in the coming weeks. I've so far done about 5 x 3'. I shook what soil I could back into the bed with the fork. By cutting the sod off, then letting the soil sit for a week or two, it allows some weed seeds to germinate, then get raked out before I plant. So long as I avoid walking on it (will probably put down boards to stand on when I plant) it actually looks like reasonably loose, fertile soil. After the seedlings come up, I will mulch between the rows with leaves/woodchips. I will note that I would MUCH rather be prepared a year a head, and smother the grass with mulch rather than cut and remove it. Much less work, much better for the soil.

I am realizing the advantages I have over someone truly trying to "first time" garden. Including good somewhat non-standard tools (nice edgers, a digging fork, a variety of rakes, etc). Also including my mother's advice. I'd planned on turning in the grass and double digging, but using the edger and removing the sod will mean much less weeding down the road.
No greenhouse unfortunately, wish I did! Just a few decent windows and some grow lights.

Love the feed bag idea, wish I had space (and feed bags) to try it!

I am just learning to plant cooler season crops this year and last year, I grew up with gardens where everything was put in the ground on the same weekend in early June, and most of my recent gardening is in community gardens in warmer climates where you aren't given access until a few weeks  after last frost.

I managed to hold off the seed starting bug until last week so hopefully this year's transplants wont be too leggy.

I generally only plant the shortest season varieties, and save seed from the fastest to mature plants, as I am scarred from most of my gardening being in zone 3a or 3b where "100 days to maturity" is a gamble on the first frost.  I have never had an issue with anything maturing too soon lol, just a bunch of stuff all coming into production right as temps start to drop and there is the first frost, or not maturing in time.

Was so looking forward to gardening in zone 6, but will be in 4b again this year.
Where I am... planting season is 2 months away. I am planning on sharing any excess tomato starts and cucumber starts (or other starts) with our elderly neighbors, both of whom generally keep a small garden but won't be able to get out to buy nursery plants, and also my cousin, who is NOT a gardener. I may also offer them their choice of my excess seeds.

Excess produce we can't eat or preserve will definitely land on their doorsteps as well, like it did last summer (likely beans, zucchini, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet corn).

Plants shared with non gardeners should be: productive, easy to grow, nutritious,  and things they like eating . So I wont give my cousin squash seeds though squash meets 3/4 requirements.  

Good plants to me would be my "easy" crops.
-squash, winter and summer
- peas
- beans
- tomatos
- lettuce

If you are in a warmer zone, you may be able to root cuttings of your tomatos fo share with neighbors and give them a head start.

And in my opinion, anything saved from your local seed will give a few years head start over grocery store seed or plant starts!

Thanks everyone!
None of these were quite what I was looking for (admit I didn't download the app). If I get laid off and have time, I may play around with making a webpage that does what I am looking for. I have gardened in several places but dont really have the "rhythm" of what to plant when in my head.

My concern is mostly getting stuff in the ground as early as possible/reasonable, as I am a short season gardener. I do succession plant some stuff like lettuce.
Looks like peas, onions, and garlic can go in now, some root veggies in a week or two. It snowed two days ago but has melted.

Using the farmers almanac and googling some more exotic stuff (bok choy, celeriac, flowers, herbs, etc), I went through and separated my seeds by planting date into file folders. March, early April, late April, early may, late may. Hopefully this will mean I won't suddenly find pea seeds in may. Huge improvement over my childhood garden where nothing went in the ground until the 10th of June!

It looks like I am going to have a very busy spring planting season.  Found quite a few things I still need to start in the next week or two.
I am planning on growing a lot of things this year, including lots of new things- and very frustrated with seed packets that say "plant in x month" , when the seed packet is from Italy or wherever, and I am in a very different climate. Our last frost date is May 10-20th, and I am trying to plan seed starting dates.

Theoretically I could plan the old fashioned way and take a calendar and mark it all back.... but I am lazy, have  20+ things to plant, and am wondering if anyone has found something online that does this? Where you provide the last frost date, and a list of what you want to grow, and it spits out a calendar?
I like to put tension rods in my windows and hang clothes on hangars from the tension rods. If you have curtain rods already, that would work. I find they get musty smelling indoors unless you hang them in sunlight. I have also been known to use the backs of chairs. You can dry socks and other small items by clothespinning them to a hangar.
1 week ago