Monday, April 22, 2013


Last time I made gnocchi they failed miserably. They were little brick nuggets. So I have been on a quest to make a fluffy and light gnocchi.

Here are the secrets I learned:

  • Bake the potatoes
  • Rice the potatoes
  • Allow to cool before adding flour
  • Use type 00 flour (super fine italian flour)
They turned out fluffy and best part are they are traditionally vegan. Here's the link I used.

little seedlings

Here's the update on the indoor seedling under the grow light:

I've started: tomatoes (so many varieties), peppers (hot & sweet), herbs (basil, cilantro, rosemary, oregano, thyme), shallots, kale, broccoli, tomatillos, and ground cherries. So far so good! They loved the transfer from the seed starting soil to the garden mix.

Pro tip: Solo cups with a hole poked in the bottom work great as a seedling container.

fingers so cold

This past friday I was ambitious and decided to plant peas, beets, spinach, and radishes. It was so cold my fingers were frozen from moving the soil around.

Beds are prepped!

So I finally was able to get my hands on some cotton burr compost. I'm stoked since I've heard nothing but great things. Here's the bag:
 Here's the beds topped off with the compost and the grids in place. We'll see how square foot gardening goes this year... 

Monday, November 5, 2012

The start of a plague

I received a single black berry transplant from Nate (Sarah's bro-in-law). Anyways it's great he was able to give me one. This little guy should take off quite rapidly and hopefully taking over much of the side of the garage. The concern of lead entering the fruit is minimal based on my research. It seems that fruiting bushes and trees do not deposit lead and other heavy metals in to the fruit. This is why I chose to plant this guy directly in the existing soil. The rose plant I moved from the front yard has done great back here. Hopefully the two can be frenemies.

So much dirt!!

Here's what my car looked like with all of the soil in it. I was without a doubt riding on the axle. I was halfway through loading the car and was wondering why I hadn't rented the Menard's truck. Oh well, the car survived and just needed a good vacuuming.

In total there were:

  • 7 bags of vermiculite (3.3 cu ft)
  • 11 bags of Peat Moss (2.2 cu ft)
  • 5 bags of New Plant Life mushroom compost (New Plant Life, 0.75 cu ft)
  • 2 bags of New Plant Life composted manure (New Plant Life, 0.75 cu ft)
  • 4 bags of Dr. Earth's Natural Choice All Purpose Compost (All Purpose Compost, 1.5 cu ft)
  • 4 bags of a composted cow manure that I'll need to find the name of, 1.5 cu ft
  • 6 bags of Back to Nature: Nature's Blend which is a mix of cotton burr, manure, humate, and alfalfa, 1.0 cu ft
Here's it stacked:

All in all the biggest pain was mixing the soil. SO MUCH WORK. Oh well I did the tarp method but modified it with keeping the tarp in the bed so I could just shovel/slide the soil out. Once I had enough soil mounded on the one side I could removed the tarp completely and just spread out the soil. Here's what the finished product looks like:

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New City, Fresh Start

I'm in an urban environment now and don't have the access to farmland like the last garden. I've built some raised beds in preparation for next year's season. Don't be surprised if I jump start and *attempt* to grow some things in the winter. Here's the beds without soil.

My mom and a few gardening friends recommended the Square Foot Gardening method by Mel Bartholomew. He came up with the original method in the 70's and has since revised his ways. I bought his most recent book (All New Square Foot Gardening). The idea is that you base everything on high quality soil and proper placement. His big push is for raised beds broken down in to square feet. I'll chime in more about the process as time goes on. Next step is to fill the beds with Mel's mix, which is 1/3 multi-source compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 vermiculite by volume.