Displaced Geek

Just a city geek and father coming to terms with being replanted in farm country

Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Isla Nublar Renamed?

If you’ve been following this recent flurry of posts, then you already know what’s going on. But I’ll catch you up anyway.

We’re converting a significant portion of (previously unused) backyard into a chicken run, and building a coop to go in it. However, as many DIY projects tend to do, it expanded significantly from what I expected during the planning stages. This is because we’re planning on defending the chickens from the hawks that live on our property, their eggs from the raccoons, foxes, opossums, etc, and the adjoining garden from The Groundhog & other garden pests.

Thus far I’ve been referring to the project as Isla Nublar, because it was mentioned to me that my fence design was more appropriate for housing raptors than chickens. (I did use the USACE bridge footing guidelines as a starting point in my design, but if you’re gonna do something, you might as well do it right, right?)

But since I was toying with the thought of making a ranch-style sign, and (Spoiler Alert?) they got off the island, I figured I ought to at least solicit some alternatives. I jotted down what came to mind, but feel free to be creative, and suggest something new!
And also remember that this is really Emma‘s project, so while the sign’s getting made, it may never be publicly displayed.


Written by Peter

April 23, 2013 at 1500

It’s Never To Early…

Believe it or not, if you haven’t started planning out your 2013 garden yet, you’re already behind. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to catch up, but in order to do that, you’re going to have to get started. Luckily, the internet is here to help you.

The nice folks over at Tomorrow’s Garden have compiled a list of links to pages where you can order yourself some seed catalogs to get started!

Stay tuned for my new plan to grow slightly biointensively this year!

Written by Peter

January 6, 2013 at 1051

Posted in Gardening

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Just a Quick Garden Update

With all the beer nonsense going on lately, you may have thought that our garden was getting the short end of the stick. You’d be wrong.

It’s just that after the seeds have been planted, there’s very little to do for a few weeks.

Well a few weeks have passed, and now there’s work to be done again. Believe it or not, pretty much everything we grow should be started by now, and our peas, carrots, and spinach should already be in the ground. (Don’t believe me?) There are a few things that I deliberately do “wrong”, and starting the squash indoors early is one of them. I start my squash when I start my tomatoes and peppers, so that they’re bigger when we transplant them and give away the extras come mother’s day. Unfortunately, that means that from late February through the middle of May, traditionally the end of the coldest part of our year, I’m trying to find space for over a hundred seedlings. Fun!

The other day I transplanted the squash out of their single thirty six cell flat, and into individual 4″ pots. Through careful selection, and judicious root separating, I went from twenty eight cells with viable seedlings, to forty one pots with seedlings that have room to grow. Considering it would be difficult for us too realistically fit any more than ten plants in the space we have allotted for squash, it looks like I’ll be giving away a lot.

Tomatoes and peppers grow MUCH slower than squash, which is why they’re actually supposed to be started so early. as a result, that seventy two cell flat that’s holding them will do for quite a while.

Written by Peter

March 19, 2012 at 1611

Posted in Gardening

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Chile Seed Harvesting 101

When I got my invitation to the 4th annual tomato pepper seed exchange the other day, I figured it was about time to actually get some seeds ready.

As simple as it is to turn this: into this: it amazes me that more people don’t have their own seed collections.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Peter

September 13, 2011 at 1432

Posted in Gardening

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A Project!

We were shopping the other day, and unexpectedly came home with this:

55 gallons of potential

That’s right folks, we’re making a rain barrel!

Or at least we’re going to, once I get the parts I need.

Written by Peter

August 9, 2011 at 2104

Feelin’ Hot! Hot! Hot!

While I enjoy all the vegetables that we grow, it must be said that chiles are my passion.

As much as I enjoyed spicy foods, I didn’t really become obsessed with growing my own until we dug our first real garden in Baltimore.

As our “backyard” was composed of about 90% patio bricks, 7% gravel, 2% sand, and 1% good soil, it was a pretty sad affair.

Exhibit A
Note the ADT sign in the backyard

Exhibit B










Nevertheless, by adding pots, a topsy-turvy, and low expectations, it was enjoyable. In fact, much to my delight, I did get a few decent peppers out of it, although not as many as I would’ve liked. In truth, it was probably much more work than it was worth by any standard.

After we got back from our honeymoon, Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Peter

August 3, 2011 at 1312

Posted in Gardening

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On Peas

Suzanne Ashworth’s Seed to Seed has this to say about harvesting peas:

Peas mature rather early in the summer and are usually allowed to dry on the vines. Both harvest and shelling are fairly easy.

The accuracy of that statement made harvesting peas for next year’s crop the perfect job for Gabriella to help with this morning.
I had read somewhere that hanging pea plants to dry with the pods still attached would yield the benefit of a long drying time while freeing up space in the garden for another plant (in our case some beans we won’t be growing again), which is why we’ve had a bundle of peas hanging outside for about a month. Today when we went outside to check the garden, I noticed the entire bundle was about as brittle as it was like to get, so we decided it was time to shell and save them.

Once she wrapped her head around the fact that these peas were not for eating, she did really well. We collected all the pods, and shelled them into a bucket. It took less than 30 minutes, and now we have more than 10x what we planted last year. Considering that what we planted kept us awash in peas for the entire spring, I’d say we did alright.

The peas are dwarf gray sugar peas originally given away by the 1719 William Trent House Museum at the 2010 NJEA teacher’s convention.

A closeup of the amazing variance in color, all from the same plant.

A closeup of the amazing variance in color, all from the same plant.

Written by Peter

July 24, 2011 at 1412

Posted in Gardening, parenting

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