Saturday, January 2, 2010

Self Watering Containers

I built a self-watering container this weekend. They contain a reservoir of water on the bottom, which gets wicked up by the soil, through a cup that hangs into the water. Picture the soil as a big sponge, with just a bit of itself sitting in the water; over time, the entire sponge is moist.

If this works, it'll be perfect for my tomatoes. Somehow, I can never water them right. Tomatoes are incredibly picky; they need just the right amount on a regular schedule. Get it wrong, and you have blossom end-rot or cracks.

Here's the screen (above) the separates the soil and the water. The two big holes hold the cups. The little holes are to allow oxygen into the bottom of the soil.

This is the storage bin I used to make it. The screen was cut out of the lid. One more hole off to the side allows for the pvc fill pipe to stick through.

And here's the finished product, before I added the soil. I ended up getting the shape of the screen wrong, leaving gaps between the edge and the container. To keep soil from falling into the reservoir, I draped a piece of shade cloth over the interior.

For more info, you can check here, or to buy one. I say make your own. It's less than half the price.

Keep you posted for what grows!

Friday, January 1, 2010


Until I went out and bought these guys as wee little seedlings, I had absolutely no idea what broccoli looked like as an actual growing plant. Looks a little bizarre, actually. This one will be ready to eat soon.

This one, on the other hand, decided to be an uppity bastard and start flowering on me. So I decided to try and experiment and chop off the head, and see if a new one will grow back.


Speaking of broccoli, if you're not a fan, go buy some and try this recipe. It's delicious.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

So guess what, guys?

My brother-in-law is totally hardcore. And not just for sipping margaritas, either. He went and climbed THIS:

Mt. Aconcagua

It's a mountain in Argentina. It's around four miles tall, the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas. A trifling climb for a Dutchman, I'm sure, who grew up in a country where the highest mountain is two feet below sea level.

You can read all about the climb here. Lots more picture of Paul being totally hardcore, I promise.

A Triumphant Return. FOR NOW.

Cause we miss you.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

First Tomatoes! Sorta.

The very first ripe tomatoes to come off the vine! The upper one is a Celebrity, your basic supermarket tomato. The lower one is an heirloom Carbon. They are juicy and sweet and totally better than any tomatoes from the grocery store. Unfortunately:

They've the dreaded blossom end-rot. This happens when the watering is either too irregular, or there is a calcium deficiency in the soil. So I now water with milk every day.

Actually no, milk is too expensive. Bill over at City Farmers got me some gypsum and told me when to water. He also told me that I could still eat them. I wish that tomatoes weren't so damn picky. The squash certainly don't have this problem.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Baby Spiders

Click to Enlarge

We found a spider eggsac exploding with baby spiders on the corn the other day. Despite the creeped out feeling, I just try to remember 'Charlotte's Web'.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Click to enbiggen

It's been almost impossible to grow greens in the summer heat. I've had marginal success by spritzing them with water two or three times a day to keep them cool, but the trade off is that the water droplets might burn the leaves, killing my salad dreams anyway.

So, using a couple pieces of spare rebar and an old plastic trellis, I ziptied a ramshackle shade that may be the most hideous kludge I've put together yet.

Sagging in the middle and braced by PVC, I hate this thing with a passion. Sure, it works, but will the neighbors think? I'm just going to break down and drive over to Home Depot for some 2x2s and have done with it.

Here's my threadbare lettuce patch as of now. I'll be planting some more stuff here, so hopefully I'll be show off some after pics later.