Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Evolution of a Garden - before and after

When we purchased this house a year and a half ago I was so excited to have a nice spot for my garden. Little did I know just how overgrown this 24 x 12 foot plot of land was. Okay, yes it looks overgrown but I assumed it would be a quick clean up job. I later found out that this garden hadn't been used in many, many years and it took weeks to pull out the bushes, grass, weeds, and rocks. A garden was planted in a hurry so that I could make the most out of the upstate New York growing season. It was not my best harvest and this year I was determined to make the most out of my garden.
This picture is post winter frost and mid build of the lattice border. When raking leaves during the fall season we threw some into the soil for composting along with fertilizer pebbles. The soil was healthy and dark when it came to tilling.

In April, seeds were planted indoors and the process of tearing up the old wood lining the bed began. The lattice that you see now is not only for aesthetics but also to keep our three dogs from getting inside and digging everything up.
Early May I tilled the dirt and mixed in twelve 2 cubic ft. bags of fertilized dirt. Eggs shells and used coffee grounds will also be mixed into the soil for more nutrients and keeping pests away. The foil pan seen in the photo is one of many that we used to start our seeds in. They can be purchased at the dollar store with lids and by cutting holes in the top make a wonderful early greenhouse. They are also cheap and can be saved for next year.
You might wonder why I have so many bottles in the garden? Well, May weather in New York keeps you on your toes. It can be 90 one day and the next day we get sleet and have a week of frosty nights. Today is Memorial Day and this is precisely what happened the past week. The bottles are mini greenhouses to protect from frost and also increase growing time for my baby plants. Using a utility knife, cut of the bottoms of the bottles and work them into the soil around the vegetation. You can increase warmth by mounding the soil around the sides of the bottle. Also, save the caps which can be screwed on at night to offer further protection. After a week of unpredictable weather, my plants look healthy and are growing beautifully! I will probably leave the bottles on for another week or two until the plants either outgrow their tiny homes or the weather gets too hot.


  1. Way to go! I like that little tip about the mini green houses. I have been wanting a garden, but I SUCK at growing things, and plus I have 10mil thing on my plate already. I'm afraid I will end up just letting them die :( Yours is looking great, though!

    Thrift Diving

  2. What a good idea i live in Md. and are temps have been just as wacky.

  3. Oh I like it! I'm going on vacation for a couple weeks - this would work well to keep things warm and watered by the rain. Thanks for the idea. :)

  4. Very nice! I love having a garden, but it can be a lot of work. Especially with crazy weather like this year, I live in Mo and we had snow flurries end of April (which is rare) plus tons of rain lately so my gardens been kinda flooded. We really need to fence in our garden too, because of our dog (who like to eat about every vegetable, even tomatoes!). Your's looks really nice , I love the lattice!

    1. Thanks a lot! We ended up having to put up some of that thin black bird prrof screen stuff on the bottoms, because somehow a bunny made it through our yards fence and past our 3 dogs and ate our lettuce haha. NY has been weird for weather as well, the upper part was hit by about 3 feet of snow and then the next week it was 90 again haha

  5. I never thought to use plastic bottles in that particular way. I really like it. They each act as little greenhouses.

    It was only recently that I put out my tomatoes, but they have gotten a few cold nights but they seem to be doing very well.