Archive for April, 2009

Garden’s In!

The past weekend proved to be a record-breaker with temps in the low 90’s. Too hot for April!

In spite of the heat, we managed to get the garden in.

Once we tilled the soil again, we put down two 25′ soaker hoses:
soaker hoses

Then we put a weed block down over the entire bed. We found a roll of <a href=”Easy Gardener 1623 WeedBlock Natural Landscape Fabric – 40-Inch x 36-Foot“>corn-based natural fabric and decided to use it, even tho it didn’t quite cover the bed. This will keep the weeds down somewhat.
weedblock fabric

Then I planted lettuce, zucchini, yellow summer squash, green beans, cucumber and peas. Along with 5 tomato plants. 4 different varieties and one cherry tomato. We’ll see what works the best.

Already I’m looking to start a second bed for a fall crop and next year. I’ll take some more pictures once things have sprouted. We will be building a trellis on the side of the bed for the peas to climb on.


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I started on the finish work on the ornaments I’m making for my Etsy shop. Have 9 finished, but only got decent pictures of two. I’ll wait until the weekend to take more in the natural daylight out in the sunroom.

Here’s one:

Green Shamrock Ornament

Green Shamrock Ornament

And the other:

Red Starburst Ornament

Red Starburst Ornament

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Garden Bed Built

The April rains quit and the ground dried up enough to begin construction on our raised garden bed. We rented a tiller and worked up an area about 5′ x 25′. Once the ground was tilled, we assembled 3 2’x6′ boards for one side that made it 24′ long. We attached a 12″ piece of pvc pipe every 4′. Final size of the box was 4′ x 24′ and looks like this:


Besides anchoring the box a bit, the pipes will allow us to bend flexible pipe to create a mini greenhouse. We can then cover the beds with plastic, netting or garden fleece.

We still need to add some sort of fencing to keep Dumb and Dumber (the dogs) out of it, but so far they are keeping away. Hopefully we can get a couple early crops in next weekend, and finish the rest of the planting by mid-May when we’ve past the last frost.

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We found out today that the 30% federal tax credit will be on TOP of the state grant. So that means that our new solar system will cost us only 20% of the up-front cost. I’m not even counting the REC’s or the energy savings OR the added value to our house. Delaware is a great place to live! They’ve got one of the best renewable energy grant programs going.

They can’t get this installed fast enough to suit me. Those sunny summer days are coming.


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For quite a while now, we’ve heated our house with wood. We had a meeting last night with a rep from Trinity Solar – about adding solar panels to our house. With Delaware and Federal rebates, along with Renewable Energy Credit payment, it’s almost a no-brainer.

Delaware is giving a 50% rebate up to a maximum amount of $31,500. There is now a no-limit 30% Federal tax CREDIT. Our system will pay about $1755 a year in REC’s for the next 11 years, thus bringing our net cost down to only $2,450! And this is not counting the projected yearly savings of $1350.

And the panels will extend the life expectancy of our roof by 8-10 years.

Stay tuned as we document the process!

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First Sale!

Made my first sale today on Etsy. TWO items no less. Hopefully it will be the start of more sales now that the first is done and folks can order without worrying.

I’ve slacked off on the projects – getting antsy to get started on something new. I have a few more bottles to finish and photograph. And now that the storage boxes have arrived I can start putting the ornaments together.

On another note, we’ve decided to venture into the vegetable gardening world again. I’m excited! I’ve missed having fresh veggies. So we dug out the old Yardening video by Jeff Ball and refreshed our memory on designing a raised-bed vegetable garden.

Looks like Sunday will be the better day to get started. We’ll be doing just one bed this year which will be 4′ x 24′. With a lot of the trees gone from behind the house now, it should get more sun and hopefully do better than our first attempt after moving in. So far the plan is just for tomatoes, squash, purple string beans, (yes purple – they turn green when cooked) limas, and lettuce.

The beds will be made of 2×6 boards with 1 1/2″ PVC pipes strapped to the sides at 4′ intervals. We’ll also get some 1″ flexible piping cut into 8′ lengths that will be inserted across the bed into the PVC pipe. This will give us a mini greenhouse to add plastic or netting to. We will also be able to make our bean trellis 8′ high using the same PVC pipes for supports. Stay tuned!

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