Garden Projects: Springtime on the Urban Ranch

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 Hey, it’s me again.  I’ve been trying to stay busy around the ranch.  The weather here has been unpredictable to say the least.  Just ask the weather people.  They are certainly depending on percentages to keep their jobs intact this year.  They hardly ever get it correct.  Thank goodness we have not had the extreme weather folks are getting around the country.  It sure has been crazy hasn’t it?  I am counting my lucky stars that the rains have been gentle and refreshing here.  How’s the weather been in your part of the country?

Here’s the first of many pictures of the poor man’s patio.  This I guess would be the before anything trellis picture.  I’ll be showing the patio in different stages of grow over the year.  As you remember last year I decided to grow pole beans up the sides of the trellis and had visions of luscious viney growth that would cover the trellis.  Ah, well, that really didn’t happen.  Not even a little bit.  You see pole beans are a full sun plant and the patio is a full shade area.  The beans were puny, anorexic, and looked terrible.

You can see the black main line for the drip watering.  My plan for this year will be to have containers up both sides with shade loving plants.  The drip watering will keep them well watered even when I’m away on trips during the summer.  I haven’t really decided what should go in the containers yet.  I’m going to concentrate on the trellis this year and not so much on the patio retaining wall as in years past.

Here’s a beginning picture of the garden which will again be taken from the same view every week during the growing season.  The first bed has been planted with onions, radishes, and lettuce.  I will have to cover the bed with netting or the cute little bunny population will think that I’ve planted it just for their dining delight.  The next bed with the trellis structure will be my cucumber bed this year.  I will be perfecting the pickling process this year as my grandson can consume a gallon of dill pickles every 10 days.  I am going to try to preserve as many as I can.  The next bed will be my Yukon Gold potatoes.  They were a little disappointing last year but the plan is to deep mulch them this year.  The next bed with the upright concrete block will be the green pepper bed and the last bed next to main water tank will be the tomato bed.  Hopefully I can get the potatoes planted this next week.

Here’s a picture of the first rain barrel installed.  Well almost installed.  The hose was installed right after this photo was taken.  I have a couple small leaks to fix but overall it worked good when I ran water into the tank.  The hose from this tank was connected to the black  tank in the picture above.

The roof area for water to this barrel is 12 foot by 24 foot.  That would be 288 square feet of water area.  There is 144 square inches in each square foot which would be 41472 square inches of area.  So in one inch of rain fell on the roof area it would net 41472 cubic inches of water.  You can see where this is headed can’t you.  It has all the ear marks of one of those math word problems we all hated so much in math class.  Where were we?  Oh, yes, there is, of course 1728 cubic inches in a cubic foot which would make 24 cubic feet of water from the section of roof running into this rain barrel.  Aren’t you glad you decided to read this post?  I bet you never thought you would be barraged with math.  Now we all know there is 7.4805 gallons in one cubic foot.  What, you didn’t know that?  Were you sleeping that day in math class?  Ok ok, I must confess, I googled it.  Isn’t the Internet a wonderful thing?  Ok so 24 cubic feet is …. I’m just going to use 7.5 to make it easier …. 180 gallons of water.  Are you kidding me?  Please someone tell me that my math is wrong!!  My next problem to solve is how to get 180 gallons of water into a 40 gallon tank.  Yikes, I’m not sure I’m ready for this.

Here’s a good shot of the construction on the firepit patio.  I’ve set about five of the foundation blocks and have maybe 20 more to go.  Hopefully by September I’ll be sitting on the patio toasting marshmallows in the cool of the evening.  That’s a ways down the road with a lot of digging ahead.  I have settled on poor man’s bricks for the patio surface.  What you might ask is a poor man’s brick?  It looks like a brick, it’s the same size as a brick, and it’s laid like a brick, but it’s colored concrete molded to look like a brick.   A real brick can run up to three dollars each depending on the brick.  The poor man’s brick is $0.48 each.  That’s what this retired poor man can afford.

That’s it for this time.  I hope that all your projects this year turn out even better than you had planned, that only gentle rains fall at just the right time during the growing season, and that your year end harvest is so abundant that you will have to give some away.  Keep your powder dry and the wind at your back.  See ya next time.