Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Garden Skirts...

I know, I've not blogged in ages, and NOW I am going to do a short little blog on SEWING...Yes, sewing, with an E not an O.

I am tired of my shorts riding up when I am working in the gardens, so I thought, a knee length skirt should work just as well! But after shopping and shopping (which I detest - well, clothes shopping) I realized I needed to just make my own.

After a few quick searches of the Internet, I came across a great blog that gives instructions on making skirts out of SHIRTS! Just my cup of tea!

Off to a local store to find some inexpensive shirts that I could put to good use. I purchased plain t-shirts for work skirts and some fancy t-shirts for every day wear!

Here is what I did...not exactly step by step, but you will get the idea and I will also link to the blog I found that inspired me.

First, find a shirt you like - that when you hold it up to you, will make the length skirt you desire. If you like it, and it is super inexpensive ($3-5), I say buy it! Better yet - go to your local thrift stores!

When I got home I washed and dried the shirts, just as I will once the final garment is done.

I laid the shirt out flat on my cutting board. Measured from my waist to where I want the hem to fall (just above the knee in this case) - and added one inch for seam allowance.

At the 21" mark, I cut across the shirt, trying to cut as straight as possible, just at the bottom of the sleeves. Since I am not a pencil, I wanted my skirt a bit longer which meant I had to cut a bit through the bottom of the sleeve. I turned the shirt inside out and ran a seam at the "armpit" to close it up so that the cut shirt was now just a tube.

Carefully folding the edge over to make a 1" seam, I pinned the shirt all the way around, making sure there would be enough room for the elastic later.

Stitch all the way around, but leave one inch of seam undone - so you have room to thread the elastic through. Make sure that you have thread that matches!! My first skirt, I didn't bother filling a new bobbin, and when I had almost finished sewing, I realized I would have a white seam on my brown skirt...on the outside! Oops! Oh well, it is for working in the garden. Who will see it, right?

I hooked a LARGE safety pin through the end of the elastic (in order to measure the 3/4" wide, no roll elastic, I held it around the part of my waist where I would wear the skirt, pulled it a bit snug, and cut the elastic allowing for a one inch overlap.). Thread the safety pin around the tube you created at the top of the skirt. It takes a bit of time and patience. Make sure the elastic doesn't twist. When you come back to the end, pull both ends out as far as you can. I pinned the ends, overlapping about one inch, then sewed over the ends and around in a box and then across the box - last thing I need while in the garden, is for the elastic to snap and my skirt to drop! Would NOT be good. Then I fed the skirt back through the machine to close up the slot where I threaded the elastic through.

Et Viola! A brand new skirt!

Here is the blog that inspired me The Shirt Skirt
Check it out!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April Showers...

Not sure how many May flowers we are going to be getting out of all this rain, but I hope it is a lot!

My seedlings have been doing well for the most part. I have unfortunately lost all of my turnip seedlings. Left them one day too long and they dried out. I was disappointed in myself, but I will direct sow some this week. The beets I started aren't doing well either, nor the chard. Not sure what is happening with those. Maybe just low germination rate. I will also direct sow them. The sweet potato slips are now in containers with soil - so we will have to wait and see!

Fungus gnats have been a huge problem this season. They may have contributed to the demise of some of my smaller seedlings. I am trying a remedy of my own thinking to try and rid my plantings of them. Instead of paying a ton of money for a product that is formulated to treat for fungus gnats, I got some mosquito dunks (which contain the same strain of Bt that the gnat product does) and put a chunk of a dunk in a gallon of water. I use that to water the seedlings every second watering. I also moved the more infested plants outside - seemed to be more prevalent in the pot that I am trying to root some bay in. Fingers crossed! If it doesn't work, next season I will probably purchase that other product.

Due to business booming, I've not had the chance to do a whole heck of a lot in my own garden. I still need to construct my two new raised beds for veg. And I need to get more things planted out in the hoop house - as it will be coming down in another month! Luckily, one of my clients had a walk-in greenhouse that she never used and was kind enough to give to me, so I've been able to put some other seedlings out there.

I have found out that my thumbs might just be greener than I had I have been the only one that had success starting our year old Ramapo tomato seeds! I wound up with 61/62 seedlings out of 65 seeds, when at least 2 other people only managed 20 seedlings out of 65! It will cut down on our Master Gardener Association fund raising, as we will be selling the seedlings at Earth Day, but I am glad mine did so well!

Another day of wet weather, means I can take the day off and go work in the hoop house!

Happy Gardening everyone!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What's Sprouting!

I've got lots of things in the flats that are coming up well.

60+ Ramapo seedlings - for our MGA fund raiser - are all looking good! Not bad for 65 seeds planted (left over from last year).
Two varieties of beets - Detroit Dark Red and Golden
Various herbs

Got some things in the salad table - arugula and romaine. Planted some radish seeds out there yesterday.

Also trying carrots - AGAIN! This time in potting soil mixed with vermiculite - in buckets. We'll have to see.

It is a bit late - but got some garlic in the ground finally.

And two buckets planted with blue potatoes - with soil on the bottom and I am going to try just packing the rest of the bucket with straw as the taters grow! I am giving the straw that I am using in the garden this year, to my chickens first, to let them take a day or two to scratch it up and eat up any leftover seeds.

This is shaping up into an exciting growing year! Lots of new seeds to try and several new techniques! Tomorrow I need to get my sweet potato slips in the ground and start the next batch rooting.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sweet Potato Slips - Step TWO!

Two of the sprouts finally seemed large enough to try rooting. This morning I gently twisted the sprouts from the sweet potato. Then I laid each sprout in a small dish of water, where they will stay until they root - which hopefully will only take a few days.

The other two potatoes do not seem to be rooting well - but they have sprouts. I will monitor them a few more days (now that I've changed their water) and see what happens. If no more growth happens, I may try shaving a bit more off the bottoms to see if that will encourage more roots. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Hoop House Demise

Yet again, the wet heavy snow has decimated my little hoop house structure.

Hoop House Collapse

My structure obviously needs re-structuring. I made it of PVC with short sections connecting each hoop at the top. I had decided to NOT use PVC glue, as I wanted to be able to dismantle the whole thing come summer. Unfortunately, this has lead to easy spots for disconnect when the snow gets heavy. I also didn't clip the plastic sheeting to the individual hoops, as I had done on my small hoop structure last year. The plastic is not as taught as I would have liked, also leading to the current structure fail. Well, we live and learn. By next fall, I hope to have a more permanent structure (aka - small green house) put up, made of reclaimed window sashes. Or possibly another hoop house, but this time made of metal conduit and wood ends, to aid structural integrity.

Luckily, my plans of winter gardening this year did not come to fruition, due to travel. Otherwise, the downed structure (with almost every snow fall) would have been more heart wrenching. So far I've only put some potatoes in buckets and there are a few small pots of herbs that are overwintering in there.

Hoop House On a Good Day (and the girls enjoying some range time!)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Annie's Project - New Jersey

This year, New Jersey is hosting "Annie's Project" Classes!

So what is Annie's Project?? Well, it is an educational program dedicated to strengthening women's roles in the modern farm enterprise. Annie's Project's mission is:
"To empower farm women to be better business partners through networks and by managing and organizing critical information."

To learn more about Annie's Project or to find out if classes are available in your state: Annie's Project

Unfortunately I missed the first class, as I was visiting friends in Ontario. They went over writing a business plan. Sorry I missed that, but I am awaiting presentation notes from our County Ag Agent. Last week we discussed the importance of marketing and using social media. So now I have a twitter account, and I am more determined to keep up my blogging. Maybe even start a Face Book page for my little business.

Here is the Press Release from Rutgers!
Rutgers Launches First-Ever "Annie’s Project" in New Jersey

I am so glad I have the opportunity to take this class! Though I do not currently have a farm, or work on a farm, and I only do small scale private garden maintenance (aka - weed pulling for other people), I think the information I will gain will become invaluable to me in the coming years, as I get closer to my ultimate life goal of small scale farming in Prince Edward Island, Canada. (Or maybe somewhere in eastern Ontario...or possibly the Adirondacks!) I will also be able to apply the general, practical business knowledge to my current business.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sweet Tater Slips Update

Well, after a month of waiting for it to far - only roots! And such lovely roots they are. My grocery store sweet potato I now believe was most likely treated with some anti-sprouting medium. Also, the water turned cloudy, and while changing the water I discovered that the entire potato has turned to mush! Lovely roots, mushy potato. Time for it to go into the compost pile.

Luckily, I had a few other sweet potatoes on the counter that had started to sprout, so I cut the end off of three of them, stuck them in water (just like my previous potato) and VOILA! Sprouts!

I'm going to give them another week or two before cutting them off and rooting them. Hopefully I will be able to get a half dozen slips or so to plant.

Now on to starting my seeds...Today it will be the various lettuces that I've collected (Okay - I'm a seed hoarder...I admit it! But I refuse an intervention.), radishes, onions (a new thing for this year - trying to start them from seed), leeks, arugula, and Ramapo tomatoes.