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Last year AJ got us a little pop-up greenhouse tent from a co-worker and we were able to grow some tomatoes, bell peppers, and green beans!  Unfortunately, the wind took it’s toll on the greenhouse and the grasshoppers had a good time feasting on every inch of green that was in there.  :o(  So this year, we’re upgrading!  After looking around at kits, pre-builts, and plans that are available, we decided to go ahead and build our own out of PVC pipe.  It’s going to be 9’x12′ with 6′ walls and 8′ to the peak and covered with a heavy duty clear tarp (which will hopefully withstand the elements out here!).  Plus, the design can be easily expanded to make it longer (by adding more center ‘rib’ sections) so if we outgrow the space, we have that option.

AJ had to work this weekend, but the kids and I were able to get off to a good start!  We got the entire base cut and assembled (AJ does get credit for helping me glue it though), and the pieces are cut for the dome roof but putting it on is a job for at least two adults so we haven’t gotten that accomplished just yet.

Obviously, we still have a lot of work ahead of us, but it’s so exciting to know that it’ll be ready for spring planting!!  I’m going to use the Square Foot Gardening approach to make the most of our little space, plus some Topsy Turvy strawberry and tomato buckets that I got on 75% off clearance last season.  :o)

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We stopped by the garden today to check on things, and I remembered the camera so we snapped a few pictures of our tiny little veggies.  This is our first attempt at a winter garden (and only my second attempt at gardening, period :oO) so it’s definitely been a learning adventure!  I’m just so glad to see little spurts of green beneath the hay (laid that out to protect the sprouts since we got such a late start).  We do have an ‘arctic cold front’ forecast to visit us next week, so I’m hoping to find a way to protect the little guys through that.  Luckily the nice people in charge of the community garden project are very knowledgeable and helpful, so I’m sure they can help me come up with something.  And now, without further ado…

all covered in hay to keep it cozy on cold nights

clockwise from top left: spinach, garlic, green lettuce, red lettuce

clockwise from top left: beet, tiny carrot, and cauliflower

There were also some leeks, scallions, and onions growing, but they were all too small to photograph!  We planted broccoli and cabbage as well, but I don’t think any of them sprouted.  They were on the far end of the garden and the hay was constantly getting blown off, so if they did sprout they may not have made it due to the weather.

Back in November we got a plot in the community garden, and planted a bunch of seeds in hopes that we could get some stuff going before it got too cold.  Luckily, this winter has been very mild so far, but we did have a couple of hard freeze nights over the holidays.  I wasn’t able to get everything covered so I was afraid that my cute little sprouts had all frozen and withered.  BUT we went out there today and although we lost a couple of crops (cabbage, broccoli, and possibly scallions), most of what we planted still looks happy and healthy!  Hopefully over the next few months we’ll have lots of fresh onions, carrots, leeks, beets, red lettuce, green lettuce, cauliflower, garlic, and spinach to share with the food ministry and gobble up ourselves.  :oD  Of course I forgot the camera, so no pictures…but as soon as I can get back, there will be lots of pictures of green goodness to ooh and ahhh over.  ;o)

This blog is my attempt at journaling our experiences, and sharing with others.  Over the past couple of years our family has started finding ways to simplify our lives and rediscover what’s really important to us.  2011 is going to be a big year, we’re going to start homeschooling (Brody: 1st grade & Adelyn : tag-a-long/preschool) as well as building our house!  We also hope to gradually become more self-sustaining by growing our own produce, and eventually raising our own chickens and goats (but I doubt we can fit them in this year).  It’s going to be an exciting journey and I welcome anyone who is interested in tagging along!

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