I have a new “helper” which has been a great hindrance to my gardening goal progress. At least my new 2 month old puppy thinks she is a helper. She really is a cute pest when it comes to gardening. I can see I am really going to get use out of my rabbit and rodent lids to keep her away. Who could resist such a cute face and those white paws? Coincidentally, she was named Dahlia in the animal shelter. It is like it was meant to be and of course we are keeping her name. Dahlias happen to be one of my favorite flowers. Back to my goals, which are defined in a previous post if you are unfamiliar with them.
Automate – Success for March
I was worried I wouldn’t finish this on time because life was pretty busy. I was able to automate my temperature, humidity, and fan power control.
- Set up a Raspberry Pi for a temperature and humidity logger with automated notification emails in my small gardening room in my basement.
- Self-watering seedling trays which has been great for getting the seeds started.
Track time – Success for March
Overall, I spent about 13.3 hours on gardening in March. This is an increase from February and I expect to increase in April also because I will be adding soil to the new garden beds.
- January – 3.9 hours
- February – 8 hours
- March – 13.3 hours
Total: 25.2 hours
Reduce food bill/be frugal – In progress
Savings: I estimate we ate another 8 heads of garlic this month. Additionally I harvested 10 grams (.35 ounces) of mint. Organic fresh mint at the store is $1.50 for 10 grams. It is drying in my garage and I will use it for tea. This doesn’t include the food I encourage my kids to pick and eat directly out of the garden. They also enjoy consuming the plants I thin. My son wants me to thin the plants so much that they disappear.
I can’t wait to harvest my snow peas. Watching them grow so slowly over winter sure builds the anticipation.
Wow, I spent a little more than I have been wanting to. I purchased 10 yards of soil for the new raised beds. It is more than I will need for the 10 new beds, but there was a minimum amount of soil I had to purchase in order for it to be delivered. I broke our shovel last year and so I purchased a digging and scooping shovel. I purchased some kelp and small stones for the lime and lemon plant repair. I bought more perlite for making seed starting soil. I purchased some new garlic chive seeds because the packet I had contained bad seeds that never germinated. I had a nursery splurge and purchased strawberry plants and onion sets. I also probably should have shopped around for Azomite (to provide 16 essential mineral elements), but it was so easy to just purchase it while I was at the nursery. Last, I purchased some electronics for my next automation/measuring project.
This month I plan to spend quite a bit on compost. I am not entirely pleased with the new soil I purchased. It feels a little too sandy and like it has too much clay. I want to loosen up the soil a bit and so I plan on adding some compost. I will purchase some hay for mulch and I am delayed on purchasing and planting potatoes.
Overall, my total was -$442.32 for March. I really have to work on being more frugal, but the soil purchase is a majority of the cost and the new garden beds will provide for many years of food, without a lot of additional costs. I expect my costs to decrease in April month because I think I have most of what I need.
Total spending/saving for the year:
- January: -$70.08
- February: -$14.23
- March – -$442.32
Healthier eating and little waste – In progress
Healthier eating: Nothing improved here.
Little waste: We didn’t waste any harvested food this month, but we only harvested 10 grams of mint.
Organic gardening – Success for March
The only product I used this month was liquid sea kelp.
Previous organic products used:
- Organic fish, morbloom, and bone meal fertilizers
- Bat guano, bone meal, blood meal, and potassium sulfate for fertilizing my garden beds.
Expanding the garden – more successful produce output – In progress
I am a little worried that between the new puppy and other life busyness, I may not be ready in time for all of the April planting. My husband filled 4 of the 10 garden beds and I have slowly been filling the others. My shoulders just can’t handle scooping a whole lot of dirt at once and it has to be on a day that isn’t rainy, which isn’t often lately.
I am hoping to dedicate more time to it in the next couple of weeks and I hope to recruit my husband for more help.
Experiment along the way and always improve – Success for March
I was able to see the results from experimenting with two different slug bait options.
- January: Monitoring gardening room temperature variations, creating seedling fertilizer, and organic powdery mildew treatment with a staple household item.
- February: The impacts of snow and cool weather on planting garlic under row cover and not using row cover.
Have you met been successful with any of your goals? Are there things you want to continue to improve? I would love to hear what they are in the comments!
[Image Credit: ©2017 Garden4Dinner]