Wash bin Pond

I had always wanted some sort of water feature in my backyard.  I came upon this washbin and containers and decided that this was the time.  I wanted one where the little containers poured into the big container.  Just had to figure out how to do that.

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Eureka!  I figured it out!  I used some 90 degree brackets for this.  However I didn’t want them at 90 degrees.  Out came the blow torch. I heated them up and slowly bent them with pliers until they were at the angles I wanted.  Note the lack of level on the camera shot.  It’s hard to hold a camera, blow torch and pliers at the same time!IMG_5548

This is where they sat on the bottom oval container.  IMG_5549

Screwed in. I have a habit of using what I have a home. Also I’m broke and thus didn’t want to spend money so thus boom random bolts and nuts used! IMG_5551

Final placement for oval container number one. It is on an incline, I promise!  Also looks like I have mastered gravity.IMG_5552

 

Number two attached.  Still looks like I can control gravity.  In fact.  Lets say that.  I control gravity.IMG_5558

I covered the bolt heads with silicone to help seal it.  I did the top and bottom just to be sure.  Waited a good 24 hours for it all to dry.IMG_5559

Dry run before everything is added.  I found a simple nozzle from Home Depot for the fountain part at the top. I also picked up a very small pump from Canadian tire similar to this one at Amazon. However after researching a bit I wish I had gone for this solar fountain pump. Oh well. I ended up installing a electrical outlet back up behind that log in the top right for this project.  Luckily I figure I can use it for the lights on my tree as well.  So I guess it’s not all bad.IMG_5565

Here it is all done in all it’s glory. I put a piece of limestone in the bottom for extra weight just in case.  It also helps hold the pump down. A couple plants for oxygenation purposes and three goldfish that all look differently so that Damian can name them and tell which is which.  Apparently this is something the pet store hears often.
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Here is one of the yet to be named goldfish poking his head out from under the rock where he likes to hide.  I will update and let you know the names when they occur. I know you’re on the edge of your seat awaiting.IMG_5569

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Update on potato and strawberry planters

If you look back in time at my previous posts, I have created a stand up strawberry planter and a stand up potato planter. I thought I’d post an update after stuff grew on them!

 

Here is the strawberry planter with genuine strawberries in them!  Well actually there is no strawberries yet but they’re growing.

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Here is the stand up potato planter.  It’s got plants growing out of the top and the sides cause that’s the way potatoes roll.

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Ginger Rhubarb Jam

I have a mutant Rhubarb plant in my backyard.  It’s only the beginning of June and I have had to cut it back four times already!  I have been able to pawn off a lot on my retired mother who in turn supplies the family and neighbourhood with rhubarb crips and pies.  This time however I have taken it upon myself to make rhubarb jam.  I like a good jam.  Occasionally a jelly.  But I’m really a jam guy.IMG_20160612_125113

I cut my mutant rhubarb plant (I call him Stan) today.  This was the haul I got today.   Probably cut less than a quarter of it down.  I used an Odouls can for scale.  I did let my mother steal more from today’s haul.

The Recipe:

8 cups rhubarb all chopped up into bits and pieces

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup shredded ginger

Lemon zest

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Here is the Rhubarb all chopped up and measured out.IMG_5541

I zested the lemon with a cheese grater because I am resourceful and responsible.  I then cut the lemon and squeezed it to juice up the mix.

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A nice shot of all the mix together. Sugar, lemon, rhubarb, ginger all together on the stove ready to heat up on the stove in medium heat.

I have at this point also got the big pot boiling with the jars that are sterilizing.

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I also took a quick snack of rhubarb and sugar.  Well maybe a couple.  This may be a reason why losing weight isn’t happening…

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I also made a batch with added strawberries as a side project.  I hope it goes well.    I only used four cups of rhubarb and one cup of sugar for this batch.

I proceeded to fill jars, then set them gently in the boiling water pot and boiled for a whopping ten minutes.  Then removed, set on the racks and waiting for the lids to pop.  All jars successfully made the lovely popping sound.

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In total I got five jars of the Rhubarb Ginger Jam and two of the Strawberry Ginger Rhubarb.  Once I eat them  I will let you know how tasty they are and you can salivate at my descriptions and fume with jealousy.

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I even made the most hip jam labels imaginable.

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Stand Up Strawberry Planter

Keeping in tune with the “I have very little space in my tiny yard and thus I have to build my garden up” routine, I decided to build a stand up strawberry planter. I started with some fence boards I picked up from my trusty home depot.  Yes they’re pressure treated.

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I wanted more of a crown thing at the top so I cut it pointy.  I used a mitre saw for this at 45 degree angles in case you’re wondering.

 

Standup Strawberry planter

I then cut holes all the way up and down the boards, leaving about an inch and a half on the edges.  Note the lady bug visitor I had. I couldn’t get him/her to fly away or crawl off for a while.  But here is your lady bug interlude.

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Finished boards ready for staining.  Aren’t they exciting looking?IMG_5378

I have a brown and red theme in my back yard.  Note the birdhouse is alternating of those colours.  The birds told me this is their favourite colour scheme.  I assure you I speak bird. IMG_5379

Once dried I laid them down and spread out some fancy landscape cloth.  I stapled them to one end to start with.IMG_5380

 

I measured the total amount of interior space needed and cut the fabric.IMG_5381

Not only did I staple the fabric in but I also included some pieces of wood to help screw the boards together.
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Finished product.  To install I dug a hole and put it in. Then filled up the top with dirt.  Once I pick up some strawberry plants I’ll show a couple shots of it in action.  The fabric allows me to just cut a hole and input the plant. Easy peezy.    IMG_5383

I’m hoping I can make jam later on in the year.

Update on strawberry and potato planters

Update on the strawberry planter with actual strawberries!

 

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Stand Up Potato Planter

Spring has come early here in Saskatchewan. I’ve been steadily scouring the internet for ideas on what to do with my garden this fall.  Upon encountering several posts on stand up potato planters I decided to try my hand at one since I have limited space in my teeny yard.   This is the area I choose to set it up. Right smack dab between my rhubarb leaf bird bath and my trellis that grows beans and tomatoes.

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I am a big believer in reusing things I have.  For instance I do a lot with pallets and thus I had some spears leftover that I didn’t know what to do with.  Hammered into the ground they became an excellent frame.

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I acquired some chicken wire with one inch spacing.  I actually didn’t have this laying around but I found some other uses for it later on so I figured it would be useful to have.  I wrapped it around the frame and connected it with zipties that I got for xmas from Santa.  I’m not sure why I got zipties but I did, and they came in useful today.

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Most sites I read used hair as a layer on the outside to hold in the dirt in the middle.  I didn’t have any on hand so I used leftover grass and other plant material I had around my backyard, including a cut up Christmas tree that I used in another post.  I felt this would sufficiently hold the dirt in the middle.  I used seed potatoes in the middle. Four per row.
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My helper today.  He was really good at filling the middle with dirt.IMG_5362

Once I got to the top of the first row of chicken wire I added a second.  I used the zip ties again and zipped it all together.  Then continued layering of dirt, potatoes, dirt, potatoes and so on.IMG_5366

Here is another overview of the project.IMG_5358

Once I reached my desired height of about one metre I zipped the top all down to hold it in.IMG_5367

Final product.  I’ll take some pictures when it sprouts to show you all.IMG_5369                IMG_5370

Update: There is plants on the potato planter!

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More planting!

I had lots of room on my grow table still and dirt and more coffee grounds etc available. I also wanted more tomatoes so I decided it was time to plant some more since it was still -5 outside.
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The two white containers are for wildflowers.  They will look all pretty.  My fiance will like them. She likes that stuff.  I’m more of a “Can I eat it?!?” kind of guy. The individual ones will be for two varieties of tomatoes.  Little cherry ones and huge ones.  The big brown pot is for broccoli.  I’ve never planted broccoli before so this will be an adventure!  Damian was really into it so I decided why not.

 




 

I used my classic Epsom salt, coffee grounds, and eggshell soil mixture.  Hasn’t let me down yet!

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My little helper aiding in the brocoli plantations.  He was super pumped to do this which is awesome.  Hopefully they work out!

 

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Eggshells as seed starters

I decided to do an update once I got all my seeds ready to go for the grow table I built.  I saved all my eggshells for a couple weeks and even stole some from other people.  When you’re using eggshells for seed starters try to crack them at the end of one end to lop off the top.  Gives you more room for you and the seeds to work with.

Why eggshells?

I like Easter!  Ok that’s not really the reason.  Eggshells are made from CaCO3.  or Calcium Carbonate.  (Geology nerd infobit:  Limestone is too!) So when you add eggshells to your garden they add calcium as well.  If you think about it this way, eggs are little containers for the nourishment of the embryo.  Should be good for other stuff shouldn’t it?  They are also super convenient to use since they’re a container in themselves and you can put them directly in the ground after.

Other ingredients I use:

Epson Salts – I’m not really sure why.   I have read many conflicting reports on these.  Some say they help growth and some say they do nothing.  I add them just in case.  Plus I bought a gigantic container of them a while back and need to use them up.  A little extra Magnesium isn’t a bad thing anyway.

Coffee grounds – We drink a ton of coffee in this house.  Dark roast, medium roast, with honey, with sugar and milk.  Every combination imaginable.  We get a lot of coffee grounds because of it.  This adds Nitrogen to the soil (N for you chemistry nerds)  Some people add the whole filter and everything to their garden.  I just do the grounds and throw the filter in my compost bin.

Soil – I buy the cheap basic stuff as I’m adding in my own stuff to it.  Also because I am a student and really lack money.  (Hey there’s ad’s on the side!  You should click them and feed a starving student)

All the ingredients to start. I used the coffee tin as a shaker to mix my soil mixture.

All the ingredients to start. I used the coffee tin as a shaker to mix my soil mixture.

Starting the soil mixing process. Step one: add soil. I didn't have the time to go out and break down sediment and apply organic matter etc so I bought the soil from a store.

Starting the soil mixing process. Step one: add soil. I didn’t have the time to go out and break down sediment and apply organic matter etc so I bought the soil from a store.

Close up shot of the ground eggshells I'm using. Credit goes to my son Cole for grinding for me. He had never used a mortar and pestle so this was a big deal. I finished the grinding to make it as fine as I could.

Close up shot of the ground eggshells I’m using. Credit goes to my son Cole for grinding for me. He had never used a mortar and pestle so this was a big deal. I finished the grinding to make it as fine as I could.

The addition of the ground up eggshell.

The addition of the ground up eggshell.


Addition of coffee grounds. These were from that afternoons coffee. Kirkland Dark Roast if anyone is interested.

Addition of coffee grounds. These were from that afternoons coffee. Kirkland Dark Roast if anyone is interested or is looking for birthday ideas.

I unfortunately didn't get a picture of me shaking it but I assure you I did. Then I carefully added the mix to each of my egg containers.

I unfortunately didn’t get a picture of me shaking it but I assure you I did. Then I carefully added the mix to each of my egg containers. To make it more pretty feel free to dye the egg shells first.

Another bonus of eggshells is that you can label them. This one will be a cucumber when it grows up I figured you probably couldn't read my writing.

Another bonus of eggshells is that you can label them. This one will be a cucumber when it grows up I figured you probably couldn’t read my writing.

All done! I didn't have enough shells for all the seeds I wanted to start. Hence the generic seed thing. However I also used eggshells for labels for that one too!

All done! I didn’t have enough shells for all the seeds I wanted to start. Hence the generic seed thing. However I also used eggshells for labels for that one too!

The seed starters in action! Look at them go under that light!

The seed starters in action! Look at them go under that light!

 

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