Urban farming update: Out with the old {lettuce}

It’s been two months since our last urban farming update and a lot has happened in that time!

This is where we started:

Our new planter boxes/raised beds

Our new planter boxes/raised beds

And this is where we were at in the end of April.

Fast forward to the end of June: Our lettuce went crazy! I’m pretty particular about my lettuce (romaine heads, please) and with the abundance of kale we’ve grown, we decided the lettuce was taking up valuable raised bed real estate, so we harvested it all.

Our lettuce, pre-harvest (6-2015)

Our lettuce, pre-harvest (6-2015)

So many greens!!

So many greens!!

We made made great use of the harvest with lots and lots of salads!

The romaine part of our harvest. (Bibb lettuce portion not pictured.)

The romaine part of our harvest. (Bibb lettuce portion not pictured.)

We tilled our soil and planted two tomato plants and a pepper plant. And now our beets can see the light of day and continue to grow big and juicy!

Our new and improved crop: tomatoes and peppers

Our new and improved crop: tomatoes and peppers

Such a beautiful garden! So healthy and pretty!

Such a beautiful garden! So healthy and pretty!

Urban farming

It’s official… we’re urban farmers! The tricks to our success? Creating a nutrient-rich environment (tilling our own organic soil and compost, sand, coconut husks, and organic fertilizer) for our fruits and veggies to flourish in and doing nothing.

About six weeks ago we constructed and planted some planter boxes. After planting, we basically did nothing but monitor nature doing it’s thing. Job well done, nature!

Here’s how our kale box started in early March:

Raised bed #1: Raspberries, strawberries, kale, beets, garlic bulbs and carrots!

Raised bed #1: Raspberries, strawberries, kale, beets, garlic bulbs and carrots!

And at the end of March:

They're growing! The raspberries took the early lead in growth

They’re growing! The raspberries took the early lead in growth

Easter Sunday:

Kale has taken the lead, but the raspberries are holding on strong

Kale has taken the lead, but the raspberries are holding on strong

The next week:

Holy greens! Nothing like April showers and sun to get that garden growing!

Holy greens! Nothing like April showers and sun to get that garden growing!

This past weekend:

Kale progress: ready for harvest!

Kale progress: ready for harvest!

And today:

Harvesting our first kale crop!!!

Harvesting our first kale crop!!!

Thanks, kale, for a delicious dinner!

Yum! Kale, sausage and mushroom pasta for dinner tonight

Yum! Kale, sausage and mushroom pasta for dinner tonight

Spring has sprung {2015}

It’s here! It’s here! Happy spring to you!

Here on Megan’s Island and in the Pacific Northwest, we never really saw a winter (sorry to rub it in, east coast) so this spring transition isn’t as big as it is some years.

Look, this Magnolia tree is almost done with this round of blooming! It’s been spring for SO long here!

It's raining flowers on Megan's Island!

It’s raining flowers on Megan’s Island!

With the days getting longer and warmer, I’ve scoured the internet for some ideas to help spring shine inside and out.

Spring!

Spring!

Tulip wreath 

Tulip wreath

Flower cookie bowls

Flower cookie bowls

So many other great things about spring: Easter, baseball, tulips, the list goes on!

Here are some more signs of spring in our yard!

Signs of spring in the backyard

Signs of spring in the backyard

Flowers for days!!

Flowers for days!!

For all of my finds, visit my “Sunshine-y days” Pinterest Board! And get out there and enjoy the warm sun-showers!

New planter boxes!

Or are they raised beds? I don’t really know the difference. What I do know, however, is that I love them!

Our new planter boxes/raised beds

Our new planter boxes/raised beds

I’ve been thinking about some iteration of these boxes for the past couple of years and other things (like the pizza oven) have taken priority… until now. Brandon and I took advantage of our early spring weather and the leftover cedar from the front fence to build these beauties.

Planting beet seeds

Planting beet seeds

Each box is 4′ long x 2.5′ wide and is planted with all sorts of goodies: raspberries, strawberries, garlic bulbs, kale, carrots, snap peas, peppers, beets, and a couple of lettuces. (Letti?)

Raised bed #1: Raspberries, strawberries, kale, beets, garlic bulbs and carrots!

Raised bed #1: Raspberries, strawberries, kale, garlic bulbs and carrots!

Raised bed #2: Lettuces, sweet peppers, snap peas, and beets

Raised bed #2: Lettuces, sweet peppers, snap peas, and beets

Here are some of the in-progress photos for your enjoyment:

Before shot of our new garden area

Before shot of our new garden area

Before photo: stocking up on soil, plants and seeds

Before photo: stocking up on soil, plants and seeds

Box construction

Box construction

The boxes are Brandon-sized!

The boxes are Brandon-sized!

Lightweight!

Lightweight!

Proud of his work!

Proud of his work!

Is it spring in your neck of the woods? Did you take advantage of the nice weather? Tell me all about it!

Spring bulbs

It’s possible we had our last warm day of the year this past weekend — it was 75 degrees on Sunday! — and I took advantage of it by spending some quality time in the garden.

A couple of weeks ago I spotted some Hyacinthus bulbs at Costco for a reasonable $15. There were 28 bulbs in the pack, far too many for us to use, so we split them with my parents. They had purchased a different pack of bulbs and split those with us. We’re going to have so many flowers come spring!

My first time planting bulbs

My first time planting bulbs

Using my genius idea from last year, I found my leftover golf tees and painted the tips purple. Once everything dies back for the winter, these will help me know where to look for new growth. I used a $0.59 bottle of acrylic paint that I had on-hand (it’s Husky purple!) and painted the tops. They dried within a couple of hours.

Purple bulb markers

Purple bulb markers

Once the paint on the tees was dry, it was time to get to planting! I dug my holes per the specifications and covered them back up with dirt.

Bulbs = planted

Bulbs = planted

And...that's it. Bulbs are so easy!

And…that’s it. Bulbs are so easy!

Looking forward to the spring and all of our new flowers!

Looking forward to the spring and all of our new flowers!

Pizza, pizza: We named the oven

Our glorious backyard pizza oven

Our glorious backyard pizza oven

We capped off a wonderful summer with a big, ‘ole party. It was the prefect weather and we invited all of our friends for a full-on Italian feast, complete with a make-your-own pizza bar.

Backyard pizza party toppings bar

Backyard pizza party toppings bar

Brandon and I thought up some unique Italian names for our pizza oven and narrowed the list down to four:

Names for the oven

Name ideas for the oven

We had our party guests vote (I love elections!) and we chose the winning name…

Oven's got a name: Fatto e mano!

Oven’s got a name: Fatto e mano!

Since the oven is short and stout, we think Fatto (or Fattie, as we like to call it) is perfect.

Now that we have the name I’m working on a fun logo (it’s a pizza place, right?!) and a fancy door for the oven. More to come on both of those fronts soon! Have a wonderful week!

UPDATE: It appears as though Google translate failed us! “Fatto e mano” isn’t the correct, rather Fattie’s new name is Fatto A mano. Thanks to Sarah for catching it! 

Fattie in action!

Fattie in action!

 

PIZZA OVEN!!!!

Remember that pizza oven that we keep talking about? (Here, here, here, and here)

Well…after almost a year, we finally finished it over the weekend!

Finished pizza oven with Geroni-gnome, our watch'gnome'

Finished pizza oven with Geroni-gnome, our watch’gnome’

Our brand new, almost-done pizza oven!

Our brand new, almost-done pizza oven!

It’s not quite pizza time yet. We have to wait for the mortar to dry fully and then start lighting consecutively larger fires, curing the oven. All-in-all it should take another week and a half or so. Then…it’s pizza time! Over the past year, the oven has gone from a pile of bricks…

A truckful of fire bricks

A truckful of fire bricks

To a base…

So it began: Memorial Day 2013

So it began: Memorial Day 2013

More of a base...

More of a base…Firebricks, red bricks, and kiln insulation

To a real-looking oven!

Building up the walls and ceiling arches

Building up the walls and ceiling arches

The arches hold! We're really doing this...

The arches hold! We’re really doing this…

Almost there!

Almost there!

So close to pizza time!

So close to pizza time!

It looks like it was meant to there, right!?

The backyard is READY!

The backyard is READY!

Two big questions remain: When is happy hour?  And what should we name it!? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below! Winner gets invited to our pizza party!