Our butterfly garden is doing very well. We have seen a few butterflies in the area, but not many. None the less the flowers are wonderful to look at. Enjoy the pictures:
- » Butterflies
We now have vegetables in our garden! We have two beds, each about 6foot by 10foot.
I have been learning about composting and discovered that used coffee grounds are a good mulching material and addendum to soil. The article I got most of my information from Starbucks “Grounds for your Garden” . Starbucks offers free one gallon bags of used coffee and espresso grounds. In Grand Forks, the Starbucks I visited places these out front for people to pick up. I also picked up grounds from my favorite local coffee house, Porpoura Coffee House, Grand Forks, ND. Our soil is clay rich — the coffee grounds cause the soil not to clump as easily, making it more permeable. Grounds are also carbon rich, contain some fixed nitrogen, and sulfur.
We also picked up six dozen (72) earth worms from Cabela’s, East Grand Forks, MN.
Coffee grounds are not as acidic as coffee. Also, earthworms love coffee grounds — and slugs hate them! This is pretty cool.
We decided to mix coffee and soil in a 1:2 ratio in a five gallon pale and then add two dozen worms. Three pales of addendum were made this way, one for each garden bed. For the butterfly garden, we churned up the dirt in between the flowers we planted on Saturday and spread the coffee/dirt/worms over the bed. For the vegetable garden we dug several trenches and filled these with the coffee/dirt/worm mix.
The vegetable garden, so far, has a row of carrots; two rows of alternating kohlrabi, eggplant and pepper; three small size tomato plants (Sweet Million, Japanese Golden Pair, Grape); and a row of mixed peas and beans. We also sprinkled basil, parsley and cilantro seeds between the plants. The idea here is to have the small herb plants displace potential weeds. These herbs also deter insects. We alternated the kohlrabi, eggplant and pepper in order to increase the diversity of these rows. Here is a good list of plant families: Canadian Country Woman. Well, we will see if any of this works by the end of the summer
Here are the latest pictures:
On Friday night we ordered dirt from Jet’s Black Dirt and Road Gravel (John Lutheran Jr., Owner/Operator). He delivered three yards the next morning — he is prompt and reliable. Before ordering from Jet’s Black Dirt, I shopped around for dirt delivery and spoke with three other businesses. Jet’s Black Dirt was the best deal in town. I highly recommend him.
We built another butterfly garden box, tilled around the base of the previous box and filled each up with dirt. We also tilled around the front of the house. We lined the tilled ground with Suncast Lawn Edging (USA made, recycled plastic). You can get a similar Suncast product here: Suncast Composite Edging
Here is a list of the Butterfly Garden plants we planted today. Latin name is followed by common names:
Rudbeckia fulgida, (Black-eyed Susan, Brilliant Coneflower, Eastern Coneflower, or Orange Coneflower) Anethum graveolens, Dill Bandana Pink Lantana Asclepias speciosa, (Showy Milkweed) Asclepias incarnata, (Swamp Milkweed, Rose Milkweed, Swamp Silkweed, and White Indian Hemp) Echinacea purpurea, (Eastern Purple Coneflower) Heliotropium arborescens, (Marine Heliotrope, Garden Heliotrope) Verbena bonariensis, (Purpletop Vervain, Tall Verbena, Clustertop Vervain, or Pretty Verbena) Not sure, verbena x hybrida? (Label says: Quartz Merlot Mix) Aster x dumosus, (Woods Blue, Hardy Aster) Tropaeolum majus (Garden Nasturtium, Indian Cress or Monks Cress) side note: Nasturtium literally “nose-twister” or “nose-tweaker”.
My oldest son and I have built the central planter box for the side yard butterfly garden. The idea is to have a three tier system after we till the ground around the base of the box.
Speaking of tilling, we are very happy with our new Troy-Bilt 26cc 4-Cycle Gas Powered Cultivator. Our two garden plots are nearly ready for planting. My son, 13 years old, had no difficulty using it. My lower back and I appreciate the light weight and ergonomic design. More reviews along with movies and pictures are coming soon.
The plan calls for a butterfly garden on the side of the house and a vegetable garden in the back yard that is twice the size of previous years. We also hope to put in at least two or three fruit trees (plum, cherry, apple?). We started by tilling the vegetable plots. I will review the tiller we used at a later date.
Happy Mothers Day! to all Mothers past, present and future.
Today we went to All Seasons — we are getting pretty excited about this garden. My oldest son spent a few hours last week measuring the positions and sizes of all immovable features of property. Tonight, he and I set about creating a computer model of our property using Google Sketch-up. We gave the model enough detail to look neat without overloading our computer too much. All this model has to do is give us a rough idea of what different arrangements of raised beds, trees and shrubs will look like. So here it is, showing only those things we do not intend to move. Our next post will hopefully show the plan we decide on.