Today was super lovely:

  • In to work an hour early so I could leave an hour early. (Feels like cheating the system every time!)
  • Groceries, errands, shenanigans.
  • CrossFit! (60 wall balls, 50 pull-ups, 40 box jumps, 30 one-armed KB snatches… brutal.)
  • GOT AN AWESOME NEW CROSSFIT SHIRT. My gym ordered old-school reversible basketball jerseys. I am in lust.
  • Gorged on watermelon when I got home… nearly made myself ill. Success!
  • Spent the evening FINALLY planning and prepping my garden. #therewillbebeets

And now I’m going to wash the salt and soil from my skin, crawl under my freshly laundered sheets, and read myself to sleep.

A day filled with family, gardens, and [entirely too much] tasty/homemade/local/healthy food.

In case you were wondering, my aunt pretty much designed and lives in her own personal Secret Garden (from which she creates beautiful artwork).

Oh, and that plate? Handed out for free at a farm we visited. Tea sandwiches, ginger snaps, and minted iced tea? Can’t say no to that.

"Eat as many peas as you can. I have to take them down soon, because they’re blocking the sun from my cucumber."

Don’t mind if I do!

I love my aunt’s green thumb combined with her poor spatial reasoning skills.

"Eat as many peas as you can. I have to take them down soon, because they’re blocking the sun from my cucumber."

Don’t mind if I do!

I love my aunt’s green thumb combined with her poor spatial reasoning skills.

Cutest little baby tomato that ever was.

Cutest little baby tomato that ever was.

I’ll miss you, tomato seedlings.

I’ll miss you, tomato seedlings.

Tomato Tuesday

Tomato Tuesday

My dreams of becoming a pirate have set sail on a ship destined for Davy Jones’ locker.

Oh, well. Probably for the best. I get sea sick.

Doctors seem to agree that my cornea is awesome, and I’m going to make it with both eyes intact. I got to have fun highlighter tears again, though! That was exciting.  This is what my eye currently looks like:

Normal-ish. Minus the swollen/droopy eyelid and minor inflammation/redness. And vision is still blurry, which you can’t tell from the photo, because you’d have to use my eyes, and I don’t like sharing them.

My momma thinks I’m 5 years old and still deserve treats after ER/doctor visits, so she gave me this super neat-o planter:

You submerge the discs in warm water for ten minutes…

And they grow before your eyes into huge globs of soil! It was kind of like those sponge capsules that turn into dinosaurs or whatever that were OHMYGAHSOCOOL when I was a kid. Remember those?

Then I got to play that puzzle game where you move a plane around until the ball falls through the correct hole. I suck at this game, especially with no walls, so I quit playing and just put the seeds wherever. I know, I know: SUCH A REBEL.

She could have just given me a lollipop and a sticker, but this was much appreciated.

My mesclun greens have sprouted! As has my swiss chard.

My mesclun greens have sprouted! As has my swiss chard.

itsjenslife said: I'm a little confused on SIP#2 using the bottles as the Wick. The slit side of the bottle is face down? How does the other bottles serve as the reservoir if they are face down? I guess I'm a little lost how they are used a reservoir.

In the second SIP model, the water bottles/reservoirs have two sets of openings: (1) the slits on the bottom/underside and (2) the holes on the tops.

When you pour the water into the SIP through the surface opening, it will obviously fill the first reservoir/bottle through the top ancillary hole that you created.  The water will then seep out through the slits in the bottom of that reservoir, and travel across the bottom of the SIP. As the water moves across the SIP, it will enter each reservoir, in turn, through the slits on their undersides.

After you place the reservoirs in the bottom of the SIP, you firmly pack soil all around them, filling all of the “negative” space as best you can. When the reservoirs are full, the water that they contain will slowly seep into the bottommost layer of the packed soil.  The tighter you pack this soil, the more efficiently capillary action will draw the water up into the soil and to the roots of your plants. This is where the wicking actually occurs.

The holes in the tops on the bottles will allow for some water to transfer from the reservoirs to the soil, but this transfer is minimal, and will only occur when the reservoirs are at capacity. The main purpose that holes in the tops of the reservoirs serve is to aerate the soil and roots. (This is the same purpose that the holes around the wicking backset in the SIP#1 serve.)

Sorry for any confusion, and I hope this helps to clarify!

DIY Sub-irrigated Planters, or How Brenna Spent Her Saturday

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I was debating building a raised bed or two at my parents’ house for a summer garden, but I ultimately decided against it in favor of just building a bunch of sub-irrigated planters.

SIPs are a really neat way to container garden. They’re sometimes referred to as self-watering, but that’s a misnomer: you need to water, just much less frequently than with typical gardening methods.  Unlike in most gardens, the water is introduced to the plant from the bottom of the planter by means of capillary action (my favorite!) instead of via surficial watering, as with a hose or a watering can.

Benefits of SIPs:

  • They have the capacity to hold large volumes of water without over-watering plants.
  • You don’t need to water as frequently. Just fill it up until the planter starts draining from the overflow tube, and you’re good to go for a week or two (depending on capacity and your regional climate). Going away for a week or two, but can’t find someone to come water your garden? No problemo!
  • They’re portable; I can start plants that are vulnerable to hard frosts sooner, because I can move the planters inside at night/on colder days.
  • The built-in reservoir system gives your plants’ roots access to much needed oxygen, in addition to the water.

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They take a bit of effort to throw together, but the payoffs are worth the time invested. It’s a fun weekend project, it’s cheap (read: my SIPs were freeeeee), and your plants will love you.

To make two SIPs, I used:

  • drill, 1/4” bit
  • box cutter
  • Sharpie (to mark a couple of holes)
  • bunch of repurposed 32oz seltzer bottles
  • 1x 32oz Chobani container
  • 2x 5 gallon buckets
  • 1x small plastic tote
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Photo-heavy tutorial after the break for any interested parties.

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