A Rain Barrel, BeanSprouts & Garden Clogs.
Our local farmers market opens for the season today and I’m so excited I can’t stand it. Partly because it’s just so fun to walk down with friends and eat dinner at the food trucks and browse the locally made and grown goods for sale, and partly because it reminds me that in a few weeks I will be gleaning edibles from my own mini garden.
I swore I wouldn’t do a veggie garden again after our previous possum-and-squash-bug-fueled failures. And I haven’t REALLY done a garden this year. But, I do have a few things growing in the back yard. We have already used some of my herbs…cilantro for our tacos on Cinco De Mayo and Rosemary and Thyme when we cook our veggies for dinner. So yummy, and so fun to pick stuff in the yard instead of pulling out a jar of something I paid $6 for at Kroger.
And then this past week I acquired two jalapeno plants and three tomato plants that my boss was throwing away. (She’s a little crazy about her garden which is so fun….to go and see everything she’s planted…and she even gave us a batch of spinach last week! It was dee-lish!) And, I’d planted some Burpee Kentucky Heirloom pole beans next to the chicken coop in hopes that they would grow up the side and provide a) beans for us to eat and b)shade for our chickens when the Tennessee summers get so hot. The beans sprouted this week and I was in such amazement over the whole thing (I typically haven’t had great luck keeping plants alive) that I texted photos to other gardening friends. I know. It’s beansprouts. But I was thrilled nonetheless.
In other garden updates, we got a rain barrel this week! I’ve wanted one for a while, but it hasn’t really made sense until now. I’m still learning about all the benefits of having one and how to maximize it’s potential, so I’ll have to give you all some pointers as I learn more. Keith was a trooper and hung a gutter on our backyard shed that feeds in to the new barrel. We haven’t added barrels to any of our house gutters yet, but we might do that soon. I’ve put some additional rain barrel notes at the bottom of this post in case you are interested in trying it yourself!
We also started the organize-the-shed project the other day and I found a pair of rainboots from college that I was going to throw away when I saw an opportunity to re-purpose. I’d been wanting a pair of garden clogs anyway for my daily trips out to the chicken coop and to water the garden, so I simply cut the boot part off and made them slip on clogs. I love them and have used them every day for the past week. If you want to try this trick with an old pair of boots, I’d recommend using tinsnips instead of scissors. They are a little more heavy-duty and make the project easier.
What are you guys doing in your backyards? I know Mary-Hall has some schemes for all that land she’s buying and would love to hear any ideas or advice you guys have!
Rain Barrel Tips:
If you are in the market for a good barrel, let me recommend the Rain Wizard 65 Gallon Rain Urn by Good Ideas. As always, I’ve done my homework and this is by far the best product for the cost. It holds an amazing 65 gallons (most in this price range only hold 50) and it comes with the best overflow system out there and a metal spigot as opposed to a plastic one that will crack and leak. The link I’ve provided is to Home Depot where it’s $109 + fee ship-to-store. However, if you are a Sams Club member, they carry it for $78.98 and I purchased mine at Tractor Supply Co for $99. (They are on sale there right now, but are not listed online. You have to find one in-store). You can also find it on Amazon for $129 + free shipping. [Bargain hunting is one of my favorites. If you want to read my other thoughts on this subject, check out my post on the Great Ottoman Search.] My friend Kris has about 6 rain barrels on his property that keep his large garden watered. He puts goldfish in his barrels to keep the mosquito population down, a trick I plan to try. Minnows and guppies also work. Just remember that while all rain barrel water is non-potable (not for human consumption) if you try this, you will have “fish tea” (poop) so you will want to use the water for gardens/plants only…not as drinking water for pets. You’ll also want to take the fish out when the weather turns cold and keep them in a bowl inside for the winter. And make sure to add water during dry summer months so the fishies always have water in their barrel.