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.

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My first sprouts! So exciting. This photo was taken on May 5…

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….and my sprouts today! see all those bright green little guys popping up back there? The chickens think it’s cool too.

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!

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I was so excited to get my first watering can full of water this morning to water my beans!

an updated shot of the coop with it's completed landscaping and rainbarrel in the background.  You can also see the gutter that Keith hung!

an updated shot of the coop with it’s completed landscaping and rain barrel in the background. You can also see the gutter that Keith hung!

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.

Target rainboots circa 2002 turned "up-cycled" garden clogs circa May 2013.  Love a quick DIY project!

Target rainboots circa 2002 turned “up-cycled” garden clogs circa May 2013. Love a quick DIY project!

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.

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About bethanybordeaux

I fiddle around a bit.

7 responses to “A Rain Barrel, BeanSprouts & Garden Clogs.”

  1. Katy says :

    If you have trouble gardening, you might try these Growboxes (http://www.agardenpatch.com/). I have 3 and they are awesome. All you do is get a fertilizer patch each year and keep them filled with water. You don’t have to worry about over or under watering as long as you keep it filled up.

    The tomato plants we do on these are enormous. Tons and tons of wonderful tomatoes. I’ve also had lots of success with cucumbers, herbs, broccoli, really whatever you want. Depending on the plant you can either only plant 2, or up to 12.

    I have not had success with watermelon 😦 But I do not think that was the fault of the boxes. At around $30/box it would be expensive to do a whole garden that way, but getting a few can provide you with some success and some great veggies!

    • bethanybordeaux says :

      Katy-
      This is awesome! Thanks for the tips. I will totally check them out. Anything that makes gardening simple is good for me. Is this a kid-friendly project as well? Mary-Halls’ son is a little younger than your kiddos, but I know she’s always up for stuff that she can do with him!
      -B

      • Katy says :

        Yes, definitely kid friendly. Lots they can do from filling the pots with dirt and planting to keeping it watered. All they need to do is fill up the bottom part, and if they do too much, the water just flows out. You can’t mess it up. Also so fun for them to really have something be successful.

        You use potting mix (I think, I always get that and potting soil confused, but the directions are clear) and you can use it for several years before you have to get new mix.

        One thing I will say is that, while I love the pots, I don’t love their tomato cages. I find them to be too flimsy, particularly if your kids might ever knock into them! Instead, some friends of ours made some simple wooden cages to slip over the boxes. Very necessary if you are going to have tomato plants that can potentially be 5 feet (or more) high. Not joking.

  2. Anonymous says :

    Momma Daniel here! Wow, what fun you’re having. I love the fish-in-a-barrel idea (no shooting, please), and the boot-clogs look like a colorful garden ornament amidst the flowers. Come on down and fix up our yard!

    • bethanybordeaux says :

      Yes! Now that we have the house up to our standards, it’s been fun fixing up the yard a bit. Keith has done such an amazing job. I just get to brag about it on the blog!

      The fish thing is so cool. One of Kris’ fish is over 5 years old. He started out as a 15 cent feeder goldfish and has grown to be so big now. It’s amazing.

      Your yard does not need help. 🙂 the front is always so pretty and dad’s “park system” in the back is perfect for your property. 😉

  3. Mary-Hall says :

    OH you know I am down with anything goldfish related. Will get a rain barrel for that purpose only.

    • bethanybordeaux says :

      Haha. Yes. I know you love a good goldfish. {Mary-Hall once had live goldfish in a vase as a table decoration at an event. I totally swiped this idea and had love goldfish in mason jars on the table at my dad’s 70th birthday party.}. Get a rain barrel. Have happy goldfish.

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