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Archive for January, 2011

Fruit Trees from Seed

January 31, 2011 2 comments
Apple Seedlings

Apple Seedlings

Cloning Fruit trees does not look very promising, and although I’m not giving up, I’ve decided to hedge my bets a bit by trying the one guaranteed way to get new plants: from seed. I should be very clear about this up front: When you grow fruit (especially apples) from seed, your not guaranteed much. These tiny seedlings could grow up to be the most sought after apple variety to date, but the odds are quite steep against getting a tree that grows anything but crab apples. Wildlife will eat crab apples,  so I guess the worst case scenario would be to fatten the local deer up a bit.
Apples, Pears, Plums, Peaches

Apples, Pears, Plums, Peaches

I’m also starting some other types of seeds, ones in which the odds of success are very much stacked in my favor: Pears, Plums and Peaches. Here’s how I do it: Purchase locally grown produce, and get some kids to eat the fruit. Save the seeds, and let them dry for a day or so, then place in a zip lock bag, and store them in the freezer for about three months. Thaw them out, and place the seeds in a small tray of water till they begin to sproat.  Place the sproating seeds in containers with Miracle Grow, covered with only 1/4 inch of soil at most.  Keep the dirt moist.  When the last chance of frost has pasted they can be moved outside.

Be sure to mark where you plant them, and what type of tree is planted there. It’s very easy to forget in a year or so.
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Categories: Fruit Trees Tags: ,

Made in America

January 21, 2011 Leave a comment
Toddler Bed

Toddler Bed

After posting pictures of the items I’ve constructed for Saint Nick Industries, I had another request for kiddie construction: A Toddler Bed.

I’m still relatively new at this whole furniture construction subject, but I make it a point to learn from past projects, and use that knowledge to improve each additional item. Since the closet I had constructed earlier was still standing after a few kids got a hold of it, I figured I was on the right path, and decided to give this bed project a go.

I started it like any other project I knew little about: researching plans on the net. While I wasn’t intrigued by any of the plans I found, I did notice some recurring structural elements. Each set of plans had a Head-board, Foot-board, and Railings. The plans also specified a mattress of approximately 50-54″ X 26-30″. I got the measurements from my friend, and sure enough they fell in the same range. I would be building a 52 x 28 inch area for the mattress. I then found out that the toddler for which this bed would be built was exactly 33 3/4 inches tall, so I decided to match the toddlers height when constructing the head-board.

The most difficult part of the whole project was finding the right combination of boards to equal the desired 30″ wide for the head and foot board. I didn’t have the table saw moved to my greenhouse yet, so I couldn’t trim the pieces, but eventually, I stumbled upon the right combination. I’ve since fitted plywood between the railings, and I’ll be staining the whole project in the next few days.

Night Stand

Night Stand

After constructing the toddler bed, I decided to make something for myself. I started with the intention of building a simple night stand to place my cell phone and wallet while I slept. What happened to simple, I guess I may never know. I began wondering how I could make this piece unique, and decided to create a circular stand, with three legs. After many, many wasted pieces of wood, I got the angles right, and managed to fasten it together with enough strength that I can sit on the stand as if it were a bar stool.

Now…. What to build next ?

2/17/2011 – Follow Up:  Here’s what the finished toddler bed looks like:

Toddler Bed After Oak Stain and Glossy Clear Coat

Toddler Bed After Oak Stain and Glossy Clear Coat

Winter Projects

January 14, 2011 Leave a comment
Greenhouse / Workshop

Greenhouse / Workshop

Several of my readers have informed me that I should post new content in the winter, even if it means leaving the garden behind for a few months.Until the weather breaks, I’ll be showcasing some of my winter projects.

Closet Construction in my Living Room

Closet Construction in my Living Room

Due to the Global Economic Downturn, I’ve been contracted by Saint Nick Industries (A subsidiary of North Pole Productions) to produce some furniture for children in the immediate area. The thinking is locally produced presents are far cheaper, often better quality, and ultimately carry a smaller impact for the environment and the bottom line. The best part is my addiction to producing things, whether it’s picture frames for friends or winter squash for consumption, I really enjoy the work. Above you can see just how far the addiction extends…. right into my living room. On the light blue screen of my laptop rests the construction plans, which are easily visible while I connect each piece together.

Kitchen "Warehouse"

Kitchen "Warehouse"

Once the presents were nailed together, I moved them into my kitchen for storage.  In the background my Dwarf Bananas continue to grow, while in the foreground, I find little room for my self at the table. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t mind eating while standing.  The skeleton frame from my living room two photos above now contains all of the pieces of it’s construction, and it’s joined by three train tables stacked in front.

Stained Train Tables in the Greenhouse

Stained Train Tables in the Greenhouse

I learned an appreciation for stained furniture while helping my father restore antiques years ago. He often allowed me to take over portions of his projects, and I always though he was sick of the work. Now that I reflect back, I understand that the work is the reward, and the outcome is a reflection of that time invested. While I thought I was helping him, Dad was really teaching me.

These train tables were for a particularly promising character…. The Little Gardener.

Stained Closet

Stained Closet

The birch stain I used for both projects turned out to be perfect. I had planned this whole project out with great detail, but nothing prepares you for how great the finish product looks. The true payoff this time was the warm fuzzing feeling I got after helping the elves load these items onto the sleigh. Once the reindeer disappeared off into the distance I was left with a sense of accomplishment that is hard to describe. I hope Saint Nick Industries requests my help again in the future. Till then, I’ve got a few other ideas brewing….

Just Won’t Give Up…

January 4, 2011 1 comment
Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard

This winter has had a few very cold days when the temperature was well below freezing, so I was sure everything in the garden had finally given in. Winter seemed to let up a bit last weekend, and while the mercury crept towards 50 F, I went to have a look at what must be a barren garden. I wandered over to the cabbage and broccoli I had planted too late in the season, and although the plants seemed to have a little life in them, it was barely noticeable.  From there, I curiously peered at my Swiss Chard, and noticed a bunch of green. Surely I thought, this can’t still be growing ! Wrong I was, The plants are sending out new leaves from the center.  If I had harvested the small green leaves, it would have made a decent salad for a serving of four or five, however it seemed too cruel to snip off pieces of a plant which is fighting so hard to survive. I’ll wait till April, when I’ve really need a cure for Cabin Fever, and harvest the leaves then.

Categories: Chard, Growing Season Tags: