Local Outdoor Organic

de-rocking the herb circle

Posted in el jardin by samwonso on April 29, 2010

so the herb circle (and the rest of the garden) is completely covered with rocks.. the soil in this garden basically consists of 50% soil and 50% rocks.. its actually a really bad scene.. 

So in order to combat this issue, i decided i needed to sift out some of the rocks.. charlie and i created a somewhat primitive but very useful sifter to rid the soil of rocks. it worked really well

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this slide show can show you the process of what i did..

pic 1 – i started with a bike basket.. just your standard basket that fits on your back wheel.. i then took some fencing and put it inside the basket, to prevent even smaller rocks from getting through.. 

pic 2 – the sifter is ready.. i began to shovel soil into the contraption..

pic 3 – more shoveling…

pic 4 – once the basket was pretty full with soil and rocks.. you just simply shake it until all the soil falls to the ground leaving the rocks in your sifter

pic 5 – all the rocks collected from one sift…

and after at least 20 sifts.. this is the final product.. a very rocky (but still less rocky than before) herb circle ..


still growing, don’t worry

Posted in el jardin by samwonso on April 26, 2010

s0, ive been really busy in the garden, and out of the garden, with school, and other random things, so i haven’t really had time to post anything … hopefully ill be able to update this more often once summer comes.. anyways.. some stuff has been going on in the garden… ill let you see for yourself. 

So my friend Kirsten works at a local greenhouse.. She let me start some seeds in the greenhouse, which was very helpful for me.  I bought a yellow variety of strawberries along with some other things that probably wont  germinate as nicely in a closet.. fortunately, they grew great in the greenhouse 

these are baby strawberry plants ready to be planted outside 

I potted some of them in a container so that i can take take them with me when i leave this apartment.. I am also going to plant some of the strawberries in this garden, cause they’re perennials and they will continue to grow long after im outa this town.

this is a broccoli plant that i started from seed in the greenhouse.. 


this is one style of an organic pest control.. use some old milk crates to prevent animals from coming and eating your broccoli plants

and this is another form of organic pest control.. it used to be these square things that you lock together to form boxes which can be used as shelving unit.. I obviously did not use them for that purpose…

Planted under this structure is the sugar snap peas… the rabbits had came and ate the seeds several weeks ago, so i figured i needed something to physically prevent the rabbits from getting the seeds.. 

this is just a huge mess of succulents that my friend kirsten gave to me.. i figured id post a picture up now, and then periodically throughout the summer post more.. it looks crazy now, i cant imagine what it will look like by end of the summer.

here’s an update of the spinach.. its actually grown a lot more by now, but these pictures are from april 15, 2010. 

this is my next project.. i bought this “fencing”  from a local store that basically sells stuff that most people in america would call garbage.. I am going to turn it into a trellis to put around tomato plants .. i learned this method of trellising tomatoes from a farm i worked at the past two summers.. ill show you how i do, when i do it, if it gets done. 

just a shot of the most of the garden so far.. lots of box shaped things, and lots of plants.. 

(all pictures from this post were taken april 15, 2010)


Posted in el jardin by samwonso on April 12, 2010

check check check check it out


this is my seedling grow room (its actually the top shelf of my closet)

the “system” includes a nice grow light, several heat pads, which increase germination rate , and a simple fan to prevent molding and help toughen up the plants

as you can see, i have a fan located near the plants… this is a very easy way to prevent mold growing on your seedlings..

its really not that uncommon to have mold grow on your seedling trays.. Seedlings want lots of water, and so does mold. 

if you place a fan near your seedling trays, the fan will prevent molding by drying up any excess water. The fan also blows on the seedlings, which toughens up the plants. This blowing of the fan mimics nature in a much gentler way.   

camomile seedlings.. one of my favorite things to grow..  once it begins to flower, it smells so good, and tastes even better

lots and lots of peppers and tomatoes 

more pep’s and tom’s

green onions, started from seeds !  by the end of this summer, they will look similar to those sets, which are on the last post.


Posted in Uncategorized by samwonso on September 10, 2010



just bee

Posted in el jardin by samwonso on April 11, 2010


fatty bee getting the sweet nectar from some a creeping charlie plant

another sunny sunday..

Posted in el jardin by samwonso on April 11, 2010

spinach update

not looking so good..  it  looks like a war scene from a veggie tales movie

i may end up just ripping up these plants and planting something else in the same bed.. you know.. its okay, i learned what i did wrong, and hopefully i wont do the same thing next time 

bigger cold frame updates..


this spinach is looking a lot nicer… its still pretty young, but at least its not dead

these are swiss chard seedlings.. they look great ! 

planting the green onions 

so as you can see, i already have some green onions coming up, but in order to ensure a constant supply of green onions, i am going to plant some more..

what i am doing here is called succession planting.. the idea behind succession planting is to plant the same crop at different times, usually one to two weeks apart, so that your different plantings can mature at different times.. if you plan this right, you will be able to have a steady supply of green onions, instead of too many green onions all ready to be harvested at the same time..

these baby onion looking things are called Sets.. sets are just one year old onion plants.. you can buy sets at most gardening stores

the reason i purchased sets and not onion seeds is because onions need a long hot growing season, which i dont have here in urbana…

if you buy sets, you are able to get onions or green onions a lot faster

Sets can be grown into big regular onions, or you can plant them so they turn into green onions.. 

in order to get green onions, you are going to want to plant the sets a bit deeper than you would plant if you wanted  to grow bulb onions..

first begin by removing about 2 inches of soil from your location in which you want to plant the onions…

then place the onions sets, as close as possible to one another…

make sure that you plant them the correct way.. you can kind of tell that one side has roots on it, and the other side doesn’t.. put the root side down !

keep adding more sets.. the more you plant, the more green onions you’ll have 🙂

once you’ve planted enough, cover the sets with about 2 inches of soil..

the best part– water and wait 

hot fires hot spianch

Posted in el jardin by samwonso on April 10, 2010

welll then.. yesterday i went and check out the scene of the garden; a lot was going on!

The herb circle that i built was mistaken for a fire pit and used perfectly as one. 

I came into the garden finding a great surprise of my herb circle being turned into a hot dog roasting festival. 

At first i was really confused, wondering what to do? I realized that the fire really couldn’t do that much harm at this point since nothing had been planted in the circle yet. the next step to making the herb circle is to add a bunch of soil, so i figured i could just mix in the ashes with the soil and it would provide some sort of nutrients to the soil. 

i guess its pretty awesome.. i cleaned up this space so it would be a place that could be enjoyed by others and myself, and thats exactly what happened. Its not in the way which i envisioned the space to be used, but there was no harm done, and everyone had a good time. 

on another note, the spinach is looking saaaad

     sun scald ! ouch !


it was getting warmer outside yesterday and  i accidently left a window pane on the smaller cold frame, which caused the frame to to become too hot! i should have taken off the window pane to allow for ventilation and to allow the cold frame to cool down a little, but i did’nt..  it was 70 degrees outside, and about 100 degrees inside the cold frame 

what happens during sun scalding is that moisture forms on the spinach plants and act as a magnifying glass when the sun hits it. 

This magnifying effect that is created literally burns the plants and causes these white spots..

the plants also become weak and begin to droop or shrivel up.. its a pretty sad sight…

Not all the spinach was hurt, but unfortunately most of it was..  i really dont know if the plants are going to be able to survive this tragedy.. well just have to wait and see

Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo

Posted in el jardin by samwonso on April 6, 2010

welll.. didn’t do to much work in the garden today, but that doesn’t mean things weren’t happening… i came home from class and checked out the scene.. there were some good news, and some bad news, but you know, in the end, its all good… 

the good stuff

germination in the big cold frame, green onions emerge !

green onions that were planted 2 weeks ago just came up .

this is a shot from inside the bigger cold frame… the picture from 2 days ago had barely any growth.. obviously things have changed

and the not so good news.. 

 sugar snap peas seeds were eaten, but the culprit was spotted


if you look at the last post.. youll see that the sticks used to form 2 lines.. the line of sticks higher on the top of the picture have moved which indicate something has been rummaging through the garden

i also found many of the seeds on top of the soil, half eaten.  


loook who i see as i am leaving the garden

wooks wike sum wabbit twoubble


Posted in el jardin by samwonso on April 5, 2010

so today i worked a little bit in the garden. i prepared a bed for peas and planted them, and then spent some time taking pictures to post on the blog… here’s what i got

this is a shot from the entrance of garden


this is a shot of the what the majority of the ground looked like before we decided to fix it up.. 

lots of weeds, and lots and lots of garbage

after much time spent in the garden, we were able to pull out most of the weeds and trash for many areas in the garden

..now for a closeup of all the different areas

the herb circle 

as of now, this looks pretty empty, but one day soon, it will be a beautiful flourishing herb circle..

i put this herb circle together last week with some help from kirsten and erin– 

   the smaller cold frame

                                        with spinach growing !

basically an old window frame atop a raised bed which creates a greenhouse effect… traps heat and sun in to help plants grow!

signs of a tightly fit, well built cold frame… condensation on the glass window and spinach growing..

some spinach growing in the cold frame..

same spinach, different pictureee — yummm..

larger cold frame

         seeded with pak choy, green onions, spinach, kale, and swiss chard !

this cold frame was planted later than the spinach cold frame, and most of the plants have yet to germinate.. 

the cold frame was made out of some old window frames and some wood that i bought from a local lumber shop

they say to use untreated cedar when building cold frames because cedar is the least likely to rot but its also the most expensive, so i just went with the cheapest wood they had.. it still works just fine 

front view of the cold frame 

side view of the cold frame… the rocks on the side are helping hold up the side boards




^ view inside of the cold frame…really not that exciting as of right now, but soon enough we’ll see some growth ^

pak choy that has germinated in the bigger cold frame.. the only thing that has came up so far.. wooooooohooooo ! 


my good friend JP donated some of the raspberries plants that are growing in his garden to me

raspberries have a tendency to spread like wildfire, so you really only need to plant a couple plants, and within several years, youll most likely have a raspberry patch that is too large to manage. 

check it out –

raspberry bud. 

the shoot in the foreground that is cut is 3 years old.. last year it was cut, and the shoot behind it grew up.. now i have the choice to either cut the stem, and allow this green bud to grow, or just let it both grow… the benefit of cutting the nice stem that grew last year would be to keep the plant maintainable.. if it was never cut, the raspberry plant could get 10 feet long..

so i also built a fence around these raspberry plants in order to designate the bed. hopefully it will also stop rabbits from eating the raspberries, but i really doubt it..

there were tons and tons of sticks just laying around the plot, so i figured id use them for the fence (what else would i do with them ?)

kinda primitive…  kind of artistic.. kind of pointless

wild mint

my friend JP also gave me some mint that was growing in his backyard . i put it in a pot because i didn’t want it to take over the whole garden

Mint grows stolons, which are roots that love to spread outward.. when you plant mint in the ground, the stolons will spread in every direction, thus taking over

some may say that this isn’t really an issue because they love mint, but that only sounds nice in theory.. when the time comes when you want to plant your tomato bed, your going to have to spend hours ripping up the roots of the mint plant. every small piece of mint plant that you break up, and don’t remove from the soil will then grow into its very own mint plant, and again take over

native chives.


    my buddy JP also had tons of these chives growing in his backyard so he let me dig some up

   to be honest, they aren’t chives, they are really some plant of the onion family, but they look, taste, and smell just like chives, so i call them chives

   yumm …toasted bagel with cream cheese and chives…

suga snap peaaas


handful o’ peas – ready to be planted !

full sun/ partial shade        6 inches between rows           1 inch between seeds  

 the peas are ready to be covered with soil 

now we wait ( and water )

first post ..wow

Posted in el jardin by samwonso on April 3, 2010

well.. this is my first post of the season, and really my first post ever- whoa- 

whats the point of this blog ? 

i have just recently started a garden, and i want to document it all with pictures and information, so figured id start a blog and others can read it if they’re interested, or if not i could just use it for self reference .. 

the garden which i am currently working on is a located on a small abandon lot behind my house, which was completely trashed a little over three weeks ago.. my friends and i spent a day cleaning up tons of garbage, i think we picked up over 10 shopping bags of just random shit.. it was pretty crazy how much junk was just sitting there.. hopefully as the summer progresses, i will be able to turn this abandoned plot of land into a fruitful ragin garden