Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Where has the time gone? Oh yeah! Spent it in the yard...

We had a very slow growing season this year, I'm going to say it had a lot to do with all the Spring rain, not really sure actually. We planted quite a bit but really didn't see the yield we wanted. tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, acorn, and summer squash did pretty well. The cucumbers and squash did however get a strange wilt the weaker parts of the plants died mid season and the pumpkins, eggplant, and zucchini fell victim with no yield they just died off. We will be planting 2 types of garlic this season so hopefully next year we can spice up a few dishes and fight off the Vampires with our own home grown garlic.

If anyone has any information on the Bacterial Wilt, please, help me out with this. If it comes back next year I want to be ready.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Progress Update

It's been almost 2 months since our last post. It's been a busy 2 months. In those 2 months we have had a large concrete patio installed and I built a little 10' x 10' raised Paver patio between the large concrete patio and the Garden. The 10' x 10' is just a nice place to sit and rest in the evening and enjoy a small fire to keep the mosquitoes away.

We entertained 40+ friends and neighbors with a backyard BBQ that was a hit on Memorial day weekend. BIG thank you to the Big Bad Wolf for the Smoker and everyone who attended to make the party a huge success. We only have 4 pictures of the event, I'm going to say that everyone had such a good time that pictures were an after thought.

I have taken pictures of the continued progress in and around the garden and will upload them to my Picasa album very soon.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New Pictures

I know it's been a while since our last post. We have been working hard on the backyard and have accomplished a lot in the last week and a half despite the rainy conditions. We put up a fence in the back, with the help of our friends and neighbors, to keep the dogs in the yard and to give us more privacy when we are entertaining or working in the yard. Of course we strategically placed a gate for emergency access to the poles or to just do some general cleanup. Mrs. Banks has planted quite a few seeds directly into the garden, I won't steal her thunder, I'll let her list the seeds she has planted. The salad table is really starting to take off and show signs of Spinach, Arugula, and leafy salad mix. Ms. Banks has also planted other misc flower & herb seeds in the basement, some have taken off and others, well, we haven't given up hope.

I have posted more pictures in the Picasa album for everyone to take a look at. Follow the link over on the right column and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

5,000 pounds of dirt later...

What a weekend! The soil was delivered Saturday morning, in the beds and completely moved (from the front yard!!!) by Sunday. Go Team Banks. And thank goodness it's SPRING BREAK- I need one after that workout!

Though Monday was a bit of a wash out, we managed to get a few of last year's sprouting hyacinth and daffodil bulbs in the ground- in between the rain showers. We'll see if they do anything else this year. The salad table was full of sprouting arugula Friday and, as of today, there are signs of wee spinach and lettuce. The seeds we've started indoors have really taken off! Even the peppers, the last of the seeds we started on 3/25, finally started sprouting.

Unfortunately, Mr. Banks' marigolds may have a few casualties- seems they dried out a bit in the egg cartons they were started in. We still have vegetable seeds to directly sow: cucumber (national pickling & marketmore 76), zucchini (black beauty), yellow squash (early prolific straightneck), and carrots (danvers #126) as well as nasturtium (jewel) & perennials to start: Shasta daisy (alaska), coreopsis (early sunrise), black eyed susans, purple coneflower, hollyhock (country romance mix). Regardless, it seems I'm continuing to add to the seed inventory. We took our first trip to Meyer Seed Co. in Fell's, or "Harbor East", if you will- and accumulated even more: catnip (to stave off the flea beetle, of course), moonflowers, radish (sparkler) and peppermint. And now the Johnny's Seed Catalog has arrived! Help.

Amidst the flurries today (!?), Mr. Banks' continued the garden construction. I have to give him credit- how adorable is that fence, with the little gate?! He even caught the attention of a neighbor who came back to marvel at his handy work.

We continue to expand the garden plans, "How about a berry patch over here?" or "What about some sunflowers and scarlet runner beans on this side of the fence?". Before you know it, we'll be able to retire the lawnmower for good. The view from the kitchen window is definitely improving little by little each day!

To view all our project pictures CLICK HERE to view our Picasa Album or check out the link over on the right.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Building green, being green: Rx for gardeners with cabin fever
Thanks Sue for the mention! Also check out the newest Harford Road Hon Posts for things that are happening in our neighborhood.

In our search for green Ideas we stumbled upon this cool post!
Building green, being green: Rx for gardeners with cabin fever
-- We will try this the next time we start seeds.

This weekend we will be posting away and showing pictures of the progress.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Back To the Hops

While taking pictures I decided to go check out how the Hops bines were doing. A few days ago, while clearing out some of the mess along the back fence. English Ivy, and all the cut Hops vines from last year that are pretty much holding the old fence in place. I transplanted a few Hops bines to see if rhizomes would start growing. Well, it seems to be a success so far. Nothing to significant yet, but it seems that they are starting to pop. Hopefully this year will be as productive or more productive than last year and the Beer from my Hops will flow.

Almost done placing the beds, only one more to go then it's time to fill them! Hopefully tomorrow will be a nicer day.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Getting Started

I thought about blogging our progress AFTER we started the project so, I figured I would get you caught up on what we have done to prepare for our backyard project.

We are actually trying to start most of our produce from seed. We built a table with all the wood scraps we had left over and from a door that was scrapped at an old job for the seedling green houses. The house came with a nice dual bulb fluorescent fixture in the basement, of course it needed new bulbs. We purchased one cool white and one warm white bulb to make the seedlings happy. We tried our hand at growing seedlings last year; it did not go so well. Reading about what you should do actually helps. This year we're ready for a successful beginning and started more than 100 seeds last Wednesday. The tomatoes (better boy, super sweet cherry 100, and yellow pear), basil (genovese), dill (bouquet), and marigolds (disco mix and sugar & spice) have already sprouted! Others we've started include eggplant (black beauty), peppers (sweet yolo wonder), and cilantro. More to be planted this weekend. We directly sowed seeds into the salad table Sunday: arugula, lettuce mix, and spinach.

As you know we are building raised beds for all our veggies. We purchased 18 untreated 2" x 10" x 8' boards which are now the frames for our 6 beds which are 3' x 8' x 10". It was hard to find straight boards for the job, we picked through them with more boards behind us than the ones we actually picked, we did put the rejects back on the rack. We also built a salad table for our leafy greens ( ) using untreated 2" x 4" which were also picked through carefully. This may not have been the greenest way to build the beds and table, but it was very hard to find second hand boards that were straight enough. The compost bin? Well it's a compost bin. Not much to say about it, there's really no mystery to what's inside. I wish it would heat up again as things are decomposing way to slowly for my liking.

Monday, March 30, 2009

My B'More Backyard Project

Here it goes my first ever Blog Post. I never really had anything to Blog about until I started the garden project in my backyard. Oh what a project it has been!

I moved to my nice Newsed house in the suburban town of Lauraville, Baltimore City, in August 2007 with my wife and we have decided that the backyard is going to be our source of fresh produce and a sanctuary outside of the house. Currently we are building the raised beds that will hold most of our staple produce, such as, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Squash, Misc Herbs, and it seems the list keeps growing. Thank goodness you only have to build the beds once. We have also built a Salad table for all the leafy greens that we will consume and most likely share with the neighbors.

Last year while cutting the grass I noticed a peculiar vine growing along the back fence. I asked my father-in-law to try to identify the vine, the only thing we could come up with was that it was some type of Grape, since the fence was a low lying metal fence and the type I have seen typically used for growing grapes. Well as the summer season progressed I noticed they were growing up all the weed trees I had in the back and they had little cone shaped flowers growing from them. I picked one and tried to identify it online, while, drinking a beer that had the same little nugget on it's label! Hops! I became very excited about the find and pretty much told all my friends and co-workers, I have always been interested in home brewing and have friends that have been doing it for years. I contacted this friend and asked him how he would feel about brewing a batch of Beer with the hops found in my yard. He said cool, he had never made a Fresh Hop brew. He came over and we had a good time just picking the hops off the vines and laying them on the front door screen to dry for a day, the next day it was on and he and I brewed some of the best tasting Harvest ale I have ever had, mostly he. Thanks B!

So now the madness has begun and my Wife has really been a good sport with the all the talks of hops in the backyard, and now it is full on backyard gardening.

If you are interested in learning more about Lauraville and a few of the local businesses locally where Gretchen and I live in please feel free to check out the links I have posted to the right!

Please stop by frequently I will be posting more links and more pictures of the progress.
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