Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Observations on the New Vegetable Garden

In two previous postings I shared the results and lessons learned from my first vegetable garden in 2011 (Ideas Seeded from My First Vegetable Garden) and the creation of a new edible garden in early 2012 (Applying Learnings to a New Vegetable Garden).  The second posting concluded with a few observations related to the importance of good soil, the benefits of planting in squares, the use of kitchen scraps for compost, and the need to regularly maintain the garden.  With summer coming to a close on September 21, I want to provide an update on the new garden.

This posting presents:
  • The plantings in the new garden and the results of the harvest through mid-September.
  • New observations and lessons learned from the garden.
This year has been an excellent learning year, and these new observations will be helpful in improving the garden going forward.


The new edible garden includes four raised beds totaling 140 square feet, a slightly mounded bed (to eventually be used for perennials), a long row of berry plants along the back fence (blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry), and a potted herb garden.  The garden also includes a double barrel composter, two rain barrels, rabbit fencing, and bird netting.

View of the edible garden (click to enlarge)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Applying Learnings to a New Vegetable Garden

In the spring of 2011 I planted my first vegetable garden.  The December posting (Ideas Seeded from My First Vegetable Garden) described the experience and listed some of the key observations from this first year of gardening.  I mentioned several goals for 2012, including planting at the proper time, seeking out advice from experienced gardeners, and improving the quality and taste of the vegetables.

Much has happened in the five months since that posting.  My fiancĂ© (now my wife) and I have taken the learning experiences to heart and have made our first major push into edible landscaping.  This posting presents:
  • The steps taken early this year to improve our food gardening.
  • New observations from the garden so far this year.
The progress and results are exciting to share, and I am hopeful it will inspire others to grow their own fruits and vegetables and move towards organic food gardening.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ideas Seeded from My First Vegetable Garden

This past spring I planted my first vegetable garden in my backyard.  While the results were mixed, it was an enjoyable project that I learned from and plan on doing better next spring.

More importantly, several ideas sprouted when I connected my vegetable gardening experience with other topics making the news in the United States: obesity (both related to exercise and diet), economy, food prices, medical care costs, organics, and locally grown food.  A little research (including this recent video from TEDx titled “My subversive (garden) plot” and this article by Michael Pollan) revealed my ideas are not new.  Edible gardening at homes and in communities can help positively impact these topics.

This posting presents:
  • My experience in vegetable gardening this past year, including photos and descriptions of output and costs
  • Key observations from my gardening experience
  • A couple of ideas related to edible gardening that could increase the number of gardens established.
I am pleased to know that there are several groups and individuals already thinking about the positive impact home and community vegetable gardens can make and are doing something about it.

Friday, September 30, 2011

iPhone iOS Apps for Travel and Tips to Avoid Data Roaming Charges

The iPhone has become an essential tool for me when travelling.  As mentioned in an earlier post, the iPhone can replace many gadgets that are helpful to have on trips, such as a GPS navigation device, camera, and alarm clock.  And in several cases, the Safari web browser app and other iOS apps can reduce the need to even bring a laptop on a trip.

Cellular data access (like EDGE or 3G) is required to make the iPhone fully functional while travelling.  With cellular data access, you can view the latest traffic, check weather with the current conditions, and access any website almost anywhere you are.  If your phone uses a United States plan and you are in the United States, coverage is available in most places and it is included in your domestic data plan.  Just make sure you have enough on your data plan to cover your needs.  If you go outside of the domestic area, there are additional data roaming charges and these fees can add up quickly if you do not get an international data plan and manage your data usage.

I recently took a trip to Toronto, Ontario, Canada from Buffalo, New York.  Because this trip took me out of the United States and my domestic data plan, I took the normal precautions to avoid voice and data roaming charges.  I used Wi-Fi when it was available and took advantage of specific capabilities in several apps to get the most functionality out of the iPhone without cellular data access.

This post provides recommendations for helpful iOS apps to use while travelling by:
  • Listing iPhone apps I used during the trip to Toronto.
  • Providing tips on using these apps to avoid cellular data access and roaming charges.
  • Giving additional recommendations when travelling with your iPhone.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

LRN Technique: Going Deep for Knowledge (with Online Education)

The LRN (Learn) tenet in my philosophy is about improving as an individual and helping others grow. Some of the techniques introduced in earlier posts focused on breadth of knowledge, such as focusing on a topic for a month (Project of the Month) or by gaining exposure to new ideas (Breadth of Fresh Air).

Going Deep for Knowledge is about learning a subject beyond a surface-level exposure and the basics.  The traditional school-based courses generally focus on depth, whether in primary and secondary education to learn math, general science, and grammar, or in higher education with classes on subjects like astronomy and chemical engineering.

The internet offers new possibilities for going deep and learning a subject.  There are several excellent audio and video courses available online to you, and many of these are provided at no charge (free).  The opportunities for all of us to learn is only limited by our own willingness and time.

This post introduces you to Going Deep for Knowledge (specifically with online education) by:
  • Describing its purpose in a little more detail.
  • Providing a list and description of my favorite online education sites.
  • Suggesting tips for making this technique more successful for you.

Observations on the New Vegetable GardenApplying Learnings to a New Vegetable GardenIdeas Seeded from My First Vegetable GardeniPhone iOS Apps for Travel and Tips to Avoid Data Roaming ChargesLRN Technique: Going Deep for Knowledge (with Online Education) ~ DANIEL SKLAR