Julie Grinnell z5 MI
  • Female
  • Milford, MI
  • United States
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Profile Information

Skill level
What kind of gardening do you like to do?
Vegetable, Herb, Fruit
How much time do you spend a week on average in your garden when weather permits?
7-14 hours
Hi everyone! Glad to have found this site!

Last year, in the interest of saving money and improving my diet (plus I found myself unemployed so had plenty of time on my hands), I got back into gardening. I've gardened before...many years ago...but I'm afraid it didn't go well. Our home then sat on solid clay, and I quickly became discouraged.
Now, our neighborhood sits on a site that was once an apple orchard. The soil is beautiful!
My goal is to garden as inexpensively as possible. I try to limit my costs to seeds and plants, but am hoping to start collecting my own seeds in the future. I am also hoping to become a regular seller at the local farmer's market to try to erase all costs and make my garden totally cost-free.

I used boards from used pallets to build my garden boxes. I got the pallets from a company that puts them out at the road for anyone to take. I brought about 5 home, tore them down, and used the boards and 2x4's to build the boxes. I also used aged horse manure from the farm where I board my horse. I did have costs in the screws to build the boxes and welded wire fence to keep the dogs out, but I tried to stretch that and used leftover welded wire fencing to make my own tomato cages and trellis for the peas. Overall, it was a very satisfying garden. I had potatoes until February, and still have frozen green beans in my freezer.

Last fall, I stumbled across a household with a pile of used landscaping bricks in the driveway. I stopped to inquire, and discovered that they were re-doing their landscaping and were planning to just take the old bricks to the dump. They happily agreed to let me cart away as many as I wanted - no charge. So, I am currently making new beds and will expand the garden from 4 beds at approx. 5'x5' to 4 beds at 3'x20' and one at 3'x24' (which will also be my cold frame).

I am very excited about this year's garden! I live in Michigan, and would love to hear from other zone 5ers. I try to incorporate the Square Foot method (trying a little harder this year ;) ), and am VERY interested in Four Season gardening (hence the cold frame attempt this year).

Julie Grinnell z5 MI's Blog

Mother's Day

Posted on May 10, 2009 at 11:01pm 7 Comments

Had a very nice day today...my daughters, ages 18 and 20, gave me a gift of one of those gardening seats that rock. (here's a pic... http://www.newgardengear.com/images/gardenRockerLarge.jpg )

I have a form of blood cancer that I have to take oral chemotherapy for every day. Between the cancer and the chemo, minimal exertion makes my muscles burn like the devil. So, bending and reaching over the beds has to be done in very small doses. I am really excited about trying this seat. It should… Continue

Let the planting begin!

Posted on May 7, 2009 at 2:15pm 2 Comments

...for us anyway lol.

Yesterday we basically finished the new beds. I might add another layer of border bricks on two of the beds, but that can be done later. We also need to level out the walkways between beds and cart away the big rocks that we dug up. But the beds themselves are ready for planting.

So yesterday, I transplanted my blueberry bushes to the 'fruit' bed. I also transplanted my Alpine White strawberries there, as well as trading a few with my next door… Continue

Making Progress...

Posted on May 4, 2009 at 9:00pm 0 Comments

Well, hubby and I are almost done with the new garden beds :). Hopefully tomorrow we will finish and I can get them planted.

I also trimmed up the bottom 5' or so of a HUGE evergreen we have near our patio. I would estimate this tree to be about 40 years old, and it took up about half of the space going to the back of our yard. The bottom 5' or so of the branches were just about all dead, so yesterday I cut them off. The tree just *looks* healthier now. The ground underneath is all pine… Continue

Good outdoorsy day!

Posted on May 2, 2009 at 7:30pm 0 Comments

We made a trip to Lowe's today, too. Picked up a much-needed wheelbarrow (can't believe in 20 years we've never bought one!), some seed for the bird feeder, some critter food for the squirrel so he will leave the bird feeder alone LOL, a new hose nozzle, a pruning saw because I want to cut off a few feet of the lower branches of a HUGE evergreen in our backyard and plant hostas and other shade-lovers under it, some turf builder and fertilizer, and of course some lawn bags.

Hubby and I… Continue

Comment Wall (37 comments)

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At 5:45pm on January 31, 2011, Community Manager said…
Julie, let us hear from you. What do you have planned for Spring?
At 5:35pm on February 26, 2010, Karen said…
p.s. Your garden is BEAUTIFUL!
At 5:34pm on February 26, 2010, Karen said…
Hi Julie, I live in MIchigan too. I plant my garden very tight, in the French "Intensive Gardening" method. I get an amazing yield from two 6 x 12' beds. I noticed that there were blogs about ordering books. I order mine through alibris.com. They are used book sellers so I can get books really inexpensive (if you don't mind gently used books) Check it out! I am wefamlee on this site. Would love to hear from fellow MI gardeners!

At 10:40pm on September 4, 2009, Violet (Zone 10) said…
Hey Julie! I wanted to plant the berries in my SFG too, but hadn't heard much about doing that. How exactly are you doing it?
At 1:21am on August 9, 2009, Lindsay Wegert Zone 7a VA said…
Thanks Julie for your kind comment on my bumblebee pic!
Perfect weather to spend the day with my camera documenting all of our hard work!
At 10:47am on July 25, 2009, Barb z6 MI & z10 FL said…
Thanks for sharing about your harvesting times this year compared to last...I was really curious as to if I was alone here in MI 6 or if others were experiencing the same.
At 9:11pm on July 21, 2009, Lesley Sopraseuth said…
Unemployment many have been a blessing in disguise...you should seriously consider being a photographer! Beautiful pictures and gardens!
At 6:50am on July 10, 2009, Barbara, zone 8 VA said…
Beautiful pictures, the progression of your gardens is wonderful!
At 3:07pm on July 8, 2009, Eric Tremonti said…
Hey Julie,
Farmer Johns (joes?) on 11 and Haggerty had Black Currant bushes a few weeks ago. I've never heard of needing a permit for them though...what's that all about? I'm 100% italian, every relatives house that I ever visited as a kid had black and red currant bushes! I'm not a big fan of the black but I almost bought a red bush this year, just couldnt decide where I was going to put it.

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