Friday, June 19, 2015

I have Veggies Growing!

My roof-top garden is flourishing!

Garden when I started.
The plants are getting tall, but I have not harvested anything yet. I have had a pepper growing for a little over a week now. And then this morning I looked a saw a zucchini growing. This was very exciting, not to mention surprising as I was expecting yellow squash. My neighbor had given me some leftover seeds and told me it was squash. But I love zucchini, so I am happy. Upon further inspection after work, I found another big zucchini and about 5 little ones growing.  It looks like this plant is going to be plentiful.

Pepper growing.

Zucchini growing!

The zucchini plant is quite large and has pretty flowers. I found out that you can fry these up and eat them, but then the zucchini won't come in as they grow out of the flowers. I also saw that my snow peas are coming in, but they are in the same container as the zucchini and are being pushed over by the big leaves.

Zucchini will grow out of the flowers.

Since my last post about my vegetable garden, I bought a variety pack of seeds off of amazon and planted a bunch of more veggies such as broccoli, spinach, lettuce, red pepper, yellow tomatoes and eggplant. These seeds were only planted a few weeks ago, so they probably won't be sprouting veggies until the end of the summer. I planted them in the pots that our boxwoods came in, but they are starting to outgrow these small pots. I am planning to transfer the ones that are running out of room to bigger pots.

Lot of seeds.

Seeds planted.

Tomatoes growing tall in the bucket and seeds sprouting.

The funny thing is that I am going to have a lot zuchinni because I planted two more pots from the seeds I had gotten off amazon, not knowing that I was already growing some. I guess I'll have to make some zucchini muffins!

The tall plants are more zucchini and yellow squash. 

My herbs that I was growing in the wine crate have not been as successful. The wine crate looks like it is going to fall apart and the basil and cilantro have not grown much. So I don't think I would use a wine crate again because it doesn't drains well.

The wine crate is rotting.

I have been having fun with my garden; I'm always excited to come home from work and see what's growing. It's very rewarding, will be when I can actually eat all of the yummy fresh veggies.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Sump Pump

Our house had some flooding issues in the basement when David first moved in. The basement is not finished and he mostly just used it for storage and laundry, so he would make sure items weren't on the floor. But David knew he would eventually need to do something about it because water is very destructive and the dampness was causing mildew issues.

Water soaked yard - this water can seep into our basement.

Since our house is a town home, it is protected on the sides, but the water was coming in the front. Under our front porch is a little room that is like a crawl space. Outside it had a trough that attempted to keep water out, but it did not do a good job. Our house was built before concrete, and so it has a stone foundation. Limestone and sand are used as mortar, but that falls apart with water, allowing water to seep in very easily. Sometimes it would rain so hard, water would also come through the old windows in the basement. This was a definite problem area.

Under porch area.

David knew to fix the issues he would need to install a sump pump. David had his brother, Daniel come over one day to help with the project. They tried to use a hammer drill to make the hole in the ground in the under porch area, but ended up having to rent a jackhammer. The jackhammer created the 3 foot diameter hole much quicker. The ground was surprisingly made up of a bunch of different materials. There were layers of asphalt, a little cement, shingles and dirt at the bottom.

Making a hole in the ground.

Installing the sump pump.

They placed the sump pump in the hole and then filled the area around it with gravel. There's a cloth material around the sump pump to keep soot out. David decided that he did not need to make a french drain which has pipes that bring water into the sump pump because the water already collected in this area.

Adding pipe.

At first, David just connected the sump pump up with an extension cord, but this was only temporary. He knew it would eventually need to be in a GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) so that it would shut off automatically if there was ever an electrical issue. It wasn't until about two years later, once he knew a little more about electric work, that he ran electrical and fixed it.

He connected pipe to the sump pump and ran it outside. David had some experience doing some basic plumbing with his dad so he knew how to do this.

Connecting pipe.

Pipe leading outside.

This pipe ran out to our front yard and dumped the water there. David quickly learned that this would not work, because some of it was going into our neighbor's yard and some water was being sent right back in the house. Because we are on a high water table, there is just so much water that David needed to find a better solution. David decided to make a dry-well in the yard to have the water deposited farther away from the house and underground.

Time to dig up the yard.

He dug a hole to bury the pipes in the yard and then created a larger hole at the end of yard where the water could drain. The well was then filled with gravel and then dirt on top to cover it. In retrospect, David says he should have made the hole twice as big and added a tank for the water to collect.

Laying pipe far away from the house.

Dry well hole.

Making the dry well bigger.

Occasionally, you can hear the ground gurgling with water where the well is.

Pipes covered up.

The sump pump is one of those projects that is not very glamorous, but quite necessary. This project spanned several days (years if you include the electrical) and was physically demanding (for David and his brother, not me). This little contraption has saved us many times from flooding. Even on days when it isn't raining the sump pump runs several times a day, carrying water outside of our house.

We still have dirt under the porch from the hole David dug that needs to be cleared out. David eventually would like to lay cement so that we can use this area for extra storage.