It Actually Rained!!!

sb158 | March 8, 2011

it-actually-rained

Isn’t that amazing? Seriously, we haven’t had any significant rain in months, but a cool front came through Saturday morning. We got a good downpour, and things are looking much better for it. With this clay muck, it was too muddy after the rain to do anything garden – related.

Sunday I went to the local big blue box store, and bought some more “dirt” and stuff. Also bought a pink jasmine vine, but that was my daughter’s fault. She said it smelled really good and was really pretty. Then she said, and I quote, “You need this plant!” Who was I to argue with that? LOL…

I needed the dirt and stuff to start building a new bed. The “volunteer” tomato that sprouted ages ago in the compost is blossoming already; it’s ready for a permanent home! I looked at tomato stakes, but couldn’t believe the price they were charging! Why in the world do they think I’d be willing to pay $32.00 just to hold up a tomato plant? Was going to build a 4-sided cage, but changed my mind real fast! I have the PVC pipe from my arbor thingy, so I spray-painted 3 pieces green, and made a “tomato teepee” instead. Forgot to take pics today, but will try to remember tomorrow.

After I made the teepee, I marked out a 5′ circle, then dug a nice big 2′ wide and deep hole where I want to put the tomato. To fill it, I used the same 3″ alternating layers of greens, browns, and soil with which I make the lasagna beds. I’ll plant the tomato in the lasagna bed; the good stuff in the hole should give the tomato plenty to grow on!

I poked a bunch of holes in the circle with my digging fork, sprinkled on some organic amendments, then covered the circle with cardboard. I soaked it real well; tomorrow I can start building the “lasagna bed” around the tomato plant. I’m thinking the best way to go is to leave the tomato in its pot right where I’m going to plant it, then build the bed around it. Once the bed is done and settled a day or two, I’ll unpot the tomato and plop it right in it’s custom-fitted hole!

In keeping with the permaculture concept of diversifying plantings, and supplying a plant with what it needs, I’ll plant some flowers to attract beneficial insects, some nutrient accumulators and nitrogen-fixers to feed it, and something to act as a windbreak to keep that south wind from sucking the life out of the poor thing. Not entirely sure what will be the final bed configuration, but I hope I plant the right stuff to help the tomatoes grow!

For right now, tired from a long day in the garden, and planning another one tomorrow, so….

Gnite, y’all!

Melting, Paul James, and One-Straw-Revolutions

sb158 | June 6, 2010

melting-paul-james-and-one-straw-revolutions

Yea, I’m going to whine about the weather again. We’ve been under a heat advisory all weekend. It’s been miserable. Except for going out early morning and in the evening to water, the garden is on it’s own. I ain’t even going out there if I can avoid it. I even changed my desktop to rotating winter pictures for a psychological attempt at cooling off. Not working, but worth a try, right?

So far, nothing has died of heat stroke; I hope this mess ends SOON!

Okay, done whining; on to the important stuff. Have you ever watched Paul James, the Gardener Guy, on HGTV? He had the best garden show for real gardeners, but they dropped him and put on all those landscaping guys. All well and good to landscape your yard, but how do you grow all that stuff after the landscapers have gone? I found his website and went to check it out.

He mentions a book called “The One-Straw Revolution” by Masanobu Fukuoka that inspired his gardening and changed his life. In the course of looking for that book, I discovered a concept called Permaculture. The basic idea is to create a self-sustaining ecosystem of your own, similar to the way nature would do it, only quicker. It’s all tied up with Peak Oil, climate change, and ecological disaster. I can’t say as I believe all the dire predictions; after all, who even wants to think about the kind of world it will be if all that stuff actually happens? Just in case it is even remotely possible, I’m going to plan my garden at my new house, whenever we actually buy one, to mitigate the ugliness as much as possible. Self-sustaining homesteads can’t be a bad thing, right? If you want to find out more, you can download The One-Straw Revolution here in pdf format.

So, once I’d discovered the concept, I needed to find out how one creates such an ecosystem. The book “Gaia’s Garden – A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture” was recommended as being especially helpful. It has been an absolutely fascinating read! Download the pdf yourself and see. Gotta warn you, though, it is a big (34M) file. It tells you pretty much everything you’d need to know, in a very easily understood, entertaining style. You can buy both books, and countless more, all over the web. Gonna do that soon as I can!

If you’ve got the time and interest, a wander around all the permaculture links on the net can be very educational. Inspiring, too, when you see all the things these design principles can accomplish, like turning several acres of desert in the Dead Sea Valley into green, producing farms. Totally amazing!

Lovely, you say, but why post about it? Why not? It’s my blog, right? LOL. The point of all this is that, when we do finally find the right house, in the right place, I’m going to give this a try. I guess I’ll make a separate page for permaculture-related stuff, and try to document the process as we go along. Wish me luck!

Blooming Blanketflowers, Growing Babies, and More Weird Ideas

sb158 | April 29, 2010

blooming-blanketflowers-growing-babies-and-more-weird-ideas

Aside from the blooming blanketflowers, no earth-shaking developments today, unless you count the 4.0 earthquake in Alice, TX, the other day. From the Corpus Christi Caller-Times:
“ALICE, Texas (AP) – A small earthquake has rattled awake some residents in southeast Texas. A 4.0 magnitude earthquake hit an area near Alice, about 50 miles west of Corpus Christi, around 9:10 p.m. Saturday. No damage or injuries have been reported. But numerous residents felt the quake. A 3.8 magnitude quake was reported in Jim Wells County in March 1997.”
Still can’t figure this. Alice is pretty much out in the middle of nowhere, and just about the last place one would expect an earthquake. I guess I don’t know enough about TX geology to say, but I wouldn’t think Alice would qualify as earthquake territory. Got a speeding ticket there once, more than 30 years ago. We were on our way from the Valley to San Antonio, in a new car DH hadn’t let me drive much. Wasn’t familiar with it, so I’m bopping along, and sure enough, they caught me. Everybody knows it’s a friggin’ speed trap up there, and I walked (drove) right into it. Really aggravated me. However, had DH been driving, he would have been going alot faster, and the fine would have been much bigger. First (and last) speeding ticket I ever got, though. Learned my lesson!

On to the blanketflowers. Pics and more inside

Been putting this off, but

sb158 | July 26, 2009

been-putting-this-off-but

it’s time. (Cue scary music) I have to update my version of WordPress. If I disappear for a while, you’ll know why. Went fine on my local copy, so I’m hoping…

I keep a copy of my blog running on my PC at home, and always try out new stuff there before I screw with the online version. Anything can happen, and I sure don’t want to kill my blog…

Also time to be making some more monster pots. Been putting this off because it makes a giant mess I have to clean…but it’s time to start the flowers I want, so I gotta do it. The pots I made back in April or so are holding up well so far, so it’s time to try again. I need a few 14″ pots, as well as a small trough in which to plant some creeping thyme and other herbs. I’m gonna use the top of a small BBQ grill as the form for that one. Wish me luck!

Later, time for Hubby’s birthday cake.

EDIT: Well, so far so good. I’ve updated and the blog hasn’t crashed. Now I’m trying a new toy, a video player… just a little e-card for Hubby.

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Garden Update

sb158 | June 27, 2009

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I took some new pics today, as promised, to see what a difference some rain makes. I gotta say, I need to take more macro photos, as I did not see all the bugs on the plants with my old, half-blind eyes. It’s a good thing the garden is scheduled for a bath tonight, anyway, unless it stays too hot.

Pics within: (more…)

Hallelujah and Thank You

sb158 | June 23, 2009

hallelujah-and-thank-you

We’re finally getting some rain and (slightly) cooler temperatures! Not nearly as much as we need, but, at this point, I’m thankful for whatever we get. I expect my plants will grow a foot overnight!

Here are some pics I took about a week ago that show how much the garden had grown while I was in Colorado. Compare them to these pics.

Pics within (more…)

Squeaking In Under The Wire

sb158 | May 12, 2009

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Whew! Can’t believe it, but I’ve worked my tush off and just about finished everything I needed to do before I leave for Colorado. Darn near killed myself out there working in that ridiculous heat, but I did get a nice tan out of it…

My shade arbor is done, SWCs filled and planted, including the pole bean seeds that are supposed to grow up the poles and shade my tomatoes.
Here’s a pic, (more…)

Plan B, update

sb158 | May 10, 2009

plan-b-update

Went to lunch with my BIL, SIL, and Hubby’s nephew and his wife for Mother’s Day. We went to Outback, and it was good.

When I got home, I got started on my shade arbor, but it was miserable hot out there, as usual. I did decide where I want to put it permanently, got landscape fabric down, moved it, and fastened all the SWCs to the legs with tie wraps. It seems pretty sturdy, so maybe it’ll work. (more…)

Plan B, Part I

sb158 | May 9, 2009

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It’s working! Cool!
I’ve mentioned that I had an idea for a shade arbor for my tomato SWC’s in previous posts. I got started on it today, and to my great surprise, it’s actually coming together just like I see it in my head.

This post is pretty image-heavy, as I’m posting pics of the W-I-P: (more…)

Got An Answer! Thanks, Jim.

sb158 | April 27, 2009

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A very kind blog visitor identified my Mystery Shrub as Ruttya fruticosa. Found some cultural information here and here.

Apparently it’s easy to propagate by seeds or cuttings, so I may try that down the road some time. Got too much other stuff going on right now to deal with it.

Yesterday we went to brunch with my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and his son and wife. (more…)