Gardening 2018

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DejaMoo
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Re: Gardening 2018

#101

Post by DejaMoo » Thu May 17, 2018 8:48 am

I had an encounter with a new neighbor that resulted in me briefly fantasizing a "POW! right in the kisser" riposte.

He's a flipper. That says it all, really. I have no respect for flippers, due to too many close encounters with 'em, and I haven't met a savory one yet. This guy is typical of the breed: he bought the house last year and began performing shoddy cosmetic renovations (flippers always cover up, ignore, or at best, half-ass the work that really needs to be done), and instead of renting a dumpster, he periodically hauled the junk and construction debris into the back yard and set fire to it. That required multiple visits by the police and fire departments before he acknowledged the laws apply to him, too.

So he came over to my neighbor's while I was there and introduced himself to us. On that first brief acquaintance he took the opportunity to scornfully comment on my construction project: the patio rebuild. He didn't actually see it, 'cause that part of my yard is hidden from view on three sides - he'd have to cut through three yards and climb a steep hill to see it. But that didn't stop him from telling me that he knew I was doing it wrong*, doing it the stupid and easy way. He proceeded to instruct me step-by-step on how patios are supposed to be built.

Of course I was tempted to smack him. This from a guy who has built a deck for his current flip out of plywood!

And then he admitted he'd never actually built a patio himself - but "I've watched them do it on those home improvement tv shows".

*The kicker: I haven't even begun the rebuild. I'm still in the process of clearing the surrounding area and getting ready to tear out the existing patio. Too, also, after a great deal of research, I'll be using a new patio base product that I'm sure he knows nothing about.

A flipper and a mansplainer. Ugh, ugh, ugh. I hope he gets it sold and gets the hell out of my neighborhood asap.



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Re: Gardening 2018

#102

Post by Bill_G » Thu May 17, 2018 9:51 am

DejaMoo wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 8:48 am
I had an encounter with a new neighbor that resulted in me briefly fantasizing a "POW! right in the kisser" riposte.
(chuckle) I know the feeling. The only person you need to please is yourself. If you're happy with the results, wonderful. And, as time passes, as you come up with other ideas, as your own OCD spurs you on, do it. Let the neighbors talk. It's water off a duck's back. Fuggem if they can't take a joke.

My immediate neighbor to the south is a LPGA champion from the early 70's. Her career progressed to golf pro and mentoring young people towards their own green jacket in professional golf. Even into her 70's, she still golfs. And she keeps a nice yard. Absolutely air tight, pin neat, scissor cut lawn with ruler straight edges. But, she can't make a pond that doesn't leak to save her life.

The perfect Koi pond is her Holy Grail, and she has built and rebuilt it a half dozen times through the years. They are always beautiful, and they always almost kill her before she's done, and they always lose more water than she can account for by evaporation. And she has been given tons of expert free advise by everyone except possibly me, though I may have offered an idea or two through the years as we hauled new sacks of concrete in, and chucks of old concrete out together. But, that's her vision, and I like it.

So, build your patio, and bask in your vision. Relish the creativity. The fun is in the doing.



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Re: Gardening 2018

#103

Post by Bill_G » Mon May 21, 2018 11:48 pm

Vegetable Bed 2018 Tilling Accomplished.

PS - had our first strawberry (singular) last night. A bit tangy, but not bad. Looking forward to them!
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Re: Gardening 2018

#104

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer » Tue May 22, 2018 10:24 am

Our wild strawberries are appearing in the "natural" sections of our lot. I always enjoy their pretty flowers and the surprise fruits.


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Re: Gardening 2018

#105

Post by Patagoniagirl » Tue May 22, 2018 11:41 am

Any thoughts or experiences with straw bale gardening? Now that I have a large pressure canner, five cases of canning jars and a very large backyard I am considering my options.



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RVInit
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Re: Gardening 2018

#106

Post by RVInit » Tue May 22, 2018 1:27 pm

Patagoniagirl wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 11:41 am
Any thoughts or experiences with straw bale gardening? Now that I have a large pressure canner, five cases of canning jars and a very large backyard I am considering my options.
I have never done this kind of gardening before. It looks very interesting, especially for people in northern states, as the breakdown of the straw produces heat and can extend the growing season. Have you seen this website? It looks like it has some good information.

http://sympathink.com/straw-bale-garden ... tructions/


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Re: Gardening 2018

#107

Post by DejaMoo » Tue May 22, 2018 10:03 pm

Patagoniagirl wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 11:41 am
Any thoughts or experiences with straw bale gardening? Now that I have a large pressure canner, five cases of canning jars and a very large backyard I am considering my options.
I drove by a house on a nearly daily basis all one summer a few years back where they tried this in their front yard. Looked terrible, obviously didn't retain water well enough, and the plants didn't do nearly as well as they would've in the ground or in a planter that wouldn't drain/dry out so fast.

My older sibs have built hip-height wood trough planters - narrow, deeper than wide, about six feet long. Basically it's a garden row at hip height. I've been impressed at how well that's worked out.



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Re: Gardening 2018

#108

Post by Bill_G » Tue May 22, 2018 10:42 pm

RVInit wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 1:27 pm
Patagoniagirl wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 11:41 am
Any thoughts or experiences with straw bale gardening? Now that I have a large pressure canner, five cases of canning jars and a very large backyard I am considering my options.
I have never done this kind of gardening before. It looks very interesting, especially for people in northern states, as the breakdown of the straw produces heat and can extend the growing season. Have you seen this website? It looks like it has some good information.

http://sympathink.com/straw-bale-garden ... tructions/
Excellent primer. Thank you!



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Re: Gardening 2018

#109

Post by Bill_G » Tue May 22, 2018 11:22 pm

DejaMoo wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 10:03 pm
Patagoniagirl wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 11:41 am
Any thoughts or experiences with straw bale gardening? Now that I have a large pressure canner, five cases of canning jars and a very large backyard I am considering my options.
I drove by a house on a nearly daily basis all one summer a few years back where they tried this in their front yard. Looked terrible, obviously didn't retain water well enough, and the plants didn't do nearly as well as they would've in the ground or in a planter that wouldn't drain/dry out so fast.

My older sibs have built hip-height wood trough planters - narrow, deeper than wide, about six feet long. Basically it's a garden row at hip height. I've been impressed at how well that's worked out.
You keyed in on the basic problem, and it is discussed in the link RV provided - straw dries out. The straw has an incredible ability to absorb and hold a lot of water once it has been "conditioned" as explained by Lisa Row at Sympathink. She was building upon the work of Joel Karsten, probably far more concisely than his books could. Conditioning is the most important part, or you'll end up with dry straw, and languishing plants.

Straw is mostly cellulose, and cellulose can absorb twenty five times it's weight in water .... if soaked long enough. Emphasis on long enough. And then double it.

Like wood, and any other plant material that developes structural cellulose to grow a stalk, straw is both water repellent when it's dry (hydrophobic), and water absorbing when it's wetted for a long time (hygroscopic). It really does want to break down, or compost as we call it in gardening. But, allowed to dry, the process stops, and you have to start all over again with the saturation process to get it moving towards decomposition again.

Have you ever let a potted plant dry out, and then when you attempt to water it, the water either dances off the top, and spills over the sides, or it runs right through down to the tray which overflows and makes a mess? Your plant suffers, and you can never seem to get it right again. Well, it's the same process. Potting soil, or growth media as the nursery growers call it, is mostly waste wood aka cellulose. Wood cellulose and straw cellulose are kissing cousins, but they aren't quite the same. It would take an organic scientist to explain the difference.

But, the important part is you have to condition the potting soil first, and get it up to the correct percentage of water retention before it will actually work as something to grow flowers in. Otherwise, it's just bits of wood. Once you get it throughly soaked, it's a simple matter of maintaining the wetness, which is generally the doom of most people with potted plants.

These straw bales are the same thing on a bigger scale. If you don't condition them right in the first place, and then let them dry out because you have a job, and a life, and kids, and it's only Tuesday - they should be okay for a couple days, well, the results will be lackluster.



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Re: Gardening 2018

#110

Post by MsDaisy » Tue May 22, 2018 11:34 pm

Patagoniagirl wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 11:41 am
Any thoughts or experiences with straw bale gardening? Now that I have a large pressure canner, five cases of canning jars and a very large backyard I am considering my options.
I have a friend who was my partner for many years on the rescue squad and is now director of our local EMS who did this last year. Its all part of a wellness campaign where EMS and local Farmer’s Markets join forces to A: do wellness checks on their own frequent flyers, cuz they know who they are, and B: get fresh healthy veggies to some of these people who otherwise live on McDonalds $1 menu. Long story short, I started babies in 5 gallon buckets to go out to people’s front porches where they only have to water and pick, and he grew lots of stuff in hay bails literally in a bricked enclosure in the middle of the parking lot behind the EMS main office that had been for garbage cans. He had great success just following the basic info he found on line about it. I do seem to remember he had them all on wooden pallets so then could drain well, but of course watered as needed.

The discussion now is to possibly include cooking classes this year for those who don’t actually know how to cook a raw vegetable.


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Re: Gardening 2018

#111

Post by Bill_G » Tue May 22, 2018 11:35 pm

Patagoniagirl wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 11:41 am
Any thoughts or experiences with straw bale gardening? Now that I have a large pressure canner, five cases of canning jars and a very large backyard I am considering my options.
If you want to give it a try, start small - one bale. See how you do. Make a small raised bed. Make a small garden bed in the soil you have. Do some potted plants. Experiment. A little of this and some of that with no expectations of glorious results from any of it. Just get used to the tending and the doing. Laugh at the failures and make note of the successes. Find your speed. You can buy bulk vegetables to can your own spaghetti sauce so you can practice doing that this Fall. Once you figure out what you like in the garden, then you can build on that experience with each year going forward.

I suspect that straw bales work better in cooler climates where extended seasons are important so that you can actually vine ripen tomatoes before the first snow. OTOH, if you live in SoCal or Florida where you have plenty of hot season, they may dry out too quickly for you to maintain.



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Re: Gardening 2018

#112

Post by Bill_G » Tue May 22, 2018 11:57 pm

MsDaisy wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 11:34 pm
Patagoniagirl wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 11:41 am
Any thoughts or experiences with straw bale gardening? Now that I have a large pressure canner, five cases of canning jars and a very large backyard I am considering my options.
I have a friend who was my partner for many years on the rescue squad and is now director of our local EMS who did this last year. Its all part of a wellness campaign where EMS and local Farmer’s Markets join forces to A: do wellness checks on their own frequent flyers, cuz they know who they are, and B: get fresh healthy veggies to some of these people who otherwise live on McDonalds $1 menu. Long story short, I started babies in 5 gallon buckets to go out to people’s front porches where they only have to water and pick, and he grew lots of stuff in hay bails literally in a bricked enclosure in the middle of the parking lot behind the EMS main office that had been for garbage cans. He had great success just following the basic info he found on line about it. I do seem to remember he had them all on wooden pallets so then could drain well, but of course watered as needed.

The discussion now is to possibly include cooking classes this year for those who don’t actually know how to cook a raw vegetable.
We attempted that at Dignity Village with mixed results. Likewise with community gardens. Lots of enthusiasm in the beginning, but as the Summer progresses, and their lives continue, interest wanes. The due diligence of watering and weeding overwhelms some people. Confidence falters as the gardens fail to look like magazine covers. Vandalism and theft takes it toll on the few good things that make it to the end.

I had better luck just helping a neighbor grow a simple plot of potatoes in dirt mixed with lawn clippings and leaves from her lawn. From soft taters growing eyes in a bag getting stuck in dirt to several pounds of fresh Russets roasting in the oven months later, I stayed with her project the whole Summer.

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Re: Gardening 2018

#113

Post by kate520 » Wed May 23, 2018 1:30 am

I set a pumpkin on a hay bale one year as a Halloween/fall decoration. After it melted into the hay several seeds sprouted and started to grow and got most of the way across our lawn. That summer, with no extra care on my part, I had many pumpkins.


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Re: Gardening 2018

#114

Post by Sugar Magnolia » Wed May 23, 2018 4:46 am

kate520 wrote:
Wed May 23, 2018 1:30 am
I set a pumpkin on a hay bale one year as a Halloween/fall decoration. After it melted into the hay several seeds sprouted and started to grow and got most of the way across our lawn. That summer, with no extra care on my part, I had many pumpkins.
Pumpkins don't care. Neither do squash, watermelons or cucumbers. They have all, at one time or another, sprouted and thrived in the front yard where we put our cans out for the trash.



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Re: Gardening 2018

#115

Post by Patagoniagirl » Sat May 26, 2018 9:11 am

Starting out late and considering the advice and links above, I have decided to use straw bales BUT to build a 4×10 foot frame. This year I won't be able to create a premium growing area but this should be a nice start for next year.



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Re: Gardening 2018

#116

Post by Bill_G » Sun May 27, 2018 12:16 am

Patagoniagirl wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 9:11 am
Starting out late and considering the advice and links above, I have decided to use straw bales BUT to build a 4×10 foot frame. This year I won't be able to create a premium growing area but this should be a nice start for next year.
Sounds like a plan. Have fun!



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Re: Gardening 2018

#117

Post by Bill_G » Sun May 27, 2018 12:31 am

My going rate for mowing the neighbor's lawn weekly is cookies every so often, but I'll take strawberries! Berry season is upon us, and it will go by so fast. June and gone. Get 'em while you can. I grow Shuksan's, a nice heirloom var with the more traditional size berry. My neighbor did too. She tore them out last year replanting with the giant hybrids commercial growers use. Beautiful plants, and huge berries the size of potatoes. Allowed to ripen on the bush, they still have the white core of store bought, but a good strawberry flavor that rivals my Shuksans. I was quite impressed. The yield was impressive too.
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Re: Gardening 2018

#118

Post by RVInit » Sun May 27, 2018 8:59 am

:dance: :dance: :dance:


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Re: Gardening 2018

#119

Post by Fiona » Sun May 27, 2018 10:00 am

Bill_G wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 12:31 am
My going rate for mowing the neighbor's lawn weekly is cookies every so often, but I'll take strawberries! Berry season is upon us, and it will go by so fast. June and gone. Get 'em while you can. I grow Shuksan's, a nice heirloom var with the more traditional size berry. My neighbor did too. She tore them out last year replanting with the giant hybrids commercial growers use. Beautiful plants, and huge berries the size of potatoes. Allowed to ripen on the bush, they still have the white core of store bought, but a good strawberry flavor that rivals my Shuksans. I was quite impressed. The yield was impressive too.
Wow, those look great. You gave me a needed reminder the Hoods will be here soon. Swoon...



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Re: Gardening 2018

#120

Post by Bill_G » Sun May 27, 2018 10:51 pm

Fiona wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 10:00 am
Wow, those look great. You gave me a needed reminder the Hoods will be here soon. Swoon...
Indeed. Mine are still ramping up. It's not quite June yet. I picked a few that were ready, and took a snap to show the size difference between heirloom Shuksans (very similar to Hoods), and the hybrid giants. Her smallest are bigger than my largest.
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Re: Gardening 2018

#121

Post by Bill_G » Sun May 27, 2018 11:04 pm

Okay. So, berries are coming on, but does anyone know what else is ready and why?

Compost of course. After a year of gathering material, and letting it decomp, it's finally ready to use when you see this - Fuliga, aka Dog Vomit slime mold, aka witches butter.

Fascinating stuff. I took a picture of it this evening. I was lucky enough to notice it this afternoon. It literally grows before your eyes. From nothing, to a large patch in a half hour, and it moves. Creepy! This is the fruiting body of a much larger organism that has been living in the soil unnoticed since forever here. It similar to an amoeba, but lives in soil. Colonies of them digest decomposing organic material, consume bacteria, and sequester metals by chelation. When their food source is exhausted, they form the fruiting body to send out spores to start over. It also means they have throughly broken down the compost, and it is ready for use in the garden.

Woohoo!
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Re: Gardening 2018

#122

Post by Bill_G » Mon May 28, 2018 8:13 pm

Bill_G wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 12:31 am
My going rate for mowing the neighbor's lawn weekly is cookies every so often, but I'll take strawberries! Berry season is upon us, and it will go by so fast. June and gone. Get 'em while you can. I grow Shuksan's, a nice heirloom var with the more traditional size berry. My neighbor did too. She tore them out last year replanting with the giant hybrids commercial growers use. Beautiful plants, and huge berries the size of potatoes. Allowed to ripen on the bush, they still have the white core of store bought, but a good strawberry flavor that rivals my Shuksans. I was quite impressed. The yield was impressive too.
My neighbor had to look it up again. The var for these big berries is Sweet Anne.



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Re: Gardening 2018

#123

Post by Mr Brolin » Tue May 29, 2018 6:51 am

Quickie update from Chelsea....the flower show not the ex First Daughter

Did final day, partially as some one was with friends who are complete scavengers and always take the opportunity to buy from the stands at bargain basement prices.....

In my view this year was a tad disappointing, slightly fewer gardens with a greater emphasis on gadgetry and trendy fashion as opposed to fundamentals. Epitomised, IMHO by the Wuhan Water Garden (China) which took some rather dubious elements from the Bellagio's "dancing fountains" show and shoehorned it in to an ugly 70's Soviet era concrete brutalism architecture akin to the worst excesses of New Jersey's DMV offices. Barely deserved the Bronze Medal it was assigned.

It didn't help that the table with a window seats I had booked at the Rock Garden restaurant overlooked it........Still, enough fizz, Chablis and smoked salmon helps to reduce the affront to the senses....

The seeming reduction in gardens was compensated with a substantial increase in the venues for food and drink.....Pimm's on draught, by the jug, was a particularly relaxing way to wander through the mob and throngs of individuals.

Having said that, my personal favorites were the Morgan Stanley NSPCC, Welcome to Yorkshire, Trailfinders South African Wine Estate and the Embroidered Minds Epilepsy Gardens.

The selection of stands in the Great Pavilion seemed a little winnowed out, slightly fewer nation al stands than in previous years but Acer's, Lupin's, Begonia's and Rhododendron's seemed particularly prevalent this year.....

As always as Chelsea, the general courtesy quotient was high, the most pressing and dangerous individuals tending to the tweed skirt clad, country ladies of a certain age with gimlet eyes, extraordinarily sharp elbows and razor edged voice of disdain that can make an enraged bull elephant turn tail at 50 yards.

My abiding memories of final day is always

The 4:00 pm bell when previously genteel folks turn into a mob reminiscent of the worst excesses of the Mongol Hordes as they descend on the articles they have bought and fight for the unsold exhibition items then leave with plunder in hand.....

The number of London Black Cabs that whiz past with tree branches and flowers poking out of windows, akin to some bizarre urban warfare camouflage

The general camaraderie of fellow survivors at the entrance to the Underground at Victoria Station gallantly assisting alcoholically well lubricated little old ladies through the barriers carrying their own body weight in cut flowers and shiny, new, usually lethally sharp gardening paraphernalia.....



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Re: Gardening 2018

#124

Post by tencats » Wed May 30, 2018 6:02 pm

Hi all FB gardeners,
I an inner city dweller and worse than that I'm located in a commercial/industrial zone. But still I have a few planters located at the side and front corner of the building. Few more inside and outside window boxes.

I've just this last weekend have began collecting a few flowering plants for the planters. For my sourcing plants I am mostly limited to the garden centers at The Home Depot, Menard's and Lowe's. Currently I'm on the look out for the Gaillardia grandiflora or blanket flowers var which have been excellent at the Home Depot the last few years. They haven't arrived yet but should start showing up soon. While I waiting on the blanket flowers I was very pleased to find this one yesterday at Lowe's. Its a Stellar Pelargonium or Brocade Geranium var vancouver centennial. Very unexpected find! I used to find these and others at one of the few last surviving retail/wholesale greenhouses near Chicago IL that's long gone. I had given up hope of ever seeing this one. This was brought up from Paris KY to the Chicago Lowe's garden center.

My plants bought for $3.18 ea.
Image

Image of what I should have in my home later this summer.
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Re: Gardening 2018

#125

Post by WriteItDown » Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:47 pm

Wow,this geranium is gorgeous!


Bloom where you're planted 🌷

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