Thursday, July 26, 2007

Front yard vegetable patches make food, but some gardens rile the neighbors

One tomato plant at a time equates to one step at a time in a growing new 'movement' of front yard vegetable patches. Yes, people are getting on board with the idea that one can actually grow food in their own yard and growing it in their front yard sends a message. Instead of all the work and chemicals to maintain a home and garden magazine type yard, one can grow their own food and still have a beautiful 'growing' front yard. What constitutes what is beautiful is in the eye of the beholder anyway, so who says that a perfect, green front lawn equates to the only kind of beauty a homeowner can share?

In this time of heightening awareness of sustainability, environmental concerns, global warming, 'green' living, I am pleased to see the return of something resembling the 'Victory Garden' of WW II era. Another time when this country was at 'war', although, I don't subscribe to the invasion/occupation of Iraq as a 'just war', our troops are deployed in combat in wartime.

We chose to move away from urbania and don't live in a cul de sac of well tended front lawns and landscaping, so I can appreciate that it is a courageous step for people who do live in those kind of 'traditional' neighborhoods to shift to planting vegetables in the front yard instead of trying to grow the perfect grass lawn edged by the perfect compliment of landscaped specimens.

The article mentions how neighbor concerns are met with compromise in growing vegetables in attractive ways that don't detract. Fitting vegetables in among traditional landscaping can be done in such a way as to enhance both. I'm not sure it has to be one way or the other but a compliment of both ways. I saw a home where the front yard had been converted into raised bed gardening and it was quite attractive in a geometric kind of way.

I recently claimed a bit of our front yard to make a combination new flower and vegetable bed. I then claimed a piece along the side for more vegetables. This in addition to my actual kitchen vegetable garden which, btw, I plan to double or triple in size over the coming years. Now I will even plant a tomato plant or maybe a squash in the flower bed that faces the street as my own proud statement to the neighbors, although my neighbors where I live don't require such a statement, they aren't too likely to complain if I turn my entire yard into a vegetable garden and orchard.

Do it - make a statement, plant one vegetable in your front yard and then two and maybe you too will want to rip out your front lawn and grown vegetables instead.





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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

End Time for Our Monkey Puzzle Tree - dying, no dead and time to take it down

Ahhh, I found someone else who's mature Monkey Puzzle Tree died - like our 90 + yr old tree has died. Big hat tip to blog That and This for providing an account of demise of the tree, decision to take it down (fell it), along with great accompanying photos and links.

Last spring/summer season I knew our Monkey Puzzle Tree was dead beyond dead. Sweetie was unwilling to let go and acknowledge the tree was a goner - no more - the one almost green instead of brown branch just wasn't enough life to save the tree. This spring/summer he acknowledges it is dead and we need to bring it down.

I honestly do not know the habit of this tree in it's natural setting when it finally does die and have been trying to find out. Does it fall, does it remain standing and if so how long before it falls of it's own accord. The neighbors seem to think because it is so old, so rooted that it is unlikely to ever fall. I think if it did fall it would take out the entire street corner, and then which way would it fall - on our house - which neighbor's house??

We are talking now about having it felled and leaving enough stump to have a totem carved out of what is left. We are being told that we should think about selling the wood as it is highly valued in some places. We are told the wood is too difficult to carve and the totem pole idea does not have merit. One way or the other though, I think the tree needs to come down.

Which is why the blog account at That and this was such a good find for me... thanks!


photo 2000 of the real estate listing for the house, shows the Monkey Puzzle Tree as it was. We bought the house in Nov 2002, and the lower limbs were already straggly and looking sickly. Our neighbor was willing to cut the lower limbs in early spring 2003 (a decision I made that I didn't consult with Sweetie about first and he was very, very unhappy about it). Because the tree was planted on what over the next 90 years would become a paved intersection in our small fishing village, the largess of the tree caused a blind spot for traffic making turns at that corner. Losing the lower limbs opened up visibility at the intersection. But, and it may or may not be related, the tree seemed to quickly lose what vitality it had and began the process of dying.


2005 spring/summer season photo of our dying (dead) 90 + year old Monkey Puzzle Tree (The Araucaria Family: Araucariaceae)



Winter 2006 photo of what is now clearly a dead monkey puzzle tree - all that is left is trunk and limbs and that green at the very tippy top - the last breath of hope of life for the tree - by spring it was brown.
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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Update - Yard and Garden - July 15, 2007

Update - July 15, 2007

Vegetable Garden; doing well enough.

Progress of seeds I planted;

-- Corn plants are looking now like corn you see in corn fields.
-- Beans, coming along, not too impressive yet
-- Squash - zucchini doing okay; yellow summer squash doing okay; acorn squash planted late but they started then failed overnight one night (slugs?? or was it because I decided to fertilize and the acorn squash plants were too new to take being fertilized.
-- Cucumbers - well, there are plants, but it's not too impressive yet.
-- Beets have popped up and are shaping out nicely. Note; beets seem to do well here.
-- Radishes planted and harvested already, much less nibbling by critters this year.
-- Elephant Garlic is doing quite well but can't tell till I harvest the bulbs.
-- Garlic (normal size) seem to be doing okay, can't see any flowering though. The transplants at the back of the house failed.
-- Pumpkins - only one or two, the rest failed.
-- Green, Red, Jalapeno peppers - failed
-- Dill - failed
-- Carrots - two plants growing - the rest I accidentally stepped on when they were newly coming up and they were damaged, okay ruined.



Progress of transplants from garden center;

-- bib and red lettuce - okay and growing well. Note; red lettuce adds color to the green garden. Use again!
-- spinach - failed.
-- tomato plants - doing well, one plant has tomato forming.
-- pepper plants - seemd to be doing okay.
-- cucumber plants - hard to tell, still so compact and small.
-- pumpkin plant - slow but growing.
-- onions - doing okay. Separated each bulb and planted 2 batch crops in garden.


Newly planted vegetable bed by front door;

After Sweetie recreated the entrance area at the front door in front yard, he created a new bed for planting. This year I wanted to use it for more vegetables. Since it is strictly clay, I needed to amend it with compost and top soil, before planting anything. It is too late in the season to plant seeds, so I picked up some vegetable plants at the garden center at our one and only department store in the region -- Dennis Company. I'm grateful they carry vegetables, herbs, flowers favorable to our climate and area. It makes for a somewhat limited line to choose from, and it's about 75/25 that what I buy will do well in my yard.



-- Squash - flying wheels squash (looks interesting on the label!) - 1 plant.
-- Squash - hubbard squash - 2 plants.
-- Squash - acorn squash - 2 plants.
-- Peppers - varieties - jalapeno - 2 plants, pimento - 2 plants, green - 2 plants

When Sweetie began this project he finished up another project at the other corner of front yard, bricking in and squaring off that corner. I had started last year to create a tiered flower garden effect to replace the brick step tiers he took out. We discovered in our digging that PO had apparantly tried to create about 4 steps, using bricks, from the garage up to the front yard. Over the years, it got buried, so we found a treasure of bricks and attempted to make it workable. It wasn't too workable, which is probably why it got overgrown in the first place.

He took the bricks to use elsewhere, and that left the tiered effect, which I was prepared to design into a tiered flower garden. I started with some plants late last growing season, and they hadn't much chance of setting up in their new places, so when he decided to change the corner, the plants were amenable to being transplanted.

I'm not real sure now what those plants are by name, so I'll have to backtrack and see what I blogged last year. One is hellebos, and three others to be identified.
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Thursday, July 5, 2007

Willow Twig Rooting Solution for new cuttings recipe

I tried what is known to garderners in hand me down folklore of using willow twigs to make a rooting solution to use with new cuttings. I cut several off my mother's old willow tree, and put them in a large jar, let them gestate for several days and then added the solution to the 'new cuttings' to take root. I wasn't successful.

I found this at another blog and wanted to share the 'recipe' here, so for my own use in my own garden on my own blog here is another recipe for Willow Water rooting hormone.

Here's what you do:

1. Get a handful of willow twigs (any Salix species will do)

2. Cut them into pieces a few inches long

3. Soak the twigs in a few inches of water for a day or two; then remove the twigs.

4. Use the willow water to soak cuttings in overnight, or to water flats of newly started cuttings, or to help transplants.

Now remember since this method isn't very exact, the strength of the willow water can vary depending on the time of year, the number of twigs, the concentration of hormones in the twigs, and the amount of time that the twigs were soaked. You will, however, still get a solution that will help your plants root.


hat tip to Weekend Gardener
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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Morphing

500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art



Music: Bach's Sarabande from Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007 performed by Yoyo Ma
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Sunday, July 1, 2007

Fun video 'The Store Wars' May the Farm be with you.....

'The Store Wars' May the Farm be with you. A fer fun video to offset the very serious video below.

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Cool digs in the Pacific Northwest

Chris - are you cool enough? Article in the Chicago Tribune about a newly opened hotel in your 'Pearl District' in Portland, Oregon. Video shows the building and room, and it is so 'Pearl District' for sure. Check out the video at the link.

Ace Hotel

Portland,

1022 SW Stark St.,

Portland, Ore.


Beautiful hipsters sip coffee, read magazines and listen to alternative rock music under a vintage hotel sign. Stacked old books and suitcases make up nightstands. Converse sneakers wiggle inside the lobby's black-and-white photo booth.

Welcome to the 79-room Ace Hotel Portland, where chic meets cheap and minimalist flair mixes with military earth tones.

And, despite a retro feel, the hotel also offers Wi-Fi, flat-screen televisions and even turntables in some of the rooms, all uniquely decorated -- some with walls painted by local artists and other touches that mix vintage with modern.

read more and watch the video at this link.
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Nutricide - Criminalizing Natural Health, Vitamins, and Herbs

The video starts off looking like some lecture and I started to hit the stop button, but decided instead to hear it out for a bit, and then I was intrigued. Because she was talking about something as if I should already know what it is and I realized I hadn't even heard of it, let alone realize what it is, so I listened.

Do you know what Codex Alimentarius is? And if you do, then you're ahead of me on the knowledge scale. Do you know how it will be affecting our food supply - and somthing so vital as our food supply will be in another of what feels like 'corporate take-over' in every aspect of our daily living.

Maybe you're interested, maybe not, and the good Dr in this video does a fine job of explaining by building the foundation steps so that even if you think you don't care about Codex Alimentarius, you likely will after watching some of this video!


The Codex Alimentarius is a threat to the freedom of people to choose natural healing and alternative medicine and nutrition. Ratified by the World Health Organization, and going into Law in the United States in 2009, the threat to health freedom has never been greater.

This is the first part of a series of talks by Dr. Rima Laibow MD, available on DVD from the Natural Solutions Foundation, an non-profit organization dedicated to educating people about how to stop Codex Alimentarius from taking away our right to freely choose nutritional health.



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