Friday, May 29, 2020

Garden Friday

handy-dandy clothespins

 It's Garden Friday and we're glad you're here!
It's been fairly soggy of late,
with another 3 1/2 inches of rain falling so far this week.

 Some of the flower beds are responding with brilliant blooms.
Color is once again appearing in our yard.

 As much as I do love the rain,
I find myself looking forward to Sunday and Monday,
when skies should be clear and temperatures mild.
My kinda spring!

front porch flower bed

 The milkweed is just getting ready to bloom.
That means that there will be monarch caterpillars to observe.
This is a different type of milkweed than we grew in Florida.
Looking forward to taking note of the variations.

Some French marigolds were picked up to put in pots on the front porch.
When I took my neighbor to get a few low-growing plants for her flower bed,
we discovered a downtown merchant actually giving away plants!
You know we picked some of those up without being asked twice!

Now, who do you think would want to eat the zinnia seedlings?

It seems the squash plants doubled in size since last week.
The rain does magical things!

 The cylindra beets were sampled this week,
and I think these will become a staple in our garden.
I'll grow another crop of it in the fall.
The beet greens are great eaten raw in a salad.

 There was a volunteer cantaloupe growing in the pollinator bed,
so I transplanted it to a tub of its own.
It's looking kind of scraggly,
so I'm not sure if it's waterlogged, or just didn't care to be moved.

The okra growing in the straw bales has germinated.
Since both seeds that were planted came up,
one may be transplanted to another bale.

The snap peas have been yummalicious!
They are really starting to put on pods.
Last week, when I noticed flowers,
I took the time to add worm castings to them.
Looks like it paid off!
They were also tied to the arches,
as many of them were falling over from rain and wind.

 Here's another issue due to rain.
The beans planted in a straw bale fell over.
The plan is to place stakes on the other side,
to help prop them up.
I'm thinking I need to build a box to put the bales in 
at the start of the season to prevent this problem.

The parsley is bolting and going to seed.
The perfect opportunity to save seeds for next season.

All of the sunflowers had to be staked,
as the barrage of rain and winds took their toll.
Shasta daisy and zinnia seeds were also planted here,
so I'm hoping for a bit more variety in this pollinator bed.
As long as there are flowers, the pollinators will visit!

Here's hoping you're getting just the rain you need,
and lots of sunshine to go with it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

DIY Recycle Bin Cart

We have been big on recycling for a while now.
Our garbage has diminished to about 1 kitchen-sized bag per week.
It's an improvement, but not as much as I had hoped.
The biggest hurdle to decreasing our recyclables, 
is thinking about packaging before a purchase is made.

In any event, we take our recyclables to the local "transfer station",
as the dump here is euphemistically called.
We have, unfortunately, mostly plastic,
from water jugs, (our son drinks like a fish),
 and a few assorted items like applesauce,
cookies and apples.
We had these three bins stacked in the garage,
right next to the door that leads into the kitchen,
to make it easier for things to end up in the right place.
The bins fell over a lot, and it just got to be a nuisance.
Big K whipped this up in no time after being prodded for months,
after I gently reminded him about it.
We used to have a store-bought cart in Cooper City,
but it disappeared on garbage day.
Guess someone recycled the whole kit-n-kaboodle!

  Big K fashioned this one 
out of scraps of PVC pipe
that we had laying around,
as well as some store bought pieces.
It's held together with glue, no screws at all.
The cost was around $40,
which is about half the price of a store-bought cart.
It works like a charm, allowing the bins
to nestle into each slot
without fear of the contents getting spilled.
Wheels could be added if needed,
but since we take our bins to the dump ourselves,
we didn't deem it necessary.
Extra bins could be added for other recyclables,
like paper, cans and glass,
but we corral those in large feed sacks
and just sort them when we drop them off.

Here's a list of materials:

3/4 inch PVC 40 feet
18 Tees
12 Elbows
4 Crosses

This simple gadget sure makes keeping things in order
just a tad easier.
It's a keeper.

Other posts about recycling:
Recycling Gone Wrong
Repurposing in the Garden 
Repurposing Old Towels

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day 2020

"Today is Memorial Day,
when we recall those who gave everything
in the darkness of war,
so we could stand here in the glory of spring."
~Barack Obama

God bless those who served
and the loved ones who mourn their loss.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Garden Friday

Welcome to a sodden Garden Friday!
We've had almost 4 1/2 inches of rain since Tuesday,
with more predicted this coming week.
No need to use the drip system we recently installed.
No complaints here!

 Along with the pelting rain,
the winds have been fierce.
Some of the sunflowers in the pollinator bed
have fared the worst.
Hopefully, once the weather calms down,
I can get out there and stake them up.

 Another casualty from the winds 
was one of the birdhouses.
I found it face down on the ground,
the ten foot pole having been blown over.
Thankfully, when I checked inside,
there were no eggs yet nesting there.

It got fastened to the gazebo frame
until we can get some more rebar.
I hope the occupants decide it's safe enough to return.

The snap peas are blooming now,
so they were given a dose of worm castings.

 A few pods have been sampled,
with much satisfaction.
There is nothing so fresh tasting
as a snap pea eaten off the vine.

 One of the 4X4 beds was partially planted,
but until the rains hit,
there wasn't much action here.
Now it seems that the seedlings have grown
several inches in just a few days.
There's nothing like Mother Nature's blessings.

Detroit Dark red beets

 The lettuce and kale in the coffee cans exploded!
The scarlet kale will be transplanted into a raised bed,
as I hope to relish eating it for months.

The strawberries in the galvanized tub seem content.
This batch was acquired this season from Cooperative Extension
during their yearly plant sale.

 Another batch was gifted by a dear friend last year.
They are planted in a straw bale
and are putting on fruit.
I'm thinking I might cover them with deer netting,
so that we actually get some berries to enjoy.

 This is the first time I've tried using netting
to protect my plants from larger critters like birds and squirrels.
It's easy, organic and causes no harm.


 There's a volunteer cantaloupe growing in the pollinator bed.
The plan is to move it into a container,
although since it's already flowering,
I may have waited too long.

 We have squash coming up in one of the 3X8 beds.
Three varieties were planted,
but so far, only two have germinated.
The rest of the bed will be planted with sweet potatoes this weekend.

A new bean to me, Dragon Tongue
(I wrote the wrong name on the tag),
popped up yesterday.
This versatile bean can be eaten fresh, shelled or dried for the pantry.

 If we get a break in the weather,
one of the weekend's tasks will be to empty the trailer
of another load of free mulch.
Slowly, I'm working on expanding the walking areas around the garden.

 The front porch garden is coming along.
Most of what is here returned from last year
including the allysum, coneflowers, Gerbera daisies, lantana,
milkweed, rudbeckia, and salvia.
Even a stray sunflower arose,
most likely thanks to squirrels or birds dropping the seed here.
The bird bath in the middle,
fashioned out of an old cement base and a plastic saucer,
gets many visitors each day.


The flower seedlings started earlier in the week
are germinating and will be ready for transplanting in a few weeks.
These include daisies and zinnias.
(The wire caging is what I used before acquiring the deer netting.)

blanket flower

The rain may have slowed down my work in the garden,
but the crops, flowers and frogs are mighty satisfied.
Here's hoping for just a wee bit of sunshine
so that I can tackle some garden chores this weekend.

"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, 
snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, 
only different kinds of good weather."

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Good to the Last Drip

my neighbor's peony

It's been a long time comin',
but the drip irrigation is finally in!

After tweaking our components a couple of times,
we think we at last have a working system.
This is a pictorial review of what we did.
The star of the show is the poly tubing.
We chose 1/2" poly found at Lowe's 
and proudly manufactured by Mister Landscaper,
right here in the USA.

When you choose your poly, 
it's important to be sure that the connectors you use
are compatible with your tubing.
We ran into trouble early on,
and had to reorder and return several items.
Wherever you decide to purchase your materials,
have a chat with someone who knows irrigation,
so that you can save yourself a lot of trouble
by getting what fits the first time around.

The connectors we used like these tees,

 and these elbows from DIG,
were ordered from Home Depot.

The poly was buried underground,
so the section going up the raised beds
fit snugly in the corner blocks.
The tidiness of it appeals to my inner organizer.

The poly was attached on top of the side of the beds,

creating a streamlined effect.

The end caps, also from DIG were used at the end of the system.

The 1/4" drip lines, from One Stop Outdoor,
are also made in the USA,
and can be acquired at Amazon.
We chose to use drip with holes every six inches.

These elongated barbs connected the 1/4" drip
to the 1/2" poly and the end plugs were added to the ends of the drip.
These can be found at Home Depot or Amazon.

We were happy with the flexibility of the drip.
It worked well in a number of applications,
like along our arches,

on top of our straw bales,

as well as in our raised beds.
Using a timer,
we can adjust how long and how often the water runs.
During this springtime weather,
we have it going three times a week for an hour.
It seems to be doing the trick so far.

When installing the drip,
I used clothespins to secure it in place.
It was all I had.
The tubing was held by the clothespin,

and then I just plunged it underneath the soil.
We make do with what we've got.

Then I discovered these gems from Sandbaggy.
They fit the 1/4" tubing perfectly.
Who knew?

Now it's so easy to keep the drip in place,
no matter the application.

It's a huge sense of relief,
knowing that this enormous task is over.
It was one of those projects that seems overwhelming at first,
but was really quite easy.
In fact,
I recently helped a friend install one in her new veggie garden.
Knowing that the garden is watered properly
whether or not I'm home is a comfortable feeling.
Last week I was away on a dog-sitting job,
and I didn't have one worry about the garden.

The beauty of this system,
is that it can be reconfigured with very little effort.
No doubt we will be adding areas for growing,
and this system will easily meet our needs.
If you are thinking about adding a drip system to your garden,
I'd encourage you to do it.
You'll be so glad you did.