Category Archives: Farm

Life on the super awesome urban farm

BATH TIME

Every once and a while, we like to give the houseplants a proper bath. They get that inside dust/cobwebby accumulation over time, and they need a nice shower to clean up. It was fairly cool today, so we lined them up on the porch for their bath time. I like to separate them into sections for most water to least water, so they stay happy.

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To give them a bath, you just need a hose and sprayer. Set it to the gentle garden rain setting.

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Wet plants have the best colors. After you get them sufficiently watered/clean, let them soak up some rays and dry off in the air a bit. Fresh air is good for everyone. Then bring them back inside, and enjoy your nice, clean plants.

SAD PLANT DAY

Last Thursday, we had a healthy looking succulent plant. The decline was rapid. We believe that the plant is exhibiting attention-seeking behavior, and would be happy to hear any suggestions for stopping this behavior immediately.

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Previously, the plant looked like the below. He has been living happily in the same spot in our well-lit living room for 4 months. We are unsure what caused his current unhappiness. We plan on doing an in-depth examination later this afternoon.

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SOIL SOLARIZATION UPDATE ONE

Our soil solarization experiment was going well. It was very hot out, and after 2 weeks, we decided to move the tarp to another area. We failed to take a picture, but we were very pleased to see that the weeds under the tarp had in fact died. We were very optimistic.

But after a couple days of multiple inches of rain, we are sorry to report that the weeds appear to be making their return.

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For curiosity’s sake, we peeked under the currently tarped area. Growing under there is an army of giant crickets, and some funk. The weeds haven’t quite fully died, and its a moist mess.

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Hopefully we will start to dry out a little bit by next weekend, and we can launch another attack. For now, we shall hide from the cricket monsters, and try to find something to do with these similarly giant okra.

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PORTRAIT OF A HOUSEPLANT: LIVING ROOM CACTUS

Meet this funky cactus. He’s been living with us for over a year now. He joined our family in the first round of houseplants we acquired, shortly after we returned from our Hawaiian honeymoon. I suppose he reminded us a bit of the palm trees.

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His first home was on our dining table in a larger pot. But once we set up a workspace in our office, we moved him in there. The office gets morning light, but enjoys the afternoon shade. He spent a couple months complaining about the arrangement, and lost all his leaves.

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After he was done with his pity party, we got him a new pot, and moved him into the living room, next to a very sunny window. This window receives about 29 hours of sunlight per day, and it can get quite warm near it. The cactus can’t get enough of it. He has thanked us by growing non-stop leaves, and generally being a ray of sunshine.

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We’re really happy with this addition to our family.

SUMMER TRAINING

In the past month or so, its been the blazing hot Austin weather you associate with book bag induced back sweat from walking across campus. We knew it was coming. It comes every year.

We spent most of spring and early summer preparing our plants for it. We did our planning early. We planted the drought-tolerant native plants. We did the deep waterings to encourage the roots to seek the water. But unfortunately, a couple of plants did not take their training as seriously as others.

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But this morning, the sun took a nap, and it almost felt like a tiny bit of cool breeze could be around the corner. We know you are tired, and being thirsty and hot is hard, but hang in there- a break is coming soon. Just a few more reps and we’ll get you all a nice big protein shake.

SCENES FROM AROUND THE FARM

1. We did a transplant of the pumpkins, zucchini, and melon to make room for the tarp. We knew there was a 90% chance they might not make it, but it was a save the many situation. One of the pumpkins is doing pretty well, so not all is lost.

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2. Our tomato plants are making a final push. They have really been good sports about August. We even got a couple cute peppers to add to salads.

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3. There are so many fancy hamburgers out there. The classic burger will always be #1 to us. Our unofficial ranking of hamburgers in Austin is coming soon.

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4. We have been stealing snippets of hens and chicks from my mom, but we have a heck of a time trying to get them to grow. Its probably a bit of a climate shock. But this one started to grow a friend, and I couldn’t be more happy for them to have each other.

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5. It rained. Thank goodness we decided to trust the weatherman and not put on the sprinkler the night before. We would have looked so dumb.

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You can follow us on Instagram for more real-time scenes from around the farm.

SOIL SOLARIZATION

In soil solarization, you harness the sun’s energy to kill weeds and bad insects/fungus/bacteria, which allows the good stuff to take over. It bakes the dirt into something more palatable to growing gardens. The term is fancy talk for “putting a tarp on some dirt.”

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We have been fighting this pesky vine plant that is growing on part of our future garden plot. As diligent as we have been with pulling them up and spraying them, they just keep coming back and I hate them. So we decided to take things large scale and kill them all at once (in large square sections).

To try soil solarization for yourself, you need:

  • Big tarp (preferably clear)
  • Something to hold tarp in place
  • Lots of sun/heat

1. Ideally, rake the area and pull and discard any weeds. Next, wet the area at least 12 inches deep. We sprayed ours with a hose for a little while. Enough for it to boil the weeds.

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2. Get out your tarp.

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3. Lay out the tarp to cover area, and then anchor in place. We used some rocks and pieces of wood.

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4. Wait. Since it is still hot weather here, and will be for a while longer, the sun should work in our favor to help us out. We plan on rotating the tarp around the area, and crossing our fingers real hard.