Tag Archives: backyard garden

FARMER GEAR

If you are going into battle, you need the proper armor. If you are going to spend a bit of time outside, you should be dressed and ready for it! Here are some basic essentials for spending a morning doing yardwork:

1. Staying well hydrated is common sense, and helps keep you cool. I like a cup with a lid and straw, so I can feel more sure a stray bug or something isn’t swimming around in there. 2. Most of the time, I wear a watch. Its easy to lose track of time, and if you need to be showered and somewhere else later, you’ll be glad you wore one.

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3. I’m a fan of hats. They keep hair out of my face, and make my crazy hair a little more manageable. I like baseball hats, or big floppy garden hats, and braids. 4. And finally, a good pair of garden gloves. My fingers still tend to get sore and I occasionally get a little cut, and I can only imagine what my hands would look like if I didn’t wear gloves.

Optional essential- bug spray. Mosquitoes can be nasty, but I kinda hate bug spray, so I try to go as long as possible without it. Wearing long pants and sleeves helps a lot.

What is your go-to garden gear?

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VINE REMOVAL

After the great tree falling incident of April 2014, we are very aware about the health of trees. Early in the summer, we noticed a groot-like vine creeping through the trees, growing stronger by the day. Thankfully, we made some strategic cuts that were able to stop it, but it still left our tree a little funky looking in some spots. You can see the traces of its crispy dead vine body up in the leaves.

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But due to its groot abilities to re-grow, the vine creeps through our side gate, once again asserting its power, slowly trapping us inside. The vine holds on tight, the tentacles very firm in their misguided convictions.

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Super hero gate defender to the rescue. After a few snips, our freedom will be restored.

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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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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.

PLANTING PUMPKIN SEEDS

We have a pack of evil birds that roam the garden. They might be eating bugs, or doing other beneficial things, but you wouldn’t know it by their awful attitudes. Always up to hood rat stuff with their friends, pecking at tomatoes, and eating our seeds. Especially the seed eating. Then they don’t grow, and we are just left wondering- Was it them? Was it us? What did we do wrong? The not knowing is the worst.

After a fight over some pumpkin seeds, we decided to outsmart the birds, and start the seeds inside. Watching seeds sprout should be a tv show, and I would watch it all day all day long.

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After the seedlings grew to be a couple inches tall, and were rocking a strong set of leaves, we took them out to the garden to plant. We set the pots on their future homes for a little bit. Like a new goldfish.

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With all the gentle and careful, we scooped the seedlings out, and planted them in the mound with even more gentle and careful.

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Snug as a plant in some pine straw. After they were all planted, we fed them a little fertilizer with seaweed, to minimize the stress of moving. Lord knows we all need a drink after moving, right? Their signature cocktail is the John Droomgoole, who has the coolest gardener name, and may be a cartoon in real life.

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And just when you think you’ve outsmarted the birds, and the world is pumpkins and rainbows again, now we have to worry about the bugs. Grrreeat.