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stubbed toes and mud pies

Discussion in 'About Me & My Garden' started by flowerbug, Nov 16, 2017.

  1. Jul 2, 2019
    digitS'

    digitS' Garden Master

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    How does it happen,

    that you have this interest in water, west of the Rockies?

    Is it because of the crises that should concern everyone or is there a special, personal reason and experience?

    Steve
     
  2. Jul 2, 2019
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    i've always been someone who's been interested in running water and draining things and also the consequences of erosion. as a kid i would play in puddles and streams and build dams or sand castles and watch how the waves would come in and interact with the forms or rocks.

    for some reason though i did not really notice this as a possible career interest and i also did not want to get into biology alone through college so i went with computer science.

    my sister lives out west so i am aware of water issues for her but again i just like these huge projects and how they interact and affect things, how the environment is changed by them (or destroyed as evidenced by the near eradication of the Colorado River Delta), how recovery is possible (share some of that water with the rivers and delta again).

    in the most recent round of interest i think it was the long ago fading of the Aral Sea which got me back to thinking about issues and then i got into reading up on Lake Owens, Mono Lake and the Salton Sea which stirred me to reading up and studying the water systems of the west and how they are very interconnected. then the drought started up and got me into that which then pointed me at the Oroville Spillway failure and the project of rebuilding it (which i've watched a fair amount of and studied the failure and various things around that).

    all of this does tie directly into permaculture or the idea of managing an area so that it can be used in perpetuity for gardening in various ways. water management, controlling erosion, energy flows through the system, it all does work together.

    as for hydrology in general, growing up here in the Great Lakes area means we take a lot of water for granted too often, but it does interest me too how these lakes all work together in various ways and how it also can possibly effect me here - we're not all that far away from Lake Huron and also not that far above it. not that i think there is any major threat to us, but over the longer term could this area return to a shallow inland sea again? repeat the past year a dozen or two times in a row and yes, i could have shoreline within a half mile...

    and back to the west, this just popped up in a place i like to follow for such things:

    http://www.inkstain.net/fleck/2019/...in-mead-powell-risk-over-the-next-five-years/

    another interesting aspect is the complexity and human factors and how they interact when managing such forces as a large river. the ripple effects of that river reach into areas of Northern California (and likely further if more water diversions happen from the north to the south). the failure of taking into account those forces created the Salton Sea which is turning into a massive expense to deal with as it dries up (it doesn't have to, but nobody wants to let that much water go into it now to keep propping up the level so it is...).
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
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  3. Jul 2, 2019
    Trish Stretton

    Trish Stretton Deeply Rooted

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    Beavers!! Bring back the Beavers.
    I just watched a vid on these amazing creatures and how they help create eco systems that contribute to a healthy, more diverse system.
     
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  4. Jul 2, 2019
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    for sure! if i had an upland valley that was decimated by overgrazing and deforestation i'd do that. :) plus i love walking in streams and playing in mud...

    they also do a lot towards helping aquifers recharge and hold more water for longer periods of time (like some forest or grass cover can also help with that).
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  5. Jul 10, 2019
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    i haven't even had a chance to look at the beans much the past few days. i think they're doing ok other than the deer have found the unfenced garden where i put a few rows of beans because it wasn't going to be planted with anything else for a while - so the deer trimmed off the tops of some of those plants.

    the north garden where i've been spending about 3-5hrs a day when i can get to it is coming along nicely. i'm down to the last part up near the top where there are grasses and daffodils to contend with. i've already moved about 200 daffodils (well i should say i moved about 100 and Mom replanted the rest in another garden). i have some comfrey to weed around, some lilies too.

    the method of dealing with this garden is to dig a deep enough hole (down to the clay subsoil) and then skim/scrape/slice the top layer of weeds/dirt and bury it. if there isn't much grass of certain kinds in that area then i can just bury it and not much will come up through a foot and a half of dirt placed over them. if there are grass roots i'm worried about coming back up then i put newspapers or cardboard over it before topping it back off with dirt. it's a lot quicker than weeding by hand one weed at a time.

    some weeds i will remove the seeds tops from (grasses and some thistles that i know won't be able to regrow from the roots), the rest are worm food. some weeds and othe plants with seeds i will put back on the surface (radishes, buckwheat, pinks, flashing lights). other weeds i sometimes just take some leaves off and leave them on the surface too as a little cover for the surface feeding worms to take.

    all told i'm having to dig about 10% of this space.

    the lower edges i've cleared i will be moving some thyme plants to fill in because they really need some cover and that really seems to work well on other sloped edges i have to cover them. good thing we have a very healthy weed free supply of plants already growing... :)

    the deer have not been using this garden as much now that i've been getting it cleared of cover. it has all sorts of goodies but they are now buried and will be worm food and then plant food over the next few years. i just hope i can keep it kept up now. i really want to get it planted with beans... i still have a lot that i could plant even if i get no return from them at all they would be an ok cover crop. i also have radish, turnip and buckwheat seeds i can use up. i just need to make sure i can weed between plants so perhaps i'll do rows... hmm... would be different for sure since i usually just scatter them and then try to weed and thin as i can. no matter what it will not be happening today or likely this week. perhaps i can get this done in a week. i sure hope so...

    as i said above i've not had much of a chance to look at other things lately. Mom picked cucumbers this morning so i'll be making dill pickles this afternoon. about another 12 quarts.

    i did not get any peas picked. :( i haven't even checked the strawberry patch. i know it will need some weeding so that is one reason why i don't want to look at it for a few more days. ha. :)

    today's forecast is for hot and continued humid enough to make me good for only a few hours of hard work in the morning or in the evening if we can get enough of a breeze that really helps.

    as for other things. the roof has leaked a few times and each time the roofer has responded and come out and fixed a few things here or there. this past leak was in yet another spot and we'd had such a hard storm (near tornado weather with rain coming from all directions at once) that it could have been there since the roof was replaced and we just didn't have that specific spot tested to get it to leak before. the roofer suggested replacing a vent but i'm not sure that is needed yet or it could be just another nail popping out or such. anyways, until he gets back here to look at it again i don't know if we'll do that or not. it sounds disruptive enough to me that i don't really want to have to do that unless it looks like that really is the issue... none of the previous areas that leaked have leaked again... yet...

    and since none of these leaks are big leaks and are intermittent it's hard to have much faith, but we'll keep on... the real thing is that i will never own a house with a cathedral ceiling ever again. not being able to look at the decking from underneath and not being able to see where the leak is coming through is just rotten. well, if it were just me here i'd have been taking down plaster and insulation and had all this taken care of years ago. Mom just doesn't want to do that and i understand it, but it means it takes a lot longer to figure things out. a way to scope easier would be great. or just having a scope to begin with...

    rains, yes, the past few weeks we've finally gotten enough of a break that the sun has been out, the plants are doing much better, tomatoes are blooming and setting fruits, the beans are growing. so too the weeds. thousands of helicopters from the maple tree that blew all over and sprouting in the rocky patches or the crushed limestone mulch or in the gardens. the chipmunks have been running around feasting on them that they can find.

    i even watered the other day since it was going to be so hot and it had not rained for several days. still when i'm digging down in the north garden it's mud down a foot and a half. right before that nice topsoil hits the clay subsoil...

    i'm waiting for the bunching onion flowers to start showing seeds are well enough ripe so i can pick those heads and get the seeds dried in box tops - it is easier to control them when they're not dropping seeds all over the place in a garden. i don't have any onions blooming any place else (chives don't count :) ). somehow i've actually managed to get rid of them all from the garden i'm weeding now. i used to have red, yellow and white onions scattered in there that would flower but i harvested all the heads last year and it was all so weed covered that none of what was in there before survived. i did eat a fair number of odd onions from that patch last year so they all went into our tummies. i do have some old onion seeds around i will scatter them with everything else when i have got the dirt moving done so i can get some regular onions going in there again. the bunching onions i want to make some lines with once i decide to harvest and divide them up. i like how well they've grown and am looking forwards to making some nice dishes with them... the regular large sweet bulbing onions we normally grow seem to be doing ok so far too.

    cosmos, doing ok, they're right next to an extra patch of dill so i do see them from time to time.

    next time i'm back there i need to check on the butterfly weed (orange flowers) as it should be getting close to flowering time. i keep hoping to get more seeds so i can plant some in other places but the caterpillars have been doing a good job on the plants so the flowers don't set seeds. i have two patches of them already but i'd like more... since they only spread by seed (easily) and are harder to transplant i've not dug them up to move some. i may have to go that route... they're being shaded where they are now in one spot so i'd like to get some out where they can get more sun. perhaps we'll have to check out the greenhouse too for some of the other color varieties that have been bred. i meant to do that before but forgot to ask when we were there...

    ok, this has been a long-winded ramble zone, hahaha... hope your gardens are well. :)
     
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  6. Jul 17, 2019
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    finally, sorta, the north garden is done. at least the entire area has been brought back under some kind of control it hasn't had for the past few years. other parts of this involved digging up and moving some of the bulbs out of the way and also moving the lilies to the fenced garden out back since the deer were eating them all the time. while i was doing that there were two large clumps of daffodils in the the lilytree garden that i've wanted to move out of there and put them in the north garden where we can see them (and where i have a better chance of weeding out the daffodils i no longer really want as we have so many of them anyways).

    as a part of this Mom has been taking any daffodils i don't want and replanting them along an edge around the gardens out front. they used to be planted with alternating tulips and daffodils, but over the years the deer and rabbits have mowed down most of the tulips so she wanted to fill in the bare spots. i gave her a few hundred more to use up. :)

    it was a busy morning. :) i hoped to get some weeding done this afternoon but managed to flick some dirt in my eye and came inside to rinse it out and then have lunch. went out to pick up my stuff from earlier a few minutes ago and pondered weeding but decided that tomorrow morning would be soon enough for that.

    might rain again. we had some rains yesterday and that was nice as it wetted down all the dirt i'd moved and raked level to begin the process of settling. the worms and gravity will have to sort it all out over the next year or so before i can really consider it settled. a lot of air spaces down there and a lot of good worm food too.

    as i was digging through parts of the garden i was happy to see plenty of worms in there, including some nice big night crawlers. i rescued as many as i could and didn't notice too many that i had rudely interrupted their lives with the shovel. :(

    and the other part that was interesting was digging up a lot of previously buried organic stuff that was compacted down into chunks of peat like texture and color and even smell. with the heavy soil over it there was even methane happening down there. that is all now mixed in with the soil so it will get used as plant food for the next few years. sadly, i won't be able to really grow some veggies in there since it isn't fenced but i can probably get some beans and onions to grow there and perhaps i will get enough back from that to make the efforts worth it.

    mainly though i will just be continuing to spread ground covers around the sloped edges and plant some turnips and radishes and whatever else i can get going in there. it's the nicest topsoil we have here. so easy to dig, weeds grow really well in it. eventually i hope i can get enough of a fence around it to return it to strawberry production. *daydreams* :)

    ok, so i can get on with other garden tasks that have been waiting. the strawberry patch inside the fenced gardens needs weeding and some other spaces are starting need it again too. one thing about a lot of rains. the weed pressure can keep ya on yer toes. :)

    in actual production results, cucumbers are coming in about every 4-5 days and that keeps me busy putting those up.
     
  7. Jul 22, 2019
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    storm front went through the other day. wind so strong it blew the front door open. that door has not been opened for a few years. good thing we were here. the winds also blew four branches off one of the dead trees in the north hedge. it is so funny as they are all still up in the tree laying at odd angles as if the wind just twisted them around and then placed them back on there as ornaments. wish i had a camera...

    the roof did not leak.

    beans got a bit blown off their strings and sticks so i had to herd them, not sure how much this will affect them longer term, but i've been hoping all along that they would get to the fence and grow up it strong enough that any winds that came along wouldn't damage them.

    and there are fresh beans now showing up along with a few Japanese Beetles. i'll go out and scout for those next and then get back to weeding the strawberry patch. it will be nice to have that done again. it will need it again in a few more weeks, but the plants are now sending out plenty of runners and filling it in nicely. :)

    cooler temperatures for a few days and appreciated.

    peas picked and mostly shelled, nice harvest and some fun pods, very wispy and nearly see through tissue paper, have to see how those turn out next year when they're grown again. set aside selection. :) always fun...
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2019
  8. Jul 22, 2019
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    did a survey for Japanese Beetles this morning, did not find any at all. was wondering since yesterday when one flew by and i snagged it and smushed it.

    finished up weeding the strawberry patch. good to have that done for a few weeks.

    nice and cool with a breeze today.

    cleaned up a pile of tree trimmings and junk that had been sitting there since when i'd run fence a few months ago. Mom will be happy and now she can mow it... :)

    three inch loppers are one of the most useful things i've ever bought. much easier than using an axe or saw or chainsaw and nice and quiet.
     
  9. Aug 1, 2019
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    Japanese Beetles have been around more now, i picked and smushed some a few days ago when out picking beans. still a lot fewer than in the past.

    we had yet another pretty severe storm with heavy rains and winds from all directions and that was really good to see with the rain coming down knowing we could use it. the ground was getting pretty dry for a while there so this gave everything a good drink of water. it also did not leak through the roof.

    the north garden fared pretty well with all that rain. i was worried that it being mostly bare dirt now that a lot would get washed away, but i'd set up a basin up towards the top to catch water and that filled up and over flowed just a little bit. if i'd not have done that i would have been in for a mess. this test of the initial layout of that garden was really good because all that extra water will help settle the soil and a lot of that water was trapped by the holes right next to the catch basin where the water could soak in.
    the heavy rain did help settle the soil and i'd planned on giving the whole area some time to settle before getting the contours exactly done. it will probably be next spring before i can move some more of the surface around anyways - i still need to move some dirt around...

    i took the time yesterday morning in that garden to do some more reshaping of a few contours and putting a few smaller catches and ridges to keep the water from having an easy path downhill since i could see the high water marks and also some light surface erosion paths. i finished up that just as it was time to mow so for such a large area to be able to weed it and play around a bit was nice to be able to scrape it in about a half hour in the spots that needed it. with the sunny weather this week those weeds left on the surface should get pretty well baked. whatever i missed will get it again in a few more days and of course i'll play around some more with the contours and getting different sections figured out for holding back whatever water i can plus trying to figure out where i'll do next springs plantings and what to do about some transplants for the various edges this fall.

    all said though it was looking pretty good, i need to get those edges covered up this fall or at least started with clumps of thyme. that works well here.

    none of the buckwheat i planted has sprouted yet, not sure it will, but i'll give it a shot of water this morning anyways just in case... the raid by the raccoons surprised me. imagine being able to sniff out a seed like that. i know the chipmunks can do it but i thought the raccoons would be more interested in the worms and creatures in the ditch compared to plants, especially since we'd just had a pretty good rain.

    ok, well, time to get to it... :)
     
  10. Aug 7, 2019
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    had the well drilling people out here yesterday to check on the on/off cycle we've been having going for a while. i thought perhaps we needed a plumber, but we called the people who do our HVAC and they do some plumbing too for hot water heaters, but in the end we also called the people who drilled the well way back when this place was built. we were surprised they were still in business... came over this afternoon.

    the guy who came out was a decent fellow so he checked a few things and said that there was likely a leak someplace, but he was surprised that there was no water surfacing from what he was seeing. in the end he tightened up something and said that it might be it, but if it doesn't hold then likely we'll eventually have it leak to where we should get some water surfacing. so they'll have to dig down to that point and replace it. he said he'd check back in a week or two if we don't call him sooner. no bill for that service call since he said he might be back soon, but if he doesn't have to come back he said theyd send a bill in a few weeks. he didn't really think it would hold whatever he tightened up (he called it a U bolt i think).

    at first when he said he wasn't going to bill us i said that was a first time since anyone had ever come out and not charged... even if it comes out to $100-200 and we don't have to have anything else done that's still ok with me and, well, Mom's happy to not have the on/off cycle going like it was.

    the roofing guy hasn't been back yet, but no leaks anyways, so it is just a check of one thing from before i wanted him to do. so far so good...

    pretty much the normal routine around here for this time of the season, cucumbers still going, onions doing well, garlic mostly up, tomatoes starting to come in, some weeding, watering when needed, JB picking, checking some beans, don't think the squash is going to amount to much this year but we'll see, etc. the heat looks to be moderating this week with temperatures mostly around the high 70s to low 80s. some rains, well appreciated by me, but i did water some anyways the other day just to make sure the clay had enough moisture perking down through it.
     

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