Archive for March, 2010

The Problem with Mint


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My mint is become invasive. I do not mind it spreading into the grass, but I worry that it might push out other plants in the garden beds.

Flowers, flowers, and more flowers. That has been my gardening life for the past week. I went to Corneilius on Voss (north of Westheimer), and the children became excited with the multi-colored blooms. Since we are spending more time in the backyard, we began planting in beds, pots, and wherever else they decided (my hat turned out to be popular). That is when I noticed that some mint was filling out the open spaces in a bed, and it was beginning to move in the other areas.
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Decorating the Garden with Slabs of Color


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Have you ever wanted more color in your garden? Something bold that will draw the eye? Flowers or colorful bushes will do, but what about a canvas of solid color?

I know that loquats will be the first fruit in my garden, and the blooms on the plum tree were exciting, but the raspberry flowers cause me to be really excited. For me, they are the sign that a new season is coming. The end of winter has its blooms. The pansies, violas, and cyclamen are hanging onto their bursting flames of color, but spring is when we can sit back to see the real show.
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Organizing Your Kitchen


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A well stocked pantry makes cooking easier, but you need to find what you are seeking. A well organized pantry may save you money.

My wife and teenage son have been in my kitchen. Yes, my kitchen. Alright, we do share the space, but since I am the one preparing the meals, I feel that I deserve first priority in pantry and cupboard space. Life does not work that way though. I had tried to impose some kitchen organization on my family, but I had not taken dramatic action. With my wife buying more of her snacks, which she feels takes precedent over my spices, and with my son buying his powdered drinks, which take precedent over my my bowls, I felt a concerted effort at reorganizing my kitchen was needed.
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Recycling Bags for Garden Waste for Houston


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The date has been pushed back to April, but you will find them in stores now.

I wanted to drop a quick note to Houston residents about the new bag requirement for garden waste. I feel that Houston has been trying to implement this policy for some time, but this April seems to be the real deadline. When I was out walking (I seem to be always walking through the neighborhood), I discovered that my neighbors were vaguely aware; however, they were not ready. When I had been going to various stores, I had not seen the bags, but I did find them in the local hardware store recently.
    A few questions that I was asked: 1) Are they more expensive than the other bags? Yes, but not outrageously so. 2) Are they sturdy to hold a lot of waste? I could only find 33 gallon bags. This is the type of bag for a tall kitchen trash can, so they do not hold as much as the old leaf bags, and their thickness seemed to be about the same as the kitchen bags, which means no over stuffing. Can you find them everywhere? I have not been so diligent in looking for them, but they are not everywhere.
    Hopefully the city will have larger bags on their agenda. As one neighbor said he was going to start composting. Well, I already compost most of my garden waste. There are a few times when I need to set some things out. Maybe this new policy would force people to compost. That might not be too bad.

Energy Efficiency and Cooking


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Planning how you cook, can save energy. The savings in the utility bill may be slight for each meal, but that does add up.



Last night, I decided to try something new when preparing my meal to see if I could cook in a healthier style, but this may have been an energy efficient style. I was boiling ingredients to warm them up to imitate a stir fry served over cous cous. The result looked like a stir fry, even though texturally you could feel that the meal was not a stir fry. What I have wanted to do was save on the number of pots and utensils that I was using to save on clean-up. One pot meal are becoming popular with me. I do take conscious steps to reduce the amount of energy used in the kitchen on a normal basis, and I thought these tips may help others when planning out their meals.
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Houston’s Spring is Arriving; Time to Plant Seeds


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You can plant seeds year around in Houston, but this is the time of year when gardeners begin to prepare for late spring and summer crops.

As my wife opened the front door, she and my daughters began to shout with glee. They beckoned my son and me to come quick. They had discovered that the plum tree had set flowers, and these were glowing in the morning light. The tree had already began to display these flowers, but they had not noticed till this scene unfolded before their eyes. Most of my winter vegetables have been going into bloom to prepare us for a new generation with seeds. I notice vegetable gardeners who rip the plants out of the ground when this happens; however, I like to have the seeds spread to see what will arrive in my garden again.
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The Quick Dinner: Pasta and Soup


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Sometimes you have to turn to canned goods to make a quick meal, but a few garden vegetables can bring the meal to life

My day begins at three in the morning, and last week I was getting home around 5:30 in the afternoon. My family was waiting for me to serve a meal, so I needed a quick dinner idea. I hit upon making a one pot dish to minimize clean-up: a pasta cooked in soup.
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Greetings

This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at yourhoustonhomeinspector.com). For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank

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