Archive for March, 2011

The Poorman’s Surf and Turf?


Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2198

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2125

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2126

What if your budget does not allow for steak and lobster, shrimp with bacon is a wonderful flavor, and that could be defined as surf and turf, right? Well, how can we make this healthier?

I remember one of the first dates that I had with my wife. She ordered lobster. This will sound like a line, but she did later admit that she wanted it, because the lobster was the most expensive item on the menu. She had never eaten lobster before, and she did not eat much of it that night (why does he remember that fact after all these years- typical husband). Later, she did learn to love lobsters, and I loved preparing them. There was a point where I was preparing seafood every Friday night. Then a relative lived with s for a while; she was allergic to shellfish, so good bye to lobsters. Later, with the children, the seafood experience in the house has been a mixed bag, and I was not sure how they would take to my using shrimp for a meal last night.
Read the rest of this entry »

How Many Pepper Plants Do I Need to Feed My Family?


Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2198

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2125

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2126

Knowing how many of a certain vegetable plant can mean having enough produce later, but how should I plan this out.

I was told by a client that they had bought one of those hanging baskets, where you grow a tomato plant upside down. This made a great deal of sense in their small space of the time, and they awaited a bountiful harvest, which never came. They have a larger space for a vegetable garden, so they were paying more attention to different plant varieties. Since I had about six eggplants, they wondered if they should have more than their one. I said that if you wanted to make sure that you had eggplant for a meal, then I would plant more than one; however, that one plant might produce all you need, depending on how much eggplant that you eat.
Read the rest of this entry »

Dianthus Salad and Tuna Burgers


Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2198

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2125

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2126

This is the season for lettuce in Houston, so why not enjoy salads from your own garden.

My wife enjoys salad. She wonders why we do not eat a salad with every meal. She points to the fact that my aunt in Spain always served an elaborate salad at the beginning of each meal. I counter with the fact that I love soups, and I would love to have them with each meal, but that she would be happy with no soups at all. I do not have anything against salads. I make them often enough. I am not sure having them with every meal is the way to go.
Read the rest of this entry »

The Great Ladybug Hunt


Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2198

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2125

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2126

If you are not using pesticides, you may want to consider encouraging predator insects, like ladybugs.

Sometimes I wish that there were more museums connected to parks around town. I could go for a park with a library attached. There is so much to do at Herman Park or at Discovery Green, which also means those places can be quite packed. I used to drive down Eldridge Parkway often, so I watched as the Archbishop Fiorenza Park was being built. I guess that I maintained a secret fantasy that this park may meet those desires. When performing a home inspection in the neighborhood across the street from that park, I saw that it had opened, so the family decided to go. We stopped by Phoenicia for picnic supplies, and went to the park. Of course, I experienced a pang of disappointment when I did not see more, but I knew that my dreams were not realistic. Most importantly, the children ad fun.
ladybug Read the rest of this entry »

The Death of the American Lawn


Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2198

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2125

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2126

Can you imagine your home without a lawn? Many town homes do not have them. More people are moving into condos that have little lawn space. However, there are predictions that our homes may no longer have lawns as well.

I am lying on the grass after the family picnic in our front yard. The children are running around, playing their games; my wife and I discuss the state of our trees. A pleasant evening spent on the lawn. I rise from my resting spot to look over the yards of other homes on the street. Remembering the lectures from the past weekend, I recall that two speakers predicted the death of the American lawn. One was encouraging the idea for a more sustainable landscape, while the other argued for the perpetuation of the lawn, since it is a truly American landscape.
Read the rest of this entry »

Presentation at the “Plant Yourself in the Community Event”


Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2198

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2125

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2126

This is a copy of the notes that I typed up for my presentation at this event. This was quite a good event, with great speakers, and wonderful plant finds. My speech, delivered in part with my daughter in arm, dealt with landscape effecting the home.

Good Morning, my name is Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, and I am a home inspector who lives in the area. I wanted to briefly go over some landscape factors that can effect your home. These are items that I commonly find during my inspections. Most problems are easily dealt with, and they make sense once they are brought to our attention.

Starting with trees, our property sizes are not really big enough for many trees that we want around our home. The tree should be planted as far from the home as it can grow tall, so a forty foot high tree should be planted forty feet away from the home. The roots can cause problems with our foundations and with drainage pipes. Trees also drain our soil of great amounts of water which causes our soil to contract, again causing foundation problems. Swaying tree branches can knock down our service entrance cables, better known as power lines, so we will want to prune these branches away from those lines. Swaying tree branches can also damage our roofs. More than once I have seen branches that removed the roof covering, like composite shingles, and even the sheathing, then the homeowner wondered why they had a leak. I suggest that branches should are pruned a distance of ten feet away from the roof surface. If you are looking for energy efficiency, you may want to consider having a deciduous tree to block the sun. The leaves will help cool the home during summer, but the lack of of leaves will help warm your home during the winter. Dropping leaves can clog gutters, which will cause moisture problems in our fascia, and consequently in other parts of the home. Also, we will want piles of leaves on our roofs to be removed. The leaves trap moisture on the roof covering, which also attracts pests, which in turn damages the covering.

Moving onto bushes, the biggest problem that I find is that we plant them so close to the home, that moisture does not dry out on our walls. We then can experience problems with moisture in our walls and around windows. The branches of bushes swaying in the wind can also cause damage to a wall surface like the branch of a tree. For example, bricks can begin to crumble once the exterior harder surface has been damaged. Having a one foot gap between the bush and the wall allows for an air passage to dry out the walls. Sometimes we want bushes to hide our exterior AC compressor. Again we want to maintain a distance. A worker will want a three foot space from the compressor to be able to move around the unit. At least a one foot space between the bush and compressor is needed for air flow to cool down the coils. Branches can damage the fins on those coils, so the unit looses efficiency. Shading the unit does help cool the air around it, so this can hep the efficiency.

You will want six to eight inches of your foundation to be showing. This helps prevent pest entry into your home through the weepholes of the brick, or behind the boards. However, it also help with moisture from the ground coming into the home. One homeowner in the area built up her porch where water from rain and the patio surface could flow right into the weephole, eventually damaging her carpet. You also want to make sure that the grading around the home does not allow water to flow onto the AC compressor or to the home. Hopefully the water can flow to the street or soak into the ground, so excessive water does not damage the home.

As for watering, we want to make sure that we maintain even watering around the home. We have expansive clay soils in most of Houston. If we water consistently on one side of the home, the soil expands, raising the home, while the other side sinks. Eventually this can lead to foundation problems.

Well, this was the quick run down. I hope it helps you look at you home with new eyes.

For Joy, It is Raining


Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2198

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2125

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2126

Are you planting seeds? Then you need to keep the ground moist, but this weather has not co-operated. I guess that we are gong back into drought conditions again. Fortunately, the rain has come, so I did not need to water.

I had a problem with squirrels around my home. They disrupted my seed trays, so I decided to plant directly into the ground with most plants. I like to mix up how I get my plants. Some I start in pots; some seeds go into the beds; and some plants I buy from the nursery. Unfortunately, the squirrels have been a bit more active this year, so I see signs of their digging in the garden beds, and I am not sure why they went after my seed trays. Still, the seedlings are growing, but it has meant more watering than I was expecting. Having the seed beds in trays under cover or in a green house means less watering, because the soil does not dry out. When the seeds are in the garden bed, you have the sun and wind drying out the soil, so more watering to keep the seeds viable. I am spreading hair from my dog around the garden, but this has not worked as well as I had hoped.
Read the rest of this entry »

Plant Yourself in the Community at the Pool


Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2198

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2125

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2126

An event is taking place this weekend at the WideWest pool this weekend, which should be fun for Houston gardeners.

Alright, this is a bit of self promotion. The pool happens to be for two communities, Westmont and Tanglewilde, but the event is open to all. The self promotion bit is that I will be one of the speakers. The idea is a plant swap. Is there a plant that you want to get rid of? Are you looking for a plant? Looking for advice about your landscape? Or maybe you are just looking to have some fun. This should be for you. The plan is to have this day begin at 9:00 am to 3:00pm on Saturday 12 March 2011. The WideWest pool is located at 3430 Rocky Ridge 77063. The speakers will be between 10 am to 11 am.
Read the rest of this entry »

Cabbage with Sausage and Mashed Potatoes


Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2198

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2125

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2126

There is still a slight chill in the air, so a winter comfort food can feel good.

This is a strange time in the garden. I am harvesting winter vegetables while planting the crop for spring. I am thinking of a tomato salad with basil, since these went into the ground, but I pick kale for dinner. I am pleased to discover that Katya is quite fond of kale. She declares that it is her favorite. I think that this may be due to its appearance (I have a curly leafed kale). My children have been quite good about eating a variety of vegetables. I forget that they are a bit better than some others. My wife was happy when my daughter insisted on buying something at the grocery store, which turned out to be a book (she thought it might be junk food). I heard iron deficiency is a problem in the United States, and this is partly due to the lack of leafy greens in our diet. Leafy greens are found often in my dinners, but I admit my children are not overjoyed with them. BY having them cook with me, they do seem to go after the greens more, taking a sense of pride in the fact of their preparation of the meal.
Read the rest of this entry »

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

Search
Categories

Canonical URL by SEO No Duplicate WordPress Plugin