Archive for May, 2011

Dealing with a Drought in Your Garden

When is the last time you had rain? Parts of the country are experiencing flooding, and in Houston, we are dealing with higher than normal temperatures coupled with no rain.

My last water bill was quite high. My goal is to reduce my water consumption, so I was not too happy with my behavior that led to this unwanted expense. In my mind, I was justifying my actions with the fact that food prices are rising, and I am growing vegetables to counter those prices (a note in the grocery store today pointed out that many crops have been damaged by the weather, so prices will fluctuate). I was also thinking of my foundation. Keeping the ground at a consistent moisture level will help the house. However, this bill brought my focus back to my goal. Yes, I could justify my actions, but I could not really. I, like all of my neighbors, will have to make choices to deal with the drought.
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Experiencing the Green Planet Sanctuary in Houston

Do you need to experience a peaceful garden? Maybe you should attend an event at the Green Planet Sanctuary.

Last weekend my wife and I attended a Green Mixer at the Green Planet Sanctuary. My wife may not be fully interested in a sustainable lifestyle, but she has been willing to allow my explorations, and I think that she has enjoyed the ride. I mentioned this gathering to her, because I thought that it was a good fit for her own interests: massage therapy/ healthy body combined with landscaping. (My wife works in physical therapy which has caused her to have the interest in massage therapy, and she wants to make over our home to meet some of her clippings from magazines detailing landscape ideas).  We both really enjoyed the space.
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How to Grow Leeks, Onions, and Green Onions

Houston nearly has a year long growing season, and late spring is when we can begin to harvest some alliums

Do your home grown vegetables look like their grocery store counterparts? This idea came up in conversation again. Part of the reason is the we grow different varieties; we may not be growing vegetables under optimal conditions; and we may just be harvesting early. I have a great selection of vegetables to choose for meals, but the group that turns my daughter away from the plate is the alliums: onions and leeks in this case.  Even though Katya expresses her distaste for onions, she will eat them when she knows that they are from our garden. I have been harvesting a few young alliums this week, which has made me happy.
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Cucumber and Tomato Salads

The lettuce is bolting, but the tomatoes are going red, while the cucumbers are producing. Time for a new salad.

The great thing about eating seasonally from the garden is that you know the food is fresh, but you also gain more joy when you harvest the first crop of a certain vegetable. When you go to a grocery store, any vegetable is available to you. If you like cucumbers, you can have them whenever you want, and maybe this causes them to loose a little luster. If you always eat a tomato, what is special about a tomato. However, that first cucumber or tomato becomes a special prize in your mind. I think that many of the winter salads went over well, but now there is an excitement in the air.
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Do You Use Fake Flowers in the Garden?

When selling your home, you want to make it look nice, but is the trend of using fake flowers in our gardens a means of attracting home buyers?

The first time that I noticed fake flowers in a garden near my home I was a bit perplexed. Did the homeowner think that this was attractive? Were they having problems growing flowers? I find the yard filled with fake flowers two weeks later. Also, a house down the street had added fake flowers into a garden bed. Once I was aware of the idea, I spotted fake flowers in the front yards of more homes. On the other hand, I found more homes adding more live plants to bring in color to beautiful effect. My wife used silk and dried plants for a vase arrangement on our back porch. Her reasoning was that we would always have something to see on our porch. With the drought, is this what other homeowners are considering? What is the fascination with fake flowers?
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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 For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank


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