Archive for June, 2011

The Vegetable Garden at the End of June


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This is a sun kill warning. Houston’s summer is hard on many vegetables, but this is a great time to find plants cheap.


I think that the people at the garden center were happy to see us. The girls wanted to find more flowering plants. I was looking for a few plants for my wife’s new container. There were a few other customers. However, this is not the time to plant in Houston. The lack of rain does play its part. The unrelenting heat of the sun is probably the greater danger. You hear that plants want full sun, so why would too much sun be the problem? Annuals which have less established roots have a hard time since they need more watering. Many vegetables fall into this category.
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Building a Home for Earthworms


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Compost helps the garden, but earthworm castings is the black gold for our vegetable beds. Creating a container is not that hard.

I have not been able to sit out in the yard with the children. The heat has been too much to take. The garden has not suffered too badly though. I do have some bare spots that I would love to fill, but the plants would need a good amount of water. The big project outside has been building a deck over the shed for a tree house with my son. The tree house is no longer in a living tree, yet this deck is beneath a wonderful canopy of branches, so you feel like you are in the tree. Katya wants this space to be her new bedroom. I thought that I should do something that is directed towards improving the garden. Working in the heat is not good for your health, so I am putting a hold on some garden plans. I was peeling vegetables for dinner, when the idea of a new compost bin came to mind. An earthworm composting system was what I needed for my garden.
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Pruning Back Tomato Vines


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In June, tomato plants in Houston wither, while beans and pepper plants continue to produce.

I am re-evaluating choices that I made. The okra was not placed in a great location, so the plants have not thrived. The eggplant has done well. I have found that they do alright with afternoon shade, or maybe I should say with partial shade, since I have a plant that is producing with afternoon sun. The squash has needed the full sun, as do the pepper plants. The bush beans have been consistent producers, but I am waiting for the yard long beans which I planted later in pipes. These beans have lush and dark green leaves, so they seem to be a good fit for that experiment.The cucumbers are chugging along, while the green onions look like they are quite happy. The one plant that cannot handle this season is the tomato.
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Plucking Onions: Time for an Onion Sauce


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When the leaves of the onion plant begin to fall over, you know that they are ready to harvest, but what do you do with your harvest?

I was reminded again of the disconnect children have when it comes to knowing where their meal and their foods origins. My children see this fact on a daily basis, but I had a few odd looks when harvesting onions. The bulbs dangled from my left hand, dropping down in a waterfall style for more than two feet, as I pulled the onions from the ground with my right hand. My daughters, who do not like onions in their meals, were happily helping. One of my sisters-in-law pulled up, and my niece and nephew toppled out of the car to spend the evening with us. They rushed over to see what we were doing. They were baffled by this activity. Is it important that they know where their food originates? I am not sure, but I have found that my onion averse daughters will eat the bulb when they harvested the vegetable themselves. There is a greater appreciation for our food when we see it go from the garden to the table. Although the cooking portion might be their favorite activity.
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How Can I Remodel My Kitchen for Less Money


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Starting a kitchen remodel can be daunting, but the rewards could be great.

As a home inspector, I see many great and poor kitchens. As a person who loves to cook, I know that fantastic meals can come out of small kitchens. There are wonderful large kitchens, but I do not need the grand island, or the tons of storage space. My current space is a smaller square of a 1960′s design. I did purchase storage racks to place beside the refrigerator to keep certain items close at hand, yet the basic layout is fine for me. I have longed for a kitchen remodel, but my wife and I end up on other projects. My wife recently decided that new wood flooring was required in the bedrooms, which led to redecorating. I felt that if we are working on those rooms, then I wanted to update the electrical outlets and fixtures to current standards. We also have a new French door onto the patio. These projects pretty much zapped my budget for home improvements for right now. I tried to argue with my wife that a kitchen remodel adds value to the home, but we are not selling, so why focus on adding value there. However, I did feel that the look of the kitchen needed to be improved, so I created my plan for a remodel that would achieve my goals while being on a tight budget.
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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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