Archive for October, 2011

My New Greenhouse

If you are growing many plants from seeds, you may want to obtain a greenhouse. This will protect the plants, while making the seed starting process easier.

I am growing more of my plants from seed this year. This makes sense for gardeners on a budget who want many plants. You may have seen those plastic trays that have the clear plastic cover. I have used them, but these mini-greenhouses break down on me. They are not too expensive, but I did not like buying something that I knew would be thrown away after a few years. This past year I ad success with using mulch bags. I previously mentioned this technique, but I am currently having a problem. Well, there are two problems: my two year old; and squirrels. A greenhouse was in order.
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Finding Inspiring Gardens

What inspires you to create a garden space? Have you considered creating a garden for contemplation? You may find that your church has thought about creating such outdoor spaces, and they may inspire you.

I was working all weekend, so my wife and children went to spend time with my wife’s sister. They went to her church on Sunday, where my daughter’s discovered a garden where they wanted to stay. Upon coming home, I was greeted by my older daughter with the request that I had to watch a video. “Do you like it?”, she asked. “Yes, I do.” “Well, you need to get the paint right.” “The paint?” “Oh yes, for the statue that you are going to make of Jesus’ mother.” I had been conscripted into re-creating this garden in our own home. Our already crowded yard may not hold another garden room (was my thought). However, I agreed as my girls discussed their plans on how to design this garden.
    Many gardeners will add spaces for contemplation. I noticed in one garden center that they had various objects of a more oriental flavor to meet this gardening need. For some people, these spaces can be little garden nooks. Others can fill the entire garden. I have to look as to how I can create room for this space, but I think that I have an idea. For the girls, the important part is having the stone mulch path in the form of a cross, a statue of the Virgin Mary, the roses, and a bench for sitting. A contemplation garden may be a great room to have. Everyone needs time to sit down to meditate on the day.
    Garden inspiration can be simple. You may find a landscape that fascinates you, so you can find a way to replicate the space in your own yard.

Simple Seed Starting Kit

The children and I are planting seeds, a lot of seeds. I would love to have one of those mini-greenhouses, considering how many flats of seeds we have been starting, but sometimes you can make do with what you have.

My wife is not always happy when she sees me setting items aside to save. I have been saving the containers from plants that I purchased. They are not recyclable. My daughters have played with them, but I had another goal in mind. She really began to wonder why I was saving the bags for the mulch. I kept telling her that they would be useful. She thinks that I hoard items just for the sake of keeping them. Maybe I am trying to reuse to much; however, this time I had a plan that worked out well.
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Of Food Deserts, Food Insecurities, and Natural Disasters

How does your family cope when there is no money to buy food? What if you have money, but you cannot afford the ingredients for a healthy meal? Maybe you ave suffered from a natural disaster, can you prepare a meal. An edible landscape can be one method of providing food.

    My children and I are each preparing a flat for more seeds. This process has been happening every day for the last three days. I do save time by purchasing vegetables in pots, but that habit can be expensive for all of my vegetable needs, and I do not always find the variety of vegetables that I want. An herb farmer mentioned that he had to be planting almost every day to keep up his supply, and I almost feel that I am doing the same. Late August was rough on my vegetable plants, and I did not harvest as much as I desired. When I scan the garden beds now (not long after August), I discover a great deal to use in my meals. A series of questions and conversations caused me to wonder about the availability of healthy food.
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Did My Builder Forget to Put Grass in the Backyard?

If you are purchasing a newly constructed home, you expect grass in the yard. A builder may place grass in the front yard, but what happened in the rear yard?

As I am performing my home inspection, different crews are busy around me. They want the house to be ready for the final walk-through with the buyer. This is an amazing process. When I come to the house, you can tell that this is a real construction site. By the time that I am leaving, the lawn has been laid and the interior cleaned. Various stored items have been picked up. The house looks like a home. My client arrives, and she comments on the backyard. Where is that grass? That crew has already left.
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Should I Be Watering Even if My Plants Do Not Need Water?

The water restrictions have imposed a schedule on us that may not be accomplishing our goal of water conservation.

Did you water on your scheduled day? Did you possibly over water? I ask, because I feel that there are people who may not be paying attention to their gardens. Sure, I saw lawns that have not been watered. I am seeing bushes and trees perishing. I find yards with no annuals producing flowers. I can understand making planting choices. Why plant if there is no water to help establish the plants. I think most homeowners have focused on keeping their plants alive, so they water just enough. I cannot understand the homeowners who have allowed so much in their gardens to be lost. A walk through the neighborhood brought an opposite issue to my attention: over watering.
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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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