Earlier Work Pays Off

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Gardening is not always about instant gratification. Work done last fall and spring has benefits in late summer.

The storm hit. Power was out. Trees were felled. My family was at the mall, buying school clothes and supplies. I saw the clouds rolling in quickly, and the brief torrential rain, but it did not seem to bad. Coming closer to home, I realized how bad the storm had been. My neighborhood looked like a hurricane had hit. Still, I had surprisingly little damage. Most of my time cleaning up was spent picking up debris that had come to my yard from the neighbors.

    My wife is not convinced that I have pruned enough, but I have been quite diligent in making a passage for air to keep my plants healthy. There is one tree that I think needs to come down, but it came through fine. I have been cleaning up dead limbs. I have also worked on the structural aspects of the garden. I have been making sure that pots, birdhouses, and sculptures are secure. Frames and trellises for the plants were firmly in place. The garden withstood the onslaught of the storm.

    This is where I think a homeowner can fail: not taking care of the garden. During my home inspections, I see damage to walls and roofs because of plants swaying in the storms. I see large branches falling down on the home. One large branch in one yard bounced off a neighbor’s roof. There may be structural damage, but I did not notice anything while taking a look from the yard. They were lucky. Even gardens which may seem easy to maintain need to be maintain. Having a few bushes and trees means having to plan out their shape to prune properly.
    More than one neighbor has a tree that is going wild. There either was a stump or branches spurting out in all directions from the trunk.  Bushes near the home are not trimmed back. I enjoy gardening, so I do not see it as work. However, by being out there, doing a little task each week, I reap benefits down the line. But here is the important part, I do not try to take on a major project each week. By taking the time each week to walk around the house, and dealing with one task, you accomplish a great amount of work over the course of the year. This saves you money as well. Why spend $500 a tree for pruning when you could be doing one tree each month? Plus, if you consider the work as exercise, you may be loosing weight. It is all a matter of perception.
    Otherwise, I am trying out plantings of bok choy and arugula. Houston has a pretty long growing season. The heat is not great for our gardens, but this is the time to start thinking about fall vegetable crops (even winter crops). I am planning out my transplanting for the fall, so I am preparing beds for these moves. Imagining the future of my garden for pleasure and an improved home.

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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 yourhoustonhomeinspector.com). For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank


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