For Joy, It is Raining


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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.

    Luckily, I am saving on water with this rain. This weather has been pretty good for the garden, but I was not getting any rain in my garden. I am trying to cut down on water usage though, so I am looking into ways to prevent excessive watering. I am mulching heavier this year, and I am using the water reservoir method that I tried last year again. The idea comes from Peruvian farmers who create a compost layer below the dirt for the bed. This layer saves water for the plants above. This seemed to help last year, but I admit that t takes some effort to do this in your garden beds (remove the dirt, put in your compost material, then recover with dirt). As for mulch, I am trying out more cedar mulch in the garden as a way to prevent certain pests from hanging about. This worked well around the patio one year, but you do have to renew the cedar. I am favoring lava rocks more. The make a good, fairly permanent mulch, and the bits of rock that break off benefit the plants.
    I like the fact that I can go out each morning to harvest lettuce for a lunch.
This can be a strange time for harvesting, because the winter vegetables are going to seed, and the spring vegetables are not ready yet. I do find it strange that more people do not let their vegetables go to seed. Is it a space issue? A few gardeners told me that they have ripped out their winter vegetables, because they are no longer producing, but I do like the flowers, and then I can harvest the seeds. If we want a sustainable garden, we should be interested in seed harvesting for the next crop. As for the coming crop, the pea shoots have tips that could be gathered. Peas are great, but the tips of the plants can be harvested for stir fries or for salads. Some of the lettuce has really grown well. Moreover, I have been gathering basil for meals. The tomato plants are already setting flowers. I would love to see the pepper plants and eggplants start to grow.
    The most fun I am having in the garden is with the plant choices of my daughters. My son is older, so he does not participate as much, but the little girls have an excitement about gardening. The littlest one, Sakura, picked pink flowers for the patio. This pink theme has worked out well in this shady spot. Katya wanted a celiosia for her mother and a marigold for herself. She planted them side by side amongst the eggplants, so that she and her mother would be close. Mother and daughter had fun with a picnic by their flowers. My chrysanthemums are coming back, as are the asters. The big surprise for me was to find a viola growing in the beets. I did not expect that to be a hardy volunteer. I also have transplanted the Gerber daisies that were coming back after the frost to a front bed. Finally, the geraniums are coming back. My wife does not care for them (she associates them with death, since they are used in cemeteries in Mexico), but I have always loved them (I have always seen them in the gardens of German Americans, so maybe we associate them with life?). All in all, I hope for my rain, so I will not have to water as much.

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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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