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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Rite in the Rain Notebooks

Rite in the Rain

These special writing pads would make great gardening notebooks. They stand up to water and mud and almost anything else. I have also recommended them for my friend who runs a restaurant and is constantly inventing new dishes. He needs something that stands up to not only water but sauces, grease and steam.

The notebooks comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and specialties. There are specific books for law enforcement, EMS techs, military, hikers, fishermen, contractors and more. You can find their entire product line at the Rite in the Rain web site.

I see now that they even have inkjet compatible paper that absorbs the inks and produces a virtually waterproof document. I think this would be great for Google Maps and hiking topos.

Link: Rite in the Rain Products at Amazon.com
Link: Rite in the Rain Web Site

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Look what's growing behind my garden...

After 10 years of living here in Van Nuys, the dreaded day has arrived. the car dealership that shares our back property line has decided to build a 3 story parking garage where there was once just a flat parking lot.

Over the years we have had the benefit of basically having no neighbors along that property line. Our trees could spill over the fence and no one complained. the wooden top, added onto the concrete block wall years ago could fall into disrepair without much worry.

We have seen plans for the structure, and in some ways envisioned it, as the same dealership built another structure 1 block over. From the plans they seem to be the same design. I have tried to visualize how much morning sun it will block, but until the steel actually goes up I don't think I will have a clear idea. I could get all geometric and figure out angles and such, but math was never really my strong suit. (SMILE)

They have included a 20 foot setback in their design and will be installing a green space between our back wall and the structure, so this should help to screen the building a little, although we already have a significant screen of trees along our back wall. Some neighbors, though, well be staring at a blank wall from their back porch once the structure is complete. Luckily, the rear wall (facing west) will have no openings so we won't feel like people are looking into the backyard. This particular effect immediately quashed potential homes when we were first looking to buy. I don't want to feel I have to dress up to take my kitchen scraps to the compost pile.

I have included a short video in this post as the first step in providing more audio and video material in A Gardener's Notebook. If you subscribe to the AGN RSS feed at the top of this page using iTunes, you will receive these file automatically. Expect to see some garden tours and, perhaps, some interviews with other gardeners and gardening professionals in the future.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Light and shade study for your garden

Here is a trick that can put some of your technology to good use in the garden...creating a Sun/Shade "map".

Unless you have an entirely open garden with no trees or large structures, the light changes from moment to moment and season to season. Have you ever noticed how your neighbor's large tree shades your rose bed for hours each day? How about the fence that effectively shades the shrubs at it's feet throughout the winter?

If you have a camcorder, digital camera or webcam, you can make a sun/shade map of parts of your garden or the entire garden if it is small enough. As you know from all those cool time-lapse movies that get shown on the Discovery Channel, compressing time makes the movement of clouds and sun much more dramatic.

Using a camcorder, you can videotape the garden and then speed it up by fast-forwarding or bringing the video into your computer and increasing the speed. You could also shoot a series of still photos and assemble them into a video. Finally, and one of the easiest methods if you have the equipment, is to set up a web cam designed to shoot pictures at regular intervals, say every minute. I can do this using my camcorder as input into my computer which is running EvoCam software and setting up a schedule.

When you play back this video at the end of the day you will have this wonderful map of exactly where the sun shines for this particular season. I recommend doing one on the Summer Solstice (June 21) and one on the Winter Solstice (Dec 21) so you can mark the extreme extents of sun and shade in your garden.

Link: Previous mentions of solstice
Link: Gardening Products from Amazon.com

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Snowbells here and daffodils rising


Snowbells
Originally uploaded by dewelch.
The snowbells are in full bloom and today I noticed that a bunch of the daffodils are pushing up out of the leaf litter, some as high as 5-6 inches.

The ash tree, which only lost its leaves in the last rain shower, is already putting out seeds and leaves. The camphor, which is evergreen is putting out tons of its little black fruits. I am not sure if any of the birds eat these, but they can be a bit of a mess.

If you visit the Flickr set that includes this photo, you will see 4 more photos from the garden.

Top 10 Gardening Gripes for 2005

Most of us enjoy gardening....a lot, but even on our best days there are things that can get us down. My own personal albatross is the back garden triangle where aggressive tree roots make it impossible to grow anything else. Still, maybe by focusing on our troubles for a little while we can come up with some solutions.

This article for About.com discusses some common gardening gripes and ways to address them.

Top 10 Gardening Gripes for 2005 It's time to start planning next year's garden and a good place to start is by reviewing what didn't work last year. On that note, here's my list of my Top 10 Gardening Annoyances and Frustrations for 2005. Feel free...

(Via Google Blog Search: gardening.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Making Compost in a Backyard Bin

A visual guide to composting from the Vancouver Compost Demonstration Garden.

Making Compost in a Backyard Bin

(Via del.icio.us/tag/gardening.)

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