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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

LA Rain from A Gardener's Notebook

Who says it never rains in Southern California?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

LED Lights for a USB Desktop Greenhouse

I found this video on The Greenhouse, a social network for Gardenfork.tv. What a neat project for a rainy (or wintery) day.

Cool USB Greenhouse For Less Than $10! - video powered by Metacafe

Wisteria trim and other small tasks

Finally took a few moments this afternoon to clean all the "whippy" growth off the wisteria before it starts it growth for the year. I have been meaning to do this for a while, but circumstances finally provided the time and I provided the inclination. I wanted to get outdoors for a little today. It is cool, but very nice outside and it seemed a waste to spend the entire day indoors.

I saw a few more things I have to attack in the next couple of days. After a long time, and 2 new full compost bins, I am finally getting down to the compost at the bottom of our old bin. There is some good stuff there, I will probably sift out what I can and use it to top dress the roses for their Spring growth, too. Some might go on the new lavender bed, too. I bought the wire cloth to make a compost sifter ages ago and it looks like I am finally ready to put it to use, I will take some video when I am making/using it.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Lavender Bed and Rose Buds

Catching up on my garden. Do you have garden videos? Send links to agn@welchwrite.com or visit http://welchwrite.com/agn/

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Projects to do

I have a couple of gardening projects coming to fruition this week...now I just have to get them completed. (SMILE)

Lavender Bed

I picked up 5 lavender plants in 2 different varieties yesterday to start our new lavender bed. With the recent rains and cooler temperatures, it seems a good time to move forward with that. I am looking for soem amendments to place in this bed as I do the planting. What would you work into the bed to give it a bit more friability and lighten it? The soil here currently seems a bit heavy and prone to compaction. I am thinking of working in some compost or some topsoil from the nursery. Let me know your preferences in the comments below.

Garden Shed

I casually mentioned to a neighor friend that I wanted to tear down the old 1943 garden shed that was decaying in my back garden. I want to re-build it as something more useful for both storage, garden work and maybe even a small office to use for my writing, etc. He was very keen on "getting out some agression" so now I have to make it happen before he loses interest. I think it is time to go get some wrecking bars and prybars and get to work. It isn't that big of a shed, but I shudder to think what I will discover inside its walls.


It is also time to do some light pruning of the smaller trees in the garden. A few more weeks and we will start to see leaves on the trees and the wisteria again, so I have to get my act together soon. Basically, this light pruning cleans up any obviously dead branches and neaten up the habit, since I can now see the branch structure clearly wihtout the foliage.

Time to put on the gloves and get to work!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Elsewhere Online: Build This Potting Shed

Here is a link to a great project over at Instructable.com. If i can ever manage to get my current shed torn down, this would be a great possibility for its replacement.

Build This Potting Shed Here's an attractive addition to your farmstead or land. What's more, you get space to pursue your gardening dreams.

The Progressive Farmer designed this 8- x 10-foot potting shed. We built one, minus the overhang, in three days. The 6-foot overhang extends the working area outside. Three windows ...

By: Progressive Farmer

(Via explore.)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Elsewhere Online: Learning to DIY

After posting the note and video about The Dangerous Book for Boys yesterday, I saw this conversation in The Greenhouse, the community site for Gardenfork.tv.

Although I too am infected with the "protect our children at all costs" mentality of today, I do try to do things with Joe that allow him to explore hte more dangerous parts of life in a monitored environment. Posts like this and the attached video make me want to do it even more. Below is an excerpt from the post. Visit The Greenhouse to read the entire post and add your own comments.

Learning to DIY

...I discovered things like how flamable terpentine really is. How small engines worked. How to dismantle a bike. What bearings were, and why you needed them. Why you don't throw an "empty" can of OFF! into a campfire. How to pull the deck off of a riding lawnmower and use is as an off rad vehicle. How to cut wood to make a fort. How to build rockets. How to fire a gun. And many more skills that I treasure now.

I can't tell you how many things I've been able to fix around my house without involving an expensive repairman because I took a tape recorder apart or sat in the basement for a couple of hours watching the furnace fire up, move hot air through the house, then shut down when I was 11....

(Continues on the web site)

I'm interested to know anyone elses thoughts on this. Here is the video:

(Via Forum - The Greenhouse.)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Why trees fall?

Fallen tree limbWe recently had a few days of high winds here in Los Angeles, and every time this occurs you will find trees down all over the city. I often wonder what causes some trees to fail and others to remain upright in the face of such high winds and there seems to be a few common issues that might be avoided if homeowners paid a bit more attention to the trees on their property.

Broken limbs

If an entire tree does not fall in a windstorm, it may shed limbs both large and small. Typically, I find the that these limbs were already severely compromised by other issues and the wind simply stressed them to the point of failure. Too often, trees and not pruned according to any deep knowledge of arborology, but limbs are simply hacked away to achieve some desired result -- such as getting limbs off the roof, etc. Even worse, trees are often simply ignored and allowed to develop problems that will later cause their failure. I often see fallen limbs that have been long dead before they fell. Leaving dead limbs in a any tree is a dangerous, yet people often never notice the problem before it is too late or simply ignore it.

The worst case of a broken limb is one in which the trunk splits down its entire length. I have seen this occur when the trunk has a very steep crotch that allows water and debris to collect. Over time this water can invade the trunk and eventually cause rot. Then even a slight wind can stress the point to fracture.

Inspect your trees regularly and have them pruned regularly by a knowledgeable crew. This preventive maintenance can go a long way towards protecting you and your property when high winds, rain and ice arrive.

Compromised roots

Another common cause for failure I see here in Los Angeles is compromised roots. In our near-desert environment, we get most of our rain over a few Winter months. The heaviest storms can leave the ground saturated and poorly rooted trees can topple over from their own weight. Again, poor pruning practices can often be the cause, but other damage to the tree, such as root pruning due to construction can also complicate matters. Often, you could have foretold that the tree was going to fail, due to an obvious top-heaviness or pronounced lean. In some cases, pruning might be able to alleviate the strain to some degree, but in the worst cases, the tree will have to be removed. No one likes to remove a mature tree, but taking the tree out on your terms is much preferable to having it come down in the worst place, as the worst time.

Your trees are living beings and should be treated as such. Watch for signs of disease, old age and infirmity. Practice good pruning and keep your trees around, safely, for years to come.

Link: Fallen tree limb photos
Link: What is certified arborist? from Wikipedia.org