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Sunday, April 27, 2008

A bit of "Yak Shaving" in the garden

Mulch in the Garden
Originally uploaded by dewelch
We engaged in a bit of "yak shaving" (Reference 1) (Reference 2) in the garden this morning, but at least it turned our more productive than a typical "yak shaving" exercise. "Yak shaving" is when you start out to accomplish one task but through a series of steps you end up (figuratively) shaving the yak, which is not what you intended to do at all. (SMILE)

I really hadn't planned on doing much work in the garden today, as it is supposed to be into the 90's by the afternoon. Then I saw that I needed to empty the kitchen compost bin into the larger bins out back. Of course, while I had the lids off, and since it was going to be warm, I might as well soak down the compost bins so they can use the heat to work a little harder. After this I noticed the bird feeders and bird bath were empty, so I might as well fill those, as well.

We had user our chipper/shredder for the first time last week and had some excellent mulch. I had the idea that we could use this to dress the rose bed we had recently cleaned up. Then I thought, "heck, we can use the large cardboard box the chipper/shredder was delivered in to underlay the mulch to cut down on the grass.

Unfortunately, we needed to soak the cardboard before we covered it with mulch and the hose in that area had been disconnected while some work was being done on the house. After re-hooking the hose, I could see it needed a new washer as it was leaking around the wind-up timer that I use to run the soaker hose. I always keep some washers in the garage, so I replaced the washer and re-attached the hose.

Now, after placing the cardboard, we realized we didn't have nearly enough mulch to cover, so we need to make some more. We had the leaves from a couple of rose beds in the back to work with so we gathered them up. When I went to start the chipper/shredder the engine wouldn't budge. Ok, open the discharge chute and look for a clog. Nothing. Hmmm.. Finally I tip the unit on its back and turn the engine over with my hand. Plonk! out comes one 3-inch long twig that obviously had gotten wedged in exactly the wrong position. Button up the chipper/shredder, put on my goggles and dust mask and fire it up.

We ran about 4 boxes full of leaves and small twigs through the machine and I found that I had filled the entire output bag in about 15 minutes. Cool! This should be enough to finish up the rose bed. (It wasn't, quite, but we will get some more in a day or two to finish up the small part of the bed we couldn't cover.)

Finally, after about 2 hours we had completed our project ( and a few others) and were ready to hit the showers. Now I find myself here in front of the computer, sharing my morning with you, very happy that I didn't have to shave too much of the yak today, but it was close. (SMILE)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tomato Plants - April 22, 2008

Tomato Plants - April 22, 2008
Originally uploaded by dewelch
The tomato plants seem to have settled in nicely and the Sprite has about 8 flowers already. I will take pictures on a regular basis to share the growth and (hopefully) harvest of our first tomatoes.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Event: 4th Annual Green Gardens Tour from LAist

LAist points out this upcoming garden event. It is a fee event, but some might be interested in checking out this tour of Green Gardens.

Photo Preview: 4th Annual Green Gardens Tour

This upcoming Saturday, April 26th, marks the 4th Annual Green Gardens Tour, which gives attendees a backstage pass to see six home gardens on the Westside that "demonstrate sustainable designs, practices, and technologies."

Continues on the web site

(Via LAist.)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday in the Garden LIVE with Douglas

I am streaming our work in the garden today. Stop on by and say HI!

Monday, April 14, 2008

My First Tomato Patch

My First Tomato Patch
Originally uploaded by dewelch
I am not one to grow veggies on my little garden, mainly because it is quite shady and I didn't think they would do very well. That said, Tomatomania (Video) got the better of me and I ended up with 3 varieties and a small pot of basil. (Can't beat tomato with basil, ya know, at least for eating.) -- San Marzano, Legend and Sprite.

I added a bucket of homemade compost and turned over a small plot on the south side of the house and got them in the ground yesterday. We already had a soaker hose in this bed, so watering will be a snap. Need to think about some possible fertilizer options. Maybe something organic...or nothing at all. Typical benign neglect on my part. The same way I garden with everything else. (SMILE)

The Sprite has shown some flowers since I brought them home so I hope this bodes well.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Flowers found while Walking Van Nuys

Walking Van Nuys 002
Originally uploaded by dewelch
The iris are in bloom in my neighborhood. I took this shot (and others available on my Flickr account) as part of my new project, Walking Van Nuys. Read more about this project in My Word with Douglas E. Welch

Click the photo to find pictures of iris, California Poppy and more.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What I'm Reading...

Monday, April 07, 2008

Roses of the San Fernando Valley 2008

Our early wet spring has been a boon for every garden plant and the roses in the San Fernando Valley are exploding with huge, colorful blooms.

On my 2 mile walk through the neighborhood this morning, I took the opportunity to photograph as many roses as I could to give you an overview of what is happening.

Link: Roses of the Valley Photo Gallery

Friday, April 04, 2008


Scenes from this weekend's Tomatomania here in Encino, California

Link: iPod Ready Video