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Friday, August 20, 2004

Sunset: Plant Trading Party

Today's email from Sunset Magazine recommends an interesting idea. Get your gardening friends together and have a plant trading party.

You could pot up your extra plants, give bare bulbs or rhizomes or even just have cutting which could be started by your friends. Whatever the method, it can help all your gardens grow using the bounty of your friend's gardens.

Add a potluck lunch to the festivities and you have the makings of a true "Garden Party".

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Starbucks for compost

I finally took the time to pick up a bag of Starbucks Coffee grounds the other day, as I was leaving our local store. A bit of reading said that the grounds are considered “green stuff” when it comes to composting. Since I am sorely lacking in “green stuff” and have a abundance of “brown”, like leaves and such, I am going to start adding a bag of Starbucks on a regular basis. We already dump all our coffee grounds (which is significant) into the compost, but I figure this might help to give it a little kick.

Our compost bin is a wooden packing crate that enclosed a clawfoot tub we purchased years ago. It is just now becoming really useful as a compost bin. The bottom slats finally rotted away from the sides, so now I can raise the side slats above the ground and allow the finished compost to simply ooze out of the sides. I used to have to pull back the top layer and dig out the compost whenever I wanted some, in the past, but this change makes it much easier to use.

More irrigation issues

I took some time to further inspect my watering system, after the breakdowns of the last several weeks. It seems that that soaker hoses definitely have a length limit. I found that 2 areas of the garden weren’t getting nearly enough water, as the water pressure wasn’t high enough to push the water all the way to the end of the soaker hose run. Bummer. I wondered why those roses looked a little peaked.

I have temporarily remedied the problem, but need to come up with a permanent solution. It will probably mean adding a new spigot somewhere closer to these areas, so that they have their own water supply and a certain level of water pressure.

As if that wasn’t enough, one of the old sprinkler heads in the front yard decided to fail this week. This old system, originally designed for a lawn has 1-2 foot riser pipes on each sprinkler to reach above the azalea planting that was placed by the previous owners. It has been relatively trouble-free over the last 8 years, but time it taking its toll. One of the “T” joints beneath a sprinkler decided to crack and drop a big chunk out of one side. Of course, this caused a big leak and makes ˝ of the sprinklers unusable until we get it repaired.

If the system was PVC pipe, I would have no problem fixing it myself, but it is all old, galvanized piping. This means I will need to find someone who can cut the old pipe, remove the “T”, rethread the existing pipe and re-attach the system. I had to have this down several years ago, when I put my shovel through a hidden sprinkler line in the backyard. It will probably end up costing over $100 in the end.