Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day 2010

Well it seemed like a good day to bushwack the back yard, what with it being Earth Day and all. Kevin did a great job clearing the forest although as you can see from the pix he seemed intent on protecting his frontal lobe rather than his eyes. The garden plot had been rounded up and the grass was actively dying so I moved compost onto the bed. 4 years of guinea pig poop does not decompose very well if you don't do anything to the pile. Down toward the bottom there was soil but it is mostly still wood chips. After I get this pile moved, I need to rethink how I compost and how I attend to it. My next project is to relocate the compost pile and get a rabbit hutch. The soil here is so poor that it needs all the amendments I can get. In that pile of compost I didn't see any worms at all.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Jalapenos & habeneros

I planted my peppers in my home made self watering planters today. And I have a batch of soap in the oven. One step at a time.

Monday, April 12, 2010

life goes on.

I found out a dear friend died yesterday. I knew he ahd been ill with cancer for several months. So it was for the best for him to go now. And I also found out that some friends 25 year relationship has just ended. With so much saddness, I was heartened to see my plants sprouting today. I came home to find the carrots tomato, chives and nasturtiums had all sprouted. I put then out on the back patio so they can get sun for thenext few days since I don't have any lights to rig up. I'm really pleased with the soda bottle planters . They have worked much better than I had imagined. To every thing there is a season turn turn turn.
Rest in peace my dear Jack. Spring is hear.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

homemade barometer

Now I can tell when a High or a Low is coming in and what that means! When the level in the tube is lower than in the bottle there is a high pressure system and nice weather is headed in. If the level in the tube is higher than the bottle then a Low is coming and a storm is headed our way. AH Science!

Self Watering bucket planters

It is taking quite a while to get rid of the Dreaded Bermuda Grass of Death in my garden plot and it's time to get tomatoes and peppers in the ground. So I needed some kind of container. But things just fry here in the blazing Texas heat during the summer and I just can't keep up with the water so I decided that SIP, Sub-irrigated planters are the way to go. I found a web site( that had directions I thought I could follow and this is the result.
2 5 gal buckets ( I had some left over Tractor Supply buckets from the chickens, I could use some leftover oil buckets as well)
1 18oz Solo plastic cup
1 4'X 1" PVC drinking water grade pipe
a jigsaw
a drill
First, drill a bunch of 1/4' holes in the bottom of hte bucket

measure the circumference of the solo cup about 3-4 inches up( I used a string to do this)
Then use the jigsaw to cut out the center hole big enough for the cup to slide into. In my case it was just slightly bigger than that round ridge in the center of the bucket.

Then cut a hole for the PVC pipe about 1/2" from the edge of the bucket. I had to make a bunch of holes with the drill and then ues the jigsaw to break the hole open and I still didn't get the end nearest the edge to come off so I just bent the plastic down. look at the above pix and you can see the circle holes I used .
Then cut 4 slits in the solo cup from about 1/2 an inch from the top to about 1/2 an inch from the bottom. Put cup in hole, put pipe in hole

Next, stick this bucket inside the other uncut bucket.

measure how far apart the bottom of each buckets are from each other. In this case they are 3.5 inches apart when inside each other. Drill a hole just below this line in the outer bucket for an overflow hole and there you have a planter ready for potting mix. The mix goes down into the cup and it acts as a wick to pull water up from the bottom bucket. Total cost 5.00/planter ( I had a bunch of Solo cups in the pantry.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

house plants in soda bottles

Here are 2 new house plants I planted in soda bottle planters. A pepperomia and a Maiden hair fern. Both need high light and like to be evenly moist so I think they will be well suited to self watering planters.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

soda bottle gardens

I've been really wanting to plant some food but my garden plot is a daunting weed filled mess right now and it is time to get planting. I found plans for 2 liter soda bottle planters on the web and I decided to give it a go. I don't drink much soda but I found soda on sale at the store for 1.00 a bottle so I bought some and just poured it out. Next time I think I'll just see if some of my friends have any leftover bottles. I hated the waste but still, a buck per bottle seemed cheap enough. I bought some polyester batting from Jo-Ann's fabrics, Pellon Thermolam Plus for 3 bucks a yard. I use a 1X5 inch strip so this will last for ever. I put the cut line on the bottle using a sharpie sitting on top of a cocontu milk can. I'd guess standard soup cans would work as well. I poked holes in the shoulder of the bottle by heating up a nail held with a pair of plyers over the stove. Then I just cut the bottle, put the strip in and pushed it down so it poked out of the neck a little bit using a chopstick. Then I added some potting mix, poked that done into the neck and put the whole thing together. The pictures above show the steps I took and the results, a strawberry plant and seeds for nasturtiums and arugula.