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Showing posts from 2008

Worms and Great Writing

You're right, no matter how many times you read that title, it still won't make sense. Those two concepts, "worms" and "great writing", just spar with each other. And that, dear reader, is exactly the problem I've been having. Reading other Spring Flingers' blogs has given me serious performance anxiety; but after months of stalling, it's time to talk about vermiculture - the proper term for worm composting. Guess I'll stick to what I know and leave the great writing for the pros.

The best primer on this subject is probably "Worms Eat My Garbage" by the late Mary Appelhof. She started writing in the 70's about her experiences with vermiculture, and the company she founded is a dependable source of worms, worm bin supplies, and information. No doubt, even a slight interest in vermiculture has led you to the internet and that site. Her book is widely available at bookstores and organic gardening centers, as well as online. It'…

"Plastics"

1967 brought us "The Graduate" and the movie quote voted #42 (out of 100) by the American Film Institute. "Plastics" is also a line that's been running through my head a lot lately when I've been playin' outside. In spite of my love of rocks, wood, and other things organic, I've noticed a number of plastic items have become workhorses in our little garden. This is my plastic "Trifecta": the greenhouse, rain tank, and some GrowBoxes.




Probably best known to anyone reading this blog is the big green rain collection tank. Made of polypropylene and piped with PVC, it's undeniably a big plastic statement. Of course the lovely rock, mortar and wood cisterns we've seen at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center or in the James David garden would be preferred for their aesthetic appeal. But our big plastic tank is doing its job well and would be much easier to pack up and move if needed.  What's more important - avoiding something made fr…

900 and Counting

Amid threats of tornadoes, lightening strikes, and hail, we got about an inch of rain over the past few days. From that ... drum roll please ... we managed to collect about 900 gallons of cloud juice. * The gutters and pipes to the rainwater tank didn't sag or leak (not that we expected them to), the water went where we wanted it, and as an added bonus, we didn't get hit by the hail.



Also, as I was saying to MSS at Zanthan Gardens, now we understand what a friend meant when he said, "Oh, you got the small one!" when he saw our 1660 gallon tank. This is addictive! The clouds give us a little free and we're hooked. Given that Austin averages 32 to 36 inches of rain per year, however, our little lot doesn't have enough room for tanks to catch all of it. Herein lies the dilemma of the suburban rainwater harvester. In most areas, rainfall occurs seasonally. Many of us don't have room for enough storage to catch the entire rainy season harvest and be able to las…

The Choice

My husband has no idea, but he's about to be very happy that Tim was "right". We stand to save a lot of money; because as far as I'm concerned, my local nursery went out of business this week. I've made a tough decision to stop being a customer there - the place where I'd drop by to visit on the way home and find myself spending $50 when I really didn't need anything, the place I'd find myself sometimes 3 times a day when I was in the middle of a gardening project, and the place I'd go at least once a week even if nothing special was going on in the garden. I could always convince myself that something, some plant or pot or sculpture, was irresistable. But resisting is the current plan. Why the drama? Because the owner was rude to me. Details don't really matter. Technically, he was right. I parked where they said not to. He yelled at me. My feelings are hurt. If he cared about customers, he wouldn't have said what he did in…

The First Crop

Spring Fling 2008 was better than anyone could have imagined - the knowledge and generosity of my fellow garden bloggers overwhelmed me to the point of silence. Anyone who knows me is impressed by that! It has been captured so well on other sites, I've decided to leave it at that. Sometimes something is so good, my feeble attempts to describe it only diminish it. Check out Pam's "Digging'" for info, pictures, and links. It was perfect. Enough said.
It surprises me how many people are tracking the progress of my rain harvesting tank installation. Just for them - here's the big unveiling! The morning after Spring Fling, we went to the local big box and got the PVC piping and fittings to connect the tank. If you're not used to doing a lot of projects with PVC, I encourage you to gently connect all the pieces while you're there at the store to test for fit. They always have short sections of piping for sale. Assemble joints and use one of those short sec…

Today's Blooms

This time of year it's great to be a gardener in central Texas. The leopard frog in my pond has resumed his nightly serenade after a winter's rest, we're getting some much needed rain, and everything looks so fresh and healthy in the cooler weather. Yesterday I was talking to a plant supplier in Virginia who is still having to worry about the effects of snow and cold weather. I was telling him how we are trying to get plants started now so they can get a good start before the killing heat sets in.

I missed Bloom Day, so here's what was blooming in my garden on the ides of March ...


A few years ago, I found this small tulip at a local nursery. It's t. clusiana "Cynthia"and will naturalize here in Austin. Above are three pictures of the same plant; I'm trying to capture the wonderful yellow and deep pink of the blooms. The top photo is the closest, but it didn't show the pink as well as it was taken later in the day when the blooms had opened.


Colleen&…