Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Just a rambling kind of post.

Squash row is looking good. Haven't had a mound die off yet. Even a few of the corn are actually looking like corn- I'm devoutly hoping for at least three plants worth of seed. I think between watering the mounds and filling my homemade reservoirs it's going to work out ok.
Veggies look pretty good too. Think I might have lost a pepper or two, perhaps one tom. I dunno yet about the seed paper action. Nothing has started poking up through the grass, so still waiting.
The peonies down in the ditch look like they have puked out.
The herb garden is looking great!! Every single plant is thriving, yay!
Dunno about the FOH garden. Moss grows super slow, and probably too soon to tell if the snapdragon seed is going to sprout or not yet.
The yellow morning glories were killed :( The blue morning glory died :( But the reunion isle morning glory and moonflowers look good :)

And um yeah, the deadwood fence still looks frigging fabulous!!! Even if the jewel nasts don't take up on it this year, and it remains bare... still looks wonderful. I still have my milkmaids in pots, and I can easily get long vine nasts I like for next season. I think perhaps the stump will hold a polite private property sign and a light above the sign. A solar light of some sort of course.

We got a handful of new water tools today. Got a blade sprinkler for down at the beds. And a two pack of trigger sprayers. One has a multihead, the other is an old fashioned. I broke my trigger sprayer, and though I like my wand sprayer, some tasks just are easier using a trigger.
And a circular sprinkler- the kind that you can change the spray patterns on for up by the house and the odd shaped gardens up here. I watered the herb garden, snapdragon corner, and moss beds already. Tomorrow will be the other beds.

On the tec front... My love got in some cool valve bits.. and we now have a water sensor set up on the solarium pond so when the water level drops (and it does) the sensor sends a message to the valve, valve opens, and a lovely new jet of water replenishes the pond. He has also been working on a cool bucket water/nute feeding system too. Totally cool for hydroponics, yep. But also very cool for outdoor gardens too.
Old world tec: using basement air to help cool the house. We had to get a little AC unit for the downstairs, but now we are setting up a big box fan at the top of the half door opening to the basement to suck some of that cold air up and into this side of the house. And another box fan to help move the air between the two.
It's been a dry winter into a dry spring, and now onto a dry summer. Not that I wish for nasty weather, but a bit of rain would be nice. Just enough to do a good allover yard watering. I think the dry weather has really gotten our heads into thinking about what to do best with the water and time we do have around here. Makes me extra glad we cleared up all of the wood and jungle issues on the property. Even in the Midwest, Defensible Space has meaning. If it ain't against water and critters in wet seasons, in dry seasons its fire and critters.

Stuff I need to get off my kiester and do.. Plant in the gourds. I do need a couple barrows of grass mulch grown up first. And now that I have a fancy sprinkler head, I can really soak in that area before busting it up more. The gourds are still hanging on ok in their pots, but still, the sooner the better.
Plant in the dill for the same reason.
Need to do a general round of mowing, but I also need to leave a couple delayed mow spots to mow in a week or two to keep up with my mulching needs, lol.
Do a good watering, stabbing, and such to the compost pile. That can be watered in in a round with the gourd watering area.
Do a general cleanup of all the dead pots from spring.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Been busy..

It's been busy around here. My sister came out for several days and we whupped the whole yard into shape :)

We moved about 10 truckloads of wood around... A great deal of it went down to the firepit..

Super nice... We had a couple bonfires, and still have a goodly pile of scrub to burn off through the summer. Booya for truck hauling action!! All that green stuff is from us trimming the trees- the pole barn roof is now out of danger, the whole driveway is now free of low limbs making it truck friendly, and a few other trees got some nice snippets too.. I can now see clearly down to the firepit.

We also wove together a nice deadwood fence to block off the far end of the arch drive. I planted mixed jewel nasturtiums along one end- the other end will end up getting planted in with those irises by the solarium. After it's rained enough to not make digging around the pine tree painful.

A couple of nice artful limbs lent themselves to planting morning glories. Hopefully those will swarm up the limbs, and the moonflowers planted in behind will become a lovely and weed smothering nook in time.

And mowing... finally all the wood is moved and the whole frigging jungle of grass has been chopped down.. It looks like we have a whole new yard! Took three truckloads down to the raspberry box and garden beds and several wheelbarrows up to the herb garden for natural mulch. The compost bin has at least doubled in content- and is now half the size, yay!!

 The milk jugs are reservoirs- I plugged a chunk of pipe in the end to spike it into the ground. I figure since so much of that area is currently under smothering plastic, the extra few gallons release in the area is a wise idea.
 You can actually tell there's a box now there instead of just tall grass and scrub tree action. I spraypainted the living shit out of those little stumps this time. Hopefully it will help with growback.
 The first three square boxes- at least they will be once we build the boxes to fill, lol. This year is just marking stuff off and seeing how I like it- and I think I like it well. 4x8 boxes with 3 feet in between- generous to say the least.
And yeah, finally, finally got the black plastic cut and the plant action going. First night someone naughty came by and pretty much pulled up everything, but after that has left everything pretty much alone for the time being. We shall have to see what happens when everything starts fruiting.
And no, there is no fantastic three sisters row this year. After the first five trays of corn failed to sprout, I reseeded them all. Someone trashed them all overnight. So I hastily replanted five more trays and wisely kept them in the solarium till sprouted. Only a tray and a half ended up sprouting. So I ended up with only one segment worth of corn, so I just planted them all together and decided to skip the pole beans entirely this year. Planted in the whole row with all the squash, including some ghost pumpkins from my sister and all that was to go into the arch drive. Overnight, someone trashed all but a handful of what corn was planted, and so I figure there will be no sweet corn this year.

Did get all the popcorn flung out along the sanctuary fencline, we shall see if that yields anything or not. Also flung out the sunflower seed mix along the easement ditch. Dug out the couple peonies in the yard and dropped them into the road end of the easement ditch- I can't really mow there anyway, so why not move the ant-plants far from the house and make the ditch pretty? And the ditch lillies we put in on the other road corner are doing really well :)

A particularly awesome afternoon our friend K came out and the three of us dug in a whole new herb garden right outside my office window. I decided that all my nice and behaving herbs will have a home there- and all the naughty or questionable ones will go into the living fence. I figure a sage or thyme bush will only get so big, and can go into the office garden. A mustard or cilantro might get out of hand with dropping seeds and need to get the snot whacked out of it once in a while. If I backrow in the living fence with asparagus like I want to, it will likely be able to hold it's own against naughty herbs, and I can always mow the herb side to keep it in check.
Three naughtys are getting their own beds. Mint is going under some pines, and it can ramble at will there. Flat leaf parsley is getting a whole hedge behind the ditch lillies by the office- better an out of control parsley patch than weed or grass patch :) and trouble hill is getting sown with dill- again better dill weed than other noxious weeds growing in a spot that's a chore to clean up.
A questionable I devoutly hope is naughty- wooly thyme. I got a pot of it and gave it a special corner of the new herb garden. I hope that thing wants to devour the corner so I can take new plants off it and start spreading it into some of my "walk on me" areas of the yard.

Let's see, what else.. Well, the sunflowers for the arch drive puked out, and so did the luffas.. And most of the squash/pumpkin mix got moved to the failed three sisters row..  So the whole arch drive project got nixed for this year. It's enough that we cleaned it up entirely and got the deadwood fence into place. Now I just need to keep it clean for the season.
The stringing project is still on. I'm going to plant in the gourd mix on it and see what happens.

Got the FOH garden cleaned up quite a bit, and the rest of the moss for the upper path is now set up. So is a snapdragon bed. Just sprinkled in new seed in the whole area where snaps were already showing up.

All and all... A shitton.. no, a megashitton of cleanup done. Crap that it took days of a hardworking pair and a pickup to move it all and clean it all up. But so very very worth it. Now I can just do maintenance and work on new projects that I can finally do now.
As hahaha's... had to pick up another 75 foot hose- now it finally reaches the veg gardens. Managed to wreck a pitchfork and had to buy a new one- the old one needs some work before it can be used again. Figured out how to drop and attach the mowing deck on the lawn tractor- ran over a wire that had to be freed from both blades, oddly enough in a spot close to where I broke the deck pin last year. Used up a couple cans of deep woods bug spray, and used yard spray in a big chunk of the yard and still managed to bring some ticks in- yeah, we've been on serious tick patrol too.

We even managed to sneak in some fun time too- spent a day visiting in the big city and I got the rest of the beads I needed for the ring carrier for the wedding :) and got to noodle around setting up tents in the front yard to get a feel for how many people can tent up for the wedding. We know a lot of campers, and I bet if the weather will be nice a bunch of them would like to campout.
There was a ruckus from the southern neighbors while we were setting up tents... It was rather odd. For once, it wasn't my property getting trashed or swiped that caused the yuck. They were having a family fight. Hope that sort of thing does not happen again.

As a Tippy report... Finally found out for sure what happened to the neighbor chickens... Large predator bird. The spluge of feathers has been found.. poor chickens :( But I guess yay for wildlife too.

So... been busy, and still got more to do :)