Category Archives: DIY

Raised Bed Gardening – Not Always A Good Thing

A gadzillion (gadzillion is a word..right?) words and post have been published about the benefits of raised bed gardening and square foot gardens.

In truth raised beds are best suited to cooler and wetter climates than weather conditions found in Americas West and Southwest.

Pros of Raised Bed Gardening:
More control over the location of the garden
Ability to choose the best soil for your particular plants
More efficient draining
Can be easier on backs and knees due to less bending and stooping
Easier to keep out weeds
The soil warms up earlier in a raised bed, so you can plant earlier and extend your growing season
Better ability to keep out ground dwelling pests

Cons of Raised-Bed Gardening:
Can be more expensive to get started
Require careful planning to make sure there is enough room for plants that need to spread out, and to ensure that you can reach the middle to tend the plants
* Because raised beds drain so efficiently, they will also need to be watered more often and my require an irrigation system

In the west and southwest water is a valuable, often scarce commodity. Areas with little natural rain fall, daily temperatures at or above 95 degrees and humidity levels often dropping to 10% or 20%, tap water is an expensive way to water your garden.
Raised beds will often require watering 2 or even 3 times a day to prevent dry stressing plants.

Amending garden soil by digging in or tilling in large amounts of compost and planting directly in the amended soil very well may be a better choice over raised beds. You will over time develop a quality garden soil that holds moisture. Couple this with extensive use of mulch water needs will be greatly reduced and over heated soil temperatures can be moderated.
* This years mulch will be tilled into the soil as an amendment for next years garden.

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WWII Victory Garden Planting List – Heirlooms

Today,my friends I beg your pardon, but I’d like to speak of my Victory Garden.
With a hoe for a sword and citronella for armor, I ventured forth and became a farmer …
Ogden Nash 1943

Smithsonian Institution
WWII-era vegetables Victory Garden
The vegetables planted in the Smithsonian Institution’s recreated
Victory Garden were commonly grown during World War II and can
still be found through seed * catalogues and nurseries.

From a tiny seed I will feed my family. (unknown)

Spring Garden
* Carrot
Amarillo
St. Valery
* Lettuce
Bronze Arrow
Forellenschuluss
Black-Seeded Simpson
Tennis Ball
* Kale
Red Russian
Early Curled Siberian Kale
* Onion
Red Wethersfield
Siskiyou Sweet
* Peas
Alderman Tall Telephone
Corne De Belier
Green Arrow
* Radish
Red Meat
White Icicle

Summer Garden
* Basil
* Lettuce Leaf
Mrs. Burns Lemon
Beans, Bush
Black Pencil Podded
Beans, Pole
Kentucky Wonder (‘Old Homestead’)
Dow Purple Podded
* Beans, Lima
Red Calico
* Popcorn
Strawberry
* Corn, Sweet
Stowell’s Evergreen
Golden Bantam
Texas Honey June
* Cucumber
Lemon
Early Russian
Suyo Long
* Eggplant
Black Beauty
Rosa Bianca
Muskmelon
Hale’s Best
Pike
* Okra
Clemson Spineless
* Pepper
California Wonder (Sweet)
Marconi (Sweet)
Black Czech (Hot)
* Pumpkin
Rouge Vif D’Etampes
* Squash, Summer
Yellow Crookneck
Cocozelle Bush
* Squash, Winter
Blue Hubbard
* Tomato
Yellow Pear
Brandywine
Mortgage Lifter
Cherokee Purple
* Watermelon
Moon and Stars
White Wonder

Fall Garden
* Beets
Detroit Dark Red
Bull’s Blood
Chioggia
* Broccoli
Calabrese
* Cabbage
Early Jersey Wakefield
* Carrot
Amarillo
St. Valery
* Cauliflower
* Lettuce
Bronze Arrow
Forellenschuluss
Black-Seeded Simpson
Tennis Ball
Kohlrabi
Purple Vienna
* Parsley
Extra Curled Dwarf
* Parsnip
Sugar Hollow Crown
* Radish
Red Meat
White Icicle
* Spinach
Viroflay
Bloomsdale Long Standing
* Swiss Chard
Ruby
* Turnip
Purple-Top White Globe

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Image

View of death as seen by a 5 year old

Organic food isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

It turns out eating organic isn’t always that great for the planet, and may only have a marginal effect on your health.

A new study published in the journal Science Advances reports organic farms have the ecofriendly benefit of using fewer pesticides but they also use more land, which is harmful to the planet.

University of British Columbia analyzed organic crop farming across 17 criteria such as yield, impact on climate change, farmer livelihood and consumer health by looking at the existing scientific literature on its results.
They found the environmental benefits of organic farming can be offset by the lower yields of such crops (typically 19 to 25 percent lower than conventional farming).

While an organic farm may be better for things like biodiversity, farmers will need more land to grow the same amount of food.

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Some Like Them Hot – Some Don’t

This Is Not a recommended list of peppers to grow in your home garden. It is a chart to base you pepper selection from.

How hot do you like your pepper? The sweet bell peppers at zero Scoville units to Naga Jolokia(Ghost Pepper) at over 1,000,000 Scoville units.
The substance that makes a chile{chili} pepper so hot is called Capsaicin. Pure Capsaicin rates between 15,000,000 and 16,000,000 Scoville Units!

Scoville Units

Chile Pepper

Heat
Range
Sweet Bell 0
Sweet Banana 0
Pimento 0
Cherry 00 ~ 500
Pepperoncini 100 ~ 500
Sonora 300 ~ 600
El-Paso 500 ~ 700
Santa Fe Grande 500 ~ 750
NuMex R Naky 500 ~ 1,000
Coronado 700 ~ 1,000
TAM Mild Jalapeno 1,000 ~ 1,500
New Mexico 6-4 1,000 ~ 1,500
Espanola 1,000 ~ 2,000
Poblano 1,000 ~ 2,000
Ancho 1,000 ~ 2,000
Mulato 1,000 ~ 2,000
Pasilla 1,000 ~ 2,000
Anaheim 500 ~ 2,500
Sandia 500 ~ 2,500
NuMex Big Jim 1,500 ~ 2,500
Rocotillo 1,500 ~ 2,500
Pulla 700 ~ 3,000
NuMex Joe E. Parker 1,500 ~ 3,000
Bulgarian Carrot 2,000 ~ 5,000
Mirasol 2,500 ~ 5,000
Guajillo 2,500 ~ 5,000
Jalapeno 2,500 ~ 8,000
Chipolte 5,000 ~ 8,000
Long Thick Cayenne 6,000 ~ 8,500
Hot Wax 5,000 ~ 9,000
Puya 5,000 ~ 10,000
Hidalgo 6,000 ~ 17,000
Aji Escabeche 12,000 ~ 17,000
Serrano 8,000 ~ 22,000
Manzano 12,000 ~ 30,000
Shipkas 12,000 ~ 30,000
NuMex Barker’s Hot 15,000 ~ 30,000
De Arbol 15,000 ~ 30,000
Jaloro 30,000 ~ 50,000
Aji 30,000 ~ 50,000
Tabasco 30,000 ~ 50,000
Cayenne 30,000 ~ 50,000
Santaka 40,000 ~ 50,000
Super Chile 40,000 ~ 50,000
Piquin 40,000 ~ 58,000
NuMex XX Hot 60,000 ~ 70,000
Yatsafusa 50,000 ~ 75,000
Red Amazon 55,000 ~ 75,000
Haimen 70,000 ~ 80,000
Chiltecpin 60,000 ~ 85,000
Thai 50,000 ~ 100,000
Merah 85,000 ~ 100,000
Tabiche 85,000 ~ 115,000
Bahamian 95,000 ~ 110,000
Carolina Cayenne 100,000 ~ 125,000
Kumataka 125,000 ~ 150,000
Bahamian 125,000 ~ 300,000
Jamaican Hot 100,000 ~ 200,000
Birds Eye 100,000 ~ 225,000
Tepin (Wild) 100,000 ~ 265,000
Datil 1,000 ~ 300,000
Devil Toung 125,000 ~ 325,000
Fatalii 125,000 ~ 325,000
Orange Habanero 150,000 ~ 325,000
Scotch Bonnet 150,000 ~ 325,000
TigrePaw-NR 265,000 ~ 348,000
Rocoto / Manzano 225,000 ~ 350,000
Caribbean Red 120,000 ~ 400,000
Choclate Habanero 325,000 ~ 425,000
Red Savina Habanero 350,000 ~ 575,000
Dorset Naga 800,000 ~ 900,000
Naga Jolokia “Ghost Pepper” 800,000 ~ 1,041,000
Pure Capsaicin 15-16,000,000

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Going gluten free may raise your risk of type 2 diabetes

I have commented on this Gluten free Fad Trend in the past.

JAMA Internal Medicine research shows celiac disease rates have remained stable, while going gluten free is now trendier than ever.

People without celiac disease or a gluten intolerance may be unnecessarily raising their risk of type 2 diabetes by following the trendy diet. Dr. Geng Zong, a research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, said “Gluten-free foods often have less dietary fiber and other micronutrients, making them less nutritious and they also tend to cost more.”

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Pre-Spring Gardening

Daylight Saving Time starts on the 12th of March.
The Northern Hemisphere marks the spring equinox on Monday, March 20, 2017.

Southwest Oklahoma has been experiencing spring like weather for the past 2 weeks and my weather man indicates we can expect much more of the same spring like weather.
My miniature apple tree will soon be leafed out and and I hope to see a few blooms in it this year. It was planted in a large porch pot for two years but now resides in an area in the garden I have set aside for fruit trees and a few grape vines.
Flowering pears, wild plumbs and many ornamental flowering plants have started putting on their flowering splash of color show.

Three weeks past I pruned my seedless concord grape vines. I saved 5 cutting in an attempt to root at least one cutting to replace a vine I lost to the rabbits chewing it off to ground level during the 2015/2016 winter season.

In an attempt to root these cutting I put then in a small container of water and set them in a north facing window. I now have a few buds leafing out but no roots as of today. So in an attempt to jump starting root development I add 2 table spoons of liquid root stimulator to the water.

Grin… I must have had a ‘hatch’ off of rabbits. As of late I have collected four nice cotton tails that dressed out at about 1-1/2 pounds each. Today will be rabbit stew day.

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Seed starter soil bocks

This is way to good not to share.

One of the things you see a lot in the garden center of the hardware store are little “seed starting kits” that come with disks of expanding peat moss and little customized plastic trays. These are charming, and hold lots of promise for the imaginative beginning gardener, but there’s a reason why gardening books don’t […]

via DIY Compressed Soil Block Maker — From the Ground Up

Rosemary, Summer Savory, And Sage – Some Like It Hot And Dry

Many culinary herbs originally came from southern Europe in and around the Mediterranean sea. There have been a lot more herb plantings {rosemary, thyme, lavender, summer savory, and sage} killed with love{over watering} than have been killed by neglect.

A majority of herbs like a well drained soil with a pH range of 6.0-7.5. Outdoors, avoid planting in heavy clay soils as well as wet areas. Also, avoid soils that have a high nutrient content. These rich soils may actually prove detrimental to the herb’s quality by promoting rapid, lush growth that will contain only small amounts of the volatile oils that give herbs their characteristic aromas and flavors. Containers used for growing herbs, whether indoors or outside, should always have holes in the bottom to insure proper drainage.

Most herbs require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight in order to grow well. All day sun is even better. The more intense the light, the more oils will develop within the glands of foliage and stems, creating stronger fragrances and seasonings. A southern or western exposure will meet the needs of most herbs, although some may do well in a bright east facing location.

Indoors, it is crucial to give herbs the best light available. During winter, when days are shorter and typically darker, fluorescent grow lights will probably be necessary to maintain healthy plants. Twelve hours of artificial light daily is adequate for most indoor grown herbs.

Water thoroughly only as needed by soaking the soil to a depth of 8 inches, to ensure that the root zone is receiving adequate moisture. Outdoors, container grown herbs must be watered more frequently, even daily, if days are very hot and sunny. Indoors, water thoroughly when the soil feels dry a half inch or so below the surface.
Tip: Never allow the plants to wilt between watering, but avoid constant soggy soil conditions. Constantly wet soil encourages root rots which are the most common problem of herbs grown indoors, especially during winter.

Fertilize sparingly. Too vigorous growth will produce foliage low in essential oils and therefore bland. Use a liquid fertilizer at half the label recommended strength once every 6-8 weeks or so for indoor plants and every 4-6 weeks for herbs in containers outdoors.

Mulching materials such as straw, marsh hay, compost, and leaves provide good winter protection for hardy perennial herbs. Depending on the size of the plant, a mulch 2-5 inches thick will keep the temperatures around the plant more constant during late fall and early spring, keeping winter damage to a minimum. Mulching can also be beneficial during hot, dry periods of the summer by helping to regulate soil temperature and moisture.

Rosemary plant care is easy. When growing rosemary plants, provide them with well drained, sandy soil and at least six to eight hours of sunlight. These plants thrive in warm, humid environments and cannot withstand winters below 30 F. (-1C.), it’s often better when growing rosemary plants to put them in containers, which can be placed in ground and easily moved indoors during winter.
Rosemary prefers to remain somewhat on the dry side; therefore, terra cotta pots are a good choice when selecting suitable containers. These pots allow the plant to dry out faster. Thoroughly water rosemary plants when the soil is dry to the touch but allow the plants to dry out between watering intervals. Even indoors, rosemary plants will require lots of light, at least six hours, so place the plant in a suitable location free of drafts.

Sage is sturdy, hardy, prolific, and drought-tolerant. It grows well within a wide range of temperatures and planting zones. Sage also boasts a long growing season. Since this resinous herb is evergreen in most zones, you can harvest sage well into late fall.

Savory two types of savory: summer savory and winter savory. Summer savory is an annual. Winter savory is a perennial. Both can be planted in spring about the time of the average last frost date or started indoors as early as 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Both will be ready for harvest about 70 days after planting.

Summer savory is a fast growing annual. It grows upright to about 18 inches tall as a loose bushy plant. Summer savory has needle-shaped leaves to about 1 inch long on four sided, gray green stems. Summer savory flowers are light purple to pink.

Winter savory is a semi-evergreen bushy perennial that grows to about 15 inches tall. It also has needle shaped, dark green leaves to about 1 inch long on four-squared stems that become woody with age. Winter savory has small white or purple flowers.

Winter savory has a piney, sharp flavor.
Summer savory is sweet flavored.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Growing Rosemary Plants: Rosemary Plant Care https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/rosemary/growing-rosemary-plants-rosemary-plant-care.htm
Source document: University of Minnesota Growing Herbs

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The Thyme Is Now

Thyme is a highly aromatic herb which grows especially well in sunny somewhat dry conditions. A Mediterranean herb, thyme holds its flavor in cooking and blends well with other flavors like garlic, olive oil and tomatoes.

USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 – 9+
Exposure: Full Sun
Mature Size: Varies with variety.
Thyme is generally low growing, spreading, 6 – 10″ in height. Some varieties form an almost flat carpet.

Description: Thyme is a low growing, woody perennial. It is extremely fragrant and flavorful and grows well in tough, dry conditions. The pink, lavender or white tubular flowers are very popular with bees. Tiny gray-green leaves remain evergreen. There are about 350 different species.

Suggested Varieties:

  • Thymus x citriodorus ‘Aureus’ – Lemon-scented thyme with a true lemon scent, the minty quality of thyme and golden variegated leaves.
  • T. pseudolanuginosus ‘Woolly Thyme’ – Very soft, flat spreading carpet. No scent. (Zones 6 – 5)
  • T. herba-barona ‘Caraway Thyme’ – Low growing, with pale pink flowers and the scent of caraway. Also look for thymes with the scents of orange, rose and lavender.
  • Growing Requirements & Maintenance: Thyme pretty much grows itself. In fact, the more you fuss with it, the less hardy it will be. Thyme is most fragrant and flavorful when grown in dry, lean soil. Too much moisture will rot the plants.

    Thyme will grow well indoors, if given a bright, sunny window. However, since it survives quite well outdoors all winter, you might want to consider giving it a sheltered location outside, where you can continue to harvest.

    Maintenance: When grown in warmer climates where it can get shrubby, prune hard, in early spring, to prevent the plant from getting too woody. Additional shaping can be done after flowering. Otherwise all that is needed is to prune by harvesting and to remove and replace any areas that die out.

    Uses: Thyme is flavorful fresh and dried. It makes a nice complement to tomato sauces, cheeses, eggs and vegetables. It can also be used to flavor jellies, breads, vinegars, marinades, sauces and in bouquet garnish.

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