Turning yard trash into “black gold” | worldofjuanita

Turning yard trash into “black gold”

Yesterday I woke to the unfamiliar sound of raindrops beating on the roof outside my window. It wasn’t much of a storm, but I was glad to get a couple of feet of water in my rain barrels, and I’d been worrying about having to water the trees and lawn.

Just the day before I put in those onions my husband bought me at Walmart. The old wood box beds were about to fall apart, we’ve had those for many years. My husband went to the trouble to put metal “cloth” on the bottoms to keep out the gophers, so we’ve toted those beds every time we’ve moved from one house to the other. Just set them on the ground in the sun and fill them up with dirt. The other day he gave them a good mending with some metal strip around the corners – good to go another few years.

My husband built  these redwood boxes for our first home, made  them “gopher proof” with metal fabric. We’ve toted them from house to house for many years, using them mostly for onions and garlic.

This metal strip is the handiest stuff. Someday, I realize, the wood will be so rotten, we won’t be able to patch it, but in this way we’ve got over 20 years out of this bed.

After I cleaned and turned over the dirt, I laid in the little red onion starts, then covered the bed with a couple of inches of mulch. I get my mulch from our trees, we have a lot of young oaks, a couple of nice sycamores, and plenty of scrubby brush around the edges of the yard. My son started building himself a leaf pile  several years ago, he intended to make a bike jump out of it.  When he came home for Christmas break recently, I asked him to turn it over – it was covered with foot-high weeds. Weeds know good dirt – the leaves had turned into a giant mound of “black gold.”

via Turning yard trash into “black gold” | worldofjuanita.

Plant Update—Figs and Blueberries | 2 Boys 1 Homestead


Plant Update—Figs and Blueberries

Hey Everyone!

Just thought I would update you on the Fig Trees and the Blueberry Bush. So far the Blueberry has done literally nothing. I’m not sure why. It still looks healthy and green, none of the tips are dying and the leaves have even quit falling off, it’s just not growing. I’m sure it’s waiting for more sunlight or something, but as of right now, it’s not doing anything.

The fig trees however, are growing like mad! The picture above is the most recent (today) and the picture below is when I got them. They’ve put on a few new leaves and the one on the left has almost doubled in height. I’m letting the trees grow two different ways, to see which is better. The one on the left is having all small side shoots trimmed off while the tree on the right is allowed to be bushy (since it was to begin with). I’ll see who does better, but my hypothesis is that the one on the left will get taller and possibly flower sooner, but the right tree will probably produce more when it matures.

Either way, they are doing great and I’m really happy to see good progress and healthy plants!

Well, we leave tonight to go to Dad’s house, and tomorrow we look at houses! I’m pretty excited!

via Plant Update—Figs and Blueberries | 2 Boys 1 Homestead.

Pruning | GrowGrowGadgetGrow



I spent this morning in a fruit tree pruning seminar and boy am I ready to torture,I mean nurture, our tiny orchard into shape. The Sonoma Ecology Center is a really cool local resource with acres of demonstration gardens and orchard space. They also apparently do a host of other great stuff for our community so go check out their website.

Ok now that you’re done reading their website, I guess the biggest take aways were:

That annual pruning of most fruit trees is necessary and when applied within reason will give you bigger better fruit.

You should be removing about 1/2 of peach tree annual growth and thinning fruits to no closer than a fist apart.

With a new bare root tree (apple, pear, fig, I think stone fruits as well) the recommendation was to take it home and chop it down to 24 inches tall, this was presented in concert with the notion of apical dominance. The idea being that the lateral buds, or lateral branches present in that twiggy stump will be invigorated to a great degree and you have lots of opportunity to shape, tie down and configure the resulting scaffolding branches to suit your whims.

Most stone fruits bear on last years growth, so we did a lot of recognizing the difference between foliage and fruit buds, which is important when considering just where to snip.

Fig trees can not be killed.

Do not prune citrus.

My pin up board on tree care is here

via Pruning | GrowGrowGadgetGrow.

I Need a Support Group | homesteaddad

I Need a Support Group

Posted on January 17, 2015 by Homestead Dad

I’d like to start this meeting by saying; Hi, my name is Homestead Dad, and I have a problem. It has been only six hours since I last purchased seeds.

Here is my latest score.

Some interesting ones in there that I let the kids pick out. Like the colored carrots, the purple beans, and the red sunflowers.

If you remember I said I thought I had some more seeds that I had bought at Costco last spring but never had a chance to plant, here they are.

via I Need a Support Group | homesteaddad.