Prepping, homesteading and living the simple, green, independent life.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Green Lawn: Now Mother-In-Law Approved!

I finally got around to mowing my lawn today.  I normally hold off mowing when there hasn't been much rain lately and this summer has been horrible for that so far.  We've had such little rain that it's been almost 3 weeks since I last mowed.

As I was mowing my mother-in-law stopped by and complimented me on how good my lawn looks.  I almost fell over since most people seem to think my "green lawn care" strategy just means lots of weeds and grass that always looks too long.

So here's what my lawn looked like tonight.  As before, our property ends where the hedges start (the second, taller bush).

Here's what my neighbour's lawn across the road looks like:

It appears that both my neighbours are the type that believe in mowing their lawn once a week whether it needs it or not, no matter what, even if it hasn't rained in over a month.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Garden Update

I didn't have enough time to plant everything I wanted this spring, but I'm pleased with the results I'm getting so far.  My strategy was to try to mix things up a bit to be more permacultury and to so what grows best where in the different levels of sun and shade.

I also wanted to get one of those big boxes of wildflower seeds and sprinkle those in between the veggies to give it more eye appeal and permaculture street-cred but I couldn't find any in stock this year.

So first up is a pic of what's supposed to be my porch herb garden.  I've got some rosemary in the foreground that's hanging on for life (I started it indoors) but nothing else is really doing well.  Dill and some lettuce are slowly coming along and some chives are popping up but that's about it.  I think there must be too much shade contrary to my original opinion.  Also what doesn't help is that these are probably the ones that I water the least since the hose is so far away on the other side.... Ya.  Basically when ever I talk about permaculture or green lawn care I'm actually talking about lazy gardening.  I'd like to install a drip system attached to the gutters but until then I think my porch will be an herb graveyard.

Next up is my side entrance garden which has had really surprising results.  The tomatoes are doing the best here and the onions are doing well too.  I think it's the early morning sun it gets.  Based on the results of those I thought the pole beans would go like mad, but they haven't taken off at all.  In fact the pole beans are going wild in the back yard planters where I thought they'd do horribly.  The broccoli is really getting bushy but no heads yet and the pepper is doing fine with one pepper on it so far.

To the left is my front yard garden, and the shadow of myself and the apple tree.  Once you get a front yard garden you've crossed a line.  The results here were surprising too.  I thought this would have the best results since it gets the most sun but the tomatoes seem to have done the worst here so far.  Onions are ok and the peppers are coming along but not as well as the front entrance.   This is the only place I planted jalapenos though since I thought it was the only place with enough sun for them which seems to have worked out well.  I've got at least 8 jalapeno peppers which are around 2 inches long each.  Along the wall I planted sunflowers, which did well last year to at least give some decoration.

 Last up is the side garden that I put in last spring and things aren't doing too well here.  The hedges across from them have grown really quickly and I don't think there's enough sun here now.  The hose across the wall if you're wondering is the overflow for my rain barrel to drain into a second.  I'll have to find some stuff that grows well in shady areas, though the cucumbers seem to be doing ok here.

One other neat little thing that seems to be doing well here is a ground cherry plant.  These things have a nice visual aspect with their "paper lanterns" but inside them are orange coloured berries that I find taste a bit like pineapple.  This particular one is located in an area that gets more sun than the rest of this section so that may be helping, but if it continues to do well, I may plant more on this side and see how they do.  I'd also like to plant some raspberry bushes on each side of the basement windows so the thorns will discourage people and animals to go near.

So far, this season is hit and miss, but I'm learning a lot which will help me in seasons to come.  I could be doing this by the "textbook" but I'm having fun experimenting.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Front Lawn Update

So this year I'm really trying to go natural with my lawn care.  No watering, mowing high, no weed n' feed etc..

So far the results are pretty good.  We haven't had much rain in the last month or so and as you can tell by this picture, there's a noticeable difference between my neighbour's and my lawn which ends at the hedges.  Basically right around where the brown stuff starts.

In that picture you can also see a bit of the apple tree that I've planted.  I picked a cortland apple tree because it supposedly has high and early yeilds and does it ever!

After a week we had at least a dozen apple-buds already.  I wasn't expecting any apples on this thing for at least a couple of years!  Unfortunately only 3 of those buds have survived this long and are now golfball-sized apples.  At least 3 apples are better than none and it's a great way for my daughter to learn about where her food comes from.  From her room she can see the tree and I asked her to watch out for people stealing our apples!

Since planting, I extended my rain-barrel/soaker hose system to the tree so it will always have water and added mulch.  I'd like to get a bunch of rocks at the base of the tree to act as a heat trap to increase the warmth of the soil and extend the growing season a bit.