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Archive for May, 2015

It happens everywhere.  NO WATER!  This time it’s not a drought, it’s broken, or leaking pipes; it’s the construction work interfering on our gardening levels; it’s hoses malfunctioning; and even vacations happening for a few weeks at a time during the growing season.  It’s frustrating as a gardener, to see our gardens wilting and not being able to help.  But, isn’t that part of what it means to be a gardener?  We have to learn to deal with all kinds of adversity.  Lack of hydration, OR too much water; bugs; disease; inconsiderate people; the list continues.  We know it all, but what can we do?

This week the big issue is the water being turned off due to a leak that must be repaired in a pipe leading to our gardens.  AAARRRGGGHHH!  It doesn’t help that the weather has turned hot and dry.  For Seattle, that’s also a bit frustrating.

So, what do we do?  We wait patiently for the pipe to be repaired.  In the meantime, our plants are drooping.  Perhaps it’s time for drastic actions:

  • carry water from the closest, functioning tap.
  • MULCH-lay mulch around the plants.  It will keep the soil cool, and keep the moisture from evaporating out of the soil so quickly.  (If you click the link, it will take you to a grand definition of Mulch!)
  • You could even try laying wet newspaper around the plants.  It may not look very pretty, but it may also help.  It is a form of mulch.
  • (I removed the idea of crystal polymer beads, due to the many drawbacks.)

So, there are some suggestions that might help.  Other than getting the pipe functioning again…just using these techniques might help your garden “in general” anyway!

Good luck, and happy gardening!

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Here at Horizon House, we are definitely IN an URBAN setting.  Many of our gardeners here would like to have attractive vegetables growing in their raised beds, and on our gardening terraces.

Within the city

Within the city

There are things to be cautious about with urban vegetable gardening, mostly with noxious air and also noxious things in the soil.  Everything eventually gets into the soil, so it’s worth a bit of concern.

I don’t think we need to worry as much as those who live locally, and attempt to plant veggies right at the roadside.  Here at Horizon House, we have the benefit of using packaged soil or “compost” in our gardens.  We do not just dig in local soil, as do many of our neighbors.  BUT, there is still air, and rain borne chemicals that settle down into our soil.

This morning I read an interesting article on my NPR Home page.  It talks about what Washington, D.C. is doing concerning this.  The University of the District of Columbia is supporting a study on urban farming, and is in fact, the ONLY Land Grant University that deals with a totally URBAN focus.

Mchezaji “Che” Axum is the gentleman who runs the research farm for the U. of the D. of C..  “…instead of vast fields testing dozens of varieties of wheat, Axum’s research farm has raised beds, narrow hoop houses and even a shipping container. He gives growers advice on where to buy decent soil or how to compost their own, in case the land they plan to grow on has a seedy industrial past.”

This is GOOD stuff for the urban farmers within the confines of Seattle, and even the communities close by.

HH Herb Garden

HH Herb Garden

In our Gardening Terraces, some gardeners are growing pretty greens,  little tomatoes, kale, etc.  We also have an herb garden tended by two of our Garden Committee members.

The herbs are available to ALL who live at Horizon House.  It’s wonderful to be able to come down to the garden and pick nice, fresh herbs to use in our dinners and lunches.  In fact, the Garden Committee has also sponsored an herb garden for our chef, right outside the dining room, so the menu can now boast fresh herbs in our food!

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Today, I’d like to talk about swarming bees!stock-photo-a-swarm-of-european-honey-bees-clinging-to-a-tree-102044851

It is a bit scary to see something like this hanging from a tree in your yard, but NOT TO FEAR!  Bees that are swarming are busy looking for a new home.  Bees sting in order to protect their honey (food source) or eggs.  They don’t have either in the swarm, so they tend to be rather placid.  The bees that leave the swarm are scouts looking for a new home.  Perhaps in a hollow tree or wood pile, or somewhere.

In the springtime, the hive may become overcrowded, which is unhealthy for the bees.  There are new queen bee eggs about to hatch out.  The old queen is the one who leads the swarm to new “quarters”, so it’s important that there are queen bee eggs left in the old hive.  But the bees figure that out.  Bee keepers also know how to deal with that (we hope).

The only time you should be concerned is if they are INSIDE the walls of your house.  Then if they decide to settle there…they WILL have a hive, with honey and eggs…so watch out!  Then you WILL need an exterminator.

Here at Horizon House, we probably won’t encounter this early spring happening, but I’ll bet that many of you gardeners have dealt with a swarm or two in your lifetime.  Maybe it would be interesting to re-visit this phenomenon and really find out what is going on here!

Here is a little video about bee keeping that you might find interesting.

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A Transplanted Gardener

A Master Gardener from Northern New England moves to the Pacific Northwest. Here are all the experiences encountered along the way.

Karen Whalen

A Writer Sharing Her One in a Million Journey with Adrenal Cancer

Camp Merrowvista

The official blog of Merrowvista summer camp

G Chek Flys!

My Photography and Aviation Interests

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

Wausau News

Health and Freedom News

Lyons Bonsai

A Novice Bonsai journey in Ireland

A Bridge to the Garden

Seminars for Gardeners about Gardening