Saturday, October 22, 2011

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Clean up the Yard and Garden

The yard cleanup has begun.  One of my trees and the two neighbors with like trees has dropped all their leaves.  However the neighbors with Maple trees have another two to three weeks before they begin their leaf drop.  So this is only round one of the yard leaf cleanup.  I will have to do another round of cleanup before winter sets in.  This picture is the poor man's leaf chipper.  It looks a lot like a lawn mower.  Doesn't it?  Yeah, old Chomper the lawn mower comes through again.  His 30 weight oil is a little stiff in the cooler weather but once he gets going, he can crunch leaves with the best of them.

The first round of leaves go straight to the compost pile.  I have a limited space for composting so the second round of leaves with have to go to the yard waste and let the city compost it.  Next year I should have more space to garden and more space to compost.  Here's the picture of the Urban Ranch compost pile.  Next spring it will be much smaller.  I will peel off the layer that I just added this fall, scoop out last year's layer and use it for the garden, and pile this years layer back on the compost pile.  I just don't like the method to always be turning the pile to keep the composting active.  My two year method works for me and I'm sticking to it.

I pulled out the rest of the garden as it was definitely spent.  There were two grocery bags of green peppers and a few little teeny tiny tomatoes.  All the garden debris went into the yard waste bags to be set out for the city to take away.  I don't want to take any chances of disease or bug eggs make it to next year's garden.  After all that work, I just have to take a break and enjoy the great fall day.  The temperatures have fallen into the upper 20s a time or two but the hanging baskets have not been bitten my old Jack Frost.  The Impatiens have really put on a display this summer.  The side bar Begonias have done a great job as well but they are starting to show a little wear and tear around the edges.  It's going to be hard to beat this display next year.

The last harvest except for the potatoes was a big one from the green peppers and not so much from the tomatoes.  Now if I can only come up with some thing to do with all these peppers.  Any suggestions?  Anyone?  Anyone?

I have dismantled the automated watering system and drained all the hoses.  The hoses are stored in a big barrel and the timers go inside for the winter to keep them from freezing.  The tanks and barrels have been all been drained for the winter.  I'm kind of sad to see things winding down for this year but I'm already planning bigger and better things for next year.

I hope everyone is enjoying the fall weather.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Time to Eat the Mesclun Lettuce and Work on the Patio

I guess it's about time to sample the Mesclun historic cuisine of chef Platt of the famous Q's restaurant in Colorado.  I've been told not to let it get too big and cut it don't pull it.  OK, if you don't hear from me for awhile, call poison control cause I accidentally ate a weed and not the lettuce cuisine. Ack!!  OK, so I exaggerate a little but I did see a bug in the lettuce patch the other day. It was one of those big fat leaf munching worms.  Ha, it was on a bind weed.  Even the worms don't like this stuff.

The carrots are a little sparse but seem to be coming along.  If the weather holds, I just might get a carrot.  Out of the 80 carrot seeds planted, about a dozen give or take a couple have sprouted into plants.  I suppose I really should give them some water as the promised rain of the past few days turned out to be only .3 of an inch.  So for the last month and a half we have received a total of just a bit more than one inch.  Not a lot for six weeks.  Normal rain fall for September is 2 inches and October is 2.5 inches.  We are well below that.

I've been working on a patio in the backyard that will end up being a fire pit patio when completed.  It's been an off and on thing when more important things aren't happening so it's made slow progress this summer.  I have the hardest part completed which is the concrete block foundation for a retaining wall which surround 3/4 of the patio.  It will be a real asset to the back yard.  You can kind of get an idea of how it's going to look when completed.  I've set the first row of retaining wall blocks on the foundation.  The entry to the patio will be at the bottom of this picture and be about five or six blocks wide.  The actual patio level will be about the level of the front row of smooth flat blocks.  Yeah, I know the yard is getting a little scruffy again.

I have one last parting shot of the Poor Man's Patio for this summer.  With the first frost date of October 15th fast approaching it could come at any time now.  This has been the most successful attempt to beautify the trellis so far.  It's going to be hard to beat this year.  A daily automatic watering and a shot of Miracle Grow every three weeks probably did wonders to help things stay blooming.

I hope you all are having a great fall.  The leaves are just about all off the trees and now it's time to round them up and get them in the compost corral.