Santa Ana Winds: Summer’s Last Breath

When the shades rattle at 5AM with the first breezes, you know that Santa Ana Winds have returned.  These annual winds come reliably near the end of October to dry out the hills, fan fires, and chap lips.  To me, they also mark the last transition from Summer to Autumn, as if he heat of the season is finally blowing away and the cool air allowed to set in.  Continue reading “Santa Ana Winds: Summer’s Last Breath” »

Vertical Gardening: A Vertical Pallet Garden Recycles Trash Into Treasure (My Way) Part 3 of 3

Inserting the Liner

In Part 2, we left off talking about creating and inserting a liner into our pallet gardens to hold soil and conserve moisture.  I believe a few more details on the subject are in order.

The liner for your pallet can be made from weed cloth that has been sewn at the edges.  It is a very simple procedure, and can be accomplished with a few zips on the sewing machine.  Weed cloth that is wide enough can be folded in half and sewn on each side to create the liner. Precision is not necessary, you simply want a liner that, when filled with soil, will be large enough to fill the inner cavity of the pallet. You will need two liners, one for each half of the pallet. Continue reading “Vertical Gardening: A Vertical Pallet Garden Recycles Trash Into Treasure (My Way) Part 3 of 3” »

Vertical Gardening: A Vertical Pallet Garden Recycles Trash Into Treasure (My Way) Part 2 of 3

In Part 1, we left off considering important details about our project and gathering materials to build a pallet garden.  Now it is time to move on to the next phase of the project:

Prepping Pallets for Your Pallet Garden

You now have your pallet at your work site.  But it is a savage beast.  It is probably beat up from a very rough life being abused by forklifts, left out in the rain, being stained upon, and for all intents and purposes being considered nothing better than “scrap”.  But you are going to change that.  Just as a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, with some TLC, sandpaper, and elbow grease you are going to release the inner beauty and functionality of your new pallet friend.

Look over your pallet for hazards and start with removing the big stuff.  This means jagged shards of broken wood, protruding and headless nails, or other foreign objects you don’t want embedded in your flesh or falling off into your garden. Remove them all, front and back. Continue reading “Vertical Gardening: A Vertical Pallet Garden Recycles Trash Into Treasure (My Way) Part 2 of 3” »

Vertical Gardening: A Vertical Pallet Garden Recycles Trash Into Treasure (My Way) Part 1 of 3

 

Why A Pallet Garden?

If you are short on space and have a limited budget, a pallet garden may be a great project for you.  Shipping pallets can often be found for free, and with some time, patience, and materials a gardener may already have lying around, you can transform a shipping pallet into a unique expansion of your garden.

Other pallet tutorials show  you how to complete a vertical pallet garden in two hours or less.  This is not that tutorial.  But I will take you step by step through the project and show you what I’ve learned, potential problems to look out for, and what I think will be good solutions so you can enjoy the pallet garden you’ve created for many seasons to come. Continue reading “Vertical Gardening: A Vertical Pallet Garden Recycles Trash Into Treasure (My Way) Part 1 of 3” »

Biodiversity Roundup: The Birds and the Bees, and More!

Why is Biodiversity important?

According to Wikipedia, biodiverstiy is simply “a measure of the health of ecosystems“.  I can’t control a lot of things out there, but I can control a thing or two on my postage stamp on Earth.  And hopefully leave it better than I found it.  With that in mind, every insect, mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fungi, bacteria, and plant that comes to live with me in my yard is a vote that things are heading in the right direction, that the health of the ecosystem is improving. I take it as personal encouragement that I am being a good steward, and that there is hope for the future. Continue reading “Biodiversity Roundup: The Birds and the Bees, and More!” »

Vegetable Garden: Washing Machine for Washing Your Greens

What is today’s project?

Today we will be re-purposing our old friend, the washing machine.  This tool can now be used to not just to clean and rinse our clothes, but as a wash basin and salad spinner for our garden vegetables.

Why are we doing this?

I don’t know about you, but I have a problem finding a decent space in my kitchen to wash and process all the vegetables I’ll need to cook for dinner.  Garden greens, such as Swiss Chard, often cook down 5:1, you you have to pick huge wads of big, juicy leaves to get a medium bowl of cooked greens for the family.  A kitchen sink isn’t really enough room for all the running water, rinsing, drying, etc. that happens when you process garden vegetables.  Using your washing machine as a salad spinner could solve this problem. Continue reading “Vegetable Garden: Washing Machine for Washing Your Greens” »