Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Best plants to shade your veggies.

For some of us spring has not arrived but rather summer has jumped right in it's place. My plants are either loving it or hating it. Usually by this time of the year the weather is cool and comfortable. Not muggy and insanely hot. Furthermore, the trees that are usually fully leaved in about another month are still naked. My garden however has started to set root. I noticed the other day that some of my squash that's in direct sunlight are being troubled by the heat. The same plant in a different location with a little shade is growing strong. So my brain started to get thinking about how I can provide shade to plants that need them. Well fortunately for us growers we have a few options in our arsenal of heat loving plants. The idea is to grow these heat loving plants in the direction of the sun so that they can cast shade on plants that don't well with intense heat. Some of these plants that I will use are Pepper Plants, Eggplants and Okra. These plants love the heat and when everything is choked out these guys are basking in their glory. All it takes is a little shade to make a plant happy and it's good to know I can find them a companion to perform this duty.

Friday, March 18, 2011

EPIC FAIL for Sustainability

I think of myself as a guy that enjoys people and experinces derived in sustainability. But when criusing the net I found something so completely obsurd that I had to share. Horse shoes.... Really!! What idiot decides that this is fashionable. Im no PETA freak by any means. Anyone that has read my blog for any length of time knows that I am definately a meat eater. But come on, Horse Shoes!! Like Literal Horse Shoes. Someone; call it creative genius, I call it creative stupidity found a use for horse legs as a fashion statement. Like real horse legs, for real!! Big Sigh!! SMH!! WTH!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Release the Hounds!!!

My long awaited, highly anticipated little warriors have arrived. I'm a military man; war, strategy, opposing sides, you name it, I'm all over it. So when those little buggers (aphids) picked a fight with me by chomping down on my succulent new growth for this growing season. I was torn between using chemicals and using nature to fight back. I conceded from the chemicals and went with mother nature. I received 1500 lady bugs today from Hirts on Amazon today. The lady bugs came in excellent health. I watered my plants before I set them out so they will have some water. As the sun set I released the hounds and they began to relish on the delicate but highly destructive aphids. The aphids knew something was amidst. For the first time I saw the aphids retreating from their intoxicated cover and scatter about the branches to escape the perils of the Lady Bug. This was very interesting because as soon as I released the ladies at the base of the plant, they instantly knew to climb higher. It almost seemed like they knew this was going to be a one sided battle and the males stopped eating and started mating. When lady bugs feel like they have found a place that can provide an abundance of food they start to mate. Well, let me rephrase this. The Males started to mate; the females who are bigger than the males just wanted to eat. Lady bugs can live up to three years and the bigger their spots typically depicts that they are older.
 As the ladies ate, gorged and hooked up with horney males they began to prepare for the next generation of lady bugs. One lady bug can eat up to 50 aphids a day. There larva which resemble small little crocodiles are also notorious for eating aphids and other scaly bugs. I feel like a General of the Garden Wars. More to follow........................................

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Koto Preparing for the Molt

It's that time of year were we falconers have to make a decision. To keep or not to keep. Most years I release my birds back into the wild so that they can go back and contribute to the gene pool. Its certainly an option and every falconer is different. But sometimes there comes along a hawk thats just special. Koto and I have formed a prettu good relationship. She is not the tamest of hawks that I have encountered. But she is definatelty the most tolerant of people and especially dogs. This year for the first time I hunted Koto with my GSP Jackson and they did wonderful. We took one flying squirrel and one grey squirrel on that particular hunt. Those are the qualities that are hard to come by and im not sure im ready to just give it up. So for another season I will keep Koto around. For now she will eat to her hearts content and soon Molt into her new feathers for this upcoming hunting  season.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Some people just don't have a clue

Today I was checking around to see if some of my local garden centers carried lady bugs. I am putting my money where my mouth is and I'm committed to attack these aphids organically instead of chemically. They have gained some ground and I see physical sign that they are winning. So today's call was to find out who in my area can help me locally. One out of four garden centers can order the Lady Bugs but will only do so well into the spring. My last resort was to call pest control companies. I mean pests and pest control go hand in hand right? Well at least I thought so. So I called the first company and I asked the guy does he have any lady bugs? He said, "Yup those lady bugs can sure be a problem." I said, "No Sir, do you have Lady Bugs?" He said, "WHAT!" I said, "Lady Bugs; do you have them sir?" He said, "What the hell do you need Lady bugs for?" I said, "Dude Really?!?! I need them to kill aphids. I have an aphid infestation and I use them to kill aphids." He said, "Nope we don't carry no lady bugs." WOW!! I can't believe I had that conversation. But than again his job is to hunt and destroy. I'm going to put this out there to any pest control company that may not know about this side of the house. It will Behoove you to get smart on the use of beneficial bugs for gardeners like myself who want to get rid of "Pests" I'm just sayin, It might be profitable.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Quick and easy Window Shelves to grow plants.

Sue from gave me the idea about this post. For sometime I have been trying to utilize every piece of useful space to grow veggies in my sun room. With a little creativity I came up with this workable design that can be added to any window.  .
This is how I did it. I cut two 2x4s approx the length of the window. Most windows are framed and it should be easy to anchor them right next to the windows with screws. When that was done I installed my brackets. The ones that are shown, I bought from Ikea you can pick them up here for $2 a pack. So I bought 3 packs for what I wanted to do.
After installing the brackets to the 2x4s, I added the wooden shelves. The shelves are 1 foot wide and 4 feet long. I purchased each plank for $7 at lowes. They are not anchored in although they could be. Since I use them for plants I sprayed the top portion with a protective base of paint to repel water. These shelves have absolutely been great and I am currently using them to germinate seeds through the window. Each shelf costs approximately $10 to make. Just a simple design for some practical work

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Trick Your Leafy Greens into growing faster

Plants for all they are worth grow extremely slow. But in the plant world you have your sprinters like bamboo and your really slow movers like cactus; one such variety is known to grow only 1 inch within it's first 10 years of life. I'm the I gotta have it now type of person; so when my leafy green veggies seemed to be stalling in my garden, I tried something for the first time. I took hay from one of my left over hay bales and covered them just enough for them to get some air and see speckles of green through the dense brown. Something amazing happened. In less than 48hrs all of those leafy green veggies pushed through the hay and it somehow jump started a growing spurt. (The picture shows greens pushing through, but two days ago there was more brown than green.) If you think about this it makes perfect sense. Plants like all life on this planet are struggling to survive, even the one that only grows 1 inch in it's first 10 years. (So Depressing!!) So couple that with the need to survive and grow strong and you have the perfect atmosphere for competitive behavior. This is only my assumption based on this one observation and it shouldn't be construed as fact. Nevertheless, if the right variables are in place you might achieve some amazing results and  this is what I did. My thoughts are; by covering the plants slightly it will put them in a state of panic as though they are being smothered. Another variable that was thrown into this equation was the fact that over the 2 days this growth spurt took place there was severe overcast. I am convinced that smothering these plants lightly caused them to grow faster. Now I know there are the nature gurus how say don't mess with nature and cause any imbalance, blah, blah, blah, blahhhhhhhhhhh.............. I got it. However, I grow to eat and enjoy and if there are natural ways to spurt growth production in living things we farm, I am all for it. I know I am not the first person to witness this, but if your growing this season and you feel like your leafy greens are lagging a bit, give them a shot of caffeine by throwing a light cover of hay over them.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Prepping hay bales for the growing season

Over the past few years I have learned a great deal from Hay Bale Gardening and have had pretty good success. Many people I talk to are surprised you can use hay bales to grow in. The quickest way to get started is to buy a few hay bales. The other day I drove by my favorite garden store and there in the back laid several almost rotting bales of hay. They were waiting for another shipment to come in and treated as outcast. To a keen eyed urban farmer dweller man such as myself, those rotting hay bales were like gold. So I took them off of her hands and put them into my garden. The first thing you want to do when you grab your hay bales is place them in a spot that is going to get some sun. On average a hay bale takes approx 3 weeks  to get prepped. But if you can find some left over hay bales from last year rotting somewhere it will take half that time. The trick that I use for Hay bale garden is adding Ammonium Nitrate or any fertilizer in a pellet form that slow feeds into the ground. Take a cup full of the stuff and pour it on the hay bale and for a few weeks keep the Hay bale wet. The hay bale will get hot and this is the reason you don't want to plant right away. So getting started now to prep your hay bales for this spring is very doable. This year I am using the hay bales to grow squash and melons. You can also grow Tomatoes and cucumbers but keep in mind that they need to be staked. For all that it is worth hay bale gardening is a blast. It is definitely for the lazy man gardener who just likes to stand over his hay bales and with hose in hand water his hay bales and in the other drinking a beer, it's great for people who don't have good soil and limited space that don't want to tear up their ground, and perfect for older people like myself who don't want to bend that far.

Friday, March 4, 2011

My Buddies Graduated from Man School RLTW

Today my buddy Lawson graduated from Ranger School. He Graduated with Distinguished Honors!

For the Rangers of the Past and the Present the legacy will continue to live on

Haskel was awarded the Leadership with Honors

His dad has a lot to be proud of

It seemed like only yesterday when he was in Diapers

Kennedy is so proud of his guy graduating from Man School

Lawson and Libby lovin life. Now go eat at Ranger Burger!!

Honor Grads takin home the Gold!!

The look in his mothers eyes is just priceless
The Elusive Ranger Tab less than 1% of US Soldiers have it. Many will try only few will succeed.

This moment will never be forgotten