Thursday, November 13, 2014

Some Updates and Some Projects

It's mid-November here in Las Vegas, Nevada. There have been wispy clouds for a couple of weeks, but no precipitation. We have wonderful sunsets and sunrises here. The colors are brilliant, intense and ever-changing.
My apricot tree starting to turn.
My dwarf peach trees in full yellow-to-brown-to-bare mode.

It's starting to feel like fall a bit. Some of the leaves are beginning to turn other-than-green and some are beginning to fall. My peach trees are turning their vibrant yellow. My raywood ash trees turn a deep vermilion just prior to dropping. I'm keeping my eye on what I hope to be a source of leaves for my compost pile. They are just starting to have brown edges. I have to watch these closely because I don't own those and I have to get them before their professional landscapers vacuum them up and send them to the landfill. (Such a waste!)
My raywood ash trees with a hint of vermilion at the top.
These two trees drop at least a cubic yard of leaves. Love it!
The temperatures here are a bit above normal. We are usually in the mid-50's to lower 60's but have been holding in the mid- to upper-70's for several weeks. My garden loves it. I keep planting my "fall" crops and they keep sprouting and growing. It won't last forever, though.

This weekend I'll be building and installing my row covers. I'll do a post on those after they are in place. I'm making some sections of low tunnels that I can cover my beds but still work them. I'm hoping they'll help keep the dadgum dog out of the beds. She is really an irritant.

My plant spacers worked better than I had hoped. I was just hoping to be able to space my seeds and plants evenly in the beds. This was accomplished, but I have the added and unexpected benefit of having very orderly beds. The visual impact of this is quite appealing. Also, I have discovered that it is immediately obvious if one of the seeds didn't sprout. There is an obvious hole in the pattern and I can spot it and plant another in it's place right away. (I can also determine exactly how many plants I have lost to the dadgum dog and her digging! Grrrr!) But the beds look good and very orderly.
You can see the evenly-spaced garlic pushing up through the straw
mulch. This is 10 days after planting. I love the orderliness and the
easiness that those plant spacers gave me. Can't wait to improve on it.
For some upcoming projects I will be re-doing the spacers to a staggered pattern that will allow about 5% more plants in the same space. The inter-plant spacing will be the same, I will just base it on a triangle instead of a square.

As I mentioned, I'll be building and installing my low-tunnel-like row covers this weekend.

I have also designed and will be building two projects for this winter, if it ever comes, for use in the garage. The first is a small greenhouse-type rack on which I will be growing microgreens. This is a rack that will have shelves spaced far enough apart so that each will be able to get sufficient sunlight when I open the garage door and move it into the light. My garage faces south and gets wonderful light all winter long. I'll even be using that for seed starting in the spring.
Carrots, planted on Halloween, just poking up through
the straw mulch. 10 days after planting.
The second is a similar rack but it will be electrified with some fluorescent lights. This will be able to be adapted to my seed starting and microgreens no matter the sun. I won't have to open the garage for that one. Both will be covered with clear plastic. These are projects that I have wanted to do for several years but have never gotten around to doing. This is the year.
Beets, 10 days after planting. They even taste like
beets this early. I love the micro-greens. Why didn't
I do this before?
I'm also going to build some steps to use in my garden. My beds are three feet wide, but each one is three feet above the previous one. (Or three feet below, depending on your orientation.) Terraces are great to grow on, but can be tough to jump up and down from. These steps will help. I've drafted the plans and now have to find some 2"x6" boards I can scrounge and re-purpose. I won't buy new boards. that's just not Stealthy.

My first book is essentially finished and I'm having a few people read through it. They are not gardeners so I'm looking for their opinion on how it reads and feels. I'm thinking of selling it as a PDF file for about $5. We'll see. I can have it printed for about $9 a copy, which is not bad, so I might have it both ways.

On to winter. It's expected to be on a Thursday this year. I think the third one in January. Then Spring will slam into us and before you know it, sweet corn season! Can't wait.

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