Thursday, March 19, 2015

Thursday's Tumbles and Stumbles: Mosquitoes and Garden Update

It's finally warm here in southeastern Georgia. We've already hit the 80 degree mark. Ah, the first volley of a hot, sweltering summer to come. But we had weeks of near or below freezing weather so the mosquitoes shouldn't be bad, right? Nope, I got bit three times yesterday and I'm allergic to them. Within hours, a single bite will swell to half a dollar size or larger. By the next day, the swelling will encompass the whole area of say the forearm with the same pain of any sprain. That's with my antihistamine!

Time to invest in some of those Off Clip-ons again. sigh  I actually wear two of them at a time. One is clipped onto my neck line and the other on the opposite side at the belt line. One wouldn't cut it. If I put it at my neckline my legs from the knees down would be a
prime target. If I wore it at the belt line, my face would be the target. AND, I'm not that big! I'm five foot nothing. But anyhow, it works. It's a lot better than taking a bath in the spray.

I set seeds again this weekend for my garden. The last cold snap was traumatic enough on my poor seedlings that I planted before. Some did survive the blast of freezing temperatures but they won't be the robust plants I want. I've been gardening long enough to know by sight. Nothing but the best for my garden.

So what am I planting this year?
Nantes carrots, Black Beauty squash, Marketmore cucumbers,early Jalapeno peppers, California Wonder peppers, Cherokee Purple tomatoes, Blue Lake pole beans, and okra Lee. These are all certified organic and heritage seeds. They are ones I hadn't tried before. I'll also be planting some seeds that I've saved like radishes, lettuce in my gutter gardens and other seeds I've saved. I've got to finally replant my Luffa gourds because I'm down to three pads from the previous planting four years ago.

I didn't get enough hay on my herbs this Fall, so my perennials died and will have to be replanted as well as the annuals. Remember my KFC Go cups from last year? Well, they are still going strong. They are joined this year by a couple dozen more. I have enough to where I don't have to split a cup between different varieties of seeds. Each type of seed will have their own cup. Wohoo!

Some things like beans and peas I plant directly into the ground, but others I start in these cups and transplant. I've found that if you soak the large seeds, (corn, beans, etc) in water overnight before you plant them they sprout quicker and have a better germination rate (>98%).

I've also mixed fresh compost into my beds from last year. You remember my composting system right? Well I had a slight mishap while emptying the top one. I ended up with more of it on me than in the
bucket. That's right from the top of my head down when it wobbled.

I've got my tools out to build another type of stand for next year. One that's closer to the ground and not at little bit higher than eye level for. I found the directions for it on YouTube. It's safer for me and semi portable by anybody but me.

Yes, that's 4x4s in the construction. I may also put 2x4s across all four legs for extra support. While I don't fill each barrel absolutely full, the barrels get mighty heavy. I mine have six barrel bolts for the lid instead of the one pictured for the same reason. On general principle, I won't fill a barrel more than 3/4 full. I ain't as young and strong as I used to be. I'm also thinking about spray painting them black for more heat and quicker composting.

Doing some not so quick calculating on the project 4x4x8 (4), and hardware... roughly less than $50 for two. Not too bad. Of course I could just dismantle the old one and repurpose. That sounds even better and it cuts my cost in half. I also think I'm going to add three door handles onto the outside  of the barrel for easier tumbling one-handed. It would just be a question of removing a few screws that are holding the "L" bracket in place on the inside and mounting them there.

That's me, always improving a good thing. Yeah, it's just the opposite of my "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" stance. What can I say, I'm female. Where there's room for improvement to make life just a little bit easier, I'll take it. Yep, I've got a plan. Now, I just got to make it happen while the compost barrels are almost empty. Totally empty would be better and totally washed out would be better still, but that will never happen.

No time like the present. The aide is here tending to my hubby and I'm off to Home Depot. How was your week?


  1. Well done Jo - you have a store of energy supremo .. how very nasty those mozzies sound - but glad you've found a way to keep them at bay ...

    The garden looks great .. and so clever those composting bins .. cheers Hilary

  2. Girl! You are a wonder!

  3. Sorry the mosquitoes are getting you, but I'm glad you've found something to keep them at bay!


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