Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Garden Shed That Craigslist Built

Many people use Craigslist to find and buy remarkable items for low prices. I used Craigslist for “free” stuff and actually was able to build my garden shed with very little monetary outlay.  For those who are not familiar with Craigslist, it is a website where people can post items for sale or free items for individuals to pick up off the curb, locally. They are listed in all major cities in the US. It is a great place to find bargains. For me the “free” stuff and cheap stuff helped me tremendously in building my garden shed.   I also used the tutorials on YouTube to learn how to build a window and to make a door.  If I can do this, you certainly can too.

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When I first laid out the post it was for a an eight by ten building. I figured I needed the extra room.  In hindsight it would have been easier and cheaper if I had used an eight by eight plan. But since the plan was in my head, that explains a lot!


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Initially we had to buy the 4x4x8 post to get started. I found the paver stones in the “free” section of Craigslist and we had enough to do the whole backyard, that was a great find! Plywood was also in the “free” section.  We did not pour a foundation but instead used the post as our anchor.
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When we found enough plywood (osb board) we put the sides on.  I used scrap wood and a pane of glass bought at Home Depot for $6 and watched a YouTube video and made the windows. We used scrap from a trellis to make the porch.  The side window I found a really good quality window 3x5 slider for only $20 on Craigslist.

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Home Depot has a section in the lumber area where you can buy some 1x6x14 scraps or inferior planks, for only $5.43 but if you  carefully examine the pieces you can get some really good ones and this is what we used for the doors and the trim and any other areas we needed them. Also.  Home Depot will cut the wood for free.   We used scrap leftover wood to make a porch roof.  We used a lot of furring strips these also were bought cheap for under a dollar.

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This is the finished product for the front, minus a few shingles short on the roof. I will add some trim around the door later.


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For the porch roof,  we laid shade cloth across and then added furring strips, as I have a climbing rose on the side to eventually cover the roof.  We did have to buy the shingles,  Lowes has an excellent price on them, less than $30 a bundle. The whole roof took 4 bundles.  Watch Craigslist for shingles as they will have them from time to time.


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The purple chair I found along with a desk, couch, mattress and dining table all "free" on Craigslist.
I found tables and desk on Crigslist for "free" The desk is supporting the wood for the desk and the ladder to climb into the attic storage area.  The local thrift store provided the curtains and glass bottles, very cheap when you shop on the discount days. The Tin Watering cans at a local garage sale.
The flowering pots were free, for thoses I found them in the gardening section on Craigslist, and some in the "free" section.   The local goodwill had the larger planting containers and for these I paid $5 for one and #3 for the others.  The mesquite tree was another freebie on Craigslist.  I was in need of a tree but could not afford to get one so I ran an ad on Craigslist that said "Wanted small Shade tree 2-3 ft. tall willing to dig"   A lady called and had a thornless mesquite she grew herself and it was in a pot, ha no digging!

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Blooming Plants of Dog Days of August


As the summer draws near to the end of the Dog Days of August, most eastern and Midwestern gardeners are gearing up for the fall with a wonderful variety of plants to herald in the cooler weather and showy displays of color. Western gardeners, alas, have another month to go in the 3 digit temperatures as The Dogs Days of summer drag on to their delirious end. On the other hand, as we see the temps dropping ever so slightly the plants recognize this change and are waiting with their heads held high for their most glorious blooming period, enter the Fall. I have taken pictures of the sturdy plants still blooming and living despite the summer long intense heat. God Bless those hardy roses.
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There is not another plant I know of that will bloom in the hot August sun like a zinnia.  They hold there little faces toward the sun and cheerfully bask in it’s glorious heat.  Notice the little varmint on this one?
The red roses I have (7) seem to not mind the heat, they bloom regardless, that goodness for the roses, when everything else stops blooming they take up the sword and march on.
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This particular zinnia likes to look at itself in the small fish pond. The flowers just seem drawn to the water.
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I grow my “love lies bleeding” plant into tree forms.  Growing love lies bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus) can provide an unusual, eye catching specimen in garden beds or borders. Drooping panicles of deep red to crimson purple appear as the love lies bleeding flower blooms in summer. The love lies bleeding flower, also called tassel flower, and is an interesting way to utilize open space without a perennial commitment. The panicle on this plant looks like an elephant truck, very unusual.
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Sheer Bliss (HT) and  Great Century (HT)
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Double Delight (HT) and Brandy (HT) and gillardia mix 
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Lady Jane Gray and Frederick Mistral (Romantica Series)
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Purple and Yellow Zinnia are my favorite combinations
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The ever faithful and ever producing Nicotania and coneflower, 2 self-sowers
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What would a summer garden be without a melon patch, even here in Las Vegas we can grow a bumper crop, these are self-sowers, I never know where they are going to pop up.
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Lantanas, the staple of most western gardens because of it’s heat loving endurance and abundant flowers
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Friday, August 8, 2014

What is the Right Time to Plant Irises

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Most bearded irises are easy to grow, but they do have specialized needs. Plant and divide every 3 to 4 years in summer or early fall, splitting them into individual “fans” with the rhizome attached, or into divisions with a few fans. Trim leaves back before planting to make up for root loss. They grow best in full sun or very light shade and average to rich, well-drained soil. Barely cover the rhizome and point the leafy end in the direction you want it to grow, ideally out from the center of a group of three to five of a kind.
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In fall, remove dead, dry leaves, which often carry borer eggs, and destroy badly infested fans in spring. You can also crush borers in the leaves by pinching toward the base of the telltale ragged-edged leaves or by running your thumb between the leaves and squashing any borers you find. They are also vulnerable when you divide the clumps; check every rhizome for this pest. If you find a few borers, try cutting them out, but destroy badly infested rhizomes.
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Landscape uses: Smaller bearded irises are perfect in rock gardens and along paths and beds. For mid- to late-spring bloom, plant taller ones in a perennial border, or in a separate bed to provide optimum conditions. They also look splendid among garden ornaments and along patios.
  
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Friday, July 18, 2014

How to Care for Asiatic and Oriental Lilies

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"...but I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these." -Matthew 6:29.
Lilies are magnificent flowers that command attention wherever they are planted. Lily flowers are valued for their very showy, often fragrant flowers. At home in both formal and naturalistic settings, lilies also can be grown in containers.
Lilies are one of the truly great garden plants for their flower form, diversity, extended season of bloom, graceful stature, and reliable disposition. Their bulbs can be planted in spring for bloom the same year, or in fall for bloom the following year. The sequence of bloom begins in early summer with the colorful Asiatics, Martagon Lilies (also called Turk’s Cap Lilies), and pure white Lilium candidum, and then continues until late summer with other species Lilies and three tall, fragrant groups: Orientals, Orienpets (hybrids between Orientals and Trumpets), and Trumpets. They all make wonderful cut flowers.
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By carefully blending early, mid-season, and late varieties into your garden, you will enjoy their bewitching blooms and seductive scents from spring through frost.
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Planting

  • Plant bulbs in autumn. Loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches. The deep planting encourages the developing stem to send out roots to help stabilize the plant and perhaps eliminate the need for staking.
  • Note: Lilies do not thrive in Zones 9 to 10 without a period of refrigeration; they need a cold, dormant period.
  • For dependable blooms, lilies need six to eight hours of sunshine a day, yet they prosper in the presence of other low plants that protect their roots from drying out.
  • Water trapped beneath the scales may rot the bulb, so a well-drained site is essential.
  • Most of the popular varieties prefer acidic to neutral soil, but some are lime-tolerant or prefer alkaline soils (e.g., Madonna lilies).
  • Grow in soil enriched with leaf mold or well-rotted organic matter.
  • Dig a hole 2 to 3 times as deep as the bulbs are high and set the bulb in the hole pointy side up. Fill the hole with soil and tamp gently.
  • Space bulbs at a distance equal to 3 times the bulb's diameter.
  • Water thoroughly.

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Care

  • In active growth, water freely and apply a high-potash liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks.
  • Keep moist in winter.
  • Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch.
  • Water plants in the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week.
  • Stake tall lilies.
  • As flowers fade, cut back the stalks to the base of the plant.
  • After bloom, divide lilies. Replant using compost and bonemeal.

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 Pests

  • Gray mold is sometimes a problem, especially in a wet, cool spring or summer.
  • Viruses, spread by aphids, may be troublesome, although some cultivars are virus-tolerant.
  • Red lily beetles, slugs, and snails may occur.
  • Deer, rabbits, voles, and groundhogs may eat entire plants. Consider a wire cage for bulbs if this seems to be an issue where you live.

       

USDA Hardiness Zones: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Sun exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun
Soil type: Loamy
Flower color: Red, Pink, Orange, Yellow, White
Bloom time: Spring, Summer, Fall
Recommended Varieties
Of the nine divisions of classification, Asiatic and Oriental are the most popular with gardeners.
  • Asiatic lilies are the earliest to bloom and the easiest to grow. Hybrids come in pure white, pinks, vivid yellows, oranges, and reds; heights are from one to six feet. Intense breeding has erased much of the Asiatics' fragrance, but in spite of their lack of perfume, they are a favorite with floral arrangers.
  • Oriental hybrids bloom in mid- to late summer, just when Asiatic lilies are beginning to fade. From tiny two-footers to towering eight-foot-tall giants, Orientals are always a striking choice (the shorter ones are great for patio beds or container gardens). Adored for their intoxicating fragrance that intensifies after dark, Oriental lilies produce masses of huge white, pink, red, or bi-color blooms. They make wonderful cut flowers that will fill even the largest of rooms with their spicy scents.

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Credits
photos: J. Kopittke
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