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  • The desert to forest florist!

    Created by Anonymous on


    I have always loved mowing lawns, and that is how I earned my spending money while I was growing up. I have a 5.6 (or rather slightly less) acre patch of mostly gravely soil that drains too quickly for much vegetation to do well, especially since we’ve been having a LONG drought. However being known for having a “green thumb” leaves me green with envy! Why didn’t I think of posting that for St. Patricks Day?
    Anyway, I keep as much of the place mowed, even though there isn’t, or rather soon to be wasn’t much growing on most of it. Letting the clippings fall in between the established grass and alfalfa plants to mulch them, along with letting the grass go to seed instead of cutting it once the seed head begins to emerge, has helped improve the growing conditions and number of grass plants that are growing on my place.

    The new grass plants may be small compared to the old clumps, but this just shows my success, as the three or so inch in diameter clumps that started from seed from the summer before last (first summer after I moved in, and came up that first fall), are about as big as the original clumps of grass was when I began! Also the clumps of grass that were brand new this last fall are at least one and one half to two inches in diameter, whereas the preceding fall the new clumps had been only three or four blades of grass! Whats going on right now is to remove the round river rocks from more places to mow, and to pile them into a snow fence. Making round rocks stay stacked to be a snow fence is very hard.

    Eventually I plan to do like I read in a book or two and make forms to hold the rocks together while I mortar them together. One more thing I plan to do to increase the fertility of the soil, maybe even this summer (provided the grass fills in enough this spring), is to begin letting the alfalfa go to seed and produce more organic mater to mulch as well as fix nitrogen into the soil. Oh yeah, I do it all with a entirely push powered mower, and have never owned a self propelled push mower. I do plan though to fix a garden tractor I bought to mow once I get too much vegetation and too big of an area to hand mow.

    I love planting trees, but they have not been doing well on my property, even though I have a 80 gallon per minute well, which SHOULD BE enough to keep them watered adequately, however, between the overly fast draining soil and the drought accompanied by scorching heat (which last summer was the worst year yet, the water evaporated before it had a chance to soak in), has killed most of what I have planted mostly due to lack of water. So this last fall I tried fall planting, to let my trees root in all winter and so they could spend all their energy producing new growth next spring (therefore making their own shade and increased humidity to protect themselves). I hope this goes well! I have 50 juniper bushes coming this spring called Eastern Red Cedars (even though they are really junipers).

    Junipers are hard to kill, and when the starving grasshoppers munch on them they only eat the dry dead needles (which saves me from pruning them, and helps green up the rest of the bush due to the fact that dead plant mater will draw moisture from the rest of the plant, if it is still attached). Of course hoppers would have to be prone to being attracted by dry patches!

    I have had a nasty plague of hoppers since I moved in. They eat every thing! Last year, my first year with a real garden, they devoured almost everything in my garden. Only the Indian Corn and tomato plants along with one squash plant that revived after being eaten were spared. As for the hoppers eating the grass and alfalfa, I wasn’t at any loss as I don’t have any animals dependent on the vegetation for forage.

    I think I read that hoppers eat as much as 50% of the available forage in the western US every year. The pet and wildlife friendly bait and sprays I did get and use helped greatly did a marvelous job, until the next wave attacked from one or more of the neighbors!

    I’ve never seen such magnificent military forces as those hoppers, but between the birds I’ve been feeding and the praying mantises I ordered for this spring (don’t tell the hoppers I have plenty of more spray left over from last year to surprise them with if I see any hopper nests hatching! he he!), I hope I can keep them hoppers all under control!

    This is one last thing I would like to mention is my love for seeing and hear the song birds, thus buying quite a few 50 pound bags of bird seed this last year! I plan to build a bunch of bird houses also, might as well house as well as feed my anti-hopper air support!

  • Author
  • #13880


    I love planting flowers, but the hoppers eat them, and so do the deer. Hopefully the apple trees I already planted last fall and this spring will do well enough that the hoppers won't bother them and that my fences will keep out the deer.
    I have found that putting even a singular fence post in next to a tree, and then putting a loop of wire mesh fence around the tree does the best job, I heard about this from a friend, saves a lot of work and expensive materials. If you fence off an area the deer can just jump over, and you would be suprized to find out how little room a deer needs to jump in and out, so don't make the loop too big!
    The apple trees I have now are two Haralson Apple Trees that I planted earlyer this week, one Wealthy Apple Tree and one Dolgo Crabapple Tree that I planted last fall.
    The Dolgo Crab has large fruit for a Crab, and crabs are exelent for making syrup and jellies. The Wealthy Apple variety is about 140 to 150 years old, I bought the one I have due to the fact that I had one in the yard when I was growing up. The Haralson Apples are vigorous growers, and may produce fruit the first year, and I certainly hope mine do!



    I've been as buisy as a beaver, only in reverse!! I planted 25 Eastern Red Cedars, 11 fruiting trees and bushes (apple trees, sand cherrys, and a cherry tree), along with sweveral decorative trees and bushes, and have my garden over crowded with: garlic, chives, jerusalem artichokes, 3 varietys of onion (bunching, walla walla, and red onions), radishes (icecicle and regular ones), carrots (purple dragon and danvers half long), peas, beets, cabbage, indian corn, and hubard squash. I've got a good variety of tomato plants, which I should be able to put out this weekend, with any luck! I haven't gotten much done on my stone snow fences lately, but have been leaving a mower width strip where I want to put the rows of stone, this will not only mark where I want to put snow fence, but also make a temporary snow fence for next winter. I noticed last winter that where ever I had left a strip of vegitation along the soaker hoses to my plantings, a good sized snow drift was formed!



    They are much harder to spot than I thought they would be, I though with ordering 10 egg cases and placing 1 egg case at my moms, and 9 at my place, I would see them all the time. I have only seen but a few, 1 that I can recall at moms, and 1 at home. Just the same they sure seem to be getting rid of lots of hoppers! The one at moms caught a hopper while I was watching it, seemed to take the the head off in one bite!

    I plan to get some fence up soon to lease some of my small acreage as horse pasture, later on I want to get a couple head of mini cattle to raise. I guess the miniature cattle are usually just as expensive as full size, but would be much better for my small acreage. Some of the breeds of the mini cattle only weigh 200-300 lbs.

    The good planting conditions I am experiencing this fall have encouraged me to buy a bunch more trees to try to get to survive, and give me some shade! I bought some Honey Locusts, Maple, Lindens, and Choke Cherry's. The locusts and maples will make good shade trees and wind break trees. The choke cherry's will survive if nothing else will, and as well as a bit of shade and wind break, they will feed the birds, decreasing the amount of bird feed I have to put out! If I have any choke cherry's left on by the birds long enough to get ripe I can harvest them, make, and have syrup and jelly!



    I've got 225 Basin Wild Rye Grass plants, either 25 or 50 Cord Grass plants, 25 Rocky-mountain Junipers, 10 Box Elder trees, plus others ordered for this spring!
    Also, I am going to try extra hard to put in a good garden this year, I've got a plan to get ahead of wild grasses and other weeds that have been smothering the plants,,,,plus am even more confident of how I am going to win the war against the hoppers (even though they have gotten worse and worse every year, seemingly no matter what I do), The more of them there are, the higher percentage of them I get rid of!



    I got my 225 Basin Wild Rye Grass plants and 50 Rocky Mountain Juniper bushes a few weeks ago, and as well as myself holding up better with getting them planted than I thought they would, they are all doing good so far! The rest are coming in Monday, I really have high hopes this year! The plants trees and bushes I received are in very good shape this year, and the weather has been good to us,,,,and is predicted to continue being good to us!! I had also gotten some apple trees (8), a plum tree, and a poplar tree.:-)

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