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- This topic has 5 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 14 years, 9 months ago by .
The desert to forest florist!
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!
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