Chiggers and Ozark Pavers

I posted this photo on my Facebook page yesterday and it drew a bit of comment. On several topics – “What is Gene wearing under that long t-shirt?”, “Is cardboard eco-friendly or not?” and “Isn’t that Ozark insulation?”.

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I got into some chiggers last weekend and suffered for a couple of days from many dozens of bites. I took Benadryl, used Dial yellow soap (I know it isn’t the most healthy thing in the world but neither is scratching), and did spot treatment with Absorbine Jr. By the third day itching was minimal. So Gene put this cardboard layer around the table we sit at when taking a rest from gardening and yard work. The long plan is to put pavers and herb beds in the area but it’s way too hot now and too busy elsewhere so it will have to wait for cooler weather.

ANYway. I like cardboard. It’s sturdy, nice earth tones as Barbara noted, biodegradable, kills weeds, discourages chiggers. Downside is it’s pretty slick when wet. So be careful.

The post also brought up some discussion about it’s possible toxicity. Remember it is not a perfect world and all things in moderation. I found a lot of useful comments on this forum here. You might want to read it if interested in using cardboard in or around your garden. I found it encouraging. There is a lot of info on the web.

One guy posted this info below. I could not get his link to work though.

Direct from the OMRI website:

Generic Materials Search: paper

Cardboard
Status: Allowed with Restrictions
Class: Crop Fertilizers and Soil Amendments, Crop Pest, Weed, and Disease Control
Origin: Synthetic
Description:
Cardboard that is not waxed or impregnated with synthetic fungicide may only be used as mulch for weed control or as compost feedstock. See also PAPER.
NOP Rule: 205.601(b)(2)(i) As herbicides, weed barriers, as applicable… Mulches… Newspaper or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks.

Remember that this is the Federal mandate for certification, and home gardeners can use their own best judgement as to what they accept in their gardens.

Here is a link that might be useful: OMRI paper, plastic, cardboard etc.

Nowhere have I found the suggestion of formaldehyde in cardboard. Certainly don’t use fire-retardant or waterproof cardboard in the garden and always remember to remove and dispose of plastic tapes. They will never decompose!

So we now have a luxurious cushy cardboard deck around the floppy cheap metal table we put rusty saw blades on and it has a nice cheap floppy canopy held in place with a half rick of firewood and a couple of concrete blocks and rope. Ain’t life grand.

All things considered this is an improvement.

What is the nicest feature in your yard?

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I am so embarrassed to post these pictures!

BUT THERE ARE TOMATOES!

Black Krim

Black Krim

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Black Krim

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Japanese Black Trifele

Happy dance!!

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About Those Flea Beetles – yellow sticky traps ahead

Flea Beetle damage on eggplants.

Flea Beetle damage on eggplants.

One of the reasons I hesitated to post photos of the garden yesterday – the flea beetles are out of control! Leaving this lovely lacy pattern all over the eggplant plants – they must go!

This blog post just turned into a “how to”.

Lets make these cool and dirt cheap yellow sticky traps.

Lets make these cool and dirt cheap yellow sticky traps.

Plastic yellow cups, any size will do, and six inch wooden tongue depressors or craft sticks. Two cups will make three traps.

Plastic yellow cups, any size will do, and six inch wooden tongue depressors or craft sticks. Two cups will make three traps.

You will need scissors and a stapler and a small jar of vaseline which I forgot to photograph :)

You will need scissors and a stapler and a small jar of vaseline which I forgot to photograph:)

Using the scissors cut up one side, across part of the bottom and around the edge as seen here. Cut all the way around removing the bottom of the cup. Make sure you remove that small lip around the bottom edge.

Using the scissors cut up one side, across part of the bottom and around the edge as seen here. Cut all the way around removing the bottom of the cup. Make sure you remove that small lip around the bottom edge.

This is what the cup will look like with the bottom cut off. Then cut this cut in thirds. You can measure or you can just gestimate thirds.

This is what the cup will look like with the bottom cut off. Then cut this in thirds. You can measure or you can just gestimate thirds. Cut off the white top rolled edge also.

This is what your two yellow plastic cups look like now. Six panels of nearly the same size, the bottoms and the upper edge pieces.

This is what your two yellow plastic cups look like now. Six panels of nearly the same size, the bottoms and the upper edge pieces.

Sandwich together one section of cup, a craft stick and another section of cup. Make sure the yellow sides face out on both sides of the stick. make sure the stick is up about halfway on the cup. Then staple twice on the stick and once at the top edge of the plastic.

Sandwich together one section of cup, a craft stick and another section of cup, white sides together. Make sure the yellow sides face out on both sides of the stick. Make sure the stick is up about halfway on the cup. Then staple twice on the stick and once at the top edge of the plastic.

The finished product. The two lower staples attach to the sandwiched craft stick and the top staple holds the top together. This will be planted in the soil very near your eggplant.

The finished product. The two lower staples attach to the sandwiched craft stick and the top staple holds the top together. This will be planted in the soil very near your eggplant.

Just before using your traps carefully smear a thin layer of Vaseline on both sides of the trap – on the yellow parts only. Then plant the trap into the ground very near your eggplants. A thin layer of Vaseline should not drip into the garden soil. Remove the trap before it is completely covered with flea beetles and dispose of properly. These cups are # 6 plastic – recycle when possible..

I pushed the stick all the way into the ground so the yellow sticky part is near the ground. Flea beetles generally stay pretty low.

I pushed the stick all the way into the ground so the yellow sticky part is near the ground. Flea beetles generally stay pretty low.

An hour later there were several flea beetles already stuck to each trap. Good luck!

Let me know how it goes if you make these OR if you have any questions.

Do you have a favorite eggplant recipe?

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Onions, Leeks and Black Snakes, Oh My!

I’ve had a blog post brewing in my head for several days now but cannot get any coherent words on paper so to speak. The pics I took are kind of yucky, ho hum, so so. Especially the latest snake pic. Crazy big black snake – yes it really was a black snake this time – snoozing between the screen and the glass door. We just let him hang out and he curled up into a ball of sleek blackness for an overnighter. When the sun hit the south wall he warmed and slid on down the road. Our lizard and frog populations seem to have dwindled notiecabley…

So apparently this is a blog post after all.

At least 5 feet long maybe more, this lovely was curled up and zigzagged and draped out the door and around a bucket.

At least 5 feet long maybe more, this lovely was curled up and zigzagged and draped out the door and around a bucket.

Lets talk about onions and leeks at least. The garden is in a lull. The cool weather stuff is finishing up and the warm weather stuff won’t be ready for a while. That said we are still gathering a few snow peas, plenty of lettuce, onions and herbs. I believe the green beans aren’t long before flowering.

Back to those onions and leeks then. TOTAL inexperience with leeks has brought me to take on the whole tamale, err leek growing process. I planted a couple dozen leek seeds broadcast in a sour cream container and they grew! Funny looking things. The variety is Autumn Giant. Yea wrong season maybe. Time will tell.

I watered, and showered them with sunshine and trimmed them a couple times so they would beef up. And they have beefed up, enough that I finally felt brave enough to separate them out and transplant them to peat pot cells this afternoon. They look fine so far!

I ended up with 15 thready little leeks that to me are just lovely!

I ended up with 15 thready little leeks that to me are just lovely!

A friend turned me on to home grown fresh out of the ground leeks last spring and I have been eagerly awaiting more of them. Then I found out she wasn’t growing this year. So I contacted Vinnie at Elixer and they had already planted out everything they had. So I was left with the only option being to plant and hope for the best. We might get a few scrawny leeks this fall depending on the summer temps but by gosh I fully intend to have a big crop of them come next spring.

So. I did a little research and found this guy’s blog and he is cloning leeks. I’m going to give it a try. I’ll need to make some calendar adjustments taking into account the opposite hemispheres we are in. I think that will be manageable. And you know I will let you know how it all goes.

Onions, onions, onions. Will someone please just give me a complete timeline from seed to  flag leaf emergence to bulb enlargement! I will Google this much more. In the meantime these Tokyo Longs were direct sowed on February 1. They haven’t gotten very big, 8 – 10 inches tall.

I'm not sure if they should be transplanted or thinned or what. They are attractive.

I’m not sure if they should be transplanted or thinned or what. They are attractive. Time to weed.

In other onion news, the third generation onion butts are raising the roof and beefy! Sorry no photo.

Gene picked these lovely Spiderwort and ___ for me several days. Lets talk about Spiderwort one of these days.

Gene picked these lovely Spiderwort and ___ for me several days. Lets talk about Spiderwort one of these days.

Of course there is a plethora of fungi growing with all the rain we’ve had this spring. I know absolutely nothing about mushrooms except they are often beautiful and best left alone as far as I am concerned.

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Do you grow onions or leeks and how do you do it?

Looking forward to your comments!

Some of you may be eager to hear how the Cushaw is doing and I promise to post an update on them soon.

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Time For a Little Fun

Every once in a while we just have to be spontaneous and this weekend was a perfect time to do that. We took a drive to Eureka Springs, Arkansas and then on to Fayetteville to see my son, his wife and the grand-baby and a lot of extended family. That part of the weekend was Holly’s 30th birthday party.

From Basin Park the Basin Park Hotel.

From Basin Park the Basin Park Hotel.

We did a little window shopping, wandered to peaceful streets and did some people watching in Basin Park. The most curious thing was all these crocheted tree trunk cozies though! They were everywhere we looked especially in Basin Park. I even saw a few near other businesses and a couple mail boxes covered with crochet cozies.

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Aren’t those crazy fun!

In our lost wanderings we came across this little park that featured giant weird musical instruments.

In our lost wanderings we came across this little park that featured giant weird musical instruments.

Gene found a rock he was particularly found of.

Gene found a rock he was particularly fond of.

Some pebbles with a LOVEly message next to a tree.

Some pebbles with a LOVEly message next to a tree.

All together a fun few days. I almost forgot – we ate at La Luna twice! Wayy Yum!

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Foggy May Morning

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Near West Plains, Missouri, May 11 2016, 5:45 AM at “the Condo”.

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Garden Update – May 12, 2016

Today’s view of the Moonmooring garden.

Contender pole beans, Siberian Dwarf Kale, cilantro changing to coriander.

Contender pole beans, Siberian Dwarf Kale, cilantro changing to coriander.

The pole beans are climbing!

The pole beans are climbing!

Wall of snow peas. You know this is my favorite garden item.

Wall of snow peas. You know this is my favorite garden item.

Japanese Black Trifele - blooming as is the other one also. The only tomato plants I bought this year. These are some hardy and hearty seeming tomato plants.

Japanese Black Trifele – blooming as is the other one also. These are the only tomato plants I bought this year.They are seeming hardy and hearty.

The Black Krims are blooming also. Both of these varieties are about a foot tall. I attribute the early bloom to early warm weather, a protected spot and Azomite/compost/mulch.

The Black Krims are blooming also. Both of these varieties are about a foot tall. I attribute the early bloom to early warm weather, a protected spot and Azomite/compost/mulch. Yes that is my shadow.

The row of Celebrity tomatoes and the two Trifele.

The row of Celebrity tomatoes and the two Trifele.

Yes there are a few flea beetles already! Ping Tung eggplants.

Already a few flea beetles! Yellow sticky traps in the morning for these Ping Tung eggplants.

Part of the current batch of Contender bush beans.

Part of the current batch of Contender bush beans.

Black Krims, Green Zebras further down the line and it's time to thin the onions! You can't see from here but the Genovese basil I overwintered in the kitchen window is in the dirt finally and thriving.

Black Krims, Green Zebras further down the line and it’s time to thin the onions! You can’t see from here but the three Genovese basil I overwintered in the kitchen window are finally in the dirt and thriving.

Clemson Spineless okra, justa handful of these.

Clemson Spineless okra, just a handful of these.

You know I overwintered a jalapeno in the house. It had hundreds of blooms well before time to be transplanted to the garden. Apparently I missed a few when removing them as these small but delicious jalapenos were picked today! I think I got them all now and the plant can kind of start over. It is alive and well!

You know I overwintered a jalapeno in the house. It had hundreds of blooms well before time to be transplanted to the garden. Apparently I missed a few when removing them as these small but delicious jalapenos were picked today! I think I got them all now and the plant can kind of start over. It is alive and well!

Better than last years absent garlic it's a little small and nearing readiness.

Better than last years absent garlic it’s a little small but nearing readiness.

More onions, red Romain doing well, buttercrunch lettuce just about done, the okra, last batch of radish (I keep saying that...). Edamame when this is all done.

More onions, red Romain doing well, buttercrunch lettuce just about done, the okra, last batch of radish (I keep saying that…). Edamame when this is all done.

Long double row of potatoes. No blooms yet but the plants are about 1 1/2 feet high.

Long double row of potatoes. No blooms yet but the plants are about 1 1/2 feet high.

Chives, oregano, peas, cilantro, beans (L). There's a bucket of carrots I keep forgetting to photograph.

Chives, oregano, peas, cilantro, beans (L). Somewhere there is a bucket of carrots I keep forgetting to photograph.

The peppers are in – Red Marconi, Thai birdseye, the jalapeno, Pablano and Jimmy Nardelo. The last cool snap didn’t do them any favors but they are recovering nicely. Now we are expecting three more nights in the high 40’s. Brrr for the peppers, even more so than for the tomatoes.

The Cushaw is bulking up already. Pictures of it next time along with the summer squash which is very small still. The yellow and zuchinni are about 6 inches high and wide and I swear we can see the beginning of blossoms on two of them. I’m not sure we will get to cantalope this year.

Still to go in the ground, edamame, eggplant, corn – Bodacious and Peaches & Cream – more Genovese basil, Thai basil, lemon basil, cucumber.

It won’t be long before it’s time to plan the fall garden. How is the weather and planting in your area?

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