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Posts tagged gardening

Mar 10 '12

Hacks Garden 2012

Greetings again, Tumblrers and Hipsters who still use Instagram on your site. It’s gardening time!

Garden Time! with MrHacks on Tumblr!

This year marks the fourth year of gardening and a change of how things are done. The Square Foot Garden Method will be used as well as container gardening. It is a plan I’v had ever since I got started with gardening.

The benefits are that I will no longer use any of the soil in my back yard. An unsettling revelation about what’s been going on at the creek behind my house over the the past fifty years involving the Mallinckrodt during the Atomic Age (see FUSRAP), along with the remediation of the dirt near the creek for Uranium, Radium, Thorium, and other This-will-give-you-cancer-ium isotopes has me thinking about where the dirt came from in my own backyard that wasn’t the dirt that I put in.

Now before everyone gets into a panic, ionizing radiation is practically in everything on this planet. Electronics, including cellphones, produce non-ionizing (low energy) radiation, which is harmless. But the high energy (ionizing) is the stuff that can cause cell damage and cancer.

Interesting enough, plants are more used to radiation exposure. After the Chernobyl disaster, Sunflowers were planted by farmers and discovered that sunflowers could absorb the thorium fallout that contaminated the dirt. The stereotype of nuclear goo (which could really just be a rock emitting ionizing radiation) making mutant large plants are only half true. Some plants will grow larger from radiation exposure, but they won’t turn into bizarre mutant monsters.

Since Chernobyl, the evacuated ghost city of Pripyat, Ukraine has been overrun with plant overgrowth. The plants are now the rulers of the city in the former Soviet republic.

However, my problem isn’t even close to a Chernobyl problem. Not even by a long shot. But it still doesn’t feel right to plant the plants I eat in dirt with possible above average radiation levels. I’m not afraid to live where I live. And the majority of cancers that have occurred in the neighborhood were the result of the kids playing in the creek (which they shouldn’t have even without any warning that the water may have been tainted) or coincidental.

Follow this path of Coldwater Creek through North St. Louis County on Google Maps and realize that this map doesn’t show how many people may have been impacted.

So there is really nothing wrong with living here, just don’t play in the creek and help Florissant Mayor Tom Schneider demand the clean up of the Westlake Landfill which could do much worse damage to North County than what’s in Coldwater Creek as it is where some of the materials from FUSRAP were transfered but could seep into the water table or get flooded out and potentially contaminate the water supply throughout North County.

OK, enough with this nuclear crap. (Go green! Buy a solar panel. I know. I’m working on it.) Time for the gardening part.

As always, this Tumblr site is used to upload pictures of my progress with the garden. A new smartphone this year will probably produce some better detailed pictures of my garden and the places I go to look at other people’s gardens.

The magnolias are in bloom as I speak and cheery blossoms and dogwood should soon follow. Expect pictures.

This year’s garden will concentrate more on herbs and flowers rather than long large plants like last year. Seeing how quickly all my zucchini and pumpkin were decimated by pest bugs last year really got me more motivated to do my gardening indoors, at least until late April or May.

On advice by a local gardening expert at my local TrueValue hardware store, indoor seeding should generally start around the March full moon, which has recently passed. I got a little eager and started some of my herbs indoors early. A couple week later I started most of my usual including peppers and tomatoes.

New plants have been added including peas, garlic, green tomatillo, spinach, lettuce, and broccoli of two types regular and romanesco. The latter will look very awesome to take photos of as it produces natural fractal patterns and have an interesting taste to them supposedly.

I’m hoping to share extra seeds with the neighbors if they are interested.

That seems to be everything for today. Stay tuned for more awesome garden photos.

View comments Tags: HacksGarden12 HG2012 gardening square foot gardening container gardening adventure time gardening time html5 Mallinckrodt Tyco Covidien FUSRAP Florissant Missouri Coldwater Creek Westlake Landfill FUSRAP radiation St. Louis peas garlic onions tomatillo spinach lettuce broccoli lavender

Mar 10 '12
Pocky boxes are ideal for storing seed packets.

Pocky boxes are ideal for storing seed packets.

View comments Tags: pocky gardening seeds HacksGarden12

Jul 16 '11
These are not friendly! These little eggs turn into destructive Squash Bugs when are known to infect squash, zucchini, watermelon, and pumpkin with a bacterial disease called Yellow Vine Decline.

I spent over an hour in the hot heat this morning picking off leave with these things even squashing some nymphs and adult bugs. After a thorough inspection on both sides of the leaves and the vines and picking off some rotting fruit that literally fell apart into goo (Gross!), I sprayed some Sevin insecticide on the zukes.

A heat wave is forcast for the next 5 to 7 days and no rain is expected for the next 7 to 10 days. Despite high waters on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, a drought-like pattern is forcasted. So watering plants is important especially daily for the watermelon and potted plants. Also, remember to rotate melons and gords so that they stay dry and don’t rot on one side. Pulling grass and weeds are a must to discourage bugs. The only exception in my opinion is clover which honeybees, bumblebees, and other polinators can’t get enough of the blossoms. Allocating space in the yard for an herb garden can be good especially if there is Lemon Balm to attract bumblebees and some birds.

These are not friendly! These little eggs turn into destructive Squash Bugs when are known to infect squash, zucchini, watermelon, and pumpkin with a bacterial disease called Yellow Vine Decline.

I spent over an hour in the hot heat this morning picking off leave with these things even squashing some nymphs and adult bugs. After a thorough inspection on both sides of the leaves and the vines and picking off some rotting fruit that literally fell apart into goo (Gross!), I sprayed some Sevin insecticide on the zukes.

A heat wave is forcast for the next 5 to 7 days and no rain is expected for the next 7 to 10 days. Despite high waters on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, a drought-like pattern is forcasted. So watering plants is important especially daily for the watermelon and potted plants. Also, remember to rotate melons and gords so that they stay dry and don’t rot on one side. Pulling grass and weeds are a must to discourage bugs. The only exception in my opinion is clover which honeybees, bumblebees, and other polinators can’t get enough of the blossoms. Allocating space in the yard for an herb garden can be good especially if there is Lemon Balm to attract bumblebees and some birds.

4 notes View comments Tags: squash bugs hg2011 gardening watermelon zucchini pumpkin lemon balm sevin bag bugs flooding drought heat weather

Jul 12 '11
Zuchinni Squash. Contrary to what my mom thinks, the seeds are OK to eat when they are picked between the smallest size in this picture and the largest size in this picture. Letting zukes grow too big will make the seeds hard and tough. But when they are this size (roughly the length of the width of a washcloth or kitchen hand towel) that the seeds are soft like the white seeds in a watermelon.

Zuchinni Squash. Contrary to what my mom thinks, the seeds are OK to eat when they are picked between the smallest size in this picture and the largest size in this picture. Letting zukes grow too big will make the seeds hard and tough. But when they are this size (roughly the length of the width of a washcloth or kitchen hand towel) that the seeds are soft like the white seeds in a watermelon.

5 notes View comments Tags: zucchini squash gardening hg2011

May 18 '11

Exploding Watermelons in China

progressivefriends:

You can’t make this stuff up. Fields of watermelons are exploding in eastern China. You won’t believe what it is thought to be the culprit.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/world/exploding-watermelons-fruit-bursts-in-china-farm-fiasco-1479648.html

For those of you who believe the idea of a combustible lemon is a work of fiction or the rambling of a madman, here’s how it might work.

4 notes View comments (via progressivefriends)Tags: exploding watermelon combustible lemons cave johnson gardening how not to grow plants

May 12 '11
If there is any reward for having too much rain, it is having too many roses! This rosebush is beautiful, but overgrowth from the past couple of years has made it outgrow its trellis.

If there is any reward for having too much rain, it is having too many roses! This rosebush is beautiful, but overgrowth from the past couple of years has made it outgrow its trellis.

22 notes View comments Tags: hg2011 gardening roses rosebush trellis

May 8 '11

Garden Update

It’s been a while since I’ve chatted about the garden. Here’s what is happening now.

For some reason, my mint plants have taken ill. Their vines a red and their foliage has dried up despite above average precipitation.

Peppers are suffering from the same issues the tomatoes had a few months ago, only I have a feeling that I may get a few peppers out of it. I should inspect the house for anything that may be causing ailments with my plants.

The brush pile has not been moved. And frankly, I don’t care anymore. I’ll deal with it next season if it doesn’t become a nuisance. Besides, I had to use a lawn rake to pull out the creeping vine weeds (I don’t know the official name) that had attempted to take down my strawberries and mom’s herb garden. I should have done the same with the roses especially since the flowers are coming in. (Yes, there will be photos!) Once that passes, I will need to trim the big rose bush which has outgrown its trellis. Of course that could be a month from now.

The garden sale was this weekend with the local garden club. Plants should be going in the ground this week come hell or high water.

Plants that are in the ground right now: Sweet Corn and Sunflowers. I’m giving corn another try since we’ve been getting all this rain. With any luck, it should do better than the first time.

Onions are still in the ground. I doubt they are edible because they were in the ground from last year, but keeping them adds beauty to the garden especially when their flowers are in bloom, which should been the next couple of weeks I think.

I plan on giving carrots one last try this year and with a product that should get that going. I’m take a snap shot of the product sometime in the future. I’m sorta disappointed they didn’t have that product available for sweet potatoes. (I don’t like them myself, but the rest of the family enjoys them, and it is what my great-grandparents on both sides of the family used to farm in this area. I’m hoping that with this product I can take better care of my carrots this time around since on their own, the seeds of any type of carrot are very small.

In lieu of asking my uncle to bring his rototiller to the garden like he did last year, I am finding significant progress using a mattock. (The horizontal side, not the vertical side.) I’ve done more work getting dirt tilled more than any other gardening tool, including a shovel, hoe, and Garden Claw. The progress I’ve made with my mattock is so worth the callous in the palm of my left hand. (Next time I’ll wear work gloves!) The mattock is ideal for breaking that hard top surface of the dirt to get to the most ground underneath where the wonderful earthworms are. From there, a hoe or Garden Claw would be idea to bust up any of the larger dirt chunks that using the vertical and horizontal sides of the mattock still don’t break.

If the weather cooperates, plants from the garden sale may be installed as early as tomorrow.

This year’s goal is to thwart the vine borers, horrible insect that goes through several stages of metamorphosis as it sucks the life out of vine plants including zucchini, pumpkin, melons, and squashes. Spraying the vine where it comes out of the ground or near the roots was suggested by one of my fellow gardeners. I’ll give that a try this year.

Current methods of eradicating the Japanese beetle still seem effective. I haven’t run into a whole lot of their larvae (the grubs) while digging up dirt which is a good sign. I use Spectricide Bag-a-bug an put it downwind from the garden where the randy little porkers don’t commit their adultery on my plants then cannibalizing the leaves in the afterglow.

My biggest concern this year is for the honeybee, which although sighted in the neighborhood continues to worry the gardener and the farmer as much as the beekeeper. Bumblebees (which are also exuberant pollinators) have also taken a hit this year and their curiosity seems has been replaced with timidness. I’ve always considered the bumblebee as the B-team (no pun intended) when the A-team (the honeybees) don’t show up and they manage to work well with other pollinators even if they don’t produce honey. This includes the sweat bee and various wasps. It is important to remember that those insects are part of the ecosystem too and they serve a purpose even if their attitude is not as docile as the honeybee or bumblebee.

I’ve also noticed butterflies in the neighborhood. Be sure to put out some flowers that the bees and the butterflies like.

It would probably be ideal to conduct an environmental survey of the neighborhood especially after the nuclear accident in Japan earlier this year. While I doubt I’ll find anything radioactive, I’m more concerned about carbon dioxide levels.

It does no good for St. Louis City and County in Missouri and St. Claire and Madison County in Illinois to work on improving carbon emissions with the Mass Transit system if St. Charles County in Missouri doesn’t also work on cutting their carbon emissions. Of course, our state legislature (mostly republican) doesn’t believe that, but I’ve injected enough politics in this blog for one weekend.

The point is the Urban Sprawl of St. Charles County (now spilling into Lincoln and Warren Counties according to the 2010 Census) reflects poorly upon the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area. I would encourage St. Charles County, Warren and Lincoln County Residents work with Metro in St. Louis to expand the mass transit system out as Wentzville.

As much as the influx of white flight is boosting the economy in these counties, they are doing damage to the natural enviroment and the blowback can be seen downwind in the St. Louis Area.

Saving the bees globally, begins with controlling pollution locally.

View comments Tags: hg2011 gardening peppers mint bees honeybee bumble bee vine borer Japanese beetle rose corn sweet corn sunflowers strawberries onions sweet potato zucchini mattock hoe Garden Claw Shovel tilling pumpkin watermelon tomatoes gardening tools garden insects save the bees mass transit St. Louis

May 6 '11
Japanese Honeysuckle. As adorable as this plant is, this invasive species is no friend of the native trees, shurbs, bushes, or vines. If you have it, kill it!

Japanese Honeysuckle. As adorable as this plant is, this invasive species is no friend of the native trees, shurbs, bushes, or vines. If you have it, kill it!

5 notes View comments Tags: japanese honeysuckle invasive species gardening

Apr 16 '11
A miracle was discovered this morning!
One of the old pods from Tray 1 (which had been outside for about a month and had weathered through a snowstorm in late March and a hailstorm yesterday) sprouted!
What I do know is that this spout should be a tomato of some kind. Probably cherry tomato. This pod was in a frigid pool of water on a blustery low 40 degree morning. In other words, this tomato is genetically superior and man needed not to interfere with it’s genetics to make it happen. This little seed adapted on its own! I took it indoors to the arborium, gave it some warmer water in hopes to flush out the ice cold water the peet moss had absorbed and put it in a small plastic greenhouse. With a little T.L.C., this tomato plant will flourish.
This plant is special, and deserves to live a long and healthy life that will benefit the survival of its species.
Hey! This is post number 100! Horray!

A miracle was discovered this morning!

One of the old pods from Tray 1 (which had been outside for about a month and had weathered through a snowstorm in late March and a hailstorm yesterday) sprouted!

What I do know is that this spout should be a tomato of some kind. Probably cherry tomato. This pod was in a frigid pool of water on a blustery low 40 degree morning. In other words, this tomato is genetically superior and man needed not to interfere with it’s genetics to make it happen. This little seed adapted on its own! I took it indoors to the arborium, gave it some warmer water in hopes to flush out the ice cold water the peet moss had absorbed and put it in a small plastic greenhouse. With a little T.L.C., this tomato plant will flourish.

This plant is special, and deserves to live a long and healthy life that will benefit the survival of its species.

Hey! This is post number 100! Horray!

1 note View comments Tags: cherry tomato evolution gardening hg2011 miracle science suck it monsanto tomato post 100

Apr 11 '11
This is my Plan B. While my peppers are in good condition and are outside tonight where they are hardening up. It was 90° today. They should be out. There is a storm coming in tonight and it will be much cooler tomorrow, but I believe they are ready to spend some time outside overnight with the berries and the mint. These new plants, which will likely be my Plan A next year as I work toward more container gardening that in-ground gardening. The only downside with containter gardening is a lack of earthworms, which can’t live in Miracle-Grow Potting Soil. The products that is featured in this photo are new. Basically, they are seeds wrapped in like a napkin or coffee filter. Just partially fill a 10” pot with soil, water it, put the seed napkin in, put a little bit more dirt and water in, an wait for the magic to happen a few days from now.

This is my Plan B. While my peppers are in good condition and are outside tonight where they are hardening up. It was 90° today. They should be out. There is a storm coming in tonight and it will be much cooler tomorrow, but I believe they are ready to spend some time outside overnight with the berries and the mint. These new plants, which will likely be my Plan A next year as I work toward more container gardening that in-ground gardening. The only downside with containter gardening is a lack of earthworms, which can’t live in Miracle-Grow Potting Soil. The products that is featured in this photo are new. Basically, they are seeds wrapped in like a napkin or coffee filter. Just partially fill a 10” pot with soil, water it, put the seed napkin in, put a little bit more dirt and water in, an wait for the magic to happen a few days from now.

2 notes View comments Tags: bush early girl jalapeños tomatoes peppers gardening hg2011