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Ysella Owen

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since Dec 22, 2019
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Recent posts by Ysella Owen

I am always looking for new varieties to try, especially for strawberries.  I've found that one of the best for me is plain old Sequoia.  

Where I am, June-bearers do best.

I have tried many others and they all seem to do about the same---Allstar, Chandler, Cardinal, etc.

What variety have you tried that does best where you are? And what about it is outstanding?
7 months ago
I don't have a picture to show, but yesterday I dug several holes with the post hole diggers so I could set posts for fence and a gate. Being a female and not having hulking muscles on my shoulders and arms, digging the holes was the hardest and lengthiest part of the project! Hate digging holes with post hole diggers.  So yesterday evening I cemented the poles in the ground. They had time to dry thank goodness because last night it poured down rain. Then again early this morning. But a west wind came through and blew the rain and clouds out so I went out to finish my sort-of-rainy-day project and got the fence stretched and the gate hung.

Now hopefully the mud dries up in a few days. I really churned it up! But the fence and gate look really good.
7 months ago
I almost said something about how I like your natural garden--for the very virtue of being cultivated but in a way that adds to the natural beauty.  I garden in a similar way. I love my roses, lilies and annuals, but I also like wildflowers and native plants. It can be tricky combining them so one doesn't swamp the other. I have some successes and some failures, but it's all learning.

Yes, I did take some positive lessons from my near death experiences. In retrospect.

I saw you have a loquat tree in your picture.  Mine is blooming right now, and has been for about six weeks. It's just about done blooming. I'm at about the northern boundary for it's growth, and most winters I lose the fruit as they freeze off. But occasionally we have a mild winter and I get some fruit. At least the ones the squirrels and birds don't get to first. I love the fragrance of loquat blooms.
7 months ago
Amy, are you my long lost twin?? LOL!  I too lead a semi recluse life, by my choice.  And I too have had a few very close encounters with death, but thankfully was able to come through and recover for the most part.

The pictures of your garden are lovely.
7 months ago
Many years ago I read somewhere that trees absorb nutrients from the soil and use them to make leaves and to grow in general. Which is correct.  When leaves fall, they are basically returning the nutrients to the soil by breaking down and decomposing.  Now a certain amount of gasses (O2, etc.) are liberated to the atmosphere by the decomposition process, but most of the nutrients that the tree absorbed from the ground remains in the leaves.

So to me, burning them is an extremely wasteful way of handling a valuable organic material.  I have a lot of trees; various oaks, gum, tupelo, ash, winged elm, and lots of pine.

In August, the pines start shedding their old needles so new ones can grow and replace them. I rake these up covetously for use as mulch for flower beds and under shrubs. I lay it on thick, like 5 or 6" and press it down. After it's rained on several times it settles and makes a very nice mulch that does not break down quickly in our wet winter or hot wet springs and summers. Pine needle mulch looks very nice. It is a natural part of the scenery, and not something alien like that awful red dyed mulch people love to use.

About the time the pines are through shedding, leaves begin to fall so I then have a mixture of leaves and pine needles. Some of it gets used to fill in any gaps in mulching, but a large portion of it gets raked up and moved to the vegetable gardens and tilled under in the fall. Immediately after tilling the leaves under I top plant with winter rye which grows all winter and then in very early spring I till that under too, and then wait a month or so to plant. It seems to be a very successful regime to follow. Some is also spread into low spots in the property to decompose and add organic matter to the ground.  And finally some of it gets piled up for slow composting. I don't turn my compost as I am not able to. But piled high it settles out after a few months. After several months the top layer of largely intact leaves and pine needles can be scraped off and lots of crumbly earthy smelling leaf mould can be dug out for use in potted plants, garden areas and flower beds.

7 months ago
Simple pleasure of the day is when I sit down in the evening, after a day of working outdoors, with a cup of hot coffee and enjoying the quiet. Just sitting, quiet and still, and thinking over my accomplishments of the day and what still needs doing, and sipping hot delicious coffee. Preferably in a darkened room.
7 months ago
Around here, there really aren't any town dumps like many places have. There are a couple of sanitary landfills but you have to pay some seriously big bucks to dump in them, so people just don't.  I think that is why the 'end of the driveway' concept works so well.  I've never put out anything that didn't get taken within half a day. Even scrap metal goes pretty quick, as people sell it to the scrap yard.
7 months ago
A couple months ago I saw that some neighbors had set out what I thought was a set of cabinets---two lower cabinets and two upper cabinets. I was driving by and stopped and got out to look at them. Around here if you don't want something, you set it out at the end of your driveway and it magically disappears.  They were not upper/lower cabinets but were part of a bedroom suite from the 80s. The lower part had large drawers and the upper part had doors that opened to reveal shelves.  Each set was designed to sit on either side of a bed and there was a horizontal section that joined the two sets together across the top. However, it was being used in their garage so I didn't get that. But wow, were they a find! Made of solid oak--no veneer over particle board or plastic anywhere on them. Storage is an issue for me because I live in an old house that originally did not have closets (as many old houses don't!).  One set went in my huge bathroom for storage, and the other is in my sewing and craft room, also for storage.

I've found furniture, shelving, two galvanized walk-through gates; one 36" wide and the other 6' wide. All they needed was new chain link fence to put on them, which I had.  

Also scrounged oak for firewood, found tools laying in the road, plants, construction materials that were new and unused.  Just all sorts of things.

I'm definitely a scrounge.
7 months ago
When you think nothing of potting up seeds and cuttings in the kitchen sink at 2 a.m. because you can't sleep.  Or because you bake dirt in the oven to pasteurize it. Or how during the winter the inside of your house resembles Costa Rica because of all the plants that had to come in out of the cold. Or when you keep buying big serving spoons for cooking but keep losing them outside because you need just the right size scoop for planting something.
7 months ago
This is a great thread. I've never experimented with peaches from seed, or any other fruit tree from seed except for some natives like Eastern persimmon, mayhaw and a few other things.  I got pretty good at rooting cuttings from figs and pomegranates.

I hope this thread is updated so I can follow the progress. Wasn't aware a peach would bloom and set fruit in two or three years from seed.

I knew someone who planted the pits from some white fleshed peaches that he said were particularly good. They grew and he had about half a dozen trees that all fruited well but all the fruit were a little different from each other. It was pretty impressive.
7 months ago