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Garden Mastery Academy - Module 1: Dare to Dream
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Elizabeth Horsley

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since Apr 28, 2020
Dallas, TX area
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Recent posts by Elizabeth Horsley



I'm having my most successful year yet with tomatoes and it seems like our CSA farmers are having success too. Usually, I can take care of our fresh tomato production with pizza, sandwiches, and salads, but I'm feeling overwhelmed. Here are some of my ideas to research for using up the tomatoes:

Tomato soup
Pizza/pasta sauce (can it maybe?)
Salsa

I'm sure my harvest is tiny compared to what some of ya'll bring in. How do you handle a glut of tomatoes?

1 month ago
Shark week can sneak up on a gal, especially if she's in a new or stressful (even in a good way) situation. I don't use pads, but I keep some in the main bathroom in case a guest needs them because I've been in that situation. It would be hospitable to provide some biodegradable pads in a basket near the toilet for the women caught by surprise. Not sure if you've done this before since I haven't been to your place.
1 month ago
I had a similar mold problem with a load of woodchips we got. We had to move the pile of chips to distribute it around the property and we noticed a lot of dust coming off the pile. The next day my husband and I both had sore throats! We used masks from then forward while moving that pile and our throats got better. I'm not sure what could have been in that pile to affect us so much; I assumed it was mold, but that's just a hunch.

The chips are on paths and around trees now. Everything seems to be doing fine. It was just moving the pile initially that caused the health problem.
1 month ago
I would like to be a late 1800s American pioneer like some of my ancestors or maybe not. I enjoy growing food, making clothes, or making stuff in general. I also appreciate the fact that if my garden fails, we won't starve. I can still go to the store if I have to.

Basically, I enjoy doing things like the American pioneers, but I'm also thankful my survival doesn't depend on it.

You all should also look into history-bounding. There's a wide range of definitions, but a lot of it is about incorporating historical clothing items into everyday wear. I'm working on a cotton button-down dress from a 1950's reproduction pattern right now. I like the look and practicality of the dress itself, but the fabric waste from making something fitted is crazy! All fabric will be saved for quilts of course. I'll go for something older and less fitted for my next project.
1 month ago
I've started to think of my weeds as bonus harvests:
-Dandelion gets eaten, but I'm not as confident identifying other wild edibles yet.
-The invasive ficus trees that refuse to die make helpfully long sticks that I slash back and stack loosely over newly planted seeds to help keep critters out.
-Noxious weeds can go in the rot bucket to make liquid fertilizer until the fight is out of them. Then they go into regular compost.
-Most anything else goes into regular compost and really helps bulk it up. If I'm feeling lazy, I'll just pull it up and leave it as mulch where it is.
2 months ago
We still have a bit of what I call "compromise lawn" that my husband likes to mow and the lawn is moving into my woodchipped garden paths and beds. It got to the point that the path was almost all grass. I used a pitchfork to get those chips out and moved them to another part of the yard where the grass is patchy then replaced with fresh chips. I'll probably need to do it again next year, but that beat back the grass quite a bit. It was a small area, but it only came out to about an hour of work.

Old owners had several beds mulched with river rock with weed cloth underneath. Of course, the grass has gotten in there too. Those have been a pain to take out. Besides the rocks, the weed cloth falls apart in my hands getting bits of plastic everywhere and the grass anchors it to the ground. Go with wood chips (and cardboard if you want extra security). If you're going to have to fork it out and redo it every couple of years anyway, might as well do it with something relatively easy and cheap to replace.
2 months ago
Can confirm that your vid is not full of naked people. ;)

I liked and subscribed as well. I don't know how the YouTube algorithm works, but YouTubers are always asking for that to help boost their posts.
3 months ago
I do presentations at churches on how to spot and handle child abuse. I have a bunch of literature that I bulk ordered or people have given to me that I put out for people to take if they are interested. The same could be done at sustainability/permaculture/etc. talks in one's local area. Even if you're not the person giving the talk, the person who is giving the talk might agree to let you put out copies or raffle them off to attendees. That way you only have to talk to one person, but several people get copies.
I'm sure this is common sense by now for most experienced permies, but I had an epiphany today.

I live in zone 8 in North Texas and I've noticed over the past couple of years that we'll have a dry stretch in the middle of the summer for 4-6 weeks. Highs are in the 90s (at least) and we have little to no rain. At some point, the weather seems to "break" it doesn't happen all at once, but we'll get a good rain storm again, temps will go down (they may go up again but mostly down). Now, here's the thing. The planting charts don't know when this is going to happen. The planting chart may say I can start this or that in mid August because sometimes the break has happened by then. Sometimes it hasn't and I'm spending a lot of time (and city water) trying to get seedlings to come up. The point is, it's better to wait for that first rain before planting otherwise I'm just working against nature.

Thank you for coming to my observation talk. If any of you live in a hot-2-growing-season climate like mine and have a trick for when to start in the spring, I'm all ears.
10 months ago
I was moving some old bundles of sticks to make a hugelkulture mound a couple of days ago when I felt the tell-tale sensation of burning on my (probably less protected than they should have been because I was trying to get away with flip flops) feet. I couldn't find the actual mound in the brush pile I'd been working on, but there were definitely fire ants all over my foot.

Fire ants love a good wood pile and the hugel would likely be no different. My early encounter revealed a problem. How could I garden in what was essentially a pile of wood covered in dirt without being eaten alive by fire ants? If a mosquito problem is really a lack of dragonfly problem, what is the equivalent for fire ants? I need to significantly reduce their numbers in what would otherwise be an ideal fire ant habitat. Is there a way to do that or is hugelkulture just not a good solution in my context?

I found a couple of other forums mentioning various methods for fire ant control. The best takeaway is that robust soil microbiology (esp. sugar-loving microbes) may be the dragonfly equivalent for fire ants. I've used orange oil mound drenches before with success, but I would rather discourage the fire ants than kill them after I find them (usually with my foot). This post offers some good suggestions of mound drenches AND preventatives: http://www.thegardenacademy.com/pests-diseases/fire-ants-organic-program/

My plan is to add dried molasses as I build the pile and incorporate horticultural molasses as a regular spray application. Will keep you all posted on how this works. Of course, I welcome any constructive criticism on my plan.
11 months ago