Gardens at the Urban Ranch

1 / 8
2 / 8
3 / 8
4 / 8
5 / 8
6 / 8
7 / 8
8 / 8

 Some of you may have noticed that I have not been frequenting the GRIT website for a time. [We noticed! –Eds.] I, at times, travel with a group from the Southern Baptist Association disaster relief group to places that are needed.  The call came down from the association that we were to stage up to leave for Alabama on May 2nd.  Thirty of us prepared to leave and be fully contained.  That means provision for food, sleeping, all equipment and things necessary to live for 7 to 10 days were to be taken with us. 

Here are two of the five vehicles we staged up to convoy to Alabama.  I’m sure we will get another chance when the flood waters recede.   If you would like to read more about the trip or non trip as it was, you can go to .

The garden looks a little different than in April.  All the structures are built; the beds are filled with Omagrow soil, a city composted yard waste soil; and most of the watering system is in place.  I’m still tweaking that and probably will be for many years to come.  Ideas about how to improve the system just keep popping into my mind.  I just can’t help it.  All the beds are planted except for the cucumbers.  Hopefully, in the next couple days the seeds will be planted directly into the bed.  You can see my rabbit barrier for the radishes and lettuce on the first bed and the fence structure for the cucumbers to climb on the second bed.

Here is the new look of beautification for the poor man’s living patio trellis.  These hanging baskets are Impatiens that are watered by a low pressure watering system.  Impatiens have grown well on the patio wall so I expect that they will be great in the aerial display.  The sides will be planted with the begonias that you can see still in the flat on the back wall of the patio that  I brought them home in. 

The instructions say to fertilize these plants every three weeks.  I’m not sure that I will be organic with these flowers as I don’t intend to eat them.  I’m thinking maybe a good dose of Miracle Gro every three weeks will do the trick.  I know, I can hear the gasping all across GRIT-land.  I’m not a dyed in the wool complete organic gardener either but pretty close.

I really have been researching the living wall idea but I am just not ready to give it a try yet.  A living wall is a vertical wall of what looks to be 4 inch slightly slanted front to back squares that hold soil for planting.  In each pocket of soil, a plant is planted.  The watering is done from the top of the living wall section and trickles down through each level of soil pockets.  It looks like a quite interesting concept of vertical growing.

Ok, I know some of you might be wondering about the front lawn Jerry Baker experiment.  Well here’s a picture of the lawn after all the spring applications were applied and one dose of beer formula.  I have since put the first every three week for the rest of the summer dose on the lawn.  It is formulated from beer, corn syrup, household ammonia, liquid fertilizer, and dish soap.  Hmmmmm, I wonder if Impatiens and Begonias like beer?   It’s applied through a hose end sprayer.   The two bare spots are due to winter kill and will have to be re seeded.  I think old Jerry has a concoction for starting a new patch of lawn as well.  The back yard is the control for this experiment and just to give the experiment a fair chance I am fertilizing the back yard and watering the back yard in the normal manner.

The Daffodils and Tulips are bloomed out but the Iris and peonies are starting to show buds that are almost ready to burst into flowering.  Speaking of peonies, I have a miracle peony in my front yard.  This little peony was once big strong and vibrant. Some years ago a very late frost killed it dead or so I thought.  It turned black and did not show a spark of life the rest of the year.  Winter came and went and the spring still showed no life.  The summer came and went still nothing.  I thought the Peony that had bloomed and filled the corner of the house with beauty since 1965 was certainly dead.  The spring of the next year I was quite amazed when a teeny tiny little sprout came poking through the ground and produced one little tiny Peony flower.  I could not believe it.  The next year it came back bigger and stronger and this year it will have several blooms for me to marvel over.  I have another story about a little rose bush that just wouldn’t die.  That’s for another time.

I had to modify the rain barrel as the spigot came loose from the barrel.  I since have used a regular spigot with a threaded coupler on the inside to hold the spigot in place.  I used two rubber grommets and landscaping adhesive to seal the spigot.  I shouldn’t have any trouble with that again.  I decided to feed directly into the main tank instead of back flowing through the watering system.  I put a four gang full flow valve on the main tank to be able to attach four hoses if need be.  A full flow shutoff valve is a over sized shut off valve with a flow through the valve the same rate as through the hose.  Most shut off valves have a smaller flow through the valve than the hose.

The main watering tank is now half full just from catching a couple rains.  I am sure it would have been full if I hadn’t had some issues with the water flow and the rain barrel spigot.  I covered the tank to keep the debris out of the water and mostly to keep the algae from growing in the tank.  Eventually, I want to have a solar fountain in the tank to keep the algae from growing and to oxygenate the water for the fish that will be in the tank.  This whole project should keep me busy for a long time.

Well, this week a list of things awaits my attention.  Let’s see there’s planting the cucumbers, mulching the garden, finishing the watering system, planting the begonias, door locks for my cousin, building raised garden beds for my friend, and work on the fire pit.  Oh, yeah, let’s not forget to mow the grass.  That should keep me out of trouble for the week.

What’s your week look like?  Don’t you just love the spring and all the activity it brings?