A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

A Time For Projects

I like being out in the garden, but mostly I find a project to work on. This past week, with two dogs playing in the backyard, it was hard to get many things going. You see, dogs want to be helpful, so they will pay attention to what you are doing, and figure out how they can get involved. “Here, you forgot this plant. You put it in the ground over there. Thought you might like it back.” On top of the dogs, a bee decided that the flat that I was thinning belonged to him. As far as I could determine, the bee had found the water absorbing gels in the soilless mix, and it was taking them back to the hive. The hive must have been close, because the same bee was back every few minutes for more. I tried to explain that we could share the flat, but nothing doing. I hope that the hive is not in the wall of a neighbors house, because that could be a real issue.

I decided to start a little project on the kitchen window sill for the kids. I planted some carrot seeds outdoors, but I thought it would be good to show them another way to grow carrots. From the bag of carrots that I bought at the store, I chopped off the tops. I placed them with my daughter in a shallow bowl of water. Each day my son and daughter check to see the growth. Leaves are sprouting out, and roots are growing. Since I used a clear plastic bowl, they get to see everything. Each day we change out the water. It only took a week for most of the tops to show signs of life. It has opened up a discussion on plants at the dinner table.

Remembering a project in Africa, where plants were being grown in a bag to conserve water, I thought that I could take my kid involvement in the garden one further step. I have taken an old garbage can for this task. I have cut holes into it, and filled it with my own soilless mix. I planted herbs into the holes. I placed pvc pipe into the can for watering. I drilled holes into the pipe to let water out at different points in the can. I am going to grow the same plants in a garden bed, so we can see which does better, with less water. I am using an old milk container to measure the water used for each planting. This should be an interesting topic of conversation for a while.

This coming week I will need to work on the rock garden areas some more.

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