TimJFowler's blog

Banking on the Harvest

Petaluma Seed Bank interior 2

Why do banks give up these incredible buildings? The answer is probably very boring and financially sensible, but LOOK at this building and tell me do you prefer an ATM?

Anyway ... on our recent (and too short) northern CA vacation we made a trip to the Petaluma Seed Bank. If you enjoy seed catalogs, you will love this place. We browsed for quite a while and made small withdrawal (i.e. we bought some seeds).

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Why I Garden #39

Santa Rosa Plum Tree in Bloom

One sure sign of spring is our Santa Rosa Plum tree in bloom. With crossed fingers, compost, water and a little help from Mother Nature and Luther Burbank we could have a crop of plums later this year. Barring any late freezes or big wind storms, of course.

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Prunus x domestica 'Santa Rosa' plum

Why I Garden #38

Olla and encircling root bowl

A tale of a full moon, a hard frost, green tomatoes and eight dirty ollas.

Camping Weekend Reset

Camping weekend hike

Getting away for a weekend of camping always seems like a hassle, until the tent is pitched and sleeping bags are unrolled. We were packed and rolling out of town by 3pm on Friday toward a state park about 2.5 hours away which minimized traffic and stress. We also enjoyed the comforts of a developed campsite. True backcountry camping will wait until all family members can carry their own backpack. Clear starry skies, frosty cold mornings, sunny hikes and 48 news-free hours helped to clear our frazzled minds.

Why I Garden #37

Purple Asters - Machaeranthera bigelovii

Folks around Santa Fe call these flowers Purple Aster when they pop up in late summer / early fall. Apparently Aster bigelovii has quite a few pseudonyms including Bigelow's Tansyaster, Sticky Aster and more scientifically Machaeranthera bigelovii or Dieteria bigelovii var. bigelovii. Regardless of what they're called we have a few of these self-seeded native wildflowers growing in one of the beds around our home.

A Riddle Hovering in the Garden

Hyles lineata - White-lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moth

Our garden attracts a good variety of insect pollinators, including our honeybees. For the past week we've had a new variety of showy, large moths in the garden. They flit about like hummingbirds and are bold, relatively unbothered by human attention. A quick 'Net search revealed that our garden guests are Hyles lineata, the White-lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moth. Of course, now I need to check the tomatoes for hornworms.

Gardens and Chickens and Goats, Oh My!

Garden & Coop Tour 2013 - Friendly Goat

Once again it is high summer and time for garden tours. Santa Feans have a selection of garden tours to choose from. Tours range from Behind Adobe Walls and the Botanical Gardens to gardens that are a bit more home grown. As our garden is relatively modest I find inspiration from similarly DIY gardens.

Why I Garden #36

Tomato plants after hail storm

Hail! Ugh.

One week ago a fierce thunderstorm hit our neighborhood and it started with a vicious hailstorm. I was in the middle of a project and could do nothing to save the tender annuals in our garden. While the corn survived, most of the chiles, tomatoes, beans and squash were shredded. Many of the perennials are already looking better, but I still need to decide what plants will be replaced this season.

I'm thrilled to have the precipitation, I just wish it had all come as rain. Ugh.

Why I Garden #35

Golden Currant, blooming

Once again the natives in our garden shine despite the drought. This Golden Currant (Ribes aureum) has grown steadily, if slowly, in a far corner of the yard. It has bloomed for the first time this spring, bringing an unexpected splash of bright yellow. I wish I could take credit for the flowers, but this perennial has grown and thrived with only infrequent watering. I'm hopeful that there will be a few currants to eat come the fall.

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This is Why Santa Feans Don't Recycle!

Santa Fe Recycling Flowchart

Santa Feans recycle less than 10% of all possible materials that instead go to a landfill. When the national average for recycling is 34% why is the rate in eco-conscious Santa Fe county so low? Because recycling in Santa Fe is a pain in the ass. To illustrate, a friend created this flow chart for visiting relatives to explain what items could be recycled and what couldn't. At first I laughed, because recycling really is this ridiculously complicated in Santa Fe. Then I had a realization.

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