Why I Garden #21

Snowy Coldframe with Winter Greens

I Love Winter. Except for one small thing. It is VERY difficult (or VERY expensive) to get fresh and ripe vegetables in the winter. And it is nearly impossible to get LOCAL vegetables (other than root crops) in the winter. That is, not until I built a cold frame. Now we have fresh salad greens (and hopefully carrots and broccoli) grown in our snow-covered backyard.

Woo Hoo!

More Info:

DIY Storm Door Cold Frame

$25 Thermostat vs. $250 Thermostat

$25 Programmable Thermostat - installed

Would you rather pay $25 or $250 for an electronic thermostat? What if the $250 thermostat is incredibly sleek, artificially intelligent, and Wi-Fi networked? Would that be enough to sway you? Fortunately, the $250 thermostat was completely sold out which made my choice easy. That and I'm way too cheap to blow 10 times more money for furnace bling.

What is Wilderness and Whither Preservation?

Rambunctious Garden - cover

What is 'Nature' and does 'Pristine Wilderness' still exist on earth? Emma Marris starts with these questions and launches a journey in Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in Post-Wild World. Ms. Marris effectively challenges many of the assumptions that inform our views and policies toward nature. I think Rambunctious Garden can spark a conversation about green places and how we use and protect them.

Like Farmers, Only Younger

Quivira Coalition New Agrarians Conference

When is the last time you met a farmer? Did you happen to notice how old that farmer was? It's an unfortunate fact that in the United States farmers are generally an old and aging group. Given that without farmers we wouldn't have food it is important that more young folks start working in agriculture. The Quivira Coalition has dedicated their 10th annual conference to these new agrarians. If you would like to meet a young farmer, here is a great opportunity.

What: The Quivira Coalition's 10th Anniversary Conference - New Agrarians

Pedal On

Mountain Bike donated to the Chainbreaker Collective

I just gave away a part of my history and I feel great. Often, I hang onto little things that remind me of my past. This was the first mountain bike I bought for myself and it's seen many miles and several crashes. Strangely enough, I didn't mind letting it go. Mostly because I know that it will live on in one or more 'new' bikes.

Looks Terrible, Tastes Great

Gumbo z'Herbes with Rice

There has been so much great produce that I’ve been cooking up a storm. For example, this looks terrible, tastes great Gumbo z’Herbes. It is apparently a spring tradition to serve this type of gumbo that goes nuts with the greens. It just so happened that half of the refrigerator was occupied by bags of greens: kale, spinach, mixed cooking greens. This recipe took care of them all and more: the Andouille hiding in the freezer, small bundles of scallions and parsley, that cup or so of vegetable broth, and the last few squares of blue cornbread on the side.

Hot Flushes, Draincocks and Sacrificial Rods

Tank Water Heater diagram

There are few things I find more refreshing than a hot shower. Because I set the shower water temp cooler in the summer I didn't notice that the hot water wasn't quite as hot anymore. With crisp fall temperatures suddenly the warmish shower was obvious. I took advantage of a warm, clear day (after everyone had their bath or shower) to flush the sediment out of the water heater and return it to full heat.

If you've never flushed a water heater, don't worry, this is actually a simple DIY task. Here are the basics of flushing a tank-style water heater:

From Grey Water to Green Plants

Grey Water Drain Pipe with Cleanout

Have you heard of La Niña? Despite the name, La Niña isn't a person 'she's' a thing - specifically a weather pattern. The important thing to know about La Niña is she tends to bring dry winters to the Southwestern US and that means drought. In my efforts to use water more efficiently I've added a grey-water system from our washing machine to irrigate a planting bed.

Secret Agent Man

Santa Fe County Extension Agent touring Bob's garden

Somewhere in your county, a secret agent stands at the ready. He (or she) is the local County Extension Agent, ready to answer your home garden and landscape questions. County Extension Agents aren't supposed to be a secret but they are lower profile than the 'Double-O' kind of agent. I just met the local Extension Agent and learned quite a lot about the art of growing plants and animals in my county.

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