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Thursday, July 31, 2008

In Pokeberry This Morning..

Well its a bit warmish feeling already this morning, only 8:30 and its nearing 80. I was just outside pruning back my neighbor's unruly forsythia along the fence. He cut his side this week so I figure it would be best to attack mine as well. In the process I cut out a few poke plants. I love poke--obviously from the title of this blog--but it can get very large and the stems were growing through the fence and that's bad for the fence. I left some growing along with some wild grapes, thinned out its pretty and not so damaging. Its trash day so I piled it up in my wheelbarrow and carted it to the curb. Now I just need to make sure I get my wheelbarrow safely back in the garage as soon as the guys take the greenery. I'm not ignorant of the potential to have things stolen--especially useful tools. Charlotte is very high in crime unfortunately. Its a beautiful place to live but you do have to be wise.

Right now I'm back in the kitchen having my coffee a little late. I work nights more now so I'm not hopping out of bed as early on mornings after work nights. As usual out the window right now birds are singing or feasting at the thistle socks and the party feeder and sipping from the bath or hummer feeders. There must be rufous towhees nesting someplace along the hedge because there is a pair that have been hopping about the yard quite a bit the past several days. They are so pretty. As hubby was leaving this morning one was perched on our privacy screen looking at him. He smiled. It makes me happy to see that he enjoys the little nature sanctuary I've created with his help here.

I'm scratching my head over the fire ant situation here. It seems they have gotten another foothold. This is a problem because anytime you stand still in the yard you are at risk. It tends to make one nervous. Yesterday I flattened a large nest that had cropped up in just 2 days near the veggie garden. Some of the nests are fairly quickly made into mounds but not always--sometimes you cannot see the nests at all until they are crawling all over you.

Of course keeping the grass mowed and shrubbery trimmed helps, anytime there's alot of activity--walking about-- that helps. The only way to really impact the fire ant population though is to diligently attack. They kind of remind me of terrorists really. They are all over the place and you never seem to be able to really get rid of them--but you can cut down the numbers and thus be attacked less--so I guess that's something. sigh.

My attention needs to be on starting bedding plants for the fall growing season if I plan to be planting them soon. I haven't done this since we moved here so I need to really take care to make sure I do it in a way that it will work. In the north there really was no such thing as a fall veggie season--it just got cold and you closed up your garden for winter, but you could grow cool season crops a good part of the summer there. You cannot grow lettuces, cabbage, brocoli, cauliflower, peas, spinach, carrots or other cool season type plants here in summer at all. They will just bolt and go to seed or wither away in the heat. Because of that I only planted summer plants so far: tomatoes, peppers, summer squashes, beans and onions, eggplant. Some of those I can keep growing awhile or replant. Beans I can keep on replanting for quite a while. I am going to see if I can start some new tomato plants from 'cuttings' so I have a few fresh plants to take me to maybe mid October or possibly into November. (we'll see how the weather goes) I want to plant quite a few cool season crops. I'm more motivated with the veggie garden than I was in early spring when I hadn't decided for sure to even do it. The garden has been doing well and I know that it is good to have the fresh foods in an uncertain economy.

I'm interested in growing more shrub cuttings too. I've been waiting for the holly plants to be ready to take cuttings of they need to have hard wood I think, as the softwood cuttings just wilted away on me. I want to purchase a few new shrubs for the purpose of taking cuttings. My one propagation box out on the shady front porch has been doing well most of the cuttings in it are well rooted now and I'm pondering when I should pot them and set them behind the garage to grow on in the old shady bed there. I don't want them in full sun until at least next spring--maybe longer.

We are still thinking about ways to get our own house or maybe just a mobile home? Maybe the end of this year we can do it--maybe not. I see my shrub cuttings as a way to possibly make a little money for that fund, or at least supply shrubs for my new home when I get one.

I just need to figure out what I can do from home without getting in legal trouble. I know I can get a nursery certification or registration for only about $6 per year here--if I only sell in this state and have my little nursery inspected yearly. Its not really at the point of needing to do that right now. The nursery registration also doesn't address the issues of zoning or taxing those are different rules and I'm not sure how to do that. You can't just run a business in your yard--but perhaps I could grow things in my yard and take them elsewhere to sell somehow and thus not 'technically' have a business here. Maybe I will think about the farmers market, though I think I like the idea of Craigslist better. I haven't got anything ready to sell at all yet, but its a good time to learn the ins and outs and form plans. Maybe someday Pokeberry will be a 'real' shrub nursery.. could happen.

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