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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:52 am 
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Location: Manvel,TEXAS
The teenage neighbor wasn't far from right when he told me nothing would grow in this part of the yard because it was so firmly packed from horses grazing on it. The lantana transplants have done well, as well as the native goldenrod, and the pasture grass grows tall, but I have lost several transplants, including the buddliea butterfly bushes and turk's cap that I thought would do well in the full sun. The Vitex tree that I put there a couple of years ago has survived. The bluebonnets came back sparsely last year, but none this year.
My technique had been to put in some full-sun perenials and let them reseed - a lassaiz faire (?) approach to trying to develop a native area for butterflies and birds. I decided to get a bit more aggressive this month. I dug up shovelfulls of dirt and grass, and turned them upside down in a bed-shaped area around a few of desireable plants that have survived. The dirt is, indeed, very packed clay - when it is dry a shovel only goes in an inch or two, and water in a hole is very slow to drain. So I now have a raised bed of sorts with a moat around it that I hope will fill in as the dirt loosens. I then added organic fertilizer or straight dry molasses (I forgot which) and layered some "mulchy" compost over it - hoping that the free-range chickens will come scratch through it, fertilizing and cultivating as they go, as they do in any other bed on the place. I don't think the chickens have been as helpful as I hoped. Either this area is more out of their way or I didn't make it attractive enough for them.
I have added a few more perennial transplants in around the lantana - cosmos, shasta daisies, marguarite daisies (perenial or annual?). I also noticed that the grass is still trying to grow through, so added more mulch. I had tried another turk's cap transplant, but it got hit in the late frost, then it looks like something dug up the little bit that was left. I have one more in a pot that I am holding until it is bigger. On a good note, some of the wildflower seeds I threw out last fall are coming up, and I was pleased to see that the Mexican Plum transplant from this winter has finally started to put out some green. I have lost at least one Mexican Plum seedling there before. I don't know if it was just a late bloomer or if it responded to whatever it was I fed it last month - coffee? fish emulsion? or compost tea?
I have a picture or two if someone can tell me how to get them on here.


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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 11:46 am 
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Is this something you have reported on here before, or is this your first time to post about this piece of property? If you could post all of the discussion on the same thread then we could follow a little better. Have you discussed this in one of the gardening threads or organic threads, etc?

Meanwhile, what is your story? How long have you been working on this project, how large is the place where you're trying to get stuff to grow? In addition to the "mulchy compost" have you thought about having the soil tested and adding amendments like lava and greensand, etc?

Have your photos been scanned or are they digital to begin with? If you'll contact me through the message system here I can probably help you with your photos.

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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 8:20 pm 
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Location: Manvel,TEXAS
That was my first post on this topic. You want the long story - We bought our 3.5 acres 5 years ago, and moved the back yard fence further out so that it now includes part of the original horse pasture. The decision to enlarge the yard was to have space for a garden, compost piles, and fruit trees where the one remaining horse could not get to them. The center of this area currently remains un-mowed most of the year for wildflowers, etc, and also leaves room for future fruit trees. The strip along one fence-line is where I have been working on some butterfly and bird attracting plants - about 5 feet wide, and maybe 20-30 feet long. The area that I dug up and was referring to in the other post is only about 3x10 feet - biting off small pieces at a time. I hadn't thought about having the soil tested - just the soil ammendments that Dr. Garrett recommends for planting beds. My initial goal was to keep it natural.
In listing the plants I have put it, I forgot to mention the Wax Myrtle that is doing very well. I also found the turk's cap that I thought I had lost - it's small, but still green. And I continue to be pleased with the growth on the Mexican Plum tree that I had almost given up on.
The picture I have are digital and are on my hard drive. I noticed that some of the other forums have an attachment feature, but not the Ground Crew Blog forum. Oversite or intentional??


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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 12:08 am 
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I'm not sure. I resize my photos for web use (for this forum I make them 600px wide and usually 400px high, that is your standard proportion for horizontal photos, without any cropping) and then I upload them to Photobucket. From there I copy the code (when you add photos there are several automatically generated code lines beneath the photo; I go for the straight HTML URL to the photo without any of the page code, and paste in the link using the Dirt Doctor page's buttons. I forget what this forum software is called (the BBCode stuff), but it isn't straight html.

Anyway, if you can work with your photos and make them web-worthy, then you're set (accidentally uploading an image that is 1,500 or 2,000px across, a size for making a photo print, will take up the whole monitor screen and then some). Photobucket has some editing features, and Picasa, the free photo management program from Google, also has some good photo sizing features. They are kind of simple, not like using PhotoShop, but they'll do the trick 99 times out of 100.

On the area you describe, and for the size of it, there might be a couple of "cheats" you could do that would help over time. Bring in good dirt and compost and build a raised bed there and plant in that. Over time, dig through the new soil into the harder soil below and mix them. Just a thought.

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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 2:48 pm 
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I noticed the discussion about attachments, but we haven't been able to do it here. Generally they are a big security risk. Viruses, etc.

If you can send your photos to Photobucket or Picasa or somewhere else with free hosting, then it is easy to link to them from here. And they usually have it setup so you can do some editing or change the size as well.

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