May 28, 2015 at 2:09 pm #41361
Good advice MB.May 28, 2015 at 3:17 pm #41362
An additional point on flooding to try to be cognizant of is that of man-made factors that can cause flooding where there hadn’t been any previously. This is much harder to get your arms around. Part of what causes the flooding problem where I grew up is that in the pre-EPA/environmental law days, the river floodplain was being filled in for suburban development. Now the same amount of water didn’t have its traditional holding area and had to find new places to go. Where my Dad worked, part of the problem was that the mountain ridge had high priced subdivisions go up one side and down the other and the ability of the ground to absorb water and slow runoff was greatly diminished to the detriment of those down below. Where my last home was it was easy to see how the building of the interstate highway created new barriers to flood waters, making it better in some places by blocking water, and conversely worse in others that retained the water. Also in the pre-EPA/environmental law days, large development didn’t include retention ponds to ensure runoff equilibrium pre and post development. If you live in areas where large scale development doesn’t have retention ponds, folks downstream will experience worse flooding than occurred historically under the same conditions. This is due to more runoff in shorter periods of time. You are not going to see this stuff on topographic maps but comparing topo maps with Google Earth shots might help you understand what has been done upstream that might impact you.May 28, 2015 at 6:09 pm #41366
MB, Houston is paying the piper now. Being at sea level (or tad below) Houston depends on the bayous in the area for drainage. Unlimited, uncontrolled development has led to the current flooding.
RobinMay 28, 2015 at 6:45 pm #41369
It has always amazed me why so many new underpasses are being built below ground level. It seems like engineers would see they are building concrete river channels. Houston’s streets are terrible when we get a lot of rain at once. They put drainage systems in but I think the EPA is putting too little of a requirement on how much water they can move. They seem to only work right when we get a normal shower. If it is a real frog strangler the streets start flooding within minutes. It usually dissipates relatively quickly but with the rain we have been having there is just no place for it to go.May 28, 2015 at 6:58 pm #41371
Here is a picture I took of Lake Livingston Dam yesterday. The trees in the left side of the picture are about 30 feet tall and normally are above water. All you can see is the tops of them.
Attachments:You must be logged in to view attached files.May 29, 2015 at 1:14 am #41382
Matt, Whenever the topography has a lot of flat areas (usually near a water element) water has nowhere to go. There is no down hill to run the water off and away.May 29, 2015 at 2:03 am #41386
Robin hits on what is likely the key point in TX, extensive development that did not take into account where the water would go. Up here, all large development has to dial in where the water will go that pavement and roofs displace from ground absorption. Retention ponds are a standard design component for housing subdivisions and large commercial development. Its been this way for at least 30 years. My last home in MA was in a 10 lot subdivision started in the mid-80’s and we owned a couple acres in common for a retention pond. Our homes were up high and not subject to flooding with the retention pond being there to ensure building our street and homes didn’t cause flooding downstream. Newer subdivisions have much more efficient retention pond designs that might just displace one house lot. Ours was definitely over-engineeered.May 29, 2015 at 2:27 am #41389
Another kicker is Houston basically has no zoning laws. Bars and churches next to each other and then houses.
RobinJune 2, 2015 at 10:43 am #41494
It finally rained, a real rain that lasted 24 hours. Today is still gray and wet and I couldn’t be happier after the dry spell last month. All most everything I put in is up and growing, the peas and onions didn’t germinate yet but I can plant something else in that space.
The real question now is what will the soil support. When I plowed the garden and broke up the soil but I never had the time to add anything to the soil. I found a few pieces of baked limestone in the soil that a farmer used for fertilizer 150 years ago, but other than that there’s nothing extra. The lime kiln is just down the road. (Wow now that was back breaking work. Mining stone hauling it to the kiln, unloading and baking the stone. Then load it again. Plus it was all cooked with fire wood that had to be cut and hauled to the kiln.)
There is no humus at all and I’m wondering if I’ll have the time to add straw and or composted manure between the rows. I can get free composted horse manure but it requires a lot of shoveling.June 17, 2015 at 4:23 pm #41920
The garden is growing rather slowly. Comparing my corn to the farmers near by, mine is growing at half the rate. Everything but the potatoe plants are small. I figured my soil would be worn out after 200 years of farming. So Monday I spread 50lbs of 10-10-10 fertilizer on the whole garden. I used my lawn spreader and walked between the rows pushing the spreader. It worked real well. Now I’m waiting for the next rain the release to fertilizer into the soil.
I also hilled the potatoes this week. I was hoping to accomplish this chore with the tractor and a potato plow, but I couldn’t get the plow setup quite right. I ended up using a hoe to pull loose soil around the plants. It took me about 2 hours of manual labor and a gallon of sweat.
Today I found an antique hand cultivator with a steel wheel and three chisel points in nice shape. I tried it out in a landscaped area near the house. The effort to loosen the soil and weeds is considerably less than using a hoe. I have a cultivator for the garden tractor, but the height clearance under the tractor is very limited. The hand cultivator can be used until the rows are grown to maturity.August 1, 2015 at 11:39 pm #42878
This is to pass on a few of the things I have learned having a very large garden vs the small gardens I had in years past. There is no comparison, and in a long term SHTF scenario, only very large gardens offer any possibility of feeding you. Travel, house guests, and work and other commitments has resulted in my not keeping up with my new garden this summer. All I’ve done is hoe it up about a month ago and today I went out with a sickle knocking down the weeds in about half of it, the weeds mostly being knee high crabgrass. I’ll do the other half tomorrow or Monday and then call it a season as far as maintenance goes. In a long term SHTF scenario, the garden would have been the top priority and I’d of been out there every day maintaining it, but even then there would be other work to do too such as hauling water to the house and generating firewood for the coming winter.
So what have I learned?
– You can catch up with maintenance in a garden that only a few hundred square feet. You can’t with a garden that is more than 12,000 sq. ft., especially when crabgrass takes over given how thickly it grows.
– Weed fabric is a must. Good quality UV coated weed fabric is expensive when you need a lot of it but the labor savings will be enormous. Not a big deal that my not keeping up with the garden this year will have lessened the yield. Post-SHTF it could be a life or death matter. The cheaper weed fabrics will break down on you in as little as a year, not unlike tarps left out in the sun. Post-SHTF you likely won’t be able to buy new stuff every year.
– Whatever string beans are going to climb up needs to start near ground level and offer many paths from which to grow upwards. I had never grown string beans before and jerry rigged something that started about a foot off the ground,and without enough upward paths relative to the number of plants.
– You can’t get in to weed things very easily if the rows are too close to each other. I made this mistake with carrots, onions, and beans. The spacing worked for the plants, just not for me being able to easily weed. Next year’s garden will have uniform 3′ rows being I am buying 3′ wide weed fabric. My only weeding will be in a 6″ space between the weed fabric rows where the plants will be.
– The nasty smelling deer-rabbit stuff I sprayed to keep deer & rabbits away did not keep rabbits from chomping on my cabbages. A 2′ chicken mesh fence subsequently added did keep the rabbits out. I also had some partial chomping (not sure by who) on sunflowers, zucchini, and a couple other things so I need to work on that too for next year. At a minimum there have been deer, rabbits, and turkeys in the garden.
– Part of my grand experiment was adding wooden stakes next to each variety of what I planted, labeled with a permanent marker with the specific name of what was planted there. This was going to then tell me what varieties did well and which ones didn’t. The permanent marker on wooden stakes promptly washed off into something unreadable after it rained.
– Pick up the rocks that surfaced over the winter before the weeds start to grow. I could have just gone in with my push mower (for the rows spaced appropriately) instead of the sickle, except that when I planted I didn’t take the time to remove this past winter’s crop of rocks. The crabgrass was so thick that there was no way of going in with the mower and not hitting lots of rocks. As it was I kept hitting them with the sickle.
So, despite the above, this has been a great experience because of all that I learned during a period in which it doesn’t matter how much or how little I get out of the garden. I would add for anyone who thinks they’ll do a large garden post-SHTF, the initial breaking up of the sod is a huge amount of work. My garden was first turned over in the fall of 2013, then rototilled again in the spring and fall of 2014 and then rototilled 3 times this past spring to ready it for planting. It takes a lot to really break up the sod into garden quality soil
A lesson learned last year with the greenhouse was that I needed a shade cloth. I am happy to report that has worked very well. Though the greenhouse has electric lights and outlets, I purposely did not add exhaust fans being I wanted the greenhouse to be functional in a grid down scenario, and it just got too hot in it last year. Nothing has died in it this summer with the shade cloth in place, Concerning the shade cloth, buy it pre-cut and with grommets. I thought I’d save money by buying a remnant last autumn and then cut it to size and add grommets myself. That was a lot of work.August 2, 2015 at 4:12 am #42883
I share your pain, I have a heck of a frop of crab grass. I plan to do a second planting in a wide row so today I ran the garden tractor through the row and mowed. I used a cultivator with 3 potato plows mounted to uproot the frab grass. It will take a few more days of cultivating to kill the grass.
I wish I had laid large black plastic sheets down on the grass covering the entire area of the garden for a few weeks prior to plowing in the spring. It would have killed everything under it and my crabgrass problem would be insignificant.September 8, 2015 at 5:16 pm #43704
Go to this website aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/fallgarden/falldirect.html
for what to plant in the fall. They also have info. on growing vegetables organically. Contact the
agriculture extension agent in your county. He will be in the phone book under county. He has all kinds of information on growing crops.September 16, 2015 at 6:39 pm #43840
I thought I would transfer the garden discussion over to this thread instead of high jacking Visions and Revelations I don’t think there are to many gardening techniques that I haven’t read about, seen or tried. Even if I use every inch for plants I still want more tilled ground just in case. Plus I don’t want to turn dirt over by hand if I can help it. My soil is a heavy clay with rocks, not to fun to dig in. I might buy a truck load of mushroom soil to spread on the garden and that will be a hand operation loading it in a cart and hauling it up the hill anyway.
I want to grow a few hundred more pounds of potatoes and need 2 or 3 more rows. I think I grew about 2 hundred lbs this year in 2 rows. I’d like 4 rows of sweet corn up from 1 row and the same with green beans.
Attachments:You must be logged in to view attached files.September 16, 2015 at 7:19 pm #43845
Wow that is a lot of potatoes. I wish I had the room to grow few hundred pounds. I grow them in big pots.
What do you do for seeds to grow from on season to another?
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