Monday, May 31, 2010

Carhenge- seriously!

Carhenge is the perfect place to pause during a long drive through Nebraska. It's quirky, it's free, and it offers the opportunity to stretch your legs after being cramped up in a car for a few hours. The sculptor certainly had attention to detail, recreating many features of the original Stonehenge.

It looks like the top cars are stuck in traffic on the car superhighway.

Is that the car from Harry Potter?

There are a couple of random sculptures next to Carhenge. This salmon is my favorite.

Soaker Hose Sucker.

Procrastination has prevented me from sharing some large developments in my grand garden experiment. I decided to put the second plot in a part of the lawn where I should have put both lots. I decided against it initially because it was close to the highway and street. I worried about contamination. I've decided this doesn't matter a whole lot. In the future, I think I might move the trees and a random bush, so the whole space can be used for gardening.

The main issue for any garden, especially one with an itinerant overseer, is water. I decided to try the very popular soaker hose and a digital water timer.

The first soaker hose was a bit of a disaster. It was a sturdy rubber type hose with a different texture than a standard hose. Water came out too hard from the holes at the top section and water did not make it to the holes at the end. It also left heavy trail marks in the earth where it sat. This ended up creating extensive errosion, resulting in seed movement.

I returned the hose and bought a different soaker hose, which was an improvement.

I wasn't completely satisfied, but decided I needed to get another soaker hose for the second garden plot. When I went to the local garden store (not a big box), a salesperson showed me how to make my own sprinkler system out of plastic hoses.

What the what? You can do that? I had no idea. First of all, I'm not that handy and it seemed like a complex project. I followed the sale guy's instructions and built my own irrigation system in less than an hour- in the dark!

It works great and I can put the sprinklers right where I need them to be. Combined with an awesome digital water timer that I got on sale, I couldn't be happier. The supplies cost about $65, but I have a lot of leftover pipe that I can use for other plots. Now, I just need to work on the system for the first bed. Currently, I'm using a regular sprinkler ($3), which works better than a soaker hose ($8-$10). Tomatoes, squash, and some other plants prefer to be watered at their base, so the sprinkler isn't the best option for them. My squash plants are mildewing a little from the irrigation system, but I think when they get taller, this should work itself out.

I picked some of the lettuce and spinach. The first success of the garden!

I scatter planted the carrots and they seem to be growing well- very excited for the carrots!

Things are starting to flower, so my hopes are high. This tomato has some flower buds.

Chile pepper with a small white flower hanging down.

The peas are also growing up like crazy. I didn't realize they needed a support, but read that branches work well. I had just cut down a small invader tree-like thing, which made perfect supports.

I'm excited that things are growing. I'm still not sure of the identity of some plants (are they weeds or something I planted?). I have identified one particular weed, which is deeply rooted and hard to get out. Other than that, I'm letting things grow until I can identify them. The soaker hose caused some of the seeds to move in the first bed and that's partly why I'm confused. The other part is, well, I don't know what I'm doing.

Lastly, I started a composting system with worms, but we'll save that for another time.