How is the drought affecting you?

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?
WestSideYuppie
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby WestSideYuppie » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:58 am

Fans will definitely be the way to go if this stuff keeps up. Part of the problem is that our street is torn up, so we're keeping the windows closed due to the dust. And we've got some house guests coming.

Sno, nice garden. All of this has caught up with me, and I'm definitely thinking about what will replace my lush carpet of creeping charlie.

snoqueen
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby snoqueen » Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:33 pm

Glad you liked it.

I've definitely got an agenda here: I think prairie plantings are environmentally so much better than flat grass it's not even debatable. And they're pretty! You can still leave some flat grass here and there as a nod to tradition or for contrast.

Madsci
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby Madsci » Sun Jul 15, 2012 3:56 pm

I am one of the luckier farmers. Even thought we have had less than 2 inches of rain since May 1st, I can mostly feed my animals (goats and chickens) off of our pastures and woods. Half our grasslands are being mowed as I write, so the animals will have food for winter.

The amount of dust following the tractor mowing our fields is really scary. I thought it was dust bowl-like in May, now it's much worse. Expect food prices to go up. Be kind to your local farmers, this is may be the make it or break it year for many. I see many farmer cutting their corn stalks for animal feed since they will never produce ears

Sno, I really like your prairie. I wish mine looked 1/4 as good.

From the uplands of Green County, do the rain dance!

Huckleby
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby Huckleby » Sun Jul 15, 2012 4:24 pm

I hate lawns. I would astro-turf a property before I would spend a lifetime mowing and fertilizing and deweeding and edging and watering and fretting over a living shag carpet.

Prairie yards are a *fantastic* idea. So much more interesting and creative. Maybe more work, maybe not, but certianly more fun.

Wino
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby Wino » Sun Jul 15, 2012 4:46 pm

Beautiful yard you have there snoqueen.

I was out watering today and met up with one of those cicada killer wasps.

Meade
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby Meade » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:05 pm

snoqueen wrote:I dig Canada thistle out with a chef's knife, but I don't get a lot of weeds.

Try this experiment: At the beginning of next season, count the number of Canada Thistle shoots in your yard. Let that number = x. Continue using your chef's knife method of weed control for 5 years. Count number of shoots. Prediction: the increase in number of shoots after 5 years will be more than 1000 x.

WestSideYuppie
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby WestSideYuppie » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:48 pm

Do the thistles propagate by runners?

rabble
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby rabble » Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:06 pm

WestSideYuppie wrote:Do the thistles propagate by runners?

I never checked. But I've gotten Canada Thistles from time to time. I used to dig em up basically the same way Sno describes until I got this little tool.

Been doing it that way for about twelve years. Never had a problem. Some years, like this one, there's no shoots at all.

They must really like Meade.

I should also mention that I like my back yard lawn. I like cooking out, lawn chairs, testing new camping gear, and playing with kids and pets.

It's a postage stamp of a lawn, it takes 40 minutes to mow with a push mower, front and back, but it gets a lot of hard use.

The front lawn I wouldn't mind turning into a prairie because I never use it but it takes so little time to mow that I haven't been able to justify the time it would take.

It isn't manicured but none of the yards around here are.

Dairylander
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby Dairylander » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:12 pm

Meade wrote: Roundup is most effective when conditions are hot, sunny, and dry.

Meade, I beg you to watch the documentary "The Future of Food" before you ever again promote a Monsanto chemical.
It's free on several popular websites.

snoqueen
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby snoqueen » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:36 pm

Canada thistles do propagate by runners, but they aren't as aggressive as a lot of other plants I can think of. Common milkweed is much worse, but so easy to pluck up you wonder how it survives.

Good mulch gets rid of most these problems, keeps the soil moisture in, and decomposes over time to make more organic matter for your soil. You can see last year's leaf mulch in the picture of my prairie garden. It started out six inches deep but is down to one or two inches by now.

Also baby thistles are so easy to pull up it's ridiculous -- you can do it with your bare hands if you get right down at the base and just pick them out. I don't have thousands -- I've probably pulled up 15 this summer, which is my sixth at this address. The worst pest plants are these weird thorny roses that moved in recently. None of us has a good solution for those yet.

Using chemicals can harm insects and birds as well as the plant community, and reduces the resale value of your property. Lots of buyers these days are looking for a place to do vegetable gardening and keep bees or chickens (as well as raise children), and a history of clean horticultural practices is a big plus. I am sure it made the sale for me last time I sold a house.

I've got no problem with people who like their yard in lawn form -- it's a lifestyle thing and what's the point of landscaping if it gets in the way of your use of the space?

Here's my favorite weeding tool, second only to the big chef's knife:

http://cobraheadllc.com/

Made right over in Cambridge!

DCB
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby DCB » Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:24 pm

Huckleby wrote:I hate lawns. I would astro-turf a property before I would spend a lifetime mowing and fertilizing and deweeding and edging and watering and fretting over a living shag carpet.

Prairie yards are a *fantastic* idea. So much more interesting and creative. Maybe more work, maybe not, but certianly more fun.

My prairie plants are doing OK - not thriving as they have in past years, but still tall and green. Without any watering.

Setting it up took effort. Keeping it up isn't work, its fun.

There is still some lawn left - a diverse assortment of plants that some might call weeds. Its are mostly brown. The lawn has been incrementally replaced over time, but I'll probably keep some for walking around.

Huckleby
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby Huckleby » Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:18 am

I suppose a patch of lawn for the badminton net is acceptable.

My dad was, well, not to put too fine a point on it, insane. We lived out in the country and at one point he decided we ought to have our own baseball field. I don't mean a backyard space to play around in, I mean a regulation baseball field. This was a *major* clear-cutting operation, a mini amazon deforestation. Oh Christ. You can't have a hill in right field! We removed, with wheel barrows, a giant mound of shale rock.

Did I mention my dad was nuts?

I have no doubt that if my dad were an avid golfer, we would have maintained fairways and greens.

Anyway, the point is I grew up doing a lot of lawn mowing. Really a lot. Never going back.

WestSideYuppie
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby WestSideYuppie » Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:11 pm

rabble wrote:
WestSideYuppie wrote:Do the thistles propagate by runners?

I never checked. But I've gotten Canada Thistles from time to time. I used to dig em up basically the same way Sno describes until I got this little tool.

How's it do with buckthorns? I've got to get one of those.

rabble
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby rabble » Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:47 pm

WestSideYuppie wrote:
rabble wrote:
WestSideYuppie wrote:Do the thistles propagate by runners?

I never checked. But I've gotten Canada Thistles from time to time. I used to dig em up basically the same way Sno describes until I got this little tool.

How's it do with buckthorns? I've got to get one of those.

Can't recall pulling buckthorns but I've pulled pencil-thick maple and mulberry saplings with it. You have to get the pincer just right on the base and lever it back gently, then get another grip, so you don't crack the iron.

Usually it gets almost the whole taproot. Some more than others. Still need a weed digger to get the ones between the paving stones.

My Dad had one when I was a kid. Found one at the Willy St Ace last year. Haven't seen one since.

snoqueen
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Re: How is the drought affecting you?

Postby snoqueen » Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:02 pm

I've seen 'em at Jungs on Northport.


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