Ornamental lettuce for the front beds, Straw and repairs

Bought seeds for an ornamental lettuce called Prizehead at the farm store.  Gosh it’s pretty with colors of green, red and bronze it looks like it might do as edging/defining the borders of the front beds. This lettuce grows fast 45-50 days so it should give me a nice bunch of new lettuce in August if it doesn’t burn up in the heat.  I have been pleasantly surprised how well the front beds have worked with the cooler weather plants and keeping them from bolting with slower growth.  It looks like I will have some lettuces/greens at the same time tomatoes come on, just by using different beds all around the house.  I never considered that there would be different micro- climates in my own yard, based on sun/shade levels and how the beds are protected by walls, fences and other plants.  I know that a lot of gardeners adjust growing times by starting some plants early inside the house or in a greenhouse, but I have been learning how to make the outdoors work for me via the micro-climates and it has been a fascinating education. That might be the difference between a green thumb and a black thumb for plants. Green thumbs notice those things that make a happy growth environment and us Black thumbs are all theory and don’t take the time to notice what makes a plant thrive even if the growth is a bit slower.  Speaking for myself , I was always about fast growing and production rather than working with the plants and soil. Fast growth is not always equal good growth.

I added a couple new varieties of lavender to the kiddie pool garden. I have four different types of lavender and I think one or two should make a good ground cover for the alley.  By growing some of my own lavender I hope to have a renewable plant source for ground cover and making lavender oils. I’m new to using essential oils but so far lavender seems to be an all- around multi-tasker oil that makes other oils more effective.  I planted some parsley that I had mistaken for cilantro. I’m getting little better about recognizing plants by sight but this is the second time this year I got a surprise. I like parsley so it is no loss, but I want to add more cilantro to my beds as it shows promise as a filter of heavy metals in water. If you got a late start on your garden this is a great time to hit the stores for cheap plants. I got 40% off on the herbs today and they are well grown and should handle getting harvested a bit after the transplant shock is over.   I’m seeing tomato plants turning red and strawberry plants that are almost overflowing the pots  at the stores.

I bought only one straw bale for the front beds and the modified drip irrigation system. I’m still learning how much it takes to do my garden projects and usually I underestimate the amounts but once I lay out the straw for the first bed I should have a good idea about the total needed for the other beds.  While I could add the straw to my compost pile, I have more than enough already to work/turn over.  I have a couple little sprigs of grass growing in the area over the water main and the “mulch” is doing a great job retaining water.  It is hard not to get impatient, but I have sort of reconciled that good growth next spring will be the final test of my method. The grass seed I’m using is old but I’m shopping around for a good sun & shade mixture so any new grass growing is exciting.  In the alley area, in addition to the lavender I think some clover might work as a ground cover that could tolerate being driven over or parked on for a short time.  Plus I can mow clover and nearly anything would be better than the gotheads/puncture vine and cheat grass.

On to the repairs. My Kia had one of the lift tube die so I ordered a replacement from Amazon for $25.00.  I never realized how much I counted on that backdoor until I had to do without it. It looks like a fairly simple fix of removing the old lift tube and replacing it with the new one.  I ordered cheap little video card from newegg.com for $42.00 that should be here in a couple of days. I hope it will get the old desktop up and running but if not I will need a video card for the new PC build/replacement.  The laptop is running much better after some software changes and updates so I can get by with using the laptop until I can get the parts together for the new PC.  I hope the video card will work for awhile as a fix because I wanted to buy the distiller for essential oils this month.  If the video card works great! If not such is life and you just adapt.

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