[gardeners] Introduction

Barbara J. Davis (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Thu, 10 Sep 1998 10:14:02 -0500

Margaret in Boise, and all y'all,

I've just joined this list and really enjoyed the shopping trip 
description.  I sold my ranch in Kimberly, Oregon, 200 miles west of 
Ontario, and moved southwest of Fort Worth, Texas, last fall.  After my 
husband died in December, 1995, alone I couldn't do everything 
necessary to keep our 2700 acre ranch going, so decided to sell it.

We weren't really ranchers, since we bought the ranch in 1964 after my 
husband retired from the Army.  He liked to hunt and this was our 
private game preserve.  We had over 100 deer, mostly does and fawns, 
and the same number of elk on the ranch plus several game birds.  We 
used to enjoy sitting outside watching the daily migration from our 
hills in back down to the irrigated alfalfa fields of our neighbors 
below.  They'd eat there all night, then return to the hills and lay up 
during the day.

My daughter lives about 100 miles from me, in the burgeoning city of 
Plano, northeast of Dallas.  She and my son-in-law "forced" me to take 
up computering in May, so I'm slowly learning computerese and the ins 
and outs of operation with their help mostly via e-mail.  Every time 
they come down for a weekend, I have a list of questions for operation 

I planted some garden this spring, but it's going to be a while before 
I get the soil into good tilth and learn how and when to plant in this 
climate.  I planted seeds of three varieties of tomatoes in January and 
put the plants in the ground in March.  The two dozen early plants 
produced over 150 fruit before it got too hot to set the blossoms.  The 
later varieties produced only two fruit.  We've had a horrendous 
summer.  It got very hot in April and there have been many 100- plus
days.  I work outside until about 9:30, then come back into the 
air-conditioned house for the remainder of the day.  

I bought the two vacant lots on either side of my house in a 
subdivision close to a historic town situated on a lake.  That 
amounts to about 1-1/2 acres and I mow about 1 acre of it.  I wanted to 
make the place into a bird sanctuary and planted 200 seedling trees of 
10 varieties this spring.  The order came from Pennsylvania at the end 
of March, just when our weather turned hot.  Even though I regularly 
water, slowly most have died.  I aimed for flowering in the spring, 
berries in summer and winter, and lovely fall foliage.  From other 
lists I'm on, all suggestions are directed toward buying from a Texas 
nursery.  My problem is that I don't know the names of any that sell 
seedling trees. I need seedlings for ease of planting as well as 

I was out at dawn this morning spading a small area for lettuce.  
Perhaps the cooler, long fall will be better for growing some 
vegetables that didn't produce this spring.

Barbara       zone 7/8       southwest of Fort Worth, Texas

> A gardening friend and I took our annual trip westward yesterday to buy a
> winter's supply of onions.  Sweet spanish onions are a major crop for
> eastern Oregon and southwestern Idaho, and they are of outstanding quality.
>  The good news is bad news for farmers: the price is lower than usual.  We
> bought 50 lbs. of jumbo onions for $6, and 50 lbs. of mediums for $4.  In
> previous years the prices of each were $1 more than those prices.  If it
> doesn't stop raining here soon, the prices will jump.  Onions have been
> pulled and are lying in the muddy fields.  If they rot, prices will rise
> quickly. The first packing house we went to, the one we usually buy onions
> from, didn't have any onions, even unsorted ones in  a bin.  They won't
> resume operations until the fields dry out.  But the owner of that plant
> told us how to get to another plant that he said was still rolling.  As we
> usually do, we stopped in Notus to visit the general store there.  It
> caters to Mexican farm workers and carries everything from boots to blades,
> and every Spanish-named herb known to humans.  The candy case held the
> white coconut candies with bright pink ends, and a few other candies, but
> they didn't have my favorite, Dulce de Leche.  While my friend discussed
> the merits of vermicides (!) with the sales clerk, I continued browsing,
> and found packaged dulce de leche.  Okay, so it's colored differently.
> Just won't be the same in a sanitary wrapper as it was being pawed over by
> everyone who opened the candy door.  
> It had been raining that morning, and an awesome bank of tattered clouds
> stretched south to north, from horizon to horizon.  By the time we got our
> onions in the back of the little pickup it was almost noon, so we decided
> to go to Oregon for lunch.  Nyssa, Ore., was just ten miles distant.
> Crossed into Pacific time zone, I think, and into a state without sales
> tax.  Not a bad lunch, but you don't see someone grilling chicken breasts
> on a gas barbecue on  Main street  every day.  Or see a restaurant that's
> also a quilt shop and gift store.  Neither of us had been out that highway,
> so it was interesting.  My friend didn't have her reading glasses with her,
> so she was busy misreading a road map.  I said "I think we're traveling
> north.  I don't want to go north."  I finally pulled off the road and
> looked at the map, then turned around and traveled south.  
> The only thing we didn't do this time is visit a remote greenhouse from
> which we've purchased a lot of plants at reasonable prices.  My friend is
> just going out of the nursery business, and I have a ton of plants that
> have never been put in the ground.  We didn't need to go there, GA or not.
> Anyway, I've got some darned good-looking winter onions.  My only concern
> is that the skins are thin, and I'm expecting a hard La Nina winter.  Don't
> onion skins toughen and thicken just before a hard winter?  Margaret, in
> Boise