Re: [gardeners] Where I garden

George Shirley (
Thu, 03 Feb 2000 10:14:33 -0600

margaret lauterbach wrote:
> At 08:19 PM 2/2/2000 -0600, you wrote:
> >Saw several posts here from folks letting us know where they garden and
> >live so thought I would chip in.
> >
> >We live in SouthWest Louisiana, about 30 miles from the Texas border
> >where I10 crosses. As a matter of fact we only live about 4 blocks from
> >I10.
> >
> >Miz Anne (my wife of 39 years), Sleepy Dawg (our Rat Terrier female),
> >and I are, I suppose, urban gardeners. We have a fairly large house on a
> >city lot that's about 70 by 150 feet so we garden mostly in the back
> >yard. The front is reserved for lawn and various flower beds that Miz
> >Anne tends plus a very large white oak tree.
> >
> >The back has a slope such that the edge next to the house is about 6
> >feet higher than the back fence line. In this area we have a 17X24
> >raised bed garden for veggies, a 30 inch X 90 foot strip garden down the
> >west fence line that has flowers, veggies, and fruit trees. An 8X12
> >green house attached to the east end of the main garden, a 12X22 herb
> >garden that runs up to the south side of the carport. And down the back
> >fence line we have 10 blueberry bushes, a short row of Sunchokes, a
> >short row of raspberries, and a couple of Mayhaw trees. Slotted around
> >in the rest of the area are a Ponderosa lemon tree, 2 kumquat trees, 1
> >aprium and 1 pluot tree, and a Kieffer pear tree, all dwarfs but the
> >lemon tree. Additionally we have a group planting of azaleas, gardenias,
> >and various other plants up next to the driveway and under the 3 large
> >oak trees that are there.
> >
> >We actually grow enough veggies on our intensively planted plots to feed
> >ourselves, a number of friends, and have some to give away to the local
> >soup kitchens on occasion. I do most of the preserving, canning, and
> >freezing, also the cooking and shopping, and Miz Anne does much of the
> >"heavy" work around the place, ie mowing and raking. We both crawl
> >around in the dirt planting and harvesting. Sleepy Dawg mostly lies in
> >the sunshine napping and guarding us from any boggles that may be
> >around. Lately she's shown an increased interest in the greenhouse so I
> >may have some mice overwintering there.
> >
> >We're both semi-retired, I work about 20 hours a week and Miz Anne is an
> >art teacher and artist. We left the corporate rat race in 1991 just
> >prior to my second heart attack (wish I'd waited until after money wise)
> >and found out we could live on a lot less money than we ever expected.
> >Our needs and wants are modest so life is indeed very good for us.
> >
> >It is the middle of our winter here, temps in the low forties at night
> >getting up into the high fifties during the daytime but with windchills
> >from the north wind making it uncomfortable to be outside much.
> >
> >It is also the time of year when we start our seeds for planting out in
> >March. Right now we have 4 varieties of pepper, 3 varieties of tomato, 2
> >varieties of eggplant, and 1 variety of edible gourd started and growing
> >under the lights in my home office. Sleepy and I spend a lot of time
> >tending them, ie watching them grow, and I'm trying to teach her to blow
> >on them to help them grow better but she doesn't seem to understand the
> >concept. ;-)
> >
> >I'm also the listowner for this modest group of gardening fanatics and
> >inherited it long enough ago that I can't remember exactly when. We've
> >still got most of the first half dozen folks to sign up although a few
> >of them are lurking a lot.
> >
> >Anyone else out there?
> >
> >George
> >
> I've been here since the beginning too, George, and know that you're one of
> the smartest gardeners around, getting successive crops off the same
> ground. I think you're using horse pucky and compost for fertilizer, but I
> don't know how you water. Do you just get enough rain? Lucky, lucky, lucky.
>   Margaret L

In a normal year we get from 65 to 100 inches of rain here. The last 2.5
years have classified as drought years, ie in 1999 we were short by 16.5
inches of our normal 65. We are indeed lucky in that we pay a flat rate
for water, sewer, and garbage pickup. About $25 per month if I remember
correctly. We have soaker hoses run throughout the gardens in the back
and use sprinklers in the front. I find that we waste less water and get
fewer cases of mildew, etc by using soakers. Miz Anne and I lived in the
desert in Saudi Arabia for 5 years and learned not to waste water, a
precious commodity in that desert kingdom. It evidently stuck well
because we still practice water conservation. I have a couple of "rain"
barrels that get stuck under a downspout when it rains, allowing us to
capture 70 or so gallons of water that can be used on the pot plants,
hanging baskets, and whatever plants we want to schlep the water to.

Yes, we use mostly well composted horse puckey along with composted
leaves and kitchen garbage. During a normal rainfall year we supplement
with Miracle Grow or a fairly high N fertilizer to compensate for the N
that gets washed into the neighbors yard. Given the opportunity we only
use natural fertilizers where possible. Same with insecticides and
pesticides, lots of hot chiles and garlic get fermented into sprays for
the garden. Of course the Cajun insects just consider the spray a
condiment. <VBG>

We've been gardening in this climate since about 1963 in both SE Texas
and SW Louisiana, barring the years we spent out of the country. Both
our fathers were inveterate (read addicted) gardeners so I guess we
inherited the trait. Our daughter is also a gardener but the son has no
room or time at the moment. He does have several hanging baskets around
his house that are lovely things and he enjoys messing with them. Reckon
once he gets the house remodeled he will have time to work with the
plantings in his yard as he likes to get out in the fresh air.

Yeah boy, we are lucky.