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Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month?

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Post  Yardslave on 6/19/2018, 11:14 am

Been entertaining thoughts of cutting off the water on my lawn- water's no longer cheap (or available). This is the last year for my rose beds- 15 plants that aren't too thirsty, but I'd feel better if the water went to the veggies-and not have to use an eyedropper to water the veggies.The water company survey of lawns in the area claim that the average water demand for lawns equals 3 times the same volume as an swimming pool. Last month's water bill went up by $100 by my using .1% more water than the tier level I used last month (this caused the bill to jump to the next tier rate, which equals a bonus round for the water company).
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Post  countrynaturals on 6/19/2018, 12:15 pm

@Yardslave wrote:Been entertaining thoughts of cutting off the water on my lawn- water's no longer cheap (or available). This is the last year for my rose beds- 15 plants that aren't too thirsty, but I'd feel better if the water went to the veggies-and not have to use an eyedropper to water the veggies.The water company survey of lawns in the area claim that the average water demand for lawns equals 3 times the same volume as an swimming pool. Last month's water bill went up by $100 by my using .1% more water than the tier level I used last month (this caused the bill to jump to the next tier rate, which equals a bonus round for the water company).
Our water bill is $99 already, and summer hasn't even started, yet. We're probably looking at twice that for July-Sep.  Sad
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/19/2018, 8:08 pm

Catching up on your posts, NoCal & Coastals!  You guys have so many different but similar struggles that we do...it was nice to catch up.  

It is very heartening to read about the drought issues, which continue.  Honestly, I am not a fan of grass.  But yeah, my yard would look really bad without it.  I am the sole taker.  But I can’t imagine having the yard affected like those pics.   I am not sure how I would go?  I might just go full rocks and succulents....
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Post  No_Such_Reality on 6/19/2018, 11:31 pm

My front yard looks about thr same.  For me its a combination of white grubs and simply not enough water. 

We have a lot of xeriscaping in the neighborhood and i actually replaced all the grass in the hell strip in the spring of '17 with wood chips and mexican fan grass.  Looks good, but requires a suprising amount of tedious hand weeding even though the strip is on drip.

As for the neighborhood xeriscape, then tend to look 'new ' for 6-12 months, then look good for a year then IMHo start to look a bit ratty.  A combination of overgrown, expired, spread too much.  Or you get the mounds of the tree toppered fountain grasses.  Seems like the gardeners know what to do with fescue lawns, flower beds and roses but dont with xeriscape.

As for rocks and succulents, no.  It basically, turns your yard into a big heat sink.  You can do wood chips and succulents.  Mix with fountain grass, lavender, etc.
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Post  sanderson on 6/20/2018, 1:57 am

No rocks (heat sink), no cacti (depressing), no huge clumps of grass thingies (  Shocked ).  I'm thinking BTE so things will grow.  Green with flowers.  I've been researching for 2 evenings on approved plants and various designs.  One approved tree has to be included.  Oh, edibles can be incorporated!  Very Happy

Here are 4 photos with comments.  I realize beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  But, if I can't have cool, green(ish) grass, I want color, coolness, drip line, lots of wood chips. Actually, I want Mrs. TD to build flower beds for me. Razz

This one is not bad except for the cacti. Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 Drough10

Not as bad as Las Vegas, more like AZ.  But still depressing for me.  Big Rock, little rock, hot rocks. Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 Drough12

Too cluttered.  I think it has barberry bushes which have spines. I also imagine weeding could be an issue over time.  We are on a corner and need to keep an open view for drivers.  Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 Drough11

Depressing Las Vegas -type landscaping.  Just shoot me.  Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 Drough13

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Post  Turan on 6/20/2018, 11:39 am

I agree with your taste on those designs.  I keep imagining brushing against or falling into cactus and yucca.  Ok, that is part of camping in the desert, but not for everyday!  I think I would look at Mediterranean plants; different kinds of Rosemary (prostrate versus upright), various Thymnes, and Lavenders. That would make your 'lawn area' a bee/ pollinator haven.  Pomegranate is on xeriscape lists.

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Post  countrynaturals on 6/20/2018, 12:39 pm

@Sanderson wrote:Depressing Las Vegas -type landscaping.  Just shoot me. 

I agree!

We never gave landscaping a thought at our current place. It's just a cottage in the woods, with redwoods, oleanders, and lava rocks in front. From the street, you can hardly tell there's a house here at all.
Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 Oldhou10
Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 Oldhou11
Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 Oldhou12
Our new place is something else entirely -- stay tuned!  Shocked
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Post  countrynaturals on 6/20/2018, 1:29 pm

AARRGGHH!!!!! I'm glad I decided to split these posts, cuz I just wiggled the laptop and LOST THE WHOLE THING!  Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 671790 

Okay, new property landscaping take 2:

Here is the circular drive, with the sad island in the middle.
Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 Circle11

Here are 2 shots of the front of the house. We have plenty of hose connections and sprinkler systems, but can't afford to use them.
Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 Yard111
Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 Yard211

I think I'll make another post for the back. I'm just a teeny bit paranoid after losing the last post.
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Post  countrynaturals on 6/20/2018, 1:38 pm

Here is the cactus garden. It has to go!
Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 Cactus11

Here is why I still think rocks are the way to go. This sweet, little ground cover flower seems to do best when it's sandwiched between 2 rocks.
Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 Rocksf11

Here's the back slope. We're watering the roses and shrubs, but all the dead stuff in between looks awful.
Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 Back10

The pool is gorgeous, but I don't have a clue what to do with the rest.
Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 Pool10
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Post  sanderson on 6/20/2018, 1:55 pm

CN,  Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 60389  Waiting.

Turan, Here's some more on the list.  I'm afraid all of the back yard bees will stay in the front yard! Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 2636062189

Dusty miller, bee balm, cat mint, Mexican sage, poppy (early spring), lupine, yarrow, bearded iris, carnation family, lilac, rose, phlox, ornamental onion and society garlic, snap dragon, alyssum, chrysanthemum, plumbago, freeway daisy, pansy, verbena, agapanthus.  Then there are the trees, of which one is required for the CA rebate.

CN. thanks for the photos. All my brain can think of is clear the dead stuff, use those rocks as borders / retaining walls for a zillion tons of wood chips. There was aa study by a fire department in either Or or WA that tested different ground covers/mulch for burn properties. Surprisingly, plain wood chips did well.

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Post  trolleydriver on 6/20/2018, 2:37 pm

@sanderson wrote:... Actually, I want Mrs. TD to build flower beds for me.  Razz

....

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When should we expect to receive our airline tickets?

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Post  countrynaturals on 6/20/2018, 4:10 pm

@Sanderson wrote:CN. thanks for the photos. All my brain can think of is clear the dead stuff, use those rocks as borders / retaining walls for a zillion tons of wood chips. There was aa study by a fire department in either Or or WA that tested different ground covers/mulch for burn properties. Surprisingly, plain wood chips did well.

The problem is that the wood chips we get free are ugly.  I'm sure I can get pretty store-bought mulch, but it's expensive (for as much as we'd need). Rocks are still the winner, but so labor-intensive it could take years to get it all done. Ah well, it's a process.  Rolling Eyes
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Post  sanderson on 6/20/2018, 4:29 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:
@sanderson wrote:... Actually, I want Mrs. TD to build flower beds for me.  Razz
....

When should we expect to receive our airline tickets?
Razz

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Post  sanderson on 6/20/2018, 4:32 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:
@Sanderson wrote:CN. thanks for the photos. All my brain can think of is clear the dead stuff, use those rocks as borders / retaining walls for a zillion tons of wood chips. There was aa study by a fire department in either Or or WA that tested different ground covers/mulch for burn properties. Surprisingly, plain wood chips did well.

The problem is that the wood chips we get free are ugly.  I'm sure I can get pretty store-bought mulch, but it's expensive (for as much as we'd need). Rocks are still the winner, but so labor-intensive it could take years to get it all done. Ah well, it's a process.  Rolling Eyes
What we did was use ugly first and then top those with pretty chips.

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Post  Turan on 6/20/2018, 6:57 pm

@countrynaturals wrote:
Here is why I still think rocks are the way to go. This sweet, little ground cover flower seems to do best when it's sandwiched between 2 rocks.
Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 Rocksf11


I was worried about the morning glory there so I went looking to see if it is an invasive.  Nope, looks like the native! http://www.formlainc.com/resources/morning-glory-vs-morning-glory/

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Post  sanderson on 6/20/2018, 8:08 pm

Thank you for doing the research Very Happy

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Post  countrynaturals on 6/21/2018, 12:47 pm

@Turan wrote:I was worried about the morning glory there so I went looking to see if it is an invasive.  Nope, looks like the native! http://www.formlainc.com/resources/morning-glory-vs-morning-glory/
Morning Glory was the first thing I thought of, too, but this little guy doesn't have heart-shaped leaves. Then I followed your link, did a search on that variety, and Voila! Calystegia macrostegia leaves are shaped like spearheads, so I trekked back over there with my trusty shooter and verified that we do indeed have California Morning Glories.  thanks , Turan, for setting me straight.
Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 Mornin10

I know what you mean about regular Morning Glories being invasive. In Oregon, they could take down a full-grown blackberry bush without even breaking a sweat.  affraid BTW, these are little bitty guys -- less than half the size of regular Morning Glories.
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Post  Turan on 6/21/2018, 1:27 pm

From wikipedia "Calystegia species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Bedellia somnulentella (recorded on C. sepium) and Small Angle Shades."


I know that will make you happy, Suz.  Laughing

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Post  countrynaturals on 6/21/2018, 3:04 pm

@Turan wrote:From wikipedia "Calystegia species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Bedellia somnulentella (recorded on C. sepium) and Small Angle Shades."


I know that will make you happy, Suz.  Laughing
happy turtle
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Post  sanderson on 6/21/2018, 3:46 pm

bounce I know who is a happy camper!

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Post  countrynaturals on 6/24/2018, 10:16 pm

Raging wildfires. We can see the smoke from 2 of them from our back porch.  Sad  Luckily the wind isn't blowing our way, but summers, here, are getting scarier every year.
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Post  sanderson on 6/25/2018, 2:59 am

I saw the 2 around Redding on the CAL Fire site. We had brown skies to the north east and I assumed there was a fire in the Valley. Fourth of July is almost here and I expect a few more fire any time now. Shocked

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Post  sanderson on 6/28/2018, 3:50 am

I have harvested 3 beautiful yellow squash this summer.  A first for me after 5+ years of SFG. I lightly butter sauteed these 2 for dinner tonight and they were especially mild and slightly sweet. That one eggplant has a long zipper down the inside of the curl. I'm thinking I will bread and saute and freeze the eggplants. The Japanese Millionaire eggplants are like zucchini for some folks. I'm hoping to do some food prepping and freezing tomorrow, including mincing and drying as much of the garlic that I can stand prepping. The hot breezes will dry them fast. I'll post a photo tomorrow. Northern California & Coastal Valleys - What are you doing this month? - Page 16 Harves10

There are 4 cantaloupe growing nicely plus 5 sweet melons. There are more in the melon bed but I have to wait to see if they are properly pollinated. There are 2 little sugar watermelons. The beans continue to produce. The leaves are drying on the bush varieties but little leaves are sprouting at the nodes. The cotton plants are 3" tall, except for the 2 that I had to reseed. The Silver Queen corn is 4-5' tall now. Lots of green tomatoes with 2 early Better Boy tomatoes starting to blush. They have a little BER but that's norm for me with the first tomatoes. Embarassed

CN, I see you have a couple days of 107 and 108*F coming up. What a Face

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Post  BlackjackWidow on 6/28/2018, 10:33 am

Congrats on your yellow squash! I don't want to jinx anything, but zucchini and yellow squash are two that I always seem to do well with here, as long as I can keep the darn SVB away. I absolutely love eggplant, but have never had any success with them and just gave up after three years.

Why have the squash been challenging for you? Or is just that you haven't grown any yellow squash before?
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Post  sanderson on 6/28/2018, 12:26 pm

The summer squash never thrived. thinking Aphids, leaf-footed bugs, powdery mildew? We don't have SVB so that is not one of the problems. The leaves dried up, the fruit didn't set. I tried staking vertically and caging. This year one yellow and one zucchini got their own little SFG bed with Mel's Mix. The zucchini leaves dried up but the yellow squash is still alive.

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