About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

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Gardening Tips Drought and Roots

June 28, 2011
When Monkey Grass Dies Out is is very dry!
This summer has been a garden disaster. DROUGHT! Ugh……….
Heat, s w e a t! MOSQUITO”S! I thought at least the mosquito’s would die from the drought!
This was our strawberry bed but with drought and water restrictions the strawberries may not make it.  Even when we do water it does not seem to get to the plants due to our trees.  Their need is much greater and the trees soak up every drop of moisture.
Even though it has been really bad we still learned a lot about gardening. As I have mentioned in articles from the past. My husband and I learn from trial and error. Mostly error. This is our tenth year to garden in our backyard. We have tried most every way imaginable. But this year we learned that no matter how bad you want a perfect backyard garden you will probably not get it completely right. Just do the best you can and notice what works and does not work for you.
I would like to save you some money at our expense. First of all, several things we have learned that I would like to pass along. First do not use treated wood for a raised be that will grow vegetables or herbs.
We have learned if you have any trees in your backyard or neighbors trees close by you will get tree roots in your garden beds. The first year you might do OK growing vegetables in a freshly made raised bed or even in a tilled ground bed but then the second and especially third year the spider web of small tree roots will dry out your beds and rob your plants of what they need to survive.
We decided to move our keyhole garden to the patio and place it directly on top of the cement. No plastic inside or anything else so it could drain from the bottom and cracks between the blocks.
One of our other beds was a mess with tree roots. It had lost all it’s nutrients no matter what we did. I should have taken a photo of this bed before I pulled out the herbs.  The was a good bed before the tree roots took over. Then the drought, that did not help.
This is a photo after I first started getting tree roots out of the bed.  They are small spider web like roots.  This container was running over and then some when I finished removing the roots.
This is dried out herbs from this bed.  I may be able to save the thyme that is soaking in another container.

The tree roots were starving our plants. We dug the dirt out of that bed (it was a very difficult thing to do due to roots) we mixed and poured cement into the bottom and let it cure. The cement pavers that are used for sides have cracks in between for water to drain. This should keep better moisture in this bed and the roots out. The cracks in between the side walls should keep this bed drained.  If there is a problem with drainage we will use a masonry bit and drill holes around the bottom.

Now for composting. The same thing applies. In our situation the tree roots made their way into the compost and took over. What a MESS! So the same thing is we had to have a solid bottom.  The problem we had was the heat.  It simply was too hot to get out and turn a compost pile this summer.  upper 90's and 100 plus temperatures was simply too hot to get out and do gardening of any kind.
Our Katie decided to stay inside for the summer.  No matter how hot it gets her Daschund nature is to burrow under a blanket.

If you are starting off with vegetable gardening in your backyard, consider your trees. I have read that it is not good for the tree to cut out these roots but when they took over our only area to grow vegetables we had to take a risk to save our little sunny spots.

I just wanted to pass this along to help others.  It can get expensive to make gardening mistakes. We have a lot of trees in our backyard, pecan, oak, sweet gum, fruit. But we manage to find sunny spots and grow vegetables.  Now we know we have to stay above those tree roots. 

The cement bottom is still curing in the herb bed
Old location of keyhole garden.  We raised a full crop of carrots and lettuce in this location.  The reason we moved it was tree roots.  The other beds were being invaded with tree roots so we relocated this before the roots took over. Notice how dry this soil is?  This drought is so bad we just cannot seem to keep enough moisture in the soil.  The trees are robbing the beds from any moisture.

New location on top of the patio so there is a solid bottom.  We put gravel on the bottom before filling with garden soil. The space between the cement blocks will allow this bed to drain.
We have planted lettuce, swiss chard and carrots.  Still have a space left to add more later.
The garden is doing well in the new location.  We are feeding the center of the keyhole garden with compost scaps and composting worms are living around it. I use a watering can so I can measure how much water I use in the keyhole gardens.  No more wasted water...........
We are still in a drought so I am glad that we put the cement bottom in this bed. This bed, like the other on the patio has cracks in between the side stones which will allow drainage.  There is gravel in the bottom of this bed that is on top of the cement and then the soil.  The new lettuce, cilantro, radishes and dill are emerging.  The compost in the middle has composting worms and compost scraps.
MORE TO COME............................

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