Kitchen Gardening, the Accidental Side Gig

BackYard Money

It's wintertime, it's bloody cold in most parts of the country (a balmy, uncharacteristic 61 deg F yesterday here in Tulsa), and most people aren't thinking about spring and their backyard gardens. Hard to see under a blanket of snow. Only hardcore gardeners like yours truly are pawing through garden and seed catalogs (a.k.a. gardener porn), busily laying out the spring's campaign. A while back I wrote about six cool freelance side gigs that not everyone might be able to do: taxidermy, small engine mechanic, wood working, brush-hogging, gunsmith, fishing guide. The gist of the article was that there are some side gigs that are not for everyone, if only because the knowledge is gained through years of practice and learning.  Start … [Read more...]

Community Garden FAIL!

Ansel Adams - Farm Workers adn Mt. Williamson

Sadly enough, these past few weeks, we've been dismantling the raised beds of our neighborhood's community garden. Alas, it is no more. It's shuffled off this mortal coil. It is pushing up daisies (or at least, bermuda grass). It is an ex-garden.  I was about to title this post "Death of a Garden", but on second thought it might be a little too melodramatic. It started a couple years back, when I asked the neighborhood association permission to locate a couple raised beds right back of my fence.   There is about a two-acre greenbelt beyond the fence, abutting six houses in the neighborhood. It's not used for much except for soccer practice by me and the boys, and for growing tough-as-nails bermuda grass.   The association board took … [Read more...]

Pestiferous Pests in the Remote Garden

All is well on Cucumber Lane

On every stem, on every leaf,... and at the root of everything that grew, was a professional specialist in the shape of grub, caterpillar, aphis, or other expert, whose business it was to devour that particular part.  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes It's hard enough dealing with the distance of a remote garden, even with low expectations.  Add in drought conditions and an abundance of pests, and I'm just glad enough that we got anything out of what I planted this year. It started first with the blister beetles, attacking first the potatoes and then the tomato plants, and later moving on the to pole beans.  The tomato hornworms came next,  lopping off the tops of the dozen tomato plants.  After that, it was the turn of the … [Read more...]

Alternative Investments: Dirt

Soil Erosion in Linxia County, Xihe Township, China - source: Wikimedia Commons

I’ve blogged extensively about the second house we bought last year, now named somewhat grandiosely as Terra Farms.  One of the reasons was to diversify our assets into land. From that perspective, productive land is and always has been a reasonably good investment.   If lucky enough to blessed with extraordinary foresight and be thinking in terms of location, location, location, one could buy some raw land near an expanding city, and in due course hit the proverbial jackpot, much like SingleMomRichMom’s Father did. Besides being a weekend getaway and a renovation, I’ve also been also looking at this little nine-acre patch with a little different eye. I've recently finished reading "Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations", by … [Read more...]