Gexx in Knoxville

This blog is about Gexx, in Knoxville

Archive for the ‘garden’ Category


Posted by Gexx on July 10, 2009

M thought I was done with the chicken idea after I saw his mom’s greenhouse extension on her shed. She made a frame out of lumber and then covered it with clear courrugated plastic. It’s pretty cool, and I think I want to do that, and my friend J (whose ancient black lab I am watching) is going to help me set up a beehive behind my shed (away from next-door 4 year olds) so the bees can help pollinate my fruit trees and make honey.

This is my thinking on honey and why i fits as the appropriate sweetner in my current PhoodPhilosophy:

Sucernut/WhiteSugar/BrownSugar/Molasses are all made from sugar cane which, in addition to whatever processing is done, must travel far to my foodshed.

Agave syrup must travel far to my foodshed.

Maple Syrup must travel far to my foodshed (normally) and requires a large amount of energy to process.

Sweeteners are right out!

Stevia seems to be a good idea, but I want to see where it goes. I think I will raise some next year, though.

But honey does not travel far. Local honey is actually good for you. Also, the bees that I care for will assist in my gardens and my fruit trees, and in any local gardens. I don’t consider beekeeping as animal exploitation.

So back to the chickens. M calls me to the porch with “the Rooster has chicks!” I don’t see the Rooster, but I hear him every morning (reminder: currently chickens are illegal in our area, and roosters will continue to be not allowed after the Knoxville Chicken bills get passed).

At that point, I start wondering how soon I can convert my shed into a chicken coop. M realizes the mistake he made!

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The hardest part of gardening…

Posted by Gexx on April 18, 2009

… is not building a raised bed, or fencing it.

… is not raising plants from seeds, or mourning over premature deaths.

… is not digging huge holes for trees, or fretting whether they have pollinated and will fruit.

It’s keeping everything within a reasonable scope.

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Groundhog Battle, part A

Posted by Gexx on April 2, 2009

I have a groundhog. It’s big. I’ll get you all a picture soon. M just saw it today for the first time, and he was impressed. My friend Jim was enthralled with it last summer. It eats anything I put in the ground (hence my propensity toward container gardening the other years).

Oh, and he lives under my house.

This year, however, I do not want to give up all my succulent sprouts to the whistlepig.

So far the options are:

I don’t want to shoot it, obviously. And who do I want to burden with another groundhog? So this weekend we’re building a fence with some chickenwire and supports.

Wish us luck!

edit: found online

If you just want to keep them from eating your garden, spray the plants with the following mixture.

2 ozs. Of fish oil
1 tablespoon of dish soap
1 pint of warm water.

Mix all ingredients together in a clean bowl and strain through several layers of nylon stocking to remove any solids. Put the mixture into an old spray bottle and spray the plant leaves, top and bottom and the stems. This mixture works well on all rodents.

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just one more tree

Posted by Gexx on March 29, 2009

So I discovered that my Orient Pear (Pyrus communis) is *not* self pollinating. At least, that’s what the Arbor day foundation tells me, and if I can’t believe them, who can I believe.


So after calling around to see who sold the required Kieffer pears (Pyrus communis x P. pyrifolia), which are in fact self fertile. M and I ventured to Pope’s Garden Center in Maryville to pick one up.

While there, I picked up a started seedling of Mr. Stripey tomatoes and a four pack of hot peppers.

On the way home, it started to rain and got significantly colder, so I set the tree on its side (it’s really windy) to be planted tomorrow when it will be back in the 60s and sunny

So the current list of trees are:
Stanley Plum
Orient Pear
Keiffer Pear

I’m considering purchasing an Apricot tree from the Arbor Day foundation as well as some forsythias and lilacs to create a flowering boundary between my house and the industrial storage yard next door. They’re generally quiet, just moving equipment in and out now and again, but that doesn’t mean it’s pretty.

My other plants, which are doing rather well in the sprouter, are:
Roma Tomatoes
Cherokee Purple Tomatoes
and peppers, but i don’t remember at the moment what type they are

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The Casa

Posted by Gexx on March 23, 2009


So today I got my camera working. It consisted of finding two AA batteries. You wouldn’t think that would be too hard, but until I went on my cleaning jag, I could never find two batteries at the same time.

orion Orion sez HI!

neci Neci is recharging her lasers!

This is my seedstarter:

I used a 16 quart rubbermade-type tub. The inside is lined with aluminium foil. The lid has Christmas LED lights poking through holes I drilled with my power drill.

Does it work, you ask?


I do believe that it does.

Outside, I have:
My pear tree.

The plum tree still looks like a stick. (so you don’t get a picture)

Random bulbs everywhere

This year’s garden:

and next year’s garden:


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garden – part II

Posted by Gexx on March 22, 2009

Today I pulled out the saw horses with the intent of reducing my tree to manageable-sized pieces. Unfortunately, the battery for my circular saw was low, so it just couldn’t get the power needed to cut through the wood. So that’s charging. I did, however, pile all of the tree into one pile, so it’s no longer spread between two lawns. Then I set up black plastic on a patch of yard to solarize the area for next year’s garden. The theory is that the black plastic will trap enough heat to kill out all living things under it: weeds, grass seed, that damn bush that won’t die, and other stuff. Then, this fall, all I need to do is lay down newspaper, compost, leaves, and cover it with something to keep it in place, and next year I will have a 10 foot by 12 foot garden! More food!

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Posted by Gexx on March 20, 2009

So I now have a 5 foot by 7 foot by 1 foot raised bed ready for vegetables. I also have a yard without an icky brushy spot or frustrating stupid overtaking tree. And recently, a pear tree and plum tree have been included and a spot for an apricot tree has been picked out. Seeds have been started in a mini-LED powered green house. Two window boxes have been sown with kale. Now to just figure out what to do with the grapes.

Hopefully this is a fruitful summer, no pun intended.

In gardens, beauty is a by-product. The main business is sex and death. ~Sam Llewelyn

Plants cry their gratitude for the sun in green joy. ~Astrid Alauda

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Answer and Ambitions

Posted by Gexx on February 20, 2009

the answer: A Key

Todo for the weekend.
1 – make initial garden plan
2 – re-find arpa permit
3 – make desk workable
4 – get taxes started (find everything)
5 – fix the garbage can (bag broke spilling catlitter to the bottom.
then it rained. now it's cemented in and the garbage people won't take
6 – make a seedstarter
7 – get stuff prepped for anderson
8 – make something for friend's Bday
9 – make french onion soup
10 – catch up on readings for ARL
11 – clean room (clothes, bedside table)

Posted in garden, geeking out, i do have a life | 1 Comment »