Sunday Garden Chat: Reduce, Reuse, Recyle

xboxershorts Gutter-Garden

I’m ashamed to admit I just discovered a Garden Chat email from mid-June. Sorry about the delay, commentor XBoxerShorts:

Built this at the urging of my wife. Trying to take advantage of these old gutters I’ve been holding on to (yes, we’re hoarders of a sort) and make efficient use of space.

These are determinate tomatoes and peppers. They don’t grow very large and some are already setting fruit. The frame will allow us to add twine supports as needed and this puts about 50 plants in a much smaller area than would normally be needed.

It’s full southern exposure which is very welcome here in hilly and rural Northern PA. I was surprised at how well the soil is holding moisture, considering it’s full southern exposure.

The second pic is our garden guard, Valley Girl, hard at work….

What’s going on in your gardens this week?

* * * * *

Special notice: Happy birthday & many happy returns to star commentors SiubhanDuinne, Omnes Omnibus, and Cassidy!

xboxershorts Guarding the garden

79 replies
  1. 1
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Suicide. After reading the news headlines I am contemplating suicide in my garden. Dog it is depressing today.

    Wait a minute… I can’t. My son and I are going to a Cards game today. I guess I’ll just have to put suicide off until tomorrow.

  2. 2
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: And do it on Obummer’s B-day?

  3. 3
  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: Why not? It can be a nice little present to him.

  5. 5
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: What, and lose his only voter in Missouri?

  6. 6
    Tommy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Cards game. Perfect.

    I do not think I have mentioned this to you. As a fetus in the 60s my mom used to put headphones on her belly so I could hear Jack Buck call a game. It was that important I become a Cards fan. So I am jumping up and down happy you are going to a game with your kid.

  7. 7
    raven says:

    Fack the Cardinals.

  8. 8
    Tommy says:

    @raven: If I am not mistaken you live near or around Atlanta. I can see why you dislike my team. We tend to win World Championship. You don’t. Often not even a player.

  9. 9
    BillinGlendaleCA says:


    As a fetus in the 60s

    That’s how Colbert heard Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech.

  10. 10
    raven says:

    @Tommy: My loathing for the Cards is far deeper than that. Know who Ernie Broglio is?

  11. 11
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: Just another liberal, union, environmentalist, caving. card carrying ACLU member, atheist, hillbilly, a-hole. Nothing special.

    @raven: The Cardinals fack you and the rest of the National League. Everyone hates a winner, especially when they don’t have the money to buy their championships, but actually have to earn them. Year after year after year after year….. :-)

  12. 12
    JPL says:

    Happy Birthday to all who are celebrating today.

    Garden question, Worms ate my cantaloupe. Last year I tried cantaloupe and the weather didn’t cooperate but I decided to try again. They were growing as expected and suddenly started shrinking and became mush. If I try again are there any tricks to keep the worms away? I didn’t use mulch, so I’m wondering if that would have helped.

  13. 13
    raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Don’t care, fack em anyways.

  14. 14
    raven says:

    Meanwhile, the weather here is going to be fine and we are getting ready to drive to Beaufort, SC where it’s going to be raining like hell all goddamn day!

  15. 15
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: In baseball, I think there is something we can all agree on: FTFY(Fuck The Fucking Yankees).

  16. 16
    raven says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: Stinkin jankees.

  17. 17
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tommy: Too bad you missed Harry Caray. He was a hoot. Broke my heart when he went to the Cubs. Once I understood why, I loved him even more. Fvck the Busch’s for all of eternity.

    Been a long time since I went to a game, I think a decade or more. I’m not much on crowds or $10 beer or $7 hotdogs or $5 popcorn or… The boy and I don’t get much just him and me time and he has been wanting to go to a game with me for a while so we’re going.

    As long as I am in town I might as well have breakfast at little bro’s restaurant, plus I need to pick up a few things from Cherokee street for making chorizo. I wonder if they will have any donkey meat? Necessary ingredient for true chorizo. Sigh… I doubt it.

  18. 18
    Schlemizel says:

    Wife’s grandfather was a huge Cards fan, I sort of liked sumer nights with him listening to Buck call a game. But then came ’87 and I never heard a whinier bunch of ballplayers. Whiny Herzog complained about everything during the World Series including the size of the ballpark in Minnesota. The thing about that is the distance markers are clearly written on the outfield walls & his beloved home stadium was only a couple feet bigger. He pretty much turned me off to the team.

    Spoken like a true Cubs fan! Some wounds never heal.

  19. 19
    Betty Cracker says:

    @raven: Bee-yooo-furt! Good seafood to be had there!

    I don’t put any stock in zodiac signs whatsoever, but SiubhanDuinne and Omnes Omnibus do seem like a perfect pair of Leos. Happy birfday!

  20. 20
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Thanks for the birthday wishes and song. I’m feeling slightly daunted at the notion that I’ve completed 72 trips around the sun.

    @BillinGlendaleCA: Technically for me it’s not until 8:03 p.m. Like Omnes, I was born in the Central Time Zone (CWT) but I just observe it locally. It’s easy to remember 8/3 at 8:03.

  21. 21
    raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: He went from the Cards to the White Sox.

  22. 22
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JPL: It is best to get them off the ground. Either with a trellis (you can put them in a mesh sack for added support or one of these.

  23. 23
    raven says:

    @Betty Cracker: We’re actually going to visit SIL and her family on Edisto but we couldn’t find anywhere for just 2 nights so we got a dog friendly joint right outside of the Marine Air Station. I have my gear loaded and I’m going to fish tomorrow no matter what!

  24. 24
    PurpleGirl says:

    Happy birthday to SiubhanDuinne, Omnes Omnibus, and Cassidy! Best wishes for a great day and a healthy year.

    Re time of birth: My birth certificate says 4:19 PM, my mother always said it was earlier but she didn’t state a time for earlier. This was important because one of my closet college friends was born the same day, same year but in the morning. Weird Twin always claimed she was 9 hours older than me and I had to listen to her. I told her “nine hours don’t count for that”.

  25. 25
    raven says:

    @PurpleGirl: I was born at home because I wanted to be close to my mother.

  26. 26
    raven says:

    And HB SiubhanDuinne, Omnes Omnibus, and Cassidy.

  27. 27
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: Harry Caray, born Harry Christopher Carabina (March 1, 1914 – February 18, 1998) was an American baseball broadcaster on radio and television. He covered four Major League Baseball teams, beginning with 25 years of calling the games of the St. Louis Cardinals. After a year working for the Oakland Athletics and eleven years with the Chicago White Sox, Caray spent the last sixteen years of his career as the announcer for the Chicago Cubs.

    Seems we’re both wrong. Ahh well, who cares, I loved him. My old man was a die hard Cubs fan and I would sit and listen to the games with him just so I could hear Harry’s voice.

    Heh, the closest his Wiki page comes to explaining his departue from STL is this:

    He spent one season broadcasting for the Athletics, in 1970, before, as he often told interviewers, he grew tired of owner Charles O. Finley’s interference and accepted a job with the Chicago White Sox. (Apparently the feeling was mutual; Finley later said “that shit [Caray] pulled in St. Louis didn’t go over here.”)

    Double heh.

  28. 28
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Or if you are just a poor boy from the hills and hollers country, a nice flat rock works too.

  29. 29
    raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: He and Veeck used to sit in the bleachers and drink during broadcasts.

  30. 30
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: I have been fishing exactly once this year. Somehow or other I always have too much to do. Have fun and give a cast or 2 for me.

  31. 31
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: Sounds funny but they were both one of a kind. My Uncle Ted was a die hard White Sox fan and to listen to him and my old man go at it was the entertainment of any trip to Joliet.

  32. 32
    Betty Cracker says:

    @raven: Going after reds?

  33. 33
    Schlemizel says:

    The story I heard about Caray’s leaving STL was that a rumor appeared that Harry wa seeing Mrs. Busch on the side. The day after that rumor popped up there was a small accident at the stadium when Augie’s limo hit Mr. Caray. It was the end of the season & Oakland looked like a good choice.

  34. 34
    Schlemizel says:

    sorry, double post

  35. 35
    Currants says:

    Xboxershorts: so if this photo was mid-June, how is it going by now? (I think I remember you talking about this setup in a thread.) Also whereish in Northern PA? I lived in some of that rocky hilly area in NE PA when I was a kid, Bradford county, not far from the NY border looking down over the Susquehanna. Beautiful area (before fracking).

  36. 36
    JPL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Happy Birthday. It’s time to celebrate!

  37. 37
    JPL says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That is really cool. Thanks. I’ll try again next year.

  38. 38
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    We will do it! I haven’t forgotten, just allowed things to get complicated.

  39. 39
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Happy Birthday. Hope you have a delightful day.

  40. 40
    satby says:

    Happy Birthday again to SiubhanDuinne and Omnes, and Cassidy, who I missed last night. Old Irish saying: “do not regret growing older, it’s a privilege denied to many.”
    I hope you all have enjoyable days.

  41. 41
    satby says:

    Xboxershorts, I remember you talking about this setup, and at the time I wondered if the gutters would be deep enough to sustain the plants as they got older/bigger. How has it worked out?

    I have to say that the tomatoes in pots are not flourishing as much as they did last year in the ground. Which is fine, I still haven’t worked my way through everything I canned last fall and there are enough local farmstands should the urge to put up produce overwhelm me. But I’m a bit disappointed in how spindly they look.

  42. 42
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Wait a minute, this is a garden thread: Love the gutter garden, XBoxerShorts. Nice idea.

    Pulped out 35 #s of maters yesterday and cooking them down for sauce. Should end up with about 10 pints. Made a batch of salsa earlier this week. Funny how I don’t remember either job being so much work. Anyway, both were made infinitely easier by the use of one Squeezo Strainer. Obligatory plug done, but Dog I wonder I how I did it without that tool.

    The garden has hit it’s summer doldrums. Most everything is either holding it’s breath or dying back. Haven’t yet seen a hornworm but the cabbage worms have gotten to my Brussels sprouts with a vengeance. I’ll hit them with some BTK before I head out to the game. Finally got the blossom end rot under control. The eggplants have definitely turned the corner and soon we will be having some eggplant parmesan. A sometime prostitute and full time crack addict neighbor of mine made the best eggplant parmesan I have ever eaten. She used to make it especially for me. I probably can’t get close to it, but I am going to try.

    @Schlemizel: More than just a rumor, quite the scandal. Old Harry dearly loved the ladies.

  43. 43
    geg6 says:

    Wow, big Juicers’ birthday today! Have a great day!

    Storming here right now and the dogs are freaking out.

  44. 44
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Sort of garden-related. Last few days I’ve noticed at one of the hummingbird feeders there’s one particular bird (looks like the same one) who sits on one of the perches, not feeding, just hanging out, but working hard to keep any others away. If they come near he’ll chase them away, then go back to just sitting. Is there some hierarchical or territorial behavior going on?

  45. 45
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Hummingbirds are assholes.

  46. 46
    demit says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I’ve not seen that, but I have a goldfinch who likes to perch on the hanger of the feeder and reach down & drink from the ant moat in the center. A couple of other finches & sparrows land on the surface of the feeder (it’s a Hummzinger) & sit there briefly, but not in a proprietary way.

    On edit: I see you meant a hummingbird. Yes, they are highly territorial, not the sharing kind at all, lol.

  47. 47
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @satby: Love that saying. Happy B’Day to the Balloon Juicers!

  48. 48
    bemused says:

    Tired of watering my flower and veggie beds but we’ll be eating cherry tomatoes soon.

    Tired of picking, cleaning and freezing wild blueberries but we have 27 qts in the freezer so far.

    Our first grandbaby. a girl, turns one year old this month. I’m trying to get up to speed on what are the best gifts to buy for that age group in the 21st century. I’m doing ok on fun, educational books and toys with tips from my dil but I don’t know what is recommended in dvds for toddlers. She is getting a dvd, an oldie favorite of mine The Point narrated by Ringo Starr. She may be a bit young for it yet but I love the songs, esp Think About Your Troubles. I’d love suggestions.

  49. 49
    Cervantes says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until next week.

    (And so on, ad infinitum.)

  50. 50
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Cervantes: Wow, my new motto, thanx!

  51. 51
    Cassidy says:

    Thank you.

  52. 52
    Nunca El Jefe says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: as something if an A’s fan, I can’t agree more. What you wrote is ALWAYS the first thing I think of when people abbreviate “fixed that for you”. I spend lots of time wondering what certain threads have to do with baseball.

  53. 53
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Overwhelmed by all the birthday love. Thank you one and all.

  54. 54
    Schlemizel says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    Yes, yes they are!

    Although there is a tiny town in Southern MN, Henderson, that maintains (ed) a grand hummingbird garden. It is about 3 acres of flowers and benches, bushes and hummingbird feeders next to trees and open areas. To walk & sit among the gardens is magical as hundreds of hummers dash about. It feels dangerous! There is so much to feed on that territorial fights are pretty uncommon and those that happen are brief.

    Sadly, the garden was badly flooded this spring and stayed underwater a long time. The gardens are pretty empty this year both of flowers and birds. threw them a couple of bucks to help rebuild & have hopes they will collect enough that they can build again over the next couple of years.

  55. 55
    WaterGirl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: It’s called BIrthDay not BIrthMinute! :-)

    Happy birthday, SiubhanDuinne!!

    Edit: having said that, I now have to confess that I am a big fan of the Birthday Week and the Birthday Month.

  56. 56
    Glidwrith says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: You mentioned on another thread how to get larger potatoes. I am making my first attempt which consists of sticking a small spud in the ground, then burying it as leaves come up for a larger yield. Suggestions?

  57. 57
    WaterGirl says:

    @JPL: I used the cradles (that OzarkHillbilly linked to) on my round watermelons last year and they worked quite nicely. Bonus: no yellow spot on the watermelons either because they no longer rest on the ground.

  58. 58
    Scout211 says:


    My neighbors use mounds of straw to keep the fruit off the ground. I bought some handy plastic supports from Gardener’s Supply that stick in the ground and hold the fruit about an inch off the ground. I also use a trellis for the vines so some of the fruit hangs on the trellis and is off the ground.

    I haven’t had a problem with worms but I do have earwigs and ants that attack the ripe fruit.

  59. 59
    WaterGirl says:

    @Cassidy: Happy birthday to you, too!

    It’s a beautiful day here; I hope you all get beautiful days where you are.

  60. 60
    Chet says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Schlemizel: Clips of Harry Caray and Jack Buck calling a Cards/Giants game in 1962:

  61. 61
    Elizabelle says:

    Happy Birthday!! Looks good on each of you. Many more.

  62. 62
    Baud says:

    August 3 is clearly an auspicious day in Ballon Juice history. Happy Birthday to all.

  63. 63
    MomSense says:

    Happy birthday Omnes, Cassidy, and SiubhanDuinne!

  64. 64
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Glidwrith: My ground is mostly clay. I followed the standard directions which was to enrich the soil with composted manure. That worked OK but after a month it had pretty much returned to a somewhat rock like consistency (my garden is well composted already, but some parts are better than others). I needed to give it a really good amount of regular compost (at least 4″) in addition to the manure in order to keep the soil loose for the spuds to grow without too much constraint. Also, I was supposed to mound the soil up on the plants once they had reached 6-8 inches of height but forgot until it was, I thought anyway, too late. From what I have read, both of those conditions are important for spuds to reach nice size.

    It also occurred to me that a nice dose of bone meal, which promotes root growth, could be helpful as well, because what is a potato after all? Don’t know if that is true or not and intend to investigate more thoroughly this winter. If I can’t find anything specific on it, I will do a little controlled experiment with it and see if it helps or harms.

    Don’t remember if I said as much, but I got mine via Renee’s. I bought the All American Potato Patch as I like variety and it seemed like a nice amount to start with (about 4 10′ rows). Next year I will go all in and plant a lot more. Gonna try and find ’em for less if I can.

  65. 65
    WereBear says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: What you need for clay is some big bags of vermiculite.

    It’s little squoze-up mineral accordions, and when it gets wet it unsquozes. We had a patch of lawn where someone had dumped kitty litter for years, you could land a jet on it. Vermiculite turned it into soil again.

  66. 66
    gelfling545 says:

    Received a clethra ainifolia “ruby spice’ shrub which smells like stargazer lilies as a gift last week. It must be planted today. A shrub that flowers in August is a treasure.

  67. 67
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @WereBear: I have read that, but it would take a semi load or 2 to do it all. Still, it might be a good idea for the tater patch to spread some around, certainly couldn’t hurt. I’ll have to consider that.

  68. 68
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Happy birthday!

  69. 69
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    Happy birthday & many happy returns to star commentors SiubhanDuinne, Omnes Omnibus, and Cassidy!

    Happy birthday fellow Leos/August babies!

  70. 70
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Here’s a little something for those of you who weren’t born on August 3rd :-)

  71. 71
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @WaterGirl: This is why I like you. I’m all about birthday week and month.

  72. 72
    Cervantes says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: You’re welcome. It’s not original, being a paraphrase from Mark Twain, who, annoyed at the unoriginality and dubious value of Ben Franklin as aphorist, made it up and ascribed it to him.

  73. 73
    Cassidy says:

    @WaterGirl: It’s Florida and hot, but we have a nice pool to go to. It’s been a pleasant weekend minus tax free school shopping. That’s a special level of hell that will be death with online next time.

  74. 74
    gelfling545 says:

    @bemused: My granddaughter turned 7 last week. Since she was 1 I have given her, along with something cute to open & play with on the day, a family membership to our local zoo. This lets her family go to the zoo as often as desired & attend special zoo events for what I think is a very reasonable cost. Since her brother’s first bday, he gets the science museum membership. At the moment (Age 3, nearly 4), he is fascinated with bog mummies.

  75. 75
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    Thanks all for the good wishes.

  76. 76
    bemused says:


    That’s a nice idea. I’ll have to ask dil about their area museums, etc.

  77. 77
    dance around in your bones says:

    You Say It’s Your Birthday!

    y Sapo Verde Eres Tu (how Spanish speakers hear the Happy Birthday song – trans. You’re a green frog)

    ***to Omnes, Siubhanne Duinne and Cassidy!***

  78. 78
    Xboxershorts says:


    Xboxershorts: so if this photo was mid-June, how is it going by now? (I think I remember you talking about this setup in a thread.) Also whereish in Northern PA? I lived in some of that rocky hilly area in NE PA when I was a kid, Bradford county, not far from the NY border looking down over the Susquehanna. Beautiful area (before fracking).

    Middling results, we missed 2 feedings, so the fruit is kinda in stasis. (Shallow planters, so we gotta add food).

    The cat, on the other hand, is fat dumb and happy…..

  79. 79
    Xboxershorts says:

    Also, this is Potter County, about 35 miles east of Bradford.

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