The REAL Garden Club

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CarefulBuilder14
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The REAL Garden Club

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 3:37 pm

A thread to discuss actual water-and-soil gardening topics (and general home improvement). I'm doing a rehab (indoors and outdoors), and it might be good to share experiences and advice. I've been learning a lot about landscaping with water conservation in mind. The property is in southern California.

For starters, can anyone suggest an electronic water timer that actually has decent battery life...something that could last a few weeks, maybe even a month or two without needing new batteries? The batteries (fresh, new Duracells) in my Melnor timer only lasted a week.
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MemberSince99
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Re: The REAL Garden Club

Postby MemberSince99 » Mon Jun 20, 2016 7:47 am

Here I thought you wanted to talk about MF

TXviking
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Re: The REAL Garden Club

Postby TXviking » Mon Jun 20, 2016 12:12 pm

I'd look at the options from http://www.rainbird.com/landscape/products/controllers/index.htm. Avoid batteries. It's worth the effort to cable up power to the unit, even if it means burying an outdoor power supply cable.

I'm in somewhat the same boat. I'm in southern Florida rather than southern California, so water is plentiful, but I'm looking at ways to reduce the size of my lawn and replace parts with native Florida flora (and fauna for that matter.)

A few of the projects I'm contemplating:
- Areca palm hedge on two sides
- Small orange grove
- Coconut palms
- Doing something with my pond (~ 60 x 25 feet, so it's pretty big -- but muddy and not making the fish in there very happy atm.)

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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: The REAL Garden Club

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:47 pm

TXviking wrote:I'd look at the options from http://www.rainbird.com/landscape/products/controllers/index.htm. Avoid batteries. It's worth the effort to cable up power to the unit, even if it means burying an outdoor power supply cable.

I'm in somewhat the same boat. I'm in southern Florida rather than southern California, so water is plentiful, but I'm looking at ways to reduce the size of my lawn and replace parts with native Florida flora (and fauna for that matter.)

A few of the projects I'm contemplating:
- Areca palm hedge on two sides
- Small orange grove
- Coconut palms
- Doing something with my pond (~ 60 x 25 feet, so it's pretty big -- but muddy and not making the fish in there very happy atm.)

You're right that cable power does seem to be more reliable. In the research I've done in the last 24 hours, most other people suggest avoiding batteries. A Rain Bird system is definitely a possibility.

The problem is that the house currently lacks any outside electrical outlets. Now, in a major rehab, adding electrical outlets has a low marginal cost when the wiring needs to be redone, anyway. The interior needs a lot of structural work before it's time to rewire, though. So while it's a great long-term solution, it doesn't help in the short term.

I did notice that the Melnor unit was extremely hot from direct sunlight (a southern exposure). I took the existing batteries out, let everything cool down, and then put the existing batteries back in. It did start working again. I'm going to get an umbrella to try to keep the unit from overheating. It might keep plants alive until a proper cable unit can be installed. Also, it will only work if the problem was caused by excessive heat, rather than bad wiring.

As far as flora...the tree crew removed a diseased, overgrown jacaranda and a mulberry that had no space to grow. A fruiting avocado tree remains, as well as what I believe is a guava (if it is, it's not been getting enough water to fruit). I've not decided which other plants to add. Any citrus would be limited to one small orange tree. There will also be a pergola with grapes providing partial shade.

Fauna are small lizards, hummingbirds, and other small birds I can't identify. Snails may be a concern when it cools down and they stop estivating ("hibernating" during a hot, dry summer).
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Re: The REAL Garden Club

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:40 am

By areca palm, do you mean dypsis lutescens or areca catechu?

I tried to look it up, but found two plants with the common name "areca palm".
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Re: The REAL Garden Club

Postby TXviking » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:07 am

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:By areca palm, do you mean dypsis lutescens or areca catechu?

I tried to look it up, but found two plants with the common name "areca palm".


I'm actually not sure. I didn't even realize there were two kinds.

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Re: The REAL Garden Club

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Tue Jun 21, 2016 2:41 pm

TXviking wrote:
CarefulBuilder14 wrote:By areca palm, do you mean dypsis lutescens or areca catechu?

I tried to look it up, but found two plants with the common name "areca palm".


I'm actually not sure. I didn't even realize there were two kinds.

Given that you're in southern Florida, I'm guessing DL. I just didn't want to assume. DL has been naturalized there, and it's supposed to improve air quality a bit. It looks nice and doesn't get too big.

AC is more common in Asia, where the nuts are used as a sort of recreational drug (aka "betel" or "paan"). A few sources online say it's neither illegal nor controlled in the US, so I don't think there would be any legal problem around having one. AC does look nice, but I think they do get to be much larger than you'd want in a hedge, so you're probably thinking of DL.

My temporary solution seems to be working. My water timer is much happier in the shade of a beach umbrella.

I have to figure out whether I want to keep the philodendron.
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Re: The REAL Garden Club

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 6:31 pm

Helping a relative with a very, very overgrown lawn and garden.

Does anyone have machete-shopping advice?
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Re: The REAL Garden Club

Postby Tubpbs » Thu Aug 18, 2016 7:21 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:Helping a relative with a very, very overgrown lawn and garden.

Does anyone have machete-shopping advice?


I'm assuming good advice is to not buy something too cheap and not buy something too expensive.
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Re: The REAL Garden Club

Postby rockyrock » Fri Aug 19, 2016 9:17 am

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:Helping a relative with a very, very overgrown lawn and garden.

Does anyone have machete-shopping advice?


Sounds like a one-time or rare event. I would just head to Harbor Freight and use one of their 20% off coupons. You could probably walk with one for $6...
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