Sunday, July 3, 2011


Here are some small projects I've been doing around the house to keep myself busy. None of them are big enough to warrant a post on their own, but they're still worth mentioning.


Chrissie and I took our dog, Helo, to the dog park last week and I spotted a bunch of kelp on the beach. If you were wondering, yes, there is a beach dog park close to where we live. It's actually kind of commonplace around Seattle. Kelp is great for compost and gardens to I filled a plastic bag with as much as I could fit and dumped it into the compost.

Kelp is great compost material. It is packed with a diverse amount of nutrients and minerals. It's possible for people to eat it and it's really good for you. It's considered a "super-food." I've eaten seaweed and kelp before, but seeing as this stuff came from the dog park, I didn't really trust it. It was, however, good enough to throw into the compost.

Another good thing you can do with kelp in your garden is to just insert it into the soil. It will give your soil a really quick boost of goodness. Some plants, like green beans, do much better when planted with kelp around it. If you're skeptical that kelp is good for your garden, go look at the ingredients label of an organic fertilizer. The first ingredient is probably kelp.


We found some orange spots on the leaves of the "normal" pear tree today. They looked a little suspicious, so I looked up what could be wrong on the internet. Rust, the common name for this kind of fungal infection, came back as the likely issue, and a quick call to our local nursery confirmed it.

Rust isn't actually that bad. First off, it doesn't kill the host. Second, it doesn't infect the fruit. A plant with rust will get on fairly well and you probably won't notice much of a difference in your harvest. Me, I don't want to take any chances. I want to do as much as I can to minimize the stress on the trees.

The bad news is that rust isn't something that you can totally kill off, but you can just manage it pretty easily. Fungicides are quite ineffective at killing it after it gets on the tree. They are most effective at preventing the rust from inhabiting the tree in the first place. Getting rid of rust from an infected tree means removing all of the "rusty" leaves and throwing them away. Note - do not compost them! So that's what I did this morning and I'll keep an eye on the other trees as rust can infect them also.

I did wonder why the Charlie-Brown-Pear-Tree didn't get infected at all and I believe it's because of the sulfer spray we applied to it a couple of weeks ago. Not only does the sulfer kill bacteria, it kills fungus too, exactly the way I mentioned above - by preventing anything from establishing itself in the first place. Literally, as soon as the rust spores came in contact with the tree, the sulfer burned it right off. Nasty stuff.

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