Mosquito bites can be more than just annoying and itchy. They can make you really sick.
We want you to harvest rain, to save money as well as to use all the free soft rain water you can Using rain water can take a load off the shrinking drinking water supply in addition to a load off your wallet. Rain is free and should not be wasted.
Today our focus is on safety. As rain water harvesters, let's be mindful of the hazard mosquitoes can bring -- not just you and your family but also nearby people and pets. Mosquitoes carry an increasing number of nasty diseases, so let's look at how to harvest rain while eliminating mosquito habitat.
New Orleans has actively and successfully battled mosquitoes for 50 years with a 2 million dollar budget and a highly effective team. So let's take a look at what works. New Orleans' new 50-page Zika Control Plan focuses first on eliminating habitat needed to grow more mosquitoes. You may have heard that the most dangerous mosquitoes can reproduce in water-holding containers as small as a bottle cap, and take only a week to hatch. Yep. That means we have a really good reason to clean up thoroughly, and to clean up everywhere, every week.
Other "small containers" mentioned by New Orleans Entomologist Sarah Michaels: "Pet food bowls, cans and glasses, the lids on ice chests and even the cup holders on the top of ice chests."
She said property owners should follow the same routine the city workers use when making regular neighborhood inspections:
The heat of summer has come just in time for the tomatoes to ripen. Our new raised beds are doing great, probably planted a few too many of everything (OK, not probably...) but a nice addition to the garden areas. Kale chips have been the main crop so far, with plenty to share and more leaves coming on daily.
With the heat comes less rain in the forecast so now is the time to being making good use of the rain water you've been saving. If you don't have a system in place, it's never to late to get started. Come in and see us or call the shop to see how you can get set up.
Remember, we'll be at the Iowa State Fair in the Varied Industries Building, just inside the main doors and turn right. Stop and say hello and take advantage of the Fair specials. By the way, if you have pictures of your Rain Barrels Iowa setup please send them to us so we can begin posting all the ways people have found to harvest rain!
As a last note for the day, you can see from the second picture that we have our first canned beans of the season, waxed and green. I'll share a story about why there aren't more after I get past the "head slap" moment that it involves. But for now they are starting to get new leaves and produce again. Happy harvesting.
Well, we had spring rains to get the season off to a good start plus all the rains through the month of June. So many people have come in to get their barrels set up and ready to go, new harvesters and returning old hands all gearing up for getting away from using city water. We can all make a difference in the amount of water we use and how we treat this precious natural resource.
On another note, the new design for the front yard is working great, finished the fences since the bunnies decided to invade. Amended soil and mulched paths are making this season so much better than the last two. Also have the raised beds in the back up and running, not as much soil as needed but will fill them to the top for next season. All in all a great start to the projected harvest to come.
Let me know if you are coming up with new ways to save water and slow runoff from your property. We can all benefit from what others are doing and sharing ideas. Happy gardening.
Hard to believe we are already halfway through April. People are out planting early cool weather crops and yards are looking healthy. Please keep the environment in mind as you care for your lawn this season, it's not just farmers who are adding harmful chemicals to our water systems. Be careful to not over-fertilize or use more herbicide and insecticide that you absolutely need. Sweep up any pellets on concrete to use next time; if spraying chemicals keep close the ground to avoid drift onto things that will be harmed, like your neighbors' plants; set your sprinklers on low so that water has time to soak in and make sure the water is hitting the grass and not the sidewalks and streets. And see your county Soil & Water Conservation District - they have powerful information that will save you money! You may learn to adore native plants with deep roots and rich flowers, as we have, instead of non-native turf grass. Mow less, grow more food & beauty.
If you are harvesting water, don't forget to clean out your gutters before harvesting. Allow the first rains to help clean out the dirt and residue from the winter, the rain this past weekend was a great one for flushing things out. Having algae problems? Put a piece of silver (spoon, fork...) in the barrel. I have had "how it works" explained twice but if you want to know, ask a chemistry teacher!
As you read this realize I'm still trying to figure this blog thing out. What do you want to know about, besides the rambling of an easily distractable gardener? I'm not an expert but we could easliy make this a dialogue, so sound forth and suggest.
Well, we opened yesterday snow and everything as you can see from the front yard picture. But the season is on and we had people dropping in, braving the cold, knowing that it would eventually end and the seeds they were taking home would get planted and the joy of gardening would begin again. Sometimes we wonder why we live in Iowa, but as our newest employ, Gabe, who was born in San Diego said, it gets boring (hard to believe, right?) without the changing of the seasons. And that's why we stay. Spring does come, followed by the heat and humidity of summer, to be followed by the harvests and the joy of knowing that you have enjoyed the beauty of blooming new life and that you will be eating the bounty of your gardens on that next series of winter days while you begin the plans for next year's garden. So keep planning for the coming thaw and the first flowers of spring peeking up through the snow. "To everything, there is a season....."
I keep hoping that spring is just around the corner but I don't seem to be finding the right corner to look around. I know it's coming but it is certainly taking it own sweet time this year. Will I look back on this in August and be wishing for just a little cooler weather? Ah, living in Iowa.......
The shop opens this Saturday and we are ready and eager to get going, new products, new ideas, new year! Holly is especially excited about the personal care items we have. Come in and try the Loess Lavender Hills products, great mild fragrance and feel.
We ordered our own seeds along with the ones for sale at the shop and spent a good portion of Sunday trying to figure out where they will all go. We started some remodeling on the front beds last fall and are adding raised ones in back when the weather allows. As with all of you, we are trying to make the best use of the space and sunshine we have available.
Good luck with your own garden plans and we'll see you soon for your rain barrels and other harvesting needs.
Welcome to Rain Barrels Iowa. Harvesting the rain is a wonderful way to save money, conserve a valuable resource, and live more sustainably. Here we can exchange tips and discuss how to improve our rain harvest practices, tools, and learn what works best!
Now is the time of year to be getting your dreaming and planning done. Lay out your beds, order seeds (we carry Seed Savers Seeds http://www.seedsavers.org/onlinestore/ from Decorah, Iowa), determine where to put a rain barrel or three, clean tools you forgot about last fall and generally get in the mood for winter to be finished, if you're not already there. Feel free to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org) anytime now with questions you may have. Spring really is getting closer.