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Emilie McVey

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since Oct 28, 2014
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I am originally from (the great state of) Texas and have been an expat living in PA for 34 years, the last several of which have been in beautiful central PA. I love gardening and the outdoors and the concept of sustainable living; that said, neither my beloved of 36 years nor I are handy - we feel very accomplished to be able to paint a room and have it look nice.
central Pennsylvania
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Recent posts by Emilie McVey

Edward Norton wrote:

I looked everywhere for something to insulate the basement and provide a vapour barrier. I eventually found some stuff on Amazon:

SmartShield - 5mm 48” x 100’

“ Insulation (R15), Radiant Barrier, Vapor Barrier, Sound Barrier.” - at less than $1 / sqft.

It’s nice to work with and I’ve cut a piece for my car front windshield.

I don’t need all it’s functionality for an attic wall, but I’d use it just for it’s thickness and R value.



Our 1925 home has no insulation at all.  I put three layers of carpet pieces on the floor throughout my attic to get some, any, insulation. It was free, what can I say, so it met that need at least.  Anyway, would this product work against the roof?  What kind of air gap would it need?  In the summer it's often over 115° in the attic, which is felt in our bedrooms;  any warmth there in the winter is our heat going up and away.  So might this be an inexpensive, easy to install solution?
1 month ago
Thank you both so much for the encouragement and advice. It really helps to get tips and to be reminded that next year may be a very different scenario.

I have never intentionally saved tomato seed, bc of the disease that attacks every year.  I have had a few volunteers, of course. Generally speaking, I purchase new starts, of whatever I'm going to grow, every year from an Amish woman who grows heirloom varieties without chemicals.  I have no direct sunlight in my house so I cannot easily/cheaply start seeds myself.  Items that are direct seed, such as peas, carrots, etc., I do buy seed for, sometimes from from High Mowing or Fruition, sometimes from Lowes.

I will definitely read those links and do the stem check.  I might be able to attach some photos to another post.
This seems like the right thread to post this in, but if it's not, please relocate.
I've had problems with my tomatoes every year at the current house (ten years of gardening here). Every year in August the leaves would start turning yellow, then brown, and the tomatoes would start having white irregular patches on them, which eventually would turn soft and burst.  By mid September the plants were dead, while others' gardens were still churning out the red orbs of deliciousness.

Each year I relocated the tomatoes, thinking it was something in the soil that was causing the problem, yet in every section of my garden the same thing happened to my tomatoes. I came to the conclusion that it must be "blown in on the wind", kind of like powdery mildew.  My other plants always did pretty well, just not my tomatoes.  The strawberries had red-brown spots on the leaves, but the fruit was fine.

This year I put up a wood fence and chicken wire, to keep both my puppy (Mr. Dig-a-lot) and the rabbits out of the garden.  I brought in an enormous amount of wood chips via Chip Drop. I put 4" wood chips on the paths, and about that much on all the beds.  I thought I would have a spectacular garden!

It was a spectacle, all right. Basil plants with brown spots on the leaves, which eventually turned yellow and shriveled up, the stems affected, too. The mullen and the sage and the onions and garlic (which was pink! when I harvested it) and the spinach and cucumbers, and chamomile and rudbeckia and, and, and... Even my raspberries canes.  The tomatoes doing their usual shrivel and die, too. The only thing that looked good was the oregano.  Rust red spots on the leaves of my apple and cherry seedlings, too.

The master gardener at the county extension thinks fusarium is the culprit.  Is it possible that the wood chips did this? And would fusarium affect virtually every plant in the garden?

And without using a ton of nasty chemicals, what can I do to fix my garden?  Is what lawn I have left infected, too (and could therefore reinfect my garden beds)?

Help?!
Yes, I had hominy many times while growing up -- and I liked it!  Different strokes for different folks! LoL
3 months ago
I clicked on the link, and it appears on my phone in type too small for me to read.  I tried tapping to zoom, spreading my fingers to zoom, nada on both techniques.  Does anyone have any other suggestions to enlarge the size?  Thanks for any help!
4 months ago
I notice that "white dutch clover" is what is specified.  Would another clover (red clover, e.g.) work as well, or is there something important about white clover that makes it work better?
6 months ago
Scrounging is such a satisfying hobby!  Unfortunately my husband does not share my satisfaction....so it's been awhile since I've done much.  But! some of my finds have been a TV in near perfect condition, a huge china cabinet, and two wardrobes -one prefab of pressboard now doing storage duty in the garage, and a real wood one, too.  Love the feeling of "SCORE!!" when I've made a good find 😁
8 months ago
I've read several articles that planting in straw bales has destroyed people's gardens, due to the pesticides the grass/hay was sprayed with that then gets leached into their soil.  I've googled "organic straw bales", and the closest available is about 3,000 miles away, in Washington State.  Is there another way to find them?  I live in central Pennsylvania.

Thanks for any tips!
8 months ago