Garden Supplies
 

 

Garden Ramblings, Issue #062
October 15, 2009

 

 

October 2009

 

Monthly Musings on the Garden Scene
 
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In this issue:

- Letter from the Editor
- Bring Beauty to Your Garden With a High Bush Blueberry Plant
- Super Handy Do-it-yourself Garden Tools
- Home Vegetable Gardening: Growing Garlic In The Back Yard
- Special Offers
- Tailpiece

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Welcome to the October issue of Garden Ramblings. This month there are again three articles by guest authors and the emphasis this month is on fruit and vegetables.

Our first guest is Tammy Sons who taught me something I didn't know when he revealed that the blueberry is a member of the same family as rhododendrons and azaleas. Grow them together and you can enjoy their beauty as well as the fruit.

The second article is by Dylan Taft who has some novel ideas on DIY garden tools. Follow his tips and make life easier for yourself in the garden.

Our final guest is Mike Podlesny whose subject is growing garlic. This useful vegetable is easy to grow if you follow his simple instructions.

As usual there is a Special Offers section with all the bargains that I've managed to find this month.

As an introduction to the article by Tammy Sons this month's video is "Growing Blueberries In Your Backyard".

Enjoy the issue.

Hugh

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Growing Blueberries In Your Backyard

 
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Bring Beauty to Your Garden With a High Bush Blueberry Plant

by Tammy Sons

 

When you think of a beautiful garden, you may think of rhododendrons and azaleas, but what you may not know is that a high bush blueberry plant is not only complementary to these flowers but is also a member of the same family. If you are searching for plants that grow well in the same conditions and will bring out each other's best features, you should consider using these plants in tandem.

If you live in a cold climate, you should be prepared to plant your blueberries in the fall and harvest all you need prior to the first frost and coldest days of the next Fall. This is due to the fact that the high bush blueberry plant does not adapt well to cold winters. Your plant will begin to flower in February and this stage will continue into June, with fruit production occurring between April and October, after approximately 60-65 days of flowering.

The flowers themselves are beautiful white or have a slight pink tinge. They are urn shaped, and feature five petals. These flowers appear on the plant in clumps of eight to ten. The flowers alone are reason enough to plant this fruit-bearing plant in your garden, whether it is a flower garden or a fruit and vegetable garden.

When planting a high bush blueberry plant you should avoid areas that could be considered a frost pocket-where the frost is attracted to and most likely to develop on cold days-and also ensure that the plant has ample room to grow. Though this plant does not have a wide breadth, it can grow to be between six and twelve feet in height.

While the high bush blueberry plant is fertile and self-seeds to create a more abundant harvest over the years, you can also cross-pollinate the plants in order to speed up this process. An abundant harvest every year will ensure that you have more than enough blueberries to use them in cakes, pies and muffins all summer while saving some for smoke-drying, sun-drying, boiling, canning, jarring and freezing for use throughout the year-picking and preparing your fruit as it ripens will help you make the most of your harvest.

You should never plant your blueberries near plants that require soils with low acidity-this is because your blueberries require a high level of acidity in order to achieve the state they are so widely known for-purple or blue with a great taste and plenty of vitamins and other nutrients. In addition, you should provide moisture and organic matter-rich soil, as well as full sun to partial shade so your plant will produce more flowers and thusly, more fruit.

The high bush blueberry plant comes in a wide variety of sizes from the size of a dime in diameter down to the size of the nail on your pinky finger. No matter which variety you select, opening your garden to blueberries will make you a permanent fan.

About the Author

 TN Nursery is a state certified tree nursery specializing in native plants and trees, shrubs, fern and perennials as well as pond plants and wetland mitigation species.

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Super Handy Do-it-yourself Garden Tools

by Dylan Taft

 

Garden Tote

How many times do you find yourself marching out to the garden like a pack horse, with your arms laden with hand tools? More often than not, you still have to return to the shed for more supplies. With a little ingenuity and a few items you probably have around the house, you can create your own garden tote to store all your garden "must have's".

Round up a canvas carpenter's belt (the kind with a large pocket) and gather together all the hand tools you regularly use. Measure the width of each and add on 1 more inch. Use a pen to mark the sections on your belt pocket. Double stitch along the pen marks, creating several pockets for the various tools. Get a small bucket or old cat litter pail, perfect for holding weeds, gloves or other items and tie the belt around the bucket. Next time you work in the garden, just grab your tote and go.

For a variation on this idea, use bungee cords to attach the bucket to a golf cart or luggage dolly, and place shovels or other large items in the bucket and wheel them around easily.

Knee Pad

Be kind to your tender knees by using a knee pad when you head out to the garden. Grab an old Styrofoam camping mattress and cut it to size, or go to your local carpet dealer and ask him for some old samples.

Plant Supports

Get your sprawling plants in check by providing a support system that's built right into your planter. Begin with a medium sized container. Drive five 1 by 1 inch stakes or bamboo stems into the soil until they protrude about 4 feet. Plant your tomato or other climbing plant in the center of the pot. Get nylon twine and wind it around the stakes in a star shape in 6 inch rows. As your plant grows and develops fruit, it will have plenty of support for all those unruly stems.

Planter's Pal

This is a handy little device to make planting seedlings a breeze. In fact, once you've used it a couple times, you'll wonder how you ever gardened without it. Begin with a piece of wood measuring four inches wide and four feet long. Leave one edge flat, or bevel it at a 45 degree angle. You can actually get the lumber store to cut it for you. Along the other edge, mark "V" notches every six inches. Alternate the notches big and small. Make the first one about one inch in depth and the second about 2 inches and repeat.

When you're ready to plant, press the flat side of the board into the dirt, making a narrow channel for your seeds. Lay down the board on its side with the notches facing away from you. Use the notches to help you with spacing, and plant your seeds.

Sprinkler Stand

This is a simple method of making your oscillating sprinkler even more efficient. Begin an in-ground sprinkler that has a stake and spigot attached to it. Get a bamboo pole and two plastic fasteners. Depending on the type of plants you're watering, cut the bamboo pole. It should be 2 to 3 feet for low growing plants and vegetables and 4 to 6 feet for tall flowers or shrubs. Push the pole into the ground at least 8 inches, place the metal spigot from the sprinkler against the top of the pole, and fasten with plastic strips. Attach the hose and water away.

About the Author

Visit TaftStreetRealty.com for a complete guide to Ulster County real estate. View listings for Kerhonkson New York homes for sale & MLS, or one of the many other communities in this scenic area.

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Home Vegetable Gardening: Growing Garlic In The Back Yard

by By: M.C. Podlesny

Garlic is a great addition to any dinner table, sauces, stews or a number of other tasty dishes in the kitchen. The smell of garlic cooking in a nice sautéed dish makes a meal that much better.

 Even better than that is being able to grow it your back yard. Think it's tough to do? You'll be surprised. It is easier than you think.

Here is how you can successfully add and grow garlic in your home vegetable garden.

Prepare your garden. Garlic grows best in an area that has ample drainage and access to plenty of organic matter. So you if you don't have a compost bin or access to compost, if you want great tasting garlic, you will need to get some. So make sure you mix compost in with your soil before you plant the cloves and constantly add compost as the season moves along.

Garlic likes the soil pH level to be neutral or as close to it as possible. Make sure your soil's pH level sits between 6 and 7. You can test soil pH with a home soil test kit available from any home or garden center.

Space out the cloves at least six inches apart. This ensures that the garlic has plenty of room to grow underneath the soil. Plant the cloves at least two inches deep with the pointed end up. Plant the cloves in late summer or early fall about a month or two before the ground freezes.

Garlic yields best in full sun with very little water. They can tolerate light shade but look for a spot that receives full day's worth of sunlight.

Good companions include beets and lettuce where as bad companions include beans, peas and any species of the onion family.

As you can see it is fairly easy to do, you just need to get out there and do it. Follow the steps above and plant some garlic in your backyard today.

 

About the Author

Mike is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A guide to vegetable gardening for the rest of us, available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and where ever gardening books are sold. He can be reached at his website: AveragePersonGardening.com where you can sign up for his free newsletter and he will send you a pack of vegetable seeds to get your home vegetable garden started.

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Special Offers

Once again bargains are few and far between. No sales that I can find and it is back to the basic offers of free shipping and $$$ off when you spend $$$. As you see from the banner there is a 10% reduction on orders of $50 or more, but that's the best Gardener's Supply Company can do this month.

 

Gardener's Supply Company

 

Dutch Gardens have a "Buy More Save More" where you get a discount of between 30% to 50% when you spend from $35 to $100 but you will have to hurry because the offer ends October 16.

 

Dutch Gardens, Inc.

This month Nature Hills Nursery are giving a 10% discount on all Mums, Trees and Fruit Trees.

 

 
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Tailpiece
Planting Garlic
 
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That's all until next month but in the meantime you can always look at my Blog Garden Supplies News

 

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