|February 3, 2009 10:47 - Garden Tours, Seed Packets and a Portable Farm
With snow on the ground in many parts of the country garden tours are the last thing that people would be considering. But that is just what Dean Fosdick writing in the Canadian Press is recommending. However these are tours that you can take in the comfort of your own living room sitting in front of your computer. He has assembled a collection of virtual tours of different types of gardens. These range from a New Zealand country garden, the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington to Hampton Court Palace in Southeast England, a property once owned by King Henry VIII. Read more..
Winter is also the time for making plans. All to often our thoughts will turn to spring bulbs and summer flowers but forget about the season after the first frosts and the return of winter. Cheryl Pedemonti, gardening columnist and photographer, suggests that with careful planning, your landscape can include a colorful garden throughout the winter months. "If your garden looks good during the barren winter months, you know it will look exceptional the rest of the year when everything is in bloom!" (Sorry this article is no longer available)
"New Portable Farm Makes Most Of Urban Gardening" is the headline of this piece by Mary Casper. Up to now city dwellers have had to make do with containers to grow their crops, but now there is a new system called a Portable Farm. The system "combines fish, water and plants in an integrated environment to raise vegetables and fish in very small space, with less water, no soil and the power of the sun". The farms come in different sizes, but even the smallest measuring 6'x8'can produce 400 vegetables and 100 pounds of fish. Sounds a great idea, but they are somewhat pricey starting at $1,999 excluding greenhouse and fish tanks. Read more..
"Great gardening expectations" by Joan Donaldson is not the latest literary classic but is one women's story of how the arrival of seed packets speeds us towards spring. Read more..
February 10, 2009 14:44 - Planning for Spring and a Sprouting Trend
Lilly Rabalais is getting ready for spring gardening and, for her, this involves planning and preparing the soil well before planting. As a mature lady she takes her time, but is no less thorough for that. In her younger days she used to plant many hanging baskets, but now she prefers to work with containers. "What I like the best about container plant growing is that you can let your imagination run wild and use whatever plants you like best". Read more..
"Gardening trend sprouting with vigor in wilted economy" is the title of this piece by Karina Kling, but I doubt she was responsible for the somewhat excessive use of gardening metaphors. On second thoughts as I read on and find this: "It's a past time that's possibly once again becoming a popular way of life". Perhaps it is all her own work. Read more..
Now for some practical information. This is Part 2 of "Gardening on a budget" by Bev Eckman-Onyskow. Buying pots at garage sales, repairing tools and fitting new handles and starting your own seeds are just a few of her suggestions. Buddy systems and plant swaps are also mentioned and there is a section on mulch. And there are plenty more ideas too. Read more..
February 17, 2009 12:56 - Mail-Order Gardening and a Jump-Start
With all the doom and gloom over the state of the economy now even The New York Times is suggesting growing your own is a good idea. "..perhaps this is the moment for another national home gardening movement, a time when the burgeoning taste for local food converges with the desire to cut costs and take new control over our battered economic lives". There is also a link to "The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating" by Tara Parker-Pope which was on their list of most-viewed stories for 2008. Read more..
If you want to "Jump-start the Spring Growing Season" here's some down to earth advice from the Lexington Clipper-Herald. Prepare your soil by adding organic matter and fertilizer coupled with some conventional advice on how to care for your lawn may be nothing new, but a useful reminder nevertheless.
Note: This article is no longer available from the Lexington Clipper-Herald, but since it is supplied by ARA Content for general syndication I have added it as a separate entry on Feb 19.
Here's some more advice from Sarah Moore but told in a rather different way. She describes how 53-year-old Silsbee resident Pam Jackson has bought lavender and parsley for her herb garden. Then it is the turn of Orange County Extension Agent Roy Stanford to suggest vegetables that can be planted now including leaf lettuce, beets, broccoli and (English) peas. Asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, spinach and carrots are also suitable candidates. Read more..
Buying seeds by mail-order often makes sense because of the greater choice of varieties available when you order by post or online rather than visiting your local garden center. You can also buy plants by mail-order, but most of us prefer to inspect our plants before we part with our money. Then again the main reason why you might want to use this method is the question of availability and increased choice. This article contains some useful tips for anyone contemplating mail-order gardening. Read more..
February 19, 2009 09:17 - Jump-start the Spring Growing Season
If you invest a bit of time now, you can ensure a bountiful harvest and a beautiful landscape to make this your best gardening season yet. Preparing a strong spring foundation means new plantings are better able to survive the heat, drought and pest attacks... (Read Article)
February 26, 2009 10:53 - Insects, Hugelculture and Concrete Chickens
We are often told that a hard winter is good for gardeners because the cold weather will kill all those nasty pests and insects that attack our plants in the summer. But is this really true? This was one of the questions sent in by a reader to Dr. William Johnson, a horticulturist with the Galveston County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension Service. His answer is not very encouraging, particularly when he points out that "Alaska and mosquitoes go hand-in-hand". Read more..
"After you've pruned your trees, what do you do with the trimmings?" asks Margaret Lauterbach and in the course of her reply she mentions a term that I have not come across before - Hugelculture. It appears that this is a way of creating a raised bed by laying the prunings in a trench and then covering them with organic materials. I have recently completed a somewhat drastic pruning of a bay tree that had grown rather too tall and have been wondering how best to dispose of the leaves and branches. Perhaps this is my answer. Read more..
Described as "an educated gardener, writer and public radio host who knows gardening rules but refuses to follow them" Felder Rushing is a character. This is a profile of a man who believes that gardening should be less difficult and more fun. This entertaining article is full of humour coupled with practical advice. Here's his take on composting "there only two rules: Stop throwing stuff away, and pile it up somewhere". And not to be missed is his "Gardeners Bill of Rights". Read more..