Archive for January, 2011

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February 2011 Events

January 31, 2011

February 2011 classes, workshops, tours galore . . . fun and educational activities for the whole family.

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Soulful Plotting

January 28, 2011

Mulch:

A thick, organic matter (leaves, straw, bark, wood chips, and more) placed over soil to suppress weeds, prevent moisture evaporation, maintain soil temperature, and keep roots from freezing.

Compost:

A blend of decayed, organic material such as manure and vegetation used to fertilize or improve the soil’s structure with rich nutrients.

 

Note:  For your convenience, a ‘Glossary’ page is now available on the sidebar. On the fourth Friday, I will add each month’s terms.  
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Budding Garden Thoughts

January 26, 2011

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The primer for beautiful plants is beautiful soil.

Copyright © 2011 Dianne Marie Andre

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Six Steps to Healthy Plants

January 24, 2011

Whether you’re a novice, passionate or occasional gardener, by following a few steps you can keep your plants looking their best. These simple effective steps introduce you to the basics of maintaining healthy plants that will reward you for years to come. 

  1. Zone:  Select plants for your zone by buying from local nurseries. Utilize the knowledge of nurserypersons, neighbors, garden club members, cooperative extension agents, and master gardeners.
  2. Size:  Minimize pruning by placing plants and trees where they have ample growing space for maturity, away from buildings and overhead utility lines. Avoid overcrowding plants so they don’t have to fight for nutrients.
  3. Exposure:  Sufficient light is one of the most important elements to plant growth. Improper light duration and magnitude can stunt growth, burn foliage, or even kill plants and trees.
  4. Temperature:  Select plants that will survive in your areas lowest winter temperatures. Most plant tags provide cold/heat zone data listing minimum hardiness and heat tolerance temperatures.
  5. Water:  It’s no secret plants can’t live without moisture. When and how much water a plant needs will vary according to the variety and soil type. Don’t put water-loving plants and trees in an area with little water or drought resistant plants in soil with poor drainage. Follow a regular water schedule using timers wherever possible.
  6. Nutrition: Nutrients is crucial to plant health. Your soil’s texture and fertility will determine how much and what to add for moisture retention, proper drainage, or organic material. A simple soil test kit (available at most nurseries) will offer data on your soil’s composition. The three main ingredients plants need are: 

Nitrogen (N) promotes vigorous leaf growth. Phosphorus (P) encourages good development of roots, flowers, and fruit. Potassium (K) promotes cell division and strong stems.

Follow the above tips and your plants will give you satisfying results year after year. Remember, small regular maintenance is easier than a field of copious tasks. Copyright © 2011 Dianne Marie Andre

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Soulful Plotting

January 21, 2011

Deciduous:

Trees or shrubs (usually evergreens) that lose their leaves in the fall.

Evergreen:

Plants that keep their leaves or needles year round, but lose some.

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Full Moon

January 20, 2011

Yeah for yesterday.

First came the sun, then the moon, full and bright.

What will today bring?

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Gathering Eggs

January 19, 2011
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I put on my coat, just before sunset, and went to the henhouse. As usual, the evening air was cold so I hurried to secure eleven hens and one pet turkey for the night. Standing outside the running pen, I locked the hatch then opened the coop door to gather eggs.

Inside, the free-ranging Rhode Island Reds, Ameraucanas, and Barred Rocks were on their perch, some purring a serene earthy song. In the distance, owl hoots harmonized with croaking frogs and chirping crickets—a soothing ballad that refreshes the soul after a hectic day. I’ve been gathering eggs three or four years now, and it’s a gentler chore in comparison to other farm tasks. I never tire of reaching into the cozy nesting boxes for brown and green treasures. Unlike the eggs from caged layers, my eggs require no cleaning. The shells are as smooth as silk.

Although I was moving quickly to get out of the cold, I slowed down to peek into the nesting boxes. The first box cradled two brown eggs, the second box had a green egg, the third was empty, and the fourth (this reads like Goldilocks) held an unusual surprise, one XXL-egg, and one XXS-egg. As I held the two oddball eggs, one in each palm, I smiled then chuckled. The exaggerated sizes were as laughable as looking at a Great Dane and a Chihuahua standing side-by-side.

After I said good night to the hens, I returned to the house with three normal-sized eggs and two abnormal ones. Once inside, I measured them. The XXL-egg was nearly four inches long by six-and-a-half inches in diameter. (Ouch!) The XXS-egg was three-inches around and only one inch long—not exactly edible. However, the larger egg will make a mighty fine omelet. What better way to start my day than with a meal packed full of organic goodness. Likewise, the quiet gathering of eggs is a perfect threshold to the passing of a day.  Copyright © 2011 Dianne Marie Andre    

 
 

 

Left to right: XXL, Normal Size, XXS

 

 

 

 

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