Posts Tagged ‘vegetable planting’


Garden Update

September 10, 2010

In my perennial garden:  These days, I’m walking on a carpet of leaves. As I look underfoot and then across the garden grounds, my shoulders droop with dread. Then, what isn’t visible among the dry leaves changes my mood. No acorns. Hallelujah. Joy comes back to me. The acorn factory has closed. The factory will fire up again—without a doubt—once the cycle makes a complete turnabout in five to seven years. Until then, instead of 10-zillion h-e-a-v-y leaf bags each fall, I’ll rake and fill 5-zillion light leaf bags. Most importantly, I won’t have to extract a carpet of seedlings.

The second of two round shrubs, on either side of the garden’s entrance, has killed over. Each area now needs new plants, preferably draught-tolerant. At this time, I have no idea what. This will be a good winter project to research. The zinnias are holding up, still blooming. The vincas aren’t fairing as well—which is unusual—so I pulled most of them up this morning. Normally, they are stunning until the first frost.

The crepe myrtle has aphids. No surprise. They are famous for aphids.

In my vegetable bed:  Little-by-little, summer harvest has fallen short of its charitable bounty and only one vegetable—a tomato plant—remains in the raised bed. The hens loved the spent melon, bean, tomato, eggplant, cucumber, and zucchini plants. After I added more soil and mulch, I divided the bed into four five-foot sections for rotation, and then covered each area with old hay to keep the cats out. (Note:  Normally, one would not build a 20-foot-long raised bed because it would bow, but mine is made of very thick beams. There’s no way it will bow.)

The voles have disappeared. I caught four with mousetraps. I’m guessing that the rest of the vole family left to find vegetation elsewhere. Who wants to homestead where there’s no pantry. Guaranteed, if you remove the vegetation the voles flee. At least for the time being.

I’ve gathered the empty, seed packets and noted where each summer vegetable grew. Later, I’ll take a closer look at the season’s mistakes and successes, and log them for future reference. For now, fall vegetable planning and planting is in order for my first, ever, winter garden. I’m not a winter person so the willpower it will take to go into the cold will determine future winter gardens. Not everyone’s heart sings as he or she gardens in the frigid outdoors.


March Garden Tasks

March 1, 2010 Registered & Protected

Please note:  What I write in this space are lessons learned through trial and error, research, and from other gardeners and professionals. I garden in zone 9, but share garden experiences that I believe are relevant to most zones within a reasonable time frame and planting conditions.

March . . . the bridge between late winter and early spring. This is the time frame when gardeners itch to get his or her hands dirty, and can’t wait to spend spare hours in the garden. For many of us, though, it’s still too early to plant summer annuals and veggies outdoors, but there are plenty of garden tasks and spring plantings to keep us satisfied. Here are a few.

In the vegetable gardenIndoors sow seeds of eggplant, lettuce, peppers, Swiss chard, tomatoes. Outdoors direct-seed beets, carrots, lettuce, peas, radishes, spinach. Transplant your seedlings of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, parsley, and onions. Feed fruit trees, berries, and grapes; check with your local nursery professional for organic fertilizers.

In the landscape:  Use a slow-release fertilizer around shrubs and perennials. Feed rhododendrons when buds emerge and for fuchsias when signs of new leaves appear. Remember to use fertilizer designed especially for these and for azaleas and camellias. Gardenias should receive one feeding starting mid-March, and again in April and May. Apply preventive spray to roses for mildew, rust, and blockspot. Before leafing-out begins transplant shrubs and roses.

Outdoors, sow seeds of columbine, foxglove, poppy, stock, delphinium, violet. Plant gladiolus bulbs every two weeks. Other bulbs are dahlias, cannas, lycoris eucomis, kniphofia, and tuberous begonias. Feed bulbs that have bloomed recently. If your region is free of frost danger, direct-plant pansies, snapdragons, Lobella, and violas. Indoors, sow annuals such as morning glories, Zinnias, asters, marigolds, coleus, vinca, petunia, and impatiens.

If you didn’t cover the soil last fall with mulch, to prevent weeds, you can do this now in areas where you’re not going to plant. Place a thick layer (3-6 inches) so the weeds don’t receive light, which is required for seeds to germinate. Keep mulch 3-6 inches away from base of plants. If too close (or placed against trunks), rot and disease can occur. It’s also an invitation for insects to attack your plants. Organic mulches to consider are non-chemically treated grass clippings, straw, wood chips, shredded leaves.

Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre

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