For a N.E. gardener, winter is certainly a time to plan, but I still like to enjoy my gardens and share them with others. The ground is frozen, but with clippings from perennials, herbs, and common houseplants, I can make small arrangements that please me and often surprise guests.
Living in a condo, I don't have a lot of space, so I sometimes need to get creative with my gardening. I can't imagine a garden without compost, but did not have a large permanent place for a compost pile, so I took a large black pot that had once held a tree and I started using it for composting. The idea worked very well -- with added benefits. I had placed the pot in my rose bed. Earthworms quickly found their way up into the pot from the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. They delighted in the constant supply of fresh kitchen and yard waste that I kept putting into the pot, especially my coffee grounds, banana peels, and egg shells. Soon, I had an entire nursery of baby wrigglers, and my kitchen/yard waste was rapidly composted and became full of earthworm castings. Then, I had another idea: I had a rose bush that was not doing very well, so I moved my compost pot next to the rose bush during the rainy season. Nutrients must have drained out of the bottom of the pot, and baby earthworms made their way back out of the bucket and into my rose bed. Soon I noticed a great improvement in the rose bush, and a definite increase in the number of earthworms. It seems that this was a win-win situation: I was breeding earthworms, composting, and improving my soil -- all at the same time! This summer my composting pot is moving again. I have another bed that needs some soil improvement and is lacking in earthworms. What an easy way to improve my soil!
Not long ago NGA member WARYR1 posted a query in the Ask A Question Forum: "What is an organic way to get rid of Virginia Creeper?" The question received many excellent replies. To date, there are 23 replies. One suggestion involved pouring herbicide into a trash can and stuffing the vines into the can. The purpose of that method was to contain the herbicide and reduce the risk of damage to desirable plants.
We were all taught to remove the lateral shoots when growing tomato plants. This is the shoot that appears in the axis between the stem and leaf, also known as axial shoot, sucker, etc. The removal of these shoots would enable the plant to put all of its energy into fruit production. We were advised to pick out and discard, but not anymore!
This article was written with the home greenhouse gardener in mind and especially the Harbor Freight Greenhouse projects https://garden.org/thread/view/21716/Harbor-Freight-Greenhouse-projects/?offset=940#end_of_thread (HFGH) thread, but would actually be adaptable to almost anyone with a similar frame greenhouse.
I have battled mowing a hill for years, I finally decided to plant flowers and do landscaping where it was hard to stand up. Putting in railroad ties for steps on a hill is great. Now I can actually walk up and down the hill without rolling down. You can also see in the pictures that I put flowerbeds on either side of the steps. An arbor, simply made out of pressure-treated posts, with long bolts holding them together and then set in concrete, gives the wisteria plenty of support. When planting on a steep hill, you have to make sure everything gets watered well until established as rain runs off a hill so fast it doesn't give the plants the water it needs. I also have juniper shrubs on another hillside that help with erosion and that's another area I don't have to worry about mowing. I actually have raised beds on some of my slopes.
Annual poppies, such as Shirley poppies and breadseed poppies, are fleeting and ephemeral bloomers. Compared to other annuals, the flowers last only a short while, but in that relatively short time period, their beauty can and will steal your heart forever. This article offers hope to those who live in areas with warm and humid springs (such as the American Southeast) and who want to grow annual poppy varieties, such as the Shirley poppy or breadseed poppy.
Trish shares her tips on pruning clematis, Dave shares some thoughts on untraditional non-organic herbicides, and of course we share plenty of regular folksy gardening banter! :)
Tired of needing to put your seedlings into pots only to find you don't have any to spare?
When I first started “seeding” I kept my seeds in a shoebox, but then I read the seeds could benefit from being refrigerated, so the shoebox turned into a plastic box in the refrigerator. As my seed collection grew, so did the boxes, and then one Christmas I received a mini-frig from my chef husband. He wanted me out of the kitchen and the refrigerator.
Foxglove plants are delightful in the garden. I started mine from seeds. (What do you do with a thousand sprouts? - That's another story!) It was a pleasure to find that my plants had made babies, but what to do with them? This is how I split mine to make new plants.
It's been a long year full of activity, especially centered around getting the National Gardening Association back on its feet. We're excited for what the new year will begin, and to get the podcast back! Enjoy the first of what will be many podcast episodes this year.