• Last spring my garden is alive after along winter sleep. Plenty of work to be done. Planted many vegetable seedlings grown in the greenhouse. Lettuce, carrot (sowed direct into the ground), collard, kale, Swiss chard, corn, pumpkin, potato, beet, summer squash, tomato and leek. The garden is doing great. Just yesterday I harvested several zuccinni. Right away I made zuccinni chocolate cake. It is always a joy to be able to harvest from your own garden and cook with the vegetable that you grow yourself. Gardening is an excellent exercise for body and mind. Regardless how big or small your garden is.
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Spring is almost here

The sound of tree frogs croaking in the distant meant spring is almost here.  Time to think of gardening.

As usual every morning I would visit the greenhouse to look if the seedlings need watering.  While busy looking around, I notice a tree frog not far from the peat moss container.  It unusual to see one so close.  I let the frog out into the garden.

Tree frogs are only about an inch long.  Which makes them hard to see even where they are plentiful.  Ponds and wetlands where they can be heard croaking on wet nights especially if temperature is above 40F.  Although they are excellent climbers they are rarely found in trees.

The frogs can be found at night with flashlight by quietly following the sound to the source, although they will quit calling when searches get close.  During the day they can often be found under boards or other corner in or near wetlands.  Just about any wetland habitat with shallow standing water that does not dry up before June is good place to hear and find these frogs.

 
                                       Photo courtesy Chris Carney stock.xchng

Garden Hints for February

Looking around the garden after the winter storm,  lots of work to be done.  Strawberry plants needs to be pruned.  I found this garden information a help.

  • Have soil test performed on garden plot to determine nutrient needs.
  • Test leftover seeds by placing a few of each in a damp-rolled paper towel.  Keep in a warm place for five days and see how many germinate. If none sprout, you need a new supply of seeds.
  • All out slug and snail control begins as new shoots of annuals and perennials appear.
  • Prune clematis, and other Vining ornamentals.
  • Plant seed flats of cole crops (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts).
  • Good time to plant fruit trees and deciduous shrubs.
  • Delayed dormant sprays of lime sulfur for fruit and deciduous trees and shrubs.
  • Dig and divide irises that are at least five years old.  Give extra to friend or enlarge your plantings.
  • Give rhubab clumbs a mulch of manure or a complete fertilizer to stimulate growth.
  • Consider making a hotbed or cold-frame for growing transplants.
  • Repair winter damage on trees and shrubs.
  • Prune roses.  Now is a good time to plant roses and new rose varieties.
  • As soil warms and earthworms become more active, so do the moles.  Trapping is the bes control.
  • If weather permits and soil is dry enough, spade or till garden areas for planting later.
  • Make planting plan for your vegetable garden;  include vegetable names, planting location, row spacing, plant spacing, succession crops.
  • Spade or plow down cover crops or other organic matter.

Happy Gardening !

May Gardening Calendar

I have been so busy lately my blogging is slightly slow.   Here is a list of what to do in the garden for this month.

  • Fertilize rhododendron and azaleas;  remove spent blossoms.
  • Plant chrysanthemums for fall color
  • Plant dahlias in mid-May
  • Control insects in vegetables.  Control can involve hand removal, placing barrier screen over newly planted rows or spraying with appropriate materials.
  • Tiny holes in foliage and shiny, black beetles on tomato, beets, radishes, and potato indicate flea beetle attack  Treat with Neem, rotenone or use nematodes for larval stage.
  • Fertilize roses and control rose diseases such as mildew.

Prevent root maggots when planting cabbage family, onions, and carrots, by covering with row covers, screens, or by applying appropriate pesticides.

Happy Gardening !

Rosemary and Thyme

 

 
Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis), my favorite herb.  I added to chicken, pork, fish, soups, stocks, and sauces.  Also, it gives the home a wonderful aromatic scent.  Simply clip off small leaves and place them in a potpourri container and brew for a fresh outdoors scent or cut stems and use in floral arrangement.  In the bathroom, I used it for a soothing and aromatic bath, tie on herb bouquet (rosemary, and lavender) to the faucet with a string, water will pour over the sprigs as it fills the tub.  Lavender will calm the mind, rosemary a light astringent stimulate and  rejuvenate.  The sprig will last for about two weeks.
The rosemary in my herb garden is the Tuscan Blue variety.  Rigid upright branches to 6 feet tall grow directly from base of plant.  Leaves are rich green above, grayish underneath.  Flowers blue violet 1/4 to 1/2 inch bloom in winter and spring.  I notice that the flower attract birds and bees.  Plant in a sunny location, endures poor soil, but good drainage is a must.  I fertilize every spring with compost tea and prune lightly in the fall.

Ancient time England rosemary were wound around church pillars and branches were placed on altars.  I wonder if they still do in this modern day?  Another folklore I read, a sprig placed under the pillow would repel evil spirits and bad dreams.  Dried rosemary was laid in the bed linen to insure faithfulness.  Whether this is true or not it remain to be seen.

 
Thyme (Thymus) another wonderful herb. Excellent for meat, stuffings, soups, and shellfish.  foliage usually heavily scented.  Attract bees.  Grow in full sun to light shade in well-drained soil.  I prune in fall  to encourage growth.  You can also propagate from cuttings taken early in the summer. 
 
This herb plant started from seed,  slow to germinate,  I thought it will never make it.  Now it has grown large and sturdy.  A common variety Thymus Vulgaris,  shrubby perennial  6-12 inch high narrow to oval, fragrant.  Tiny lilac flower in dense whorls, June and July.  Good container plant.
Bouquet Garni:  2 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 rib celery, 1 sprig marjoram, 1 dried bay leaf, and 1 sprig rosemary.  Cut the celery into two equal pieces about 2 1/2 inch length, and place the herbs between them.  When tied securely, this makes a firm little bundle of aromatics.  Good for stocks and soups. 
Herbes de Provence: 
3 tablespoons dried marjoram
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
3 tablespoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
3 tablespoons dried savory
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
                                                                     1 teaspoon dried basil
Combine all ingredients.  Mix well and spoon into small jar.
Makes 3/4 cup

Happy gardening…..

 
 

CANADA GEESE NOT ON OUR LAWN

     

Canada geese are not welcome on our lawn.  They are a menace, heavy feeder, especially on dark green healthy grass.  They leave droppings everywhere on the lawn that created a burn like circle.  I believe this come from nitrogen in their droppings.  The lawn slope to the water edge.  So my husband decided to install a yard guard (portable fence) that comes in 50 feet rolls, 4 feet in hight.  That did the trick, no more geese foraging on our lawn.  They are lazy bird, rather ambling to the lawn than fly over it.  Watching them on the water is quite a sight .  When they sense danger, bobbing up and down their head making a clucking noise.  Signalling they are ready to fly out.  The clucking noise went into a crescendo, their web feet start to run on the water, wings spread wide,  flapping furiously and slowly they lift off.  Flying along the McKenzie river to find another grass field for foraging.    

Did you know that the gander wingspread is as much as 5 feet and his weight approaches 14 pounds, wow that is heavy.  The gander is also a fierce defender of his mate and offsprings. Their habitats are ponds, lakes rivers, freshwater, salt marshes, and grain fields.  The nest is a hollow lined with plant matter and down.  Eggs 2-12, white, incubation 25-30 days, by female only.  Gosling leave nest soon after hatching, they will stay with their parents until next spring.  Their foods are aquatic plants, grass, and grain.      

From spring to fall often I look up in the sky geese flying in their V formation males and females honking greeting each other.  A beautiful sight to be hold in spite their annoying habit of ruining our lawn with their droppings.     

Happy Gardening……    

Canada geese resting on the edge of the lawn.