Sources for Free Dead Trees

Untreated wood chips layered in abundance make plants happy. Mara Grey in The Lazy Gardener (a particularly nice and guilt-free gardening book) recommends, among other things, an abundance of mulch. Mulch, mulch, mulch. It keeps down weeds, helps balance out moisture, and provides more of a natural compost-in-place of wood chips. Especially for perennial shrubs, this mimics nature. In my neck of the woods, we have identified the 3 easiest sources of free mulch. The list is ongoing… Local power company. I did not expect this one, but in a region with plentiful trees, the power company is responsible to … Continue reading Sources for Free Dead Trees

Celebrate Harvest Season

Once again, it is my favorite time of the year! The leaves change color and fall, and it is time to put the garden to sleep for the long winter. Reflecting on the summer garden, I realized that we have actually made a lot of progress in a relatively short time. There was a late frost, and significant competition for our produce from the deer, squirrels, and birds. Now that the harvest is wrapping up, here are a few of the successes after a couple of years in progress: Increased the number of raised beds Added mulch (and learned how … Continue reading Celebrate Harvest Season

Tiny Beginning Summer Harvest

One use of a pantry stock of dried beans is to plant them. If intended for sprouts, the pantry version should actually be used instead of seeds from a seed packet, because the latter are often treated to prevent spoilage and enhance germination. As one of the easiest garden plants to sprout and grow, plain dried beans germinate just fine. In fact, our vines had been pretty well neglected. Yesterday I checked on them. Here are the results! I may pan-roast them or just chop them up and add to a stir fry. I think we will have a lot … Continue reading Tiny Beginning Summer Harvest

Ripening Blackberries

I am eagerly awaiting fresh ripe blackberries from the first plant from three years ago. Last year, there were a couple of handfuls of berries and they were delicious. The two big takeaways from last year? First, the blackberry grows the cane the first year, and produces fruit on it the second year. After the cane has produced fruit, it is important to remove the spent canes. This helps to prevent the plant viruses that raspberries and blackberries tend to suffer from. Second, I have read that if you prune the tips of the primary cane, the plant will put … Continue reading Ripening Blackberries

Backyard Berries

Raspberry and Blackberry. These are hardy and productive, and they can create large wild brambles. They can be susceptible to viral diseases, especially if they receive too much moisture. I have seen conflicting advice regarding applying mulch. The biggest thing I have found helpful: Know your varieties. Many plants grow by producing a primicane, or first year cane, that just grows the first year, then becomes the productive cane the second year. The deer ate the top off of the primicane last year, which led it to send out a bunch of lateral branches. The lateral branches are the ones … Continue reading Backyard Berries

15 Garden Ideas

I titled this post last winter, but never published it, and now it is summer. Here are the 15 garden ideas that actually were implemented this spring. Put up the fence. Simple wire fence with t-posts that we take down at the end of the growing season. With the addition of an electric fence along the top to keep the deer out. 2. Fixed an old bird feeder and added it to the other two. 3. Added compost to the top of the straw bale planter, and planted onions, garlic, and peppers. (This is where the tomatoes were last year.) … Continue reading 15 Garden Ideas

3 Garden Benefits of Catnip

I planted catnip (aka catmint) a couple of years ago. Popular in landscaping, it produces small purple flowers essentially from spring to fall. As it turns out, the deer leave it alone while demolishing hostess and every other supposedly deer-resistant ornamental. The cat loves it. I have since planted a bunch more, and this is why: It looks nice. A compact, rounded shrub, it does not seem inclined to spread and forms an orderly procession right where it is planted. It is indestructible. While deer eat everything and summer storms alternate with high heat, the plants just keep on blooming. … Continue reading 3 Garden Benefits of Catnip

Tomato Heaven

Late frost. Very late frost. Goodbye, promising young vines planted in too timely a fashion. So, we bought seedlings. Lovingly, I planted those. Plenty of room. Then, three of the original tomato plants re-sprouted from the roots. I planted Early Girl, Best Boy, Better Boy, a yellow heirloom variety and cherry tomatoes. Oh dear. We are going to be in tomato heaven! Next up, summer squash apocalypse. Continue reading Tomato Heaven