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Showing posts from February, 2013

Mulch Volcanoes

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I had never seen these till I moved to the island...

Volcanoes of mulch around the base of evergreens, mostly, and other large trees.

Why?
Am not sure what folks are thinking when they pile up the bark mulch around the base of the trees? What is it that they think they are accomplishing?

Bark mulch should be used in gardens, it should be about 3 to 6 inches deep.
Best to use is the smaller pieces, not the chunks, as the chunks are for looks only but serve no other purpose, and even better yet is the well composted shredded bark.
This mulch should be topped up every two to three years, as it decomposes in the garden.



Bark mulch helps to retain moisture in the bed, acts as a weed barrier, and looks nice and tidy and clean.
It also helps to keep the water from splashing up onto the foliage of the plants, thus avoiding issues with mildews, rust, black spot and other fungal issues.
Is a very important part of your garden.

You need to leave a 4 to 6 inch ring around the base of the …

How To Go From Lawn To Garden In 5 (Easy?) Steps...

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I have blogged before about how to make a fabulous potager, aka kitchen garden, from scratch....

But this post is different.

This post breaks it down into just 5 basic steps.
I would like to say easy, but of course it is not.
It is labour intensive and back breaking work to get it all set up and the super hard part (I always find) is making all those decisions.

So, here goes...



Step #1

Decide on the overall lay out of your potager

This is the hardest part...
Figure out where all your hardscaping is going... the pathways, the raised beds, garden beds, fences, garden shed, pillars, posts, trellises for grapes, pergolas to sit under and enjoy the view, fountains, ponds, etc.. any structural stuff that you want to add to make your garden work for you.

Make it work according to your lifestyle and how you intend to use the space... want a place to sit and enjoy the setting sun? Create a seating area that faces west. Want to soak up the morning rays with your cuppa java? Plan for a space …

February Ramblings

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I decided to combine the greenhouse and yard ramblings all together here, as February tends to be a pretty not so happening month on the island....

Things are beginning to awaken....



Garlic


Strawberries


Columbines



The back yard is starting to wake up... blueberry berm on the right, still kind of snow covered but full of buds, fruit trees are waking up and in the back is my lovely Birch Corner. Three birches and a bench for contemplation.


Hey! My two girls.


Dahlias


Onions...

As you can see, this post was started well before my darling Little 'Lilah got sick...
Have decided to leave those pics up and just continue, as they do show what the early part of the month was like...

A very sick darling Delilah 
In the greenhouse this month as of Feb 18th and onward ...

I was planning to build a cute little fancy 'shop' to house the early spring goods such as the seeds and seed potatoes, some spring planters and such...

However, as Lilah became more and more ill, and went from …

Growing The Best Blueberries ... Organically

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Growing your own blueberries makes so much sense! They are easy to grow and take up little space. The investment to buy and grow a few shrubs is really low, especially when compared with the price of that teeny, tiny, little, plastic clam shell of berries you find at the local grocers!

However, you need to know that planting just one shrub or even several shrubs of the same variety will notprovide you with much fruit as they are not that fertile on their own.
For best production and cross pollination, you will need to have two or even three different varieties of blueberries.

We are growing about 24 plants on a sunny berm in the back potager. We chose four or five different varieties to promote better cross pollination and thus get more fruit, plus, as some are early, some mid and some late season fruiting, we extended the harvest season, as well! More fruit and for a longer period of time, win win.  

1. Prepping the planting hole...

For the sweetest fruit and most production pleas…

How To Root Cuttings

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Here's a quick and easy how-to for rooting most cuttings...

What you need...

A good soil-less potting mix -
- There are many different kinds on the market to choose from. I like to use one that says HP on the side, which stands for high porosity. Seeding mixes are a good choice as they tend to be higher in porosity, however, any soil less potting mix will work.
There are also some that have mycorrhizea added to them, which is a real bonus as it helps the plant make more feeder roots faster.
Some folks also use straight perlite, which is nice and porous for good root development and retains moisture well.

A good size pot to hold several cuttings -
-Generally, a 6" plastic pot is the best choice for depth and size, however, you can use smaller ones, or any vessel that is at least 4" deep and 4" wide, and has drainage holes.
Much as I adore terra cotta, they are much too porous and dry out too quickly to use for this purpose.

Exacto knife
- Comes in handy if you a…

Quick Spring Fix

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So, finally got really tired of my winter planters. Been the same for way too long.
Wanted a quick and fairly inexpensive fix asap!

Here is a close up of the winter urns.... Some winter heather, a golden cypress, draping hemlock, cedar, and fir branches, plus pine cones and decor.   A pic from farther away....
Got tired of these guys, been looking at them since November, time to go....

Removed the draping branches of hemlock, fir and cedar... threw them on the compost heap ... Put away the pine cones on stakes for use again next year. Planted up the heather into the garden, on the berm with all the other heathers from Christmas planters past ; ) Choose your favourite grocery store or garden centre forced bulbs...  I chose tulips, little mini tete a' tete daffodils, grape hyacinths and hyacinths.   Cute little Tete a Tete daffodils.
Then added some hyacinths, they look like they will be purple ones as the bulbs are dark and purple. Also added some muscari, or grape hyacinths. …

Seeding How-To

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Here are the basic steps that one should follow for starting pretty near any kinds of seeds...

You will need these things...

A good soiless mix medium to plant your seeds into -
There are many different one on the market to choose from or you can just use a regular soil less potting mix. However, seedling mixes tend to be a bit higher in porosity, meaning that they provide a better airflow to the root system as the mix contains higher amounts of perlite ... so less chance of issues like damping off.
There are also mixes with moisture beads and although I have never used them, I do not recommend them for seeding purposes as I would worry about a higher risk of damping off. It is also much more expensive!

A tray or shallow pot to plant your seeds into -
You can use Styrofoam cups, egg shells, small pots, seed trays, margarine containers, anything that has drainage holes or that drainage holes can be put into.
Is best if they are not too deep.

Seeds - of course :)

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