Primary Earth-friendly Gardening Tenents:

*Tolerate minimal damage to plants and lawn from pests. *Build and maintain healthy soil by using compost and natural soil amendments. *Use chemicals as a last resort. *Use native plants when possible. They are adapted to the climate, soil and area pests. *Attract Beneficial Insects to increase pollination and decrease harmful pests. *Conserve water by using responsible watering methods.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

6.5 hrs of yard work today. More than two of those hours were spent cutting back the neighbor's untended hedge.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Garden Center Visitors

Each year it seems we attract new friends to the garden center. This little guy is looking a bit bloated after consuming two bags of koi food. And I suspect, from his size, that momma and siblings may be nearby.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Phenology: temperature and day length in the garden

Just two years ago I took a photo in front of my azalea in full bloom in March, the past two years this same azalea has not bloomed until May. 

You may have heard the saying, "when the forsythia bloom it is time to prune (roses, specifically)."

For centuries farmers have taken their cues from nature. Watching these natural indicators has evolved into the use of soil themometers, greenhouses, and cold frames to extend the natural growing window.

One of the first things I learned after moving from Zone 8 to Zone 5 was that I now have 100 fewer growing days. Wow. That has a lot of impact on seed selection and planting dates, as well as being more aware of days to maturity.

Peas, onion sets and lettuce follow forsythia bloom, whether you are watching the bloom or the soil temperature for germination. 

Beets, carrots and chards follow your daffodils. And plant your bush beans following your apple blossoms. Peppers and eggplant may be transplanted out with your Iris blooms.

What cues from nature do you follow in your garden?  

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Early Spring Zone 5

I have gained a new appreciation for bulbs here in Zone 5. In Zone 8 bulbs were often lost in the burst of Spring that presented an orchestra of colors in one maddening show following early rains. 

Here in Zone 5 Spring emerges so slowly, following months of snow and sub freezing temperatures. There is not only an excitement that builds in the gardener, but a deep anxiety tracking night time temperatures hovering at freezing with alerts for freeze and hard frost.  

Often bulbs emerge well before trees and shrubs break dormancy, waiting for the rain and welcome temperatures. Early bulbs push up through the still cold soils, and withstand those finally dustings of snow. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014