Fox Island Garden Club
2006 - 2007 Gardening Tips Archive
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2007 Tip of the Month
Hoorah!...December is one of my favorite
months and not just for celebrating, but also for gardening. However
most of my gardening now is limited to a few sunny days of pulling weeds
and house plant care.
When people come to my home, they invariably comment on the size on my
asparagus fern and also my Boston fern. The asparagus fern lived in my
California patio garden for several years until a freeze knocked it out
in about 1970. We were in the process of moving to a new home when I
noticed a little shoot of it popping through the ground so I temporarily
re-potted it and gave it a home in my kitchen. The Boston fern was a
gift from cousin Jeanette in 1977 and also made the move from California
to WA. At one time the poor plant only had a couple of fronds left, but
after relocating to sunny Fox Island to an eastern window it has grown
to unbelievable proportions.
At one time the Puyallup fair refused to
show it in the hall of flowers as it was too large. So using a hatchet
and a hori hori, I was able to separate it into 5 plants. And the
asparagus plant, which hangs 5 ft or more to the floor also has been
re-potted and split many times through the years. I guess I should share
with you my SECRET WEAPON for most of this success. It's called Garden
Grog and since you have a neighbor who is the dealer for this product,
you can count yourselves as extremely lucky! Andy Dahl lives on
Shorewood Court and sells the product to the garden centers. However, it
most handy and somewhat more convenient to purchase directly from Andy.
You will be amazed at how your plants will prosper and will soon be
joining me in your houseplant growing compliments.
Poinsettias are houseplants that most of us have in our homes this time
First of all...know that they are poisonous so keep them away from
children and pets. They need to be kept moist, but not waterlogged. It's
easy to just add water to the pot with the decorative paper still in
place, however that's a good way to loose them. Instead, remove them
from the foil and place them in the sink and water them until they are
well moistened. Let them drain first and then put them back into the
foil until they start to dry out again.
Keep fresh cut Christmas trees well watered as once the cut end dries
out, the tree cannot take up any more water and will become tinder dry
The strong winds we have experienced recently have really made messes of
our yards. So when we have a little break in the weather, go outside and
clean up fallen branches and check shrubs for broken branches. Prune
broken branches back cleanly to a joint so as to reduce the chance of
disease setting in. Any clean up done now reduces the amount of work
next spring when you will really be busy planting.
Tip of the Month
The weather for the end of October and the first part of November has
been gorgeous. Since we haven't experienced a lot of rain and wind, the
trees have kept their crimson leaves longer. And lawn grasses are still
growing. Before the rains really set it, it's a good idea to give lawns
one last mowing. And while you are mowing, remove the grass catcher and
let the cuttings and cut up leaves fall back into the grass. Think of it
as applying free fertilizer on your lawn. And after Thanksgiving but
before December 1, fertilize lawns with a good organic winter fertilizer
for strong growth next spring.
All leaves except the leathery madrona's can be added as mulch to garden
It's amazing how great they are at keeping weeds from sprouting and how
wonderful they are as organic compost in the spring when you till them
into the soil. They also can be raked around and over perennials to help
protect them from the cold. I rarely dig my dahlias in the fall. Instead
I opt to cover them with leaves and keep them protected all winter under
a nice cover of rotting, soil amending and free mulch.
Plant perennials, bulbs (including garlic and shallots) and bare root
trees until the ground freezes. Then light a fire and curl up with a
good garden book.
Have a great Thanksgiving!
Tip of the Month
Even though the wind may be blowing and the rain pouring
down, the garden still needs your assistance. This is not the time to
curl up in front of a fire with a good garden book! Instead, visit your
favorite nursery and pick out spring blooming bulbs while the best ones
are still available. Not that you can't purchase them later in the fall,
but to get the largest and firmest ones, choose early. And for the next
couple of months you can plant them at your leisure.
Vegetable beds need to be tidied up and the dead plants added to the
compost pile unless of course, they are diseased. Then they should be
burned so not to spread pathogens into next years soil. October is the
perfect month to plant cover crops and reseed sparse lawns. If you are
into saving heirloom seeds here is what I have found to be the easiest
way. I remove the seeds and place them in a jar of water and give them a
good shake for a day or so. When fiber starts to dissolve and rise to
the top, pour it off and add more fresh water.
Keep this up until the seeds are completely cleansed of fiber. Any seeds
that float to the top of the jar are dead and should be thrown away.
Drain the remaining seeds and place in a small shallow bowl to dry.
Occasionally stir the seeds to keep them from sticking together until
they are completely dry.
Store in a dry, cool place in a marked container so you can identify
them next spring.
Add fallen leaves to compost piles or spread as a mulch around tender
Put all tender potted plants such as geraniums and fuchsias under cover.
Perennials can be pruned back, separated and shared with neighbors. Mow
lawns for the last time for the year.....and then light a fire and curl
up with a great garden planning book for ideas for Spring 2008.
Tip of the Month
After taking off all summer to work in my
own garden instead of helping my fellow islanders with their problems, I
am finally getting around to my monthly column. And this is the 4th of
The best part about my summer garden is the fact that it produced. Not
that it usually doesn't, but this year I got the produce instead of the
deer. I am so excited about Liquid Fence...
I just wish I could have known about it earlier.
Earlier means before I invested so many
hours and so much money into laying down chicken wire all around the
garden to act like a cattle guard. Earlier in the fact that it took 4
years to get my grape cuttings sizable enough to train and start
producing. Earlier in that I almost detested the sight of of local fauna
in our area. Now all I do is mix up some of the spray every 3 weeks and
spray around the areas I want to keep deer free. I leave the meadow for
them to graze in but everything else is surrounded by a line of spray. I
find that it doesn't take much to protect about 3/4 of our land and only
about 15 minutes of my time each spraying.
Sept is another busy time for harvesting
and processing all your garden produce.
Tomato's should be full of ripe fruit, cucumbers should have been
pickled by now but the beans are still producing like crazy. Potatoes
should be dug up when the tops are turning brown or you may not remember
when they were planted.
Herbs should have been cut and hung up
upside down the dry by now and peaches canned. Apples are ripening and
so are Asian pears but it may be a little later in the month before
pears and plums are ripe. Keep checking them frequently or they may
ripen and fall before you know it. You can still plant winter vegetables
such as lettuce, beets, onions and radishes. Wait until the end of the
month before planting garlic and shallots. As you pull out used
vegetable plants from the garden, plant a cover crop of fava beans, peas
or alfalfa to till in next spring. Cover crops not only add nitrogen and
green compost to your beds but also will keep spring weeds at bay.
As perennials start dying back, cut them
to the group and you will have a good start on next spring's clean up.
Wait until dahlias are fully dead before either digging them up or
cutting off the dead stem and leaving them in the garden through the
winter as I lazily do.
Fertilize lawns now as the rains have
returned to help water them and do a winter fertilizing after
So now I go back to vegetable processing.
I'm experimenting drying peeled and sliced tomatoes and grinding them
into a fine powder. It sure would save storage room and I think it will
be quite handy in cooking sauces and soups.
I'll let you know the results.
Happy digging, weeding, cleaning up and
Tip of the Month
Here it is June 5 and I have just
remembered this month's column! I guess I have been too busy in my own
garden to even think about writing something.
I thank all of you who attended the Fox Island Plant Sale last month and
made it such a success. I also would like to thank all of those who
attended my garden lecture at the Garden Tour a couple of weeks ago. I
had a lot of fun meeting all of you and enjoyed some of your interesting
questions. One topic that everyone seemed to find interesting is the
problem with hungry deer in our gardens. I can only say that for 6
months I have had no major deer problems since spraying monthly with
Liquid Fence. I did notice a minor amount of munching on my peas, but no
real damage has been done. I'll let you know if I make it all summer
without having my vegetable garden decimated and my roses devoured.
Otherwise, I plan on taking some time off for the summer and just focus
on pulling weeds, picking flowers and eating fresh produce. I'll be back
with you in Sept with ideas for fall and winter gardening and preparing
for...dare I say...WINTER!
Tip of the Month
Fox Island's biggest event of the year
happens Saturday May 5 at the Nichols Community Center from 12 noon to 2
pm. At least for the garden enthusiasts who want to purchase local
plants fairly inexpensively, the Fox Island Plant Sale is the most
awaited Island event of the year. And this year is the 30th year the
Plant Sale has been held so longevity shows that it is a most successful
Island event! Your neighbors have a habit of lining up early in the
Community hallways just in anticipation of getting the best deals so
don't be late! Please do not enter the 'plant sale room' early or you
will be chased out as everyone will have the same opportunity to chose
their favorites. Color coded price price lists will be posted to help
you with plant prices. As always, not only will you have the opportunity
to get some great deals on plants, but also to ask questions of your
resident Master Gardeners and have to opportunity to purchase some great
desserts to benefit the Cancer Drive.
And it that isn't enough great news, the Fox Island Garden Tour will be
held the next weekend, which is a great opportunity to pick up some
landscaping ideas from your neighbors!
For those who have been following my 'trials and tribulations' of the
plant devouring local deer, I am now on my 4th month of deer free
gardening. The product that I have been spraying the perimeter of my
garden with is Liquid Fence but there are several products out there
that are supposed to work. All my tulips had a chance to bloom until the
rain beat them down and so far my peas, lettuce, swiss chard, fruit
trees and grapes have remained munch free. It almost seems to good to be
true but the once a month application, which takes about 15 minutes for
our acre, seems to be successful SO FAR.
Get ready for the biggest Island event of
the year - The Fox Island annual Plant Sale! The date of this year's
Plant Sale is Saturday May 4, 12 noon to 2 pm.
This is the perfect time to shop for annuals, trees, shrubs, perennials,
herbs, bulbs and vegetable starts. Bring your gardening questions to me
at the Master Gardener Clinic held at the sale. Donations are gladly
accepted so start scouring your own yards for plants to donate. Be sure
to mark what they are as a lot of plants look very similar to a totally
different species and can be easily confused. Please be sure to use good
weed free potting soil when potting up plants. They can be taken to
Margaret Wickline's yard to be stored until the day of the Plant Sale.
Just give her a call and she will tell you where to put them. Call Jeff
Feagin 549-2358 for more info.
April brings a multitude of gardening chores to help you work off those
extra pounds put on throughout the winter. If you have not already done
so, plant potatoes, spinach, peas, onions and lettuce. You may already
be enjoying some of those veggies if you started planting them in
February! When you thin your rows, don't discard the tiny plants. Do you
realize that you would have to pay a small fortune in the grocery stores
for them. Clean them well and enjoy those baby vegetables It is still
too early to plant, peppers, tomatoes, beans and corn in the beds. Wait
until later in May to plant those heat loving tender plants. You can
however, start seeds inside or in a greenhouse for a jump on the season.
Slugs are especially active this month so use a brand of slug killer
that is safe for humans, pets and birds. Keep pulling those annual weeds
before they flower and set seeds. Just turning them over or pulling the
tops off keeps them from sending seeds all over your yard.
So far...the Deer Away is working at keeping the deer out of my garden.
I have been diligent about spraying the perimeter of my garden monthly
and leaving the field for them to nibble. The real test will be a little
later in the year when there are many more new tender morsels for them
to feast upon.
March may come in like a lion, but we can
look forward to Spring actually arriving this month. At the end of
February, I can see through the snow flakes, blooms just waiting to pop
open on the next warm day!
March is a busy month, as the planting season really gets in high gear
this month. If you haven't already planted your peas, lettuce, beets,
Swiss chard and onions, it's time to do so. They can be planted directed
into the soil, but seeds of basil, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and
melons should been started indoors. My 16 varieties of tomato seeds are
already residing in their warm, dark space in the furnace room. Once
they sprout, they are moved to the greenhouse where they stay nestled
together until they develop their true leaves. True leaves and actually
the second set of leaves to form. Once that happens, the sprouts are
tenderly moved to 4 inch pots to finish their growth until being
transferred to the garden in late May. Even when the seeds first sprout,
I daily brush my hands over them to help the stems to become strong.
A fan can also be used to keep the air moving which exercises the stems.
March is the perfect time to divide perennials. Use a sharp shovel when
digging them up and gently loosen the roots before dividing and
replanting. This is a good way to increase your plant supply and have
plants to share with others.
And with the Fox Island Plant Sale happening on May 5, you can have a
great place to donate the extra plants.
Feed garlic and onions this month for grand bulbs later this summer.
Keep up on the weeding and you will appreciate the extra time you will
have this summer for relaxing in your yard this summer.
The warmer weather also brings out the pests so bait for slugs or hand
pick them and destroy them. If you use bait, be sure to choose kinds
that are safe for people, pets and birds. When in doubt, ask your
nurseryman which kind to purchase. And it may be a wise idea to set out
a couple of mouse traps in the greenhouse before moving seedlings there.
Last year, I lost all of my Brandywine tomato plants to the mice before
I got wise.
I was completely prepared to move my whole vegetable garden this year to
an area where it could be easily enclosed with an 8 ft deer proof fence.
I was so disgusted last year after the deer ate my fingerling potatoes,
tomato plants and even squash plants I decided my veggie garden would
become a deer proof perennial garden. However, after talking to several
people who swear that the liquid fence keeps the deer away, I'm giving
it one more try. Part of my reluctance in moving my garden is the fact
that I have been composting the soil where it now is for over 20 years.
Just to walk away from all that great soil seems sacrilegious somehow.
I'll keep you informed on how the liquid fence works.
The most important yearly February event
that every gardener should attend is the Northwest Flower and Garden
Show. It will be held this year from Feb 14-18 at the Seattle
Convention Center. The show brings in people from Los Angeles to England
so you can all feel lucky to live so close by. It certainly makes you
get in the mood for gardening and is a great place to buy plants,
containers and garden supplies. There are also some great speakers so
sign up for the sessions as soon as you arrive. That way, you will be
guaranteed a seat at the lectures of your choice.
February is the pruning month. Right now is a great time to prune
hydrangeas as the blossoms from last year are still hanging on. Those
are the canes that should be cut down to a joint as they blossom only on
second year wood and the (empty of blossom canes) will be providing the
blooms for this year. On President's weekend, you can prune roses. Cut
out all crossed, diseased and damaged canes first and then continue to
prune for shape.
February is also a good month to start your vegetable garden. As soon as
your soil is dry enough to till, work in compost and then plant, peas,
lettuce, radishes and swiss chard. I always start my tomato seeds about
the middle of the month. I seed them in trays and water the soil well.
Then I cover the plants with a plastic lid and place them in the furnace
room until I see them starting to sprout. The seeds don't need sunlight
to sprout, only heat. Once they have sprout, I move them to the
greenhouse and once they have grown a set of true leaves, which is the
second set of leaves, I transplant them into 4 inch pots. By May, they
will be ready for the Fox island Plant Sale and ready to set out into
the garden near the end of the month.
I have changed my mind about moving my whole veggie garden to an area
where it can be completely enclosed with a 7 ft fence to deter deer. I
have heard such good reports on the liquid Deer Away and others, that I
am willing to try spraying my garden monthly and leave my vegetable
garden where it is. If you remember, my past attempts to keep the
marauding deer away with chicken wire fencing laid down around the
perimeter, hanging bags of blood meal and covering each bed with netting
was only partially successful at the most. I hope this is the answer and
I'll certainly keep you all informed of my results.
The biggest February project is just plain weeding. I read somewhere,
where for every 2 hours you put in weeding this month, you will save 3
days of weeding this summer. Now isn't that an easy way of having more
time on your hand for smelling the roses this summer!
Happy 2007 Gardening Year! Every year at
this time, I started getting excited about the new gardening year. It's
a great time to curl up with gardening books and take stock of your past
years successes and failures. Good questions to help you get started
are: Are your plantings in the right space, or have they grown too large
for their location? Once the freezing weather is over, you may want to
relocate or remove them from your yards. As long as they aren't too
large, they probably can be safely moved as long as you plan on giving
them extra water during the first summer. Are your trees and shrubs
getting the right amount of sun/shade and water so that they are
Every lot has warmer/colder areas and places where more tender plants
needing shelter do best so think about how happy they are in their
location. Does your yard need more color throughout the seasons? If so,
what annuals or perennials would do best in your yard to give it
interest? With a little planning, you can achieve color all throughout
the year. Do you have a place in your yard to relax and enjoy the
fragrance of blooms? What could you do that would improve the overall
look of your yard and make it a more pleasant place to spend time?
I usually sketch out an area in my garden for a new project as I just
keep expanding my garden to include a new piece of art, a new room or
pond to enjoy.
Then I go through garden catalogues, magazines and books to see what I
like and can physically do and then tweak it to fit the space. And if
I'm not happy with what I have done...there is always next year to do it
Another good January project is to take inventory of all garden tools.
Some may need sharpening or replacing or just organization. It's a good
time to start purchasing garden gloves, potting soil and getting ready
for planting as next month is just around the corner and February is
really the start of the gardening season.
2006 Tip of
December is one of the months that many
garden chores are overlooked. With all the hustle and bustle of shopping,
decorating and baking, there just doesn't seem time to put on the garden boots
and investigate the garden. But it really is important so bundle up warm, take a
radio playing Christmas carols and a hot mug of nog and take a relaxing walk
around your garden. The November cold and snow may have done a lot of damage to
your tender plants. Look for broken branches on shrubs and trees and cut them
back to a growth point. Other wise disease could take hold and end up
disfiguring the whole plant. Clean up any branches in the garden and if they are
small enough, put them in the compost pile. Don't leave leaves on the lawn as
they tend to smother the grass so add those to the compost pile also or use as a
mulch around tender perennials.
During the freeze in November, I noticed several hummingbirds around my frozen
hummingbird feeders. I took the feeders in and defrosted them and refilled them
with fresh nectar. I believe that the warming trend around here has enticed the
birds to overwinter here. I always have Anna's but this year we have ruby
throated birds staying too. Be aware if you feed them in the summer, that you
need to be checking to see if them have become permanent residents.
And there just isn't much else blooming around so they probably really depend on
Check plants that are stored in a greenhouse or garage periodically to be sure
they are not drying out. Geraniums can go all winter without hardly a drop of
water but remember, that a dry fuscia is a dead fuscia!
If you decide to decorate a live Christmas tree, I would suggest keeping it in
the house for 3 weeks only. The warmth of the house isn't a normal condition for
the tree so treat it gently. Check for water every day or so, don't hang hot
lights on it and be careful not to overload the branches with heavy ornaments.
As soon as the season is over, take it back outside and leave it in the
container for a while before placing it in a permanent home. If you choose a cut
tree, knock the trunk of the tree on the ground to see how many needles fall
out. There will always be some, but if the ground is full of them after the
thumping, choose another tree. When you do get the tree home, cut off the bottom
three inches of the tree and put it in a bucket of water for 24 hours before
bringing it in for decorating.
When cutting evergreen branches and holly for decorating, be aware that just
sheering off branches doesn't do the plant any good. Use good pruning techniques
by always cutting at a joint. Your trees will look much nicer next summer and
will have less chance of harboring disease.
Have a wonderful Christmas and I'll be back with you in 2007!
Just looking at your Northwest yard should give you a clue on
what to do this month....RAKE LEAVES! But don't put them out for recycling
pickup or burn them, compost them instead. Or cover tender perennials with piles
of leaves to protect them against freezing temperatures. I usually cover all
exposed soil in my veggie garden with a layer of leaves and find that I have
much fewer weeds sprouting in the spring. And then all we have to do is till
them into the soil for a great soil amendment before spring planting.
Eat a hearty Thanksgiving and spend the next day working it all off by applying
a good winter fertilizer to your lawns. Winter fertilizer is one of the most
important times of the year to fertilize lawns.
There are always garden tools to sharpen and repair if you just have to be
involved in garden chores. But for myself, winter is a time to rejuvenate my
soul, curl up in front of a warm fire and dream up new plans and additions to
next years garden.
Tip of The Month
Oct is one of the busiest months of the year. First
there is the last bit of harvesting from the veggie garden. Then the
storing or preserving of the produce and of course the garden cleanup.
Major leaf raking is just starting but next month is when the real on
slot of leaves begin.
This is the perfect time to dig up and divide perennials as well as purchasing
new ones from your favorite nursery. The best news is that you can get them on
sale this month as the nursery's just want to unload them before the year is
over. As old perennials die back, cut them to the ground and clean up the
cuttings and add them to the compost pile.
All bulbs are available now, so pick from the plumpest and largest of the box to
plant in your garden. If your back gets tired of bending over, just keep
thinking of how much joy you will have from looking at them in the spring.
Lawns can still be thatched and reseeded before the cold really hits. And this
is probably the last month that you will have to mow your lawns until next
spring. A good fall and winter fertilizer can be put on lawns from now until
just after Thanksgiving.
And the last fall project is keeping up on the weeding. The fall rains help new
weed seedlings to get started so go out and pull those little buggers before
they set seed. Staying vigilant on the weed patrol will make your spring chores
a lot easier in 2007.
Tip of The Month
A lot of people think that Sept is the time to start putting
their beds to rest for the winter, but nothing could be further from the truth.
This is an excellent time to plant carrots, onions, radishes, broccoli,
cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Lettuce, Swiss chard and spinach can also be
sowed this month for a winter garden. The warm days and gentle fall rains can
aid in the germination of seeds. And the new seedlings don't have as many weeds
to compete with.
Perennials can be cut back and divided once they finish blooming. Many nurseries
are having great sales on perennials and shrubs this month, so visit your
favorite nursery and get in on some great values. Sept is a perfect time to give
lawns a shot of fertilizer or reseed bare spots caused from the drought.
Peas, fava beans and alfalfa can be planted for cover crops this month. You may
even get a good crop if the weather holds. Tomatoes can be stressed a little so
they will keep producing until the first frost or until the blight turns the
plants to mush. Just cut back on watering, but not enough to dry them out too
much. You will be surprised how prolific they can become.
Keep up on your weeding as many perennial and annual weeds will be trying to
flower and set seeds for next years challenge. Pick off the seed heads of annual
weeds and dig out roots and all of perennials, especially dandelions before they
flower or you'll be inundated next year with the pesky buggers.
Harvest pears before they fall and turn soft and let them ripen in a box. Check
them daily or you will suddenly find a lot of rotted fruit.
If the rains and wind come early, then take some time to review your successes
and failures in this years garden and try to come up with a solution for a
better garden next year. I have already decided that my approach to not having a
deer demolished garden for next year will be to move the whole vegetable garden
to a different location. That location will be one that can be completely
contained within an 8 ft fence that I won't have to stare at every day. My
existing vegetable garden will only grow asparagus, leeks, shallots, garlic,
horseradish, rhubarb and other non-delectable vegetables and flowers.
Now all I have to do is convince my husband to start building me another 10-12
raised beds......and then fence them in!
Tip of the Month
May is the month to start planting your 2006 summer garden.
Here are a few suggestions for both flower and vegetable gardens.
For hanging planters in sunny locations, try mixing petunias with bocapa and
alyssum. Marigolds, dianthus and saliva's enjoy the sunny locations also. For
shady and semi shady sites, plant impatiens, lobelia, fuscias and begonias.
Vegetable starts of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and tender herbs such as basil
can be planted in the vegetable garden late in the month. If you plant too
early, the tender starts will just sit there and shiver. They actually prefer to
wait until the soil and air temperature have both warmed up. Seeds of beans,
corn, squash and cucumbers can be planted directly into the soil.
You can prune spring blooming shrubs after they are finished blossoming but do
not prune the late blooming ones or you will lose the flowers for the year.
This is also a good month to check out sprinkler systems to be sure they are
functioning correctly. There is nothing worse then waiting until a dry spell and
finding out that the only way to keep plants alive is by hand watering.
Weeds are still prolific so keep pulling them to stay ahead of the game. They
will keep you busy all summer so you never need to worry about being bored or
having nothing to do.
This gardener will be busy planting, harvesting, watering and weeding all summer
so I'm taking a few months off from writing my tip of the month. If you have any
gardening questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be happy to
answer your questions. Otherwise, I'll be back to you in late August or early
Tip of the Month
Mark your calendars now for the annual Fox Island Plant Sale
to be held April 29 at the Nichols Community Center from 12 noon to 2 pm. The
sale is exactly one week from Earth Day and one day after Arbor Day so plants
and planting should still be on your mind. You will find: perennials, shrubs,
house plants, annuals, trees and vegetables at the sale. There will also be a
Master Gardener clinic there so bring your questions and suggestions with you as
well as your CHECK BOOK. We will have 'Plants to Share' and Plants Requested"
sign up sheets available too. Donations and help are always appreciated so feel
free to contact Jeff Feagin, Ellen Janapol or myself for more info.
I started all my tomato plants for the sale last February, however a rouge mouse
nipped off most of the Brandywine seedlings, so the majority of plants I have
left are Italian Costoluto slicers, Roma canners and Grape cherry tomatoes.
If you are into growing potatoes, check with Strohs in Gig Harbor as they have a
great selection of seed potatoes including my favorites, fingerling potatoes.
And they have a great selection of asparagus roots in case you enjoy really
fresh cut asparagus!
In case you didn't notice....weeds are really prolific this month as are slugs.
Keep these pests under control now and save yourself hours of work and
frustration later in the summer. First, pull out and destroy the flowering weeds
as once the flowers have bloomed, they will set seeds and just keep invading
your yard. Then concentrate on your favorite 'safe for humans, pets and wild
life' slug killer and other weeds. And when you are exhausted from all that yard
work, just think about how lucky you are to not have to get your exercise in a
building or on a machine. You are also keeping in good shape while actually
accomplishing something. See you at the sale!
Jeff Feagin, 549-2358
Ellen Janapol 549-2125
Linda Dodds 549-2534
Tip of the Month
I feel a little foolish after last month's tip when I was certain
that Spring had arrived. I guess knowing that the Northwest Flower and Garden
show was near, I just wanted Spring to be here too. I wasn't aware that we would
be hit by some heavy winds, first from the South and then later in the month,
from the North. Many of you lost portions of your bulkheads, others like myself,
parts of their roofs. Or as in even worse cases, the roof over their heads! And
with the freezing weather to boot, I can only say how happy I am that February
is finally over.
When it is dry enough to work your ground, you should be able to plant many
seeds this month. First, take a fistful of soil and give it a good squeeze.
If water oozes out, wait longer. If the soil crumbles, it is ready to be tilled.
I usually like to start my spring garden in February, but the freezing weather
postponed my hopes of planting early. A sunny day would be an excellent time to
sow seeds of spinach, Swiss chard, peas, sweet peas, onions and radishes.
Potatoes can go in the ground as soon as they start showing up in nurseries.
This would also be a good time to watch for asparagus roots and get them into
the ground. Roses should be pruned along with hydrangeas and fruit trees if you
have already done so.
I again started my tomatoes around Valentines Day and once they sprouted, moved
them to the greenhouse to develop true leaves (two sets of leaves). I didn't
expect to find many of their heads chewed off, but after setting a mouse trap
with peanut butter, I caught the culprit before he destroyed my whole crop. I
still hope to have plenty to bring to the Plant Sale on April 29. Please mark
your calendars now so you can support your local community organizations and
also get some of the best buys around on local plants. Anyone who would like to
help or donate plants for the sale, please contact me at 549-2534.
of the Month
Spring is here! Well, I just know it must be because
the Northwest Flower and Garden Show is here. The show runs Feb. 7-12 at the
Seattle Convention Center and promises to be bigger and better every year. The
show judges, and also to be some of the speakers this year include; Laurie Olin
who is one of America's distinguished Landscape Architects, Rone Rule, one of
Canada's best garden historians and Timothy Walker who is the director of the
University of Oxford Botanic Garden. Their lectures show be interesting and
informative along with some of our Northwest noted garden gurus. Look for
sessions from Dr. Ray Maleike, Mary Robson, Marianne Binetti, Ciscoe Morris, Dan
Hinkley and Ed Hume.
Plan on spending a least one whole day and bring your checkbooks.
The other reason I am just certain that Spring has arrived is the emergence of
all those spring plants. While my husband watched the Sea hawks take the win
over the Carolina Panthers, I was out working in the yard to see what I could
discover. Hellebore's were blooming and all different spring perennials could be
found poking their heads up from the soil. Many plants already have swollen buds
forming so I am predicting an early spring, although it may be a little soggy.
And of course, the final proof was all shot weed and chick weed trying to get a
head start on the season.
One of my office co-workers came to ask my advice on her young fruit trees.
Seems all the rain has made a virtual bog of their planting area so my
suggestion was to either move them while they are young or dig them up, add
amended soil and replant them raised above the water line. Otherwise the tree
roots will rot and they will actually die from lack of water. Without all those
feeder roots, there is no way for the trees to pull water and nutrients from the
Take a walk through your yard now to look for signs of slugs because they are
there and multiplying. The more you destroy now, the fewer to deal with later
on. While your out there in the garden, look for spots that need a new specialty
plant and then take off to the Flower and Garden show to find it!
Tip of the Month
So this is now January 2006! Where did the last 20 years go? So many things in
our lives have changed over the years, but it is still comforting to know that
some things never change...weeds, for instance. They are one of the few things
in our lives that remain constant no matter how much time we spend pulling them.
They are like a bad penny, always somewhere hiding in the bottom depths our our
purses. We pull them out, sometimes spray them with weed killer, try all kinds
of evasive actions to destroy them and yet, they persist! If only everything in
our gardens prospered the way the weeds do. This monumental question leads me to
wondering if perhaps we are growing the wrong plants in our garden. Perhaps
there are plants that look great, survive the harshest elements that nature and
man can dole out to them, and still thrive in the garden year after year.
Plants that don't need additional summer watering, monthly fertilizing or
grooming. The answer is YES! Native plants should abound in our yards as they
will survive the worst that nature can dole out to them. Drought conditions,
freezing temperatures and hot dry summers mean nothing to these hardy species.
They continue to thrive despite the harshest of elements. So while you are
spending your January contemplating any garden expansions or changes, give some
thoughts to replacing high maintenance plants with native species such as Nootka
rose, dogwood and Oregon grape. The weeds will still faithfully continue to
sprout but the growing native plants may overpower them and not let enough
sunlight through to allow them to flourish.
January also reminds me that the Northwest Flower and Garden show is just around
the corner in February. It is the ideal time to see new and interesting
plantings and suggestions for your summer gardens. Every year the garden show
brings new ideas to mind for the northwest gardeners and reminds them that
spring is just around the corner. Buy your tickets early and save a little money
on the entrance fee. Sign up for speakers as soon as you arrive at the show as
the most popular speakers have their sessions fill up fast. Be prepared to bring
home some interesting plants, seeds and garden ideas.
Have a Happy New Gardening Year 2006!
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