Friday, December 29

Sprouts Friday Featured Favorites: Plant Abundance


Several years ago, Sprouts posted our 20 Favorite YouTube Gardeners. It's consistently our most popular post. Since then, more gardeners have shared their wisdom and gardens on YouTube. Each Friday, we will feature one garden channel we find inspiring.

This week's featured YouTube Gardener is Plant Abundance. This channel from northern California, covers organic gardening and growing your own food forest.



Friday, December 22

Sprouts Friday Featured Favorites: Allotment Diary


Several years ago, Sprouts posted our 20 Favorite YouTube Gardeners. It's consistently our most popular post. Since then, more gardeners have shared their wisdom and gardens on YouTube. Each Friday, we will feature one garden channel we find inspiring.

This week's featured YouTube Gardener is Allotment Diary. Located in the Yorkshire Dales, this channel offers eight years of gardening advice.

Saturday, December 16

Sprouts Friday Featured Favorites: Growing Wisdom


Several years ago, Sprouts posted our 20 Favorite YouTube Gardeners. It's consistently our most popular post. Since then, more gardeners have shared their wisdom and gardens on YouTube. Each Friday, we will feature one garden channel we find inspiring.

This week's featured YouTube Gardener is Growing Wisdom. With ten years of videos, you'll be busy a good long time with this channel, which covers every imaginable gardening topic.


Wednesday, December 13

My New Year Gardening Resolutions for 2018


Number One-Focus on Soil Building

I admit that I have been more focused on planting and growing in recent years, than I have been on soil building. Now I am seeing the results, or rather lack of them with dwindling vegetable yields. I know that this is from not making soil building a priority. Part of my excuse has been that I garden on land that is not my own so it would not make sense to make the existing soil better.  However, I have decided that in 2018, I am going to focus on this goal by using no cost, but effective methods such as  bagging leaves, building a compost bin, using grass cuttings as well as several the bio dynamic methods I have read about.


Number Two-Saving my own Seed instead of Buying Seed

This fall I started experimenting with saving my own seed. I found it fun, economical and easier than I thought. Just one plant can produce enough seed for not only you, but many of your gardening friends. So this year I am going all out.  I will be saving more seed next year, and planting any seeds that I did save. I will be sharing some with Caroline to see how it does in her Maine garden.


Number Three- Propagation instead of buying new Plants

This year I am going to divide perennials like hosta and take cuttings from herbs and even roses. Caroline started experimenting with this last year.  Even though propagation may take several years before you have a beautiful plant, I think it has many benefits. One of the biggest is that it it is free.


Number Four-Re-cycling or Re-purposing Gardening Items

Instead of buying new items for the garden like expensive containers, I am going to re-cycle items headed for the trash and re-purpose items found on the street. I live in Portland, OR where leaving items out for others is very popular. I have seen extra plants, hoses, containers, BBQ's and all sorts of useful stuff that I can use. One tip I have in this area is that you have to act fast and take the item before someone else does.


Number Five-Being 80% self sufficient with fresh Produce

Last year I grew more annuals because I was tired of the pressure and work involved in growing vegetables. But, I have to admit I missed all the fresh produce from my garden and I enjoy sharing the extras with others. This year I am going all out again and want to be as self sufficient as possible from April through November. That includes growing food for my rabbit ChaCha.


Number Six-More Perennials including  Edibles and less annuals

Perennials may initially cost more, but in the long term you are only planting them once and they come back year after year. Some perennial edibles that I have on my list are more rhubarb, strawberries, flowers, herbs and blueberries.


Number Seven-Less Plants and more Plant Research

I plan to make a plant list, do more research on "native varieties" and be more realistic on what space I have and how much time and energy I have to garden. Like others I tend to make a list every year, but then when faced with rows of interesting plants at the nurseries I tend to buy many plants that I have no space for that don't quite fit in with my overall garden plans.



  

Monday, December 11

Grow Your Own Christmas Wreath Ivy Topiary

Why not grow your own wreaths for Christmas? This is one my mother and father made. I asked Mom for how to instructions to share with our readers.



Step by Step Grow Your Own Christmas Wreath Topiary:

1. Buy or grow your own ivy. A holiday pot will look especially nice.

2. Obtain a wire wreath round. Mom's tip is to buy a wreath at the dollar store and remove the decorations for a budget friendly option. You can also make your own from wire coat hangers or purchase from a hobby or garden shop. Ask for a topiary form.

3. Attach popsicle or craft sticks with hot glue to the bottom, to hold the form in the soil.

4. Once the glue is dry, push the sticks down into the soil. This will hold your wreath form in place.

5.  Gently wrap the ivy around the circular form in a spiral motion.  Continue until all of your ivy is attached to the wreath. You can use florist wire to hold in place if necessary.

6. Decorate with ornamentation of your choice.



Sunday, December 10

Country Christmas in Maine Part Two: Indoor Decorations

As promised, part two of Country Christmas in Maine features some of Mom and Dad's pretty indoor decorations. Above is a display of a red poinsettia plant and large pinecones in an antique wooden bowl.

The bay window is filled with plants, ivy wreaths, a Lenox lamp, and a metal Christmas tree with glass ornaments.
This is a live Ivy wreath Mom and Dad grew over the summer, and then formed into topiary. She made two of these for the bay window.

A close up view of the tree.
A pretty display on a ceramic mosaic shelf, with pewter, poinsettias, wrought iron, and Mom's Christmas stoneware by Lenox. The Lenox pattern is Winter Greetings Everyday. Each piece features a different wild bird such as cardinals, goldfinches, chickadees and blue jays.

Coming soon: Country Christmas Ivy Wreath Topiary Tutorial


Saturday, December 9

Country Christmas in Maine Part One: Outdoor Decorations

My mother and father have been busy decorating their house inside and out. I snapped some photos for Sprouts readers to see their cheery outdoor decorations.







Stay tuned for Part Two to see their indoor Christmas decorations.

Friday, December 8

Sprouts Friday Featured Favorites: Lark's Gardens


Several years ago, Sprouts posted our 20 Favorite YouTube Gardeners. It's consistently our most popular post. Since then, more gardeners have shared their wisdom and gardens on YouTube. Each Friday, we will feature one garden channel we find inspiring.

This week's featured YouTube Gardener is Lark's Gardens. Lark shows viewers all that is happening in her beautiful Wisconsin garden. Check out this channel for lots of fresh ideas for your perennial garden.


Friday, December 1

Sprouts Friday Featured Favorites: GrowOrganic


Several years ago, Sprouts posted our 20 Favorite YouTube Gardeners. It's consistently our most popular post. Since then, more gardeners have shared their wisdom and gardens on YouTube. Each Friday, we will feature one garden channel we find inspiring.

This week's featured YouTube Gardener is GrowOrganic.  This channel has seven years of weekly garden videos teaching a plethora of garden skills. Check out this one in particular for the holiday season.


Sunday, November 26

Forcing Paperwhite Bulbs for Beginners


If you shop early enough you will find a large collection of Paperwhite bulbs in late fall. They get bought out quickly, so plan ahead if you want to buy them. Sometimes you can get lucky enough to find a few marked down in November. Paperwhites are known as the easiest bulb to force inside because they don't require a long cold spell in a cellar or a fridge. 


First you need to find a container that is tall and big enough to to hold gravel, stones or rocks that you will need to place the bulbs on. You may want to use a little more  stones or gravel than I used if you have more available. You can also find suitable containers cheap at your local dollar store. Next you want to fill the water up just to the top level of the stones. If you put too much water your bulb may rot so be careful. If you need ideas for containers you can simply google paperwhites, or do a search on Pinterest. 


Then you place enough bulbs on the surface to cover the diameter of the container or vase. Don't worry if the bulbs touch. I am going to put this container in my laundry room that is not heated and dark for a week. I am doing this because the instructions said to do so. So be sure to follow any directions that come with your bulbs.


After a week a good root system should have developed and the bulb should show signs of  growth. At this stage you want to set the container in a warm room. It should grow and bloom in a few weeks. Once you have mastered how to grow these bulbs you can try ones that need a few weeks of cold to mimic winter like tulips and even daffodils.  It is best to start with less bulbs at first to make sure you have the technique down because bulbs can be expensive. Forcing bulbs in the winter is a great way to bring a touch of the garden indoors and keeps the idle hands and mind of a gardener occupied until spring starts.

Good Luck
Michele


Saturday, November 25

Photo post from the garden on Thanksgiving Day-Portland, OR

I bought some more succulents from "Garden Fever". They were 40% off

These Snapdragons look great considering it is that end of November

Amazing that the color is so good on these annuals that act like perennials 

I love the look of leaves on grass in the fall

A Camellia Tree with many buds. It will start flowering in December

This is how we collect rain water at the community garden

Succulent pot at the community garden

This Mock Orange usually flowers in the Spring

Friday, November 24

Sprouts Friday Featured Favorites: MIgardener Organic Gardening Channel


Several years ago, Sprouts posted our 20 Favorite YouTube Gardeners. It's consistently our most popular post. Since then, more gardeners have shared their wisdom and gardens on YouTube. Each Friday, we will feature one garden channel we find inspiring.

This week's featured YouTube Gardener is MIgardener. Check out this channel for organic and sustainable gardening videos with great information twice a week.



Saturday, November 18

Tips for how to grow Garlic in the Pacific NW


 Plant cloves October through November and harvest in June. Garlic grows best in well drained soil so amend your beds with compost if needed.

Three different varieties of garlic

Make sure to separate the whole garlic bulb into separate cloves. Skip planting any cloves that look dried out. Plant 5-6 inches apart and 1 inch deep. Plant cloves with their pointed tips up.

Remove any cloves that are dried up

Water the beds after planting and apply a mulch of compost, straw or grass clippings. This will protect the gloves in the cold months.

Make holes easily with the back of a hoe or stick

Stop watering the beginning of June. When the plant has 3-4 brown leaves it is ready to harvest. Dig the bulb out carefully. It will have to be cured for 3-4 weeks. Lay the garlic down in a area with good air circulation and out of direct sunlight. Make sure the garlic does not get wet.

One clove per hole

Once cured, cut off the stalk leaving 1-2 inches. Also trim the roots to less than 1/8 inch. Brush off dirt and do not peel the outer skin. Garlic stores best in a cool, dry place around 50-60 degrees. Such as a root cellar or cool basement with low humidity.

Friday, November 17

Sprouts Friday Featured Favorites: Learn How To Garden with the Ten Minute Gardener


Several years ago, Sprouts posted our 20 Favorite YouTube Gardeners. It's consistently our most popular post. Since then, more gardeners have shared their wisdom and gardens on YouTube. Each Friday, we will feature one garden channel we find inspiring.

This week's featured YouTube Gardener is the Ten Minute Gardener.


Monday, November 13

10 Great Christmas Gifts for a Gardener




  1. A Gift Certificate from a Seed Company like Johnny's Seeds Website for Johnny's Seeds  or Territorial Seed Company Territorial Seeds Website
  2. Order a  Rose like a "David Austin Rose" or purchase a gift certificate for one David Austin Roses
  3. Gardening Books Shop Amazon for Gardening Books and Gardening Magazines Subscriptions are always appreciated.
  4. Gardening gloves are basic, but always useful. Try giving 3 pairs tied with a pretty bow
  5. Pots, Containers and Window Boxes are always nice. Here is a container system that we recommend
  6. Gift certificate to get gardening tools sharpened is a unique gift. Search the internet to see if someone in your area provides this service.
  7. Make a Gardening gift basket with hand tools, gardening gloves, plant labels, gardening soap for hands, hand lotion, seed packets, etc. Watch Martha Steward make a gardening gift basket
  8. Plant labels are a must and always needed for any gardener.
  9. Hoe, Spade or any other gardening tools make great gifts.
  10. A pretty Trellis for a climbing Rose,  Jasmine, Clematis or another climber makes a wonderful gift.

Saturday, November 11

End of Garden Season in Maine 2017


After an unusually warm autumn, temperature are now in the 20s at night here, so garden season 2017 has come to an end in Maine.
This year I had good luck with zinnias, coleus, petunias, pansies, geranium, and nasturtiums. I had three cherry tomato plants on my deck. In the raised bed, I grew kale, mustard greens, herbs, rhubarb and Egyptian walking onions. I didn’t plant squash, beans or peas as in past years due to lack of space and the increasing shade on my property. And slugs. Hungry, greedy, relentless slugs. If they eat it, I'm not growing it anymore.

I wondered what wild plants would seed in if I didn’t pull them all.  So, I let my flower garden do what it may, which led to some nice surprises.

My mature perennials are tightly planted so there weren’t too many volunteers from the wild.  But, in the border, a tall mullein plant emerged amongst the day lilies.


In the center of my flower garden, a wild boneset plant grew.


From a packet of seeds, I grew more coleus than I care to count. I have brought some indoors to winter over for next year.



Next year, I’m going to continue to narrow my focus on those plants that thrive here. Flowers do well, herbs, and perennial plants both cultivated and wild.
 
 
 Elderberry, wild blueberry, wild blackberry and cultivated strawberries are happy here and I’m happy to have them.
At the end of October, the remnant of tropical storm Phillippe ended the season with a bang, resulting in the loss of two trees on my land- a maple and a white pine.

And so with that, garden season 2017 has ended. It's time for winter and thinking ahead to next year.

Friday, November 10

Sprouts Friday Featured Favorites: Gary Pilarchik


Several years ago, Sprouts posted our 20 Favorite YouTube Gardeners. It's consistently our most popular post. Since then, more gardeners have shared their wisdom and gardens on YouTube. Each Friday, we will feature one garden channel we find inspiring.

This week's featured YouTube Gardener is Gary Pilarchik who is dedicated to tomato and vegetable gardening. Gary Gardens in Maryland, and his videos are brief and informative.


Wednesday, November 8

Early November Walk-Portland, OR

RC and I on our morning walk

Many roses are still blooming and sending out new buds

I don't know what the name is for this tree. I have only seen it grown here, but it can't be naitive

Zinnia still in bloom


A typical street in my neighborhood

A Dahlia flower turned over by the heavy rain

Another rose in full bloom in my garden

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