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BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012

Janie 01 Jan 12 - 07:17 PM
Janie 02 Jan 12 - 12:03 AM
Bobert 02 Jan 12 - 08:10 AM
fat B****rd 02 Jan 12 - 08:26 AM
maeve 02 Jan 12 - 08:31 AM
maeve 02 Jan 12 - 09:59 AM
Maryrrf 02 Jan 12 - 12:02 PM
maeve 02 Jan 12 - 12:25 PM
Bobert 02 Jan 12 - 12:44 PM
maeve 02 Jan 12 - 01:13 PM
gnu 02 Jan 12 - 01:36 PM
Richard Bridge 02 Jan 12 - 01:46 PM
maeve 02 Jan 12 - 06:09 PM
maeve 02 Jan 12 - 06:34 PM
Stilly River Sage 02 Jan 12 - 07:25 PM
Janie 07 Jan 12 - 03:07 PM
pdq 07 Jan 12 - 03:41 PM
gnu 07 Jan 12 - 03:47 PM
GUEST 07 Jan 12 - 04:19 PM
Maryrrf 07 Jan 12 - 05:23 PM
Bobert 07 Jan 12 - 06:25 PM
Bobert 07 Jan 12 - 07:39 PM
Janie 07 Jan 12 - 08:30 PM
Janie 07 Jan 12 - 09:11 PM
Bobert 07 Jan 12 - 09:53 PM
GUEST 08 Jan 12 - 07:02 AM
GUEST,Eliza 08 Jan 12 - 07:04 AM
Stilly River Sage 08 Jan 12 - 04:22 PM
Pete Jennings 09 Jan 12 - 12:48 PM
Richard Bridge 09 Jan 12 - 02:19 PM
Janie 10 Jan 12 - 12:04 AM
Stilly River Sage 10 Jan 12 - 12:33 AM
Maryrrf 22 Jan 12 - 11:33 AM
Stilly River Sage 22 Jan 12 - 12:14 PM
LilyFestre 22 Jan 12 - 02:10 PM
Janie 22 Jan 12 - 08:27 PM
katlaughing 24 Jan 12 - 06:31 PM
ChanteyLass 25 Jan 12 - 12:09 AM
Stilly River Sage 25 Jan 12 - 10:27 AM
Bobert 25 Jan 12 - 10:23 PM
Janie 25 Jan 12 - 10:30 PM
katlaughing 25 Jan 12 - 11:31 PM
Janie 25 Jan 12 - 11:46 PM
Janie 26 Jan 12 - 12:01 AM
katlaughing 26 Jan 12 - 12:17 AM
Bobert 26 Jan 12 - 01:32 PM
Stilly River Sage 26 Jan 12 - 01:37 PM
Bettynh 26 Jan 12 - 02:04 PM
Stilly River Sage 26 Jan 12 - 06:27 PM
Bobert 26 Jan 12 - 07:18 PM

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Subject: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Janie
Date: 01 Jan 12 - 07:17 PM

Happy New Year! Still not gardening much, but still loving what I can do. Haven't done so the past 4 years, including this year, but my New Year's Day tradition historically has been to plant bulbs. May that tradition return!

Warm here today, but the New Year will soon bring cold weather with it. We have had some very cool days and some light frosts during the fall, but no really cold nights or what I would call chilly days yet. That will change tomorrow night. Much later than usual. There was just enough frosty nights to finally cause the leaves on the mophead hydrangea to brown and fall off, but unfortunately, it has since been warm enough to cause significant bud swell, and for some of the buds to break dormancy completely and start to sprout new leaves.

Daffodils are starting to emerge. They will welcome some colder temps. Still have oregano that is green but will be frosted hard tomorrow night. The Red Russian kale is a lovely color now and very sweet to the taste buds. Planted onions in the spring that I never harvested and have been enjoying the tops of the re-sprouts in salads. The Italian parsley resowed itself in a little raised bed. I hope to thin the seedlings next weekend.

got back Thursday afternoon from a 5 day trip to the South Carolina Low Country. Not quite 300 miles south, 600 ft. lower in elevation and the effects of the Gulf Stream make a huge difference. Very different from South Florida, where I used to winter - a very mild temperate zone. Sweet alyssum and Iceland poppies backed by dark green swiss chard, camelias, a phlox whose identity is escaping me right now (tall, purple, fringed petals - thought it was hesperis from a distance but up close thinking it is a Sweet William cultivar, snapdragons, cottage pinks, pansies and violas in full bloom, plus lightly blooming lantana, salvias, moonvines not in bloom but still leafed out and climbing, lovely window boxes with lettuces, kale, alyssum, pansies and violas. Hydrangeas with the drying blooms still showing color, cockscomb. On Folly Island, where we stayed, there was one older yellow house, slightly run-down as befits a beach community house, with a terrific and funky garden encompassing the entire yard. some things in bloom, and a few potted orange trees bearing bright fruit, and wonderful textures and contrasts.

It would be worth quarterly weekend trips down there just to stroll past that little house and see the garden at different times of year.



Still blowing and mulching oak leaves and will be doing so through the end of January.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Janie
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 12:03 AM

One long raised border along a broad, paved walkway leading to a pier on the waterfront in Charleston was really lovely. A low, arched, black cast-iron barrier along the front, behind which was a long sweep of white sweet aylssum interspersed with yellow and violet violas. Behind them were dark green swiss chard and at irregular intervals that purple phlox family plant I haven't identified. Behind the swiss chard, annual sweetpeas were annual sweetpea vines - about a foot in length, not blooming yet and just reaching for the 3' high iron fence that backed the border. Two large cats, one black with shining pale green eyes, and a gray tabby with the same eyes, weaved in and out of the back fence, occasionally moving to the front of the border to crouch and watch us touristas before slipping back into the shadows. The adjacent property was a stand of large live-oaks.

The live oaks throughout the region are an amazing feature of the landscape - the spanish moss hanging from them adding drama but not so thick as to steal the show.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Bobert
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 08:10 AM

We're having the same blast of cold air down here in Wingate... Not much "gardening" going on... We got about half of the approximately 500 plants we brought down in the move planted and the other half are all bundled up together with mulched leaves and dirt around the perimeter with about an inch of un-mulched leaves over them...

I was really hoping to be further along with next seasons veggie garden but other priorities have trumped those efforts... The problem is that the area we want to put it is low and holds water... I took my tractor and used the front bucket to dig a trench to the pond but there are still areas that aren't draining... Looks like I'll have to build take the area and put down railroad ties and build the soil up into a raised bed... I doubt if we'll have a fully functional veggie garden next summer but I did build two 12 x 6 raised bed boxes when we got here so we'll have them plus whatever I can do in the new area...

'Bout it for now...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: fat B****rd
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 08:26 AM

Weather and sloth inhibiting garden activity here, but, a lone pansy is fighting it's way through in the front garden and the compost is rotting nicely. It'll soon be time to decide what to grow where. That's something I always look forward to. All I've got to do now is dig things up and get stuck in.
Happy gardening everybody.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: maeve
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 08:31 AM

We have big windows to the south, so we've started plantings of basil and dill, and have one each of a Lacinato (dinosaur) kale and a 3' and growing flowering tomato - both volunteers from the edge of the old house foundation.

As for non-food plants, there are blooming geraniums (pelargonium), willow rootings, Hen-and-chicks (also fire survivors), primroses, Paperwhite narcissus, and many succession planting pots of snowdrops, narcissus varieties, dwarf iris, crocus, tulips, and windflower anemones. Some are in bloom and some are about to bloom, while most of the forced bulbs are in the basement awaiting their turn in the sun.

Winter gardening is a mental health issue for me. When spring weather allows, I will be planting all of the hardy bulbs outside. In the meantime, Truelove's woodland management efforts and the new house have given us sunshine all day when there is any sunshine out there. The convalescing house chooks enjoy it as much as we do.

Bobert, we have three greenhouses; none of which are in use for growing. I'm hoping for one in working order in the spring, with the others removed or ready for crops by fall. The big vegetable garden will have to be renovated also. That will be a nasty job with 2 years of weed growth to clear.

Happy gardening, all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: maeve
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 09:59 AM

Also in the window garden: various Christmas and Easter cacti, several amaryllis, rosemary, Johnny-Jump-Ups, and an additional kale volunteer I just found outside amongst some digitalis seedlings, beside a foundation stone.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Maryrrf
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 12:02 PM

Well I haven't done any planting yet but I still have plenty of collards, kale and Swiss chard in the garden and I enjoy greens in one form or another several times a week. One of my Christmas presents that should be arriving soon is a blood orange tree that is meant to be grown indoors. Friends have done this successfully - I don't usually have much luck with house plants but we'll see - it would be really cool to harvest my own oranges.

Thinking ahead, I really need to till up a new patch for my garden. I've used the same area for the past 4 years - I fertilize but I think it's played out. Must find someone with a tiller.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: maeve
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 12:25 PM

A blood orange; how much fun that would be, Mary! I'm saving a place for a Meyers lemon some day. Your old vegetable patch would be a great place to pile shredded compost materials, composted manure, seaweed, grass clippings, old straw, etc. in a lasagna-style arrangement. By the time you're ready for a mid-spring planting it would be in great shape without tilling.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Bobert
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 12:44 PM

Oh, to have a greenhouse, maeve... Makes me "green" with envy...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: maeve
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 01:13 PM

Doesn't do us much good to have 'em until we can use them for growing plants. Right now one is a woodshed, one is full of fire salvage, and one stands splendidly bare in the breezes until we can move it and get some plastic wrapped 'round.

The 2 little greenhouses are made of hoop-shaped storage sheds, Bobert. Easy enough to set up something similar down there...in all of your spare time. I'm more interested in hoop houses in the veggie garden right now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: gnu
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 01:36 PM

"hoop houses"... pics please.

"several amaryllis"... do you get more than one spouting from a?bulb? If so, how many?


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 01:46 PM

I hate gardening but it has to be done.

The basil in the conservatory died. It would have died on the front step anyway.

The three brugmansia in the garden shed (big pots) objected to the cold snap before Xmas and had to be cut right back. We shall see in Marh or April whether they will survive and spring up again. But the ones still in the earth in the front garden are hanging in there. If we don't get another cold snap and if they survive they might be a bit monstrous by July.

Once again attempts to propagate red brugmansia (sanguinae) in water have failed. Air layering next year.

Nearly 30 other brug cuttings on the kitchen windowsill doing OK.

The other 15 or so brugs and the cannas in conservatory and laundry room (it has a conservatory-style roof) seem adequately content so far.

Plans for seeding early-ish focus on the little spherical carrots I tried this year - the most taste in a carrot I have ever known. I'm going to try for about 25 seeds going in every 14 days so I might have a rolling supply. I might also try some of the purple and white ones - they look spectacular even if the taste is not much more interesting than usual.

Once again the tomatoes will be sungolds - I will buy half a dozen seedlings and that will keep me rolling from the moment they are first edible through to about October.

I'm also hoping to grow some true daturas from seed. If they work as a ground cover it will be a good game - I have one area under a large pinus (that's a tree, for the benefit of the smutty amongst you) that is very hard to get ground cover on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: maeve
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 06:09 PM

Richard, I have better luck overwintering basil grown fresh from seed or cuttings. They seem to adapt better. I'd love to see your brugmansias and cannas. I like the round carrots also; hmm, if I still have seed I could start some now. Thanks for the reminder.

gnu- We get one stalk per amaryllis bulb until they've grown a few years; sooner if we pay attention to soil and sink the pots in the ground all summer. Once they reach a good size, we could get two or even three stems of flowers from each bulb. As time goes by there will be baby bulbs forming alongside the parent bulb, and that can lead to quite a show when conditions are right. Right now we have half a dozen bulbs of blooming size and another 15 or so seedlings I bought at a plant sale 1 1/2 years ago.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: maeve
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 06:34 PM

More on hoop houses:

I've successfully used small hoop houses/growing-tunnels in the vegetable gardens; from 2-4" high and wide. I covered them with Remay cloth and greenhouse plastic and grew vegetables over the long, cold winter. From plantings in October and November, we harvested kale, lettuce, peas, chard, carrots, etc. in January through April. I started out using a set of trapper's skin stretchers plus bought small hoops at a garden center. Heavy duty snow called for a partial roll of animal grid-type fencing under the covers. I've also used them with Remay or other shading for summer plantings, and to plant spring crops as early as February after harvesting winter crops and amending the soil.

I hope to use one of our 8' hoop-based garage style greenhouses in the veggie garden this year, with the shorter tunnels inside, following research and successful gardening by Maine gardeners Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damroach.

Here are some links:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/2003-02-01/Hoop-Houses.aspx

One kind of hoophouse

How to Build a PVC Hoophouse

Eliot Coleman, resources

Some photos- Johnny's Selected Seeds on Flickr

Johnny's Selected Seeds catalog, p. 204 Hoop houses


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 02 Jan 12 - 07:25 PM

Hoop houses at the White House. They're up to their third year of a demonstration program (that was posted in Dec. 2009) so I wonder if they'll report back after this winter?

I have a greenhouse structure that I picked up from a friend who (alas) lost his house due to foreclosure last summer. It's a large PVC building with a sloped window on the south side for starting plants or growing some things, it isn't one of the all glass or plastic panes like on a traditional one. I guess you would call this a garden building. There's a great potting bench and it has a fairly high ceiling - about 12', with lots of shelves and hooks around so I run clothesline inside and use it for hanging herbs to dry. I've had it for just a few months so I'm really getting a handle on how I can use it now that the cold weather is here. I've set up pots to start plants that I'll put in the garden in the spring.

In the garden itself is small but is a fairly-year-round operation. Oregano is pretty hardy here and unless there is a really cold snap or a lot of snow, some of it sticks around to use, and it always comes back in the same spot like a good ground cover. Thyme also, and in the same garden closest to the kitchen door is rosemary, a bay tree (planted this year), asparagus (planted early last year), onions, garlic, and the place in the garden I always leave a little ornamental fence around because the basil reseeds itself every spring. There is broccoli out there just about ready to harvest. I did a couple of plantings and hope the later ones get going - they're slow to pick up the pace (I also planted a couple of cabbage - I've never grown those before).

I have been digging beds for Irish potatoes - red lasota again, they came out beautifully last year, and I have a few of my potatoes I saved to plant. I'll plant those in the next couple of weeks and mulch them well. Yesterday I moved the Swiss chard, fairly small plants still, because it was a bit too exposed in the bed where I had it and slowed down with some really cold weather. Up against the house like I've had it in the past it will grow for a couple of years.

There are lots of things that are tangled together and need to be thinned, replanted, all of that. Maybe this year. :-/

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Janie
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 03:07 PM

Hellebore buds are up about 2 inches.

The fall and winter has been mild enough that I'm still struggling with azalea lacebugs.

Bobert, This yard was already planted with a number of azaleas when I bought the place. I notice every spring the flower buds and blooms will start turning brown and crisp until gradually all the flowers are brown. They don't drop but remain dried and brown on the plant, eventually crumbling away sometime in mid to late summer. Thrips?


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: pdq
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 03:41 PM

Hellebore is used as a classic organic insecticide.

Try putting about 2 ounces of hellebore root in your blender and add a cup of water. Blend thoroughly.

Filter out pulp with strainer, then filter the liquid futher with (at least) cheese cloth.

Put clean liquid in 1 gallon sprayer and fill to the 1 gallon mark.

Spraying with that solution should do a dandy job on azalea lacebugs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: gnu
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 03:47 PM

Mum's two amaryllis are blooming as I have never seen before. At least 8 flowers each. Smaller than in the past when there were only tree flowers each but quite large and attractive.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 04:19 PM

This has to be the mildest January I can remember. It's 66 degrees right now! I still have all kinds of greens, including a little bit of lettuce in the garden. Before I know it it will be time for spring planting.

They delivered the blood orange tree yesterday. It arrived in good shape, about a foot and a half tall with plenty of healthy looking green leaves. I repotted it and put it in the sunniest spot in the house - although I'm still not sure that will be enough sun. I don't think it will get oranges until a couple of years from now, but still it's nice to look at.

I also got planted some window herbs - cilantro, parsley, oregano and chives. I really miss the herbs in the garden.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Maryrrf
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 05:23 PM

Above Guest was me, cookieless for some reason


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Bobert
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 06:25 PM

Janie,

Your azaleas have a blight and need to be sprayed prior to opening... Go to your local decent nursery and ask them what to use in this area... Fortunately, we haven't had the problem with our plants but some of our friends have...

Richard,

We went to the Lowe's grocery store a couple weeks ago and had basil on the list... When when we got there we found a small package of it for $3.99 but right next to it was a live basil plant with twice that amount on it for the same price??? That's a no brainer so it's alive and well living in the kitchen window...

Warm here in NC and hoping that buds don't break on everything or spring is going to be uneventful...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Bobert
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 07:39 PM

Janie,

Brain fade... It's called "pedal blight"... Common problem... Google it up to find what to use to treat it... Sorry, I should know more but seein' as we don't have it we've not had to treat it...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Janie
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 08:30 PM

We will all be eager to hear from you over time re: the blood orange, Mary.

Thanks Bobert. I've done a fair amount of research and see lots of stuff about flower blooms and buds turning brown and mushy, but nothing about brown and crispy. At the old house I finally took out a lovely old white azalea because I couldn't get a blight under control that caused the blooms to turn brown and then slimy and it spread to the camellia. I suspected botrytis, but never saw any gray mold and the foliage never seemed affected. This problem is different. Again, no mold, but the blooms become dry and husk-like, and do not shed. There were (are) two different varieties of azalea, both with small, densely packed blooms. The early one is a coral red - not particularly tall, but very erect and narrow in grow habit.   and the later, but still earlier than most, is a compact shrub with clear pink blooms. Whether disease or thrip, the plants bloom, and shortly after at least half of the blooms are open, the browning starts - which is one reason I am still wondering about thrips - the timing is congruent with bloom time, not date time. Of course, diseases also time themselves to stages of plant growth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Janie
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 09:11 PM

Thanks for the info re hellebore, pdq. Doesn't surprise me, given how toxic the plants are. I'm just starting out with hellebores, slowly transplanting self-sown seedlings from the three blooming plants I moved here, so don't have enough of them to dig any up for organic pest control at present, but will research this farther.


Was astonished this afternoon to see a couple of clumps of daffodils blooming in a yard on my way to the grocery store- about 3/4 mile from my house. My first thought was they were forced and then planted out, but then realized there were additional small clumps with no blooms but with the leaves at a typical bloom-time height. I have seen paperwhites blooming and was a little surprised but not shocked, but big, yellow daffodils??!!!! Late February is the earliest I have ever seen daffs bloom in this region. The earliest daffs in my own yard are only about 3 inches high right now. They are not early daffs, though I don't know what varieties are here - they came with the house. I've never seen daffs beat early crocus to the draw before. And I would not have thought we have had enough sufficiently cold nights so far for daffs to produce blooms.

Ties in with the observations of Mary and Bobert about such a mild winter so far. Too warm if it doesn't stay too warm. Not enough cold so far to invoke true dormancy in a lot of plants, making them very vulnerable. I've already commented on the hydrangea. There is still some green on my single apricot mums so I am holding off on cutting them back, lest they respond with new growth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Bobert
Date: 07 Jan 12 - 09:53 PM

Not only the dormancy of plants but the killing off of bad stuff... Need a good hard cold spell...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 07:02 AM

My 'Iceberg' rose is still in flower, it hasn't stopped since last summer. I keep pruning it back hard to stop this happening as it can weaken the rose, but it puts out more shoots and bursts into bloom once more. I was in my greenhouse yesterday, potting on geranium cuttings. The sun was beaming in, this rose was going great guns just outside the window and a pigeon was giving it the big 'un thinking Spring had arrived. I was delighted with all this until I considered, as Bobert has, that bad stuff needs a good sharp frost to kill it. And the weeds are whizzing up all over the place!


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 07:04 AM

Sorry, that GUEST was me!


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 04:22 PM

We've been eating the broccoli and loving it. Chard will be getting big enough soon (after transplanting) to eat. I've set up pots in the greenhouse and will decide what to start soon. It now has a heater but I need to order the Freeze Free plugs that you plug in and it doesn't let the juice through until the temperature reaches something like 42, and it shuts off when it reaches 50. My oil radiator has a thermostat, but it tends to be mostly on so this way it won't have a chance to use as much power. This thing will use power, but a lot less over time.

I found two types at Amazon; I got one like the link above, and one like this, so I can also plug in a small fan to circulate air in the greenhouse when it's cool.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 12:48 PM

One of her friends sent Judi an amaryllis in time for Christmas. It's in the dining room (NNE facing) and has an amazing array of blooms at the moment. I don't think I've ever seen one before - it's really beautiful.

Not much happening outside, just tidying up the last of the leaves (Judi's the head gardener, I'm the occaional skivvy), although several shrubs have developed buds, along with the magnolia tree.

The walnut tree that appeared to be dead after last year's hard winter came back to life in June and has done really well, just needs a bit of pruning come Spring (which will be in February the way things are going in the UK...).


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 02:19 PM

Followed, I suspect, Pete, by winter in March. Or April.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Janie
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:04 AM

My ex sis-in-law sent me an amaryllis for Christmas and I am waiting for bloom time with great anticipation. It has sent up two flower stalks but 'twill be another few weeks, I think, before it blooms.

I understand that if I let it go dormant again, then plant it out after last frost, it will bloom again in late summer. Anyone have any experience with this?


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Jan 12 - 12:33 AM

Richard, I haven't forgotten the plants we discussed. I'll get something in the mail soon.

We've had a steady cold rain for the last 24-hours; lovely to help with the low lake levels and soothe the drought-damaged woods around me. My broccoli and cabbage are coming along - the first planting has almost all been picked and I'm hoping to get a second crop in a few weeks.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Maryrrf
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 11:33 AM

I posted some pics of my winter gardening projects - greens (kale, collards and some bok choy) in the outdoor plot, my dwarf blood orange tree which is doing GREAT - (I was worried there wouldn't be enough sun) and a small window herb garden. I'm thinking of switching out the oregano for basil - I use fresh basil a lot more, although I still have some frozen from the summer that works pretty well in most dishes. Here's the link to the facebook album Winter Garden . I've been looking at the catalogs and planning my spring garden. I want to rent a cultivator and till up a new patch - the old spot is just about played out and I need to rotate.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 12:14 PM

Lots to do any time now - if I can just get to it.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: LilyFestre
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 02:10 PM

The seed catalogs are filling our mail box and we have been drooling over them daily. Yesterday morning we made a list of veggies we want to have this year. New garden spots are being tilled, crops (especially potatoes) are going to be rotated and I'm looking forward to it.

I imagine our seed order will go out sometime next week as we decide where we want to order from. We are going to use mostly heirloom seeds and will not be ordering from any company connected to Mansato or others who use and promote genetically modified seeds.

Anyone else do heirloom gardening? How about saving seeds?

Michelle


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Janie
Date: 22 Jan 12 - 08:27 PM

Looks good, Mary!


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Jan 12 - 06:31 PM

I have a question for you all re' ground cover. But first, I'd like to tell you how much I am enjoying reading of your efforts and rewards. It all sounds so beautiful and yummy. I wish we had the time and energy to do more than my little perennial garden and a couple of potted tomato plants which we had last summer. Our back yard is huge and has a very large old veggie garden plot, but the whole of it is filled with a particular weed which covers the entire thing, as it does throughout the valley. Rog is doing good to keep them cut down along with the small bit of grass in the front yard

The sun is so high, bright, and hot, here, it takes a lot of watering, some shading, etc. to grow a lot. Anything I could do would have to be raised as in tabletop height, at least for now, so it would mostly be potted. No one puts anything out until after the 8th of May as it's been known to freeze valley-wide as late as that.

Anyway, that's not my question, though. Luna, our dog, loves to chase and retrieve a ball we throw for her. I have made a habit of sitting on the front steps and playing with her. She has churned a good share of our front yard into plain, fine dusty dirt. It gets tracked in and has increased the dust inside. The same thing has happened in the backyard, but not as extensively and not as important as the front.

What would any of you recommend as a ground cover we could start (keeping her off, of course) which would be easy to keep, not need too much water, and would, eventually, be sturdy enough for her to run on but not destroy? We don't really want to do grass because of the mowing (it wears Rog out after working, cooking, and helping with the inside chores!), although we've always let it get really high and even go to seed before cutting, and watering is not all that easy nor inexpensive when the summer gets here. I know there are some drought-resistant grasses we could get, but I'd much rather have something which needs less maintenance.

Sorry this is not veggie or flower garden related, but I figured some of you might have good ideas.

Thanks!

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 12:09 AM

Although I am not a gardener, I thought some of you might enjoy the article, photos, and video about The Pothole Gardener (more than one, really) in the link below. The tiny gardens are whimsical.
http://sierraclub.typepad.com/greenlife/2012/01/the-pothole-gardener.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 10:27 AM

Right now in North Texas we're working on watering in the winter weed seeds. Several inches of rain overnight and a couple more today. Next week if it warms up for a day or two it will be perfect for pulling weeds and bed preparation for early plantings.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Bobert
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 10:23 PM

Kat,

Mondo grass...

Everyone else,

We are trying to find a suitable mix for a raised bed veggie garden... All the top soil her is dense and won't drain... We need loom... Or sand... Or???

Going to be a real slobber knocker to get the proper mix... I think I'm going to need around 20 yards... I can get 15 yards of top/compost/leaves but that is still dense... I was thinking of pea gravel and course sand for the last 5 yards???

Thoughts???

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Janie
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 10:30 PM

I love them, ChanteyLass! Thanks for sharing that link!


Kat, I don't know your climate or soil conditions, but I don't think you are likely to find a ground cover to fill the bill. Even grass growing in optimal conditions has limits - look at the time, attention and watering needed to maintain golf courses and athletic fields - and grass is by far the most durable groundcover for trafficked areas.

What about simply heavily mulching the "play area" for you and the dog instead of trying to plant the area?


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 11:31 PM

Thanks, Bobert. I'll look nito it.

Janie, I know, that's what I've been thinking, too, but it would be practically our whole front yard and that would be a lot of mulch. What I would love to do, if we could afford it, is what an elderly lady did in a much smaller front yard. We passed by one day and stopped to look. She was out so I spoke with her. She'd taken all of her grass out and replaced it with indigenous wildflowers with little paths between them. Virtually maintenance-free and absolutely beautiful.

I'll look at the websites of a couple of garden centers here and see what they might have.

Thanks, sorry for the intrusion.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Janie
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 11:46 PM

Bobert, if the top soil available is clay loam and heavy, recommend 1/2 soil and 1/2 class A compost to start. It is nearly impossible to work sand in well enough to lighten the soil and it will sift out. North Carolina has several commercial composting operations that produce class A compost - but I don't know if any are near you. My local landfill - Orange Co., sells class A compost in bulk - produced by a company in Goldston- it is a cooperative effort between the company and Orange Co. Perhaps the landfill of your county, or a county near you does the same?

I don't think mundo grass would work for Kat in terms of climate or use.I'm not sure, but I think where she lives the climate and soil conditions approach high desert climates.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Janie
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 12:01 AM

Mundo grass is not a sun-loving plant. Though it is drought tolerant it is not a plant that does well in arid climates. Don't confuse drought conditions with an arid climate. It can take some foot traffic, as in between pavers, but it is not suitable as a replacement for grass in a well-used yard.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 12:17 AM

Oops, not, you're right about that, Janie. High desert with tons of hot sunshine would do it no good. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Bobert
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 01:32 PM

I talked with a retired horticultural professor about the soil and he recommended I try looking eastward for a company... Says the soils in the coastal Piedmont are airier and have more sand... Seeing as I'm going to need at least 15 yards I might get by with one 3-axle dump truck's worth...

Have a few places to check with later but I need to get back to work now as rain is coming... I'll call after the rain brings me back inside...

I'll check in some of my nurseryman's catalogs for a ground cover, Kat... Got a bunch last week at the Green 'b Grow trade show in Greensboro...

Later...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 01:37 PM

Bobert,

There's a lot of clay in the soil here so we try to mix in as many other things as possible to break it up. The DirtDoctor.com site talks about not using peat moss because it doesn't offer any biological activity to the soil it's in, but I'd think a mix of peat moss and sand into the native soil and then a mix of compost, lava sand, greensand, (some of the organic amendments) stirred into imported top soil in raised beds over the native soil would work. You need some of the native soil there because of the biological activity in it but it needs to drain or it will puddle under the new stuff.

Does that make sense?

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Bettynh
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 02:04 PM

Kat, is there something here
that would work?

I hate mowing and trimming. On one of the last days of fall I wandered around the yard and threw out some flax seed (whole flax seed from the grocery store, about $3 a pound) around the edges where tall weeds tend to grow along fences, at the foundation, and the far edge of the road where the snowplow leaves a little pile of dirt that's hard to mow. They'll come up with little blue flowers in summer, and maybe folks will think it's really a mini-garden and not simple neglect.

Bobert, I feel your pain. I grew up gardening thick clay, then moved here to beach sand (glacial till). You'll find it incredibly fertile, I think, and the trick is to keep it moist enough to work in summer, but letting it dry out in spring. Hay mulch helps a lot. Think in terms of preventing and cutting weeds rather than pulling.


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 06:27 PM

The 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is out.

The 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones.

For the first time, the map is available as an interactive GIS-based map, for which a broadband Internet connection is recommended, and as static images for those with slower Internet access. Users may also simply type in a ZIP Code and find the hardiness zone for that area.

No posters of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map have been printed. But state, regional, and national images of the map can be downloaded and printed in a variety of sizes and resolutions.


SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Mudcat Gardeners 2012
From: Bobert
Date: 26 Jan 12 - 07:18 PM

Yes, Magz, that does make sense...

Our problem is that we are so swamped with projects that we need something that we can grow in this summer and the projected raised bed is going to be roughly 20 feet by 40 feet... That's around 15 yards and mixing that much material is going to be cumbersome so...

...we're hoping to find some soil we can use this season and then bring in an occasional truck load of this or that next year before tilling... We'll already be adding shredded leaves, straw, course sand, pea gravel and even shredded paper...

BTW, green sand is very expensive...

Has anyone ever used gypsum??? It's cheap...

Also, has anyone ever used rabbit manure??? We can get maybe 500 pounds of it???

B~


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