Comments On Article: Sensible Gardening
Thank you for such a beautiful and timely post Donna. I very much enjoyed reading your words and looking at the wonderful photo's. It's at this time of year that I start to get 'itchy green fingers", and want to be sowing and growing. However, even on the SW coast of the UK, we still are experiencing very cold temperatures and heavy frosts. Still far too early to sow outside.
What you have done though is made me realise that it's time to revisit my seed box, to see what can be sown, ready for the start of the growing season. I have heritage peas and garlic (sown last autumn), that seem to be thriving despite the frost and as I have just been offered some space in a poly tunnel - oh the possibilities! I love being able to step outside my door and to harvest uber fresh vegetables and herbs for whichever meal I'm prepping.
What I don't have, atm, are enough fruit trees and bushes. I have a rhubarb crown that can be cropped this year and access to a very mature cooking apple tree. There are blackberries and sloes that can be foraged along the shoreline but I'd love some proper strawberry plants and some raspberry canes. Is now the time to buy and plant them?
Oh you are so lucky to have a warm enough situation to feel you can actually "get started" on spring gardening. Here in southern Indiana most likely it will be 6 weeks before much can be done outdoors. Usually this starting time happens just as my spring energy emerges. This year, though, that spring energy jumped right in around the beginning of this month. I've been restlessly haunting the garden beds out back and on the side of the house just thinking about what could be put here and what there, what needs to be moved, what divided, but unable to even edge beds or dig areas for possible planting later on. I know my neighbors must think I'm crazy walking around making notes while staring at beds full of dormant plants but what else can I do. Despite really cold weather around Christmas some early things are showing a real inclination to send up green leaf tips and even a few snowdrops are blooming so I am hoping that this might mean an early spring for me.
It must be so nice to live in the south! Michigan can get hard freezes through the end of May, and occasional frosts in June, so it's still much too early to start seeds here.
Your garden photos are always so beautiful, and one of the flowers (bergamot /bee balm/oswego tea) is also one of my favorite herbal teas:)
Grandma Donna wrote, Hi Victoria W, I too have been doing some pacing around the yard knowing it is too early to do much but the seed trays can begin, what I am planting in the seed trays now will go out Mid March if the weather is permitting. It is something I can do to get my fingers in the soil, at least seedling soil. :) For us here our planting out begins mid March. I always get anxious to plant and then it is here and gone so quickly.
I am trying to grow year-round, even though we have cold winters. We still have a few carrots under hay that made it through our severe freeze last month. Usually we still have fresh herbs through the winter, like thyme, but they all got nipped by the freeze. I wasn't prepared for such severe cold, but I will be next winter!
I have some spinach and corn salad still growing for spring. I consider March 1st the beginning of our garden season, and we celebrate the first harvest with a quiche. :) This year it looks like a spinach and green onion quiche on the first of March. The green onions I put in the cold frame died back but look like they will recover in time for quiche. I hope so! :)
Nothing else made it through the freeze except a couple of random leeks. :(
February is the month we spread the compost for the year (we follow Charles Dowding's no-dig method -- another thing I learned about from Grandma Donna) and start our seeds. January is when we make sure there are no weeds in the garden.
We finally get to have our first asparagus harvest this April. We are so excited! The spears were so big and fat last year that it was hard not to pick them, but we waited.
I only have a bit if advice to give on this topic and it's don't always listen to the "experts" who tell you how or when to plant things. Go with your gut.
I like to plant looking at seasonal time frames. For example I've read or been told that now it's January it's too late to grow a corn crop. I looked at my seed details for growth from seed to harvest online and its 90 days for that particular type. We don't get a first frost for 150 days. Seeds are in :-)
I also look at how people grew crops way back without the raised beds , irrigation systems, man made fertilizers, bags and bags of compost or potting mix etc to try and cut costs.
Seeds in this week for Autumn/winter growing. I am determined to grow as much as possible all year round. Tunnelhouse too hot to grow them middle of Summer so they're in a sunroom that has lots of good light then onto shelving on a front porch once they're up
Lettuce here this week$6.50 ea. Tomatoes $8 kilo!!!! Pumpkin $11.50 ea Praise God for my gardens
If you're asked what gift you'd like for birthdays or Christmas seed company vouchers are always great :-)
Grandma Donna wrote, Stephanie G , it is good to see you back from your internet break. You mentioned the asparagus, I do hope you get to finally eat them this summer. I am wondering what the freeze did to ours and yours, I guess we are going to find out if the crowns are hardy as I have read and should survive much colder than what we got.
Karen S, I agree, a lot of gardening decisions we have to adjust to our gut feelings and weather conditions. We are growing opposite seasons but planting at the same time, that is pretty incredible if you think about it. :)
Grandma Donna My asparagus are under a lot of hay, so I hope so! I am hating on the internet right now after what happened to my debit card (again!), so I am looking for ways to stay off it. I'll be around on Fridays, though. :)
Our library system has a seed library where people can come and get seeds free. You don't have to return them when you are done with them. ;) I read that in the Depression, people here were required by the state to have a garden if they had a yard, or their relief payments would be stopped. They were given seeds, fertilizers, and some tools.
So sorry I have been a bit absent. I had to buy a new computer when mine died and then get all set up. I am just now beginning to get caught up. I think gardening is a definite way to fight higher prices. In the 1930s, many people would probably have not had enough to eat at all without gardens. I often think about the people in cities, especially the ones who had never had to rely a great deal on doing things themselves. For those of us in rural areas or small towns, things like gardens would have been easier. Unfortunately, for me, this summer I will not be able to garden beyond maybe some herbs in pots as I will be having surgery on my right knee. Hopefully, I will be able to make a couple of trips to our local farmer markets when I am able. I really enjoy this community. Stepanie G, how's your apron wearing coming along :)
Frances M Fresh herbs are a good consolation because of how they elevate even ordinary meals. I am doing much better with the apron wearing. I am remembering to wear an apron when cleaning, and not just the cooking apron when preparing food. I need a cleaning apron with bigger pockets, though. I think it will be my first sewing project. How about you? :)
I think the date of the last predicted frost is the last week of April here in Central Scotland (although it was into May last year so who knows). I am not thinking of anything to do with seeds. The ground is rock solid. I have my tiny beginner allotment to get onto. I would just like the ground to thaw so I can get a few weeds out. I have access to a couple of unheated greenhouses so might get a couple of things a head start. I'm hoping it's not a disastrous season.
Grandma Donna wrote, Thank you Robbin T for the information I will check it out and see if I can find some information on this method. I am always looking on ways to improve. I hope I can find some second year videos or information on how this worked for them. Thank you for sharing. :)
I agree that herbs can be just the thing for make simple foods delicious. Even the smallest things make a difference. I also am doing well with wearing my apron. When I come home from school (I teach), I always change clothes, and now I make sure to include my apron as part of that clothing change. I'm looking into sewing patterns for aprons as well. My one apron is a chef style with a halter neck and that neck strap is not the most comfortable. I want to find a pattern with criss-cross straps in the back. I think that will be more in keeping with 1930s style. Would an apron be your first ever sewing project? If so, it would be a great way to start. I'm looking forward to hearing about your sewing progress when you get that going. Congrats on the apron wearing :) :)
Such a lovely encouraging post Grandma Donna :) I loved all the pictures and especially the one of your little dog happily laying on the hay :) Here in NZ we have had a difficult summer, with excessive amounts of rain and humidity. It's also been quite cold at times - not summer weather at all. I agree with what you set about gardening being trial and error, as it certainly is. Last year we had a bumper crop of tomatoes, but this year because of the bad weather they have almost died and have some sort of disease...sigh. But not to worry I am just buying in some extra tin's of tomatoes and choosing to be cheerful. On a positive note, our Plum trees have produced a bumper crop, so I made a batch of jam last week and will bottle some this week. As I know you would agree, it's a wise thing to grow some food on your own property, no matter how small that patch of land may be. Blessings to you ~ Linda
What a lovely post!
I talk to early buds as well :-)
Over here winter has set in. I really enjoy January, it's like having a whole month for hibernating and reflecting, enjoying the quiet days, and throwing in some organizing. I don't mind cold or darkness at this time of year, but in March when the sun is shining and my every cell is screaming ''spring'', the temps stay cold (-23C/-10F) and I really get to practise patience. The last frost is around June 10th. Miriam in Finland
It hasn't been a very hot summer where I live in Australia so it has been lovely to garden during the day. My young daughter and son have caught the gardening bug as well and have been growing vegetables from kitchen scraps. They have planted carrots, celery and spring onions from the cut off ends from dinner prep after placing in water in a sunny spot in the kitchen. While not everything has survived (mostly due to the attention span of youth) I thought it might be an alternative way of growing vegetables for your readers.
I am in California, and still have a few things growing. The oregano and rosemary can be harvested, and there are a couple of grapefruit on the tree. I picked all of the Algerian tangerines s couple of weeks ago; my neighbor told me that she saw a squirrel with one in his mouth. She recognized the orange color. I have a thick layer of straw mulch around all of my fruit trees. When do you give yours manure, Grandma Donna? I am hoping for an abundant harvest of rhubarb this year. We have had lots of rain. A few years ago I joined a co-op that provides us with fresh organic produce every two weeks from our local farmers. I am so thankful for that membership now. It is very affordable, and the fruit and vegetables are excellent.
Grandma Donna wrote, awakenedsoul, we put down composted chicken manure and pine straw in early spring around our fruit trees. This is what one of our local nurseries advised us to do. We skipped last year and had a poor harvest so we will do our best to not skip that again. That is good that you have a co-op and they need your support too so that is good for both of you. :)
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