Where to start? – How To Plan a Garden, How To Plant a Garden – How To Be a Gardener

by Admin 11. April 2012 05:01

Back yard in 2009, before garden planted, arbor and deck builtBy: Eliza Osborn

I’m trying to decide whether to begin at the end or the beginning of our garden. Maybe I’ll just jump back and forth.

In 2009 we’d bought a very old home in the Rocky Mountains (zone 5b-6a) and had taken up most of our lawn. I didn’t mention that we also took down four huge trees and many large, old shrubs. You can imagine what a mess our yard looked. But…we had a plan.

Here is a picture of our yard when we began laying it out. The big crater is where a large stump was ground out and where the Queen Elizabeth roses now stand beside the deck. You can see 2 of the 5 little peach trees planted early that spring. The small one on the end is stunted because deer ate the top out of it when it first put on leaves.

I think the neighbors were a little worried about the nut jobs that had moved in next door. It did look pretty bad but we did put up a privacy fence to protect their eyes. Of course the picket fence in the front yard didn’t hide very much and the front yard looked this bad too.

Thank you and happy planting!

Growing Your Own Food Is Easy With a Vegetable Garden

by Admin 4. April 2012 09:59

Raised vegetable bed ready for plantingBy: Eliza Osborn

Vegetable gardens are popping up all over the place. Next summer, notice how many people are carving out a little portion of their yard to start a garden to grow some of their own food. I remember back in the 40′s and 50′s small kitchen gardens were the norm, along with a few fruit trees.

It really doesn’t take much space to grow a few vegetables, vegetables that tastes so much better than anything you can buy in the store. The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot of know how either. A little research on the things you want to grow, and you will be a gardener before you know it. If you happen to live where there really is no room for a garden, then grow some things in containers. The containers don’t have to be fancy, they just have to be big enough that the roots will have plenty of room and big enough that there is plenty of soil so that it doesn’t need watering every hour. Good drainage is a must. Boards nailed together to make grow boxes, or barrels cut in half and holes drilled in the bottom will work.

Growing your own vegetables can be a fun family project. Let the kids choose vegetables to plant and help them to learn how to take care of their own plants. I noticed that my children ate vegetables out of the garden so much better than ones from the freezer. I think it was because they had part in planting, weeding, watering and harvesting them.

Times are tough for a lot of families right  now and buying a few packets of seeds might be a really good investment. As the winter months drag on and we plan for the spring and summer, consider giving the vegetable garden a shot.

Raised beds in in front of grape vines on fence in August
Even though I’ve been gardening for so many years, it still amazes me that we can take a little seed, put it in the dirt, and it will make food for us. Isn’t that just amazing?

Thank you and happy planting!

Spring Clean Up Of Perennial Beds Underway…At Last!

by Admin 28. March 2012 09:44

Flower bed by south gate all cleaned outBy: Eliza Osborn

Underneath all of that old, dead debris from the winter, green life is pushing its way up. It’s amazing how much growth has taken place. It won’t be long before everything is getting big and setting buds for spring and summer blooms.

I cleared the asparagus bed and was amazed to see asparagus spears already appearing. It must be this mild season we’re having. Bad timing for us since we’re about to leave on vacation, I guess I can get someone to harvest the spears for me so they will keep coming. Since this is the fourth year on the plants, maybe we can get a few weeks of cuttings when we return home.


Flower bed by south gate all cleaned out
The peonies are coming up and the roses and many other perennials are leafing out. The apricot, peach and aprium trees are in bloom. Even though I have only a few hyacinths, they are in full bloom, as are the daffodils.

I lost a lot of tulip blooms to the deer last year and so this year I’m trying to protect them with some mesh. I noticed today that they have chomped down the tulips in the front flower bed that I hadn’t covered, but the covered ones are still looking good.

Once I’ve finished with all this not-so-fun clean up, then maybe I’ll get to sit back and enjoy watching the garden come to life.

Thank you and happy planting!

Planting Time Is Finally Here

by Admin 22. March 2012 06:53

Vegetable seeds for this years gardenBy: Eliza Osborn

I finally made it to the garden center to select the seeds for our raised-bed vegetable garden. We have 3 beds that measure 16′x4′. One is located in the back yard by the peach trees, and two are in the side yard, on the other side of the driveway.

We usually grow the peas and lettuce in the side yard beds but this year I’m moving them to the raised bed in the back yard, mainly for convenience sake. It’s easier to dash out the back door and pick peas and lettuce, it’s much closer to my kitchen. The corn and tomatoes will go out in the beds in the side yard.

As you can see from the picture, I have quite a variety that I plan on growing this year. All have done well before, and I really look forward to having them much closer to the kitchen.

Almost all of the ones in the picture need to be planted soon and I’ll be trying to get them all planted today. We are in zone 6, so the time for planting early veggies in your zone may vary. Check the seed packet for that info.

The beans, squash and cucumber will go in later, when the soil warms up a little. I’m planting two kinds of peas, regular English peas and Sugar Snap Peas. Also, I’m planting 3 kinds of lettuce, for variety.

I did get a few packets of flower seeds, but I save so many seeds from my annuals each year that I don’t really need to buy many of those.

The timing is perfect for planting tomorrow because it’s suppose to rain over the weekend, which will water the seeds in really well and give them a good start. Also, I’ll be soaking the peas seeds overnight to give them a little head start.

If you want a really good selection of seeds, now’s the time to get to the garden center and make your selections.

Thank you and happy planting!

Never Ending Variety of Succulents…and Their Uses

by Admin 15. March 2012 08:03

Figure Created Using SucculentsBy: Eliza Osborn

I have to admit that I’ve not grown too many succulents. Ive had the Hen and Chicks and the Kalanchoe, but not much else. Lately though, I’ve been noticing them more and more in other people’s gardens and in the garden centers. I had no idea that there was such a huge variety of these beautiful plants.

They are not only beautiful but very easy to grow, if the conditions are right. When we were in the San Diego Botanical Garden I fell in love with these figures that had been created using succulents. How do people even dream up things like this, much less figure out a way to do it?

One of the garden centers we visited in California had such a huge selection of succulents to choose from, I would have like to have had one of each.

When our garden centers get up and running this spring, I intend to check them out to see what wonderful little treasures I can find. I will be finding ways to use them in our garden from now on.

Thank you and happy planting!

Starting a Vegetable Garden…It’s Easy

by Admin 7. March 2012 10:34

A very small vegetable gardenBy: Eliza Osborn

Many people, who have never gardened before, are considering growing their own food this year and backyard vegetable gardens are becoming quite popular. If you're reading this, then likely you are already a gardener, but if not, and you want to start a garden, don't be intimidated.

It's easy, if you follow these simple steps:

  1. Plan
  2. Prepare the Bed
  3. Layout the Plan and then Plant
  4. Water and Keep Moist Till Germination
  5. Watch Garden Grow

For information about each of these steps, check out this article: How To Start a Garden in 5 Easy Steps
Gardening should come with a warning, because it is very addicting.

Thank you and happy planting!

Composting…SO Important For The Garden

by Admin 2. March 2012 05:49

By: Eliza Osborn

 Finished compostTo some people, composting is a totally boring subject, but to a gardener who is interested in increasing the production and beauty of the garden, it is a very fascinating topic.

So much has been written on “How To” that it can seem a little  intimidating. It really is easy, and so worth the effort.

I’ve found a site that is all about composting and has some excellent information. It breaks it all down and de-mystifies the whole process. Check it out at: http://www.composterconnection.com/site/how-to.html

Thank you and happy planting!

Don’t Want Pesky Pest and Damaging Diseases In The Garden?…Follow These Tips

by Admin 27. February 2012 11:17

By: Eliza Osborn

Green beans growing and maturing with new onions coming up in front.Okay, all gardeners get pests and even disease sometimes. Oh, the aphids were bad last year.

There is a lot we gardeners can do though, to help prevent a lot of our problems in the garden. Most of them are just good gardening practices, and we probably already do most of them. Just thought I'd list them so we can see what we might be neglecting.

Make sure your soil is healthy. Put nutrients (compost) back into it each year. Healthy plants are much more resistant to diseases and pests.
Don't plant the same vegetables in the same place each year. Rotate, rotate, rotate. Keep the bad guys guessing.
Plan your vegetable garden well. Plants need lots of sunshine and good air circulation. Over crowding hinders both.
Don't neglect your plants. Checking them regularly allows early detection of any problems.
Don't water the foliage late in the day, as it needs time to dry out before night to prevent fungus and mildew.
Keep garden tools clean. Rinse the dirt off and store them away. If you're working with diseased plants, it's a good idea to disinfect the tools with a little bleach water. Clean hands and garden gloves as well after working around diseased plants.
If you have plants with disease, do not compost them. Put them into the trash bin.
Hopefully this years garden will be pests and disease free.

Wouldn't that be so nice?

Thank you and happy planting!

Using Versatile Bamboo Canes In The Garden

by Admin 22. February 2012 06:39

By: Eliza Osborn

Some plants in the garden can’t ‘stand alone’, and they need to be staked. This is true of Delphiniums, Peonies, Dahlias and some others that have tall stems that are unable to hold up in a wind. The flowers then flop over and are ruined.

Some vegetables grow vertically with support, such as beans, peas and cucumbers. Tomatoes need support to grow on as well.

There are all types of supports and stakes you can buy in the store, from metal to plastic, and most of them can get pretty pricey if you need a lot of them, like I do.

I really like using Bamboo canes to stake my flowers and vegetables with. They can be shoved into the ground and then cut off at the length needed. I like to make teepees with them to grow my cucumbers and beans on. They can even be used to create cages for supporting tomatoes. Also can be driven into the ground around the wire tomato cages for more support. You can really do a lot with Bamboo and twine in the garden.

Bamboo comes in a variety of diameters, the wider the stronger, of course. Bamboo is strong, even strong enough to use to prop up branches heavy with fruit. It should last several seasons, and in the right climates may last much longer.

Using Bamboo is easy.

Because of the natural joints along the canes, it is easy to ties plant stems to it without them slipping down. Just drive the Bamboo into the ground near the plant (trying not to injure the roots)  and tie the stem to it in a figure 8 with a piece of hemp or twine. It’s important not to tie it to the plant too tightly. That’s why the figure 8 helps. Tie the twine to the pole tightly, then to the stem loosely.

Another way of supporting flower stems is to drive Bamboo canes into the ground throughout the bed of flowers and make a grid of twine, going back and forth between the canes. The flower stems can grow up through this grid and be supported.
To make a teepee for cucumbers or beans, I drive 4 to 6 bamboo poles into the ground in a circle (you can use as few as  3), before I plant the seeds. Then I pull them together at the top and secure them with twine.  From the top down to about a foot from the ground, I go around the teepee 4 to 6 times with twine (wrapping the twine around each pole as you come to it).   Then I plant the seeds near each pole. As the plants get big enough, I begin to train them up on the teepee. Pretty soon, they get the hang of it and just cover it all the way to the top. Make sure you know the approximate height the plant will grow in order to know how tall to make the teepee.

Bamboo is a natural in the garden.

Thank you and happy planting!

Soil2o welcomes Eliza Osborn as a contributor to the blog!

by Admin 26. January 2012 09:28

We are excited to announce that Eliza Osborn from "Our Garden Gate" blog has graciously decided to republish her awesome gardening content here on the Soil2O blog!

Take a look at her BIO:

I was born in the west but grew up in the south and I love both areas. My husband and I now live in the west. I have 6 children and 15 grandchildren and my husband has 5 children and 13 grandchildren. With 28 grandchildren, I am definitely a granny.

I have been a gardener for many years. I love plants, especially ones that produce flowers or good smells or food. I’m a big fan of perennials, roses, and herb plants, especially Tarregon and Agastache.

I  completed the Master Gardening Course a few years ago, since I was really getting serious about planting, planting and planting. I thought it might be a good idea if I knew a little bit more about what I was doing. Each summer we attend weekly Garden Seminars taught by Master Gardeners.

Two years ago we bought a 1914 house, removed almost all of the lawn and 4 of the 8 large trees. Then added 19  fruit trees, 11 grape vines and grape arbor, rasp., black. and strawberry beds as well as raised beds for vegetables. There are herbs & perennials everywhere, even some annuals. We even have a white picket fence . Our yard is a little over 1/4 acre. It’s been a real challenge trying to fit everything we wanted onto this small space but we’ve been up for the challenge.

We’ve made mistakes that you can learn from and we’ve had some good successes that you can repeat. There will be lots of before and after pictures.

You may contact me at:     grannygreenthumbs@gmail.com

 

We are looking forward to sharing her content with all of you.

 

Thank you and happy planting!