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North American Gardening 2007

Stilly River Sage 13 Feb 07 - 02:12 PM
bobad 13 Feb 07 - 02:43 PM
Stilly River Sage 13 Feb 07 - 03:59 PM
MMario 13 Feb 07 - 04:02 PM
Stilly River Sage 13 Feb 07 - 04:07 PM
Janie 13 Feb 07 - 10:26 PM
Janie 13 Feb 07 - 10:27 PM
Stilly River Sage 14 Feb 07 - 12:12 AM
dianavan 14 Feb 07 - 02:22 AM
JohnInKansas 14 Feb 07 - 05:10 AM
Janie 14 Feb 07 - 06:00 AM
bobad 14 Feb 07 - 10:38 AM
Stilly River Sage 14 Feb 07 - 10:59 AM
JohnInKansas 14 Feb 07 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,Stilly River Sage 14 Feb 07 - 04:40 PM
bobad 14 Feb 07 - 04:48 PM
Deckman 14 Feb 07 - 05:18 PM
Bobert 14 Feb 07 - 06:07 PM
dianavan 14 Feb 07 - 10:19 PM
Stilly River Sage 14 Feb 07 - 10:39 PM
Janie 14 Feb 07 - 10:47 PM
GUEST,Lynn T 14 Feb 07 - 11:25 PM
dianavan 15 Feb 07 - 02:01 AM
skarpi 15 Feb 07 - 04:44 AM
Stilly River Sage 15 Feb 07 - 12:34 PM
skarpi 15 Feb 07 - 03:08 PM
Stilly River Sage 15 Feb 07 - 04:16 PM
Stilly River Sage 16 Feb 07 - 10:48 AM
Stilly River Sage 22 Feb 07 - 12:01 PM
bobad 22 Feb 07 - 01:08 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Feb 07 - 10:53 PM
Stilly River Sage 13 Mar 07 - 09:41 PM
Bee 13 Mar 07 - 11:00 PM
Stilly River Sage 13 Mar 07 - 11:06 PM
MMario 14 Mar 07 - 09:23 AM
Bee 14 Mar 07 - 10:03 AM
Stilly River Sage 14 Mar 07 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,Janie 15 Mar 07 - 10:47 AM
Stilly River Sage 15 Mar 07 - 11:13 AM
Bee 15 Mar 07 - 11:30 AM
Stilly River Sage 15 Mar 07 - 03:29 PM
Janie 15 Mar 07 - 11:03 PM
Bee 16 Mar 07 - 07:21 AM
Stilly River Sage 16 Mar 07 - 04:41 PM
Janie 28 Apr 07 - 11:03 PM
Liz the Squeak 29 Apr 07 - 08:15 AM
Bobert 29 Apr 07 - 09:44 AM
Donuel 29 Apr 07 - 02:22 PM
Stilly River Sage 30 Apr 07 - 12:19 AM
Janie 06 May 07 - 02:36 PM
Stilly River Sage 06 May 07 - 02:47 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 May 07 - 04:16 PM
katlaughing 06 May 07 - 05:14 PM
katlaughing 06 May 07 - 06:52 PM
Alice 06 May 07 - 07:08 PM
LilyFestre 06 May 07 - 07:14 PM
Janie 06 May 07 - 10:45 PM
Liz the Squeak 06 May 07 - 10:55 PM
Stilly River Sage 07 May 07 - 02:01 AM
dianavan 07 May 07 - 03:53 AM
Janie 08 May 07 - 01:30 AM
Liz the Squeak 08 May 07 - 07:09 AM
Janie 20 May 07 - 09:45 PM
Liz the Squeak 21 May 07 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,Nancy King at work 21 May 07 - 04:54 PM
katlaughing 13 Jun 07 - 11:00 PM
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Subject: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Feb 07 - 02:12 PM

This has been the weirdest winter I remember seeing. Cold, warm, cold, warm, really cold, warm, snow, etc. My neighbor (Zone 8, north Texas) put in his onions in January and says he is going to put in potatoes this week. We had a great couple of days in the middle of last week, but now it's cold and damp again.

A new chart has come out, showing global warming effects on the gardening zones, and I received it as a graphic in an email. I've inquired about the information being posted to a web page so I can send a link to it. It appears that with zone creep it is possible to plant a few of the less hardy plants here because they are less likely to die off during the winter (though you'll see by my description of the season this year why I hesitate to run out and buy palms and breadfruit to plant in my Texas yard).

My neighbor across the street has over the years been downsizing his collection of garden equipment. He has an old tiller that isn't running right now (he takes it in every year to get it tuned up), and thinks he may decide to have someone come in to do his tilling this year (he's in his low-70s). I've borrowed that tiller a couple of times, and am in need of one now because I want to put in a new large bed. I am debating whether I should offer to buy his tiller and take it in to have it refurbished, or go ahead and buy a brand new tiller (gas powered). (I will offer to do his tilling for him, regardless of whether I buy his tiller or get a new one.)

Any thoughts on the merits of refurbished older equipment (it is heavy cultivator, probably 75-100 pounds, with the tines in the middle or back. It is a heavy duty machine, compared to the mini-tillers (Honda has one) with the tines in front that are in my price range. We have some hard-packed soil here, lots of clay in it, and the Bermuda grass goes deep. I'll need to scrape off the sod first, then see what I can do to remove the deeper roots under the sod.

I'm having these thoughts because despite the cool day (39 degrees) and brisk wind (wind chill is down in the 20s) there are daffodils ready to open any day in my yard. If I poke around out there I probably also have a bunny nest tucked under a shrub or in some of the denser tall grass. Spring is making itself apparent.

Finally, my approach to my garden is more serious this year. Over the winter I was able to get an upright freezer (harvest gold--it's old, but solid) from an estate sale for a great price. I plan to grow and freeze more produce. A friend is also going to guide me through the steps in canning. I won't have a Bobert-sized garden, but it will be a bigger part of my yard activity and contribute more to our diet this year. (There will still be extras for the neighbors--it won't all go in the freezer! Sharing produce is a great social practice here.)

Any thoughts? And what is up in your neck of the woods?

SRS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: bobad
Date: 13 Feb 07 - 02:43 PM

It's good to have as much horsepower as you can get especially with heavy soils and a sizeable garden and a rear tine tiller is a must.

Start tilling as soon as possible and do it regularly every few days for the sod and roots to break down, with a good tiller you shouldn't have to take off the sod, it will eventually break down (though I'm unfamiliar with Bermuda grass).

As far as your neighbour's tiller goes you can always inquire at the place he get's it serviced, they can probably tell you if it is in need of major work or just a seasonal tune up. I've been using an 8hp. Troybilt tiller for 15 years on a 5,000 sq.ft. garden and with regular maintenance it's still in excellent condition and I expect it will last at least another 15 years, if not longer.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Feb 07 - 03:59 PM

Rebuilding the heavier old machine might still be a savings over buying the little lightweight one. The new, larger ones start around $750.

That's a great idea, retilling an area several times over the course of a couple of weeks. (That's the kind of thing that makes me want to slap my forehead and say "Duh!"--I haven't had access to a tiller for long enough to think of that--I most often have slowly but surely hand dug garden plots and simply pulled out all of the weeds and roots, so that once over was all it needed.) I'm putting in a new long strip beside my driveway because the dogs have taken over the old spot in the back yard).

Bermuda grass is the plague of every gardener who comes across it. It creeps into your garden, buries its roots deep and breaks off when you try to pull it out (that's why so many of us can be found bent over in our yards a few hours after a good rain, pulling out the Bermuda as fast as we can!) This or this is as close as I can find to the posture--it kills your back after a while. A search for yard art figures didn't come up with the type I've seen on occasion, a plywood cutout of the posterior of a plump gardener, bent over weeding. I should get one of those!

SRS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: MMario
Date: 13 Feb 07 - 04:02 PM

if you are going to have "bare earth" for a while - you might consider covering the plot with plastic. If you can get some good sunny days with plastic in place it can kill off a lot of root pieces, weed seeds, etc. earthworms and insects can migrate out fast enough to survive.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Feb 07 - 04:07 PM

Should we rub in your current lack of "bare earth?" You might throw some of your ground cover at us. . .


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Janie
Date: 13 Feb 07 - 10:26 PM

Bobad--I think SRS will join me in hoping you never encounter bermuda grass in or near a garden. All you can do is dig it out. But even then--it WILL be back if it is in your lawn. It can send out runners that are many feet long. If it encounters a barrier, the roots can go deep (up to 12 inches) run under the barrier, and pop up on the other side--in the garden bed. It can even penetrate hardpan. Chop it up with a tiller, and every little wound in root or blade will send out new roots. Can't even put the stuff in the compost heap--it'll root. Cut your grass and let some of the clippings blow over into the garden bed, and whaddaya get? New bermuda grass! Pull a root runner up and have it snap off in the ground? At the break point it will send out new runners in every direction.

It is apparently great for golf courses, and is a good lawn grass for the South--it loves the heat and can tolerate drought--it goes dormant in drought as opposed to dead--but it is the bane of the Southern gardener.

Janie


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Janie
Date: 13 Feb 07 - 10:27 PM

SRS--If you do get a link for that graphic, I'll look forward to seeing it.

Janie


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 12:12 AM

PM me your email and I'll forward the email to you. It's interesting.

SRS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: dianavan
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 02:22 AM

I don't have a problem with bermuda grass but buttercups were my big problem because every leaf, root or stem would survive and reproduce.

Since then, I have found that if I weed during the last quarter of the moon, they lift right out, no problem. You might try this with bermuda grass. Planting by the moon has helped me to effeciently schedule my gardening so that it is more fun and less effort.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 05:10 AM

Although it's risky to generalize, an old rear-tine (or "center-tine") tiller suitably refurbished will likely be a much better choice for the typical Texas (if there is such a thing) use than any front-tine unit you're likely to get more economically. The front-tine kind are of some use for small areas with lots of "obstrucions," as they can be a little more maneuverable; but they're not generally as good at turning the soil deep enough for "real gardens."

That assumes that the drive-train components are in reasonably good shape, and that it's a brand-name for which parts are available.

Note that tillers are much like lawnmowers, in that there are only a couple of manufacturers who produce lots of "brands" for distributors. For some parts, you can go to the manufacturer1 even when there's no local support for the particular brand name on the machine in your area - if you can figure out who actually built the thing.

Tillers may have "belt drive" and/or "gear drive" power trains, and usually you find a combination of some sort, combining both kinds of components. Replacing a truly worn out gearbox may be the rough equivalent of buying a new tiller, but of course belt replacement is just normal maintenance. Tiller tines wear, of course, but they should be easily replaceable if they're really in bad shape.

If the owner has been needing annual tuneups for some reason there may be reason to suspect the engine is worn, but if the tuneups were "just maintenance" someone told him was a good idea that doesn't mean a lot. There generally are only a couple of engines used in virtually all brands, and fix-it parts are widely available for the common ones. "Exotic" brands may be less available.

New replacement engines, in a worst-case scenario, are generally available at fairly reasonable prices; but it would depend on the condition of other parts whether that's a reasonable thing to consider. Engines of the kind normally used on tillers can be in pretty bad shape and still deliver useful service if you pay some attention to the little quirks they develop with age. (We older folk should appreciate that.)

1 In a tale recited in detail elsewhere at the 'cat, I coerced the manufacturer into offering me a "warranty repair" on a brand name mower - two years out of warranty (by filing a CPSC report on the brand name). The mower manufacturer of course blackmailed the engine manufacturer into giving me a new engine at no cost. When I complained that the argument between the two manufacturers deprived me of use of my mower for an entire mowing season, the engine manufacturer bribed me with a nice gym bag and a coffee-table book on the history of the company. I also got the opportunity to meet local "code enforcers" about my "overgrown lawn," so that I knew them when the neighbors complained about my son's junker van that he abandoned on my "back-40."

John


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Janie
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 06:00 AM

PM on the way, Maggie.

I agree that to break up sod or put in new beds, a rear-tined tiller is a much better choice. The mini-tillers (I've used a Mantis and a Honda) are fine for cultivating or turning crops and groundcovers under in ground alread broken. but don't do much in the way of breaking up sod and ground for a new bed. Ditto for the small but not mini front-tined machines.

Janie


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: bobad
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 10:38 AM

Some advice regarding your hard packed, clay soil is to till in organic matter; compost, leaves, old hay, straw etc., whatever you can get your hands on and do it as much and as often as you can.

Another good method to amend the soil is to plant, in the off season, winter groundcovers or greencrops such as buckwheat, clover, winter rye etc. whatever is used in your growing zone (ask around at garden centres). Theses green manures are one of the best ways to increase soil tilth and add organic matter to you garden.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 10:59 AM

I have a couple of piles of leaves breaking down on top of the turf in the front yard where I'm going to be doing some digging soon. The area where the new garden will go doesn't have anything going on there except a couple of plants that I need to move before I get started. I have an immense pile of compost in the back yard, most of which is ready to go now. I will be turning over part of it and using the material that has been buried the longest. I have various soil amendments ready to go to add to the mix, but first have to get out the Bermuda. Moon cycles sound too benign for this stuff--nuclear explosions might eradicate it! (Talk about irradiating your food supply!)

John, I remember well the saga of your lawn mower. I need to get mine worked on soon (it isn't a riding mower, it is a self-propelled standard variety). The last couple of weeks of the mowing season it took on an alarmingly loud clunking noise. The kind that sounds like it's getting ready to throw the blade free or something equally catastrophic. No more mowing with this baby until it gets a clean bill of health.

Janie, I'm glad you mentioned those tillers by name. I compared the Honda and the Mantis machines when I started looking a couple of weeks ago. My neighbors have a Honda and they brought it down to turn over a front bed for that same neighbor across the street. In a bed already in production, it worked great. I think it would burn up the motor to try breaking new ground with it.

Meanwhile, as we talk about gardening, MMario might do well on this snow day to get out his cultivator to break through a few feet of packed snow and ice to clear paths around his house.

SRS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 03:32 PM

We have lots of bermuda in most areas around my little ranch, and the Agricultural Extension agents strongly recommend "Round Up." While some of us prefer to avoid chemicals, it's been pretty well shown in practice to be rapidly "digested" in the soil, and breaks down to less harmful stuff than what runs off when you wash your car in the driveway.

The big advantage of the fast breakdown is that usually you can start planting a very few days after you've put it on to kill the bermuda. One of our recent agents insisted that it was safe to plant in half the time listed on the can.

The other side of it is that if you kill the bermuda and then don't get the tilling done pretty quickly after you're sure it's dead, it's likely to come back by invasion from adjacent areas, possibly accompanied by a nice crop of those lovely Texas sandburs. They both like new empty spaces to charge in on.

The one problem with Round Up versus bermuda is that the grass has to be in a growing stage when you put it on, so it doesn't work very well during the several dormant stages of bermuda. It may not start to green by the time you're ready to break ground for garden crops.

If you just till bermuda in, most of the bits and pieces of bermuda will sprout right where they land. It's hard to break bermuda sod up fine enough to rake out all of the roots, although you probably should try if you're going for the bust-up method. Broken up pieces buried more than about 5 or 6 inches deep probably won't come back strong enough to get back to the surface and will eventually die, but anything shallower will be back like old sod by the next season, unless you keep tilling, frequently, through the whole bermuda growing seasons.

bobad's suggestion of tilling in a lot of mulch is a great one - but we have to point out that you have to till it first (when it isn't easy), before you can till in stuff to make it easier to till. It takes a couple of seasons (at least) to get good garden tilth, and you can't expect to do it all in a hurry.

John


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: GUEST,Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 04:40 PM

I think a first run across the Bermuda, with a shallow setting, and simply pick it all up (dirt and grass) and put it in the compost, then go back and till what is underneath every few days for a week or two might be one approach. You'd have to rake or pick up all of the roots you see each time, and then add in the compost and soil ammendments to build it back up again.

Where I lived in Seattle the garden we had when I was a child always started with the grass on top being turned under and that was that.

SRS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: bobad
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 04:48 PM

From the descriptions of the insidious nature of Bermuda grass you might be better off burning it or at the very least putting it in a separate pile some distance from the intended garden.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Deckman
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 05:18 PM

Maggie ... you asked if I have any thoughts on the value of "re-furbishing old equipment?" Well, I certainly have OLD EQUIPMENT, and as you know, I've been in pretty much a "re-furbishing mode" for the last several years! My only word of cautions is ... GET A DAMNED GOOD RE-FURBISHER! Bob


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Bobert
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 06:07 PM

'Nuff on the tiller question, SRS... You've gotten good advice... I have a couple older tillers an' both are beaters but seems that I can usually get the blasted things to run for small jobs... There's a farmer 'round there who tills everyones gardens fir like $25 with a 5 foot tiller he pulls behind his Ford tractor... Those tillers run 'bout $3000 so everone lets him do it an' he till up some 20 'er so gardens here in the holler in one day... I plow my own in the fall an' put lots o' chicken manure in it first...

Ahhhhh, as fir the Bermuda grass??? Till it in... It spreads from the roots but if you till 'um in 6 inches 'er so them roots will just rot anyway and then all you'll have to be concerned 'bout is the Bermuda grass 'round the perimeter of the garden which will have it's eyes on yer newly tilled area... MM is correct, tho, in tellin' ya' to put black plastic down... It will kill off yer weed seeds... Burns 'um up right good... Also, it might not look too purdy but after you have yer area ready to plant you might wanta consider putting down black plastic and cut holes in it for planting either seeds 'er plants... You can take a razo an' put slits in for rain water to get into yer soil... This will keep yer plants wet and weedless...

As for clay??? Clay is some fine stuff... It's loaded with stuff that plants love but doesn't drain too good so ya' got to loosen it up, Baby!!! No, not you... The danged clay... Straw, leaves, shreaded newspaper work well... There's also a product called Permitil which will make yer clay real palntable and keep underground critters out as well that you can till in...

Zones??? Remember that a zone is ***worst case scenerio*** an' global warmin' may not have an effect on those extremes... We are in 6B and it dipped to 2 degrees last week which is just 2 degrees on the warm side of 6B so I wouldn't go out an buy a bunch of tropicals plants unless yer willin', like we are, to make cages fir them in the winter... We do that with camillas... We also wrap our sasanqua (fall bloomin' camillias) for the 1st couple of years in straw and burlap before lettin' 'um go it alone...

We're just in the process of figurin' out which seeds to order... There are so many new hybrids ity is mind bogglin'... But we have a much larger project and that is that now that the house is finished we need to creat beds all around it and put in landscape gardens which is a monster project... On our vacation we satyed with a relative who is a landscape archietect and had him look at my drawings and he put his 2 cents worth in and we thanked him but... Them folks ain't garderners so he didn't offer us anything that would work... Oh well???

What else??? Hmmmm??? That's 'bout it... For now...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: dianavan
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 10:19 PM

Hey folks, its the last quarter of the moon right now. Try it. Certainly won't hurt.

Go out and find the most noxious weed and give it a pull.

Let me know how it goes.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 10:39 PM

It's 22 degress outside right now, warming up to about 37 tomorrow. I think the moon is going to have to wait until NEXT month, but thanks for the rooting section (so to speak. . . can't resist a pun)!

Bobert, I have been thinking about the layout of my yard for five years. I signed the contract to buy it five years ago today, my valentine to myself. It has come along and there are things I need to redo where I changed my mind. I'm willing to bet that you know as well as anyone that plants speak to you, and you'll have lots of little inspirations along the way as you work on the new landscaping. Don't rush into it, except to spend this first year getting the soil in as good a shape as you can manage for whatever is going to speak to you.

BTW--the best small commercial organic garden in the area, with fabulous produce, plants exactly the way you described. Mounded rows covered with black plastic, and slits cut for each plant to grow through.

My garden isn't going to be big, but with a half-acre yard, and the desire to move garden plots and try out new things, a tiller won't go to waste. If I buy an old big one or a new small one, either will probably work, but the big one will mean fewer passes.

Ooooh, but I'm looking forward to getting out there and getting my hands in the dirt! We've had the winter we needed to have a great spring.

SRS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Janie
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 10:47 PM

http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/bermuda_grass.htm

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7453.html

Janie


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: GUEST,Lynn T
Date: 14 Feb 07 - 11:25 PM

Hey, all! I garden on a 2/3 acre lot just outside DC that started as pure clay nine years ago. I've been putting in at least one large new bed each year, and my oldest beds are now over a foot deep in good black crumbly soil. I have a big rear-tine Sears tiller I use to prep new beds, but I also love my little Honda -- it's like handling a manic Jack Russell terrier the way that little guy can dig a hole for a new tree, and it does a great job of digging foot-wide six-inch-deep wall footings too. They are both valued friends, they just do different work.

Problem with repeatedly tilling clay is that the blades of the tiller compact the bottom surface of the bed as they scrape up the stuff they loosen -- it can create a hardpan base that's impermeable to water and roots if you're not careful. That said, running over the area once to loosen the clods six or eight inches down, then dumping on six inches of old manure or chopped leaves and tilling that in works well for me as a starting point for new beds. I've also had good luck working in bags of alfalfa pellets from the feed store (I get broken bags for half price, but I'm careful not to get stuff with a high salt content). My veggie garden gets six or eight inches of whatever good stuff I can find tilled in each spring once the ground is dry enough that a fistful crumbles when squeezed and released, but my other beds just get top-dressed with last Fall's chopped leaves plus a good dose of sheep or llama manure -- the earthworms work it in for me with a lot less effort on my part!

I'm glad nobody is talking about mixing in sand to loosen clay -- around here, sand plus clay equals cement. Organics do the job so much better! And the clay keeps the soil from parching so badly in drought.

There's been some discussion on GardenWeb that clear plastic warms the soil better than black, but when I tried it a few years back neither did much to kill weeds if the area wasn't in full sun. I had better luck with laying down several layers of newspaper or cardboard to stifle bermuda grass; I did that in the Fall and successfully planted the next Spring.

There's a lot of talk at GW too about Lasagna Gardening -- don't even bother tilling, just lay down cardboard and/or eight layers of newspapers to smother the existing growth, and heap organics alternating with some soil on top of that. Let it get acquainted with itself for a while, and plant right into that. May be worth checking out, eh?

Lynn


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: dianavan
Date: 15 Feb 07 - 02:01 AM

Oh, I guess its too cold for most of you but...

Here in Vancouver the tulips and daffodils are up about 4" and the garlic is about the same. I plant in beds and after so long, I need only to pull the occasional weed on the pathways. I have already started transplanting some flowering bushes and the odd forget-me-not. I tried doing a bit of late pruning on the apple trees but stopped when I realized the sap was already up.

What can I eat? What made it through the winter? Enough greens (Swiss chard, kale, arugula and French sorrel) to add to the store bought lettuce - Its amazing how those garden greens freshen up the salad.

I gave up tilling a long time ago. Too much heavy work. Beds are great because you can concentrate your fertilizer in a small well-defined area and the soil is loose and easy to weed when it is never walked on. I like gardening the easy way.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: skarpi
Date: 15 Feb 07 - 04:44 AM

what are you complainin about ?? you us folks have to stop using all those big cars before its to late the glopal warming has started and we will not return it so easy. The weather is strange you got my winter
and your warm and rainy and windy days instead .

The us and china and India and russia has to do something about
( black air ) they have .

Iceland is only country in the world who only use and make power
from the mother earth, and after 2012-2015 we will be driving cars
on hydrogen , so I hope we are gonna be far ahead in this .

Where the air is clean and the water is fresh..........
there will I be .


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 Feb 07 - 12:34 PM

Well, Skarpi, if we all lived on top of volcanic thermal vents it would be different. The lion's share are treated as novelties here in the U.S. and turned into parks or public pools and that is usually the extent of it.

You're right about our green house gases, though. I'm trying to do my part--I telecommute most of the week, usually driving in to my office once or twice a week. Probably not at all this week, for example.

The gardening and composting and organic approach we're discussing does help cut down on some of the nasty stuff, because we're not putting hydrocarbon-based fertilizers in our yards and toxic sprays on our plants. Neighbors here are slowly making those steps (my next door neighbor gave me a lot of informtion when I first moved in an contemplated a garden, and we continue to spread the word).

I wish public transportation was way ahead of where it is here. They persist in building new roads instead of building new rail lines and better bus service.

Meanwhile, do you have a garden and what are you growing?

SRS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: skarpi
Date: 15 Feb 07 - 03:08 PM

yes I have a garden a big one , a trees , earth apples , strawberrys
thats it for a moment

I love being outside in my garden

all thebest Skarpi Iceland.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 Feb 07 - 04:16 PM

Earth apples--would that be potatoes? Pomme de terre?


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Feb 07 - 10:48 AM

Well so much for last week's trimming the dead stuff off of my potted plants and letting the green sprouts underneath show brightly. It's all dead now and I'll probably have to replant all of those pots. This last cold snap was really cold and stayed cold long enough to penetrate into the soil and into pots. Our previous cold hovered at freezing but the ground never froze. So much for our shifting planting zones. :)

SRS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 12:01 PM

Update on the garden equipment front: my pickup is parked beside the house and in a little while I'll take the mower and the tiller over to a shop that works on them. He'll give me an estimate on each, understanding that I'd prefer to keep both of these in operation if possible, but making a note of where replacement becomes more practical than repair.

The tiller came from Montgomery Ward, so is probably an old Briggs and Stratton type of machine. It is a front tine cultivator, I completely forgot that. Because of it's size I was assuming it had a different alignment. It weighs a ton. Well, at least 100-150 pounds. We had to struggle to get it into the pickup. It has a rudder of sorts on the back that is set for depth. I have a lot to learn about these machines, should I hear that this one isn't practical or economical to fix.

It's gorgeous out there right now. I'm going to put down black plastic and bricks this weekend to knock off some of the burmuda until the machine is back or a new one in service. I'll give it a good spritz of vinegar on a warm afternoon before I put down the plastic. That'll kill a lot of weeds also. (My driveway will smell like a salad bar!)

SRS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: bobad
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 01:08 PM

SRS

This site http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/organic/msg0202061429413.html?43 has quite a discussion going on organic methods of getting rid of Bermuda grass.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Feb 07 - 10:53 PM

I hadn't seen that gardening site, but I was impressed that one of my regular folks at www.DirtDoctor.com (dshall_san_antonio) posted a very good and comprehensive post. I always get annoyed when the petrochemical apologists get in there and try to put down organic as either 1) ineffective or 2) just as dangerous as the chemical approach. That just isn't true. But the person who recommends 20% vinegar is wrong. It is way too strong anything over 10% is overkill. And it shouldn't be the acetyl vinegar that is a petroleum product.
And the straw man introduced--"you don't use synthetic chemicals--you don't paint your house, blah blah blah" totally ignores the nature of the chemicals and the stability over time.

I've tried the "lasagna" method--newspaper and mulch over the top of the turf--it works a little but you have to keep redoing it and in the end the main effect is that the Bermuda has pooled itself (root-wise) under the surface of the newspaper and is a little easier to pull out. I'm hoping to eventually end up with a yard with distinct areas of dark shade alternated with well-tilled beds that I can pull the grass out of. And hopefully get buffalo grass going instead of Bermuda.

SRS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 09:41 PM

Update: the tiller I mentioned above is (we know from the serial number) a 34-year-old Montgomery Ward machine that will be in fine shape once they do a valve job and work on the starter cord mechanism. My mower apparently was the casualty of another hit-and-run yard event that I wasn't aware of, or it took it's time to finally break after hitting something a couple of years ago. The flywheel key (whatever that is) needs to be replaced and they'll tune it and replace the blade. All of this for a very reasonable price. The guy said that these old tillers come in regularly because they're popular--people who have them keep them running because they do such a good job. (He said another tool that people keep bringing in because they were so good are old heavy-duty edgers).

We've had heavy rain this week and I'm looking forward into putting in a new bed once the equipment is returned and the ground dries out a little.

What have some of the rest of you started so far this year? MMario, you're excused from responding to this question until June 15. :)

SRS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Bee
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 11:00 PM

Don't any of you be complaining about the kind of soil you have. Our property came with none. It's bare bedrock with a thin skin of rotted spruce needles and lichens, with occasional patches of three inch deep clay - that is, where there isn't bog. My solution is piling boulders in various artistic closed forms, mostly sorta rectangular, and filling the hole with bought soil. I grow a few tomatos, squash, some herbs, and a lot of flowers this way.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Mar 07 - 11:06 PM

Where are you, Bee?


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: MMario
Date: 14 Mar 07 - 09:23 AM

SRS - spring is shaping up nicely - I may get in the garden by mother's day!


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Bee
Date: 14 Mar 07 - 10:03 AM

The rocky East Coast of Nova Scotia, SRS: most of this shore is a thin strip of spruce/bog/glacier scraped bedrock, with here and there a nice deposit of glacier dropped dirt. It has other advantages, lots of tiny fishing villages, getting good fresh fish and shellfish is relatively easy, and the people are great. Hard on a natural born gardener, though. All my immediate forebears were farmers.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Mar 07 - 02:33 PM

I grew up on the opposite side of the continent, in the fecund landscape of the Puget Sound area, which also once had a lot of little fishing villages, but now they're all popular tourist spots. I loved the fresh fish out there, and I miss it here in Texas. I also miss the easy gardening up there. I spent enough time in high elevation forests and above tree line, where the soil is slight or nonexistent, to know that what does grow in that harsh climate is tough and sometimes pretty interesting.

SRS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: GUEST,Janie
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 10:47 AM

This year the garden is going to have to pretty much take care of itself. I've decided to admire the tiny white blooms of the assorted chickweed species and the sky blue common speedwell. Ditto the purple deadnettle and henbit. They will all go dormant or die when the weather heats up anyway. I'm saving my energy and ire for the bermuda grass this year.

I don't think I am going to try to plant a single veggie. I hate it when I don't have time to tend the veggie garden and the weeds, bugs and blights take over. Probably time to give those beds a rest anyway. My highest hope is to maybe get a summer cover crop planted that I can turn under in the fall.

Janie


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 11:13 AM

Some of those little weeds you mention are good nitrogen fixers. Just because they don't match the idea that Scott's and other Weed and Feed manufacturer's promote for the perfect turf, doesn't mean they have no merit.

I poked some Swiss chard in along the wall last fall, and despite the extreme cold, several survived and with the spring foundation watering it is almost ready for the first harvest of a few leaves for dinner. Mmmmm!

SRS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Bee
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 11:30 AM

The Speedwell is plentiful in my small back 'lawn', but is polite enough to stay out of the garden. I rather like chickweed, and usually let some of it stay. I made the mistake of allowing some wild Everlasting into one bed, and six years later I'm still pulling it out.

The real banes in my back beds are some kind of unidentified tall grass and Hawkweed, which at least pulls out easily. My front beds, which are on a south slope, are plagued with Lambkill and Teaberry. Slugs are a problem, but I control them with crushed eggshell and used coffee grounds, which works pretty well, although some slugs are tougher than others and will slime right over to my poor irises.

I have a sort of organized wild landscaping approach. I encourage wild stuff I like and try to keep at bay what I don't want. So the bottom of the yard has a wild hollow which produces Teaberry, Bearberry, Twinflowers, False Solomon's Seal, a few Trilliums and a patch of Mayflowers. There are several small wooded areas, one of which has a good population of Lady Slippers.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 03:29 PM

Put a shallow bowl of beer out in the garden at night. You'll be catering a slug party at which all of the guests drown their sorrows and are great source of protien to chuck in the compost the next morning.

Picked up my mower. Now I have to go use it.

SRS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Janie
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 11:03 PM

Bee--What is Lambkill? do you know the latin name so I could look it up and see if I know it by another name? I think one of the pretty sights of early spring is daffodils blooming in a yard or along a roadway, surrounded by those o-so-tiny blue blooms on the speedwell.

Which of the 'weeds" I mentioned are good nitrogen fixers, Maggie?
I didn't know any of them were.

Janie


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Bee
Date: 16 Mar 07 - 07:21 AM

Janie:

lambkill, or calfkill, or dwarf laurel, or Kalmia angustifolia, or pig laurel, or sheep laurel, or sheepkill, or wicky (shrub) (species Kalmia angustifolia), an open upright woody shrub of the heath family (Ericaceae). Lambkill is 0.3–1.2 m (1–4 feet) tall and has glossy, leathery, evergreen leaves and showy pink to rose flowers. It contains andromedotoxin, a poison also common to other Kalmia species (including mountain laurel and bog laurel) and other members of the heath family.

It seldom grows more than a foot tall here, and is not as pretty as it sounds, as the leaves are usually blotched with brown and it retains last years seedhead above the new flowers, which occur in a short rounded spike at the top of the leafy stem. It spreads by tangled underground roots which are tough as rope, very hard to cut and impossible to pull. Continually mowing it to the ground will eventually kill it.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Mar 07 - 04:41 PM

The nettle, if it is in the mint or legume family, should be one.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Janie
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 11:03 PM

Lots of stuff is blooming a bit early this year, and some things are right on schedule. The hesperis is near it's peak, and ox-eye daisies that I dug up from a pasture several years ago are going strong. A few larkspur are starting to bloom. The earliest peonies will probably open in a week. Poppy buds are rising and beginning to uncurl (some jerk cut my very 1st poppy bloom which opened today.) Ther is actualy one echinecea purpurea that has buds that are beginning to color up. A late and very hard freeze over three nights killed rose buds, but more are starting. It also killed all the leaves on my biggest mophead hydrangea. I'm guessing no blooms on that one this year. Some of the brances are resprouting near the base. I'm going to wait another week and cut back any that haven't resprouted to the 1st green bud. The freezze also may have killed some chrysanthemums that were leafing out well. It has been 2 weeks and I'm not seeing any sign of regrow on them at all.

This has been an extremely dry spring on the heels of a dry fall and winter. I've pulled all my irrigation hoses and plan on doing only spot watering this summer. Anything that survives the drought-I will plant more of next year!

Janie


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 29 Apr 07 - 08:15 AM

Dunno about the US, but my UK garden has 10 different blooms at the moment - 11 if you count the dandelion.

My arum lily is huge, twice the size of the ones in the shops; my bluebells have come up pink and my forget me nots forgot I planted them in the garden and are blooming in the path.

I'm eagerly awaiting the flowering of 3 new roses and a new water iris this summer...

LTS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Bobert
Date: 29 Apr 07 - 09:44 AM

Right now, it's wild flower and morel ("mergals") mushroom hunting...

Doing much better with the wild flowers... Behind our farm is about 200 yards of sticky bushes and in the 2 years we've been here we've never made it thru them to what we've been told were "nice woods" but yesterday the Kubota and I spend a coulpe few hours crashin' thru briars and old fallen trees and cleared out a road (path) back to the "nice woods" to an old loggin' road we'd been told was back there,,,

Last evening the P-Vine and I ventured back there and came home with 4 bags of wildflowers and ferns we dug up...

Gotta head down to Fredricksburg today for a private garden tour but I'm itchin' to get further back into them woods next chance I get...

Opps, gotta go...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Donuel
Date: 29 Apr 07 - 02:22 PM

I've got one tomato flower and one bee.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 12:19 AM

We've had a phenomenal amount of rain this spring, enough to declare the local drought over for many areas with lake reservoirs. It doesn't mean folks should go back to water-guzzling yards, though. I'm sticking with my xeriscape stuff, but will make sure there is good drainage in case this wet season continues much longer.

My irises were lovely this year, but with the grass growing so fast from the rain, and it hard to mow too soon after a rain, it was difficult to give the yard that finished look of tall blooming flowers and neatly trimmed lawn. It has looked a bit disheveled for several weeks. I mowed today, and my son helped me dig a new bed out front yesterday. I know it isn't a good time of year to transplant, but some of this stuff has to be moved, and if it survives, that's better than just lopping it off.

SRS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Janie
Date: 06 May 07 - 02:36 PM

Here are some pic's of my garden taken a little while ago. I took them in a rush and it is very windy so I didn't try to do more than quick snapshots, but you will still get an idea of a North Carolina cottage garden in the spring! Click on the set that says "Cavanaugh's Garden, May 2007.

Janie


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 May 07 - 02:47 PM

Very pretty!

Since I last wrote we had a huge wind storm and heavy rain (heaviest rain I ever remember being stuck driving in--visibility was a few feet). Needless to say, trees took a big hit, though mine are fine. I lost my largest Texas Star hibiscus stalk near the house and the rest of them tipped over and are going to be a challenge to mow around all summer because they will continue to grow if they're not completely sheered off. The creek flooded at the same time and more trash washed up on our road. No good deed goes unpunished--a neighbor and I spent a couple of weeks in March clearing up roadside trash. We've had trash wash in three times since then.

SRS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 May 07 - 04:16 PM

A little snowy rain but still very dry here in southern Alberta. Starting to get a little warmer- my Martagon lilies are up about 6 inches, ditto rhubarb. Some neighbors with beds getting sun in protected areas have pasque flowers starting to open up.

Oh, yes, our first spring flower, the dandelion, is really starting to bloom- good news for the wild bees.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 May 07 - 05:14 PM

Janie, that's the kind of garden I want!! Not sure it's possible in the high desert dryness of western Colorado without over-using our water resources. Just gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

We planted five little pumpkin plants this morning which I'd started in my kitchen window. I also have some giant sunflower seeds to sow. We'll be adding tomatoes, later. A lot of the perennials I planted last year have come up. My clematis, planted last year, has tons of blossoms and my flax is blooming.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 May 07 - 06:52 PM

Janie, are the tall purple blossoms "Sweet Rocket" aka "Dames Rocket?" I love those and have seen some around here, BUT they are banned by the authorities as a "noxious weed!" And, they smell so good!


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Alice
Date: 06 May 07 - 07:08 PM

I have a tall crop of grass and dandelions. Can anyone come over to my house and mow it for me?? Please???


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: LilyFestre
Date: 06 May 07 - 07:14 PM

After recently returning from a trip 5 hours to the south, I can tell you that our garden in north central Pennsylvania is quite a bit behind, as are the warmer temperatures! We do have fruit trees budding.....pears....apples....peaches and cherry, the chives are up, asparagus is peeking about 4 inches out of the ground, daffodils are in their full glory and the forsythia bushes are stunning! Our lilacs are showing signs of beginning buds and the grass is now green. The leaves have yet to *POP* but they will soon! The chickens are laying an abundance of eggs and several of them are sitting so peeping baby chicks will be arriving soon! The broccoli has been planted and is looking very healthy! More to follow in the next few weeks!!!

Happy Planting!

Michelle


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Janie
Date: 06 May 07 - 10:45 PM

Yes Kat, it is Dame's Rocket (hesperis). It does self sow quite freely, but doesn't seem to escape from gardens much around here. As a matter of fact, everything blooming in my garden right now, other than the peonies are self-sown. I did transplant the ox eye daisies from another garden bed behind the house, but they were self-sown seedlings from a plant I dug up from a cow pasture a few years ago. I have seriously neglected the garden this year--didn't thin, haven't fertilized, spread compost, or even done much weeding. The little red poppies should be 3-4 feet tall with blooms a good 4-5 inches wide, and the larkspur is puny also. But the wonderful, tough little plants somehow manage to survive and set seed. Once the weather really heats up, though, it is going to look pretty dismal.

We are having serious drought conditions here this spring, on top of a dry winter and fall. I pulled all my soaker hoses up in early spring. Anything still alive at the end of the season--well--I'm gonna plant more of it.

We got hit by three days of a hard, very late frost in early April that froze the rosebuds. Normally there would be roses blooming along with the peonies. (tiny, new buds are just now forming.)

The frost killed all the leaves on a hackberry tree in the back, killed the unfurling leaves and flowerbuds on the pecan, and all the leaves and buds on my best, biggest mophead hydrangea, which I just cut back to about 12 inches this morning.

Instead of working in my own garden, I've been picking up some extra money gardening for well-to-do people in town the past several weeks. A couple of them are gardens I have been dying to see for a long time, and now I get to work in them! Hillsborough is full of beautiful gardens.

Janie


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 06 May 07 - 10:55 PM

Still no rain in the South east UK, I've had to water again... but at least I've managed to clear a huge pile of garden waste with a bonfire.

I splurged on some new plants this year, roses, water iris, lobelias, campanula and some herbs, but at least my pots will look bright again!

I'm hoping that we got our promised rain last night (it's 4.00am at the moment) and it looks like the windows were wetted, so maybe we had more than a dozen drops of precipitation?

Ah well... back to bed to dream of fields of buttercups.

LTS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 May 07 - 02:01 AM

All the rain is here in Texas--more due this week. And since we're used to hot and dry weather, I fear that a lot of my xeriscape stuff may begin to rot in the ground.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: dianavan
Date: 07 May 07 - 03:53 AM

Janie - What a beautiful garden. Where do you live that you have such early blooms?

Here in B.C. its just daffodils, tulips and primroses. My apple trees are blossoming but I don't know if I'll have many apples because we've had so much rain. Lungwort is poking up in the wild places and the wallflowers are making a great show. I noticed that my miniature lilace have clusters of flower buds.

My vegetable are doing pretty good. Onions are up, mizuna, lettuce, peas and potatoes are all poking out of the ground. The grape leaves are slowly opening. Of course, we've already eaten chives, sorrel and the last of the winter kale.

My daughter says she likes my lawn better than any other. Most of the lawns around here are perfectly mown, bright green, grass. My grass is a little longer and is dotted with little english daisies, dandelions and a sweet little creeper with blue flowers (it looks like a type of babytears). I hate to mow it and destroy the flowers. Think I'll wait another week or two.


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Janie
Date: 08 May 07 - 01:30 AM

dianavan,

I live in the Piedmont region of North Carolina It is the middle south of the USA, USDA Zone 7. It is a great climate for spring and fall gardens. Summers are long, hot, humid, often droughty, and generally suck, for people and for flower gardens.

Janie


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 08 May 07 - 07:09 AM

Dianavan, your blue creeper sounds like germander speedwell sometimes known as Birds Eye speedwell, and it grows in grassy meadows all over the northern hemisphere - although this gives just the UK as it's a site for English nature.

They're lovely flowers and I've not seen any for years.. not enough unshaved lawns here in London.

A little rain over the weekend and yesterday (it WAS a Bank Holiday after all) has helped - although most of it was over Kent and Sussex rather than London. It's as windy as anything today so I think I'll be looking rather than planting this afternoon!

LTS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Janie
Date: 20 May 07 - 09:45 PM

My spring garden is at it's peak now. It's amazing what a little rain, sunshine and moderate temps can do in a two week period. Here are a few pictures taken today. Nearly everything you see is self-sown. Nature doesn't need any design help, just some good dirt and wind and birds to scatter the seeds.

Janie


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 21 May 07 - 07:44 AM

I have at last finished removing all the rubble, crap and debris from the back garden, installed a new table and potted up my annuals. All I need to do in there is distribute the horse manure onto the veggie patches, put in the beans when they sprout and then start on the front bit.

In bloom, including the annuals I potted up last week: Arum lily, pyrocantha (firethorn), bastard service tree, robena tree, dogwood, campanula, the odd lobelia, red, white and peach roses, yellow flag iris, some very late violets and clematis, and the gazanias are about to burst forth.

The tit saga continues... I saw all three tit varieties this morning but as of 5 minutes ago, I notice someone else's cat is in the privet bush, so I suspect that nest has been raided and eaten. My pussies are all in various somnolent postures about the house.

LTS


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: GUEST,Nancy King at work
Date: 21 May 07 - 04:54 PM

Beautiful, Janie! Thanks for sharing the pictures! One of these days I'm gonna get to see your garden in person....

Nancy


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Subject: RE: North American Gardening 2007
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Jun 07 - 11:00 PM

For those of you who enjoy Janie's pictures, she has graciously allowed me to use them in a slideshow/video of my brother's love song, "The Flowers of Summer" which is posted on youtube right here. There is more editing which could have been done, but I've already received some very nice compliments on the photos and the music. Thanks, Janie! One day I hope my voice is strong enough to sing it, again.


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