Winter thoughts

veilchen(5b southern Maine)December 31, 2004

Well, since there really isn't much going on now in the garden (nothing really), and we haven't seemed to have much to talk about in this forum, I thought I'd start a thread re: what you're thinking about now, as in plans for next year's garden, flowers you miss, etc.

1. I made a new rose bed end of last summer and it is ready for planting when my bareroot Austin order arrives in spring. I really do miss my roses and June is just too long to wait.

2. I am going to order more daylilies for spring, probably from Ollalie. Because they have so many late-blooming varieties that will carry on the season after most of the rest of them peak in July.

3. I have scanned through some of the seed catalogs and will place my orders next week when my kid goes back to school. I am going to try leeks for the first time.

4. I will be eagerly awaiting bloom from all the Japanese and Siberian irises I planted last year.

5. I am trying really hard to put off that 9 yard order of mulch (the amount I'll need, at least, in order to mulch all my gardens). I mulched 9 yards the summer before last and I remember a)the expense; and b)several weekends of hauling wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow from the mountain at the end of my driveway into the garden. This fall we were able to cover the smaller beds with several inches of shredded leaves and also used pine needles. I am hoping these hold up so I won't need to mulch them this year. But the main garden will need mulch, and we don't have anywhere near enough bags of leaves in reserve.

6. This is going to be a busy summer for me. I am heading up the garden tour in July. Our garden club is undertaking a renovation project on the grounds of our library. The museum director just asked me yesterday if I could help design a Shaker herb garden on the museum grounds to coordinate with a Shaker exhibit in August. We are going to have a garage/house addition built and I will probably go crazy trying to figure out what to plant around the new foundation and along the new driveway, and I am already worried about how the drainage will be affected for my new iris garden. And my client's gardens really really need mulch next year (more hours of work for me). Plus everything that needs to be done in my own garden.

Share your thoughts?

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leonessa(Z5 ME)

WOW...You are busy!
I hear you on the mulch!!! I am a relitively new gardener (this will be my 3rd summer) I mulched for the first time last summer, (the stuff is soooo expensive!!!) but I don't think I put enough. I'm going to buy it by the yard this coming summer, instead of by the bag. Hopefully it'll go further.

I'm going to start my WS project next week. New babies for the new year. I have collected over 300 packets of seed through the trading page, and all of the generous people here on GW. I only have to place a small order from Parks for their new 'Dolce' petunias. (they're sooo pretty!!!)

As you well know there's nothing going on outside except the occasional snow and wind. I saw last week in Home depot that they sell a 9'X9'X8' pop up greenhouse for $330. I'm saving for that! It's by far, not my dream greenhouse, but, you've got to start somewhere right!!!

Happy New Year!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2004 at 10:36AM
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maineman(z5a ME)

For me gardening seems to be a year round hobby. I hadn't really planned for it to be that way, but that's the way it's working out. I am currently shredding brush piles into a finely ground product to incorporate in my compost piles. I have three piles completed and three more about 20% completed.

I will be doing some preventative maintenance on my shredder-chipper tomorrow. The V-belt is loose. The weather should be freakishly warm for this time of year. I hope to finish the compost piles in time to insulate our breezeway so I can use it as a place for setting up my light stands to start my seedlings.

I'm also planning to expand the garden with a load or two of sand, till in the contents of several of the compost piles, and fell a few trees that still limit the sun it gets. It looks like it's going to be a race right down to getting the seedlings ready to set out.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2004 at 10:22PM
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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

Yes, it was balmy yesterday. I took advantage of it and did some work outside--cleaned the chicken coop into the compost piles and harvested rabbit manure to place in buckets for storage for this spring.

I meandered into the vegetable garden and was able to pick some parsley and arugula for the bunnies. Since the snow melted, I found the cilantro was still green and picked some for the Indian food we cooked for dinner. It's wonderful when you can pick something from the garden in January!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2005 at 8:36AM
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Oh,I would love to have a greenhouse(or a little shed)too,but I'm not allowed to build anything on this waterfront land.Do you think a Pop-up greenhouse could circumvent the rules?.Or have you any other ideas.I can't move in my garage much.The fire wood is inside and the car is outside.Regards Josie_2

    Bookmark   January 2, 2005 at 1:01PM
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TJG911(z5b CT)

i have 1 5 gallon pail with 1 of my original 6 parsely plants still growing. i keep it in the basement near the furnance and when it's warm i put it out. unfortunately warm = clouds but either mon or tues it was mid to upper 40's with sun. i imagine the weakness of the sun did little to green it up. i am surprised it has stayed as green as it has. i am tempted to give it a light dose of neptune's harvest fish and seaweed emulsion. would that hurt the plant?

    Bookmark   January 5, 2005 at 12:54PM
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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

tjg, I don't think Neptune's Harvest (diluted) would hurt--I have a rosemary plant I brought indoors, and every time I water it, I feed it a very low dose of Neptune's Harvest.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2005 at 2:11PM
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maineflowergirl(z4 Maine)

I am thinking of ordering 5 high-bush blueberries. I have never had those. I got some half-high blueberries last year from some place I found on the internet and will be curious to see how they do this year. They are on the edge of our frog pond and though I amended the soil some where I planted them, the soil there is kind of wet with lots of clay. The high-bush berries would not go there though. I have a banking behind the house we are building that is mostly bare and at the back of the banking are some evergreens and other trees.

I also want to try a miniature smoke-bush that I saw in a catalog. I like the large, fuzzy pinkness of the bush when it's in bloom.

I planted some icicle pansies this past fall and was impressed how long they blossomed, right through some minor snow falls. So it will be interesting to see how they do in the spring.

That pop-up greenhouse sounds interesting, Kim. I wish I had a little more cash on hand. We have been building this tiny house for SIX years and are still not done and have run out of money again.

The only mulch I use is some I make myself with fruit and vegetable scraps, leaves and grass. I have it in one of those tumbling composters. It's an old one, though, rusting and breaking open in at least one place. Got to get someone to do some welding for me I think. For most of my many plants, if they can't live without mulch, they won't be able to live in my garden. I do let whatever leaves fall on them stay there until spring, so that likely helps some.

Joanie D.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2005 at 9:41PM
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Be sure and dilute king neptunes harvest. I used it straight out of the bottle and it ruined an entire garden, nothing grew....not even weeds! I felt horrible, especially since the garden belongs to my 83 year old father-in-law who has been gardening all his life and trusted me to do it for him last year....I still feel horrible. I used it sparingly out of the bottle and proceeded to drizzle an entire contents of a quart onto a garden about 20 X 20 feet.

It killed it dead! I am hoping the soil recovers for next year.

SO... PLEASE READ THE DIRECTIONS...if a little is good ...well alot is not better!

Of course this may work for poison ivy and the

darn, I still feel bad:(

    Bookmark   January 8, 2005 at 9:14PM
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cybertrek(zone 5 Maine)

Greetings all,

I've got a number of things on the burner for the coming year and I expect I'll be turning to this forum on many occasions as I have in the past to help me through and keep me excited.

I'll be adding some new things to the kitchen garden in the coming year as well as contnuing on with many of the old stand-by crops. I'm also hoping to install drip/soaker irrigation. Here are some new things I'll be trying, if anyone has experiences to share don't hold back now.

Asparagus- I've been saying I was doing it for the last two years and this year I really will. I'm planning on using one of the Jersey all male hybrids.

Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes)- A perennial and somewhat ornamental root crop that should make a good conversation starter if nothing else.

Perennial bunching Onions- You've got to love anything perennial that will feed you so I thought I'd give these a try.

Rat Tail Radishes- From Fedco Seeds. A variety of radish grown not for its root but for the seed pods which resemble (can you guess?).

In addition to the kitchen garden I'll be installing two mixed shrub and perennial borders. One on the corner of my property and the other between the kitchen garden and where the new driveway will someday go. I ve never done a shrub border and I'm sweating the load. I 'm having trouble visualizing the end product in a three dimensional way.

I'll be planting some "big smelly roses" for my darling wife. Still planning on giving the David Austins a try in a sheltered Southern exposure with full sun.

Last but not least I'll be expanding the herb garden a bit.

There are many other projects that I would like to have on the list for this year but I'm trying to keep it reasonable. After all, if it's to much of a chore I won't enjoy it.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2005 at 11:19PM
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maineman(z5a ME)


"...but I'm not allowed to build anything on this waterfront land. Do you think a Pop-up greenhouse could circumvent the rules?."

What is the exact wording of the rules? A pop-up greenhouse is portable so it might not be considered a structure. A larger greenhouse on skids also might not be considered a permanent structure because it would be moveable. Also, check the rules with respect to adding a sunroom to your existing house, which could be even better than a greenhouse.

"Or have you any other ideas? I can't move in my garage much. The fire wood is inside and the car is outside."

I have an idea there. Move the firewood outside and put a tarp over it to keep it dry. Move the car into the garage.


    Bookmark   January 9, 2005 at 11:37PM
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My goal over the coming years is to remove all lawn and convert it to walking gardens. I am still in my 40's but would like to build walking gardens to keep me gardening till the day I step out of this world. SO I want raised beds, that a 90 year old lady could work in easily. I want path ways that I can roll my DH around in if he in 30 years need wheels to get around on pathways.

I want to create a place so that the chickens and goats can have room, but not mess up or destroy my gardens, but keeping them intermixed yet separate. Separate walkways that allow the animals around the yard yet not in the gardens,too. Like a bridge over one garden, caged in so the goats cant jump out onto my flowers or fruit trees.

I have been planning this and working on it for over 5 years...What I have now is 3 pens for the animals and gardens surrounding them. Now I have another acre to incorporate more walkways for the animals to intermix with some more gardens. I would like to build a pond in the middle and a walkway of white birches leaning into each other on either side of the walk way for about 50 feet.

I have a grape and honey suckle arbor that has turned into a 10 foot by 10 foot sq.structure of lattice and seating. It stands about 7 feet tall. I hope to build a stone wall around it and create like a birm upagainst the wall so as to create a sunken room.

I also want to create a large raspberry bed, move my asparagus beds to more sun from where they are now, create new kitchen garden and more perennial and annual beds.

I would like a green house built that can not be used by my husbands business (lanscaping and greenhouse/nursery business) which is located right in the back yard of my home. I want my own tools which are not to be shared by any of his employees, so I want my own tool shed as well.

It seems that if I go to borrow fromthe business that I tend to offend someone who has laid claim to it that works for us.

The business has many greenhouses for growing, but it seems that if I try to find space that it gets taken or sold because it looked too good (my plants). And like the shoemaker, hubby has no time to build or help me out with the gardening, so its all for me to do.

If I want to have sometime done, the best advise someone gave me was to start the project and be earnest and then create a feeble wreck that would require rescuing by ones husband who can not bear to have a project look so poorly on his property. If you dont start it, well, it will never get done.

While I dont actually agree with the feeble wreack philosophy, it does give me a chuckle when I am struggling to complete a project which I am too stubborn to ask for help and too determined to complete myself with pride.

This year I purchased a mitor box, a screw gun, and a sander. I keep them under lock and key fromt he business, except that I foolishly lent out my sander and now it has dissappeared into the hands of the business and somewhere amoung the many seasonal landscapers, gardeners, growers, mechanics, and relatives ( many relatives!) that I live among.

While I shouldnt complain because I get all my mulch, loam, compost, seeds, etc from our family business to accomidate what ever I want to do, the problem is that my husbands business is like an extention of the family and many feel comfortable to act or are my immediate family.

When my goats ate a fruit tree striped it of the bark, I started digging the girdled tree out of the ground, I dug and hand dug a trench all around so that all I needed was to merely lift it out. I was called away for the day to do a project with my kids...when I came back the employees had removed the fruit tree and replaced it with a flowering crab.

Now I love flowering crabs, they are truely beautiful...everyone should have at least 2 crabs in their yard---BUT I DIDNT WANT A FLOWERING CRAB....I wanted another edible fruit tree to make pies with! SO when I get old I have pies to make from my trees.

Now, the employees are very proud of themselves and I dont have the nerve to tell that I dont like it...instead, its still there and I was trying to think of how I could let the goats chew and girdle that tree as well....problem being...I dont have the heart to hurt a beautiful tree just to replace it with a fruit tree.

Most of my gardens are operated this way, so I have a repretation for being not pleasant to employees. There are some who are very sensitive and kind and understand I have a need to grow and create by myself and dont interfer...and then there are those who are perhaps new and dont understand thatgardening is a great passion and when bored mess around in my gardens!!!!

Rumors are not to mess in Sue's garden.

How is that for ingrateful and being a brat?!

SO this year I plan on putting up a physical fence which would put up a boundry to where the private part of the home is and where the business and public area is to be.

Hubby has lived this way for over 25 years, while we have only been married for only 6 of those years, I need a good wall a boundry for my gardens to be separate from the business.

I even have customers who offer my husband for plants growing in my gardens, the worse part is that he actually tells them yes and then asks me! It is a great compliment and my ego is well stroked when someone wants one of my vines or perennials or what ever.

But no more MRS NIce Guy, unless I am dividing our cleaning out my garden...I am putting my foot down to the business and not allowing anymore pilforaging or what ever you call it.

I want a garden to get old with and one that is of my design, for Iam a gardener, a designer and an artist with a great need to express myself.

Other than that I will be guarding my gardens all year. I got me 2 geese that have been very territorial so now Iam smiling a bit more. ANd the animals are so cute and sweet, well that only encourages people to come over to my private space and visit the animals...which I dont mind as long as they dont let the animals out of their pens or feed them junk food....which very rarely if ever happens...

This winter I plan on training my 3 goats to pull carts. I have their harnesses all ready to go and a new cart built. I even purchased a tiller for the goats to pull in the Spring/summer.

NOw, if I get my own greenhouse...I amgonna put locks on it! I grow everything organicly and that attracts strong interest,too.

The worse part of all is that my ego gets such a great compliment when flowers are taken for other uses from me that it isnt until later that I realize my plans all fell apart and my gardens arent going as I had hoped and so long to plan.

THe very worse that any employee could do is to put chemicals such as slug bait into my garden....this is totally unacceptable. Fortunately this only happened once and it was the first year I was here. Bad bad stuff, right on my herb plants no less. Not only is it toxic but it looks like something the cat heaved up.

All gardening methods are organic around me and my family and animals.

Something that DH wasnt accustomed to when we first were married. He use to apply roundup when I wasnt around figuring I would never know the difference...Well I have anose like a fox and saw out of the cornor of my eye what was happening...again many years ago and it has never happened again. Same with velpar, chemicals in aresal cans for insects in the greenhouses (YUCK)

The greenhouses have all been orgainic now for over 5 years as well as our gardens and property...not even preemergence that are chemicals....NO CHEMICALS. or else the wicked witch of Tremont descends on darling hubby and his business. ANd LIke I said, this hasnt happened now for over 5 years.

Other than that I am still fighting for organic methods and practises within the companies practises and definietely in my own gardens and property.

Hope everyone is having a safe winter...

PS has anyone ever actually seen a shrub called Arnolds Promise? I have been wanting it for many years and cant seem to locate one. It is a witch hazel...( something about the witch of tremont reminded me heheheheh)But seriously, I would appreciate having this shrub.

I also need to start seeds, but am planning a family trip to Arizona end of Feb and first of March, so that is on hold till I get back. Eat your heart out, we are going to Arizona...cant wait! except that I feel displaced not starting any seeds by now. :)

THanks for the rant time

    Bookmark   January 10, 2005 at 10:08PM
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Cindy_T(z4-5 ME)

I've often wondered if my tools might not be so apt to "wander" if they had pink handles. LOL!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2005 at 6:51PM
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Hi Sue...I just typed in Arnolds Promise into's a witch hazel...didn't look at all the links but you should find some place to get one. Franklin

    Bookmark   January 15, 2005 at 7:47PM
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I was pleasantly surprised when I lifted the lid on my Earth Machine. I left it full in late October and wasn't planning to open it again til spring. It was 55 Friday and felt like spring so I couldn't resist. I expected to find all but a little around the edges frozen solid. It's half empty. In this case, being half empty instead of half full is a good thing. The pigs aren't going to get scraps again until the Earth Machine has been refilled.

I'm ready for spring. I haven't been this eager for winter to be over in a very long time. The new semester starts Tuesday and will keep me busy but I'm looking forward to it being over because that means I'll be back in the soil where I most want to be. If we aren't going to have enough snow to have fun with let's get on to spring!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2005 at 7:43AM
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Robin I agree...bring on an early Spring if there is no snow.
I just finished a newpaper ad, where I have a chance to show off some of my art desgn work in regards to using snow as a mulch in our gardens here on MDI. I just wanted to remind (myself, mostly)and fellow gardeners the need to keep snow as a mulch on landscape plants as much as possible during the winter to protect from the freeze-thaw and also frost and cold. I researched and found out also that plants can still utilize the benefits of the sun through the snow coverage as well ( at 6 inches). Snow insulates and allows photosynethesis to continue...awesome I thought!II try to do a different garden comic strip info ad every month in our local paper

Cindy...When I use to be in constructionn as a subcontractor,I would paint all my tools bright pink. What I found out is it didnt matter and other tools painted pink other than mine seem to appear for confusion it seemed...and there are women and men that dont mind bright pink, However...yes it seems I need topaint is something bright....maybe a metallic gold and pink! Yes I will try that. Thanks for the reminder and the smile.

Franklin, I tried to order arnolds promise through a wholesaler for 2 never came through...I finally had to ask if it was a benedict arnold and the promise was not to be made! lol II am still searching, just experiencing bad luck not to ever get my hands on one. lol
I am still looking though.

Oh, by the way, I let my goats out for a walk yesterday, and they girdled the flowering crab tree. I was ambevilent about loosing it, but couldnt help to dreamabout the wolf riiver I hope to plant there instead!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2005 at 3:40PM
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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

Yes, after last winter I will never again underestimate the power of a good snow cover. A lot of our snow melted during the recent hot spell, but we got an inch or two last night, in time for the cold snap.

I'd been frequenting the rose forum, and a few weeks ago there was a post about winter protection for roses. A nursery owner in Michigan actually has a snow-making machine, like they use at ski resorts. They use this starting in mid-Dec. or so to winter-protect their roses with a good snow cover (if there is none).

My neighbors would think I'd finally went over the edge if they saw me out there making snow to put on my roses. But I'd use one if we had it.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2005 at 7:55AM
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kap1(Zone 4-5 ME)

My plans for spring include finally getting a lawn in and getting the yard fenced (nice picket fence), then making a yard for the ducks so I can keep them out of the flowerbeds, finishing a flowerbed I started last year, getting the veggies in, and "hopefully" finally getting a greenhouse built.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2005 at 9:34PM
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