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Changing Things Up February 18, 2009

Posted by liajo in good things.
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You know the old saying, if you can’t change them, then join then.  Well that’s kind of what I just did with the blog theme.  I figured lots of other things  in my life were  changing, so why not change my blog theme.

I tried out lots of theme’s before picking this one.  I like the night sky.  Many gardeners use lunar signs for planting and harvesting and even the best times to pull weeds.  I know that because I’m one of those gardeners.

I’ll try out the new theme for a while and see how it feels.  I think it’s a good pick, but if it isn’t it’s easy enough to change again.

Craft of the Month February 5, 2009

Posted by liajo in crafts.
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making_needlework_accessoriesI like doing crafts, especially needle work, almost as much as I like gardening.  They help to keep me busy during the colder months when there isn’t much gardening happening.

My only problem with crafts are that I usually have several going at one time.  While this is great for variety, I don’t feel like I’m getting anything done.

My solution, I’ve decided to have a craft of the month.  For the rest of this month I’ll be working on finishing an afghan I started a year ago. 

Hopefully I’ll finish it and move on to the next project.

Ground Hog Day February 2, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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So today is Ground Hofamily-vacations-groundhog-dayg Day, and it does not matter if the poor animal sees his shadow or not, there will be 6 more weeks and winter.  The good news is we are now exactly half way between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.

Pretty soon the tulips will start peaking through the winter ground, even it it’s snow covered.  That’s one reason I love tulips, they are one of the “early” flowers.

Today is my traditional day to make sure that my seed and plant order is ready to be placed.  I like to get it in early so I can start planting in the greenhouse and sun room.  That ensures I’ll have good sized plants to transfer into the gardens about 8 weeks after they were started.

Yes Ground Hog Day is important to me, but why can’t we just let the poor animal sleep while we place our seed orders.

Chia Herbs February 1, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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So is growing Chia herbs cheating?  I don’t think so.

You are planting actual seeds, even if it’s on a kind a funny sponge like peat moss thing.  You do have to water them and it’s suggested you keep them covered with plastic.  Not a bad idea for germinating any new seeds.

As a rather accomplished gardener I have had lousy luck with herbs.  I’ve tried seed and plants from a variety of suppliers. 

So if the Chia herbs grow I don’t care if it’s cheating or not.

Native Benefits January 25, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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vegetablegardens_1There are definite benefits to growing native and it doesn’t matter if you prefer to grow flowers, vegetables, shrubs or trees.

While the benefits are numerous they fall into three general categories, water, time and energy.

I’ll look at water today.  If the plant is native to the region then more than likely it has had time to adjust to the water conditions.  That’s why mesquite bushes grow in the Southwest and not the Southeast, they need very little water.

You could always water the heck out of plants that come from a wetter region than yours and they might live.  But is it worth it, watering can be costly and time consuming.  It’s much harder if you plant something from the desert in a more tropical area.  The plant will surely die.

There will always be drought and rainy years when even the native plants struggle a little.  You can also use containers for small plants that are not from your region and make an environment that they can survive in.

But your best bet is to go native.

Go Native January 22, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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barrow__garden_decoration_I look at amazement at all of the exotic plants pictured in the seed catalogs.  Beautiful things I have never seen before.  And it is so tempting to order some of them.

But, no matter how beautiful and exotic they are I’ll leave them off the final order list. 

Why, because when ordering seed and plants it’s best to go native and stick with something that will actually grow and thrive in your area. 

I’ll continue later posts with benefits of native and negatives of exotics.

Way to Hot January 20, 2009

Posted by liajo in weather.
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tempeture20conversionsIt has been way to hot here this winter.  It was reading almost 65 degrees this afternoon.  In the middle of January in Colorado that is just to warm.  And this isn’t an isolated event this winter. 

While my heating bill may be loving, I’m really starting to worry about my gardens.  The gardens should be covered in snow or at least getting a heavy frost each morning and that just isn’t happening.

Besides the really warm weather we’ve been having high winds which just dry things out that much more.

I’m hoping it gets a lot wetter soon.  If it doesn’t I may have to get out the water hose.

Herbal Help January 19, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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herbsI’ve had pretty good luck growing most vegetables and flowers.  I usually just sprinkle a few seeds or transplant a few seedlings and watch them grow.

Not so with herbs.  I’ve tried seeds and transplants inside and outside.  I’ve tried giving them almost no water and watering almost daily.  It doesn’t matter, they almost always die.

I’ve heard and read that herbs are basically weeds and easy to grow.  Supposedly they are so easy to grow if you’re not careful they will take over the entire yard.  I wish.

I’m not giving though.  For Christmas I got a Chia gourmet herb garden.  I’ll plant it sometime this week.  I’m also planning a special spot for a herb garden when we dig up the front lawn this year.

I’m counting on the law of averages, sooner or later some of these herbs have actually got to grow.

Seed Catalogs Keep Coming January 13, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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amazing_flowers_smallThe seed, plant and bulb catalogs just keep coming.  I look through every page of each one of them.

There really are some great deals and some really different plants.  I’d love to have one of everything.

But instead I’ll stick to what I need and can use.  Mostly this year I’ll be buying vegetable seed and berry bushes. 

I don’t really need anymore flowers, even if I would like to have more.    Over the last five years or so I have gotten a good base of bulbs, perennials and self seeders.  

I’ll be making my final picks in the next month or so and in the mean time I’ll take another look at all the catalogs.

No Watering November 16, 2008

Posted by liajo in How to tips.
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green20livingThis post is in response to a comment I had from Jeannie at http://pinecottage.wordpress.com.  She asked about gardening with water restrictions which can be tricking.  Actually she said they are not supposed to water outside at all.  Now those are tough gardening conditions.  I have a few ideas that might help some.

First is mulching.  I mulch everything.  It really does help to hold in any water plants get.  I don’t use anything fancy, just grass clippings and leaves.  Jeannie lives in a mountain area and pine needles are supposed to be great for mulching also.  

Second, recycle water.  I do this in two ways.  I have tubs and barrels all over the yard that catch rain water.  I even use the wheel barrel.  After a good rain, you’ll have water for a week or so.  If you have rain gutters on the house place a large barrel (55 gallons) at the down spout.  You can buy a complete system on line or make your own.  Make sure there is a cover.  It will help to keep the mosquito from breeding in the water. 

For container and house plants I recycle the rinse water from doing the dishes.  I don’t have a dish washers, so all the dishes are done by hand anyway.  Many plants, like roses, love a little bit of soapy water.  I even have friend who recycled her sons bath water.  When I was growing up I had an aunt that lived on a farm.  All the “gray water” from the house went straight to the vegetable garden.  This actually upsets water companies, something about only paying for the once and using it twice.  Give me a break.

Third, use a greenhouse.  This was my first summer growing vegetables in a greenhouse.  The tomatoes loved it.  A very little bit of water made nice humidity.  Something we don’t have much of in Colorado.  Pick the right type of plants though.  The peppers hated it, it was too wet for them.

Forth, try and buy native plants, especially flowers.  I’ve done a lot a reading on native plants and plan to choose my flowers more carefully.  Bottom line, if it’s native to the area, it should survive with the water mother nature provides.

I’ve never tried this last one but it may work.  Jeannie lives in an area that probably gets a lot of snow.  If you can recycle rain water, you might be able to recycle snow.  Here’s what I’m thinking.  Some type of barrel that can with stand the frost/freeze cycles.  Fill it with snow during the winter and let it melt.  If anybody has tried this let us know.

I must admit, I’ve never gardened with no water, that has got to be a challenge.  I hope some of the above ideas help and good luck.