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Oh Yea Baby March 11, 2009

Posted by liajo in good things, weather.
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16_08_25-snow-scene_webFinally, some snow.  Not nearly enough, but a couple of inches.  What we really is need is rain.  About 3 days of a long, slow rain.

We’ll take the snow for now.  I’m still holding the rain dance in reserve though.

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Never Before In February February 25, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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tree_photoMother Nature has given us a double blow this winter, not enough moisture and too much wind.

This week I started watering the gardens and raking and watering the back lawn.  I’ve never done that before in February and we’ve lived in our house for 13 years.

In a usual February we should still have snow on the ground in the shady areas of the yard and mud everywhere else.  Not this year.

I’ll keep watering a little until we get some moisture.  I’m afraid if I don’t do it now it will be to late in a couple of months and there will be no hope for the gardens and this grass this spring.

What’s Your Garden Style? February 22, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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garden-pathway-designIf your new to gardening you may not have discovered your garden style yet.  It really is a personal thing and takes a while to develop sometimes.

My style is best described as cottage.  That’s a nice way of saying almost anything goes.  If I like a plant and it grows in my zone (5) I’ll give it a try.  I’m not really concerned about matching colors or heights. 

The same goes for the hard scape’s.  I have rock, wood and manufactured brick boarders.  I even have some recycled concrete driveway in the boarders. 

For climbing plants I use lattice for big projects and something I like to call twig grids that I make myself from branches that I’ve pruned out and twine for the smaller projects.

And then there is the garden art.  I have everything from small figurines to hand made sculptures to large pots. 

I love a garden that doesn’t give up all it has to offer at one time.  You have to walk all around and through my gardens to find all the surprises.

Catalog Order Day February 15, 2009

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veggiesThis morning was plant and seed catalog ordering day.  After spending sixweeks reviewing all the catalogs I’ve received I went with just one for the whole order, Gurney’s.  I’ve had good luck with Gurney’s in the past and I couldn’t beat their $25 early order discount.

We plan on really expanding the vegetable gardens this year so I ordered things I never have before.  I’m also adding lots of berry’s this year.  I had good luck with the raspberries that I planted last year and will be adding more of them along with blueberries and blackberries.

Since most of my flower beds are pretty well established I just ordered a few seed packs.

Everything should start arriving in a couple of weeks.  Shortly after that the real work will begin.

High and Dry February 8, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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tempeture20conversionsWe should be dealing with snow drifts or at the very least mud puddles everywhere.  Instead we have been left high and dry.  Average snow fall for Denver at this time of year for the season is about 62 inches.  So far for this season we’ve had only 16 inches of snow.

It is true that March and April are two of our snowiest months, but I’m starting to get worried.  I rely on a wet winter to give the gardens the jump start they need in the spring. 

If we don’t get much snow or even rain during the next six weeks I’ll probably scale back my planting plans.  I’d rather down size the gardens now instead of going ahead with the plantings and hoping for the best later. 

I know from experience that it can be both expensive and time consuming to keep a garden going when there is not enough water. 

But for the next weeks I’ll appeal to Mother Nature for more moisture.

Saving Energy January 28, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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There is more than one type of energy.  When you plant vegetation that is native to your region you can conserve your own energy.

Gardening can be strenuous exercise, but you can make it a little bit easier just by the type of plants you pick.  Native perennials and self seeders are my favorite type of plants.  Once they are established they require very little of my effort, water or time to look good.

Few vegetables are perennials but picking the ones that are suited for your region will save you lots of personal energy not to mention heart ache if the plant dies.  Some vegetables can be self seeders if you allow them to be.  I almost always have some type of beans or peas growing where I didn’t plant them.  I probably planted there the year or two before and new plants sprout from old pods left on the ground. 

Building gardening beds and fences, moving compost and rocks and laying stone paths all take a lot of personal energy in the gardens.  Tending to the actual plants doesn’t have to take much energy all if you pick your plants well.

Time Saving Native Plants January 26, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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clock_screen01I could stay in the gardens forever.  But there are a few other things that I do need do sometimes.  Planting a lot of native plants helps me get out of the gardens quicker when I need to.

Once native plants are established, a season or two at most, they can pretty much take care of them selves.  Even vegetables that are suited for your region take less time than those that are not.

A little weed pulling, mulching and composting a couple of times a season and you should be good to go. 

Native plants will certainly cut down on the amount of time you spend watering.  Unless it gets very dry, most natives are okay with what mother nature gives them.   If it does get drier and hotter than normal watering once or twice a week should get them through.

So if time spent in the garden is an issue, then go native.

Winter Composting January 5, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, How to tips.
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I practice composting all year.  During the winter months I continue to collect kitchen waste for the compost pile.  And it doesn’t even get smelly.

I have a good sized galvanized pale that sits on the cabinet.  I keep it lined with several pages of newspaper.  It’s large enough to hold 5 to 7 days worth of waste for me and my husband. 

I always recommend a galvanized pale, it doesn’t hold odors the way plastic does and it’s way cheaper than a ceramic container.  Adding coffee grounds daily also helps to keep odors at bay.

If the weather is warm I may empty the pale on the regular compost pile.  If it’s really cold then I just dump it right on the vegetable beds, which are about 5 feet from my back door.  The garden is fenced so I don’t have to worry about the dogs digging around in the waste (Bubba would eat almost anything he found.)  And by spring, most of the waste has decayed right into the beds, so I’ve got nice rich soil when I’m ready to plant.

Don’t forget the bread January 4, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, good things.
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wormsI’ve been spending a lot of time doing what most gardeners do this time of year, reading about gardening. 

One of my favorite subjects is composting.  I love that by composting I can make great dirt for the gardens and reduce our over all waste.

However, almost all the articles I have been reading have left bread off the list of ingredients that are okay to compost, especially whole grain breads.  Most worms, a key part of any good compost pile, like the grains.

So along with fruit and vegetable scrapes, coffee grounds, tea bags and egg shells don’t forget the stale bread.  The worms will thank you.

Blanket of White December 15, 2008

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16_08_25-snow-scene_webI am not a fan of winter.  I don’t enjoy any of the out door sports or look forward to the below zero temps.  I need more day light than there is during winter.  I hate not being able to be outside in the gardens.

I do realize that the land needs a good rest and winter is when it gets to rest.  It’s like the gardens are sleeping under a blanket of white just waiting for the spring time.

That’s what I do too.  Curled up under a blanket inside I’m dreaming of the warm spring and hot summer.  I plan new gardens and think about what new seeds to grow.  I dream of a warm sun on my shoulders and the smell of dirt.

But for now that’s all it is, a dream.  The reality is there is six inches of snow covering everything and it’s a whole two degree’s above zero.  The land is resting and will be for another three months or so.