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They have started to arrive December 28, 2008

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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vegetablegardens_1The first of the seed catalogs arrived in the mail yesterday.  Now it’s a merry Christmas. 

I laid on the couch last night under a blanket and looked at all the beautiful plants.  So many to decide from and I only have two catalogs so far.  I know that over the next few weeks I’ll get at least one a week.

I have big plans for the gardens this year, no I mean really big.  I’m taking out most of the front lawn and putting in vegetable and herb gardens.  So I’ll need lots of seeds.  I need to expand the berry bushes and potatoes will be planted for the first time.

Yep, I’m more excited than Christmas morning.  The seed catalogs have started to arrive.

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Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve November 20, 2008

Posted by liajo in general.
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Don’t you wish sometimes we could see into the future?  I sure wish I could’ve have this fall.  If I had I would have planted a really big fall garden.  Who would have dreamed we would be sitting here on November 20th and almost no snow and only one or two good freezes.  If I had known 60 days ago what I know now I would have planted lots of cold weather vegetables.  I just kept telling myself that the weather wouldn’t hold.  If you plant, even in the greenhouse it will snow tomorrow.

Well there’s nothing I can do about it now, but I sure did miss a good opportunity to have a fall garden.  I still keep telling myself it will snow tomorrow and we really do need it now.  I’ll wait for spring and hope I don’t need to tunnel through the snow to get to the greenhouse then.

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.

New subject October 26, 2008

Posted by liajo in comfort food, good things.
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I’ve decided to add another “page” to my blog.  The new subject is comfort food.  It makes sense that I would blog about food since I grow so many of the vegetables that we eat. 

I hope you enjoy reading future blogs about food and cooking and how to use the vegetables that you can grow and preserve yourself.

Gardening Mourning October 14, 2008

Posted by liajo in general.
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Well it happened, we had a frost last night.  The zucchini is all wilted and sad looking.  So are most of the morning glory vines.  There are a couple of ones that have more protection that don’t look to bad.  Most of the leaves have fallen off the grapevines on the back fence.

I heard on the local weather forecast that A Basin, a local ski area, will be opening on Wednesday.  I bet all the skiers are jumping up and down in their ski boots. 

As a gardener all I can do is mourn.   Where did all my 80 and 90 degree days go?  Where are the days with 12 hours of sunshine?  Can it be six more months before I have beautiful blooms on the flowers and vegetables? 

Let the skiers rejoice, I’ll read my seed catalogs and dream of next summer.

Front yard garden October 5, 2008

Posted by liajo in good things.
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Next year at least part of my vegetable gardens will be moving to the front yard.  I am simply out of room in the back yard and still want to expand to gardens so I can grow more vegetables.

It’s taken me a couple of months to win over my husband to the idea.  I started talking to him about it in August.  I’ve also driven him around town and pointed out other yards where vegetables were growing out front.  This helped to ensure him that our town will allow it and that vegetable gardens can look just as pretty as flower gardens in the front yard.

I am looking forward to getting new beds built in the spring and I have a plan that I think will look beautiful.  After years of watering a lawn I think it will make much sense to water vegetables

Garden critters October 1, 2008

Posted by liajo in good things.
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I garden has got to have critters to be a healthy garden.  I know, you’ve been taught that garden critters are bad and just want to eat all your vegetables.  Not true.  Each backyard garden is it’s own little ecosystem and what is an ecosystem or planet without critters.

I bet you love ladybugs, but you can’t have ladybugs if you don’t have the lava they need to eat.  You can’t have the pretty butterfly if you don’t have caterpillars.  No Mr. Toad if he doesn’t have all the little bugs to eat.  Birds and squirrels my nibble around the edges of your vegges but if they have plenty of things to eat, they won’t gorge themselves.

Try to remember all bugs are good, and they are serving a needed purpose in the the ecosystem of your backyard.

Don’t till the dirt!!! September 30, 2008

Posted by liajo in How to tips.
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I was web surfing last night looking for some advice on potato growing.  I ran across a great site with lots of useful information about potatoes and other vegetables and fruits.  I decided to look around the site a little more and clicked on an article about “how to start a garden.”  In the first paragraph the new gardener was told to till the earth as deep as they could.  I wanted to scream. 

When will well meaning gardeners stop giving such advice??  You should never till the earth.  There is an entire micro ecosystem under there that we can’t even see, but whose homes we are destroying.  These little critters are vital to the health of any garden. 

The easiest and quickest way to a new garden is to lay bags of potting mix on the ground open holes in them and plant directly in them.  Check this out on www.MotherEarthNews.com.  If you want a “traditional” garden then very lightly hand till the earth to a very shallow depth.  Next layer on a three to four inches of good composted soil and plant.  Never and I mean never till the earth as deep as you can.