Monday, February 16, 2015

Unique Containers for the Garden

An antique wash tub.

Rustic antiques in my shade garden.

What's a porch without a few containers of flowers, herbs, or even vegetables?  One of the features I love about my home is the wrap around porch.  I've collected  a variety of unique containers to bring flowers and herbs on the front porch. I also incorporate containers in the garden landscape.

  Antiques and recycled containers are perfect ideas for plantings on the porch or patio.  Antiques tubs and buckets that are rusted out on the bottom are often very inexpensive and already have the drainage for your plants.  Use your imagination.

An old crate and rusty shovel head.

A double wash tub and water bath canner.

Pineapple Sage is beautiful in pots.  The blooms are beautiful.

Soil for Containers or Hanging Baskets

Each year before  planting I dump the existing soil in the container into a bucket and break it up and add some additional potting mix (without chemical time released fertilizers), and some dry organic fertilizer. I have all my flowers transplants ready.  I fill the container partially, set the transplants in the pot and fill in the gaps with additional potting mix.  I fertilizer once a month fish fish emulsion and kelp.

These are right by my kitchen window.

Herbs for Containers

Pinapple Sage
Lemon Verbena
Chocolate Mint
French Tarragon
Swiss Chard

Wash tub

Old chicken waterer.

Trailing Plants

Sweet Potato Vines
Wave Petunias
Water bath canner with potato vine and verbena.

Geranium, lobelia, and creeping Jenny



Ornamental Kales and Cabbage
Ornamental Grasses
Small Dahlias
Dead Nettle

The plants lists are by no means complete.  A trip to the garden center will inspire great combinations and new varieties.  Take pictures of hanging baskets and container combinations you like and save money by planting your own container gardens.  You'll begin to look at junk in a new way with new possibilities.  

What combinations are your favorites?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Orchard Chores and Spray Scheduale

 "You've got to go out on a limb sometimes,
because that is where the fruit is."
Will Rogers

Nothing compares to eating tree ripened fruit from your orchard.  So go out on a limb and plant an orchard.  Each year you will learn more and each year your harvests will increase.  Don't be afraid to try. Rarely are a growers' mistakes fatal to either the gardener or your trees. 

If it is a high priority to eat organic, it is possible to grow beautiful fruit organically in the home orchard.  Apples and other fruit trees have been grown organically for many centuries.  Modern day chemical methods are new.  Most orchard consultants will tell you it's impossible to grow fruit organically but don't let that discourage you. It is not any more work or effort than using chemicals in the orchard, but the results are  healthier and safer fruit as well as avoiding the risk of spraying with chemicals to yourself and family.

I've done a lot of research on effective organic care of the orchard and my go-to resource is Michael Philips.  His books The Apple Grower and The Holistic Orchard are a must read for the serious grower.  Half the battle is understanding what is going on underground as well as above ground.  The schedule below is taken from his books.  I have used it and have had good results.  Beautiful fruit without chemical sprays.  Even when missing a few sprays I have had good results. 

How Do I Know What To Do?

Bud development is your cue as to what to do in the orchard.