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Has Achieved Nirvana
Picture of wtg
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I have *so* much to do outside this year, both gardening and some outdoor home repair projects.

So of course as I scour the internet I'm finding some nifty ideas for projects that I have no use for but that I'm fascinated with.

Like this DIY screen:



The how to:

https://www.motherdaughterproj...-pipe-privacy-screen

I'm also adding another raised bed to put raspberries in, and I've gotten some really great large pots at Costco that I'm going to plant black currants and gooseberries in.

Right now I'm trying to talk myself out of buying a storage shed I saw at Costco. I figure I need to get rid of more stuff and then I won't need a shed!

I know it's not spring everywhere, but what's cooking in your outside world?


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Take only what you need and leave the land as you found it - Arapaho proverb

Bazootiehead-in-training



 
Posts: 34870 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
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Yesterday was cold and rainy so I spent the day ordering stuff for the garden. For once in my life, I'm actually getting things going early enough and I'm not running into my usual procrastinator's problem of everything being out of stock...

I ordered a couple of kinds of black currant bushes (Ben Sarek and Titania), a gooseberry (Hinnomaki Red), and a jostaberry (a black currant/gooseberry cross).

Also ordered some seed potatoes (Kennebec and Red Gold) and....drum roll...some alpine strawberries! I ordered plants to get a jump on a crop this year but I'm also did the crazy thing and ordered seeds. Years ago my dad managed to grow alpine strawberries from seeds and I'm up for the challenge. I found a little grower in Indiana who will ship ten plants, and you get to pick from the dozen or so varieties that he grows. I ordered a few of three different red, and one yellow. The flavor of the yellows is supposed to be fabulous. He doesn't sell seeds; I'll probably just order the two varieties that Renee's Garden carries.

Raining again today, but weather should break and warm up tomorrow and I'll be out there doing more prep work!


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Take only what you need and leave the land as you found it - Arapaho proverb

Bazootiehead-in-training



 
Posts: 34870 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Minor Deity
Picture of Mary Anna
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Quirt is outside fertilizing the trees as I type.

Smiler

I think I'm not going to do a vegetable garden this year. My doctor recommended a very low fiber diet, and there just aren't many things I enjoy from the garden that work with that.

But I can still enjoy flowers!
 
Posts: 15245 | Location: Florida | Registered: 22 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
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The weather here has been very nice - 60’s and sunny - but my neighbors say it’s a teaser. Last frost here is normally late April.

Home centers are showing bulbs, barefoot trees and such, but when is it safe to plant?


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Life is short. Play with your dog.

 
Posts: 33256 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Minor Deity
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Miller:
The weather here has been very nice - 60’s and sunny - but my neighbors say it’s a teaser. Last frost here is normally late April.

Home centers are showing bulbs, barefoot trees and such, but when is it safe to plant?

I am sure there’s local lore about this but don’t know how to access it. Maps of hardiness zones are easy to find, but that’s not quite the same thing.


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“It's hard to win an argument with a smart person. It's damn near impossible to win an argument with a stupid person." -- Bill Murray

 
Posts: 13100 | Location: The outer burrows | Registered: 27 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Depends on what you're planting, Steve. Also your microclimate.

When I lived in Evanston (on the lake) I could plant things a couple of weeks earlier than I do in Arlington Heights. The two cities are only about 20 miles apart but Lake Michigan's presence really changes things up. The last frost date is much earlier near the lake, but it's also the case that it keeps the temps a bit cooler, especially during the spring. So I had more time to get things done, but I found that my harvests weren't really much earlier than they are here.

The stuff I'm ordering now, the berry bushes and strawberries, are bareroot and pretty hardy. Mail order nurseries usually time their shipping so coincide with the appropriate planting dates in your area, so it's usually safe to just plant them then. Of course things vary from year to year, so if there's a cold wet snap going on you may have to adjust accordingly. You don't want to be digging in wet soil; it screws up the structure. Plus it's a mess!

Our last frost can be as early as the end of April but can also be as late as May 25th. The home centers can jump the gun and they have tender plants available way before it's safe to plant I feel comfortable planting them. We see people swarming Home Depot the week before Mother's Day buying impatiens (they're very tender) and then lose them a week after they are in.

Neighbors, university extensions, and local botanical gardens are great resources to help you navigate the local conditions.

Got any ideas yet about what you might be growing?


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Take only what you need and leave the land as you found it - Arapaho proverb

Bazootiehead-in-training



 
Posts: 34870 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
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I want to grow herbs, mostly. They cost a fortune in the stores and I use a lot of them. There are lots of (closed for winter) produce stands around but I don’t know if they’ll sell fresh herbs.

Maybe some bulbs as they didn’t do well in CA. I like the idea of early flowers like Narcissus and they’d look good with the (vaguely Asian) style the back yard is planted in now.

Great info - thanks! ThumbsUp


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Life is short. Play with your dog.

 
Posts: 33256 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Spring flowering bulbs are planted in the autumn. Costco has some great deals on bags of bulbs and they are excellent quality.

I've planted nearly every bulb imaginable. Based on my gardening experience, here's my take....

I love tulips but don't plant them anymore because the squirrels love to dig them up and eat them right after they are planted and if there are any that make it to spring and actually bloom the little beggars gnaw the flowers off the stem and then leave them lying on the ground. The foliage is pretty ugly as it fades.

Crocus are absolutely lovely but the squirrels dig them up, too. There's also an autumn crocus, an odd creature that I've never grown but find fascinating.

Haven't had much luck with regular hyacinths. They get top heavy and flop over. To me they kind of look man-made and artificial.

I love wood hyacinths, which are a completely different woodland bulb but very pretty. Also something called a grape hyacinth. The critters leave both of these alone. My wood hyanciths don't spread but the grape hyacinths do.

I have a love/hate relationship with scilla siberica (Siberian squill). Cute little blue flowers. If you have a big area to fill in they naturalize rapidly but they also can be invasive, creeping into adjoining areas where you might not want them. I ended up digging out all of the ones I had because I couldn't control them.

Daffodils/narcissus are great. They are poisonous so creatures tend to leave them alone though they occasionally make a half-hearted effort to dig up anything where the soil is disturbed.

Daffodils naturalize beautifully and there are lots of different colors and varieties (singles and doubles, large blossoms and small). There are early, mid- and late blooming varieties so if you plant a mix you will have flowers for weeks. I plant them in clusters of three to five bulbs in the flower beds.

I'm also a fan of snowdrops, a very early bloomer. Sometimes they will pop up through the snow even as early as late January/early February. It's my gardener's "hope springs eternal" flower....

You can deadhead the spent flowers, but be prepared to live with the spent foliage for a while. The leaves make food that is stored in the bulb and that powers next year's blooms. I have hostas planted around the daffodils so the crummy looking foliage is fairly well hidden. Just something to consider when you choose places to plant bulbs....


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Take only what you need and leave the land as you found it - Arapaho proverb

Bazootiehead-in-training



 
Posts: 34870 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I had tried planting various herbs in the ground many years ago but it was always hit or miss and of course nothing in winter. I decided to give them another go last year.

I bought a bunch of smallish pots with built-in saucers and planted the herbs I picked up at Home Depot. I had lavender, basil, thyme, Greek oregano, parsley, and mint. They spent the summer outside. I overwintered them in the basement under an LED shop light. They did OK but I had to water them really frequently. The dry air plus smallish pots are to blame. I'm going to get some bigger pots and replant the herbs I have. I don't think I use fresh herbs nearly as much as you do, but it was nice to pop downstairs in January and pick a few sprigs of thyme to pop in whatever I was cooking. So far, I think they're worth the trouble.

But that assessment changes from year to year. Big Grin


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Take only what you need and leave the land as you found it - Arapaho proverb

Bazootiehead-in-training



 
Posts: 34870 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Unrepentant Dork
Gadfly
Picture of dolmansaxlil
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Miller:
The weather here has been very nice - 60’s and sunny - but my neighbors say it’s a teaser. Last frost here is normally late April.

Home centers are showing bulbs, barefoot trees and such, but when is it safe to plant?


I’m guessing our growing seasons are similar, though mine may be a week or two behind yours? But traditionally the “rule” here is get stuff in the ground by the May long weekend (in Canada that’s around May 24 - I believe the weekend before Memorial Day). A couple weeks before that is ok, but May 24 is the “last chance” date. If you want to grow from seeds you usually have to start them indoors or put a cold frame over them to make sure they are warm enough to sprout. I know lots of people who use a cold frame so they can harvest fresh greens in all but the coldest months (January through March).

Chives, parsley, and cilantro will easily come back year after year in our climate. Mint apparently will as well but I don’t grow it. Every other herb I’ve had to bring inside in the winter if I want it to survive.

ETA after reading WTGs last post: we brought our thyme and sage plants in this year and just stuck them in front of a south facing window. We have harvested from them all winter. The thyme I let dry out too much but I’m confident it’ll come back once I get it outside - I seem to remember it being pretty resilient.

One more thing - we have given up on planting cilantro as it goes to seed too quickly. Even though we use a lot of it we just found ourselves never having anything useable, despite planting several plants and trying to rotate cutting between them. I’m sure someone with a greener thumb than I would have more success.


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"Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst." ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

 
Posts: 3862 | Location: Ontario, Canada | Registered: 29 June 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Minor Deity
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Too early here to do much but..

We had our org seed swap. We have seed companies donate their inventory from last year, best year yet...more than $6K worth.

Staff got first dibs..

I am planting lots of sunflowers...for Urkraine.


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"Wealth is like manure; spread it around and it makes everything grow; pile it up, and it stinks."
MillCityGrows.org

 
Posts: 11209 | Location: Massachusetts | Registered: 22 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
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Gardening has come to a screeching halt. It rained for a few days and yesterday the temp was just below 30. Will shoot up to the 30s and maybe low 40s for a few days, a warm day on Wednesday, then back to cold again.

My online orders are trickling in. Potatoes are here, as is the raised bed. Now I just have to wait for a little warmer dry weather to level the ground where the raised bed is going.

Also have some raspberries and an oakleaf hydrangea to dig up because I'm moving them to different locations in the yard. Will probably do that this week; they haven't quite broken dormancy so it's a good time to get them dug up.

Been getting bids to replace our asphalt driveway. Need to have some areas of the adjoining brick path redone because they've sunk a bit over time. Asphalt plants around here don't usually open until late April, so I guess we're a little ahead of the game. Have been a little surprised, but contractors have been returning calls and coming out to give estimates.

Welcome to spring!


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Take only what you need and leave the land as you found it - Arapaho proverb

Bazootiehead-in-training



 
Posts: 34870 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
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Pro tip: Don't set up your rain barrel if temps are going to be below freezing for an extended period of time.

Leaving


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Take only what you need and leave the land as you found it - Arapaho proverb

Bazootiehead-in-training



 
Posts: 34870 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Beatification Candidate
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Any kind of mint or lemon balm will take over and be difficult to control - I had a couple of small areas surrounded by concrete next to the basement stairs that turned out to be perfect...

Otherwise potted on a patio or deck works well.


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Posts: 7223 | Location: chicagoland | Registered: 21 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Over the last few months, I've been planting seeds in my Hugelbeet. I put onions on one end. I have bok choy coming up nicely at the other end. I put tomatoes in the south-facing end. I've been dropping spare potatoes along the back. And I moved some strawberry plants to along the top.

Mrs. pj put up a bird feeder hanging off a tree branch. The squirrels have been feasting on it. So, to dissuade them, she put a pan under it and has been putting peanuts out. The squirrels don't eat the peanuts. They grab them, then go bury them. The little rodents have completely ripped up the hugel burying peanuts everywhere. There are maybe a dozen bok choy left standing. Half the strawberry plants have been dislodged. The onions should be coming up now, but it's just a mess.

They've also been digging in several pots I've recently planted with sedums and things.

No more peanuts.

Today, I am building a squirrel guard to put over the bird feeder.

Little furry bastards.


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pj, citizen-poster, unless specifically noted otherwise.

mod-in-training.

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All types of erorrs fixed while you wait.

 
Posts: 29589 | Registered: 27 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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