Reviewing 2015 Projects and Plants, Challenges and Results

South Hamilton, MA

who knows when?

Pepperell, MA(Zone 6a)

hoping to rake all weekend - new plants are arriving

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Potted up arugula, salvia Red Jewel (a client loves it), romaine, swiss chard. I managed to germinate my favorite cucumber, and I'm going to pot that up soon. I started some of these seedlings more than once, but didn't pay enough attention.

I'm trying to see how many plants I normally purchased can be grown from seed. I found the seeds of some very colorful heirloom carrots and they germinated but are still too small to transplant. There are some edibles that have a lot of pesticide residue, so I emphasize those. A friend gave me seeds for red peppers he liked. I put them in self watering pots from Gardeners Supply and they were amazing. These pictures are from 2010 but I kept the seeds in the fridge so I germinated some of the original ones last year.

My biggest thrill is watching the virginia bluebells break dormancy and realizing that the ones I put in two years ago are starting to spread!

Thumbnail by DonnaMack Thumbnail by DonnaMack
Thomaston, CT

Awesome peppers! Great idea putting them in watering pots....mine just don't do well in the garden soil....not enough heat at night...same for eggplants. My peas have sprouted, looks like an early crop.....

South Hamilton, MA

no vegetables here.

Thomaston, CT

I'm certainly cutting down......just can't eat all of them, & getting too lazy to preserve!

Lexington, MA(Zone 6a)

Veggies are in my future. I admire those peppers. Worked outside much of today clearing up the brush, raking and adding to the lasagna bed I started last year. My new strubs come in about two more weeks but will stay in protected pots probably for a while.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Hey Rosemary!

I just germinated the cucumbers I have been buying from my local garden center. What a thrill. Also heirloom colorful carrots, swiss chard, arugula and romaine. Working on spinach. Once you have a light setup it is amazing what you can do. The pic show how big the cucumbers get. And they are delicious. I start them in some big old plastic pots I brought from my former home. The second picture shows them, one to a pot, on May 19.

The third is on July 5th.

The 4th on July 24th.

Being in big plastic buckets keeps them away from the ground and from predators. I don't have to treat them for the insects that would come after them, because they never touch the ground. All I do is give them some time released fertilizer and water them on the way to my garage in the morning. They bear enough for a daily cucumber salad, and they bear for months. They are seedless and "burpless".

It's really nice to get organic produce without paying Whole Foods prices. And a pack of seeds is cheap, so I am continuing to see what I can grow. If I can ever germinate baby bok choi I'll be in heaven.

These pics are from 2015 because last year the cucumbers were sold out. I bought another inferior one. Then I realized that the seeds were available. They germinated almost immediately. The seeds go from my lighting setup to my south facing patio and then into the ground.

I am very grateful to my friend, the former owner of my new home, for teaching me how easy it is. Once you have raised flowers from seed you realize that it is the same process, but you actually have more control.

Thumbnail by DonnaMack Thumbnail by DonnaMack Thumbnail by DonnaMack Thumbnail by DonnaMack
Thomaston, CT

I'm afraid I can't raise anything in pots because I forget to water.....I don't water them while growing in the garden either, because my well runs out quickly.....but we get enough rain to grow most anything.....the problem here is cool nights....last summer, the air cond. was on once or twice....most nights, even the overhead fans are off......Of course, once in awhile, we get some scorching summers, but not often....

South Hamilton, MA

We cool down at night because we are in an area which get wind off the ocean. Makes it feel good on hot summer days. I don't do much with plants in pots.

Thomaston, CT

Raining steadily right now, temp at 50......

South Hamilton, MA

just wind here 61 & I would guess hat is the high.

Lexington, MA(Zone 6a)

Love the produce pots! Maybe I can do it next year. My picea bicolor and some other tiny trees came this week. Half of them are in pots now. They may stay that way all year.

Garden clean up is my full force project. Two college graduations mean we ought to have a celebration in June. In my case I think just improving the current garden ought to be my plan for this year. I'm ordering the pitch fork from White Flower Farm. I'll tell you if its any better. Usually a good tool is worth its weight in gold.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

A good tool is absolutely worth its weight in gold! I am almost finished with my garden cleanup (I started in March because it was a mess) and am doing it for two clients (and am about to add a third - yoo hoo!) I have three rakes. A long substantial one that is good for pulling big clumps of leaves, a medium long sized one that is great for reaching under evergreens with a low branch structure like Austrian pines (the less time on the knees the better), and a little skinny one for shrubs. The second one was actually left by the previous occupant - not the kind of thing you ship to New Zealand! My back is happy.

I have been in my new home for four years and FINALLY cleaned up all the leaves and branches to the property lines and moved hostas and geraniums (read bulletproof plants) along the borders of my property on three sides to keep the weeds and crud from other yards out of mine. I had never had hostas before and never liked them, but I have changed my mind because the little darlings reproduce, are fairly easy to transplant, establish quickly and beat back weeds. And without spending a cent. I have learned that geranium 'Bevan's Variety' is essentially evergreen and reproduces well. A friend gave me 20 that have become more than 40. I keep them in a bed under a spot where there was once a clothes line, and dig them up and move them wherever they are needed.

The garden is transformed. The eyesores are minimal!

I opened my windows yesterday and the ridiculous scent of Gary Ladman's two compact carlesis, installed last year, wafted in from 20 feet away. What a bonus! I just installed two viburnum opulus from he and Sue's wonderful site.

Roses are coming from High Country Gardens very soon. I am putting rebloomers next to my non-recurrent Madame Hardy. And adding a big bourbon rose to a bed where I have space. And replacing a rose that got killed by a deluge of ice coming off my roof with another. So I am really executing the things I planned last year.

South Hamilton, MA

Hosta are useful. I prefer the medium & smaller leaf variety, although we brought one larger leaf plant from CT when we moved here 40 years ago. More than 40 years now. I keep it under low branches to protect it from deer.

Thomaston, CT

I have some huge hostas that I love....have hostas all over the place for the reasons mentioned, great weed beaters! Poison ivy has taken over the entire stone wall behind my shade garden.....hate to use chemicals but I have to get it out, it's just intertwined with all the stones, & climbing up my maple tree.......

South Hamilton, MA

Ouch! Sorry for the problem.

Thomaston, CT

I pulled as much as I could.....washed right away....then went to the store & bought Roundup.....haven't sprayed yet....waiting for this afternoon....

South Hamilton, MA

poor hosta. some to be rescued? Or too much entanglement with branches.

Pepperell, MA(Zone 6a)

roundup will not do the job Marilyn - need brush-be-gone or whatever ortho used to replace it.

Hosta's - i have about 175 varieties, just can't help myself, received an order 6 more last week.

Thomaston, CT

Bill! Good thing you have the property for all those hostas...they do get addictive, don't they? I know Roundup won't get rid of PI permanently, but I used Brush-Be-Gone a few years ago, & that didn't work either......I just need a quick fix here....get rid of what's above ground so I can at least work in the area.....PI should really be pulled, but it's impossible to do that in the stone wall....

South Hamilton, MA

I would think that several doses would be needed. 2 years ago we had PI in the middle of an historic Siberian iris. It was pulled & so far it has not returned. We will have to keep an eye on it. Walls can be difficult.

Thomaston, CT

Too true.....plus I'm very allergic to it.....

Lexington, MA(Zone 6a)

Good job, you guys who are attacking poison ivy early in the season. I have a modest number of hostas. I think the right hosta can be indispensable. Donna's yard must be a miracle with all the attention and beauty put there.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Agreed.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

What kindness!

South Hamilton, MA

The pink flowering almond shrub is starting to try & bloom.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Mine too.

South Hamilton, MA

good We had a large one in CT. A friend gave us a start here.

Thomaston, CT

Flowering almond is out in town....don't have one myself, but they are very pretty!

South Hamilton, MA

It's a very satisfactory shrub, even the small ones.

Pepperell, MA(Zone 6a)

mine has begun to flower and several of the jm's are leafing out with great color!

Lexington, MA(Zone 6a)

Sounds to me like time for a new thread! I think I'll have time tonight. We have magnolia and tulips and the spring growth is starting on the conifers too.

Thomaston, CT

My JM Cindy has great spring color! I planted winterberry a few weeks ago....hope it doesn't drown with all this rain!

Pepperell, MA(Zone 6a)

My Cindy looks good too! Both the JM and the better half, although not in that order:) gotta be careful.

South Hamilton, MA

Does she read that?

Pepperell, MA(Zone 6a)

i do not think so - can never be too careful.........

Thomaston, CT

She's a lovely woman, Bill....glad you got the JM with her name!

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