Blue Heron landscape Design | 2011 April
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April 2011

26 Apr Garden Designers Roundtable: Top Plants!

Today is Roundtable day, and this month our designers are discussing their “Top Landscape Plants”! We’re not posting this month, but I hope you’ll head over the the GDRT Blog and see what my fellow bloggers choices are for their designs.

As a special treat, we’ve invited Nan Ondra and her popular blog Hayefield to join us. Nan has authored or co-authored many books on plants and gardens. You don’t want o miss her post!

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22 Apr Earth Day Reading Project

Happy Earth Day everyone! Today, as part of a project created by The Sage Butterfly, I offer to you a selection of books that have inspired me to want to be a better steward of this great planet. I must admit first, that Earth Day has flown by me in the past, as it comes during an especially busy time of the year, so I am happy to be able to take a break this year and share these titles with you, and also to say thanks to Debbie Roberts at A Garden of Possibilities  for asking me to participate.

These are the books that have moved me!

I love dirt. Not the kind you find in the tabloids, although I do look there once in a while, but healthy, dark soil. Jeff Lowenfels Teaming with Microbes, is a wonderful read for those of you who feels the same as me. A layman’s covering of Elaine Ingham’s masterful work with compost tea and the soil foodweb, Teaming with Microbes makes soil science accessible and entertaining.

Bringing Nature Home by Doug Tallamy, is sure to be found on many of these lists. Doug’s research into the relationships between native insect populations and native plant species, caught everyone’s attention. We learn in Bringing Nature Home, that native insects and pollinators cannot survive without native plant species, and that attracting birds and butterflies through scent and flower alone, does not insure their survival. We have taken Tallamy’s message to heart and consider his research in all of our designs.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma is a bittersweet addition to this list, in that it both exposes big corporate agriculture, for its careless regard for the environment and focus on profits, while at the same time introduces us to some folks who are making great strides to grow good, wholesome food, in a way that is safe for both humans and the planet. The Omnivore’s Dilemma should be on every bookshelf in America.

I am often asked by clients about the mushrooms growing on their property, and what should be done to get rid of them. I cannot remember my answer to that question before reading Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets, but since it goes something like this, “Nothing!” Stamets shows us the unbelievably vast role that fungi plays in the health of this planet, and can play with us. This is a must read for all you soil geeks out there, and you know who  you are!

The common thread that runs through each of these titles is relationships. Life is a complex series of relationships, from the microbiology in the soil to the life cycles of pollinators, to the stewardship of land when growing food. Sir Isaac Newton’s Third law of Motion states “to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction”. He was speaking of force, but we can easily apply that to the actions we take on a daily basis. All of life is connected, and connected again to the Earth. The choices we make affect the life around us, and its important that we make the right choices. Happy Earth Day everyone, and don’t forget to “Love Your Mother!”

I’ve invited my friend and fellow blogger Cindy Juliano at Garden by the Sound to join us today, please stop by and see what inspires her!

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11 Apr Great Garden Experiment 2011 – The Cold Frame!

This post is one in a series that asks the question, To CSA or not to CSA… For the original post and a little more info please read here.

Gardener’s log, Star date 2011.4.12; I fear that in my zeal to incorporate edibles back into our lives, hubris may have gotten the best of me. The crew however remains upbeat and after a beautiful afternoon, we have managed to get all of our seeds started. My hope is that we are able to bring our bounty to harvest before being assimilated by the Weed. Scott out.

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How often does this happen in our lives, that we bite off more then we can chew? Unfortunately for me it forms the chorus of my life’s song, but fortunately, I do love to putter round the garden.

We have received most of our seed order(s) and are only now waiting on seed potatoes that will ship mid April, and despite the busyness of the season and working around strangely timed rain events, we were able this past weekend to start the early seeds  and get them into a very long cold frame.

All planted!

Tucked in and ready to grow!

Luckily we had enough scrap wood and a couple of sheets of plywood to build the cold frame, and I even had a roll of felt paper (for roofing) to line the sides. The dark material will absorb heat and help keep the flats warmer at night. In a few weeks when nighttime temperatures have safely risen, we’ll move the flats and the cold frame and replace it with raised beds. The soil here is horrible, but it’s the sunniest spot in the yard.

We are late in getting the early direct sow vegetables into the ground, no worries though as we have started these late before and somehow they always manage to provide. There is much to prepare this year as we have not had a garden in a few years and will need to expand what once sufficed for square footage. We also will need to gather up materials for trellises, potato towers, raised beds and stakes. I’ll be calling on a few friends in the building industry for lumber scraps to keep the costs under control and using the vast array of “stuff” I have gathered myself, of which there is a lot! (I am a New England Yankee after all).

Now, in case you’re wondering what we’ll be growing this year, I have prepared the following list! I’ll update you on the cost of our project in a later post, and hopefully by then, we’ll have the rest of the seeds in the ground.

A comprehensive if overwhelming list, no?

 

That’s it for now, but I’d love to hear how your garden is coming along. Please leave a comment!

 

Gardener’s log supplemental; I have made my report to the Federation, but I sense a lack of confidence in our mission. In the coming weeks it will be imperative to stay focused on the task at hand, and work to bolster the crew’s spirits. I hope I am not (as Captain Ahab once did) chasing my white whale. Scott Out!

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