30 November 2007

Baker Creek Seeds in Missouri

Baker Creek Seeds is the most local seed company we have, even though it is in Missouri. Since we are supposed to purchase seed from the closest producer, Baker Creek is it.

Plus, the seeds I buy from them germinate and grow decently. My gardening skills are still developing so I'm probably not the perfect person to judge by. But! Even in our yard, the successes outweighed the failures with Baker Creek Seeds.

From their email newsletter -

2008 catalog is 100 pages in length, with over 1200 items listed.
Weekly Christmas music festivals on Sundays, 3pm-8pm -music shows, crafts, and shopping.

200 new seed varieties, including many unique varieties. Also added growing information and photos to the new catalog.
For a sneak preview of the new catalogwww.rareseeds.com/2008catalogBW.pdf
New items here: www.rareseeds.com/seeds/new/

For more information about Village, go to www.StreetsOfBakersville.com
Garden forums at www.IDigMyGarden.com
Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company2278 Baker Creek Road, Mansfield, MO www.rareseeds.com (417) 924-8917

29 November 2007

Blue Flowering Plants

Today's garden column was about blue flowering plants and blue foliage plants. In case you missed it, here is the link.

http://www.muskogeephoenix.com/features/local_story_332190559.html?keyword=secondarystory

Brent and Becky's bulb sale just got twice as interesting: 50% off all remaining bulbs.

"The Curious Gardener's Almanac" was reviewed on a blog that is new to me, Applejack. The reviewer enjoyed the book and said it is about the adventures of us commoners in the garden rather than the professionals. It sounds entertaining.

28 November 2007

Weeder for Small Troughs

HOW CAN YOU WEED BETWEEN SMALL PLANTS?

On the Alpine-L conversation,
Alpine-L, the Electronic Rock Garden Society
those who grow in troughs need special weeders to get between plants.

A Northern California company, Hidatool.com, has this weeder on sale. It was recommended by a member and certainly looks like it would do the job.EVERYTHING ON SALE 10% OFF
Gardening Tool Root Cut Weeder:
Blade Length 1 3/4inch (45mm)fork Tip 1inch (25mm)Overall 7 1/2inch (190mm)Item#N-2207Price $7.00

Lighting Enhancements for Indoor Growing, Fall Planted Spring Blooming Bulbs and Pruning Thornless Blackberry Bushes

THE SHED SAGA
If you are a regular reader, you already know about the rainbow ceiling in the new garden shed. This is a photo from yesterday - more changes and improvements were made today - the tweaking continues. The new feature today was the addition of reflective insulation material on the wall to the right to take advantage of the sets of grow lights hanging there. Reflective material on the wall behind the grow shelves maximizes the use of artificial lighting.

THE ONE THOUSAND BULBS
A gardening friend from Daffnet (the daffodil conversation online) told me that

Brent and Becky's Bulbs is having a last of the last sale (25% off).


So I ordered.


It is now official: We will have put in 1,000 bulbs this year when they arrive and get planted. The photo below is one of the beds - it now has 700 bulbs in it. We can see this bed from the kitchen table windows.

Two things about the Brent and Beck's sale: 1) My online friend said they didn't have in stock everything they advertise as available; and, 2) she said they did not give her the discount so she had to call them to remind them to credit her.


Well, here's a third thing: I ordered online last night, received a confirmation email last night. Then this morning I received an email from them that said something like critical information and looked for all the world like a virus-type email so I called their order department. The woman there said that she has received other calls about the danger-danger style of the email subject line. At any rate, it is actually from B & B and is harmless.
If you want to print out that particular email confirmation of your order and the prices you will be charged -you must have the most recent Adobe and some other piece of software installed. I didn't seem to have the right software they wanted so I didn't bother printing it. If the bill is incorrect, I'll call them then.

BLACKBERRY PRUNING --- I started cutting back the thornless blackberry bushes today. This year's yield was terrific and we have several bags of berries in the freezer to use over the winter. All the blackberry pruning advice says to remove the canes that made fruit this year. Anyone know how a person can tell which ones they are? They don't appear to have any markings that look different from the new canes.

27 November 2007

Science Daily: Carnivorous Plants and Saving Butterflies

Science Daily email today has several articles of interest for nature lovers.

First on the slimy saliva of pitcher plants, "Carnivorous plants supplement the meager diet available from the nutrient-poor soils in which they grow by trapping and digesting insects and other small arthropods. . . . that they employ slimy secretions to doom their victims. "

If you had been wondering how they do it, that mystery is now solved.

And, a link to an older column about Monarch butterfly way stations. Butterfly gardening has to be part of any garden. The video on the link works without any advertising, too.

The other great part of the Monarch column is that there are several other informative links to the topic.

Plant butterfly nectar sources even if you can't stand the idea of planting caterpillar edible ones.

Go Native, Take Care of Your Houseplants and Are You Too Old To Blog?

New Book Urges the Planting of More Native Plants

A professor at the University of Delaware has a new book out,
"Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Life in Our Gardens" and it is of course published by Timber Press. The link above is to an interview with Dr. Tallamay in the college's paper. (288-pages, 300-photos, $27, free shipping on the publisher's website.)

From the interview: "I took a course in woody landscape plants and found out about all these fascinating exotic plants,” says Tallamy. “Meanwhile, in my entomology courses, I was learning about plant-insect interactions.
“All of the information I needed to realize that covering the land with alien plant species might not be such a good idea had been neatly placed in my lap in grad school, but it was 20 years before I made the connection: our native insects, and therefore our wildlife, will not be able to survive on alien plant species.”


Houseplant Advice

And, from a blog called Gardening Equipment comes a conversation about how to keep houseplants healthy.
The author says, "By far the major cause of failure in the home garden is neglect." and "The second big reason for plant failure comes from trying to grow plants in an environment unsuited or badly suited to their needs."

Click on the link to read more.

Hot topics

On the blog, Cold Climate Gardening, a conversation about blogging and "older gardeners" who do not blog has stirred a controversy that actually has readers posting. Many of us older gardeners who blog have weighed in.

Anybody actually out in the garden in our 25 to 50 degrees?

25 November 2007

Low-cost, Pet and Child Friendly, Chemical Free Pesticides

We all want low-cost as well as pet and child friendly solutions to gardening dilemmas.

Chemical-free pesticides are also the territory of all gardeners who are trying to be good stewards of the earth.

In "Designing with Succulents", Debra Baldwin recommends using a spray of diluted rubbing alcohol to cure plants of sucking insects such as aphids and mites.

On the Aroid-L discussion there have been several suggestions for dealing with fungi this weekend.

Ground cinnamon is recommended as a natural fungicide for use on tubers and roots that have been cut or dug up for winter storage. In addition, orchids, aroids, agave and other plant roots benefit from a thick cinnamon coating while damp.

Used on succulent cuttings, it is said to speed up the callus production which is important. And, if the root of a plant has begun to rot, remove the affected portion and cover the cleaned root with cinnamon to use it as a fungicide. The injured roots have to be dampened to make the cinnamon stick.

A coating of cinnamon powder also keeps ants away since ants will not cross a trail of cinnamon. If they invade a potted plant, dust it with cinnamon.

Another experienced gardener suggested soaking plant roots in 3% hydrogen peroxide, allowing them to air dry, then dusting roots with Comet or Ajax.

Cinnamon powder can also be used as a natural fungicide to prevent damping-off in seedlings. Weak chamomile tea, used at room temperature is another natural fungicide.

Many other natural remedies for plants are described at First Rays' Home Remedies. If you know of other non-toxic remedies that have worked for you, let us know.

22 November 2007

ResearchBuzz, Locatetv, Museumpods, Surfmind

From today's ResearchBuzz.com newletter -

There is a new online service, locatetv.com, that allows you to search by topic, actor, episode name and other criteria.

Locatetv provides extra information that you may not have had. For example a search for the topic "gardening" led to the show called "Gardening by the Yard" and the date of production, 1995.

Below that is a list of upcoming episodes, the channel and time. When you click on an episode it shows the original date. Saturday's show, "Fall Chores" is a 2006 program. Etc.

Botanical gardens such as Missouri Botanical Garden are included in museums that have podcasts. Look at Museumpods.com for places you might want to go over the holidays.

At Surfmind.com you can search for "botanical" and get great links, including. botanical gardens, herbals, master gardeners - well, look for yourself or use your own search terms to find what interests you.

Thanksgiving 2007, Houseplants Clear the Air, Talking Drum in Tulsa

Photo: Happy Thanksgiving from Abby

Thanksgiving is a day that marks the beginning of winter even though it does not officially start until December 21st.

The focus now is on indoor activities: Shopping, writing cards, traditional foods,
reconnecting with friends and family.

This week's garden column is about houseplants that will help keep
the air inside your home clean and good for breathing.
If you missed it here is the link.

http://www.muskogeephoenix.com/features/local_story_325180331.html?start:int=45

We dined at Tulsa's Talking Drum on Lewis near 71st
for the third Thanksgiving in a row.
The people who own it are warm and the food is beyond good
- it is fantabulous.
A dozen salads and a dozen entrees to choose from on the buffet,
with home made desserts to top off the experience.
Beer and wine for those who enjoy it.
It all makes for a very happy dinner table.

Hope you had a fantabulous Thanksgiving, too.

21 November 2007

Perennials from Seed, Plants Need Nutrients, Too

There are two newsletter on About.com that I subscribe to: Landscaping and Gardening. They are not always what I'm interested in the day they arrive but are always worth a scan. The irritating part of them is the relentless advertising, popups, etc.

For example, today's Landscaping email from David Beaulieu had a link to a video about starting perennials from seed. In order to watch the video the viewer has to watch a video from an unrelated advertiser. Argh.

Anyway, the presenter in the video recommends planting perennial seeds in the summer after they are put in ice cube trays in the freezer for a few days. Then she suggests planting the starter pots in the ground for the summer and transplanting them out of the pots and into their permanent position in the fall.

In the Gardening newsletter, Marie Iannotti, has a good column about diagnosing plant problems and a great explanation of micro and macro nutrients plants need.

Follow the links above to read all about it.

20 November 2007

Becoming a Farmer’s Market Grower

Becoming a Farmer’s Market Grower is the topic of a free workshop that will be held Dec 1st in Tulsa. If you have any interest in growing and selling at farmers' markets, here is your chance to connect with the people and information that can help you be successful.

The full notice follows -

Be a part of one of the fastest growing sectors of Oklahoma agriculture as we meet the rising demand for fresh, locally grown products.

This is a free workshop for potential producers of fruits and vegetables….the products that are in highest demand at local farmers markets. Home gardeners, acreage owners and farmers, are all welcome to attend.

Saturday, December 1, 2007, From 9 a.m. until Noon
OSU Extension Center4116 E. 15th Street, Tulsa, OK

9:00 Welcome and Introductions, Sue Gray, Tulsa County OSU Extension Horticulturist
9:10 Getting Started at Farmers Markets and Resources Available, Doug Walton, Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture
9:30 Market Manager Panel, Find out what products are in demand and what is required to be a part of these area markets.
10:15 Oklahoma Farm to School Program, Chris Kirby, Oklahoma Dept. of Agriculture10:30 Break…Enjoy refreshments made with local and regional farm products.
10:45 Grower Panel, Hear about their experiences at the market.
11:30 Food Coops, Restaurants and Other Buyers of Local Produce.
11:45 Questions and Answers Visit informally with market managers, growers and other speakers. If possible, call to let us know if you can be there, so we’ll have plenty of handouts.

Contact: Sue Gray, Tulsa County OSU Extension Horticulturist, 918-746-3717, sgray@tulsacounty.org

19 November 2007

Gardening Thanksgiving Week

Our gardening continues!

I dug and fertilized a new bulb bed today, planted bulbs in established beds and dug up and potted more tender perennials for the winter. One bag of Earth Smart composted chicken stuff was enough for the entire bed.

A lot of the garlic is coming up, feeding those wonderful bulbs for next summer's harvest. After the first freeze kills them back we will give them a thick mulch. In the meantime they are taking advantage of our still 80-degree days.

I'm watering, too. All the shrubs that have been planted this month have to be watered until the weather cools more. Don't neglect them; they are developing roots even though they don't look like they are doing much right now.

Mothballs saved another bed from the marauding cats. $2 a box at the dollar stores; 2-boxes keeps them out of most of the vulnerable plantings.

The neighbors' cats all hunt in our yard. I watched them falling out of trees yesterday as I sat at the kitchen table.

They climb the trees to gain access to the bird houses. When they find the birdhouses empty for the season they realize they can't get down as gracefully as they imagine themselves to be. So they fuss. Padding back and forth along branches trying to look sophisticated. Then, eventually they just fall down the tree trunk and groom themselves when they reach the ground.

Mildly entertaining since they don't actually catch any birds.

There are a few more small trees in pots to be planted - some red oaks that I bought last spring and left in pots over the summer. You don't realize how many plants there are sitting around waiting to go into the ground until the project is actually begun.

Now that global climate change is inevitable, I've been looking at plant websites for hotter weather than ours. We used to be zone 6b now we are generally considered 7a but gardeners should expect weird weather of all stripes.

Higher Ground's site has information on many interesting plants. Click on the link for "Plants That Thrive in Tough Places" for a chart of them with cultural information. The first list that comes up is A to C. At the bottom of the page, on the left, you can click to go to the other alphabetical pages of heat tolerant plants.

Here's what Higher Ground says about themselves:
Higher Ground is located in southeast Texas, approximately 40 miles from the Gulf of Mexico in U.S.D.A. zone 8b (Sunset zone 28). Our climate, common to much of the coastal South from Houston to Mobile, is marked by mild winters (average minimum 20F) and hot, muggy summers. While the weather and soil conditions are challenging, the long growing season and ample rainfall provide optimal conditions for many exciting plants.

Not that different from our weather in northeast Oklahoma after all.

16 November 2007

Gardening History Timeline, Michael Garofalo's Green Way Blog

Cute garden artifact made of a bicycle wheel
and some scrap tubing. We saw it on the garden writer's event in Kansas City.

There is some great garden browsing available at Michael Garofalo's site. On one of the cold nights ahead, take a look at the Gardening History Timeline.

Gardening is a hobby for Garofalo along with other interests such as Tai Chi. His blog is called Green Way.

His website The Spirit of Gardening includes topics: Spirituality, Zen, Trees, Weeding, Flowers, etc.

Follow the links to enjoyable browsing.

15 November 2007

Bugs, Slugs and Other Thugs, Dicliptera Cuttings and a Possom in the Shed

Today's column was about beneficial and destructive bugs in the garden. If you missed it here is the link to "There are good bugs and bad bugs for gardeners" that ran today.

Storey published the book, "Bugs, Slugs and Other Thugs" in 1991. It has tons of good ideas.

I've written most of next week's column on cleaning indoor air with houseplants - what an interesting topic it turned out to be.

With that done, I started snipping plants to see if I could propagate them with cuttings.

That Internet research led me to the discovery of all things Dicliptera. The one I want to propagate is a perennial that attracts hummingbirds. The parent plant is from
Bustani Plant Farm and needed to be trimmed to store it for the winter. What do gardeners do with clippings? We stick them in soil to see if they will root. It's a good sickness. Really.

Then there is a mystery herb in the little herb bed. It's leaves smells like root beer and the plant has bright yellow flowers even through the freezes we have had.

Last year I took a few of the flowers into the house in the fall and they remained pretty until the following spring.

So, pieces of it had to be clipped and stuck in moist soil, too.

I've been searching for its name: No, it isn't Piper sanctum, Agastache rupestris, nor Sassfrass all of which smell like root beer. I'll find it some day.

Otherwise the move into the new garden shed is making progress. More plants come in every day and more shelves are being built.

A possum discovered the goodies in the old shed: 50-pound bags of corn gluten and corn meal that I use for fertilizer were re-appropriated to be used as his/her food and bedding. That discovery prompted the emptying of the soon to be torn down shed.

Who says gardeners don't get enough exercise?

12 November 2007

Healing Plants, Spring Flowering Bulbs, USDA Forest Service Celebrates Wildflowers

There are great blogs on the Internet. Follow this link to MMS Gardens to read descriptions of many many medicinal plants and their usefulness.

Yarrow, Johnny Jump Ups, Columbine, Pot Marigold, Foxglove, Lily of the Valley, Basil, Evening Primrose, Rosemary, Salad Burnet, Hens and Chicks - the Daily Weeder Blog list is not a medicine cabinet replacement but a great read if you have a bit of time to read about herbs and flowers.

Touch of Nature - one of my favorite low cost bulb suppliers - is having their end of season sale. For example,
50 tiny tarda tulips for $6, 50 Tete a Tete Narcissus for $12, etc. Follow the link.

And, one more great link to the United States Department of Agriculture's Forest Service Wildflower information.

Two links go to Oklahoma's wildflowers: Southern Region and Southwestern Region.

Happy gardening.

08 November 2007

Holiday Gifts of Spring Blooming Bulbs

If any of your bulbs are still sitting in bags waiting to be planted outside, consider keeping some out of the garden and using them for holiday gifts or decorations for your own home.

Charley's Greenhouse sent out an email with the instructions if you missed them in my column last week.

Here are the basics from Charley: Most spring-blooming bulbs need a cold dormancy period of 10-12 weeks for best stem and flower development.
Choose containers that are shallower rather than deeper.
Start with large, firm bulbs of similar size so they will all bloom at once.
Add about 1 inch of sterile, good draining potting mix to the bottom of the pot.
Set the bulbs in so they are almost touching.
Add more soil to within ½ inch of the top of the pot.
For increased show in limited spaces, combine 2 or more types of bulbs in your pot. Layer the bottom of the pot with larger bulbs. Cover them with a layer of soil. Next add a layer of smaller bulbs like dwarf daffodils and reticulated iris. Cover the top layer with 1 inch of soil
Place your pots in a cool (33°-40°F) area such as a shed, garage, root cellar, next to your house. Light isn't needed during this period, but keep the soil moist.
When top growth begins to appear, move the pots indoors and maintain a temperature between 55°-65° F. Now they need bright light.
After several weeks, move your containers into a warmer place (68°-72°F). Flowers will soon emerge, bringing the promise of spring ahead!

Photos: Fall at Greenleaf State Park


Get out and enjoy our local beauty on these 75 degree days. The fall color is stunning.

06 November 2007

Milkweed Beetle at Bug Guide

The black and orange beetle in yesterday's post?

A milkweed beetle.

Guess where I found it? On the Asclepias I grow to feed Monarch butterfly caterpillars.
Asclepias is milkweed.

The answer came from Bug Guide online. When I went to What's That Bug to search all their beetle photos, one of their posts had a link to Bug Guide.

Also, I tried to save the Monarch caterpillars from the freeze but they resisted and died anyway. Sigh. You can't save nature from its own cycles.

Yesterday's post took me 3-hours over a two-day period to get loaded onto Blogger. I took some nice photos at Greenleaf State Park today but Blogger will not allow them onto today's blog. Maybe tomorrow.

I hope you had time to cover vulnerable plants or bring them in! Brrr.

05 November 2007

Prepare Garden for Freezing Weather

Well, it's here - the first freeze is coming this week. Time to bring in all the tender plants in pots and water the perennials so their roots don't freeze.

Any plant that prefers a dry climate should not be watered because they dislike cold, wet soil.
One example of that type of plant in my garden is lavender. Sage is another.

I moved a couple dozen pots indoors after spraying them with Safer Soap. Otherwise bugs will come in with the plants.
Photo: Anyone know what that bug is on my hand? It is crawling on the Asclepias with the Monarch butterfly caterpillars and Aphids. I took it off a couple of times and it found its way back to the Asclepias.

There are all manner of seeds that need to planted between now and January because they need a shot of cold weather in order to germinate.

The annuals in this category include poppies and larkspur. Many perennials, including shrubs and trees, require cold and wet to sprout through their tough seeds.

This link at Alchemy-Works, in Elmira, New York, will take you to an easy to read and understand article about the topic.
Photo: These marigolds never show up until late late late summer - like now. They return from seed every year. Since I don't have to plant them, I forget about them until they appear again.

I hope your garden continues to give you good surprises, too.

02 November 2007

Sowing Seeds in Winter and Learning More About Gardening

Photo: In the foreground
is the lantana that keeps the butterflies happy.
Center is one of the Castor Bean plants - seeds
from a Missouri seed company, Baker Seed. Then
there is the stunning red maple in all its Nov 2nd
glory.

It is time to think about sowing seeds that will succeed because they need a winter freeze in order to sprout in the spring.
Wintersown is a website with everything you need to know.

At the site, there is a cool link to the National Agricultural Library. Click on Plants and Crops and then Gardening Resources for an education in gardening.

Here are some of the interesting links:

North American Native Plant Society

American Public Garden Association

Gardening Launch Pad with over 5,000 links to gardening topics

Master Gardeners links

Garden Web - gardening community on the Internet

Cyndi's Catalog of Garden Catalogs - 2,000 of them

Gardening is the kind of hobby that becomes a part of your life and a part of your family. Enjoy these wonderful pre-winter days.

01 November 2007

November First in the Garden

Photo: Monkshood
blooming in the shade garden today


More of the potted plants went into the ground today including a glorious red Penstemmon.

All the plants at Lowe's were half price today. We added a couple of shrubs for the outside wall of the new shed and bought one new Salvia.

Photo: Here's the garlic bed
The rototiller provided the raised rows.


Photo: The Dogwoods' leaves
are turning red in the shade garden.


Enjoy these wonderful fall days in your garden.