Showing posts from January, 2010

Central Ohio Home and Garden Show will be Feb 27 to Mar 7 - Free Tickets

The Central Ohio Home & Garden Show, Feb. 27 to March 7, has given me 10 free tickets to give away. Email me if you would like to receive some.

Here is the lineup

-TALENT: Shane Tallant, host of HGTV Designed to Sell,on Saturday, Feb. 27.

-Amateur Cake Decorating Contest on Sunday, Feb. 28 and A Professional Cake Decorating Contest will occur Sunday, March 7. Special guest judges for the professional contest will include Food Network's Ace of Cakes stars Geof Manthorne and Mary Alice Yeskey.

-GARDENS: Home & Garden show will include 14 large-sized gardens with the Art in Bloom theme, with garden themes ranging from Monet-style, French Riviera Architecture, Art Nouveau etc.

-KIDS DAY, Sunday, Feb. 28: with Kids Korner activities (from 11a.m.-1 p.m. with mascot; Columbus Zoo animals from 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Free Gardening Basics Seminar Rescheduled from Jan 30 to Feb 27

So far, we just have freezing rain but it should get worse before it gets better. Not only is the weather supposed to be such that it would be foolish to be out on the roads, the church that so generously donated the space for the event is a shelter when the electricity is down.

New details (different date, same speakers, time and place)

The Muskogee Wellness Committee rescheduled it's Gardening Basics Seminar to Saturday February 27
9 to 12:30
St. Paul's Methodist Church

And, if you are stuck inside you might want to sing the suggested new state song

SNOW klahoma
Where the cold front's sweepin' down the plain
An d the piles of sleet, beneath your feet
Follow right behind the freezing rain.

SNOW klahoma
Ev ry night my honey lamb and I
Travel home from work and hope some jerk
Doesn't wreck our car passing by!

We know we belong to the land
But it could use some more salt and sand

That's why we're saying WHOA!
We’re sliding the other way YIKES!

We're o…

Free Gardening Event on Jan 30th


As part of the Muskogee City Wellness Initiative's Gardening Basics seminar on Saturday, horticulturist Sue Gray will be talking about how to grow fruit in your backyard.

Gray was the host of Oklahoma Gardening on public television for over 200 episodes, is responsible for the Horticulture Industries Show, and is the point person for commercial fruit production in Oklahoma. Gray was the 2009 recipient of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service's Distinguished Educator award.

As part of her quest to help everyone grow some of their own food, Gray started a class in Tulsa called Green Acres. Through the program, Gray teaches retirees how to turn their dream of owning 10 acres into a set of reasonable goals. (Call 918-746-3707 or see

If your land is ready to grow, you can add elderberries, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, pears, grapes, quince, apples or cherries.

In addition to selec…

Happy Houseplants Help Humor Housebound Home-dwellers

The Website Weekend Gardener's 7-Part Houseplant series is called "How to Grow Stunning Houseplants".

It begins with diagrams of plant parts above and below the soil and soil structure. The author(s) explain the differences between plants outside and inside - moisture, drainage, airflow.

There is a helpful list of plants suited to various light levels and room temperatures.

The link above will take you directly to the article.

The left side of the web page is rich with other gardener content: How to articles, pest control, etc.

With the arctic blast on its way, you may find time to click around.

Thanks to Muskogee gardener Jan Ward for the tip!

What Other Gardeners Choose to Plant

There's a fun January 21, read in the New York Times by Michael Tortorello, called Packets Full of Miracles
Tortorello called gardeners (not people like us, but big deal people) and asked them about where they garden and what they plant.

Here's a taste of the article

How wrong can you go for $2.25? That's the price of a packet of 20 tomato seeds ...

Some gardeners revel in chance and the absurd abundance of botanical diversity. For the last few weeks, I've been calling them, looking for advice. Specifically, I asked these growers for thumbnail descriptions of a few favorite seeds.

the season for seed shopping is right about now. Last year, Fedco, the Maine catalog from which I placed my order, had sold out of some popular seed varieties by mid-February, as had other sellers. (Could boutique seeds be America's next speculative bubble?)

The seeds these seasoned gardeners recommended flourished in their yards. But that doesn't mean they'll do a blessed thing in your…

Seed Order - Sand Hill Preservation Center

It was sunny today and the daffodils are up so I am placing my first seed order of 2010.

Here's what I ordered from San Hill Preservation Center in Iowa
Sugar Snap Peas $1.75
Armstrong Early Cucumber $2.00
Gambro (pimento) Pepper $2.00
Gill's Golden Pippin Winter Squash $2.75
Burpee Gloriana Tomato $1.75
Siberian Pink Tomato $1.75
Asters - mixed colors $1.00
Sweet Genovese Basil $1.25

Total $14.25
Shipping and handling are zero on orders over $10.00

I grew their seeds last year with really good results. If you've never looked at their catalog, check it out online.
They accept orders ONLY by U.S. Mail.

Jim Wilson's new "Homegrown Vegetables" from Creatiive Homeowner

Most of the popular vegetable gardening how-to books are written on the east or west coast and have to be interpreted for the Midwest, upper south and south. For example, Four Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman (east coast U.S.), Gardening When It Counts by Steve Solomon (northwest U.S. and New Zealand), and Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew (northern Utah).

Gardeners in the rest of the country rely on local university extension office publications. In our area we are fortunate to have both Oklahoma State University and University of Arkansas to provide relevant instruction in print, online and through workshops.

Jim Wilson, the former host of “Victory Garden” and his partner Jamie Lynn Mandel, garden in Missouri. Wilson, 83, is the author of 14 gardening books. And he still has an organic garden that is 1,000 square feet divided into mini plots to grow herbs and vegetables for their table and to donate to the hungry.
Wilson’s new book, “Homegrown Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs: A Bou…
In this winter of record making snow, cold, ice and rain, there is some good news for the environment

Around the world, the impact of salt applied to roads during snowy and icy weather has been reported for years.

In Germany, for example, this article notes that 1.59 MILLION TONS of salt were applied to roads to try to keep them safe.
As the snow and ice melt, the salt runs into the environment, killing trees, fish, frogs, salamanders, etc.

The good news is that some states in the U.S. are finding alternatives that are less destructive while keeping motorists safe.

In Syracuse New York, the Public Works Dept. is mixing salt with water to make a brine that can be sprayed on bridges. Cheaper and effective.

The state of Vermont actually built a brine plant.

Upping the ante to the next level, Ohio, Missouri and Maryland are combining salt with a molasses product made from sugar beets. The molasses helps the salt stick to the road, cutting down the amount of salt needed to get the desired effect…

Tippolly Farm Planting Plans and Garden Help

Tippolly Farm's website contains a wealth of gardening tips, links and information.

Kate and Jim Porter's Vegetable Gardening Guide is a software generated personalized planting plan.

You provide your last frost date and the number of people you feed from your garden and they send comprehensive planting lists in a return email.

Don't know your last average frost date?
No problem. A link on the site will take you to NOAA's Normal Freeze data. Here is the Oklahoma one for you to see.

The personalized plan is a chart indicating plant seeds inside, outside, fall crop, pH preferred by the plant, amount to plant (row feet), plant spacing, etc.

Another chart tells you when to plant based on your last freeze date. This is definitely worth your time. No more read the seed instructions and count backwards for each crop. The Vegetable Planting Guide is $4.00

For an additional $4, a chart for growing herbs in included in the deal with the same helpful information. Then, there is a comp…

One Woman's Opinion - Garden Trends 2010

Jennifer Beaver writes for the weekly Signal Tribune Newspaper in Long Beach CA. Most of us can't compare ourselves with gardeners in Long Beach where the weather is ideal.

Beaver's December 31 2009 column is an example of her quick mind and gardening talents. I'll give you a few excerpts and a link to read the whole thing.

"Last year, it became politically correct to be a gardener."
"This is all very wonderful and very strange. When the things you have been doing privately in your backyard suddenly become fodder for cocktail chatter, it's quite a surprise."

"Whether you're an experienced gardener or just contemplating sticking a trowel in the soil for the first time, there’s something for you:
• Yard sharing: According to Hyperlocavore (, yard sharing is "an arrangement between people to share skills and gardening resources…to grow food as locally as possible…"
• Buying local produce: Watch for fresher, healthier…

January 30 Free How-to Gardening Event in Muskogee - Call OSU Extension if you are coming 918-686-7200

January is a month for promising to eat better, get healthier and exercise.

There is one activity to help with all those goals, and that is growing vegetables, herbs, flowers, and maybe even some backyard fruit. Gardening not only helps build physical strength, it increases flexibility and relieves stress.
Gardening also provides a connection to people that is important for personal happiness. It’s an activity for the whole family and helps builds neighborhood relationships while learning new skills and practicing patience.

Saturday January 30 from 9 to 12:30, Muskogee City Wellness Initiative is sponsoring a free event in the spirit of promoting healthier eating by building a community of gardeners growing food for themselves and their neighbors.

Here is a lineup of the topics that will be presented in 20-minute segments –

Garden Site Selection and Planning - Sue Gray, OSU Extension Tulsa
Keep your garden at its best, with the right amount of sun and closeness to a water source. A success…

Flower Garden and Nature Society of Northwest Arkansas

Although it is amost a two-hour drive and they begin at 9:30 on Saturday mornings, we are members who occasionally attend the Flower, Garden and Nature Society of Northwest Arkansas.

Meetings are usually held at the Student Center of NWAR Technical Institute, 709 S. Old Missouri Rd in Springdale, Arkansas.

The reason we crank it up to go despite the early exit and long drive, is that their programs are so good.

SOCIAL 9:30 SPEAKER 10 a.m.

Publicity Chair, Lynn Rogers can be reached for more information at 479-521-9090 H. 479-841-8759 C.

The lineup for the club's year ahead

January 16 Round-table discussion, bring favorite garden tool for show and tell.

February 20 Jeb Leggett, Custom Landscape and Nursery, Mt. Vernon, AR
Unusual landscape trees and shrubs

March 20 Tony Avent, owner Plant Delights Nursery, Raleigh, North Carolina, Exploration to Exploitation

April 17 Berni Kurz, Washington County Extension Agent,
Care and Maintenance of Water Gardens

May 15 Ricky Corder, ento…

Seed Starting - Pre Germination

Seed starting can be speeded up by placing seeds between layers of paper towel in a protected environment for a few days.

The paper towel is moist not dripping wet. The seeds are spaced far enough apart that when they sprout, they will not mold.

These are fifty cent plastic plates from a junk store. The top one is on there because our house is 60-degrees at night and most seeds want 70 degrees to germinate.

Here are a couple of sites that go into more detail if you like research.
Iowa State
Kids Valley Garden

Then, here is a YouTube video of planting seeds germinated on paper towel. I try to plant mine before they get this big though.

Also, beware of moldy seeds if you use those sealed zip lock baggies. Open the bag every day and check the seeds or put a couple of air holes in the baggie.

Memphis Spring Fling March 26 & 27 2010

Memphis area Master Gardeners put on an annual two day Spring Fling.
This year it will be March 26 and 27.

Looking for the information I not only found their really good website at

but their terrific newsletter, too.

Here is the link to the January 2010 issue

- Tip of the trowel to Memphis Area Master Gardeners!!

Reliable Perennials - Plants of the Year

Landscape designers recommend that you begin any outdoor improvement project by looking at pictures to identify the highlights of your dream garden. You can tear out magazine pages and make a collage that will become the basis of your plan.

The skeleton of the garden can be installed first. These features include storage, irrigation, trees, shrubs, sidewalk, outdoor dining patio or deck. Other specifics to consider are playground area, raised beds or brick planters, or a sunny, fenced place for vegetables and herbs, and a compost bin.

Good landscaping adds ten to fifteen percent to the resale value of your home, so the enjoyment you receive while using the additional outdoor living space, means getting paid twice for your efforts.

When shopping for suitable plants, pay attention to size at maturity, sunlight needs, water requirements, and durability in your microclimates. For example, heat accumulates on the west side of a building or fence in the summer, making it less suitable for plan…

Seeds to Start in Feb

Move away from the window and glass doors, all your tender house plants and plants you are over-wintering inside. The leaves will be badly damaged by the weather ahead.

In spite of that forecast, planting time is coming. The temperatures will warm and the ground will thaw and drain.

Here are the seeds to have ready for February according to OSU Fact Sheet HLA-6004. Click to read the entire list.

Cabbage Feb. 15 to March 10
Carrot Feb. 15 to March 10
Cauliflower Feb. 15 to March 10
Chard, Swiss Feb. 15 to March 10
Kohlrabi Feb. 15 to March 10
Lettuce, Head Feb. 15 to March 10
Lettuce, Leaf Feb. 15 to March 10
Onion Feb. 15 to March 10
Peas, Green Feb. 15 to March 10
Potato, Irish Feb. 15 to March 10
Spinach Feb. 15 to March 10
Turnip Feb. 15 to March 10

Click here to read Sue Gray talk about vegetable gardening on the Tulsa Master Gardeners site.

Then, here is Gray's Fact Sheet HLA-6033 on raised bed gardening.

Sue will be one of the speakers in Muskogee, Sat., Jan 30. The free event is…

In the Shed on a Cold Jan 3rd

It's early January in the coldest winter I've ever spent - 18 degree nights and 30 degree days. Normal for us is 48 at this time of year.
The little oil filled heater in the shed is on around the clock keeping things going and the seed heat mat is now plugged in to start early spring vegetables.

This little rainbow chard seedling is one that was part of a late summer planting. Still in a little pot when the weather turned, it now gets a spot under the grow lights.

The Chinese Cabbage seeds are planted and ready to put on the heat mat.

I'm babying the Rue plant in the shed so it will be big enough to feed Giant Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars next spring. It's surprising that the flowers are forming seeds. They must have been pollinated before the pot was dragged inside for the winter.

Ah, my Rudbeckia Chocolate Orange. Started from seed last fall and now a few are blooming in the shed even though it's only in the low 50s out there. Most of the flower buds are prun…