Showing posts from November, 2010

End of November Gardening

It's a tough time of year: Still 60 during the day but every sign of the fall garden has been knocked down by freezing nights. Just 10 days ago a few butterflies were lingering on the fall asters giving the illusion that winter might not come this year. Silly to even think about it, of course. But I know those late butterflies are hiding under the leaves out there and will emerge as early in the spring as they possibly can.

The lettuce seedlings in the cold frames are doing quite well despite the 20-degree nights. I worry about them and wonder if they should come inside the shed and continue to grow under the lights in there.

IN THE SHED The tropical plants that spend the summer by the hammocks get tossed into the shed at the first sign of cold weather. Later this winter, I'll take cuttings and grow more for next year.
They continue to bloom inside the shed most of the winter, cheering us up when only flowering plants will do.

Leaves of Three can be very pretty - Poison Ivy

Visit The Poison Ivy Center at this link.

After we moved to our little 3-acre bit of the world, I had poison ivy rashes about 4 months of the year. The photos I had seen didn't really help much with prevention.

Finally, when I took the Master Gardener class, Sue Gray taught us how to identify it and now I rarely have a problem. Also, when I'm weeding around trees in the woody areas, I use a poison ivy soap immediately after.

Keith Kridler of Mt. Pleasant TX talked about Poison Ivy on Daffnet recently -
"This vine creeps along the ground until it finds either a tree or wall or fence that it can attach anchoring roots to and within a few years the vine will be at the very tops of the tallest trees. Once the vine matures it begins to bloom profusely attracting all sorts of native and non-native pollinators to the high percent of the sugars in the nectar, but this nectar comes from minuscule blooms.

In the fall there are tens of thousands of BB sized white fruit on these vin…

November walk at Greenleaf State Park

A sunny November day is just right for a nature walk though I'll admit that about an hour is what we enjoy - no marathoners here. The camping and lodging at Greenleaf are dated, but for a winter walk, the trails are quite nice. Water oak or Sassafrass? I'll admit we didn't pay much attention to anything but the color and the size of the leaves as we walked by. Have you seen the site "What Tree is This?" I found it while searching for leaf shape/tree identification guidance this morning. The site is an online service from the State of SC - here's a link to the beginning page that is worth a read. Greenleaf Lake is visible from the much of the trail.

Johnson Grass is a perennial, invasive weed that makes tons of seed on a beautiful seedhead, pretty enough to attract birds and small mammals to eat it and distribute the plant far and wide.
Here's the walking path - gorgeous weeds aren't they?  Driving toward home -
.. wonderful sunny early winter days....

Thanksgiving Symbols

The first pilgrims arrived in the new world in 1620 with little to prepare them for the winter they faced. The next year, the drought of 1621, led them to pray and fast and ask God for a bountiful harvest to keep them from starving.

The crops were saved that year and the pilgrims held a communal celebration feast in the autumn. The tale is folklore, and, though we accept it, nothing was written to confirm the story. Despite that, Thanksgiving was declared an American national holiday in 1941.

The symbols of Thanksgiving focus on fall harvest and giving thanks. In addition, many would add football, skiing, church and walks in the woods.

Decorations for Thanksgiving include fall leaves, gourds, pumpkins and cornstalks. Early Europeans made a type of wicker scarecrow that they filled with fall harvest fruits, and that evolved into the scarecrows used today.

Cobs of colorful corn have been a popular decoration for decades and across cultures. Native Americans were growing corn when the pilgri…

November vegetable harvesting

We went out early this morning - before my yoga class - to harvest mustard and kale. There is a vegetable lasagna in our future and the kale will be the green layer.

Even though these greens will survive a freeze, they suffer some burning on the leaves. So, there we were in jackets, outside, before 7, with clippers and little pails. The sun coming up was beautiful on the leeks and broccoli.
The garlic is in for a shock.

With the recent 75F (23.8C) degree weeks, it has be coming up all over its raised bed.
Ha! After the upcoming 25F (13.8C)degree nights predicted, it will be hunkering down again. Then, we'll scoop up the pine needles and mulch.

Here's a shot of our little vegetable garden this morning. Center right you can see the clear plastic cold frames where the winter lettuce grows. The tree on the far right in the photo is a nectarine. Around the veggie garden fence and up the trellises, the Austrian peas are getting tall. They care not about the weather!

Sunday Tidbits - Serbia's portable planters and this winter's weather forecast

Portable gardening wins a competition - Inhabitat posted photos from the Venice Architecture Bienniale. In the green category, the Serbian entry included traveling planters made of tubing, old cooking pots and casters.

They were inspired by the wife of a Serbian poet who said she wished for a tree that "would run after (her) down the street".

Here's where Serbia is on a map

This is a clever city-dweller, apartment balcony idea. When I lived in an apartment with a balcony these would have fit the bill - they can be made tall enough to catch the sun as it moves above the railing and easy to use - no gardening on the floor!

Click on the slideshow link - Inhabitat's link is here

Also, if you have time, clicking around the La Biennale site is fun - the short video winners include an animated, decidedly black humor one called The Naturalist.

And, now on to this winter's weather
from Gary McManus at the Oklahoma Climatological Survey we get the news that this winter is predi…

Christmas Tablescapes - Tulsa Herb Society

Yesterday's post was fall and Thanksgiving table ideas. Today you will become inspired to plan your Christmas tablescapes.

Inspired? Me, too!

Fall Tablescapes

The photos below are from the Tulsa Herb Society Tablescapes event.

Tomorrow I'll post the Christmas Tablescape photos.

This Year Make Your Holiday Table Decorations With Mother Nature

TULSA HERB SOCIETY Carols and Crumpets, Dec 4, from 8 to 3

Tulsa Herb Society Craft sale
Tulsa Garden Center
2435 South Peoria AV
Snowflake Café open for lunch 11 to 2

Information Patsy Wynn 918-496-8019

At their annual Herbal Holiday Tablescapes event last week, Tulsa Herb Society members demonstrated that one-of-a-kind holiday decorations are as close as your closets and the back yard. They used colorful combinations of family treasures, gourds, fresh and dried herbs, pine cones, flowers, seashells, and found objects to decorate a dozen tables.

Some of their ideas are simple and classic. For example, bouquets of fresh herbs were put into a collection of cow creamers to use at each place setting, a pomegranate was placed on top of the bread plate, native nuts and gold clematis seeds were artfully strewn across a tabletop.

A fall harvest luncheon tabletop used climbing ferns to wrap tall candlesticks and freshly clipped sage and parsley to surround the base.

Gourds were wrapped with colored me…

Frosty weather is ideal for some seed starting

Snapdragons are one of many plants that we have to start from seed in the fall. Their preferred germination temperature is 39-degrees though they will tolerate a warmer spot. I think that even with the 28 and 33 degree nights, the shed has only been as cold as 45 degrees.

The seeds have sprouted and I've begun to divide and re pot them to individual pots to grow on. Their preferred growing temperature is 50-degrees F or 10 C.

Tom Clothier's hort dot net has the old Thompson and Morgan seed starting chart that is reliable and easy to use though you have to have the Latin name. Snapdragon's Latin name is Antirrhinum. Use the link above to migrate to the chart.

Home Town Seeds sent me some sample packs to try and they have all germinated very very successfully. The seedlings in the photos are their Giant Tetra Snapdragon.

We know that larkspur and poppy seeds have to be planted by Thanksgiving to have flowers the following spring. Elizabeth Loveland wrote a piece on Fall Sowing o…

The Last Monarch

Last week I posted a photo of the Monarch butterfly chrysalis that was attached to a succulent. Before that 28-degree night the succulent was moved into the shed, in filtered light.

We took a 10 day trip and the day after we returned, the chrysalis had become clear. We could see the butterfly fully formed inside. Like worried grandparents we hoped it could be born despite the unusual circumstances.

The next day, here it is, drying its wings on the succulent. I moved it so it could hang out on a yellow milkweed. I had brought the blooming milkweed inside so the butterfly would have some nectar if it hatched.

After a few hours, I put it outside in the sun. There was still time to fly south to Texas and make the trip to Mexico.

Sadly, she decided to stay here. Yesterday afternoon when I went out to the shed to pot up lettuce seedlings, there she was, hanging onto the (also stored in the shed for the winter) split leaf philodendron. Now, it's probably going to be too cold for her to make…

What's this native pea? Have a guess?

I collected these seeds from a native pea that comes back every year from the previous year's seeds. I've never seen the flowers, only the seed heads. Until I remove them those little seed pods in my hand are collected into a sort of Chinese puzzle, each pod held up by the surrounding ones.
The leaves are finely toothed, grey-green and all together look like a little evergreen tree. They are softer than they look.
In this seed head, you can see that the individual pods have opened. I think it's beautiful. But what is it?

I love to grow salad in the winter

Eating a plant-based diet goes in and out of fashion. Whether it is because of doctor’s orders, or sympathy with animals, thousands of Americans spurn seafood, red meat, and chicken in favor of nuts, fruits, grains and vegetables.

Nutritionists say that we can prevent disease with just two animal product free days a week.

Salads play a role in those two meat-free days, but with winter coming, appealing salad greens will be expensive and difficult to find. Fortunately, lettuce and other greens are reasonably easy to grow, even in the winter

Loose leaf lettuce, such as bronzeleaf and mesclun mix, are harvested a few outer leaves at a time and left to re-grow. Head lettuce, such as Winter Density Romaine and Arctic King butter head, are usually harvested all at once.

To grow lettuce in a protected place, all you need is seeds, a container filled with a combination of potting soil and compost, a fluorescent bulb light source and a watering plan. Loose leaf lettuce grown from seed is ready…