28 November 2017

November Gardening in Muskogee

Because the weather has been so wonderful, I'm spending 3 or 4 hours 'out there' every day. There are lots of tasks to accomplish inside the shed and the perennial beds had grown out of control since I didn't do much out there last year.
Tropicals re-potted

The tender tropical plants that are in the shade outside in the summer were desperate for pruning, pup removal, fresh soil and larger pots.

Some of the succulents I've been starting with a leaf were ready for pots of their own plus pruning.

Agastache Apache Sunset seedlings
The tiny seedlings needed to be transplanted to six packs, separated in the 72 cell trays and checked for true leaves and root length.

Perennial beds

Salvia Azurea

 Outside, I've been working on two large perennial beds that had become overgrown with phlox and other well-intentioned plants that need to be thinned regularly.

I can't put photos of everything here because of space issues, but you get the jist.

Daffodil and Iris bulbs have become thick and in some cases three layers deep, so I've been digging, dividing and replanting them - it feels like by the hundreds!

I hope your schedule has allowed you to enjoy this incredible spring weather at the end of November.

21 November 2017

Progress on Tree and Shrub Cuttings

Cuttings taken from cold hardy perennials strike roots in weeks or months after being planted in potting soil, perlite or vermiculite and kept moist. Their containers need drain holes and the plants need a protective top until they strike roots and begin to grow.

Here are some examples from my garden shed which is minimally heated and lighted. The Plums are considered practically impossible to grow from cuttings but I had to try.
Forsythia, of course, is easily rooted to extend a green row with yellow spring flowers.
Fig cuttings are a 50/50 deal for me so I plant more than I need/want.
Lavender is also fairly easy to grow from cuttings. These will be replacement plants.

American Plum Tree cuttings taken three days ago
and planted in a plastic clamshell with a lid

Forsythia shrub cuttings taken in April
have foot-long roots in November

Three Brown Turkey Fig tree/shrub cuttings were taken a few weeks ago

On the left is a Lavender cutting and
on the right is a Salvia cutting.
Both were taken two months ago, struck roots and have moved to the light table in individual pots for growing on.


13 November 2017

Sand Plum is Chickasaw Plum, Sand Hill Plum, Mountain Cherry, Prunus angustifolia

Prunus angustifolia has many names but is delicious both for wildlife and human consumption.

Fall in the Ozarks

We drove over to Arkansas a few days ago to visit Pine Ridge Gardens and buy a few shrubs for our back acre where we have fruit and food for wildlife.

Native Sand Plums
Sand Plums are a great source of jelly making fruit if you can get any before wildlife takes them all.

Chickasaw plum plants grow 15 feet tall and wide in a twiggy form.
The bark is black and the stems are reddish.

MaryAnn King and Candy
Feb through May, small white flowers and little red plums appear. The flowers have five white petals with reddish or orange anthers. The plums are cherry-like and tend to be quite tart until they fully ripen later in the summer.

Chickasaw Plums thrive in low water, loose, sandy soil with sun to part-shade. The ones I planted two years ago have died without forming clumps because the area became too shady.
Native range Prunus angustifolia
In 1874 they were cultivated by Native Americans and early settlers to be used as a food source, cover for livestock, windbreaks, erosion control and wildlife food. If you want them for your kitchen, protect the plants from rabbits, deer, birds, squirrels, etc.

I asked MaryAnn King, owner of Pine Ridge, if she had any special planting suggestions and she responded, "They grow alongside the road so you know what to do."

Since I'd like to have many more than I could afford to purchase, I'm going to try my hand at propagating them by cuttings.

Pine Ridge Gardens native nursery

Pine Ridge Gardens has provided many of the native plants we have added to our backyard landscape in the past 15 years. King sells at her nursery (open houses continue this month) as well as selling at many festivals around the Tulsa area.

This is the ideal time to plant shrubs, trees, spring blooming bulbs, garlic, onions, perennial flower seeds, native plant seeds, etc.

04 November 2017

Leeks - order seeds or starts now

Leek seedlings
Lancelot Leeks are those beautiful, mild-onion-like vegetables that are easy to grow in our zone 7. And, they don't require the deep, fertile soil that beets and other root vegetables need. We live on a rocky hill and have had zero success with beets, turnips and other roots but leeks work just fine.

In years passed I've allowed one or two to go to seed and kept the same crop going for four or five years before the seed failed to return.

This year I've ordered one bunch of starts (30 seedlings $14) from Dixondale Farms. They won't be delivered until mid-February 2018 - at planting time. I ordered now because by then they will be hard to find.

Planting Leek Seedlings
Like all vegetables, Leeks need lots of organic matter in the soil. Since I'm emptying one of the compost bins right now, I'm putting buckets of compost into the bed where they'll be planted.

At planting time, an 8-inch deep trench is made and the leeks are planted at the bottom of the trench, 6-inches apart.  Rows can be as close as 5-inches apart.

Then, add enough soil to cover the white part, leaving the green part exposed, above soil level. Fertilize with some version of 10-10-10. Water thoroughly. Then, mulch the bed with loose straw or similar organic material.

When the stems are an inch thick, add more soil to the trench, eventually filling it to the same level as the surrounding soil. The underground part of the plant will be the head of your leek so you want it protected from sunlight that would make it turn green (just more stem).
Soil goes up to the green only

 - Check out this Getty Stewart resource for more pics and tips http://www.gettystewart.com/how-to-plant-leeks-in-the-garden/
 - Also this guide from Gavin Webber, Greening of Gavin

But if you want to plant leeks this winter, buy seeds now to start at home to make your own seedlings or order seedlings for winter delivery and planting.

Seedlings are 75 days to harvest. If you want to start yours from seed, add that length of time to the 75-days; most say 110 days to harvest from seed.