No Sense Listening To That Box Store Jockey
You wanna grow? Anything? On that 4×11 Balcony? Free food, great greenery? How about you Townhomies? Patio and then a long narrow strip?
I got you, been growing in small spaces for years. There are so many ways to grow food, have that sweet garden surrounding you, just outside those patio doors.
…and, cheap… Lots of “things” about, that are in the “go away” part of life. We can do it. Up-cycle those things.
or… email me at Kevin@Kevinsgarden.com
Ideas you never imagined. This is the time of year we connect greatly at your Community Center. Just get the neighbors, get a time, we’ll get dirty together. Some complexes actually have competitions, others grow in sun, as the others grow in shade, and the community, trades, as the season progresses.
Think about it, get that co-op together, I’ll show you too.
Out of Season Blooms and Winter Storm Jonas
Several of our landscape Spring Bloomers were popping out mostly on the upper SW sides of the trees, not to mention, bulbs, Hydrangeas, Forsythia, and the list goes on, depending on your exposure.
So what can we expect in the coming season, especially with this past weeks big snow? It’s kinda simple really. Those “pre-bloomers”, were just showing off. We’ve had a lot of rain, which leached the nutrients down past most root beds. So, putting the plant in a “distress” situation, it needed to partially leaf, for Photosynthesis, then bloom… They will recover, because they need to leaf, bloom, produce, in the coming, “Right” season.
Keep in mind, snow is loaded with Nitrogen, as well as a thermal, slow irrigating, part of gardening. Worst part about it really, is going to be an abundance of Dandelions. See, they have a deep taproot, that brings Nitrogen from the deeps, back to the top of your soil beds. It’s their job, even if the seeds were dormant, for up to 7 years!!! Clover on the other hand, may be actually less, because that “plant” corrects the lack of Nitrogen in the soil. Well, I think we got plenty from Jonas. Weeds can tell you a lot about soil conditions. For a great PDF chart, this may help make sense, before you spray!!
Spring Blooming live goods will be OK, maybe even more prolific than normal, depending on the coming “La Nina”, which usually follows a powerful “El Nino” like we are experiencing now. Warm Wet Baby with a coming Cool Dry Baby, may impact some of the “self pollinizing” plants and trees, but still, may also have you picking way more than you think. It’s a Ma Nature Timing thing. Remember last year, “Polar Vortex” we had some trees actually rupturing at the base in mid March, due to the fact, they were coming into season, pulling up moisture, budding, and then some minus 0 wind chills, made the lower trunks freeze, and explode. Same with Japonica Camellias and a few early blooming Rhodo’s and big buds rupturing. So be happy, your “early-out-of-season-bloomers”, did so, proving they are also anxious to perform this year.
Just make sure you are still keeping up your Winter chores, as well as documenting it in your Garden Journals, at least with digital pics with a time date stamp accurately showing the “mis-fire”. If some new shoots got burned with the Winter temps, prune as you would normally during the “right” season, to make them come on again. Remember, “They have to”… They just do.
What’s in Your Food?
Seems the trend these days, when buying produce, is Eating Healthy. But suppose for a minute, you actually know, what’s in your store bought packaged soil???Or do you want to know? Or, do you care, as long as the label states, It’s Organic? (By Federal Law, anything labeled Organic, only has to meet 85% organic, and the other 15%, they don’t have to divulge)From my findings on just Hay Field Crops alone, with the induction of 2-4D and Glyphosate, and Cow and Horse manure having these chemicals in them for up to 4 years after being eliminated by the animal and folks re-using the composted manure, then, crops failing, well, I love helping these Community Gardeners get going without the “free stuff”.Most folks, even the Balcony Gardeners, have a sense of what they are gardening with. But the Community Gardeners, have several “guests” in their plot. There should be a Community Rule, of NO Chemicals Here set up…. OR, be managed by a Personal Garden Coach who could monitor, educate, and help find sources of conditioners, compost, and other avenues of “pureness” in that community plot.Some of these plots, are steadfastly overseen by the elders, who won’t tolerate Box Store Ads or advice. They will tell you, “They just don’t make sense”. After all, they didn’t have those bagged, boxed, bottled goods when they were young, and they ate good!!Over the years, I have seen some flourish, get row by row, bigger by the year, and then others, fail and quit. Some, make a profit, selling off surplus to restaurants, others, donating to local Homeless Shelters. Whatever you do, DON’T QUIT!!One of the best reasons in Community Gardening, is the companionship developed in the age brackets. Some of the best Saturday mornings are spent weeding, picking, pinching back, watering, and then delivering fresh produce either via shopping cart, bike with a basket, and yes, even a golf cart. The lawn chairs are left for others, to come work as their time permits, as picked produce, are left in bags for them as well.I could go on, but remember, “Community Gardening” does not stop in the plot.. There are other venues, such as a Veterans Center, Hospice Ward, Retirement Home, Courtyard in an Apartment Complex, or just your own Cul-de-sac neighborhood. What are those useless center plots for anyway?Think about it. Find it. Organize it. It’s time to really find that spot to eat healthy and, well, mostly free!!
Sign up for more Gardening News and Insights and in the Richmond Va area, if you need help, it’s time to get your indoor seed starting gear together. I have special rates to get you going, the cheap way and successfully growing. Simply email me at Kevin@Kevinsgarden.com
So, everyone is filing thru for the Holiday? Parties among us? Trash bags filling up? And, “Whats this thingy Aunt Meg Brought???”
Well, let’s put on our Grow Cap for a sec, the things I always tell you to look out for. I know, can’t plant in a tie, that gaudy sweater, AGAIN!!!, But, the up-cycling, ohhhh the cool re-usable platters and things.
If you have ever, been to one of my lectures, or had the privilege to see me on TV, WWBT’s “More Bang For Your Buck” or “America Now News”, then, get ready for the ride. Save your “trash” and get this Personal Garden Coach onboard.
…and more. Wine Bottles, party Platters, plastic juice and water bottles for cuttings and more, and yes, as I’m known as, “The Dryer Lint Guy” for the coming seed starting season. Oh, and BTW, DON’T TOSS OUT THAT POINSETTIA!!! Makes a cool, Summer Annual in the yard. Wait till after last frost, plant it in your yard, then let me know, I know, how it performed… Just try it this year. You “Live Tree” folks? After you take it down, Cut off a piece of the trunk, save it for this reason… Then, plop it in the ground, somewhere, and stuff your dryer lint in it, and make those Peanut Butter with Bird Seed things with your kids, it will be green till first part of May.
There’s more Sustainable Ideas from http://www.Kevinsgarden.com if you need. Growing these days is important, nurturing you, is paramount.
Email me at Kevin@ Kevinsgarden.com if you have a “thingy” you think, you can grow in.
…. There was a wonderful time. On this very evening, a couple of hooligans, were enjoying the evening. It was the same night, 12/24, foggy evening, warm, strangely warm, and the bikes, were free in the nothingness into the evening. It was Christmas Eve, 1972. We had had a cool pick-up game of football that day, gone home, ate dinner, then went outside like we were told to do back in the day. No internet, cell phones, nothing electronic, nothing but our only will to connect, like the plants and trees do thru their roots. Yeah, back then, we knew who was on the stoop, riding, not home.. Without a text… Scary huh?
So the 4 of us met, as all bikers do, at the intersection of, “here”… As the fog set in, and we wore shorts, Christmas Eve, past the cusp of, believing, or did we? Part of us wanted to go home, get to bed, the other slim chance, “Lets rule the neighborhood. So, we did, in a way. It usually is cold, snowy, achy outside on this night. But we rode, boy did we ride. Thru the evening, past any bed time, relishing in the crazy Moon, and in awe of the homes with the old C-9 lights decorating the framework. No “Blow-up” stuff, no Tacky Tour buses, limos, traffic. Just the simple glow, of those lights, in the fog, and the muttering of the homeowner, making sure the lights worked, all of them, on that particular night. But that year…. We ruled that night.
We are in a different world now. We had no cares, now, can’t even get to work, much less home in this mess. Back then, we talked, bragged, about the fact we might, get that cool BB gun, or NFL jersey from the real sporting goods store. We didn’t travel all day to homes, we had Christmas, close, warm, with immediate family.
But that particular year, no cold, sleet, snow. The meal was even different. Was on a picnic table, outside.
Be patient my gentle snowflakes, this is a great wonder in our lives. El Nino, this one is named “Bruce Lee” the most powerful in 68 years with Ma Nature, combined, are giving us a sweet reprieve, so, enjoy the time, on your bike, on a walk, at the river. Stay out of the mall, stay home, disconnect for a day, electronically, off the grid, and appreciate the wonders of weather records breaking, and the gorgeous Moon, on Christmas night. You NEED, to remember this night. Now, get offline, turn the phone off, fix the lights, sip some Brandy, see the Moon, inhale the warmth of the air, and remember, remember, the Christmas of 2015.
So, a few years ago I wrote an article on “Why We Need an Indian Summer” and “What Makes it a White Christmas”. I see that I am being hit big, HUGE, actually, on both articles lately. So…
Let’s get into “El Nino” Christmas. As the data shows, and I have personally been waiting for, this may be the strongest El Nino in 68 years, and it is showing true. Here in Va, we will be having out umpteenth Indian Summer this Fall, and even into Winter, which starts, tomorrow, and I am grateful because of the Polar Vortex finally going back home…. 76 degrees coming this week, thru Christmas. Ma Nature is just a bit out of whack, trying to get things back in order. I remember as an early teen in the mid 70’s, riding my bike around the neighborhood, me and me buds, on Christmas Eve, gawking at all the Christmas lights, in t-shirts, and shorts well into the evening, just to pass the time. Even then, I was noting the “cycle” of the weather, as now, I remember it. So you Global Warming fools, keep on with your surmises that it’s real. Where were you last year, when I was cheering that the high today, was going to be 26 degrees ?
Little known fact… In any World Atlas, the Soviets include Ice Packs, as land mass, as long as it’s attached to them, for their square miles. In the last decade, they were shrinking. This year, their square miles, is gaining. The Winter Olympics they, couldn’t keep the ice frozen for the events, remember? Go figure….
Yes, a White Christmas has to be snowing on, Christmas to count, good luck with that this year. Buffalo broke a record of without snow this year, and my avid ski buds here in Va are whining… Some are from PA, and THEY don’t have any either!! The cycle is, a cycle. Every 17,000 years, we have an Ice Age, so, PANIC!!!
Gardening.. Hmm. What do I do in an El Nino year? Well, I GARDEN UNTIL FIRST GROUND FREEZE!!! I have always ended my lectures with, “There are NO rules in gardening, IF you are following rules, you are only “landscaping”.
In all my weather watching, I monitor the Jet Stream, El Nino, La Nina, Coral bleaching, the “Ocean Pumps”, Ocean Temps, and a host of Phenology events thru the year, that most, can’t even imagine. Woolly Caterpillar? Pig Spleens? NO, sorry. Not into false things. Personal Garden Coaches are your seasonal protectors, some of us, are actually “Grounded” with the Earth, well, just because we know what that means. Quick! What’s the MgHz vibration of the Earth have to do with Honey Bees and their demise? Why did the Purple Martins bypass Richmond last year? Why have we had an abundance of Inch Worms 2 years in a row? LOL!!! NOT because of Global Warming, and I bet your Grandparents could tell you of the same such circumstances of decades gone by, as well as things blooming now, that shouldn’t be? How true is it about a Cricket, minus, what, equals the coming temp? There are soooo many of these cool things that kill the panickers reasons, it really is.
My Richmond first snow fall guess is February 9th. I will also remind my active clients, about the importance of Ironite around then, and to watch for Forsythia, to bloom early, Go Time!!! Screw those Box Store ads!!. Find yourself, a local Personal Garden Coach, and Garden-on. Box Store ads are designed to make you purchase more, chemicals…..
Have a Merry Christmas, enjoy your Holidays, whatever, However, you choose. As Garden Folk, we are all, connected, no matter what religion. We enjoy each others endeavors and learn from mistakes, we ask questions, hoping to find answers on a very cool level, no matter who answers, about our gardening successes, don’t we.. When the grind comes down, and sifted thru, as successful gardeners, help is but a pulled weed away.
Think about it, act on it.
BTW, I need a connection to Virginia Veterans and gardening, disassembling Christmas for some, or any Virginia Vets wanting to just do a HUGE thing for those in need.. Your group can be either US Military, Local Police, Veterans Affairs, or FD Hurry, it’s time. Let’s go, time to get dirty.
Email me at Kevin@Kevinsgarden.com
Richmond Virginia Gardening Gifts
Wondering what to give that certain somebody, kid, friend, relative, co-worker, etc. for Christmas? See my link at www.Kevinsgarden.com for purchasing a Personal Garden Coach as a gift. I’ve been given as a gift and auctioned off for years, either as a birthday, Christmas, and even by Realtors for their clients. Once, I was the “most wanted’ gift in the Chinese Christmas Game, if you know what that is.
Some folks just need that bit of confidence, to keep them dirty, and successfully growing or improving their outdoor living. Let’s get dirty!!
Still trying to figure out Weebly and Mail Chimp so I can continue on but www.Kevinsgarden.com is up again… Now if I can just find more time!!
Can you control weeds without using chemicals?
Yes, you certainly can, and should.
Best Maintenance Practice (BMP)would first be able to identify that weed to find out why it’s growing there, and adjust your practices. Second would be remembering, “If it’s green, mulch it, if blooming, bag it”. That would be “mechanical removal” of your weed issues. Removing the bloom, no future seeds to spread as you cut or pull them. Green weeds can go in the compost if they are annuals. Never put perennial weed in compost, they will root and love the compost!
First part would be the ID of the plant. There are several websites that give a good ID of the weed and what it likes to grow in. One in particular is, http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/lawn-care/lgen/what-the-weeds-in-your-lawn-are-telling-you.htm
With this information, simply correcting your feeding times, cultivation, and maintenance of a lawn, garden bed, etc., can help eliminate those “out of place plants”. Timing is a factor, as well as watching the climate around you. For example, those who feed anything after first freeze, or before last freeze, the fertilizer is not taken up by the plant intended, and could in fact, run off into areas not wanted by rain or snow melt, feeding areas where weed seed is waiting. Lots of rain or snow provides excess nitrogen as well as acidic conditions, lowering the Ph of the soil, allowing certain weeds to germinate. Heavy rain and snow also aid in compaction of soil, and some weeds love that and propagate well.
Infrequent or erratic watering and feeding out of sync, can let certain weeds grow, only to try to correct the conditions around them, so are Dandelions and Clover actually bad? They are just trying to help, and are markers telling you what’s up, or down, really. Adjusting your mowing habits like changing direction each time you mow, can increase the lawns growth and health, as well as lessen compaction. Crabgrass, Bermuda and Moss, are great indicators. Think about it, most folks start in the same spot, and end in the same spot. The weight of the mower on those slim wheels and your footprint, compact the soil. I have shown some clients to go 90 degrees the next mowing, and could feel the “wagon rut” feel in the lawn from their past cuttings. The other mistake some make, is confusing the timing of aeration and de-thatching. Aerate in the early Fall and de-thatch in Spring. Get it wrong and weeds will love you.
Winter time, if you use any form of Ice Melt on your sidewalks and driveways, apply some gypsum as well. If you live where the county plows roads, and spreads chemicals, watch your property line at the road. The salt in the chemicals tightens up the soil and squeezes the roots until they die. Then weed seeds will scream up from the ground. Gypsum will help keep the soil “perking” to allow the soil to drain down to the roots, works great on your hilled veggies and slopes too.
Applying too much lime or washing a deck or patio with bleach…. Both will raise the Ph and cause your acid loving plants to become Chlorotic, and stop feeding, allowing the Alkaline weeds to germinate, like Spurge and Chickweed. Watch your slope run-off towards these shrubs as well.
If you take a moment, and walk your property, you will not only see the slope, sunlight, shade, differences in soil composition, you will understand what weeds grow where, because they are, there. As always, soil samples are a huge tool in getting things under control. My recommendations to clients is get a few samples done in different areas, sun, shade, bottom and top of slopes. Different things happen in those extremes, and a “one thing cure” just isn’t reality. So use the chart on the link I provided, or find your own in your zone, it will help you lessen the chemical usage on your property just by watching those plants that don’t know how to grow in a straight line, aka, weeds!!
BTW, I am here now. Kevinsgarden