Let's Talk about Gardens

Posted by Rosemary, Volunteer Mentor @rosemarya, Tue, Mar 31 8:23pm

Spring is on it’s way and many of us are looking forward to some sunshine and warmer weather and being outdoors…and gardens!
Perhaps you look forward to digging in the fresh spring time soil as you prepare for a summer garden? Do you plant flowers? Do you plant vegetables?
Do you garden for enjoyment? Do you garden for health benefits? What do you want to share about your garden?

I don't consider myself a gardener, but my grandpa did have a farm when I was a child. I remember how much my brothers and I loved to spend time in grandpa's garden and pick flowers for grandma, and veggies for dinner, and berries for pie! Grandma made the best pies in the world.
I have some of grandpa's plain ole daffodils, the kind that grow along the roadsides in the country, but to me they are special. Those who garden will probably understand.
I used to raise a small bed of veggies, but when the squirrels took over, I quit. Now I have an organ transplant, and I have to be very careful about digging in the dirt. I have to wear gloves and I have mostly perennial flowers that I keep weeded. I enjoy watching them grow and wait anxiously until the bloom. I forget what is planted, so there is always a surprise!

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@rosemarya I so enjoyed my garden both vegetable and flower . I did have to do it for health reasons for our son since he was allergic so I canned everything and enjoyed going to the fruit cellar instead of out in the snow to get food.

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@rosemarya All of my perennials are now up. Not sure what my flower garden will be this year with all of the restrictions. Just wait and see. I only do flowers now and since my flower bed only gets 3-4 hours of sun it is a challenge to get those bursts of color. Anxious to see how all of this is going to turn out. Gardening has always been a joy for me be it veggies or flowers.

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@rosemarya

I don't consider myself a gardener, but my grandpa did have a farm when I was a child. I remember how much my brothers and I loved to spend time in grandpa's garden and pick flowers for grandma, and veggies for dinner, and berries for pie! Grandma made the best pies in the world.
I have some of grandpa's plain ole daffodils, the kind that grow along the roadsides in the country, but to me they are special. Those who garden will probably understand.
I used to raise a small bed of veggies, but when the squirrels took over, I quit. Now I have an organ transplant, and I have to be very careful about digging in the dirt. I have to wear gloves and I have mostly perennial flowers that I keep weeded. I enjoy watching them grow and wait anxiously until the bloom. I forget what is planted, so there is always a surprise!

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Rosemary, thank you for starting this gardening thread. When I first retired, I was lost because I'd not given thought to how I would spend my sudden unstructured time. So intent on accumulating the nickels to make future years financially doable, I'd not considered the fact that most of my friends were still working. Flower gardening became both my salvation and passion. Eventually, I had both yards landscaped for plants. Your post reminded me of the blackberries my dad grew and my mom turned into delicious cobblers.

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Parus, I'm also wondering how my gardens will look this year. Due to weather and allergies, I am somewhat behind on the "final" clearing of some beds. My backyard bulbs have been a constant source of cheer and beauty this year because I've added a few new ones each season and this year they really did themselves "proud".

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@fiesty76

Parus, I'm also wondering how my gardens will look this year. Due to weather and allergies, I am somewhat behind on the "final" clearing of some beds. My backyard bulbs have been a constant source of cheer and beauty this year because I've added a few new ones each season and this year they really did themselves "proud".

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@fiesty76 I am wondering about the garden centers. I also use an assortment of bedding plants. Just don't know at this point. Cannot even purchase potting soil for the pots I use. As much as I enjoy doing my little garden space I am struggling to get enthused at this point. Just wait and see.

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@parus

@fiesty76 I am wondering about the garden centers. I also use an assortment of bedding plants. Just don't know at this point. Cannot even purchase potting soil for the pots I use. As much as I enjoy doing my little garden space I am struggling to get enthused at this point. Just wait and see.

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@parus I spend winter in Texas & summer in Minnesota. As a Master Gardener, I am on a first-name basis with several garden center owners, and I can tell you that the small ones, who operate on razor-thin margins, are SCARED of being able to ride this out. Since many already have their stock, both plants and supplies, they would be more than happy to work with you to get you what you need. I suggest calling a local independent to arrange to buy on the phone and pick up curbside. In the Twin Cities in MN, several of my friends who work at small nurseries are busy filling such orders – even setting up flats of plants "to order" for early season planters like pansy bowls. Not quite the same as selecting your own plants, but enough to get you started…
@feisty76 – Don't worry about being behind in your garden work – your plants will forgive you! I am sitting anxiously in Texas, not knowing when I will get back to my up North gardens – but I know all will eventually be well.
So for now, I am using my "garden time" – the early morning when I usually walk the yard, coffee cup in hand, to plan my daily garden tasks – to walk my little Texas community and admire the blooming cactus & trees
Sue

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Sue, sounds like you enjoy the best of both worlds in TX and MN! Yes, I appreciate your suggestions to Parus and may call a couple of our local florists for something similar. Can't stand to think of not adding new "babies" to my flock this year.

Expecting another sunny, warm day here and that means I'm geared up in my most used wardrobe of garden duds and shoes! Happy day to all.

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@parus

@fiesty76 I am wondering about the garden centers. I also use an assortment of bedding plants. Just don't know at this point. Cannot even purchase potting soil for the pots I use. As much as I enjoy doing my little garden space I am struggling to get enthused at this point. Just wait and see.

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Parus, I'm wondering too how our spring/summer gardens will differ this year from past seasons. When I first became addicted to gardening, I filled every inch with something growing. Only later, when an artist friend commented on a group of paintings at our museum and mentioned that she appreciated how the artist effectively used "the spaces in between" did it dawn on me that spacing has merit. May see more spaces than we bargained for this year but as long as there is some dirt to play in and something green growing to nurture, bet we will be ok. Take care.

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So glad this group got started! I am the first to admit I have no green thumb, and I have many plants that will agree to that statement LOL This is in sharp contrast to my mother who seem to be able to grow anything and her yard showed it. My little sister inherited that green thumb as did my older sister. It by passed me. I have grown cactuses and succulents successfully. A few times grown flowers. Now that we are in an area just ripe for gardening, I hope to learn more how to do it all. My neighbor loves to putter in the garden, so I am happy to become a student. The smell of freshly turned soil is rewarding. We have loose plans for what we want in gardens here, but willing to wait a full year to see how the seasons go. And how the deer will "help" us.
Ginger

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@gingerw

So glad this group got started! I am the first to admit I have no green thumb, and I have many plants that will agree to that statement LOL This is in sharp contrast to my mother who seem to be able to grow anything and her yard showed it. My little sister inherited that green thumb as did my older sister. It by passed me. I have grown cactuses and succulents successfully. A few times grown flowers. Now that we are in an area just ripe for gardening, I hope to learn more how to do it all. My neighbor loves to putter in the garden, so I am happy to become a student. The smell of freshly turned soil is rewarding. We have loose plans for what we want in gardens here, but willing to wait a full year to see how the seasons go. And how the deer will "help" us.
Ginger

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At the mention of deer, I think @jimhd should be called into this discussion group.

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As Colleen inferred, my plantings are designed with Bambi in mind. I've had to deal a few times with our neighbor's cows and horses wandering into our yard. Fences are in place, but stock seem to be smart enough to get over or through or around gates and fencing. But the deer are always a nuisance. They damage fruit trees, nibble on the evergreens, pull up succulents (and drop them because they figure out that they don't taste good), and munch on the mums just as the flowers begin to open. I have a high fence around the vegetable/perennial garden. It's a 5' field fence with 2 rows of barbed wire above. I've put in 10' t stakes – I have to use a step ladder to reach up with the post driver. Not one of my favorite chores.

I have fencing around the orchard that I hope to improve on this summer. Fencing cages around individual trees, a climbing rose (a favorite of deer), around bushes and so on. It doesn't enhance the beauty of the place, but it's a necessary evil. I found that they don't like rosa rugosa, iris,daffodils, peonies, Oregon grape, juniper and leave blue fescue alone. Until I moved into deer habitat I always had roses.

Anyone who thinks that deer are cute, as I used to, doesn't have them bedding down in their yard.

I got a Gurney's nursery catalog today, and I guess that if I want very many things I might have to order through online nurseries. I'd normally get my vegetable and annual starts from a greenhouse down the road, and I might give them a call to see what their plans are. I always plant vegetables on Memorial Day weekend, hopefully after the last frost.

Happy gardening, everyone. It will be even more therapeutic than usual for me this year, in the throes of the pandemic.

Jim

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I grumble every year that gardening in our concrete hard clay soil is daunting. Each year I spend as much on soil amendments as plants. I salute you for having risen to the challenge of protecting your harvests from 4-legged critters that I don't have to contend with. I'll keep adding to my compost piles and be grateful to also learn plans of our local nurseries. Cannot bear to think of not adding some new additions to my existing beds.

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We have a couple of deer that wander thru the neighborhood. This year they have have changed their route because of recent construction activity. As a result my tulips are blooming!
I really like the idea going to a local grower for my plants. We have one that sets up a stand in a local parking lot. It has never been crowded early in the mornings. Mothers' Day is the time for planting flowers here. I don't know about veggies, though. I will get a couple of tomato plants this year.

-Cute story: Couple years ago my tomato plants were really sad looking, and I had only a few tomatoes. I had one pretty tomato that I kept close watch on so my granddaughter could pick it when she came. And she did! When she got home, her mommy asked her what she liked doing at grandma/grandpa's. Her answer, "Me and grandma picked a tomato."

Enjoy your day in the garden!

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Hello everyone – I would like to encourage everyone to PLEASE figure out how to support their local growers this year (not the big box stores.) They are small businesses in dire danger of not making it. I was on a conference call last night with Master Gardeners and nursery/garden center people. In addition to already having their plants started, with no idea if they will be able to open their pop-up stands and farmers' market stalls, a lot of small growers raise plants for community groups to sell as fund raisers. In MN and south TX, all of those sales are cancelled, and the growers are stuck with the costs and product. A number of centers in the Twin Cities have already set up, or are exploring, ways to sell on the phone or online, with curbside pickup. Please check with your local businesses for products, even if you pay a few bucks more, otherwise they will not be here for you next year.
Let me tell you a story – as Master Gardeners, we work on dozens of school, park and community projects every year. Not once in 18 years has a big box store donated product to us, except stuff that was too sickly or damaged to sell and would otherwise be thrown away. Our local garden centers, on the other hand, work hand-in-hand with us to plan and execute gardens in the community and landscape Habitat for Humanity homes, libraries, housing coops… Last year alone, 5 local growers in our county donated over $3000 worth of plants to our program/partners and to the local food bank gardens. Another small grower provides us plants, on consignment for our fund-raiser plant sale and accepts unsold plants back without penalty. Yet another, who doesn't have a retail location, raises plants almost exclusively for fund-raisers by non-profits. He told us his product is all planted – seeds/starts, pots, soil, fertilizer all bought, labor done, and 3 weeks of heat lights paid for, and 80% of the orders are cancelled. Unless he can get paid for his sunk costs by some of the organizations, he will have to close his doors. One of our large growers donates thousands of dollars worth of plants to Habitat for Humanity every year, which are then planted by homeowners with the assistance of the local Master Gardeners.
Happy gardening everyone – I hope you can find what you need to raise your vegetables or make your yards beautiful.
Sue

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