Sunday, May 1, 2011

Best Garden Advice - May Day

'Moorpark', a self-fertile and very hardy variety for the north.

Edible pod peas, 'Sugar Snap' planted on April 19. Good germination!

Radishes 'French Breakfast,' also planted on April 19.

Celery 'Tango' under glass along with Swiss Chard 'Prima Rosso'

My parsley 'Italian Flat Leaf' that made it through the winter.

Kale 'Tosca lacinato' or "Dino Kale"

Hardneck garlic planted last fall, 'China Purple Robe'.

It is easy to get discouraged in the garden. Consider my blog of yesterday and finding the disheartening cause of a few more brown needles than I would like to see on my Austrian Black Pine (picture added). Last year I lost a beautifully -shaped 4' tall burning bush (euonymus compactus) from rabbit damage.

My mother confided that she stopped vegetable gardening after losing her squash crop to late blight one summer, literally overnight.

One of my favorite blogs is by Marie, "66 Square Feet". She lives in New York City and gardens on a rooftop terrace that is 66 square feet in size. That's half the area I covered yesterday with a porous, black landscape fabric to warm soil in which I intend to plant "a few" tomatoes, melons, and peppers!

She talks about foraging some beach plums last this coming summer from trees currently in bloom under the Brooklyn Bridge. Yesterday, I had an espalier session with my Lapin cherry, a variety which produces a sweet cherry similar to Bing (of grocery store fame) which is not hardy though here in Zone 4.

I then moved on to Margaret Roach's blog, A Way To Garden, another good one. It should be, she used to be Martha's head garden writer. She is decidedly a good gardener in her own right and has the space to do it, unlike myself. She is blogging about May garden chores on this May Day.

These two gardens bookend mine in size and mostly zone. One is written by Marie, a fairly observant gardener, but no where near the knowledge level I am guessing Roach may be hiding up her proverbial sleeve. In this way, they probably bookend me as well. Reading their blogs this morning, I did realize a couple things. One, gardening is a VERY local event. Two, everywhere on the internet we tend to use the words "varieties suited to your conditions," or "heat-tolerant varieties," or "cold tolerant varieties". That word "varieties" pops up again and again, without telling us the very important part! What is actually going to grow for us.

So, it has made me think very closely about how I will attempt to blog this growing season. I will make every attempt to include how a particular variety does for me here actually growing in the ground and containers in Zone 4.

I am hoping I can provide some tips, and good garden advice, and maybe come up with some things that you have not heard of that dramatically improve your gardening experience. These are times when all of us, good gardeners and wannabes alike need to excel at developing our self-sufficient gardening skills in uncertain economic times to not only feed our families, but connect us to the greening of our world.

Today's humour!


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