You can have your landscape and eat it too!

Anyone can grow fruits or vegetables in their own backyard.  No special garden plot needed!

Edible plants  can be tucked in a number of spots in an existing landscape.  The only requirement is enough sun which in most cases is 6-8 hours of direct sun.

Any vegetable can be grown but some look better than others, so they can be put in more noticeable spots.  Some plants that are being used for landscaping are swiss chard, parsley, everbearing strawberries, lettuce, kale, cabbages, peppers and many kinds of herbs.

Best results can be obtained if the soil is improved directly around the edible plant. Also, during dry spells, they will probably need supplemental water.

Blueberries and dwarf fruit trees such as apples, pears, peaches and plums are a good choice even though they need a few early season sprays.

Grapes on a fence or arbor can add quick privacy.  There is even a hardy Kiwi vine for our hardiness zone.

Just think of walking out into your own yard in the summer and picking peaches off your own tree.  Nothing tastes better!

bye for now,

Judy

-19F and Still Growing

I went out to the garden the other day to check out the beds that were planted last fall.

We had planted three beds, one bed of a leaf lettuce mix, one of spinach, and one bed of Bibb lettuce.

The Bibb  lettuce had a heat coil buried to keep the soil warm.  I fully expected that bed to be alive, and it was.

What surprised me was discovering that the other two beds were alive as well. They had nothing more than a plastic covering to protect them from the winter cold.  It got down to at least -19F at this garden location.

It was the snow cover that we had this winter that made the difference!  Under a foot of snow that was piled on top of the bed covers, the lettuce and spinach were still alive and waiting for a little warmer weather to start growing again.

You may want to think about making your own bed cover to get an early crop of lettuce this spring.  A bed cover placed over a garden bed can start to warm the soil. You can start some lettuce plants inside then gradually  let them get used to the cooler outside  temperatures. Put them in a bright yet cool location  (40’s to 50’s) for several days, then move them  into your outdoor covered bed to get a real early crop of lettuce.

Keep in mind that your lettuce that you grow in that bed will be better than anything you will find in the store. Check the prices at “Whole Foods” or some other high quality produce department to get an idea of what you might have to pay for lettuce that only begins to approach the quality you will be harvesting!

Once your bed cover is made, you can use it next fall to extend the growing season.

Bob

Winter Gardening…Think Snow!

We are having a nice, long, snowy, old-fashioned winter here in Michigan.

Some gardeners I have been talking with are getting a little weary of all the snow and cold temperatures. Maybe you are too.

In long winters like this I like to take a page from our Japanese gardening friends.  They feel gardening is a year long process. For them winter is just another gardening season.

When a Japanese gardener plants his garden, he will consider how the plants will look in the fall and through the winter. He looks forward to snow in the winter so he can enjoy “sekku” or in English, “snow blossoms”.

In Japan, an evergreen tree is selected, in part, on how it will look during the winter. Stems and old seed heads of perennials will also make a good foundation for sekku as they collect and hold snow.

One good thing about this type of winter gardening is that once the plants have been selected and planted during the growing season, all you have to do is sit back and wait for snow!

Also, you don’t have to be in such a rush in the fall to “tidy up” the garden by removing all of the old plant stems. Some of the fallen and broken stems and any thing that has shown signs of disease  should be removed of course, but keep some interesting stems and leaves for your sekku.

So after the next snow, think about taking a different look at your yard and garden and take some time to enjoy your own snow blossoms!

Bob