Posted in Environment, Gardening, Insects, Patio Gardening, vegetables, tagged attractive vegetables, container plants, Extension, Master Gardener, parsley, watering container plants on August 23, 2014|
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I guess I’m on a tear with this topic. It just seems to me that it is such a REAL possibility to mix the two without making our gardens ugly! However, if we put veggies in the garden they should be ornamental. Looks really DO matter!
Last week we went to Swanson’s Nursery to listen to a talk about Gardening For Seniors. When I visited their website this morning, I found a section on “Edibles” in the garden. Here is a picture that says it all! It is beautiful. I will paste the picture here for you to look at, but you really should go to their website and read what it has to say! Remember this photograph is a possession of Swanson’s-it is NOT one of my photographs! How can anyone think veggies can’t be attractive?
Here is a short list of some really good choices (mine AND Swanson’s) to spread among those flowers:
- exotic kale
- dark purple leaved beets (Bull’s Blood is one variety mentioned by Swanson’s)
- curly leafed parsley
- different varieties of thyme
- tri-colored sage
- prostrate rosemary
- green globe artichoke
What you need to plan for is the height these plants will reach, as well as how much room they need to spread. They shouldn’t be taking over the garden…just adding to it!
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I keep getting questions about growing vegetables at Horizon House. Folks who garden also TEND to be concerned with our environment and how we utilize it. That, for gardeners, often mean they want to be more self-sustaining, they would LIKE to grow some vegetables. The problem is that our gardens here are beautiful. They are there for the enjoyment of all the residents of Horizon House, as well as those who garden here. How do we combine those two? Beauty AND utility?
There are those who say we should have NO veggies, although there are tomatoes grown in pots, much to the chagrin of those others. Nothing in our Guidelines indicates vegetables are not allowed, although again there are those who feel ADAMANTLY that the Guidelines SHOULD say that. How do we deal with those opposing viewpoints?
Some vegetables are beautiful, and in my humble opinion can definitely be incorporated. I can think of some rather beautiful herbs. Or how about rhubarb (if the flowering parts are removed)? Even asparagus grown in the back of the bed can provide a nice green backdrop. Blueberries make for magnificent color in the fall and a well behaved shrub the rest of the year.
I can understand the brouhaha about the “no vegetables” in our garden beds, but I also think we need to be a bit more open minded about it. I think we’d all like to be a bit more productive, providing food for our tables, as well as beauty.
I hope I get some feedback (no pun intended..although maybe it is!) about this topic, as well as some suggestions!
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Posted in Fertilizer, Gardening, Insects, Patio Gardening, Soil, tagged apartment living, container plants, plant roots, potting, repotting, root on August 18, 2014|
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Last week we went to Swanson’s for a talk on Gardening for Seniors. Not only did we have a good talk on Gardening for Seniors, we had a chance to have a delightful lunch and then wander into the Nursery to purchase all kinds of plants!
I thought it would be good to review the things we heard about. I will do that here. I have also taken the liberty of adding a few of my own observations that I think could be most helpful. Here they are:
THE SOIL & POTTING TECHNIQUES
⁃ You can use HUGE packing pearls to take up room in large pots so you don’t need so much soil. It will also make the pot lighter to move around. Remember to use a permeable material to separate the soil from the pearls.
⁃ You should transplant pots every 3-5 years.
⁃ If you need help re-potting, Swanson’s does do that.
⁃ You should always have a hole in the pot for drainage.
⁃ A dolly under a pot is VERY helpful for moving it!
⁃ Use ergonomic tools! They are much better for arthritic and “tired” hands.
⁃ Osmacote is wonderful for perennials
⁃ We talked about the numbers on the fertilizer. They can be confusing, so here’s an easy way to remember what you are looking for.
⁃ N-P-K (nitrogen-phophorus-potassium) is what they translate to…the numbers mean the percentage of each of those ingredients found in the fertilizer.
⁃ N-or nitrogen is critical for foliage growth. i.e. fertilizer for grass has a HIGH first number or nitrogen content. Don’t use too much of this on your flowering plants, as it will stimulate foliage at the expense of flowers!
⁃ P-Phophorus-is necessary for the roots and flowers. (Think bulbs and rhizomes, as well as annuals) A high middle number (P) is GOOD for flowering plants. (Rolf, our speaker, suggested Bloom Booster (10-52-10) for your annuals.)
⁃ K-Potassium builds the entire plant helping it become sturdy and healthy overall.
⁃ All of these should be scratched into the soil to be sure it can be absorbed readily by the roots.
⁃ Slugs-You can run a copper band around the garden.
⁃ A recipe I have used in New England is combining 9 parts water to 1 part common household ammonia and spray it on your vulnerable plants just before dark. When the slugs hit this, they will dissolve!
⁃ I also recommend spreading diatomaceous earth around those plants.
⁃ For Roses you can spray with Neem Oil in the spring and fall.
⁃ Aphids will drown easily so spraying them with water every 8 days for a few weeks should do the trick.
⁃ Mealy Bugs and Spider Mites should be treated with Insecticidal soap.
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