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Archive for the ‘Insects’ Category

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 websiteEdible-herbs-veggies-Swanson's home page.container 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
  • dill
  • fennel
  • asparagus
  • dark purple leaved beets (Bull’s Blood is one variety mentioned by Swanson’s)
  • curly leafed parsley
  • different varieties of thyme
  • chives
  • 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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IMG_2314Last 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.

FERTILIZING
⁃    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.IMG_2327

INSECTS
⁃    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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No black-flies!  No mosquitoes! Hardly any bees!  I have yet to see a wasp!  Where are the butterflies?

I don’t think Washington has black-flies, but mosquitoes?  Am I just lucky living in the city?  I’ve seen probably three bees in the 4 months we’ve been here.  I haven’t seen ONE butterfly.

Is it that we are in the city?  Is it that I’m not being observant enough?  There are certainly tons of flowers, so there must be pollinators.  On reading this article, it appears that Washington is a bit concerned about it’s pollinators.  We need to plant all kinds of flowering plants.  More importantly, we need to plant NATIVE species which will attract and hold onto those pollinators even better.

So, maybe part of the problem is that gardeners in Washington need to be particularly mindful of pollinators.  Here’s a link that will tell you how you can help.  Visit it and take it seriously!

So, I’m off for today.  If I get a garden plot here at our retirement facility in downtown Seattle, I’ll be looking at native species to plant.  Do you have any wonderful recommendations?

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