A personal record of what's going on in my Northern Michigan zone 4 gardens. I use raised beds and grow organically. Nothing fancy--just trying to garden with nature in mind.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fruit Garden Plan for 2011

The plan for the fruit garden this year includes the planting of three additional 4x8 boxes of strawberries-Record, NorthEaster, and Cavendish. I already have a box of Northeaster in the vegetable garden--they are incredibly sweet and I want a LOT more. The Cabot were planted last year and will be allowed to fruit this year. The berries are GIGANTIC and firm. I also have a bed of those in the vegetable garden---none of them made it to the house.

Nothing is changing as far as the blueberry patch. I will continue to plant alyssum at the base of the bushes-it looks so nice, keeps down weeds, brings in pollinators, and seems to keep the plants cool and moist. I am changing out the portulace at the end of the rows though---too much of a clash with the alyssum.

The Donkey "Doo" we got in October has been composting down all winter and will be applied to the south,west, and north borders here in the fruit garden. Lots of good stuff for the flowers I will plant once again around the whole garden.

The sunflowers that I had running the 30 foot length along the north border will be moved to the west border this year. I had grown several varieties mainly for seed for the birds. The mammoth ones did not have enough time to mature before frost, despite the hot weather we had last summer. I'm hoping to get suggestions for an early maturing sunflower that produces lots of seeds. Ideas????

This year along the north border will be used as a "nursery" for baby perennials I'm growing this year from seed.

This was the west border last year--44 feet worth of zinnias-spectacular in full bloom. They will be moved this year to the south border . Gotta keep stuff rotated!!

I grew 5 different kinds of them--my favorites were the cactus zinnias. Such odd color combos.

I did raise pumpkins at the corners ---but won't be doing that again this year--it ended up clogging up the aisles, making it difficult to walk through. I'm growing Small Sugar Pie again this year-they will be planted where the donkey doo composted all winter.
The Howden pumpkins are going to go in the compost area with a fence around it. I had no idea last year that deer would eat green pumpkins.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Vegetable Garden Plan for 2011

The plan for 2011. Honey-O strawberries will be removed after harvest. It will be their third year-won't be saving starts-these are not that great.

Salad Beds layout-top bed showing beds WITH tomatoes, second bed shown without tomatoes.
Salad fixings sown every 10 days----after 60 days, tear out oldest greens and repeat!
This guarantees very fresh/non-bitter greens all spring/summer/fall.
Lettuce--Burpee's Mesclun mix in spring/Black Seeded Simpson in the summer/Red Sails and Buttercrunch for the fall.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday's Mail-A Gardener's Delight!

Well, didn't THIS brighten up a drizzly winter's day?

The order from Heirloom Seeds that I placed on December 15th FINALLY arrived. I have to say I was a little surprised at how long it took. Last years order arrived within a week. This year it was over a month.

This was the first time I have ordered from Select Seeds and that went well. The only thing left to come in is my order from Thompson and Morgan and a packet of Snow Crown Cauliflower that Vermont Bean had backordered. (see above pet peeve!)

I have begun my winter sowing of flowers-the deck is filling up quickly with trays of soil and very frozen flower seeds. What a great space saver it is to be able to start my perennials outside and save my room under the flourescent lights for the tender veggies and annuals. For those who are unfamiliar with winter sowing , here is a great site www.wintersown.org

I also pulled some of the geraniums up from the basement, trimmed them back and stuck them in a sunny window. Only one so far has greened up. I'm wondering if maybe three years is the limit on doing this. Last year all of them "came back". Oh well, I'm not out anything. Perhaps a different shade of pink is in order this year!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Garden Plan--East Border

The plan for the new East Border

The border is 32 feet long, and 4 feet deep (for now--I will be expanding that later)
It is for dry, sandy soil (except for the Phlox, which I clustered together for easy watering) and is primarily geared for hummingbirds/bees. I kept playing with "cut-out" pictures of all plants I really liked until I got an arrangement that looks nice and makes sure all "fussy" plants are together so maintenance is cut down. I'll probably have to weed/water 1 hour per week.

I priced these plants on the website from whose catalog I cut these pictures. To do this border would cost me $314.61 --not including shipping. My budget WAS $100. I have all the seeds ordered for this. I have some of these plants already in the "nursery" bed that I will be dividing. I also have saved seed from a few plants that I will be sowing....so I think I might be able to get this whole border done for even less.

The plant list-broken down:

Cleome-x5-saved seed (0$)

Echinacea Bravado-x3-divisions of my own plants ($0)

Echinops x1 -seed ($3)

Miscanthus-Purchased last year on sale ($9)

Phlox-Purple x3, and Phlox-David x 3 Divisions of my own plants ($0)

Agastache Rupestris x3 seed ($3)

Echinacea-Lucky Stars-x3-purchased 1 large last year on sale-will divide to make 3 ($9)

Perovskia-x1- bought last year as a starter plant on sale ($2)

Rudbeckia fulgida Goldsturm x6 -divisions of my own plants ($0)

White Swan Echinacea x3 -seeds ($3)

Rudbeckia-Prairie Sun x6 -seeds ($3)

Physostegia (white)x1-moving from other garden bed ($0)

Solidago "Fireworks"x1 -purchased last year at close-out--($6)

Hyssop-x3 --seedlings from saved seed ($0)

Salvia-Silver candles x1 -Will purchase ($9) ((hopefully I can find it cheaper!!)

Geranium Rozanne x1 Will Purchase ($5)

Stachys-to fill in-~x6--divisions of my plants ($0)

Misc. ornamental ribbon grass-~x3 -divisions of my plants ($0)

Total doing it MY way--- $52. Wow. That's about $250 cheaper than just ordering it (the easy way) Can't wait to see how this progresses.

Oops-Forgot- I'll have to add about $15 for potting soil. I have all the pots I need.

Now, spring needs to hurry along!