Garden Resolutions

Happy Belated New Year !  I hope your holidays were joyous and relaxing.  While not exactly relaxing, our holidays were most definitely joyful!  Sally and I spent a whole week on Orcas Island in Washington State.  We were there to meet the newest member of our family.  Our youngest daughter gave birth to our second grandson.  What a joy to visit with her and welcome Bernard to our ever expanding family. family

Did you make any gardening resolutions? Personally, I gave up on resolutions several years ago.  However, I still set goals.  I guess this is kind of like making resolutions.  However, thanks to some weird part of my brain, I seem to have less guilt when I fail to complete a goal than when I fail to accomplish my resolutions.

I have set lots of goals for 2016.  First, I want to figure out how to spend more time in my garden.  I will need to do this since I am doubling the size of my vegetable garden and adding a large butterfly/cut flower garden.  I also planted two 35’ foot rows of blackberries back in the summer and those will need tending.

If your daughter is going to live far, far away, pray that she lives in a beautiful place. This view of My. Baker is just steps from daughter's house.

If your daughter is going to live far, far away, pray that she lives in a beautiful place. This view of Mt. Baker is just steps from daughter’s house.

My next goal is to finish several unfinished landscaping projects.  I have decided that 2016 will be the year that I finally finish the granite walk paths that pass through the three rose arbors and connect all of my gardens together.  The walk paths were on hold so I could run water and electricity out to my vegetable garden.  I am proud to say this project was completed back in November.  While I am looking forward to finishing the walk paths, I am more excited about the six water spigots that I have added that  will allow me to install and use drip irrigation in my ever expanding vegetable garden.

My final goal is to do a better job documenting all of these changes on the blog.  In addition, Patty and I are going to introduce a new feature.  Each month we are going to visit with gardeners around the state and see what works, and what doesn’t, in their gardens.  Each time I visit with a gardener I pick up something that I can apply in my own garden.  I hope you will enjoy our visits and I hope you get some tips that will make you a better gardener too.

I was impressed with the number of vegetable gardens we saw on the island. Seems like everyone had one. This one was truly beautiful

I was impressed with the number of vegetable gardens we saw on the island. Seems like everyone had one. This one was truly beautiful

Last year was a great year for the blog (click here if you would like to see the “Year in Review” presentation from WordPress).  The “Weekly Tips” were incredibly well received.   While I am not going to continue this, I will continue to post a weekly tip on my Facebook page.  If you don’t already follow us on Facebook please check it out and give us a like.

Thank you all so much for continuing to follow us.  We are so humbled that you choose to get some of your gardening tips from our little website.  We work hard to provide information that is relevant, useful and (hopefully) entertaining.  If there is anything that you would like to have featured or discussed on the blog do not hesitate to send us an e-mail or leave us a comment.  Happy New Year!

Tip of the Week – Week 16 in the Zone 9 Garden

Spring is definitely in the air!  Many of my roses are in full bloom and one of my chickens just hatched three new baby chicks!  This is going to be a great weekend to be outside.  The sun is out, temperatures are mild and all of this rain should make those beds a joy to work in.

chicks-1 Vegetables

The middle of April is a great time to plant our heat loving vegetables from seed.  Patty Leander just did a great post on growing Butterbeans (Lima Beans).  In addition to Butterbeans and Southern peas (black eyes and crowder), this weekend is a great time to plant vining crops like cantaloupe, water melons and gourds.  It is also a great time to get your okra in the ground.

Quick note on vining crops.  They are water hogs!  If you give them as much water as they need by watering overhead you are setting yourself up for the best crop of uncontrollable weeds you have ever seen.  Save water and reduce your weed problems by setting up some type of drip system for your watermelons, cantaloupes and gourds.

grilled-okra Ornamentals

Most of my roses are truly beautiful right now.  There really is not much in this world that is prettier than a rose bush in full bloom.  If you have a rose (or other woody shrub) that you would like to make more of, now is the time to do it.  I have found that people are somewhat intimidated by the thought of propagation.  Don’t be.  Most plants are very tough and adaptable.  Making a new one from a cutting is pretty easy once you know a few tips.

If you would like to try your hand at propagation, read my article “Propogating Antique Roses”.  It has all the tips you need to save a few bucks by creating your own plants from cuttings.

Cherokee-Rose Lawns

Right now the conditions are perfect for the formation of brown patch in St. Augustine.  Brown patch is a fungal disease that forms when rainfall is high and temps or low.  It is also more come in lawns that are over fertilized.  Brown patch is not fatal.  Generally, you can control it by cutting back on watering and fertilization.  If it spreads to an area larger than a trash can lid you may want to apply one of several granular fungicides that are designed for control.

If your brown patch does not go away as the temperatures rise you may have Take All Patch.  This is another fungal disease that is becoming more common.  Unlike brown patch, take all patch is fatal.  While there are fungicides for control, this disease is hard to beat once it is established.  If you get Take All, you may want to consider replacing your water hungry St Augustine with Bermuda or zoysia.  Both require less water and are bothered by fewer pests.

I share my posts on the HomeAcre Hop.  Be sure to stop by the hop.  It has tons of great information from gardeners and homesteaders all over the world!