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  • Showing only topics with the tag "gardening". Back to normal view
    1. I'm at a loss on what to do about my backyard grass situation

      My backyard has become a muddy mess and it's creating some downstream effects, such as me spending WAY too much time vacuuming and mopping (3 dogs), and not being able to do anything meaningful in...

      My backyard has become a muddy mess and it's creating some downstream effects, such as me spending WAY too much time vacuuming and mopping (3 dogs), and not being able to do anything meaningful in the backyard. Here are some details:

      • I'm right on the edge of USDA zones 9a and 9b -- the map shows that my house is specifically in 9a, but one block south of me is 9b
      • The grass in the backyard was mostly St. Augustine when I bought the house. For a number of reasons (some really harsh winters and summers, three dogs trampling the grass, etc.), the St. Augustine is entirely gone
      • Last fall, as a stop-gap, I put down some weed killer to control the weeds and seeded the entire backyard with winter rye. It grew amazingly well and I had a lush, verdant backyard for one season.
      • This spring, my plan was to grow bermuda grass. My thinking was that it would be able to withstand the summers but could also handle the dog traffic a bit better. So, I did some pre-emergent, scalped the winter rye, raked up most of the detritus, got the ground really wet and muddy, and laid down some bermuda seed + fertilizer
      • Now, almost a month later, I haven't seen a single bit of growth. The pre-emergent has done a pretty good job of keeping the weeds out and some winter rye is still growing here and there, but other than that, it's just... mud.

      So, what are my options, especially this late in the season? Should I just throw in the towel and sod it with St. Augustine again? Did I do something wrong with the bermuda? Do I need to make it through a muddy summer and reconsider my options going into the fall?

      31 votes
    2. Spring gardening thread

      For those who live in the Northern Hemisphere, this is an open thread to discuss 2024 plans and ambitions now that cold temperatures are waning. I'll start off: I'm taking a risk, but got my...

      For those who live in the Northern Hemisphere, this is an open thread to discuss 2024 plans and ambitions now that cold temperatures are waning.

      I'll start off:

      I'm taking a risk, but got my seedlings planted out yesterday. Officially, last frost date is May 16, but the rate of warming at 45° N has been so accelerated that we've got about 6 more frost-free weeks than in 2000.

      My indoor seed starting wasn't as successful as usual for hot peppers, so I'll probably be buying plants. The tomatoes did fine, so much so that they were overgrowing their pots and the grow tent.

      Unfortunately, goutweed invaded a couple of beds and I'm just going to have to tarp them until next year. That miserable weed will grow upwards through a foot-deep bed and there's no way to dig it out. Future beds (hoping to build another two or three this year) will be started on landscape fabric, lesson learned.

      Spouse finished digging out the last of an invasive autumn olive hedge at the neighbor's fence line. We're deciding on Amelanchier (serviceberry) or aronia for replacement. Each has edible berries, it's just a choice between prettier flowers or bright fall foliage. There's a local native nursery with good prices on both.

      We're also looking at replacing a badly placed non-native mulberry with a flowering crabapple. There are varieties that have both attractive flowers and good-tasting or cider-friendly fruit.

      Please share your garden plans, including how you're factoring in climate variations.

      19 votes
    3. Does anyone else have succulents?

      Spent yesterday afternoon re-potting my little collection of succulents, and it got me wondering whether other people on here might have some. Curious if people want to share their favorites or...

      Spent yesterday afternoon re-potting my little collection of succulents, and it got me wondering whether other people on here might have some. Curious if people want to share their favorites or tips/tricks, etc.

      37 votes
    4. Northern hemisphere gardeners - share your 2024 plans!

      Please share your garden plans, ideas, and wildly overambitious green fantasies here! Weird and treacherous climate change weather is distorting my garden sense. Normally, it's not a good idea to...

      Please share your garden plans, ideas, and wildly overambitious green fantasies here!

      Weird and treacherous climate change weather is distorting my garden sense. Normally, it's not a good idea to plant anything tender until late May here, but I'm betting we won't get frost past May 1 this year, or nothing that can't be handled with strategic use of row covers and cloches.

      My fingers are itching to get the hot peppers started. I'm restraining myself from starting the tomatoes too early (again!), and the snapdragons and other slow annual flowers are starting to germinate. I could probably sow kale now.

      We'll see which of last year's bulbs survived the critters until the spring. Reinforcement of the deer fencing is happening as soon as the ground is thawed deeply enough to set proper posts, and dry enough to work with wood frames and cattle panel.

      I'm going to get a few logs set up for shiitakes, oysters, maitake, and maybe see if last year's happenstance wood chip pile morels can be encouraged. Fingers-crossed that December's wild garlic (ramps) test planting took hold - if that works, I'll get more slips and expand the patch in more of the shady areas that aren't suitable for much else.

      Depending on how my hands and spouse's shoulders are holding up, there's a lot of digging in this year's permaculture expansion. A couple of Hugelkultur beds, some (mostly?) American chestnut trees, more berries and apples, planting the overwintered pawpaws, and another try at elderberries. I've got vague plans for building a grape arbor this year, but that's going to depend on availability of spouse's hands during the busy winery season.

      Looking forward to hearing from you!

      21 votes
    5. Gardeners of the northern hemisphere, how did it go this year?

      The growing season here in southeastern Australia is just kicking off, so I'd love to hear (and see!) your successes and failures, what you will repeat and what you want to change, what your...

      The growing season here in southeastern Australia is just kicking off, so I'd love to hear (and see!) your successes and failures, what you will repeat and what you want to change, what your future plans are, etc.

      43 votes
    6. Harvest time: Share your favorite garden bounty recipes!

      My tomato and pepper harvest this year is going to be negligible (thanks, deer!), but I have tomatillos coming out of my ears. My favorite Salsa Verde recipe freezes well. To the extent that...

      My tomato and pepper harvest this year is going to be negligible (thanks, deer!), but I have tomatillos coming out of my ears. My favorite Salsa Verde recipe freezes well.

      To the extent that everyone who grows tomatoes will have lots of green ones, here's a good chutney recipe that works well for water-bath canning:

      Green Tomato Chutney

      Servings: 3 pints

      Ingredients:

      2 1/2 lbs green tomatoes (a few ripe or partially ripe are fine to be included)
      1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
      1 cup chopped red onion
      1 cup golden raisin
      1 cup cider vinegar
      2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
      1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
      1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
      1 teaspoon coriander seed
      1 teaspoon kosher salt
      1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
      1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
      1 cinnamon stick
      1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg
      (***For my taste, I'll mince in a couple of whatever fresh hot peppers I have in the garden, and increase other spices to taste, and add a chopped large knob of fresh ginger.)

      Directions:

      Place all of the ingredients in a medium sized (about 4 qt) thick-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and simmer uncovered for an additional 15 minutes to thicken.

      Notes:

      Note: If desired, this recipe can be canned by processing filled (sterilized!) jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Recipe will fill six 8-oz jars or three 16-oz jars. Otherwise, chutney will keep in the refrigerator for a few months.

      The other garden success story this year, heavy rain, weird weather, bugs, and pestiferous ungulates notwithstanding, is basil. Freaking huge bushes of every variety I planted: Italian Mountain, Genovese, Persian, Thai Kaprow, Thai Holy, and Purple Opal.

      I'll be processing fresh Italian basil with olive oil and freezing it in silicone trays. Internet rumor has it that freezing doesn't treat fresh garlic well, and you're better off making pesto from frozen basil as needed.

      I may do the same thing with neutral oil for the Persian basil, and peanut oil for the Thai, unless someone else has suggestions.

      We'll also have about 50 lbs. of apples from a single tree. They're a little too organic for eating out of hand, unless you're comfortable with inadvertent insect protein ingestion. But drying, pies, and cake are definitely in the picture. This is a simple, reliable apple cake recipe that's easy to share around. I'm still digging for my old bakery Caramel Apple Torte recipe.

      16 votes
    7. Best method to get rid of mealybugs (and maybe scale too)?

      I've got an indoor stephanotis which got an infestation of mealybugs (bad soil I think). I gave it a spray of Safer 5118-6 insecticidal soap (49.something% potassium salts of fatty acids) and have...

      I've got an indoor stephanotis which got an infestation of mealybugs (bad soil I think). I gave it a spray of Safer 5118-6 insecticidal soap (49.something% potassium salts of fatty acids) and have been going around (and around and around) the plant with an alcohol soaked pad to pick them off. It's a pretty thick mess of vines, and after several days of hunting I've found a lot, but of course it needs to be zero. It's had a problem with scale as well in the past, but this seems to be pretty minor right now. I've encountered just 2-3 leaves with that, and alcohol-wiped them too.

      So my question is, is this insecticidal soap the most suitable thing to use (it does specify it targets mealybugs) or is there something better? I plan to give it a good saturation in a couple more days, really try to hit every spot.

      15 votes
    8. Does anyone have experience transforming their boring lawns into more eco-friendly alternatives?

      One of the things I want to do when I purchase a home is not subscribe to the whole lawn culture, not just because I hate lawn care, but because I think they're ugly and boring. I want something a...

      One of the things I want to do when I purchase a home is not subscribe to the whole lawn culture, not just because I hate lawn care, but because I think they're ugly and boring. I want something a little more eco-friendly and more comfortable to be in. I'm thinking fast growing trees, bushes, tall plants, etc.

      Has anyone on Tildes attempted such a conversion? What are some tips you'd recommend?

      76 votes
    9. What are your favorite recipes to showcase garden- or farm-fresh produce?

      Now that the summer bounty at the farmer's market is in full swing, I'd love to hear about your recipes that showcase the fresh fruits and vegetables you get from the farmer's market, or the...

      Now that the summer bounty at the farmer's market is in full swing, I'd love to hear about your recipes that showcase the fresh fruits and vegetables you get from the farmer's market, or the garden if you grow your own. I'm thinking of the recipes that really let the flavors of the produce shine.

      Two of my favorite farmer's market items are sweet corn and tomatoes, and I've come to realize the corn and tomatoes you can buy at the grocery store are just sad imitations of the real thing. My favorite recipe right now is a simple sweet corn and cherry tomato salad, with a little basil, flaky salt, lime juice, and good olive oil. I'll add mozarella or feta and pepitas sometimes for a little extra oomph, but the simplicity and flavors are heavenly. What are your favorites?

      16 votes
    10. How do I use up all this mint?

      This spring my wife and I started growing some herbs in containers on our (quite large) balcony. I got some nice big pots bc I know a lot of these like some space, and I planted a bunch of...

      This spring my wife and I started growing some herbs in containers on our (quite large) balcony. I got some nice big pots bc I know a lot of these like some space, and I planted a bunch of staples. On a whim, I planted some spearmint bc I figured it would be nice to have some fresh mint on hand for cocktails.

      I knew mint was hardy and tends to grow out of control, but I didn't think much about it since it's in its own large standalone pot, away from my other plants. But Y'ALL. My other plants are dong okay but there is SO MUCH MINT. I'm barely doing anything and it's THRIVING. I don't even drink that many cocktails.

      Other than cocktails and mint tea, I have no idea what to with the sheer quantity of mint I have. Even just ocassionally pruning the bits that stick out or have flower buds results in massive handfuls of mint that I don't have any idea how to use up.

      Please give me advice on how to use up my mint!

      24 votes
    11. Growing jalapenos in pots

      I want to get into growing chilis and I decides I want to get started with Jalapenos. I want to grow chilis but the problem is it's already the middle of Summer so if I plant now I can only...

      I want to get into growing chilis and I decides I want to get started with Jalapenos. I want to grow chilis but the problem is it's already the middle of Summer so if I plant now I can only harvest in fall/winter. Because of this I need to grow the indoors in pots. So my question toward my fellow chili growers:

      How hard is it to grow Jalapenos in pots?

      I can get my hands on 20L pots so that's not a problem, I can also get nitrogen and good soil (I found a recommendation to not get high quality one). One problem I faced is that I would need heat lamps to help the growing process. My guess is I can't go without them because in my country in late fall, winter, early spring it's pretty cold. How quickly do they grow and how tall they get? One concern I have is they will get to big to grow indoors since I don't have a ton of space inside. I have heard that there are kinds of chilis that stand the cold better (the ones with hair on them) so do you recommend me to get them? Or do you recommend me to wait till january? I'm really excited to start growing them and I'm a bit inpatient. Thanks for the advice in advance.

      27 votes
    12. Have I by mistake "developed" a new chili pepper variety?

      A year ago I bought a bunch of chili seeds that I planted and then kind of left to its own devices on my balcony together with 3 other types of chili pepper. I watered the plants but I didn't give...

      A year ago I bought a bunch of chili seeds that I planted and then kind of left to its own devices on my balcony together with 3 other types of chili pepper. I watered the plants but I didn't give them any other love.

      Despite my negligence the plants thrived and some of the chili peppers developed a very particular appearance.
      Perhaps 1 out of 10 fully grown peppers kind of resembled a flower with petals around its base. They aren't suppose to look like that.

      https://i.imgur.com/Km2GFu3.jpg

      I saved the seeds from the largest and most distinct "flower chilis" and planted them to see if the odd appearance of the peppers would come back in generation 2...and so far 5 out of 5 developed fruits have the same flower appearance. Some only have 2-3 "petals" around the base of the fruit but some have 5-6.

      My four gen 2 plants have perhaps 60 more peppers in development (out of 100 flowers) and this year the gen 1 plant only have 2 out of 30 peppers that have the flower appearance.

      I have only found one pic on the internets of the same base variety that have a hint of a "petal" but none that look like mine.

      I know that new chili varieties aren't considered to be stable until gen 6-7 so I have more planting to do :) but which steps do I need to take to solidify the variety except replanting seeds and growing new generations?

      59 votes
    13. How to get rid of wasps?

      I have wasps building hives under the eves on my house. I'm looking for a way to kill them without Raid or other harsh chemicals. Right now there seems to be about 10 hornets starting on this...

      I have wasps building hives under the eves on my house. I'm looking for a way to kill them without Raid or other harsh chemicals. Right now there seems to be about 10 hornets starting on this hive. I see a number of other places they've made hives around the house that were removed before we moved in. My current options that I've found so far are spraying with dawn soap/water/garden sprayer or peppermint. It seems a little too high to get a garbage bag around them easily before pissing them off. Any other good ideas?

      15 votes
    14. What were your gardening adventures this weekend?

      I'm on day 4 of a 4 day weekend (lucky me!) here in zone 7b, so I've been spending a lot of time out in the garden. The bunnies and deer have been keeping me busy chasing them out, and have...

      I'm on day 4 of a 4 day weekend (lucky me!) here in zone 7b, so I've been spending a lot of time out in the garden. The bunnies and deer have been keeping me busy chasing them out, and have entirely beheaded my tomatoes and peppers, but haven't touched the flowers and herbs at all.

      We're on week 4 of very little rain (we got about 5 minutes of thunderstorm two days ago, but that didn't do much more than make the grass wet). I set up an automated irrigation system in my garden bed so it is extremely well watered and lush, and everything else is dry, the grass is yellow and the trees are starting to look wilty. I think that's part of what is attracting the herbivores to my garden, it's like a little oasis, so I can't be too mad about it. Luckily it looks like it's supposed to rain every day next week!

      My peas are done for the year, so I pulled them out, and I have lots of tiny green peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers, but nothing much else. I'm thinking to plant beans where the peas were. Do you have a favorite crop that is harvested in June that can fill this gap? What sorts of things do you plant in June in your zone?

      I've been struggling with herbivory indoors too - the stupider cat decided for the first time that transcendentia zebrina was the best thing ever, and took several leaves off. Luckily it's not very toxic, she didn't actually consume much, and she doesn't seem to be showing any symptoms of poisoning, but now I'm trying to figure out how to keep this plant in the same window but out of her reach. Any recommendations for shelves or hanging baskets that would work in front of a window in a bedroom/office?

      I also gave my extremely leggy silver ann pothos a haircut, so it looks much better. I cut the trimmings into 3-4 node sections and they are all now in very damp soil to hopefully root - I got 36 sections so I'm sure I'll have at least some successes, although I'm hoping they aren't ALL successful or I will be drowning in pothos!

      25 votes
    15. How would I determine which plants fix which nutrients into soil? Any resources?

      I'm very on board with the concept of permaculture, and while I understand the concepts I don't have a good intuition for which plants fix which nutrients. For example suppose I grow basil in my...

      I'm very on board with the concept of permaculture, and while I understand the concepts I don't have a good intuition for which plants fix which nutrients. For example suppose I grow basil in my herb garden.

      How do I figure out which nutrients it will eventually deplete? How do I figure out a good buddy crop(s) to replenish those nutrients?

      Any permaculturists out there that can point me in the right direction?

      16 votes
    16. Garden drip irrigation recommendations

      Anyone using a drip irrigation system they can recommend? This would be for watering veggies (and possibly flowers in the future) in raised beds. These are some of the things I’m looking for but...

      Anyone using a drip irrigation system they can recommend? This would be for watering veggies (and possibly flowers in the future) in raised beds. These are some of the things I’m looking for but I’m getting a bit overwhelmed with all the choices out there:

      • network capability, whether that be an app (iPhone) or website I can look at stats and control from
      • 2 different garden beds to start with (3’ x 8’), with possibly 2 more in the future
      • drip is the only irrigation I’m really concerned with so no need for sprinklers or anything (I don’t think, at least)
      • there is only one spigot available for the area the beds are in
      10 votes
    17. How to get started on hydroponics (in a way my wife will approve)

      I have an Aerogarden Harvest. It's a pretty neat little device I picked up a few years ago on sale, and I use it as a starter for my outdoor garden. My outdoor garden inevitably fails due to...

      I have an Aerogarden Harvest. It's a pretty neat little device I picked up a few years ago on sale, and I use it as a starter for my outdoor garden. My outdoor garden inevitably fails due to forgetfulness, rabbits, or bugs. This year, after my lettuce was ravaged for the third time, I decided I'd like to scale up my indoor growing solution. My wife is on board, albeit hesitantly as she knows I'm a utilitarian and give little concern to form once function is established. We have a relatively small space, and no out-of-sight-storage-rooms to utilize for the project.

      In short: I'm looking for advice on small scale, low startup cost hydro/aqua/aeroponic DIY projects for leafy greens/herbs that can be made to be "cute" or at least finished-looking, rather than a heap of PVC and 5 gallon buckets.

      My best guess currently is one of the single-tower vertical PVC pipe systems with a nice hardwood box built around the 5 gallon bucket sump (lipstick on a pig) or a stacked/tiered NFT system with a nice wooden frame and channels made from some "nicer-looking" gutter.

      Has anyone here actually accomplished an indoor grow that they were allowed to keep in their kitchen?

      Edit: There's been a lot of great input here. I'm still researching, and if anyone else is going down this road, this channel has been very informative: https://www.youtube.com/@KeepOnGrowin

      24 votes
    18. Has anyone built a backyard greenhouse before? I'm looking for inspiration, tips, and critiques!

      I'm in zone 4b so it gets frigid here in winter, I'm thinking wood burning stove and I bought the thickest double walled plastic panels for the roof that I could find. I'm just finishing an...

      I'm in zone 4b so it gets frigid here in winter, I'm thinking wood burning stove and I bought the thickest double walled plastic panels for the roof that I could find. I'm just finishing an insulated slab and I'm about to start framing. Please share with me any photos, plans, or guidance you might have! I have no idea what I'm doing!

      21 votes
    19. Home and garden: Boring “watch grass grow” thread

      (This is my first tildes thread please be gentle) Hello, saw in another thread there was one person interested in boring hobbies of what we're up to so, brace yourselves! This is going to be a...

      (This is my first tildes thread please be gentle)

      Hello, saw in another thread there was one person interested in boring hobbies of what we're up to so, brace yourselves! This is going to be a thread of me talking to my greenhouse plastic walls about literally watching grass grow, waiting for paint to dry and putting a puzzle together.

      Would love to hear about your gardening and home inside/outside/building/demolishing/decorating efforts!

      Maybe a sort of memorial thread for plants that died under our care. RIP little dudes.

      37 votes
    20. Wildflower plantings

      I've recently been trying to get an area of my yard to grow with perennial wild flowers. For 2 years straight, I plant seeds and nothing comes up. I'm starting to think that the seeds the store...

      I've recently been trying to get an area of my yard to grow with perennial wild flowers. For 2 years straight, I plant seeds and nothing comes up. I'm starting to think that the seeds the store sells are just a scam. Even when I tried to germinate them in potting soil, nothing grew. Anyone here have any sort of advice?

      21 votes
    21. What would you do with 30+ kg of fresh tomatoes, and counting?

      So the garden plot has succeeded beyond my wildest expectations, and I can't give away enough tomatoes, tomatillos, and hot peppers. I'm averse to the risks and expense of home canning, but...

      So the garden plot has succeeded beyond my wildest expectations, and I can't give away enough tomatoes, tomatillos, and hot peppers.

      I'm averse to the risks and expense of home canning, but otherwise open to suggestions. There's a wide variety of heirloom cherry (if you can get seeds for "Brad's Atomic Grape", they taste amazing), Roma, and beefsteak types.

      Tomatillos are getting roasted and made into salsa verde for freezing.

      I'm going to make freezer salsa rojo, but any other suggestions or favorite recipes are welcome. [I do have a dehydrator, but that seems like cheating.]

      15 votes
    22. Do your lime trees produce much fruit?

      2 years ago we planted a lime tree in our backyard. It was already about 5-6 feet tall when we planted it. There's a lemon tree next to it that is probably 50 years old and produces more fruit...

      2 years ago we planted a lime tree in our backyard. It was already about 5-6 feet tall when we planted it. There's a lemon tree next to it that is probably 50 years old and produces more fruit than we can use. We're constantly giving away lemons to our friends and neighbors, baking stuff with the ones we keep and we still too many left! But our lime tree barely produces anything. The first year it produced 3 limes, all of which were hard and almost juiceless. This year, so far it has produced a single fruit which doesn't yet look ripe. The thing is that it produces tons of buds that look like they're going to become limes, but they either die or are eaten by squirrels, I guess. I've heard a similar story from a coworker about her lime tree. Is there any secret to getting a lime tree to produce fruit?

      10 votes
    23. Anyone here grow palms?

      I went to college in Massachusetts, and after awhile the winters began to get to me. A study-abroad trip to Paraguay helped me fall in love with palms. After I graduated, I explicitly looked for...

      I went to college in Massachusetts, and after awhile the winters began to get to me. A study-abroad trip to Paraguay helped me fall in love with palms. After I graduated, I explicitly looked for work in areas of the Southeast where I could grow palms, eventually settling in the Midlands of South Carolina (USDA Hardiness Zone 8a), which can grow a reasonable variety (our state tree is the cabbage palmetto, Sabal palmetto, and it is incredibly common in the area). I’ve currently got two potted palms: a European fan palm, Chamaerops humilis, and pygmy date palm, Phoenix roebelenii (the latter needs to be housed in the garage during the winter).

      11 votes
    24. What are you doing in your garden?

      The following are ramblings from my garden. I would love to here the ramblings from other people's gardens. It's spring where I am, and I absolutely love spring! The last full moon (the one in...

      The following are ramblings from my garden. I would love to here the ramblings from other people's gardens.

      It's spring where I am, and I absolutely love spring! The last full moon (the one in February) I call the Angry Goose Moon, because it's around that time that my male goose turns into a monster, and I need to pull out my shield (a garbage bin lid) to move around the yard while warding off his attacks. His change in demeanor signifies the onset of spring for me.

      Some people divide spring into early spring and late spring, but I live in a cool, wet environment that has a very long spring which is why I prefer thinking about the garden in terms of the moon cycle. The beginning of spring is Angry Goose Moon. During this phase, the hummingbirds start visiting, waiting for our native red flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) to bloom. Everyday it gets closer and closer (I expect it to be in full bloom any day now). My hated Burkwood Osmanthus (Osmanthus × burkwoodii) begins rapidly trying to turn into a tree, and I'm reminded that I still haven't figured out what to plant in its place as I trim it back down a manageable level. And OMG the freaking cranesbill geranium (Geranium sanguineum) has once again gotten into everything, but I loathe to get rid of it all because the bees love it so much. This year I am being way more ruthless than years pass and have filled several bins of it for the yard waste collectors.

      Usually this is also when I start seeds, but I'll be leaving for six weeks, so the seed catalogues will be collecting dust this year. Instead I'm checking out my propagation efforts from last year. I need to move a beautiful hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) that gets way to big for the area it's in, but I've been afraid to move it case it dies, so last year I took 30 cuttings, which all rooted. It looks like 29 of those made it through the winter. I have no need for 29 more hydrangeas, but I now know I can move the mother plant, and if it dies, I'll have something to replace it with. In the mean time I'll plant the new ones in bigger pots to give away next year when they are more established.

      Last fall I divided up some of the lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) I planted last year, plopped them into 10 pots, and brought them indoors to winter over. It looks like five of them made it. It won't be late enough for me to get them in the ground before I leave, but I will put them into bigger pots and get them under artificial light. Hopefully they will still be alive when I get back.

      I'm not much of a rose fan, but outside my back window is a shrub rose (Rosa glauca) that has beautiful red tinged foliage and purple stems. It only flowers for a short time, and the flowers aren't anything to write home about, but they are followed by nice plump rose hips that I harvest for tea. It is absolutely in the wrong spot with its large growth and overly thorny stems. Last year I took a lot of cuttings of it and some natives roses that inhabit the same area, and it looks like most of them made it. Once they are large enough (another year or two) I'll plant them in a spot where their flesh ripping thorns won't be bothersome, remove all the large specimens, and replant the area with berries (I'm thinking about a mix of blueberry and honeyberry (Lonicera caerulea). Another potting up project before I go.

      I enjoy plant medicine and started quite a few medicinal plants from seed last year. I started a bit late so nothing got in the ground, but it looks like most of them were able to winter over in the potting shed, but not all of them. I sowed 30 seeds of skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) of which only 6 germinated. I was going to move those six into the house to winter over, but I ended up with a spider mite problem in the house from having earlier brought in my toothache plants (Acmella oleraceae) and didn't want them to get infected. Unfortunately none of the skullcap survived. The toothache plants in the house didn't survive either, and I wish I had extracted their medicinal properties before their death, they were certainly large enough. But this paragraph started like it was going to be about wins. The biggest win, the one I'm most excited about, is that all of my mountain meadow arnica (Arnica chamissonis) made it! Their first leaves of spring are pushing through the soil, and their roots are pushing out of the holes of their pots. I don't believe there is a better plant for muscular aches and pains than arnica, and I am looking forward to harvesting it to make salves. I did seed way too many than my garden can hold, so as soon as I determine whether or not they they also are infested with spider mites, I will offer them up for other people to add to their gardens. I'm also excited that all the elecampane (Inula helenium) made it through the winter, though once again I seeded way too many. The added bonus is this plant can tend to be weedy in my locale, so I will only plant a couple down in the weedy medicinal area to let them compete with each other.

      Side talk about garden pests. Besides slugs, which if I allow the ducks to move through the garden, don't damage too much of my garden, my gardens are fairly pest resistant. I spent a lot of time last year moving through it with a magnifier taking pictures and videos of the smaller insects that live among the plants. It's a whole other world living just out of reach of my normal vision! Of particular interest to me were a few of my phlox plants (Phlox paniculata) that had deformed leaves. On closer inspection I saw what I assume is spider mites. A few weeks later, taking video again, I saw what I assume are predatory spider mites, and a few weeks after that the phlox started growing correctly. There are so many predators out there doing "gods" work, and if any of you gardeners are ever bored, I suggest rabbit holing into garden predators.

      I'm rambling, where was I?
      Oh yeah.
      I also use this time to severely prune stuff back that missed my list the year prior. In my culinary herb garden there is a bay tree (whether it's Laurus nobilis or Umbellularia californica I do not know). It's a monster that should not be planted where it is. I know I could hack it it back almost to the ground and it would come back, except that its branches cover my bathroom window in a way that gives me privacy from the cabin on the other side of the creek, while letting light in. It's this constant battle between keeping it small enough that wildlife can't use to get to the roof, yet large enough to afford me bathroom privacy. I just hacked a bunch of it off and I suspect I'll be doing the same again in the fall.

      This place has a lot of problems, and I have to remain vigilant in celebrating the successes and not getting lost in lists of things to do. But there's a lot of beauty in our property, and I do enjoy experiencing it. Angry Goose Moon is the time of year when I am filled with the most hope for the future.

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