Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Thoughts on Garden Planning

General notes on a new season

The catalogs are coming. I feel at least a twinge of avarice, as the lovely pics come in. I took my ecological gardening class and read Noah's Garden and know how the showy lovelies won't feed the locals. Though I love to look at the pictures of new and unusual varieties, I will order from native plant nurseries.

To satisfy the old inner gardener, I may get an alpine geranium, almost pinched a branch to root last year when we delivered flyers for Tony Trupiano for congress and I saw it on a porch. It was November 6 and still the thing was growing outside. Last year the plan was to get a flat of lobilia to tuck in here and there in the pots. It makes an accent and it cascades and it is blue and every time this gardener walks by, it starts music inside her. Maybe I will get to that this year.

Seeds were not purchased last year until July, then I bought corn and other short season vegetables, started them in flats. I grew year old seeds and saved seeds, saving Heirloom Tomatoes on napkins worked well, just put the napkins in the pot and cover. The broccoli started in July is still out there, but the recent cold probably did it in. Parsley came along and lasted long into December and it will come back in spring. We'd better eat it quick, as it will go to seed.

It fell to 31.8 on the porch last night. Last fall I moved all of the tender things, Impatiens and Coleus and Sansevieria into the house. Regulating temperature was too much trouble. Geraniums and Norfolk Island Pine and Bay Laurel and Rosemary can all take a little cold. Unknown about Amerigus Lily and Elephant Begonia.

The long season corn that was supposed to ripen inside wasn't planted soon enough, will try it again. Likewise the peas. The peas were blooming in November, but there just wasn't enough of light or warmth or whatever they needed to grow big enough to eat. Perhaps it was a dearth of pollinators. It was too much faith, starting things later than they would grow. They ought to have been in a hoop house. Even the peas in a garbage can covered by spun poly didn't make peas.

A zone map in a catalog noted when they will send their mostly tender plants (April 30-May 12). We here in Detroit are indeed now zone 6. (!) Insects are keyed to the light, though and probably aren't going to read the map.


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