Monday, February 2, 2009

February Garden Tidbits

Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again. ~Sarah Ban Breathnach

Today's tips are summarized from 10,000 Garden Questions Answered by Experts, published in 1944. These are fairly easy to find at thrift stores and on ebay, but beware that while they have fantastic tips,they also have some that should be avoided if they advise you to use chemicals. I shudder at some of the things gardeners were told to use such as arsenic,lead arsenate, bichloride of mercury and chloropicrin. So, if you take advice from old gardening books do be sure to use only the organic, safe methods to be safe.

Flowers for sandy soil: Portulaca, California poppy, annual phlox, calliopsis, cockscomb, morning glory,anthemis, milkweed, aster, babiesbreath, liatris and yucca. Add manure and fertilizer to the soil.

Soil that is hard and dry on the surface, but underneath is okay: Mix in sand and well-rotted manure into the surface soil.

What is the cause and remedy for soil that has a green moss-like growth on it? Many questions have this same type of thing asked in the book. Though many think it needs lime and may be "sour" the authors say it's really from poor drainage or lack of aeration and a lack of fertility. They suggest adding organic matter (humus, some lime, manure and nitrogen rich fertilizer) and cultivate the area frequently. Planting a green manure such as oats, buckwheat, clover, alfalfa or soybeans. It is then plowed/tilled into the soil.

Wood ashes: Contain potash and lime. Apply about 1/2 to 1 pound per rose bush in the spring. It's also good for most other plants, trees and shrubs. Work into the soil after growth starts in the spring. Store your wood ashes under some kind of cover (tarp,wood roof etc.) until you can use them in the spring. (obviously they should be cooled first).

Vines: Start Cup-and-Saucer Vine (Cobaea scandens) and Moonflower inside 6 weeks before the ground warms. Plants seeds in individual pots. Set outside at tomato planting time. As with morning glories soak seeds over night then plant about 1/2 inch deep in soil which you've added bone meal and rotted manure if you've planted this type of vine in that spot for several years. Sow at the bottom of a fence, trellis or other support and space about 6 inches apart.

We have tips for growing morning glories on OFL:

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