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Gardendote of the Day 2013-03-18

Even if there's a winter storm watch tomorrow, it's still mud season to me!


I'm going to do my best to replace the lost vegetal goodness of Plantidotes with some gardening posts of my own. Memorial Day -- when the seeds (or seedlings from flats) go in the ground -- is a long way off, but there is plenty to think about, and plenty of work to do, until that time.

Maybe I'll build my long-threatened El Cheapo cold frame. About this photo:

1. Yes, litter and winter grunge are what March in Maine is all about. Litter because the garden is close to the sidewalk, and "winter grunge" for the same reason: Winter grunge is a horrible combination of road salt and spray with all the other detritus that's left after the snow melts away out from under it (rather like a microscopic eschur). Mud season exists to wash away winter grunge leaving clean earth, or earth we can tell ourselves is clean.

2. My "living fence" of raspberries is a great success. Again, because the garden is close to the sidewalk, it (she?) needs protection from dogs, children, drunken pedestrians, and so forth. Because the rasberry bushes are tall and thorny, they protect the garden admirably. Even the most inebriated student isn't going to collapse into a stupor in the midst of a briar patch. Now, last fall I was lazy about absolutely everything except blogging, so I didn't cut any of the canes back at all, as you see. On the other hand, canes don't cut themselves back in nature, so we'll see what happens. The previous fall I was lazy by 180° -- Instead of only cutting back the canes that bore fruit, I cut back everything. The patch flourished anyhow. I guess we'll find out!

3. The "flower garden" has tended to become obscured by the raspberry patch. Last year, however, I put some zinnias in there, which grew to humongous size, and attracted butterflies ("beneficial insects').

NOTE Readers, feel free to chip in with your own gardening thoughts -- or, better, pictures -- in comments. And if anyone wants to pitch in on the series.... One of the really great things about Plantidotes is that twig and Kathryn worked together with a team (or "group," if the cubicalesque sound of "team" deters you). All lambert all the time is so dull, also too for lambert.

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jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

I built a greenhouse last winter with the help of my neighbor. It's 7'X15' and the tempered glass was free. It has ripe Tomatoes, Mixed Lettuce, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and Chives. On a 65F day it can get over 100F so I have shade clothe and a solar exhaust fan. I do my starters in there also for the main Garden. The main garden now has Shallots, Garlic, Red and Yukon Potatoes in it now and that will be harvested in a couple of months.
Then 2yrs ago on my neighbor’s property along his driveway that was a weed patch I planted 4 Apricots, 4 Bing Cherries, 4 Royal Plums, and 4 Nectarines. The only problem is they all become ripe at the same time, a lot of work but sure taste good during the winter.
In fact to nights dinner is stuffed bell pepper from last yr. I’m getting ready for 0 grand bargain.
Sorry but I can’t figure out how to include pictures.

ekster's picture
Submitted by ekster on

Nice initiative!

There was an irksome article linked to in the NC Links a few weeks back called "Rational Totalitarianism," which had some points to make but was mostly a plaintive wank by an expat European about how shallow and empty and materialist and yawn Americans are ... *This*, above, is the answer to that whining, the why America rocks, right up in the kisser of the empty and materialist yada yada yada. Surely it's wonderful if you live in a small town in Europe where all the property owners have proper gardening in their unconscious and everyone understands how it's done properly (and you're a property owner, great help in the whole enterprise, really), but I'll see your vendemmia and moisson and raise you mud season! There is joy in heaven over one undergrad repulsed by a raspberry bramble, more than over ninety and nine jardins, which need no impedance.

(the irksomeness, gardendoted:

LD's picture
Submitted by LD on

Okay, apologies. So I thought I'd try to contribute with some garden pictures of projects, but I can't figure out for the life of me how to download the stills from the hand-me-down video camera since the vc is vintage (~15 yrs old;) and finding the cords, amongst a sea of unidentified and unlabeled cords that are to have the correct plug-ins for the camera and the computer is not something anyone should be forced to do. It's too bad because the pictures are "worth a thousand words" in this case. (I didn't even get to the upload issue mentioned by jo6pac.)

The first picture I took was of a garden project done seven years ago with the "leftover scrap" copper pipes we had. Why "leftover scrap?" The first set of plumbers didn't know what they were doing when they installed a replacement water pipe system in the crawl space of the house, and subsequently botched it, leaving the next crew of plumbers, who did know what they were doing, to "scrap" most of the former work, and install all new pipes. :-/ Hence, the "scrap" copper pipe was "leftover."

So, what to do with "leftover scrap" copper piping? Why, make a trellis, except a really big one, of course. Yeah, I used a torch and goggles on the cement driveway to build the massive thing. The neighbors were a bit curious at what the heck I was doing with a blow torch and copper pipe in the front yard on a Saturday. :-) It was hung on the bleak, mostly windowless west side of the house, with Kiwi vines now scrambling on up it 15' to the roof.

There's only one problem: I haven't seen one Kiwi, let alone a flower as of yet, and both the male/female plants are mature enough to fruit/flower at this point. It's babied--fertilizer, water, leaf sun/root shade. It does have Vinca Major-Periwinkle underneath it though. Maybe that zaps all the babying it gets? Anybody have any suggestions?

The other project was of pictures of another (simpler) project--watching little plants grow into big plants. :-) There's one 5' Ceanothus 'Ray Harman' just planted last summer in bloom now, alongside a maturer one, planted ten years ago, in 25' full bloom tree form. ( This time of year is when these just explode with color and smell, and several species of bees are buzzing so loud around them that when you step under the canopy, a noticeable beehive "mmmmmm" sound surrounds you. If you look at the bees, they have so much pollen attached to them, they don't even look like bees, or are some kind of mutant strain of bees.

Next week, the Echium candicans-Pride of Madeira ( is also going to explode with the same vigor/friends; and then, the Prunus x yedoensis 'Yoshino'-Flowering Cherry Tree dazzles. (×_yedoensis) Yippee, Spring is here! (Sorry, a nerdy-dork plant person.)

LD's picture
Submitted by LD on

I had no idea. No wonder the neighborhood captains were in such a fusser (lots of hood fuzz around these parts!) Anyway, this thing is so huge, heavy, and would need quite the "crew" and "supplies" to get it down and out of here (earthquakes and all made this project have quite the necessary secured affix nuts/bolt of the house.)

Still working on the pictures BTW. Found alternative upload arrangement. Too late tonight to take them though. Maybe tomorrow. :-)

TheMomCat's picture
Submitted by TheMomCat on

(sigh) It's snow/sleet/rain here in NYC. I've been home with a really bad upper respiratory & sinus infection for nearly 3 weeks. Spring is at 7:02 a.m. EDT on Wednesday. Other than look at the mess that has accumulated since after Thanksgiving, I haven't even given a thought to gardening. But you inspire me to at least think about it, or at least put it on the list of stuff, I need to think about after I get the garage cleaned up, again.