Today is the first day I noticed the yellow starting to show on my forsythia bush. It is such a busy time of year here. My strawberry patch took a hit from the cold over the winter, so today I bought 24 plants to fill in spaces where I pulled out dead dry plants recently. So much to do and so little dry weather to get it done!
This is one of my most satisfying gardening projects. I start petunias in January the transplant them into hanging baskets in March. They spend the next six weeks growing in the cool greenhouse before moving to their hanging location at the front of our home.
I put in a layer of mix the some pre moistened water saving crystals. Pre moistened is the key word here. If you forget this step, you could see an erupting soil volcano when they finally absorb water!
You know you have a real garden friend when she says ” do you want to go get some worm poop this weekend? ” Then you both smile and giggle with an enthusiastic “yes!” That was my cold, wet Saturday morning today.
Kitsap County Rose Society recently hosted Julie Fritts who owns 3 in 1 Worm Ranch in Poulsbo, WA. During her talk she explained the benefits of using worm tea and the actual worm castings in the garden. We were fascinated with the idea of such a good, local source for organic soil amendments.
Julie and her husband Danny showed us how worm composting happens in their commercial operation which consists of five large containers. One has European Night Crawlers an four have Red Wigglers, which are the preferred type of worm for vermicomposting. The incubators are heated to 70* and are covered with screen, to keep birds and other critters out. There was no odor in the area. The worms are fed once a week and left covered to do their work.
I know roses are a traditional gift at this time of year, but they break all the rules about local and sustainable growing. I would much prefer a couple of bare root roses that will bloom for many seasons in my garden. Recently at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show I admired a huge display of blooming orchids. I had a few Phaeleonopsis (moth) orchids in Minnesota that would rebloom yearly after spending the summer outdoors on the North side of our house. Here in Western Washington I unintentionally killed them after moving them and put them in my cool greenhouse. Then I bought two new ones at the 2013 NWFGS and killed them too. What am I doing wrong?
Every year I like to try something new and this seems to be the year for a miniature garden. Not a fairy garden, but just a small scene yet to be determined. Inspired by Janit Calro’s book “Gardening in Miniature” and her display at #nwfgs this year! I think this will be my new area of gardening to explore this summer.
Janit explains plant selection and scale very well in her book and on her website http://www.twogreenthumbs.com
Maybe I will be able to work in a micro mini rose.