Archive for March 2011

You say you Want a Revolution?

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It's peak time for garden clean up; we've certainly been going at it like mad dogs here in The Art Garden! Now, what to do with all of the waste? If you want to live a greener lifestyle, then please, please, please don't put it out for the trash guy!

There are better alternatives than sending all of this organic matter to the landfill. I compost garden trimmings and kitchen scraps on a regular basis, but my spring clean-up overwhelms my system (which I recently described here) and storage space. Therefore, I’ll go to Plan B…
...Take it to a recycling facility that will use it for their compost making business. Gather up your branches, dead perennial tops, ornamental grass clippings, etc. and head to Mountain States Wood Recyclers at 2300 W. Radcliff Ave (303-789-3356). There is a minimum fee, but it’s worth it knowing that all that stuff will be recycled and “reborn” as compost, the gardener’s best friend!

Don't live in the Denver area?  A simple "yard waste disposal" Google search may introduce you to a valuable resource in your own community.

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Foliage Follow Up 3.16.2011

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Foliage plays a big role in every garden, and mine is no exception. In March, the emphasis is on emergence, and I'm always thrilled to see the forms and colors that appear as plants thrust themselves out of the ground.

Here are a few favorites:

Allium sp.  I love the little hair -like structures along the edge of the leaves. Details, details...
Galium oderatum (sweet woodruff) These fresh green rosettes are so sweet.
Tradescantia occidentalis (native spiderwort) Isn't that royal purple color fantastic?!
Tulipa sp (perhaps 'Red Riding Hood'?) Who needs flowers with stripy foliage like this?
Doesn't look too exciting now, but these leaves herald the arrival of the bright red species tulips to come.
What's emerging in your garden today?
Please be sure and visit Pam at Digging for more fabulous foliage from gardens near and far!

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Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day 3.15.2011

March brings flowers back to my garden and boy, are they a sight for sore eyes!
The few and the precious:

Crocus -  white as snow, but more welcome this time of year!
Iris danfordiae - this little gem is about 2" tall x 21/2"wide

silver maple (Acer saccharinum) - a visitor from the neighbor's yard
What's blooming in your garden today? I'll bet you've got me beat...
Please be sure to visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens to discover what's blooming in other gardens around the world!

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"Wormost" for Lazy Gardeners*

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By now I think everyone knows the value of adding organic matter to their soil to improve its structure and provide nutrients for better plant growth. Gardeners can use their plant cuttings and kitchen waste to create their own compost or worm castings. Most compost and vermicomposting pros have lots of little rules and regulations designed to help you maximize your production but frankly, the Lazy Gardener* can't be bothered.

The Lazy Gardener* finds a protected location outdoors that has afternoon shade in the summer and warming sunshine in the winter. The Lazy Gardener* gathers 3-5 large plastic containers (these are 3' diameter nursery pots, but anything will do) and drills the bottoms and sides with holes for drainage and air circulation. The Lazy Gardener* fills the containers - keeping one container empty to use in the turning/harvesting process - with alternating layers of green garden/grass cuttings, kitchen waste, garden soil, a bit of water, dry organic matter (i.e. leaves from last fall and "clean up" waste from this spring, shredded paper, fine wood mulch, etc) and redworms (borrowed from the garden or purchased at the bait shop.) The Lazy Gardener* then stands back and lets Nature take its course, occasionally supplementing the containers' mixture of organics and water.

Eventually, even the Lazy Gardener* has to put a bit of muscle into the project in order to harvest and distribute the wonderful "wormost"**.
Jim made this "shuffle sieve" to fit my "baby sized" wheelbarrow
my precious pets
chunky stuff goes back into the containers, layered with fresh organics
ready to distribute in the garden
This method of creating an organic soil amendment is cheap and easy, and has the added satisfaction of knowing that less waste is bound for the landfill.
thank you, worms!

*Um, that would be me.
**a made-up term:  the result of cold composting supplemented with worms.

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Happy Spring!

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I know it isn't official yet - not until March 20th, in fact - but for me, Spring begins today. Hip, hip, hooray!  The days are getting warmer and longer and I'm itching to spend more time outdoors. Some of the things I'll be doing in the garden before the official start of spring:

Finish pruning woody plants.  A few shrubs need some light shaping, and the grape vine will get cut back severely. Here's a link to a great grape growing manual (pruning info begins on page 32). Although it's geared towards vineyards in Western Colorado, the manual has excellent information for the home hobbyist as well (and it's free!).

grape vines in need of a good whacking

Cut back ornamental grasses. I have LOTS of ornamental grasses, and I like to get them trimmed as short as possible before the new growth is tall enough to be in danger of getting whacked off too.
love my Fiskars shears for cutting grasses
Later in the month will be the time to:
Rake planting beds clean of their temporary winter mulch. All the leaves that were thrown into the beds last fall will be gathered up and sent to the recycler/composter.

Transplant a few perennials that need to be relocated. My pink Maltese cross (Lychnis chalcedonica) in particular, have been slowly enveloped by shade and need to be moved to a sunnier spot.

I hope you're able to get out and about in your garden this month too. Yea, Spring!

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