Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Slow Tomatoes

Yes, the tomatoes are slow to ripen this year. Our lack of hot summer weather is putting them at least two or more weeks behind. In my small backyard garden I have just picked a few small cherry tomatoes and the first of the yellow pear tomatoes are just starting to ripen. The large tomatoes that I love for bacon lettuce and tomatoes sandwiches are doing nothing and look like they could be at least a month away from ripening. I love our cooler summer weather but it is not helping those plants that love it hot.

Make your day a good one.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Perennials for Summer

During the hot days of summer, you can still plant perennials and for that matter trees, shrubs and evergreens. It’s not a good time to divide perennials but those purchased at a garden center can be planted now. The key is keeping them well watered from planting time until the ground the freezes. This will ensure that they will survive the winter and perform well next year. As a rule of thumb, perennials are best planted by mid-September. For more information on great perennials for summer click here.

Make your day a good one.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Living off the Land

Well, I'm not exactly living off the land, but I'm enjoying some delicious blackberries from my yard right now. I have mentioned that you don't need a lot of space to grow vegetables in your yard. You can also grow some fruit in your yard in a limited amount of space.

The only thing in my backyard when I bought my house were a couple of overgrown blackberry plants. The plants needed pruning, dividing and fertilizing. Within two years, I had some plants that were producing an abundance of berries in a very small space. The area behind my garage next to a fence is only three feet deep by about 15 feet long. From that space, I usually harvest five or more large bowls of berries. Perfect for desserts or munching on. Better yet is sharing them with friends and neighbors.

Three years ago I planted some table grapes next to my front door and installed some wire for them to grow on and over the door. As you can tell from the photos, it has filled in and is now both decorative and functional. By Labor Day, I should be enjoying some delicious homegrown grapes.

Note: The grapes are not planted in the container in front of the door. It just looks like it in the photo. The plants are actually planted in the ground next to the front door.

Look around your yard and see if their is some space to grow some raspberries, blackberries or grapes. All you need is well drained good soil and full sun. You too could be enjoying some great produce from your yard in just a couple of years.

Make your day a good one.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Giant Hosta

Several people emailed me after my posting on shade plants asking how I get my hosta to be so large. Here are a few tips:

First look at the tags or signs when you buy them. Look for varieties that will get at least 30" or more in height. There are so many types of hosta to choose from that it is hard to put a list together, but the tags will tell you. If you don't start with a variety that gets large, there is no way you can get a huge plant.

Next, plant in filtered shade. Mine are under a honeylocust tree. It is not full shade but dappled shade. Fertilize them every spring with an all purpose fertilizer. Finally, never and I mean never divide them. Mine have been planted for nine years and have never been divided and never will be.

For more information on growing hostas, click here.

Make your day a good one.