Thursday, March 21, 2013

PAR Davies Garden Report 3/20/13

Hi Everyone,

There are actual vegetables popping up all over the garden. We are finally starting to see the fruits of our labor, even though our potatoes keep resurrecting….and have to be buried again. It will be a wonder if we get any taters (oops, starting to talk like Carl Wayne!) Today's group of gardeners were: Jamie, Bob H., Don, Carol, Susan, Virginia, Melba, G.A., Anne, and myself.

Spinach sprouting and taking off with romaine
down the middle -
and the photographer's head!
When I got to the garden, Bob was working in the barn installing our new shelving. I've got to tell you it is BEAUTIFUL. We won't have to be going back in the corner and stumbling over things anymore. Don helped Bob put up the shelving, and then they started moving our stuff onto the shelves. I can't wait until some of us can get in there and start organizing things. Who knows what treasures we will find?

Jamie, Melba, Carol and Anne busied themselves mostly with weeding. Anne weeded the lettuce bed and covered it over again, because it is supposed to get to 28 tonight.  Virginia and Melba secured some posts around the in-ground peas where we had put down fencing to keep the critters from digging. This will prevent us from stumbling over the wire. Thank you ladies, I feel safer now. Melba added to our herbs by planting rosemary in a pot. The newly planted dill and everything else in the herb bed is thriving. We still have room for more.

Dill, chives, cilantro, oregano and parsley:  looking good!
 Virginia planted chard, cleaned up the beet bed and seeded the bare spots. We need more chard to fill up the little bed, so I will bring some pretty Rainbow Chard seeds next week.

Susan started some basil and Minnesota Melon seedlings in the mini greenhouse. I have a feeling we will be making a few more trips to the garden to check on those to make sure they don't get too hot or too cold.

G.A. helped us put in some really straight rows of carrots and parsnips. Nobody does straight rows like G.A.!

Carrots and parsnips, with kohlrabi, in back bed
 Now we are looking forward to seeing things grow and praying that the predicted cold, icy weather doesn't hurt anything.

Til next week.


(A note from Suzanne:  I'll be on break next week and won't have access to my computer.  Back online April 2.)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Know Your Latin Names!

Malva moschata f. alba
White Musk Mallow
It's time to buy plants!  Common names change from place to place:  what is "mistflower" in one region is "wild ageratum" in another, but they're both Eupatorium coelestinum.  That's why it's best to go by the scientific or Latin name of a plant.  Here are some common Latin names and what they mean in English.

Alba     White
Alpina     From the Alps
Atlissima     Tallest
Annua     Annual
Argentea     Silver

Dichondra argentea 'Silver Falls'
(Kidney weed, Silver nickel vine, Silver pony's foot)
Aurea     Golden, Yellow
Autumnalis     Of autumn
Canadensis     From Canada
Chinensis     From China
Compacta     Compact
Foliosa     Leafy
Glabra     Smooth
Grandiflora     Large-flowered
Japonica     From Japan
Macroantha     Large-flowered
Nana     Small
Parviflora     Small-flowered
Purpurea     Deep pink

Echinacea purpurea
(Eastern purple coneflower)

Rubra     Red
Sativa     Cultivated
Scaber     Climbing
Sylvestris     Of woods
Spicata     Spiked

Celosia spicata
(Spiked celosia or Wheat celosia)

Violacea     Violet
Vugaris     Common

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Par Davies Update and Class Schedule

Hi Everyone,

Great day at the garden with Susan, Bob H., Mary Elizabeth, Jamie, Virginia, Nancy, myself and a new volunteer, Anne Ballentine. We are so glad you could join us Anne, and hope you liked us enough to return.

We busied ourselves with a clean-up, fix-up campaign, and the garden definitely looked better when we left. We are trying to get uncluttered for the classes in April. We moved a lot of the tomato cages out of the way over to the fence on the east side. Whew! No more bumping into them. We picked up sticks and trash. Jamie and Nancy continued on with the weeding. Anne sowed some more lettuce seeds to fill in the empty spaces in gutter garden. When they emerge, we will give the whole thing some liquid fertilizer. I was delighted to see she had been reading the memos when I saw her toss worms into a raised bed!!

We put more peas in Bed 23 and covered with fencing like Bed 22, since a critter has been digging up the pea bed--and the potato beds. I wonder if it was that same varmint living in the Hugelkultur bed?? Another mystery to solve.

Susan brought dill for our herb bed, and Pam brought some more plastic containers, which will be excellent for lettuce, spinach and herbs….and maybe strawberries. Thank you ladies.

Sharon's Ayurvedic herb bed was cleaned out and the perennials are starting to emerge. Still haven't found anyone who knows about Comfrey, so for now we will assume it's the good kind. The bales of straw were moved over into the compost area. Mary Elizabeth planted carrots. I still want to plant a little chard and leaf lettuce, and a row each of kohlrabi and parsnips to see if a spring planting works better than fall. All of the peas, fava beans, radishes, beets and spinach planted earlier are emerging, and should really start popping during the next couple of warm days. The Romaine, broccoli and cabbage sets look good too.

Sharon Lusk has generously offered us a big load of mulch if we can pick it up. We certainly can use it to put in the walkways between the beds to keep the weeds down. Jamie has cleared all the weeds, so we want to put some kind of mulch down as soon as possible. What we need are volunteers because the mulch is not in bags but needs to be shoveled into a truck bed. Oh yes, we need a truck or trailer. We are flexible on when this can be done. It would be good if it hasn't rained in a while so it's not so heavy.

This is an opportunity for all of you who haven't been able to work on Wednesday!! We need shovelers and a truck….let me know.

Til later,

Man Wins Pink Tote!

The winner of this lovely pink tool tote is MAMG Intern and MCS Farm Educator Stephan Leonard, who wrote:

Being a man who always wears Kentucky Blue with an orange MAMG intern badge, I figured since I usually don't match anyway, the pink tote would come in handy for all my tools scattered around in the trunk of my car.

Congratulations, Stephan!  You can pick up your tote in the Extension Office.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mycorrhizae experiment

Just have to link to this post on Margaret Roach's blog, A Way to Garden:

Feed the Soil:  My Experiment with Mycorrhizae

We've used this product at PAR Davies and it's good.  At the bottom of Margaret's post is a link to Bio Organics.  They're offering a discount and shipping is reasonable.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Philadelphia Flower Show

Entrance to "You Are Brilliant"
I was the lucky recipient this year of a wonderful Christmas present:  a weekend in Philadelphia during the Philadelphia Flower Show!  I've never been before, so this was a real treat.  My sweet husband, Walter, was my "date," and he followed me everywhere with no complaints.

The theme this year was British gardens.  To say that I was overwhelmed would be an understatement.  I got to the point that I couldn't absorb the huge displays and I started concentrating on individual plants that caught my eye. I'm just going to share some photos that we took.

Close-up of niche in entry display
These are glass cylinders filled with orchids and water
with flower covered balls on top

That's a cricket scoreboard in the background

I HAVE to find a place to grow these English Daisies!
English Daisies were all over the place.  From what I can tell through a very quick search, they are perennials (hence the name 'Perennis'), they make a great ground cover, they grow in sun or part shade and they like cooler temperatures.  In hotter zones like ours, they'll bloom in the spring with the bulbs and generally stop blooming in June.  If anyone has experience with these in Memphis, please share in the comments!

A sweet cottage garden
A hobbit house?

One of the large "dinner arrangements" displays
Floral designers are given themes and compete for ribbons.  There are several classes from very large to very small arrangements.

Color was everywhere

A close-up

Aren't these painted tree trunks fun?  Based on the painting propped up below.

Another large arrangement - shades of white
See what I mean about being overwhelmed?  In a later post I'll show the exquisite small arrangements and talk about the vendors - about an acre of them!  Wonderful products, but I didn't see any PINK TOTES!

(Reminder:  if you're a MAMG intern, leave a comment below about why you need, need, need this pink tote.  We'll choose the winner next Wednesday at our PAR Davies workday!)

Stay tuned for more from the Philadelphia Flower Show and from Longwood Gardens!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Spring Wreaths

We may be in for more cold weather - even snow is not unheard of in March around here - but I just couldn't stand my winter wreath for one more day!

Boy, did looking at spring wreaths make my mouth water!  Here are just a few of my favorites:

I love containers as door decorations and I love tulips and I love yellow and white, especially on this gray door.
Of course, you can choose your favorite color tulip.  I'm sure these are fake, aren't you?  Michaels had a lot of their flowers 40% off this week.

This one is paper.  It wouldn't do for my door, which is exposed to all kinds of weather, but I loved it anyway.

Again, yellow, I just can't get away from it.  I planted yellow pansies in my front beds this year and it makes me so happy.

So here's what I ended up with, after all my talk of yellow:

But I love white, too, and it looks good against my dark door.

What are your spring wreath plans?