Thursday, April 1, 2021

Hyacinths appear to be deer resistant

We just put these hyacinths out two days ago and the deer have already came by to see if they were edible. Thankfully they felt the hyacinths weren't even worth taking a bite of. I know the deer were in the area because they left a hoof print in the middle of the hyacinths! Also, very close by the deer had eaten on the Dutch irises again and even pulled one out of the ground. We will continue growing hyacinths as part of our deer resistant garden.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

My advice on how to protect tulips from deer

 Happy spring everyone! To my pleasant surprise, our test bed of tulips have managed to flower before being destroyed by deer. I have two tips on how you may be able to enjoy these beautiful flowers briefly before they are devoured. Tip one: Plant your tulip bulbs as close to your house as possible. Deer seem to be wary of getting too close to structures. Tip two: let your dog out at random times during the night to do their business. This will make any nearby deer very anxious so they will be more likely to steer clear of your place. We've already taken plenty of pictures of these impressive flowers because we know that any night they could disappear.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Sowing seeds for late winter and early spring

 Spring is almost upon us. This is the perfect time to sow a specific type of plant seed that enjoys a period of cold vernilization. The ones I'll be sowing are:

Poppies (of course)


Bachelor Buttons




Also sown was some Hulless Oats, Spring Barley and Orchard Grass to fill in any gaps in the overwintering Winter Wheat. Be sure to check back each week for updates on how all the plants are progressing.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Garlic can survive temperatures of -1 Fahrenheit with snow cover

 My test plot of garlic has not only survived the winter here in USDA growing zone 6b, but looks great. As a huge bonus, the deer seem to have no interest in them. The only downside is that the elephant garlic (actually a leek) didn't survive our coldest night of the whole winter of -1(F). This little plot of garlic was put in due to curiosity of if it would grow completely unprotected at the edge of our property. I'm happy to have found an edible crop that can stay in the ground during the winter and can even deter deer.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Daffodils are more deer resistant than Dutch Irises

First of all, happy March everyone! I went to check my flower bulbs today and found that my Dutch irises had been eaten to the ground. Of my 63 plants, only 3 of the irises did not have the tops eaten. Right next to the irises, the daffodils are perfectly fine. This was a hard lesson learned because I had high hopes for the Dutch irises to not be bothered by deer. A did get a nice little surprise while checking the bulbs though. There are a few orange crocuses coming up. When I bought a mixed bag of crocus bulbs, I was hoping there would be some orange flowered ones included and it looks like it worked out well for me. I'll make sure to get some pictures once they fully bloom.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Worst winter weather in 5 years finally ends

 Iceageddon is now officially over. For two weeks it was near impossible to work in the garden. The picture above shows the worst of it. Water from the roof flowing over frozen gutters refroze each night in front of our backdoor which meant I had to chisel the ice away just so we could let our dog out. We can finally get back to garden work just as soon as the ground dries a little more. The next job will be to work on the deer netting that the ice and snow pulled down.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Icy weather brings outdoor work and even nature to a standstill


Our area received just over a quarter inch of ice last week making work outside almost impossible. Even part of the local group of black vultures found the icy conditions challenging. As I type this, a mixture of snow and sleet are falling which will then be followed by frigid temperatures. The only positive I can think of with the accumulating precipitation is that it will give protection to the flowering bulbs from the extreme cold that will be arriving soon.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Mulching Time

 Hi everyone. Just a quick update this week. We are in the middle of winter like everyone else in the northern hemisphere and sure enough bitterly cold temperatures are on their way. Since this the first year we've grown dutch irises, I wanted to give them just a little extra protection in case the temperature forecast gets revised lower at the last moment. One inch of mulch isn't very much but when spread out evenly could give the ground (and the bulbs in it) protection from the well below freezing winds and help maintain the soil temperature closer to the freezing point where no plant damage will occur. The daffodils, crocuses, and grape hyacinths should be fine with no extra protection here in zone 6b. I hope everybody out there stays warm wherever you call home.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Leggy Plants: How to stop seedlings from stretching


Anyone who has started seeds inside can tell what I did wrong in the first picture: I placed the seedlings in a sunny windowsill far too late. You can see in the second picture that I learned my lesson and put the seedlings in a sunny spot much earlier. This leads me to my best tip for preventing leggy plants: Have a perfect place for your seedlings to grow before you start them. Sounds like common sense right? Well, sometimes we get ahead of ourselves. I'm a gardener with a moderate amount of experience but even still I got excited about starting seeds and did that first. It is the middle of winter where I live so who could blame me for wanting to do a little indoor gardening? The point is that I didn't plan properly. When I saw my first seedlings, I had to scramble to create a good place for the plants to get some sun. Once you have set up a good location in a sunny area, you can start your seeds there and then you won't even need to move them once they germinate.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Marigold: The easiest flower to grow


There. I said it. Based on my own experience the marigold is the easiest flower in my climate. Dwarf French marigolds also happen to be one of my favorite flowers as well. They are the first flower that I was able to grow on a large scale. This was primarily because they have an incredible will to live. The seeds germinate quickly and the seedlings grow with impressive vigor. They can also handle a moderate amount of competition. Throw in the facts that they are good companion plants not to mention they are very pretty and you have arguably one of the best overall flowers that you could have in your garden. If you are going to have only a few types of flowers in your garden, I highly recommend that one of them be a variety of marigold from the tagetes patula specie as they seem to offer the most benefits.

Monday, January 18, 2021

A return to wood gravel instead of sand

 About a year ago, I experimented with the use of wood gravel for garden paths. The wood gravel worked well but took a long time to produce on my bandsaw. My next attempt was to use sand from a sandpit on my property for the foot paths. The sand is plentiful and it's easier to obtain a large amount. After testing the sand for about a month, it became clear there were problems. The sand would stick to my shoes though not nearly as bad as clay. It also moved off the paths too much in any spot that wasn't level. Lastly, the sand became part of the soil again too quickly to be of much use for a foot path. Because of these reasons I'm switching back to wood gravel. It takes much longer to make but is vital for any paths that change elevation. Another advantage is that I'm adding organic matter back to the garden.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Starting perennial herb and rhubarb seeds

We are having a colder than usual week here, so I decided it was best to do some work inside. In particular, it was time to start the cold hardy herbs. Here's a quick list of what seeds I'm starting:





Anise Hyssop


Last but definitely not least is rhubarb.

While the rhubarb is considered more a vegetable than a herb, now is still a good time to start it in my growing zone of 6b. All of these plants can be put outside in early spring as long as you put in the effort of hardening them off. Some of the seed is 3 to 4 years old now so I don't expect great germination rates from them all. I have the highest hopes for the rhubarb since it will produce plenty of edible stems in addition to being an impressive plant to view.

Monday, January 4, 2021

What's the dill with herbs?

 In addition to the poppies that I'll be growing this year, I also will be planting a large amount of dill and much smaller amounts of other herbs to have a deer resistant garden. Dill is one of my favorite herbs. Not only are both the seeds and the leaves delicious, they have been one of the most reliable annual herbs we've ever grown. The other herbs I want to try are anise, bulb fennel and coriander. All the herbs will have to wait until all chance of frost has past to go outside but they will still have plenty of time to make seed. The bulb fennel might take two years to make seed so we'll let you know how it turns out.