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weeds n seeds's Blog

Seeing GREEN!

Category: gardening | Posted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 5:11 pm

Old Man Winter's a huffin' and a puffin' to his hearts content, blowing powdery snow about to move the drifts from one location to another again. Raised beds/containers sadly sit, decorated by white mushroom-like caps instead of the colorful displays of blooming flowers they held just a few short months ago, greenhouse sits idle like a forlorn igloo with snow swirling constantly around it.
BUT, that's outside! Inside, there are two orchids, African violets, a yellow & pink Christmas cactus, geraniums, other plants blooming/growing that make the spirits soar to see their welcomed beauty..AND it's almost time to begin starting seeds!
As of November, all seeds for the 2008 season were purchased, staggered planting schedules drawn up, trays and cells stacked in eager anticipation of being put to use once more. Pansies..which are now little "greenies"..were started for May blooming, will soon be joined by gerberas, blue mealy sage and a number of other varieties of plants.
Yesterday was planning what will go where and in what, looked at those sad outside containers and actually saw GREEN! Yep! Snapdragons will go there; petunias in that; tomatoes, eggplant, squashes and peppers in those Earthboxs; chards and cukes over there in a new spot this year. What was the dreariest of landscapes suddenly turned into a prolific Garden of Eden in this gardener's mind's eye. Is time to get to WORK and make it happen!
I grow almost everything from seed, experiment with new plants each year to see what does best here and what doesn't, and..believe ME!..have had my share of "flops" along the way as the landfill can readily testify to.
Gardening is constantly living and learning by trial and error: sometimes..I think..the errors outweigh the good, but I'm a glutton for punishment when it comes to gardening, simply "have to try" or I'll never know! I have found that researching plants needs/requirments is an invaluable asset as seed packets don't tell you HALF the story when it comes to starting practices, culture, etc. in most cases, especially with "odd balls" like lemon eucalyptus, verbenas, and gerberas to name a few. Packets usually have generalized instructions..plant and ye shall grow..but I've found that it doesn't hurt to research if trying something new, will save a lot of gray hairs, ulcers and nervous breakdowns in the long run!
YEP! Seein' GREEN even tho' the seed packets, bags of soils are still unopened, guess the adage to "plant a seed and WAIT is to believe" is true after all.

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Tain't Fit Fer Humans..

Category: gardening | Posted: Sun Dec 02, 2007 6:10 pm

But do plants ever slurp it up and thrive! How to make rather oderiferous comfrey "tea": fill a 5-gallon bucket half full of chopped, or cut up, fresh comfrey leaves and stalks. Add a quart of cut up fresh dandelion LEAVES, two large handfuls of epsom salts and 1 1/2 quarts of dried steer manure (if you happen to have the "weeds" plantain and stinging nettles available, be sure to add some of those also). Place the bucket in a sunny out-of-the-way place, fill almost to the rim with water, mix well. cover with a board. Stir daily. The "tea" should be ready in 5-6 weeks, or when you can smell it a block away.
To use: place a clothespin on your nose and extract a dog-food sized can full of the liquid from bucket, add to 1 1/2 gallons of water for dilution purposes, apply weekly to plants. Use the same dilution rate for a foliar feed, straining the tea, if necessary, to remove particles that might clog sprayer nozzle. Keep stirring the "witches cauldron" daily between uses, adding more water if level in bucket gets too low. At seasons end, pour anything left in bucket out in a barren flower/vegetable bed, work lightly into soil.
Comfrey facts: chopped up comfrey is an excellant compost accellerant, creates a lot of "heat" in the pile or composter while adding numerous trace minerals and nutrients. Freshly chopped leaves/stems can also be worked right into garden spaces to improve soils. In Australia, bottoms of potato trenches are lined with chopped leaves, covered with soil then potatoes planted as usual: the method is reputed to halt "potato scab". For EXTERNAL ONLY medical use (plant contains carcinogens, CANNOT be taken internally), sap in stems is unsurpassed in easing the agony of bug bites/stings when applied to the bite site. Leaves, fresh or dried, can be used as a poultice to stop swelling, discoloration and pain of bad bruises, sprains, hence the nickname: "The Bruise Plant". Comfrey blossoms are also great bee magnets. All in all, no garden should be without this highly beneficial herb of many uses.
Enjoy making/using the "tea"..your plants will love you for it!

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