Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Weather Problems

Well, I hope we get all these pots potted up before the snow flies! Pam and I tried to pot this last Sunday and we were faced with freezing conditions and cold. We took a snowy load over to Vicki's and came back raring to go. Pam went to fill the pots and I got a bunch of perennials to use. I took one out of the flat and tried to get it out of its container. No luck, frozen solid. I called Pam and told her no more work for today... SOL.

So we went back to Pam's in Rochester and had a great dinner of Thanksgiving leftovers that her daughter had cooked. Yum. I helped Pam on the computer - she has the use of my laptop and has really never been on a computer before. And, I helped her re-learn knitting. She is a great student.

We also got our portraits taken and both are being used as our facebook profile pictures. I think they came out pretty good!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Time to take stock of the garden

As the gardens are put to bed and the final potting is being done, I feel it is time to kick back and take stock of this last growing year. It is the season when all good gardeners should take a look back at their journals or notebooks and decide what was worth planting this year. If you don't have a garden journal, notebook or blog, I encourage you to start one. It helps you note the climate, the varieties of plants, when the insects or disease was bad and so many other things that happen in the garden.

As you can imagine, having a nursery I try and keep good records of what I planted and when. It sure helps when deciding what to grow for next year. I can see what varieties I have sold and what I am sitting on. Sometimes I am just plain stubborn and grow a variety that the public may not want but I am a fan of.

Right now, I think it is too late to do more dividing in the nursery, but I am making a list of what I'd like to divide and move or pot up for next year. The pulmonaria got scorched where I put it and the blue hostas lost the color in their leaves due to too much sunshine. The epimedium and liriope have gone to town and I can afford to pot up a bunch without losing my stock plants.

I also want to grow a better vegetable garden this next year. The tomatoes did well in their new spot and I think I can grow a few more things in pots without dog Griffin bothering them. I just read an article on how to best grow the most money-saving crops in your garden. I am starting to think this way more and more as I set my sights on bringing some of my produce to market. By growing my own vegetables, I like to think I am saving some money, rather than buying them from the store. Of course, knowing how they are grown and what I have used in terms of sprays on them is certainly priceless.

I really got into canning this year for the first time and want to make a better plan for that. I guess it sort of goes with the territory that you have to preserve the crop when it is ripe, but I had such a flurry of activity late in the season, I think I would like to spread the work out a bit more. I also think I need to jump on the produce when I first see it. I didn't get to can peaches as the crop was a miserable failure this year, same for the apples. So maybe I can do a better job at timing the work I do next year.

With all that said, I hope you can take some notes on your gardens, whether you grow flowers or vegetables. It so helps in the following seasons. But the most important thing to remember is to have fun while you are doing it. Never make gardening a chore.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The fall work continues

Pam schlepping pots
Worked yesterday with Pam potting up the spring bulbs. Took it easy after the surgery and only did 40 or 50 pots but we got them all tucked into the new cold frames. Pam was a trouper and got all the soil - 15 heavy bags - out of the car by herself. What a gal!

Planted today and tucked in a few more perennials: veronica, coreopsis, mums, peony, forget me nots and primrose into a few bare spots. Also put in a few daffodil bulbs, Golden Harvest and one of my favorites - Professor Einstein. Should have great color and variety all season.

Bed one after six weeks
The green house beds continue to produce lots of greens. I figure if I don't have to buy any lettuces or greens all winter the beds will have paid for themselves. The other harvests are just a bonus!

Bed two after two weeks
Bed one is pretty lush even after the severe thinning that Vicki gave it. I'll have to sow some more arugula as Vicki kind of almost wiped out the patch and it is my favorite green. We've still got an aphid problem though, despite spraying by the greenhouse managers. The little buggers are down in the whorls of the leaves and very hard to get to.We've got lots of golden chard, baby spinach,dill, basil and thyme, a few radishes and lots of lettuces. Been having a salad every night thanks to the bountiful crops.

Bed two is looking good as it starts to grow in earnest. I fertilized this week with a fairly high nitrogen fish emulsion and kelp mix. The peas are about an inch or two tall and the lettuces are just starting to do their thing. Carrots and scallions are slow to emerge, but the beets and kohlrabi are on their way. Can't wait to get a harvest from something other than the greens, it should be exciting. Love snap peas, they probably won't make it out of the greenhouse!

The flats are making out a little slower. I wonder if we didn't cover the seed on this last sowing if that made the difference. The tomatoes are just starting and I just cleaned up the outdoor tomato beds so now I can repurpose the couple of tomato cages I want to use.

Gotten a lot of nice comments on the garden totems. I still want to visit a few estate and garage sales looking for odd pieces of glass to make a few more. Wish I had the gal's name from the Armada Flea Market where I got these two and I'd promote her great craft, but we just knew eachother by "hello".

Think I'll be setting up Thursdays at the Oakland County Farmer's Market until Christmas if the market proves successful for me. Friend Janet Macunovich, dropped off a giant load of fresh evergreen boughs that are just dying to be made into wreaths and swags. Looks like I'll make my own roping this year. I just need to get faster at crafting these things so my time can be a little more cost productive...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The new 2013 catalog is available!

Sage Advice Nursery catalog is here!
Well as I look through my grow list I see I am awfully ambitious. I plan on growing over 150 varieties of perennials and groundcovers plus another 22 varieties of herbs. That doesn't even count the miscellaneous varieties I'll add as the season goes along because I just have to have this or that plant.

I am sending the catalog and pre-order form out by e-mail. The pre-order form is for those people who would like to reserve plants for the 2013 season. This doesn't tie you into an order but it gives me a better idea of what to grow and how much. Most of my varieties will be grown in limited quantities as my backyard nursery is so small. Even with the generous offering of friend and employee Vicki's yard the nursery is tiny by anyone's standards.

The catalog is organized by Latin name for each variety. Sorry for those of you who are not fond of Latin, but the common names are sometimes regional and so confusing, learning Latin is just a part of horticulture. The color and bloom height of each variety is noted and in most of the descriptions I have noted bloom time. The list is followed by lists of plants for shade, plants for sun and even plants for cut flowers and hummingbirds You can get the catalog by e-mailing me at sageadvicenursery@gmail.com or by signing up on the Sage Advice Nursery page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SageAdviceNursery. I can send anyone a hard copy, but I've got to go out and buy paper and a stapler! Oh boy, it never ends...

Hope you all are well, putting your gardens to bed and starting to dream of spring in 2013. After a week of cloudy weather here in Michigan, I am at least dreaming of some sunshine!