Saturday, March 27, 2010

Jenny - Fannin County Home & Garden Expo

Well, my family and I had a good time today at the Expo in Bonham. It was a smaller sized show, but full of information for our area. It included several talks from experts on things like home orchards, heat loving plants, and tips for growing your own veg garden. The vendors ranged from a very promising nursery that I intend to visit tomorrow, Sweetwater Farm Greenhouse, to an outdoor wood furniture maker, to handmade jewelry and flower arrangements and more. The Fannin County Extension Office had many representatives there to answer our questions (my husband grilled one on fire ant control), and one spent a lot of time with me describing the Junior Master Gardeners program. Being a homeschooler, I was curious as to how I could adapt their programs to our support group. She was wonderful and took time out to help me understand how I could do this. The Extension Office also had gobs of printouts for us on topics like fire ant control, rain barrel making, drought tolerant plants, and water conservation. I have a feeling that all of these printouts are readily available at the office in Bonham for those who are interested in picking some up. A couple JMG kids from a program run at a local school made my daughter a cool-looking hat out of newspaper,and another expo volunteer twisted up a pink balloon teddy bear holding a yellow tulip for my daughter. Fun day. I'm looking forward to putting into practice some of the tips I picked up today, and to checking out that nursery!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Garden Expo

The Fannin County Master Gardeners 2010 Garden, Lawn & Home Expo is on this weekend for any who are interested. It looks like it's tomorrow only. Find info here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Jenny - Bulbs, Bulbs, Bulbs

Well, a trip to the Dallas Arboretum has propelled me into spring craziness. I've bought a TON of tulip and daffodil bulbs. Just a ton. But I dup up nearly everything along my front walk (a narrow, wickedly hard to maintain flower bed runs between it and the house). My intention is to fill up my doorway pots and plant the remainder in the walkway bed.
I've also bought snapdragons for the walkway. They spread beautifully and keep their flowers all the way through the summer. We had a mildish winter the year before last, and the darn things kept their green all through. Cool. So I'm just going to let those go as crazy as they like in that area.
I picked up 2 very large pots to plant my rose trees in. I'll flank the walkway with them. Roses are hard to get wrong around here. I fertilize mine with a rose fertilizer every year, and "rose prune" them throughout their flowering seasons. I'll blog on rose pruning in another post.
And for all of you who think I'm nuts to be planting bulbs that are pretty much already in full bloom, you're right. They won't last long. I'm really just projecting to next year, when these same flowers sprout back and in larger numbers. I'll have some immediate pleasure out of my arrangements now, but the real fun will be next year, when they come up on their own. I've always loved tulip beds. The more color, the better!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Michele - Early Spring

First off, let me say that it is very hard to snip the blueberries off those little plants that you're so proud of! I did follow Jenn's advice last year, did some additional research, and clipped them off. It hurt though. Here's to hoping that the plants grow bigger and better for it this year.

The seeds in the kitchen window are finally sprouting now. The spinach is doing great, and finally we have squash, cherry tomato, and cucumber seedlings stretching themselves toward the sun.

It has been rainy here the last couple of weeks and we have been unable to get the tractor out to prep the garden. The coming week is supposed to nice and dry and we are hoping to plow the garden and prepare for planting next weekend. It is a little early for some plants, as there is still a good chance of another frost or two, but it's high time I got those onions in! Maybe by the time the soil is ready, the seedlings will be ready too. I'm going to miss them in the kitchen window, but will enjoy watching them grow outside.

I'm going to continue experimenting this year on way to get/keep the kids interested in helping out with the garden. They are very eager early on and all of them will help with the initial planting, but their interest seems to wane shortly thereafter. I'll keep you posted on any grand ideas I can up with on how to get them to weed the garden!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Jenn - More Words on Blueberry Bushes

I had 2 lovely blueberry bushes back in New England where they're easy to grow. My success so far with them out here has been dubious. I planted three. Only one has survived so far, and he's sad. I have very little shade around my house, and the sun just burns them up. Michele has had better luck with this. I do have a couple of tips to add to hers though.
For starters never just buy one bush. Buy at least two, and vary the strains. Blueberries need to cross-pollinate, and they do a better job of it when the bushes are not all the same type of blueberry. Check the plant hardiness zones carefully. You don't want to buy a plant that's suited to a colder climate than we have here. I've had some plant hardiness charts put us in growing zone 7A, but I often find zone 8 to be a better fit for our corner of Texoma. Once you get them home, look for a planting spot that isn't going to have the sun blazing down on them all the day long. That's how mine got burnt to a crisp. This wasn't a problem in Connecticut. It's a problem here.
If you're within 2 years of planting a new blueberry bush or if your bush is spindly & slow-growing, you should really pinch off the blossoms and not allow the bush to fruit. That sucks. I know. But bearing fruit actually puts a large strain on the plant and can keep it from getting nice and bushy. And if your bush isn't bushy, it won't bear much fruit in general. For a really long time, if ever. So though it breaks your heart a little, pinch off those blossoms on the new or struggling bushes. Give it the time it needs to grow in and widen out. You'll thank me later for nagging you now! :)