Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jenny - Rosemary

Here are a few sprigs of rosemary from my backyard. These are going to be tossed whole into the roasting pan with tonight's leg of lamb roast (traditional Easter feast in my family).
Rosemary is about the easiest thing that you can grow in Texoma. It's one of the plants (onions and roses also come to mind) that can make some of the blackest thumbs look green. You pretty much put it into the ground, and give it some water once in a while, especially the first year that you plant it.
I admit that I mixed in some garden soil with my black gumbo before planting my rosemary. If you live in the part of Texoma that boasts sandier soil, you may be able to get away with skipping this step. If by "sandy," your soil means "concrete when it's dry," then please mix away. Use your judgment on that one. Once the plant is established, it needs very little from you. Rosemary grows into a densely branched, medium sized, evergreen shrub, so either give it a couple feet in all directions, or plan to prune often. And that brings me to the real magic of rosemary: It can function both as a landscape shrub and as a workhorse plant, spicing up your recipes. Cutting sprigs from this hardy, waterwise shrub takes nothing away from its beauty and adds lovely flavor to potatoes, chicken, lamb, and more.
If you haven't grabbed you a rosemary plant for your garden yet, then get to the nursery. This one's a winner!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

National Gardening Month

April is National Gardening Month! Here's a link to an article outlining 10 reasons to start a backyard (or windowsill, or whatever space you have) garden. For more information, check out the National Gardening Association's website.

No matter how small your space is, you can find a way to garden. Fresh, homegrown herbs and vegetables are always worth the effort.

Happy gardening!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Gardening Seminar

Michele and I had a lovely day today attending a gardening seminar at Sweetwater Farm Greenhouse in Denison. SueZanne Peterson, rose expert, spoke on how to propagate roses from cuttings, and also shared general knowledge with how to keep roses in our area happy and thriving.

While both of us have been growing roses for years, neither have ever tried to propagate any. It just seemed too large a hassle. Ms SueZanne made it seem very easy with a few great tips:

- Start with well watered seed mix.

- Prune your cutting to have only a few leafy branches at the top.

- Make sure you plant your cutting with a good 3 grow nodes in the soil to take root.

- Keep well watered for a year. Yup, I said a year.

- After that it can be transplanted into a rose mix soil and kept watered and fed for another year.

She unpotted one of her transplant ready cuttings to show us how the roots had grown from the nodes. It was amazing to see how this formerly green branch had formed roots! I was lucky enough to win this small propagated rose plant to take home.

SueZanne also spoke a bit on companion plants, which are plants that can be grown beside roses (and in your veg garden, as to that) to serve as bug deterrents and/or soil improvers. She made the point that when we plant in monothematic ways (a whole bunch of one type of plant together, like an exclusive rose garden), we potentially open up our gardens to more diseases and problems. With roses, the only way to combat these issues is to spray, spray, spray. Using companion plants like garlic, salvia, and marigolds not only increase the visual variety in our gardens, but also increase the healthiness of them (less spray, spray, spraying).

Afterward we spent some time walking around Sweetwater's two lovely greenhouses, and the array of plants and trees that they offer. Of course I couldn't help but to grab some of the lovely plants that owners Barb Palmer and Dave Kenyon have to offer, including a few six-packs of marigolds for the vegetable beds and a cute little fig tree.

Sweetwater Farm Greenhouse is hands-down my favorite nursery and garden shop in the Texoma area. I was happy to spend an informative morning there. Armed with new knowledge, I am ready to propagate!