Sunday, February 15, 2009

Welcome to The Heather Patch

Well, I'll start off by saying I am not a gardening expert by any means! I've read lots of books, shop at a lot of nurseries and even gone to a few shows (the cool ones by various plant societies- not the Home and Garden Show). My gardening techniques run the gamut. I take ideas from both local public gardens and private gardens of friends, I experiment, I move plants as if they were furniture and there is definitely blood, sweat and tears. But in the end, it's as if I've gotten to draw the picture but garden refuses to color within the lines. It's probably prettier that way.

This time of year most of us are just staring at the gray sky, thankful for the rains but wondering when we can start playing again. Don't worry, there's plenty to do! I started my winter vegetable garden in mid October and have been reaping the rewards since December. First there were the radishes that seem to grow over night. Then rainbow kale (why bother with green kale when you can get "greens" in brilliant reds and yellows) along with other "Chinese" greens. Now for the last few weeks I've been getting some great turnips and carrots, all of which started from seed.

I am not a big fan of roses or at least have not found any that I am too wild about. However, if you do have them, you should be cutting them back now if you haven't already. I have also pruned my grapes, my nectarine tree and have cut back my butterfly bushes.

A word on pruning- it is not nearly as difficult as some folks make it sound. A few easy rules I follow:
1. Don't cut the bud. If you want a bud to grow, leave it be and cut after the bud (a bud is that little knot on the branch from which a new branch will grow).
2. Cut everything growing down. This is especially true for fruit trees. I just run my hand below each branch and whenever I run into another branch starting to grow down from my first branch I cut it. If you don't do this with your fruit trees the weight of the fruits will break the branch wasting all the energy your tree spend growing that branch and the fruit in the first place!
3. Use good SHARP shears when pruning, you do not want to rip branches off. For bushes I like to cut so the tops are curved. But just remember, you will not kill your bush from a bad pruning job- it will grow back, it just may look funny for awhile!


Justin said...

Sweat Info thanks, we have fruit trees and roses I need to get to trimming. Also our garden needs to be prepped, we haven't decided what we are planting yet.

Anonymous said...

Heather I love your blog!
Tony is going to take the Master Gardener program. I wish you two lived closer and could talk gardens. I should send you photos, he has garden patches all over the yard!
I will be checking in every week to read your posts!--Jessica H.

Anonymous said...

Wow the blog. It just giving me the fever to plant and dig up some soil. I do a lot of planning in my head but at some point I will have to pull out a hoe and shovel and get busy. Can't wait to read more. --Kirby