Part Of My Backyard Garden

Part Of My Backyard Garden
July 25, 2013

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Got the Gardening Itch Yet?

It’s almost that time again, the one time of the year we most eagerly anticipate. Gardening time. All of us want to get started as soon as we can. If you are in the chompin’ at the bit group, there are a few things to get started. Trim tree limbs now before the sap begins to flow. Limbs that hang over or are too close to the house need to go. The same with too much shade over sidewalks and driveways. This is also a good time to trim limbs that are shading beds. I have an especially needy flower bed in front, guarded by large Aspens. I cut limbs each year to make sure light and enough hours of it can get to these beds.
Big trees need to be trimmed to let light through
A Note About New Trees – If you are thinking about planting a new tree or two, spring is a great time, but not yet. As soon as the ground has thawed enough to work efficiently is the best time. Follow planting instructions that come with the tree and don’t plant too deep. Many garden specialists recommend planting trees in the fall, but in the high country, this is not always the best advice. If the deep freeze comes too early and stays too long, or we, go through one of those, only in Wyoming, cold, warm, cold, warm cycles, fall planted trees will die.  Now all that needs to be done is to find a tree recommended for this planting zone and enjoy for years.

Driving around any city in America the worst fault of tree planting can be readily observed, too big and too close. Huge trees have a place, but most city lots are not that place. Do not plant too close to the foundation, trees need space. Want something closer to the house? Go with a flowering ornamental shrub, they look great, especially at the corners of a home.
Think Spring - but don't start gardening yet
 It is also time to trim raspberry canes, easy to tell which ones need to be cut back, the hollow brown ones. These are the canes that were two years old last year and will not leaf or fruit again.  Cut them off an inch or two above ground level.  Canes that are becoming two-year-olds are the fruiting canes and will still be limber, not brittle when bent.
A delicious addition to any back yard

A Note About Raspberries – If you are thinking about planting for the first time, go ahead, they are a great addition to the garden. But, they spread by underground runners and can make a mess of planting beds and gardens as much as twenty feet away.  In early summer take a spade and cut deeply entirely around the berries, a few feet out,  this will keep them from spreading and not hurt the health of the plants.

Meanwhile, I am still on track to plant my onion flats next week.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Not Yet - But Almost Time

With temperatures above freezing and significant melting going on outside, it does look like spring will come after all. Seems as I get older, I have more doubt each year as to whether spring is coming, or winter will last until June. I should have known, as the first sign of spring has already reached my mailbox, garden catalogues 2016.

I get physical copies of seed and garden catalogues and several ECataloges. I still like the old fashioned kind. Old fashioned to many, I still enjoy leafing through the pages, makes spring, at least, probable. Gardeners, old and new get excited as soon as the first few warm days come to Wyoming. I use a soil thermometer to guide my planting. If the soil is too cold, nothing will happen. Waiting is hard, it but beats replanting.
Dreaming of last summer

One thing I have to remind myself of each year is that everything does not grow well in Wyoming. Just because a big-box store garden center has it in stock, does not mean it will grow in Wyoming. Many people will try Blueberries only to find, they will not grow well, not well at all in Wyoming. Try them if you must, but prepare for disappointment. Or save yourself the time and frustration and plant, currants, gooseberries or raspberries, all will do wonderfully here.

Somewhere in each garden catalogue will be a plant hardiness zone map. Take a good look at it before ordering trees, shrubs and other perennials. The area where I garden (Platte County in Eastern Wyoming) is in zone five, if I plant close to a warm building, out of the wind, or in a nice sunny area, I can get away with some zone six plants. Most other plants, from zones above six, will grow for a season, but will need to be in pots and moved inside if you hope to keep them alive for a second season.

If you have the gardening itch bad, it’s not too far away from inside plant starting. I start my onions, yes I grow my onion plants, the first of February, and will begin planting tomatoes before the first of March.  

Tired of sitting around doing nothing? Too soon to garden, too cold for golf. Time to settle in with a good book. Coincidentally, here is a link to my five books. Thanks for looking.

Next Post – Inside and planted.