Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Absence Of Deer

This is an odd occurrence this year that we just became aware of.
Isn't it funny when it sometimes takes your consciousness a while to catch up to the fact that some pattern has changed? You'd think it would be pretty obvious.

We've seen no deer in our yard this winter. Absolutely none.

There is a deer trail that runs along the edge of our lawn, across the road and into the neighbors woods. We usually see deer on it every day. If not the deer themselves either tracks or deer beds. (one used to make a bed under our pear tree every night.)

At least once a week we hear the screech of tires as people slam on the brakes to avoid one crossing the road. (do people really think they can do 80 just because it's a back road? Yes!) Of course, those are the rules - you stand stupidly at the edge of the road wondering if you should cross now. How about now? Road about now? Oh! Car coming! Yes, cross now!

Every now and then we'd hear a joyful 'kill' cry from the pack of coy dogs who have taken up residence in dens in the bank a quarter mile or so behind our house. Not so this year. I think we've heard them maybe twice all winter.

We've sighted deer in the surrounding fields now and then, or peaking through a thin line of trees down the road. I've noticed tracks across the road up the hill and bedding evidence here and there.

But, what happened with our yard trail? The more than occasional 'kill' cries of the coy dogs? The screeching of breaks at 3 am? Bedding down under the pear tree? Tracks flowing gracefully through the snow in our yard?

Hmmmm....The pattern has taken a turn.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Help Cornell - Go Rate Your Veggies!

Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners is a citizen science program from the Department of Horticulture.

Got something that works great in your garden? Go tell 'em.
Grow something that sucked? Go tell them that, too!

You can even Browse Varieties by Crop, then click on that variety to rate or just view others' ratings.

Go get 'em gardeners! Help your fellow growers to purchase and plant a variety that's really worth their time. Wouldn't you want someone to tell you what worked great or not in your area before you put a ton of time, patience and money into it?

Yup...I thought so.

Winter Sowing Update For February

If you're not sure what this winter sowing/wintersowing technique is all about, check this out:
the wintersowing forum at GW

Currently in jugs outside in the snowbank (Yes, outside on purpose so the rain and snow can get in) -

Lupines (4 jugs, 2 mauve white/2 mixed colors)
Poppy (ordinary orange perennial)
Blanket Flower
Cardinal Flower
Hollyhock (thanks Kim)
Foxglove (dwarf)
Columbine (dragonfly)
Pansy (1/2 - other half sown inside)
Lavender (1/2 - other half sown inside)
White Pampas Grass
Red Hot Poker (1/2 - will start other half inside)
Nigella (another thanks to Kim)
Sweet Pea
Purple Wave Petunia
Mini Hollyhocks
Black Eyed Susan (like I need more?)
Cypress Vine
Shasta Alaska
Aster (crego mix - I adore the colors)
Pink Poppy
Toad Flax
Snap Dragon (of course!)
Black Eyed Susan Vine

Wow, that's a short list this year compared to the hundred-some-odd I did last year. No problem, I still have lots of half hardy and tender annuals to do the middle/end of next month. Yay!

Hmmm...that's interesting. Spellcheck works with firefox but not ie!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Maybe This Year

I forgot to add this moon/planting chart with my post the other day:

Outdoor Planting Table For 2008

(Be sure to change it to your own location)

I think I might give it a try this year. And then again, maybe not. I'll probably just plant things as the mood strikes me, as always. I really detest rules in gardening.

Huh? Ut-Oh!

Garden Voices - site disabled


Garden Voices blog directory - The page cannot be found

omg...I need my fix.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New Kid On The Block

Well, this is very cool.

The Power Guides - Garden Blogs

It shows all new blog posts without having to search or click through your bloglist or favorites for eons (Who? Me?) to find any new posts by the blogger.

There are more guides than just gardening:

Bird Watching
Clothes & Fashions
Teaching & Education
Multiple Sclerosis

Go check it out - oh, and remember who told you about it. lol.

They Should Be Hung By Their Balls

Yes... extended auto warranty telemarket scammers should be hung by their freaking balls!

Well, if they have 'em, and obviously they do if they're calling unlisted cell phone numbers at 4 am! Just another reason I'm glad I don't own a cell.

Herb Weisbaum article: Auto warranty firms launch sleazy scam - If you get a call offering extended coverage, hang up and then complain

Since hubby had his identity stolen, I'm at the very least, a smidge jumpy.
We keep getting those stupid "Your auto warranty is about to expire" calls. On an old, beat-up 1994 neon? Puuhleez!

Grrrr. My kids hung up on them three times already (they've been trained well). I hung up on them myself, twice. We don't have caller ID and if you *69 it, it's "unavailable". Of course. We can't even file a complaint without knowing basic info that we can't get.

The hubster, who is much more diplomatic than the rest of us, actually wants to speak to a 'real' person and find out where they got our number from since we're unlisted and on the do-not-call registry. Yeah, I gave him the blank, raised-eyebrow look.

So, as directed, he punches in the correct number to be transfered to a real person. It rang...rang...rang.
Hmmm, that diplomatic look quickly changed to annoyed and finally to that 'now-you've-pissed-me-off-because-you-called-me-at-dinner-time-and-can't-be-bothered-to-answer-your-freaking-line-seeing-as-this-is-so-damn-important-it-can't-wait' warrior look. Ut-oh. Let's just say the 'person' on the other end was probably damn lucky he got disconnected.

I got another call today.

I don't think I'll tell hubby...

And WHY is the spellcheck still not working? Grrrr....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another Dottie Rant


Last october I was having a fit about the information a so-called expert, Dottie White, was giving about plants on local TV.

Oops, she did it again.

Someone called in about a dying Christmas Cactus.
And what did she tell them? She advised them to let that sucker dry out completely, and make sure it stays dry right down to the bottom of the pot because, after all, it is a cactus!

Ugh! They are epiphytic cacti native to South American jungles. Not a true desert cactus. They are a succulent.

When left to dry out, like Dottie advises, they'll respond by dropping their flower buds. On the opposite end, you musn't overwater or allow them to get water-logged or they will rot. If outside, they need to be kept in shade as they will end up with burt leaves with too much direct sun (May - September). does that description sound like a freaking desert cactus that should be treated to shriveled and dried out roots to anyone else??

I need to stop watching the noon news on Tuesdays. I'm slowly moving from distrust of her guidance to total dislike of it.

Planting By The Moon

And speaking of the moon-
Another 'new' old fad is coming back into fashion.
Ask an oldtimer - they'll tell you it works. Well, if Mother Nature decides to work with you, anyway.

The earth isn't really round, it's sort of oblongish. Yeah, I know - sounds like I've hit a crazy moment, but it's true.
The pull of the moon is pretty forceful. That force can pull an entire continent upwards by 3 feet as the moon passes it. Think about that. Pretty impressive, huh?
So, as the moon passes across the earth it pulls that part of the earth up by 3 feet all the way around. Yup, oblong! Thought I was telling tales, didn't you?

So, what happens to the groundwater during the moons passage? Yup, it goes up. So, this means that as the moon passes over your garden, the soil stays more moist.

Would you try tilling your soil at a full moon? You could do it, but the water table will be higher at that time and you're more likely to have muddy soil (except those people who are currently dealing with drought). You'll probably have better luck waiting to do dig tasks until the last quarter of the moon.

This would also be a good time to plant (or harvest) root crops and bulbs, and to prune trees and shrubs as there is less sap flow at a waning moon.

The waxing moon is a good time to plant trees and shrubs and to start seeds of crops that grow above ground.

These are only a few basic tips about planting by the moon, there are tons more. Why not try a crop of something both ways (supposed wrong and right times) and see for yourself? I bet you'll be surprised!

I don't really do gardening tasks by the moon, I'm more likely to just do them when they need to be done. (although, my hibiscus seed sure reacted as did my zinnia and cosmos in spring) .
But, I can tell, without fail or even looking up, every May/June what faze the moon is at when I see the neighbor on his tractor in the corn field across the road planting seed.

By the way, it's probably a good idea to mow your lawn during a waning moon. ;)
I wonder if Carol has heard that already? Probably!

Total Lunar Eclipse

Yup, tomorrow night, (Feb 20) starting at 10:01pm, there will be a total lunar eclipse.

"A total eclipse of the Moon occurs during the night of Wednesday, February 20/21, 2008. The entire event is visible from South America and most of North America (on Feb. 20) as well as Western Europe, Africa, and western Asia (on Feb. 21). During a total lunar eclipse, the Moon's disk can take on a dramatically colorful appearance from bright orange to blood red to dark brown and (rarely) very dark gray."

You can look up a diagram of the eclipse for your time zone at the NASA site.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I Was Cool As A Cucumber

Back in December, I posted about my niece and the house she bought (white picket fence and all) and how she was going to rip out perfectly good plants because she wasn't a gardener.


Where the hell did that come from? I don't know, but I thank whoever or whatever changed her mind! So thank you, God, karma, destiny, good juju or simple fresh vegetable lust.

When she showed up for help (she's never grown a thing from seed before) and seeds, I was cool as a cucumber. Oh, yes. I didn't freak out or jump up and down with excitement. I willed my shaking hands to be still as I explained which seeds needed to be started early and which she could plop in the ground and their growing conditions. I played it cool as I stuffed a bag with seed packs and explained when and how to start each one. I was calm and passive while she jotted notes to herself on each package with my 'special' garden sharpie.

Since she doesn't have a light set-up or anywhere to put one, I'll be starting a few cole crop things for her myself.

Oh, yeah! She's got the bug. And bad!

The only thing I worry about is her fiance freaking out when he sees that bag stuffed with seed packets. He has a small garden every year at his parent's house (cause K was never really interested) and I can hear the first words out of his mouth: "And just how big do you think this garden is going to be? Where are you going to plant all those?" I don't want him to discourage her, damn it.

Hang on tight K's man - you ain't seen nothin' yet! If it comes down to a stand-off about her gardening or not, you don't stand a chance. lol.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Project BudBurst

Ki, who blogs at MucknMire, is asking everyone who has a blog to do a little write up and share the info about Project BudBurst.

From theBudBurst site:
"Join us in collecting important climate change data on the timing of leafing and flowering in your area through Project BudBurst! This national field campaign targets native tree and flower species across the country. With your help, we will be compiling valuable environmental and climate change information around the United States."

It started February 15th this year, (they collected data last year) and I'll bet all you lower zoners (yeah, I'm envious!) already have some of that 'BudBurst'. Isn't that a cool word?

Why not pop over to Ki's blog and give her post about it a quick read?
I know there was something along these lines that I participated in last year, but for the life of me, I can't remember what, or where, it was.