I GOT A LAMINATOR
Happy to see someone not me doing hardcore organizing. Right now, it's all about giving the garden over to the critters.
In the 10 years that I've gardened here (sure let's count the 2 years of solarization to kill the grass), we've seen bird species explosion. I leave the leaves, and the ground birds get fat on grubs, while above chickadees are ravaging the cardoons and echinops. It's like nearly free and instant entertainment when a new bird visits. It's always now when I thank myself for planting so many grasses and interesting seedheaded-forms.
Here in my neighborhood of LA (San Fernando valley zone 9b) winter is when we go wild with greens. We’ve only got bok choy and lettuces going this year (bc toddler + 2 working parents) but I can’t wait to have my first garden salads. We’ve also got the citrus coming in in stages - right now our Clementine is going wild, plus the Meyer lemon, but soon the grapefruits and the navel oranges will be ready too. Winter is a very nice time to be a gardener here in LA.
I resonate so much with this because I too am spending A LOT of time planning and daydreaming about a very small flower operation. This year I had two garden beds of cut flowers and I wanted so many more. So I'm making a tiny flower business to have flower subscription all so I can grow more and make bouquets for people. It involve graph paper mapping! Spending time with my mom so I can plant in her yard. So many spreadsheets of all the seeds and when to plant then. Google docs with pictures of every flower and how they will look together. Graphic design and art projects so I have fun branding. Soon I need to learn how to make a website. I'm leaning so far in to being ambitious about a hobby and I couldn't love it more.
We just finished with a complete garden rehaul. Literally, YESTERDAY. It's been a month-long endeavor of ripping up astroturf and tiles, taking down trees, weeding, installing a new fence and borders, etc.
While the gardeners' job are officially done, I am still working on planting 100+ individual plants for the Japanese garden and meadow border in freezing sub-zero weather. I also have 4.8 meters within a newly raised bed for annual flowers and veggies. This is my first time ever owning a home, much less a garden. And I am absolutely thrilled (and honestly a little terrified).
I've got my work cut out for me and I'll be taking a break as soon as the plants are in, but for next spring, I have a couple of seeds I want to presow for the raised bed and having salvaged tubers from my mixed-success dahlia planting this year, I'll also be giving dahlias another chance!
The thing currently giving me the most joy in my winter garden is my coral bark maple (Acer palmatum Sango Kaku). We've had a lot of stormy weather here in the UK, so pretty much all the leaves have blown off the trees, but this little maple tree is stunningly beautiful year-round, even without leaves. Our kitchen window looks out onto our tiny urban garden, and even though it's very sodden and leaf-strewn out there right now, I like gazing out as I make coffee in the morning and seeing the brilliant red branches of the maple positively glowing in the low winter sunlight.
I solarized ONE WHOLE QUARTER of my city yard this year (it's a small space but it feels big to me!) to prepare for a big giant sun-loving natives patch. Planting will start in April. I'm both horrified and excited to see if the change in USDA zones will open up any new and interesting opportunities for what I can plant there. Researching and planning what will go into the new bed is the goal for 2024 Q1.
My husband got a new tablet for work and gave me his old one, so I downloaded a basic drawing app and have been sketching and planning all of my garden dreams for next season! It's so fun and I keep moving things all around so it may actually be helping me work out best placements??
I also made a seed spreadsheet and realized I've overcommitted (ha!) but it will be fine, I hope.
I really wish there were a Canadian equivalent of Gardener’s World. Or maybe there is, and someone here will enlighten me? Since following British gardening programs, I never rake leaves and leave stalks intact. So even in winter, I see lots of visitors, including once, a fox who had a cozy nap in a flowerbed!
No gardening thoughts today, but I volunteer in a school library and bought a laminator last year and my first thought was OMG WHY DIDN'T I BUY ONE OF THESE YEARS AGO!?! I love it so much. I was shocked at how inexpensive it was and how much of an impact it made.
About 3 weeks ago, I finished what's become an annual ritual - planting native perennials. Some years I've done a good job of starting from seed in June - August, but this year I didn't. We just went to ALL the native plant sales and spent a lot of money. It's really remarkable how you can plant dozens of plants one year, and then again the next and the next, and STILL you have room for more the next year. Our yard isn't that big, it's just great when the plants are really dense and you can't see the dirt.
I'm planning tons of seeds for spring and summer, mostly veggies because the results are so much better than when I buy starts. I waited too long to start my kale from seed this year and put in starts instead and am now regretting it. They're not nearly as vigorous as the kale I grew from seed last year.
Here's a planner I made to help figure out when to sow which veggie seeds: https://tinyurl.com/yc4m94a7. I always found that most planners had too much info and I would get lost, so I made a really pared down one that only takes a few minutes to use.
And, laminator! A friend loved the planner so much she laminated it! And laminated a copy for me too, so now it's a re-usable worksheet. Genius!
Hi! I guess this is another reminder for me to say a prayer of thanks for the various seeds that didn't take and sorta clean up everything. The edible flowers are ready to be eaten, the snake plant really does need to be split into a second pot, and the evening primrose is doing its best. There's a couple of other little ones that peek through the soil but for the most part I don't really have anything to plant until February.
I did buy some carrot seeds on a whirl that I'll start then (although I could probably start now in zone 9b). I'm toying with the idea of a raised bed since I have the space for one but I also have no idea how that works actually.
I’m going to start a vegetable garden next year! This is a first for me. We’ve been in the house two years, and have done some landscaping, adding some color, some ornamental pear trees for privacy, though a lot we inherited from previous owners. I’m basically clueless but ready to learn and get dirty. I plan to make a spreadsheet of all the plants and bushes so I can keep track of them and learn how to care for them. And I want to learn about companion planting for the vegetables (raised bed). I’m not ready to start from seed, but I hope to get there someday!
After discovering that I ordered more than 300 anemones, ranunculus, and tulips during the summer, I quickly decided to install a raised bed, and I will try to grow anemones and ranunculus there as a spring crop and then do a summer crop of tomatoes and one zucchini. We will see.
I'm in the PNW, Seattle, newly minted 9a.
Now, I'm also starting my sweet peas, lisianthus, and sarracenia from seeds—a massive leap of faith.
I took lots of cutting from Fuchsia, calibrocha, mums, and other summer annuals, and they are in a small greenhouse outside. So I get to visit with them every day.
I am also trying to decide on buying a soil blocker. Opinions?
I was so bereft at the end of the season that I did everything like organizing my collected seeds really quickly and now I wish I still had those tasks to complete. I didn't do much garden cleanup this year either and I really miss the busy-ness of being in the garden all the time.
I'm mostly planning for winter sowing right now. Last year I used that method for the first time and had mad success (it's pretty foolproof). It's a really good method if you want to start seeds indoors but tend to travel for more than a week at a time in the winter or early spring, which I generally do. You don't have to check on anything in the way that you do when you start seeds indoors.
Excited to follow the dahlia farm <3
Twenty-some-odd years ago when I lived in Seattle I fell in love with the flowers on Jerusalem artichokes. God only knows why the small patch in my backyard of my rental didn't spread like wildfire, but they never did. So, I put some in my side yard here in Upstate, looking forward to the bright yellow, sunflower-like blooms. Now I've created a monster, which I never mind when they're growing exponentially and shading the mess that is my back porch from passersby, but inevitably before they flower they get so tall they start to fall over. For at least 6 weeks every year it looks like someone's dropped a bomb in the middle of the patch as they flop about.
I pull a bunch every year so they don't take over my whole yard. I should dig them out entirely, but I just don't have the energy. And I keep hoping maybe they won't get so leggy one year and I can just enjoy them like I did in the PNW.
I can share some Zone 6 dahlia insight. You really cannot plant them here until all danger of frost is past, which means Memorial Day at the earliest. You can buy them before then and store them in vermiculite. You must be careful not to damage the “eye” because that is where the stem grows from. Also, don’t seal the box where they are stored, it needs some air flow. I just fold the flaps crosswise on top.