Archive for the ‘April’ Category

Fairy Garden Halloween

Not really sure if this is actually another fairy garden occupant or just a visitor to the Willow Lane Fairy Garden Cemetary. Someone (NO NAMES MENTIONED) suggested that it might just be the ghost of one of the cemetery’s occupants, but I’m thinking that slugs and snails having no skeletons of their own would look differently…..if you know what I mean.

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April Guerilla Gardener
A Guerilla Garden Seed Packet Cheat Sheet

“Packed for / Sell by Date”
This is the first thing I look for on a seed package. The “packed for” or “sell by” date helps to estimate how long the seeds will stay viable. As a rule I try not to buy out of date seeds or seeds that have no date at all, as the germination rate in my experience has been disappointing. However if I am looking for a particular type of seed and the only company that has it does not date their packets I will sometimes buy it anyways.

“A Favorite of Birds”
This means that you will want to avoid planting near cars, sidewalks, patios or picnic tables unless you would like a white wash of bird poop on everything.

“Moisture-loving”
There are two kinds of Guerilla Gardeners when it comes to watering; the “I drown my plants” kind of gardener and the “I can’t remember the last time I watered” kind of gardener. Plants with “moisture loving” on the tag should only be attempted by the most diligent of watering types. All others had better have bog or swamp like place on their property if they want this type of plant to survive.

“May require support”
This means that unless you start it off with a support system in place you will be so frustrated trying to do it later the plant will be ripped out and relegated to the compost heap with vows never to grow that particular plant again!

“Vigorous”
This is code for “invasive weed masquerading as a garden plant”. Just think of how fast mint spreads when planted and you’ll get the general idea.

“Prolific”
This usually means that you will have so many of whatever you planted that you will be giving some to everyone that you know until they start to avoid you.

“Carefree”
This refers more to the plant’s way of growing than to your gardening workload. If a tidy or neat garden is what you have in mind you might want to choose something else.

“Grandma’s Favorite”
Also sometimes labeled as “Heirloom”
These plants should only be grown if they are especially fragrant or an unusual variety, or if you want to save your own seeds. After all, a lot of the heirloom varieties quit being Grandma’s favorites when she discovered free-flowering, disease-resistant hybrids.

“Xeriscape Plant”
Also sometimes labeled as “Drought tolerant”
This is definitely the type of plant for the “I can’t remember the last time I watered” kind of Guerilla Gardener. I don’t think of it as being lazy; I think of it as being environmentally water conscious.

“Days to Germinate”
This is the estimated number of days you will have to wait after planting the seeds (or seed bombing) before things will start to sprout. Some seeds will germinate quickly and others will take weeks. Regardless of germination date the rule of thumb is that the seeds will germinate when they are damn good and ready! They may decide to pop up after a day or two, or they may wait long after their expected germination date to make an appearance.

“Annual”
(Tender) (Hardy) (Half-Hardy)
Tender Annual – Make sure the soil is well warmed and you have a long enough growing season before planting these seeds. Most so called tender annuals are really tropical perennials (or houseplants) and can’t handle anything colder than about 55 degrees F.

Hardy Annual – Hardy annual seeds can handle being frozen in the soil and are often planted in fall or early spring. Once they become plants they can handle an occasional slight freezing.

Half-Hardy Annual – Half-hardy seeds can be direct sown after all danger of frost. The plants can survive a couple of brushes with chilly night temperatures (35 – 45 degrees F.) but anything colder and you will have mush on your hands!

“Biennial”
A plant that hopefully lives for 2 years

“Perennial”
A plant that hopefully lives more than 2 years

“Hybrid plants”
Also can be labeled as Hb, F1, or F2
A hybrid is a cross between two different plant varieties to get the best attributes of each variety. Saving hybrid seed is not recommended. The seed collected is often sterile (like a mule) or if it does germinate it has the potential to display traits of one or both parent plants or be something totally surprising. This should only be tried by avid garden gamblers who are willing to risk potential disappointment.

“Sweet Corn”
(S) (Su) (Se) (Sh2) or (Bt)
(S) – means it is an eating variety of corn rather than a field/ornamental type of corn.
(Su) – indicates a normal sugary variety that is best when cooked within 30 minutes of harvest.
(Se) – is an extra-sweet hybrid
(Sh2) – is a super-sweet hybrid that must self-pollinate …this means that they must be planted upwind of and some distance from other corn varieties to develop their super sweet taste.
(Bt) – is a type of genetically modified corn

“GMO”
(genetically modified organism)

This refers to the plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology, and there now are foods created by merging DNA from entirely different species. If you’ve ever watched the movie or read the book the Island of Doctor Moreau this may creep you out a little.

“Non-GMO”
Basically non-GMO is to certify that a plant or animal has not been genetically modified by adding a small amount of genetic material from other organisms through molecular techniques.

“Tomatoes”
(Determinate) (Indeterminate) (Semi-determinate)

Determinate – A determinate tomato plant grows into a bush and the tomatoes ripen at or near the same time (usually over a 2 week period), and then the plants die. They are often good choices for container growing. Determinate types are also preferred by commercial growers who wish to harvest a whole crop at one time and are a preferred tomato plant choice for home growers interested in canning.

Indeterminate – Many, if not all, heirloom tomatoes are indeterminate. Indeterminate cultivars develop into vines and continue growing and producing tomatoes until they are killed by frost. This rampant type of tomato variety tends to out grow their stakes as they can easily grow 6-10 ft. and are preferred by home growers who wish to harvest tomatoes throughout the season.

Semi-determinate – Semi-determinate varieties will grow larger than determinate varieties, but are not as rampant as indeterminate ones. They typically grow 3 to 5 feet tall. They should be staked, but are less likely to outgrow their stakes than indeterminate types.

“Planting Depth”
If the packet has no specific instructions for how deep to plant them then just keep in mind that bigger seeds are planted more deeply and tiny seeds are just barely covered with a fine layer of soil. As a general rule, seeds should not be buried any deeper than 2 to 3 times their diameter.

“Heavy Feeder”
These plants are hungry for fertilizer, so you will need to pile on the poop (or fertilizer of choice) frequently if you want them to flourish!

“Days to Harvest”
This indicates how many days before your fruits or vegetables will start producing.

and there you have it…
A Guerilla Garden Seed Packet Cheat Sheet
to help you decipher the real meanings on plant tags and seed packages.

Guerilla Garden SeedbombBrenda Dyck
A Guerilla Gardener on an Adventure!

April Guerilla Gardener

 The Kitchen Scrap Garden Project 

In Celebration of Earth Day April 22th

 Share the cycle of produce from the soil to market,
to the dinner table, back to the Earth and back on the dinner table!

Step 1

Collect your “Kitchen Scraps” for planting. If possible, try to use local /organic produce to ensure the re-grown vegetables will be healthy and free from chemical and genetic modifications. The following photos show some of the produce to seek out in the grocery store for re-growing vegetables this time of year.

ScrapImagefor Article

Step 2

Stick the saved pieces in a pot of dirt.

Guerilla Garden Scrap Garden pot

Green Onions
Cut off the root(s) leaving about 3-4 inches of the stalk and plant them 2 inches deep directly into your garden or a pot (this literally takes 30 seconds) you will be assured a continuous harvest. Water as required for the first week.

Leeks, Bok Choi, Romaine Lettuce & Cabbage
All these vegetables will also re-grow from the white root end. Cut off the bottom root end leaving about 3-4 inches of the stalk, and press the root directly into soil about 2 inches. Keep the soil moist for the first week until the new shoots start to appear.

Celery and Fennel
Cut off the bottom root end leaving about 2-3 inches of the stalk. Place the root end in a bowl, fill with water to1/2 way up the stalk and place near a sunlit window. Remove the outer ribs after about 5 days to encourage more root growth. Once the roots are established, plant the celery in soil, covering the roots and base with about 2 inches of soil. It can then can be transferred to the garden after the May long weekend.
Note:You must keep any dill or cilantro/coriander plants as far from your fennel as possible if you plan on harvesting the fennel seeds or you will end up with very odd-tasting seeds.

Regular Onions
Cut off the root end and leave about 1/2 inch of the onion flesh. Place the roots directly into well-drained soil. Leave most of the onion flesh exposed above the soil, sprouts will appear from the center of he onion. Do not over water or the onion will rot. Onions are ready to harvest in about 60-70 days. They are ready is when the tops start to fall over and die, similar to the garlic. You can use the green tops in cooking.

Lemongrass
To re-grow it place the root end (after you’ve cut the rest off) in a vase with a little water, and leave it in a sunny position. The top of the stem must be sticking out or the water. When new growth and roots start to appear transplant the lemongrass into a pot and leave it in a sunny outdoor location. Harvest your lemongrass when the stalks reach around a foot tall – just cut off what you need and leave the plant to keep growing.

 Step 3

Water regularly and watch it grow!

 Guerilla Garden Scrap Garden growing

For more “Kitchen Scrap” garden ideas,
check out the following books:

Don’t Throw It, Grow It!:
68 Windowsill Plants from Kitchen Scraps
By Deborah Peterson, and Millicent Selsam

“The After-Dinner Gardening Book”
By Richard W. Langer

Brenda Dyck
A Guerilla Gardener on an Adventure