No matter who you are or what hemisphere you live in, almost everyone has something to celebrate at this time of year. The world over, the change of seasons signal major shifts celebrated many ways. May your festival and holiday season bring you the warmth of community and the joy of belonging.
Happy Holidays, by Marcus Quigmire via Wikimedia Commons; uploaded by Princess Mérida
Yellow-faced Honeyeater (Lichenostomus chrysops) on a bird bath in Laguna, New South Wales, Australia. By Peter Firminger from Wollombi, Australia via Wikimedia Commons
House Sparrows and Mistle Thrushes. By Pauly via Wikimedia Commons
Western Scrub Jay. By Jessica Merz via Wikimedia Commons
Ahhhhh, a sunny Sunday! At first, I felt like a mole, squinting my eyes, because Sol has been a stranger the last couple of months. If you are a gardener, I hope your season has gone well, that you have plenty of sun, healthy plants and good compost. Here, everything’s gotten a late start but my heirloom tomatoes are starting to blossom. Now it’s time to transplant them into big, black growers’ pots, then stake them. Without our little greenhouse this year, they would have met a sad fate outside. While it is chilly in the unheated greenhouse at night, the plants inside are dry. Indeed, I am in my element and so very happy puttering around outside. Yesterday, I brought home rosemary, oregano, cilantro, thyme, and basil plants. I hope it will be sunny enough for the basil to become big and bushy. I can taste it as I write. A tool I’ve found indispensible are is a Weather Station with a thermostat and barometer. The monitor is inside our house and I can see the display any time to keep a handle on things. The other thing that’s served well is the magnifying glass. It’s already helped quash an aphid hatch by helping me ID them quickly. Today, I got annuals and perennials at big close-out sales. So, when I came home from the Canadian Tire garden centre, I got right to work. It was very balancing to have my hands in dirt for hours…so grounding…. Here’s a little slide show of greenhouse action, including a pic of me and Mark either behind or in front of the cat mint! Other plots in on the hill here are enjoying the sun, too. The raised bed is in the seedling stage. Germination was quite late. Also, something has been digging in it and I suspect Mr. Squirrel, though what he’s hiding this early, I don’t know. I put some netting over stakes, but the little dodger sneaks under it. Will lower it tomorrow. The good news: the potato patch is doing splendidly and we should have new, red fingerlings soon! Here’s hoping our tables will soon be graced with your kitchen garden cornucopia….
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We had a rare bit of sun today, so I sped outside and cleared pots and beds in preparation for planting. After cleaning up some perennials and amending the soil in the raised bed, I planted some early red potatoes, Norlands. Will have to do more tomorrow while the weather’s clear. That’s the thing about living in a temperate rain forest…. We live in cottage on a hill and 90% of our land is in its natural state, understory…mainly salmonberry bushes, ferns, and trees. I have a small growing area and no lawn, so I rely on containers quite a bit. If you are also short on gardening space, consider going vertical with a tilted clay pot garden, also known as a tipsy garden. This clever way of creating a garden with a small footprint is made of angled flower pots. Today, I decided I am going to be making one and am passing on the directions in case you’d like one, too. Here’s a lovely example of a finished tipsy garden. I’ll post a photo of mine later in the season.
Before you begin, choose where you want your tilted garden to be located. Determine the amount of sunlight you will need and plan accordingly. To make your garden here are the materials you’ll need:
- Four terra-cotta pots (same size or graduated)
- Potting soil
- 65″ length of rebar
- Mallet or hammer
Your piece of rebar must be long enough to drive it into the ground two feet with plenty left over to thread through the pots. So, the number of pots you need will be determined by the length of rebar. Take a good look at this photo before you begin.
- Place your pots in order according to size, if graduated.
- Drive rebar into the ground with hammer or mallet.
- Thread each pot onto the rebar through the hole in the bottom of each pot.
- Except for the bottom one, which remains upright, tilt the pots in opposite directions, to distribute weight, resting the bottom of each on the pot edge below it.
- Fill with moistened soil, starting with the bottom pot, leaving an inch and a half space at the top of each pot.
- Tamp down soil.
- Plant and fertilize with your choice of flowers, strawberries, container veggies, herbs, or succulents.
Note: If you live in an area with freezing winters, you will have to dismantle and store the pots each year to prevent cracking. The alternative is to used pots that are glazed inside and out. Good luck!