Monthly Archives: January 2014

I’m Prepared, Gardenwise, For Cold Weather

I’m prepared, gardenwise, for cold weather. What’s more, I’ll know when it’s here. My quiver of thermometers stands ready.
Outdoors, I’m monitoring temperatures with two Taylor brand thermometers. The “Digital Wireless Weather System” sensor out in the garden beams temperature readings to the indoor receiver unit to keep me posted on the weather. In addition to the temperature, this thermometer shares the dew point and the maximum and minimum temperatures from whenever I last re-set those temperatures.
The other Taylor thermometer, an old, mechanical, mercury-filled, min-max thermometer keeps the digital thermometer honest. What it lacks in convenience (no beaming from this thermometer) it makes up for with accuracy. Good thing, too, because for all its convenience, the digital thermometer is often — perhaps always, I’ll have to check — 5 degrees out of whack. Five degrees is a lot when I want to know if frost descended on the garden some early …

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For a little experiment I’m doing I need seeds of Thompson & Morgan’s ‘Gardener’s Delight’ tomato. This British company ( sells those seeds on their British website, but not their U.S. website. T&M does not ship items from that site to the U.S. Can someone out there send me a packet of those seeds? (‘Gardener’s Delight’ seeds are also sold by some U.S. seed companies but, for the purposes of my experiment, I need T&M’s seed of that variety.) Please contact me through my website, which is linked to this blog (on your right, just below the photo of me). Thanks.

One Of My Favorite Things About Our Planet

One of my favorite things about our planet is that the darkest and the coldest days don’t coincide. Wouldn’t that be depressing if they did? We cleared the hump for the darkest days back at the end of December but days and nights are, on average, scheduled to still grow colder and colder. 
For me, the longer days offset the increasing cold. Only partially, though, because November to March brings the most overcast days here in the northeast. The days, at least, are growing longer and longer by about a minute each day early this month to over two minutes from one day to the next by the end of the month.
It is at the end of this month that we plunge, on average, into our greatest depth of cold. My tack for making the most of cold weather is to enjoy it, by skiing and skating. And by going into …

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Hardy Kiwifruits, Better Than the Fuzzies

Last week I wrote that, what with the cold weather and low-hanging sun showing its face but briefly each day, there’s little for a gardener to do now. That proved not strictly true. Soon after I wrote those words, I received a holiday card from David Jackson and Holly Laubach of Kiwi Berry Organics, growers of what I can attest to are, as it said on the card, the “World’s Sweetest Kiwi.” Theirs are hardy kiwifruits, the small, cold-hardy cousins of the fuzzy kiwis you usually see in the market; with their smooth skins, you pop them into your mouth like grapes.

Most importantly, David and Holly’s card sported a photo, a snowy scene of their kiwi plants pruned to perfection, the fruiting canes all neatly arching over with their ends tied down to their supporting wires. To

David and Holly’s kiwis

me, …

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Nothing To Do

If the garden, indoors and out, has no need of my attention at any time of year, it is now. I probably shouldn’t even be writing anything about gardening because pretty much nothing is going on. So I’ll make this brief.

Lack of light, warmth, and/or enough cool temperatures are keeping plants quiescent or dormant. The bonsai weeping fig, the Maid of Orleans jasmine (Jasminum sambac), the rose geranium, and other

Bonsai weeping fig, biding its time, for now

houseplants aren’t waiting for warmth. They’re indoors. These tropical plants never experience true dormancy; they’re quiescent, just sitting and waiting for better growing conditions, in this case more light.

My amaryllis bulbs aren’t waiting for brighter days. They’re now leafless, so can’t see the light anyway. Like the above houseplants, the amaryllis bulbs are now also quiescent, in this case from lack of …

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Holly Needs Sex

•Jan. 9: Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association, Minneapolis, MN, “Weedless Gardening”, “Luscious Landscaping, with Fruiting Trees, Shrubs, and Vines”
•Jan. 23: Long Island Horticultural Conference, Ronkonkoma, NY, “Pruning Shrubs”
•Jan. 25, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, Saratoga Springs, NY, “Growing Figs in Cold Climates”, “Espalier Fruits”
•Feb. 6, Indiana Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN, “Multi-Dimensional Vegetable Growing”
•Feb. 15, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, Burlington, VT, 
“Grape Expectations: Everything From Choosing Varieties to Eating the Berries”, “Pruning Fruit Trees, Shrubs, and Vines”
•Feb. 20, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention, Niagara Falls, CA, “Uncommon Fruits with Commercial Potential”
•March 1, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut, Danbury, CT, “Growing Figs in Cold Climates”, “Multi-Dimensional Vegetable Gardening/ Farming”
•March 15, Connecticut Master Gardener Conference, Manchester, CT, “Fruits for Small Gardens”


The problem is obvious: No sex. No sex, no berries. Oh, did I mention that I’m writing about hollies, my hollies? Now, …

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