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Showing posts from July, 2015

Grafting my own Maple Tree

A couple weeks ago, our area was hit with a severe storm - Tornado Warning severe. The wind whipped through and beat up trees all over the place.

We had downed branches throughout the neighborhood. No tornado actually touched down and all things considered, I thought we came through pretty unscathed....but then I noticed the lowest branch of my front Maple tree touching the ground.

I inspected the wound and realized that when I pressed it back together, it made a nice tight seal.

So I got out the duct tape - gaffer tape to be exact (it's what I had on hand, plus it will come off better when the wound heals.) And I taped that baby up!

Then I made a sling with some yarn to help support some of the branch weight.


This will be my 4th or 5th plant I have healed with tape. I've healed blueberries, squash, onions, flowers, and now a Maple tree.

Will the wound heal? Time will tell, but it's been a few weeks and all the leaves on the branch are still green and alive. The branch ha…

Still Alive After 1 Week

This year I had some very wild gardening ambitions. One of those involved rooting cuttings of my blueberry bushes. 

I prune the blueberries every winter and thought I'd try to get the cuttings to root. Most of them were hardwood (and old!) but they were going to be tossed anyway and I thought "what the heck."
They kept drying out in the bucket so I transferred them to the garden soil. This space was open for a long time waiting for our last frost date to hit. They sat there all spring, and even after I planted a few things. I probably pulled them out too early, but it seemed they were past the point of coming back to life and I moved on. Until last week.....
I swear my plants must shudder when they hear me coming. Sure, I plant them, water them, and feed them. But I'm also like a bull in a china shop. Somehow, I manage to break off stems, knock off flowers, and pull up roots. 
Last week was no different. As I was assessing where I could separate the Northland bluebe…

2015 Garden Update Part 13 - New Additions

Changes have been made to the garden!! I'm going to start with the most exciting.

We have added a cherry tree!

An ornamental shrub died and that left an opening in our landscape! So I bought a Northstar cherry tree to take it's place. This cherry tree is a dwarf (a dark morello cherry grafted onto dwarf stock.) It is an earlier variety so it should produce fruit before the spotted wing drosophila ramp up their populations. Of course, I will have to battle birds to get any cherries, but just seeing the tree makes me so happy!

I have planted a few things around the tree to protect it from disease and insects (in a guild, so to speak.) There are onion chives (to repel pests)

I also planted Shasta daisies (a natural insecticide and a host for lacewings - which eat some cane borers) and salvia - to attract the bumbles.
I really like salvia - it attracts bumblebees like nobody's business. But I found it looks better if you prune off the dead flower stalks and it also keeps it f…

Growing potatoes from the grocery store - Success!

Can you reliably plant grocery store potatoes? Most people caution against it....or say if you are going to do it, then at least plant organic potatoes.

This year, I decided to give it a try. The plan was to buy organic yukon gold potatoes in January and let a few sprout eyes.

Then in January, some of my non-organic russets started sprouting eyes.
Never one to waste, I put them in an old egg carton in the window and let the eyes grow.
A few weeks later, I grabbed a bag of....nonorganic.... yukon golds and saved a few for seeds. This was, of course, the wrong way to do it right?
Since we have wireworms in our soil, I planted the potatoes in boxes.
These were old flower boxes - containing part soil,  part potting mix. I composted inside them last summer and covered them with leaves over the winter.

The potatoes went in the ground on March 31, 2015.

They came out roaring!
They just looked so great. Big, Green, Alive! They stayed like this for a few weeks. Then as it started to become nic…

Growing Golden Flax in a home garden - Zone 4

This year, I experimented with many healthy/survival plants. Right now, we can easily buy flaxseed at the grocery store (for a reasonable price) and incorporate it into our diet. But I want to be able to have access to flax even if grocery stores no longer carried it (or no longer carried food at all!)

Why grow flax?

It's a great source of lignans and omega-3 fatty acidsIt is frost hardyIt grows pretty little blue flowers (attracts bees)The straw can be used as mulch or to make linen - for clothing, baskets, twine 
Flax is super hardy. I planted it by seed straight into the garden on March 31st in zone 4. It was still fully winter at this point, though our snow pack had completely melted. I planted about 1/2 a teaspoon of seeds.

The flax seeds germinated within a few days and stayed alive and well through many weeks in the low 20s (Fahrenheit.)
They grew quickly and stayed erect without need of staking or a trellis. In 2015, I grew them in front of my tomato bed. They made a great …