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Archives for May 20, 2013

The beginnings of Cumberland County Discovery Gardens

It was a great day in 2004 when Walt Hitch looked out his window and studied the three unused acres that accompanied his hundreds of acres of AgResearch lands.

Hitch is the director of the Plateau Research and Education Center in Crossville. He and Cumberland County Ag. agent Gregg Upchurch had been discussing the possibilities of having Master Gardeners (MG) take responsibility for implementing and maintaining some sort of horticultural exhibit on the grounds. Upchurch took the thought to the MG membership who enthusiastically embraced the opportunity.

A committee of members volunteered to be the driving force behind designing and overseeing a plan that would result in gardens that would be well maintained and would attract the public for viewing. Rae Hozer soon became the leader of the group and kept up the enthusiasm and foresight that is always necessary to get a new project off the ground.

Upchurch fondly remembered the time when he was a student, then teacher at the University of Tennessee himself, and the Trial Gardens there were nothing but two small beds and a dream. And look what they are now! He could envision the same thing happening in Crossville; he even saw a billboard in his mind, encouraging people to hop off the interstate and visit these Crossville gardens.

And so, in 2005, the Discovery Gardens began the journey from nothing to what we have today, many small gardens with many dreams of what can be done with plants, imagination and gumption.

In 2005, the spring class of interns graduated from classes and were ready to dig in and get dirty in the soil of the very first garden. The planning committee had divided the acres into many plots, numbered and attached to proposed walkways. The walkways had to be wide enough to accommodate the center’s mowers. It was a real challenge to figure out where each proposed plot was and exactly where the pathways would be because at that point there was nothing in evidence except lots of turf and many forsythia bushes who were insidiously taking over more and more than their share of space.

With 100-feet tapes and computer read outs, we established where that first plot should be. Then the challenge was what should go into this first trail garden. “How about planting the same plants in sun and also in shade to examine the results?” Since the entire area was in the sun, that idea evaporated and finally the plan was made to simply exhibit “Plants that Grow Well on the Plateau.” They put in some newer varieties of shrubs and a few native trees and with advice from UT plant sciences department, including two native shrubs that were rapidly gaining in popularity.

The plan was for a seasoned MG to design the plant selections and location and the newly graduated students to do the planting and upkeep. Then they, in turn, would design a plot for the next year’s students. Human nature being what it is, there were a lot of changes in the planning of gardens over the next several years.

The membership began to show a lack of enthusiasm toward the project as they moved onto new endeavors. Then along came Nancy Christopherson, whose enthusiasm personified. She passionately brought the picture of what they could achieve back into focus and reminded the association that they have a truly unique opportunity to expand the horizons and to gain many teaching opportunities at Discovery Gardens. She instituted several successful programs within the Gardens including new classes that monthly bring upwards of 30 new homeowners into a place of which they were formally only vaguely aware. Some of these “newbies” have gone on to become interns in the spring classes.

They have now settled into a comfortable routine of holding classes at the Gardens so that each new class can be immersed into the atmosphere of an outdoor learning laboratory, and of discussing the next plot, which they will design and implement themselves. This is working extremely well as more and more students are taking on ownership of their own space and responsibilities.

Some of the ideas that have come out of these diverse opportunities are perennials that grow well on the Plateau, a landscaping plan with faux “house,” a plot of five different turf grasses so homeowners can see how various lawns would do in their own yards, a bulb garden with large rocks and a few new varieties of shrubs. Raised gardens demonstrate several different plans in action and the composting exhibit shows how easy it is to make your own nutritious compost. The peaceful conifer garden has two trees dedicated to deceased MG leaders. There is a native plant exhibit and a new childrens’ learning KinderGarden.

Nestled in and around these plots are many memorial stone benches and a classroom area that includes a stone table. That is open for public use and the entire gardens are open for exploring during all daylight hours. Discovery Gardens are on the quilt trail as Jim Podsiadlo has provided a wooden, outside quilt feature that meets the club’s standards.

Because there was still space that needed temporary filling, several UT trials have been included by UT’s Dr. Mark Windham. There are 16 Redbud tree trials in four different spaces throughout the acres and likewise ornamental grass trials and hydrangea trials. Here you can see how hydrangeas and azaleas (and others) do in the mostly unwelcome atmosphere of full sun. Check out the labels to identify the varieties that you would like planted in your own yard. There are many rose bushes in evidence including trail roses and a MG plot of wild and hybrid roses.

Because they now hold a free to the public day on the last Tuesday of each August called the Fall Gardeners’ Festival, a local pond specialist built a reticulating water feature with bubbling fountain to complete the nature experience. Master Gardeners also built bird houses which are annually filled with local residents plus a butterfly garden enthusiastically visited by butterflies and other pollinators.

The Discovery Gardens are at the Plateau Research and Education Center on Hwy. 70 N in Cumberland County and they welcome all guests. If you have a group that would like a guided tour, call ahead to the office at 484-0034 and they will have someone meet you there.

• • •

Carol Burdett is a Master Gardeners advocate and a founding member.

Article source:

IN PICTURES: 2nd Annual Long Beach Lawn-to-Garden Tour – Long Beach Post

IN PICTURES: 2nd Annual Long Beach Lawn-to-Garden Tour


By Nicholas Noell

 | Monday, 20 May 2013 13:31

Photos by Nicholas Noell

More than 2000 people drove, biked and strolled through Long Beach neighborhoods on Saturday seeking native landscaping featured in the 2nd annual Long Beach Lawn-to-Garden Tour, hosted by the Long Beach Water Department. The self-guided tour singled out 34 of the more than 850 transformations that have taken place under the department’s award-winning “L2G” program, which awards money to residents who convert their water-guzzling grass lawns into drought-resistant gardens.

Homeowners were available at each location from 10AM to 2PM to discuss their experiences and an audio tour–which could be accessed by calling a special number or scanning QR codes at each location–provided highlights of each garden. Homes across the city were featured, from Alamitos Beach to North Long Beach to Wrigley and Los Altos.

The Lawn-to-Garden Tour is meant to give prospective converts landscaping ideas and a close-up look at finished projects. Thanks to a funding increase through the Long Beach Water Department’s partnership with the Metropolitan Water District of California, residents can now earn up to $3.00 per square foot of grass removed, up from $2.50 when the program was initially launched three years ago. Design ideas and money-saving tips are also available on the Lawn to Garden website.

For more information on how to turn your lawn into a garden, visit

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Article source:

Sunrise Landscaping Offers Sustainable Gardening Ideas and Tips for Beautiful … – Virtual

Victor Alva’s Sunrise Landscape, a full service landscaping and irrigation company, offers tips for arid yards and sustainable landscapes for the summer.

Santa Fe, NM (PRWEB) May 20, 2013

Victor Alva’s Sunrise Landscaping company is a locally owned business that works hard to create the best environment for each of his clients. With arid conditions in the Southwest regions, many homeowners think they are limited to how they can create an oasis of plants and water features. Alva takes on this challenge happily with each of his clients.

Alva says, “Our primary goal is to find a balance between beauty and conserving resources. We constantly seek new and creative ways to help you with our services like landscaping, sprinkler irrigation, clean yards, flat stone and masonry and patios”.

For lighter water use and sustainability, Victor offers some landscaping ideas for your home or business:

  •     Select plants that are tolerant and naturally found in the local climates. Plants that already exist in the region are acclimated to the temperatures, moister levels, soil conditions and sun exposure.
  •     Use Terracotta planters. Planters hold a defined amount of soil and help conserve water instead of having the entire yard soak up the water.
  •     Cover garden beds with mulch or stones. Different types of cover will help keep the ground cooler and preserve the moister as well as provide the landscape a pleasing design effect.
  •     Adjust sprinklers and irrigation to meet the needs of specific landscapes. Many people over water their yards and plants. Also, never water in the heat of the day as much of the water is absorbed into the hot atmosphere.

Sunrise Landscaping has many more tips and idea specific to each homeowner’s needs. See some of Victor’s landscape creations and get a no cost, no obligation estimate today.

Join Sunrise Landscaping Facebook page at:


Victor Alva, Owner


For the original version on PRWeb visit:

Article source:

Impractical plants need not apply to this year’s gardens, which will be all …

The year of bliss. That’s what the Garden Media Group, one of the top trend-spotting agencies in the U.S., has designated 2013 — the year when gardeners turn their backs on trouble and strife and more actively seek joy and bliss in their everyday life.

“Connecting with nature is a necessity, not a luxury,” says Suzi McCoy, head of the Pennsylvania-based GMG, which releases a Garden Trends Report every year.

“People today want to find bliss in everyday life. Being in nature — either in a garden or park or filling your home with indoor plants — adds immeasurable happiness and wellness to our lives.”

Ms. McCoy says more people are “fed up with complexities of modern life” and are turning their backs on fear and looking for ways to find greater happiness and turn the “ordinary into the extraordinary.”

In its 13th annual report, GMG looks at various emerging and existing trends across North America, as well as in other parts of the world.

Drawing on various research and marketing data, GMG says people are re-evaluating their values and priorities and redefining happiness. They are ultimately coming to the conclusion that gardening is a way to achieve joy and satisfaction, Ms. McCoy says.

People today want to find bliss in everyday life. Being in nature — either in a garden or park or filling your home with indoor plants — adds immeasurable happiness and wellness to our lives

The report also sees the horticulture industry becoming much more aggressive in its presentation of the benefits of gardening as a way to protect the environment, improve health, reduce crime, make the air cleaner and even help kids to become smarter.

Two of the important trend “wave makers,” says GMG, are top horticulture advocates Marvin Miller and Charlie Hall.

Mr. Miller is market research manager for Chicago-based Ball Horticultural, one of the biggest plant companies in the U.S., and president of America in Bloom, an organization that promotes beautification through education and community involvement.

Mr. Hall is a professor in the department of horticultural sciences at the Texas AM University.

Both men are considered highly effective advocates of the benefits of gardening to heal and restore, as well as a way to make the world more beautiful and improve living conditions, all of which result in a greater sense of well-being in a community.

Mr. Miller has produced popular videos demonstrating why plants are more than merely pretty objects, but actually help reduce crime, clean the air and improve health.

Mr. Hall has shown how quality landscaping is a way of increasing property values. He has also argued convincingly that putting money into parks and botanical gardens is a way to create new revenue streams from ecotourism for cities.

Both men, according to GMG, are having a significant impact on the thinking of leaders in government and community circles at all levels, and especially on consumers who agree that there are clear benefits to be gained from gardens.

In terms of specific gardening trends, native and drought-tolerant plants are expected to be even more popular in 2013.

There is also evidence of undiminished enthusiasm for small-space gardening, especially with an emphasis on growing plants in containers.

Gardeners are expected to be smarter spenders in 2013 — pausing to think more critically before spending and making fewer spontaneous purchases.

The rise of WINKs (women with no kids) as a distinct consumer demographic is expected to have an impact on sales of plants and general gardening items this summer.

Interest in firepits, outdoor kitchens and luxury outdoor living spaces is expected to continue in 2013, with a greater accent on professionally installed landscape components, such as customized seating and irrigation systems.

Demand for ready-to-place potted plants will increase, along with more interest in making better use of colour-injecting summer annuals and foliage plants.

But most gardening experts agree that the No. 1 trend in 2013 will continue to be the interest in growing edible plants, as more people decide to try their hand at growing their own food, either in vegetable, herb or fruit gardens, or in containers on decks, patios and balconies.

James Wong, a leading botanist at Kew Botanic Garden in London, is creating a stir within this edible-

gardening craze by focusing on growing unusual rather than traditional vegetables.


His book, Homegrown Revolution, has become a bestseller, in which he puts tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica), at the top of his list of unusual vegetables. This is a lime-flavoured tomato-like fruit that Mr. Wong claims knocks spots off the tomato.

He also focuses on harvesting fiddlehead ferns, day lily buds and bamboo shoots and talks about ways to use dahlia, fuchsia and hosta in the form of roots, berries and shoots respectively.

His other ideas for food gardeners include spraying plants with garlic to deter slugs and snails, sowing in sequence to sustain harvests, and practising multiple-crop planting to reduce weeds, attract pollinators and maximize yields.

There is also expected to be even greater focus on clever plant marketing in 2013 as nurseries explore more creative ways to sell plants.

Costa Farms, of Florida, the biggest supplier of indoor plants in North America, has already teamed up with Miracle-Gro to promote Plants for Clean Air (02 For You) as a way to raise awareness of how plants can be used to boost indoor air quality.

Van Belle Nursery in British Columbia has launched a Bloomin’ Easy blue-pot series of shrubs designed to guarantee success for beginner gardeners.

The nursery is also taking a technological leap by making it possible for consumers to access information and advice via their cellphones.

And Proven Winners, a worldwide promoter of garden-worthy plants, will continue to dominate the summer plant market with an expanded line of colourful combinations created specifically for small-space gardens.

It all sounds blissful to me.

Postmedia News

Article source:

Edgerton Hospital plans honeybee apiary on its campus

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Mark Kindschi

— Mark Kindschi soon will start wearing a one-piece suit with sting-proof gloves. It’s a fashion choice certain to turn heads at his job at Edgerton Hospital.

By June, Kindschi, the hospital’s human resources director, could have hundreds of thousands of new personnel to take care of at the hospital.

The hospital plans to establish an apiary—a honeybee colony, for the uninitiate—and Kindschi, a lifelong beekeeper, will be in charge of caring for the bees there.

The bees, eventually about 360,000 of them, Kindschi said, will live on the community garden grounds at the south end of the hospital campus. All they’ll need is a home, pollen and water.

Kindschi said hospital CEO Jim Pernau began discussing the idea a few months ago of increasing pollination at the hospital’s gardens, which are used to grow healthy food and herbs for local residents and to stock the hospital’s cafeteria and food and patient services with fresh produce and flowers in the summer.

“The gardens were new last year. He believed that we could have had better production had we had better pollination. That’s where the bees come in,” Kindschi said.

Pernau then learned Kindschi is a beekeeper. He approached Kindschi, excited about the potential of a bee colony at the hospital.

There was no question who would become the resident beekeeper.

“I’m the guy that’ll be taking care of the bees, that much is for certain,” Kindschi said.

Kindschi, an Edgerton resident, has been keeping bees for 35 years—since he was a high school student.

He said the hospital’s plans for an apiary include six commercial hives and would provide enough bee power to pollinate the 30-acre community gardens, some of which are divided into residents’ plots.

The same bees will pollinate flowers, landscaping and wooded areas all around the hospital’s 80-acre “healthy village” campus that winds outside the hospital along North Sherman Road.

The hospital’s bees also will benefit the flower and vegetable gardens for neighbors in the immediate area.

“The bees will cover a lot larger area, a lot more ground than just our hospital. They will provide pollination service for up to a mile and a half around the hospital,” Kindschi said.

The hospital is planning to plant a fruit tree orchard next year. The idea is to give patients and visitors a place where they can pick fruit off the tree and eat it on the spot.

The bees will be a boon to that plan, too.

The hospital’s apiary plans haven’t yet touched on honey production. Kindschi said that would be an ancillary part of the bee colony.

“If there is an excess of honey, we will harvest it and utilize it in the cafeteria. It’s not the primary reason for our beekeeping, but the honey will not go to waste,” Kindschi said.

“Italian bees are a pretty docile temperament honeybee. They’re a pretty nice and friendly honeybee. They’re not at all aggressive.

The bees will be most active from mid-spring to fall, but their hives on the hospital grounds will be their year-round home.

“They cluster up in the hive and shiver through the winters. Then in spring, they wake up and get going again,” Kindschi said.

Kindschi’s work as the hospital’s de facto beekeeper will be unpaid volunteer work. He’s also planning beekeeping classes at the hospital over the winter, and the hospital is considering letting him give tours of the hives so residents can see how beekeeping works.

“It’s surprising the number of people who have heard about this plan who come up to me and say, ‘Hey do you have an extra bee suit?'”

The hospital’s apiary plan is still being reviewed by the city, and it faces zoning and conditional-use hurdles before it can be put in place. City officials say the plan could get approval by mid-June.

Under proposed city rules, beekeeping would be allowed in big business and commercial tracts on the outskirts of the city—not residential areas, although some nearby communities outside of Madison allow backyard beekeeping.

For their part, the hospital’s bees are now living in Rock County—and they’re eager to get moving, Kindschi said.

“They’re at an undisclosed location,” Kindschi said, laughing. “No, not really. They’re on the rural property of a friend in the town of Fulton. They’re doing their thing out there, and as soon as we get this zoning issue approved, I’ll move them on the (hospital) property.”

Article source:

Raised beds grow community in north Casper – Seeds of Sharing Community …

What was once a cement basketball court in north Casper is now the location for 33, 4×8-foot rentable garden plots. Transformation to the Seeds of Sharing Community Gardens comes following hundreds of hours of volunteer hard labor from a wide range of local organizations.

Situated on the grounds of Winter Memorial Presbyterian Church off St. John’s Street, the community garden organizers held the first garden plot registration and neighborhood barbecue May 11. A second such event will take place June 8.

Raised beds rent for $10 for the season and include water and access to tools and compost.

North Casper resident Christopher Weber rented two plots for his family of five.

“I love gardening. We live in an apartment complex and there’s no place for us to have a garden. I lived out in northern California many years ago and was part of a big community garden there and spent a lot of time working the garden and learned to really appreciate not just the gardening aspect, but also the food. Your peppers, your tomatoes, whatever you’re growing out of the garden … it tastes better.”

With no grocery stores located in north Casper, Lori Lancaster, a member of Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian Church, said addressing that fact is one goal.

“North Casper is kind of a food desert when it comes to fresh produce. There aren’t any grocery stores here except for the Mini-Mart and so we thought it would be a good idea to bring the gardens to the community, both for the gardening and to provide them with fresh vegetables for their homes,” Lancaster said.

Shepherd of the Hills is one of three principle groups behind the project. They’ve provided leadership and hands and feet on the ground, as well as financial support. The initial vision came from members of the Winter Memorial Church. Casper’s Young Rotarians network, Rotaract, have been instrumental in grounding the vision.

Last summer there was a big push to transform the property. Volunteers transformed both a basketball court and the adjacent James Reeb Memorial children’s playground into raised-bed garden spaces.

Additional muscle came from the likes of the Natrona County High School football team and Casper firefighters. Concrete was taken up, dirt was moved, trees were planted, walkways created, raised beds constructed, and a storage shed built.

Grant monies purchased new equipment for the playground. That equipment now awaits installation.

“It was like a beehive here for a while, building the frames and it was fun,” said Sandy Patten, former member of Winter Memorial’s congregation. Patton worked two garden plots last year and donated much of what she produced to Joshua’s Storehouse. Joshua’s in turn has donated seedlings and seed packets for gardeners.

A grant from Home Depot bought construction materials like lumber, hardware and landscaping rocks. Home Depot volunteers also helped move in some very heavy stones that surround the beds.

Heather Webb, Rotaract Community Garden Committee, said the first season of growing began a little late and growers had to drag hoses out to their gardens from the church. This spring, however, thanks to a push from Rotaract volunteers, installation of water spigots next to the garden plots was completed.

A tool drive secured plenty of shovels, trowels, rakes and hoses — everything needed to make gardening possible. A compost pile molders on site.

Webb said they’re doing everything they can to keep the gardens pesticide- and herbicide-free, including an agreement signed by plot renters to keep the garden natural. “That way people will know what’s going into their food with no random chemicals sprayed on anything.”

Webb said they hope to make some beds easy access for elderly gardeners who find the rock walkways difficult to navigate.

Webb, also a member of the Downtown Farmers Market committee, said they spent time at the market questioning folks there about what they would want. “We actually set up a booth and asked people what they were interested in as far as a community garden and it was amazing how many people showed up and said, ‘This is where my neighborhood is and I would love that’. So I think the need and the want is really here,” Webb said.

Webb acknowledges the existing community plots at the Natrona County Agricultural Resource and Learning Center near the fairgrounds and said the Seeds of Sharing Community Gardens simply means more plots available at an affordable price.

“Many of the same people have been working those plots for years, which is really nice for them, but then the plots never seem to open up. So having these available to people, plus getting the soil in there, talking to gardeners about what’s going on in the ground, also builds a large sense of community when you’ve got people working side by side. You get people who’ve lived across the street from each other for years and now they can know each other from the garden. That’s a large part of the community garden project.”

A second garden plot rental event on June 8 invites anyone interested — you don’t have to live in north Casper — to take a look at the gardens and sign up. Plus there will be a barbecue hosted by volunteers from the Food For Thought Project.

Rotaract hopes to recruit a licensed contractor to install the children’s playground equipment this summer.

The next garden signup and barbecue happens from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. June 8 at the Seeds of Sharing Community Garden site, 900 St. John’s St.

For more information or to reserve a garden plot, call 235-3536.

Article source:

Tips for avoiding gardening aches on a prime weekend for planting

The Victoria Day weekend is often the traditional start of planting and gardening for many people here in Canada.

As the weather begins to warm up, many people take out their tools and start digging, trimming and planting, all of which can be hard work.

Before going for a run or hitting the gym you likely stretch and warm up, but how about before starting gardening?

Dr. Stacy Irvine, a chiropractor at Totum Life Science, says it’s important to do that, and also to break up your work.

“Try to spend approximately fifteen minutes doing each task, which means that you’re going to be changing your body position while gardening,” Irvine said. “People get in trouble when they stay in one position for too long.”

Improper techniques can lead to back injuries as well as repetitive strain injuries to joints and muscles.

Beyond warming up and alternating tasks, it’s also important to lift right – bending your knees and keeping a straight back – as well as ensure you kneel when planting.

You should keep a straight back doing this as well, and you can ease the strain on your knees with knee pads or a kneeling mat.

Article source:

what to do in the garden: plant vegetable containers

Posted by Carol Stocker…

Regardless of the type of vegetable you plant, here are some general tips provided by the University of Illinois Extension for growing vegetable container gardens:

Choosing a Container

Anything that holds soil and has drainage holes in the bottom may be transformed into a container garden for terrestrial plants
For vibrant plant growth, the containers must provide adequate space for roots and soil media, allowing the plant to thrive.


When choosing what to use to fill containers, never use garden soil by itself no matter how good it looks or how well things grow in it out in the garden.
Container soils are often referred to as soilless or artificial media, because they contain no soil at all.
When these mixes are used, they should be moistened slightly before planting. Fill a tub with the media, add water and lightly fluff the media to dampen it.
When filling containers with media, don’t fill the pot to the top. Leave about a one inch space between the top of the soil and rim of the pot.
Soils for containers need to be well aerated and well drained while still being able to retain enough moisture for plant growth.


A regular fertilizer program is needed to keep plants growing well and attractive all season.
The choice of fertilizer analysis will depend on the kinds of plants you are growing. High nitrogen sources would be good for plants grown for their foliage while flowering and vegetable crops would prefer lower nitrogen and higher phosphorous types.

Choosing Plants for Your Container Garden

Plants that thrive in like soil, watering, and light conditions make successful combinations. When combining plants, size, texture, proportion, color, setting, and lighting all play a role.

Taking Care of Your Vegetable Plants

Containers offer the advantage of being portable. As the seasons, temperature and light conditions change, you can move your containers to maintain the desired conditions for peak performance.
Most fruit bearing vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, and eggplant require full sun.
Leafy vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, collards, mustard greens, spinach, and parsley can tolerate more shady location compared to the root vegetables such as turnips, beets, radishes, carrots, and onions.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to watering. That is why you have to be watching your containers on a regular basis and understand the requirements of the plants you choose to put in the containers.
The best way to tell if a plant needs water is to feel the soil. And if the first inch or so of the soil is dry, water. Use enough water each time so water starts to drip out of the drainage holes.

One of my favorite nurseries, Lake Street Garden Center, 37 Lake St., Salem, N.H. is opening for the season. Call 603-893-5858. The selection is so large and the quality is so good, it really is worth a trip. Great plants for containers…

Article source:

Plateau Gardening: Transplanting tips

My landscape is perennial–based. There are vines, trees, shrubs as well as herbaceous (soft-stemmed) vegetation in assorted categories-ornamentals, herbs and food crops like rhubarb. Annuals in containers are used to add splashes of color. At this time of year, I usually have a few recently purchased plants waiting to be transplanted (see the accompanying photo). 

Others with yards filled predominately with perennials know these plants are not maintenance-free. Winter hardy plants placed in the right sunlight situation and given the proper amount of moisture and fertilizer for their species tend to multiply by spreading and/or self-seeding. Digging up the overabundance is a necessary springtime task if garden beds are to look neat. I either relocate those plants on my property or send an email alert out to fellow Master gardeners asking them to stop by to get free plants for their yards.

Transplant Tips

Whether adding annuals which last one season or perennials expected to come back year after year, transplants require special care. The stress of too much cold (frosty nights), too much heat (sunlight) or drying out (wind) can send recent transplants into shock. Established landscape plants require from an inch to an inch and one half of water per week depending on the species. Transplants need more than the minimum amount of water because their roots don’t take in moisture efficiently, at first. Herbaceous plants adapt more quickly than woody ones to a new home. Relocated shrubs and trees need extra water for about two years during droughty periods.

Be gentle with tender, young plants. Don’t hold, pull or lift transplants by the stem, instead grab the root ball or leaves. If a stem is damaged, the transplant will probably be stunted or may die. On the other hand, a few damaged leaves will quickly be replaced as the plant grows. To remove a plant with the least damage to roots, hold the pot upside down then firmly tap the container’s bottom and sides. If the plant doesn’t slide out easily, squeeze the sides of the container or cut the container away from around the root ball.

Work quickly so plants do not remain out of their containers long before putting them in the ground. Tender young roots dry out and may begin to die within minutes of exposure to wind or direct sun. At mid-day and in early afternoon the sun is directly overhead. Sunshine then can be very harsh even on a cool day in May. Transplanting on a cloudy day or in the evening reduces the risk of transplant shock.  

I use a dilute mixture of water and high-phosphate fertilizer called “starter solution” for herbaceous (but not for woody) transplants. Soak the pot in the starter solution and water mix before planting. Also fill the hole with this liquid before setting the plant in it. High-phosphate fertilizers give a boost to root formation, a first step in establishing new plantings. Using starter solution seems to help retain soil around the roots making the root mass easier to handle, too. However, tree experts recommend trees and shrubs get no fertilizer in their planting hole. Nor should high nitrogen plant food be applied to woodies during their first year after transplant.

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Plateau Gardening is written by Master Gardeners for gardeners in Tennessee’s Upper Cumberland Region.  Contact UT Extension Cumberland County at P.O. Box 483, Crossville, TN 38557 (484-6743) for answers to horticulture questions, free publications and how to become a Master Gardener. Send email comments or yard and garden inquiries to Master Gardener Rae, 



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Tips for your own garden getaway

Author and healthy food advocate Michael Pollan once said, “A garden will move us to the extent it engages the imagination as well as the senses.” It’s true; a garden will awaken your senses and can often become a very healthy addiction! There are many reasons for planting a garden, no matter how large or small.

The first thing you should think about is location. It’s very important to the grow-ability of your garden. You could take over a whole field and plant up a storm. Or, realistically as a beginner… start small. A garden just big enough for success! You can always grow the next year…no pun intended, of course.

Walk around your yard/land no matter how large or small and feel the earth. Once you’ve decided on a good spot, look to see how much sunlight the spot you chose will get. The amount of sunlight is very important… at least 8 hours per day.

Also, it’s good to think about access to water. You probably don’t want to be hauling heavy watering cans too far a distance.

To start, you may want to think of a couple of raised beds — say two at a size of 4 feet by 6 feet. It’s quite amazing how much food you can take from two beds of this size. We use rough hemlock for the beds. Since we practice organic methods, this wood is very good. We buy the hemlock from New England Forest Products in Greenfield. They sell true 2 inch x 12 inch boards and will often cut them to the length you’d like. After you’ve assembled your wood to the desired size (use 4 inch screws, not nails), gather heavy cardboard without any ink or color and line the bottom of the beds with it. This encourages worms to make their home in your garden. Earthworms create 100 times their own weight in castings per year. An average population of earthworms can make 250 miles of tunnels per acre per month. They are definitely beneficial little workers!

Then, add your soil so it fills the beds; Soil is the most important aspect of the garden. Building and maintaining a healthy soil is the first priority. Both texture and structure have an impact on soil chemistry. Usually a combo of compost and potting soil — plants need a grow-ability factor. We use Ideal Compost in Peterborough for most of our soil needs. A good principal is; feed the soil and the soil will feed your plants. And, after a while you will begin to have a solid relationship with your garden. You’ll begin to be aware of what will be successful and what may not work.

Feeding your soil with organic matter, from compost to grass clippings, is a key to successful organic gardening… along with the living organisms in the soil. Good soil is much more than just dirt.

Next, you’re ready to plant either seeds or seedlings. Here’s a chart to help you decide.

Direct Seed Seedlings

Arugula Broccoli

Beans Brussels Sprouts

Beets Chard

Carrots Cauliflower

Cucumber Eggplant

Lettuce Leeks

Peas Onions

Radishes Peppers

Spinach Potatoes

Squash Tomatoes

Salad Mix (mesclun)


The care

There are 5 ingredients for a good producing healthy garden.

Soil: good, clean, rich

Sun: a minimum of 8 hours a day. (I know I already mentioned that)

Water: Try to keep your plants well watered. The best time is in the morning hours. Try very hard not to water at mid day…you can burn the leaves and sometimes your veggies.

Air: Never plant too close together; like us, plants need to breathe.

Love: It might seem odd, but plants love to be loved.

East organic methods

Soil Health: cover crops, compost and manure

Organic Plant Health: compost tea, fish emulsion and anti-fungal spray

Combating Pests: copper tape, sluggo and plants that attract beneficial insects ie: allysum, yarrow, thyme, coriander and marigolds as borders — just to name a few.

The tools

I like to do much of my gardening with my hands rather than use tools. There’s something about the whole spiritual aspect of working in the soil with your hands…kinda brings you closer to nature. You can feel the energy of all the living organisms and at the same time transfer your good energy to what you’ve planted. But, if you’re more inclined to want to use some tools, here are just a couple you can’t live without!

A spade or hand spade, a hoe, a shovel, a watering can and a hose. String and identification sticks.

Good gardening books

Rodale’s Organic Gardening

Elliot Colenan’s Four Season Harvest

A few tips

Order your seeds in February or, buy them locally in March-May

Know what you’d like to grow in your garden ahead of time.

Keep good records of your plantings…it’s always fun to see if you can beat the seed package suggested growing time.

Watch the weather; especially for frost.

Share seeds and garden time with your friends.

Think about companion planting… plants that like one another.

And lastly…


If you have any questions, please phone 784-5069 or email

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