2015 2016 2017
- planted a Heritage Raspberry and Arapaho Blackberry by freedomtreefarms.com purchased at Whole Foods Market for $20 each. Have to figure out how to set up a drip irrigation system for dry spells. They are near the blueberries, some of which have not survived possibly because of the black walnut tree root toxin.
- picked up first box from local CSA at the farmers market. It had fresh fennel and it tasted very good and like licorice. Next April/May I plan on trying to plant some lettuce and fennel to hopefully have by June. I have lettuce in my garden now but it is not mature enough to eat. Should have planted it earlier.
- in late May planted six more northland blueberry bushes and eight bluecrop blueberry bushes, have a total of 24 blueberry bushes planted, the first row located by hive number are jubilee blueberry bushes the second row is northland and the third row is bluecrop, more information about each variety is in the plants section of this blog (gardening drop down then plants)
- planted two northland blueberries, all eight jubilee blueberries from last year survived (although the deer may be eating them and stunting their growth), have a total of ten blueberries planted, the northland blueberry can handle up to -40 degree F
- northland blueberries can be harvested late in summer, reach a height of 4-6 ft and produce 15-20 lbs of fruit per bush the size of dime and recommended for US zones 3-7
- used peat moss when planting the blueberries as they prefer acidic soil between 4.09 and 5.0 according to blueberry.org/gardening (U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council)
- have eight north bluecrop blueberries to plant soon, varietal: vaccinium ‘Jersey’, good for US zones 4-8, each plant can produce 7-10lbs of fruit the size of a dime, reach a height of 4-5 ft and harvest late in summer
- planted some wildflower and sunflower seeds near the beehives that survived the winter
- also planted some Hyacinth, as purchased for a table centerpiece for Easter dinner, they smell very nice and hope to see them next year
- planted some Columbines as saw they were blooming early at the Home Depot and were on sale and should come back every year, would be a good source of food for the bees early spring as there is not much blooming early spring
- looking into planting some apple tree seeds from organic store bought apples as the bees would love the apple tress as they bloom early spring and are good source of food for them, have planted some seeds a few months ago and had no luck after an Internet search turns how they should be placed in fridge for around 70 days, will have to start saving the seeds and look into how to plant the seeds
- ordered a SunBlaster Nanodome Mini Greenhouse to start seeds indoors, possibly propagate plants and maybe kitchen herbs. It included a SunBlaster 18″ %5H0 6400K Lamp. Some of the websites on the packaging include
- sunblasterlighting.com – for more information on how to cultivate bigger, healthier plants
- smartpots.com – aeration containers, made in USA
- grodan101.com – ordered a 98 starter plug sheet (A-OK 1.5″ Starter Plugs (TM)) and it fits perfectly in the mini greenhouse, have a Gro-SMART with Grodan video series on the Grodan website and youtube
- looking forward to using the starter plug sheet hopefully, later this month. Instructions are to insert the seed or cutting and cover with a ventilated dome. Use low to medium light for optimum growth. Do not over water and mist occasionally. When roots appear add plant food to water, start with 1/4 strength and slowly increase to 1/2 strength. When roots extend 1″ below plug transplant into Gro-Blocks (TM), soil or other system.
- interested in a timer for the light to control the time the light is on
- ordered Survival Seed Vault – Heirloom Emergency Survival Seeds- Plant a Full Acre Crisis Victory Garden – 20 Easy-to-grow Varieties by Patriot Seeds, seeds are non-GMO and packed in the USA
- ordered KINGLAKE (R) 50 Pcs 2.36″x3.94″ White Thick Plastic Waterproof Plant T-type Tags Markers Nursery Garden Labels Re-Usabled Plant Tags
- composting in the winter has been a bad idea, rats have been seen around the composter and a small hole was chewed through the plastic. The food is not really composting in the cold weather so food scraps are being thrown in the regular garbage. The rats issue is partially due to the city not having the money to poison the alleys and rid them of rats. They hang around regular garbage cans and chew holes through them too. I am/was using a Sure-Close.com foodscrap collection container and am happy it does not require the constant buying of costly replacement filters. It is low maintenance and low cost. For the most part have had no odor issues with it, but occasionally I have to empty the food contents prematurely.
- researching composting
- goldenseal and ginseng roots and seeds came in mail from Southern Exposure, they were promptly placed in the refrigerator, to plant ASAP
- planted goldenseal and ginseng
- Reading Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals [W. Scott Persons and Jeanine M. Davis]
- Looking into joining a garden club websites via gardenclub.org or National Garden Clubs official website.
- Ordered ten goldenseal rhizomes, a garden blanket to protect plants against insects, seed saver vials and silica gel beads to dry and save seeds.
- Towards end of month some of the blueberries did not taste sour. There are small green tomatoes, but not yellow in color yet.
- The blueberries are doing good and had some blueberries. I picked about 15 blueberries, but they had a sour taste. Hopefully, later they start tasting better.
- The tomatoes are much taller, but still no tomatoes only the flower buds.
- Anticipating the ginseng roots to come in the mail.
- Goldenseal is a good companion plant to ginseng, looking into purchasing goldenseal seeds, supposedly UnitedPlantSavers.org offers them for free
- Would like to plant milkweed for the monarch butterflies and bees, considering purchasing from livemonarch.com, made purchase at livemonarch.com, anticipating the milkweed seeds in the mail, surprised places sell the same seeds as livemonarch.com for much more ($2.25 a packet), live monarch does sell in a different fashion and stop selling when the supplies run out which are linked to donations
- Looking into plants that will bloom at different times to plant for the bees and plants that are native to Illinois.
- Planted four more Jubilee Blueberry shrubs next to the three beehives. There are a total of eight blueberries now.
- Purchased some bamboo plant stakes by Vigoro from the Home Depot for the tomatoes. The tomatoes and sunflowers have started to grow. The stakes mention a free membership for a garden club at www.homedepotgardenclub.com. I will have to visit that site.
- looking into ways to prepare for the arrival of the Ginseng. Considering using large tree branches for a raised bed, not going to get soil tested this year.
- Purchased four ‘Jubilee’ Blueberry (vaccinium corymbosum) on sale on at the Home Depot by Vigoro (vigoro.com). Some of the notes on tag include that it needs 6 hours of sun, matures late summer to frost, mulch should be applied, reaches a size of 48″ t x 48″ w (122 cm t x 122 cm w) and has a hardiness of -20°F (-29°C). Two blueberry varieties should be planted for cross-pollination and companion plants include raspberry, grape and blackberry. The Home Depot has an app that includes plant information and has plant tips online at HomeDepot.com/GardenClub, the plant code is VSBA1097. The plants were treated with neonicotinoids, pesticides approved by the EPA, that protect the plant from aphids, white flies, beetles, mealy bugs and other pests (more info at www.ecooptions.homedepot.com/healthyhome/gardening). I placed landscape fabric around the four blueberries and they are near three of the less than one year old beehives I started this month.
- interested in worm composting and kitchen bokashi composting, but looks like it will not happen this year
- interested in planting apple or pear trees near beehives as bees supposedly love the flowers and one tree is enough to feed one hive,
- to purchase some blueberry shrubs and plant near beehives as provide a natural windbreak and source of food
- ordered Yellow Pear Cherry Tomato and Ginseng Seed and 10 ginseng roots (2 years old) from SouthernExposure.com
- planning on ordering 10 ginseng roots from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange for $35.95, ginseng requires 75% shade which a forest or tress can provide, according to the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange 2015 Catalog should plant them six inches apart in raised beds with humus-rich soil with good drainage and 75% shade. Plan on putting chicken wire over the ginseng so deer or raccoons or any wildlife do not eat them, have to buy the humus and build the raised beds. I chose ginseng because it can sell for an above average price and I think I have a good spot to plant them right now.
- also would like to use my two or three year old Grow Boxes from AGardenPatch.com to grow some cherry tomatoes, will have to buy the dirt and seeds
- might plant pumpkins too