Tag Archives: Zone 6

Blackberry Ramblings

Aside from rhubarb, I have not been a successful fruit/berry gardener yet. To be fair, those plants have fallen to Donny most of the time. At one time or another we have tried strawberries, blueberries, a kiwi that was supposed to be perennial even in zone 6 and gooseberries. The last two were my additions. All failed for one reason or another.

Strawberries were something Donny had grown in his father’s garden growing up, so that was his first suggestion. They grew but I forget why he ripped them out; maybe they didn’t produce well or were too much work.

About the same time, and this was a while ago, he put in a couple of blueberry plants but the birds got them before we did and an occasional harsh winter took their toll. I also seem to remember that our soil conditions weren’t well suited but knowing how to grow them was not my job.

The kiwi turned out to not be so perennial and the gooseberries, coincidently planted in a be that we’d mistakenly first planted with gooseneck loosestrife*, had thorns and no one liked the taste.

So, it is a little unusual that I debated converting a big  (9′ x 10′) bed in the front of the garden to blackberries. But, I didn’t need it for rotation purposes since expanding the back of the garden to include 3 9′ x 10′ foe corn and vining plants like pumpkin and melons. I debated too long to order plants – see a returning theme here?

Today I picked up two plants from a local nursery who recommended that 2-3 plants were all I needed for the space. I decided to be conservative with the space with only two. Maybe I am learning from past errors?

I hope so because now I have to learn how to make these plants productive enough to justify their vast space.

I did do a little research and got tow varieties even though they are self-pollinating; one website I visited suggested this and the nursery agreed. I have a Triple Crown and a Chester, both in  2-gallon pots so not bare root. In fact, there already some berries on them. I will be looking for pie recipes next!

 

*If you are a new gardener and someone offers to give you plants because they have “plenty”, accept them graciously as you are being useful, but compost them – you can always claim to have forgotten to water them. Just DON’T put them in your garden or you too will soon be looking for another newbie to pawn them off on.

 

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Planting Big Garden – What’s Left

It’s been an eventful week including storms that prevented sowing the seeds after the tomato and pepper plants were successfully planted last weekend.

Two days ago, I did sow Arugula and a Heat Wave blend of lettuces. After watering the soil, I scattered the seeds and then dusted with a fine layer of loose dirt and watered again. I was hoping the damp soil would ‘glue’ them in place and the loose dirt was recommended on the packages.

Still, with the heavy rains yesterday, I am concerned that the little seeds are now in the pathways instead of their newly minted raised beds.  Will be watching.

And, yes, I know lettuces are better as a cool crop, but you already know my sad song about not getting to plant earlier. I am trying to promise myself to plant a late crop and should really go order the seeds now to force myself to really do it. Note to self…

Tonight I planted what I hope will become 7 okra plants and that I can keep the deer away. When left alone, okra grows really well in my zone 6 garden but I find I need several plants to have enough 3″ pods to really use for one meal. They tend to grow quickly and if they get much longer than that, they get tough and stringy, and dry. Which, if you are familiar with their usual goey-ness, is probably surprising. My kids love them since I introduced them as ‘stars’ when they were little.

Let me assure you that if you let little kids help grow them, they won’t have any preconceived notions of what is good or bad. I could get you to eat Brussels’ sprouts too, if I started when you were two.

And while I do agree that asparagus from the store may be more inclined to a mature palate, if you grow your own and pick them while pencil thin, they are so sweet they don’t even need to be cooked. In fact, they are a nice addition to a tossed salad.

Random musings aside, this is what goes in tomorrow night:

  1. 10′ x 10′ bed of Silver Queen corn – the ONLY kind we ever grow
  2. 10′ x 10′ bed of 4-6 varieties of pumpkin including  a variety that produced nearly competition sized pumpkins
  3. 10′ v 10′ bed of watermelon, cantaloupe, and zucchini

After that, I have two 4′ x 9′ beds, one to hold cutting flowers such as cornflower, bells of Ireland, cosmos, cleome,  larkspur, and another of various sunflowers.

Finally, I have to do the triangular herb beds:  one has a borage volunteer already in place. The others will likely get basil, dill, cilantro and any plants I get cheap.

I still have to figure out the addition of blackberries but that is for another story.

Finally, I have about 40 marigolds to go in in between the chives borders – anything to beat back the deer and the nematodes…

 

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – March 2011

Unfortunately, nothing is yet blooming in my zone 6, southwestern Ohio garden other than the Crocuses. Even my Lenten Roses are behind – perhaps they know Easter is extra late this year? But, my Daffodils are about 4-6″ out of the ground and I can hardly wait! Over the years, I have planted 1000+ bulbs of many varieties – early, mid and late season bloomers so that the area we refer to as the Way Back (the last 1/6 of our 2 acres) is glorious for about 6 weeks and I can cut with abandon since they have multiplied over the years. My inspiration for this naturalized area is the nearby Cincinnati Nature Center (see http://www.cincynature.org) , the 175-acre wooded estate of Carl and Mary Krippendorf that is now open publically and offers a plethora of daffodils each spring.