By Wm. Golden Reeves
A new growing season is ahead of us and we can tell by the new seed catalogs that are starting to arrive. Most of us receive our first catalogs the first part of December mainly the catalogs we ordered from last year. This year has been no exception for me and I have already sent in my orders and received them back with only a few items back ordered. Most of the catalogs that come from now on will be the ones that my name was sold to see if they can entice me to order from them.
The fall harvest this last year was the best ever. From my Granny Smith apple tree I was able to pick 35 five 5 gallon buckets full of apples. I also was able to pick Calvile Blanch, York type H, Sperry Pippin, Arkansas Black apples. My Golden Delicious apple tree was loaded as well and with the amount of thinning I had done earlier in the year the apples were larger than I had harvested any other year. With the long fall weather we had I was able to leave the Granny Smith apples on the tree until they were ripe.
I was able to get my garden and the lot ready for winter and had time to re think what I could do to make thing better or easier for me when spring comes. Each year I clean out the sheet composting material from the walk ways in the garden and place it on top of the planting beds. Then I fill them with yard waste and then till the tops of the beds by doing this I have been able to not only build up the beds but enrich the soil. This is a system I have been using for the past 20 years. If I do not have enough debris from my yard then I look for bags of leaves to make up the difference in filling the walkways. Some times in the fall as it was this year I had a pile of compost that was starting to stink because of all of the green material I had placed in it. So that was placed in the walk ways as well.
I over wintered some petunias last year in the green house with out any heat other than what the sun provided. I am trying some of my larger plants this year to see if I can have the same success. My Rosemary plant was too large to invite in to the house this year but fits in the green house. I took a number of cuttings just in case it would not survive and all of the cuttings have taken root. I have been saving run off water from the house to keep the plants watered but need to make sure when the buckets are full I get them in to the green house before they freeze solid.
I have tried cuttings from verbena again this year and no mater how I try it seams as though they all ways end up having aphids on them. I sprayed for them and then moved them from the basement into the green house as well to see if I can get rid of the aphids with out affecting the other starts. With new tomato plants started on the same rack it is difficult to try to control an out break of aphid.
A friend brought a new kind of Impatiens plant from back east and wanted me to try and start some new plants for her. They have a green white striped leaf and a bright hot pink blossom. From the mother plant I have taken most all of the starts I can and hoped it would sprout more starts but so far that has not happened. I have five of the new starts from that plant that are growing very well.
Last fall I started a number of Pepper Mint Patties geranium then transplanted them in to gallon containers. I have them wintering in the basement window where they can get some sun. I will be able to start taking cuttings from the in mid January I want to increase there numbers quite a bit more before spring comes. I took cuttings of all of the other geranium I have and left the old mother plants in the beds to freeze. Other years I have brought at least one each of the mother plants in to the house to over winter.
With the snow coming down I think I need to go clear the drive way again at least with the planting area in the basement I can see what will be when spring comes.