November 03, 2009

Ultimate Interactive Online Garden Planner

If you're looking for a true interactive garden planner, then go to The Garden Planner. It's produced online by Gardener's Supply Company. You know, the outfit who probably sends most of you gardeners catalogs every so often.

It's the most thorough interactive planner I've seen. It's for raised beds, square foot gardening...any type of garden plan or design you choose. Of course, it's primarily for vegetables. But, I suppose if you want to arrange ornamentals using the same planner, there's nothing wrong with that either.

As a follow up, here's an example of the planner in action. I did a mock up of a typical 4' X 8' raised (or mounded) veggie garden bed. I chose those dimensions because that's my typical raised bed size. You can choose whatever size you want from their drop down menu. My Mock Up.

I then clicked on "Generate My Detailed Plan & Planting Guide" for my particular garden plan and Here's My Planting Guide complete with planting/sowing/growing instructions and links to their Vegetable Encyclopedia for even further details as well as their Guide To Planting & Care

It's super easy. The only thing easier is a piece of graph paper and your own pencil. But this one comes with a bit more detailed information all in one spot instead of searching through reams of catalogs and checking online. Go for it and ...stop waiting for vague promises from vague alleged gardeners who vaguely intend to publish their vague garden software-planner. You could grow a garden, harvest your produce and put it to bed for the season by the time that happens. If ever. *grin*

August 11, 2009

A Garden In Spite Of Myself

Despite my neglect of it, the garden manages to survive and thrive in some cases. Which only goes to prove that....
"Time and Tide.....and apparently a garden....waits for no man."
Or woman.

Thank God.

(Click on the photos or run your mouse over the pictures to see viewing options along with descriptions. To view larger, click on lower right hand arrows indicating a larger screen.)

May 28, 2009

Gardening Lies We Tell Ourselves

Suppose we start at the Lie Of Downsizing our gardens? You know the one where we tell ourselves at the end of each season - or sometime during the winter when our muscles and sore backs have just begun to comfortably atrophy? When painful memories of even minor daily gardening chores in sweltering heat make us want to reach for the ice pack despite the frigid temperatures outside at that moment? The one we share - in all earnestness and honesty - with our other gardening friends who totally concur? The same lie we tell our non-gardening friends or family who quietly roll their eyes in disbelief since they've heard this all before? Yeah, right.

It usually starts in our brain's garden planner by rearranging, redesigning and re-evaluating. What needed too much watering. Too much attention. Never thrived in that spot - or any other for that matter since you've already moved the thing four times over the past four years. (Which could be one of the reasons it never thrived..never having spent enough time in one spot to literally "set down roots".) But I figure that my plants should know by now if they don't show signs of major flourishing by the end of their first season or at least their second, then those wheels get slapped on their bottoms and they're relocated. Of course the most evaluation is of ourselves: Just what and how much can we physically still accomplish? Is it time for us to rely on some wheels to help us around the garden? Do we need more than just a few months of seasonal down-time and more every-other-day-down-time in order to keep on doing what we love?

The actual first "step" in this "Way-More-Than-12-Step-Program" begins with severely limiting initial purchases. Planning on only one visit to each favorite nursery per season. This one for the best perennials. Another for the most well grown annuals and a third for specialty plants that I'll use to make hanging baskets. (One $3.00 Proven Winner can produce a brimmingly beautiful basket by mid season and cost less than any $12-$20 pre-made hanging basket. Plus I love to make up my own baskets.)

But then reality hits. Oh, sure I make those cursory (alleged) one-time visits to the aforementioned nurseries. Only, let's face it, there will be times when I'll have to leave the house and drive the roads for other reasons than going to a nursery! Therein lies the danger of constant temptation and swaying from Step One since no matter where I'm driving, I almost can't avoid passing a nursery, farm, big box store's outdoor plant display or someone selling a few pots of pathetic petunias along side the road. Addiction can have no boundaries and is a hard beastie to beat.

Even the supermarket isn't safe. They, too, now sell luxurious perennials right out front and for really, really good prices, too. I'm hooked even before I enter the door. That's exactly what happened a few weeks ago when I saw a row of gigantic, gray-fern leafed bleeding hearts billowing in the breeze outside ShopRite. There was this especially lush beauty still in bud and not the least leggy or pot bound beckoning my heart with its dangling pink hearts. No second thoughts. No pausing. It was picked up, paid for and positioned carefully in my car so as not to tip over whereupon I returned to the store for a shopping cart and at least managed to get the groceries I'd set out to get.

Last Memorial Weekend, however, I pulled into my driveway after another supermarket challenge to pick up some last minute holiday dinner items. My husband, who was cleaning the mower after just finishing the lawn, got up and walked toward the car to help carry the groceries in the house. As he approached, I shot him the most sheepish stare through the front window and shook my head in dismay. Like an alcoholic up on that podium admitting to their addiction and finally having the courage to ask for help, I hung my head and confessed, "I've got to be stopped. I can't be let out of the house alone anymore." He looked kind of puzzled. But only momentarily until he scanned to the back windows of our station wagon only to see no grocery-filled cloth bags...but rather some tall green or gold leaves, some ferny, some straight, pots of colorful flowers and one or two unidentifiable plants so tall their heads pressed against the roof of the car. He shook his head too, but with an understanding and knowing smile.

"You never made it to the supermarket, right?" He smiled some more. "Well, he said reassuringly, "it IS food for the soul as they say and we can always call for a pizza tonight".

I DO love this man. Plus he rarely rolls his eyes. At least not that I can see.

January 11, 2009

The Faeries Keep Calling Me Back To My Garden

**If you want to pause picture, click on double lines "II" at bottom left of slide show**

Maybe they'll be calling you back to the garden soon, too. Maybe not for quite a few months. But there's a garden out there, under the frozen earth and inside the warmth of your heart.

And certainly inside your busy head all full of plans and ideas being egged on by those catalogs stuffing your mailbox day after day. Now's still the time for dreaming and planning. But as eager as you may be, don't wish these present days, weeks and months away. Every day....any precious and won't come back again.

Don't wish too hard for "Tomorrow". It'll be here soon enough and then you'll wish it were "Yesterday" when you missed out on something because you were too busy thinking about "Tomorrow".

As my Mother used to day: "Today is the Tomorrow you wished for Yesterday". I think the fairies would agree.