FOR THE BIRDS
So as you can see I received a lovely little bird feeder for Christmas. I'm glad it was gifted to me because it's not something I've been willing to spend money on but have wanted for quite a while, so yes, the perfect gift. Next year I hope I get a book on bird identification. It'd be nice to know who I'm looking at. It would also help me plan other areas of my yard to be more bird friendly by tucking in native plants that can provide shelter and food for common local species.
I think I may have found a solution to the pea problem, there is a variety called Serge Peas that supposedly grows well unsupported.
If you are looking for a top-of-the-line shelling pea for fresh eating and processing, Serge is the one! With unrivaled uniformity, color and disease resistance, this variety will provide a wave of sweet, tender peas in 3 1/2 inch pods. Afila, or semi-leafless vines reach a self-supporting, lacy 26-28 inches tall, and set an abundance of easy to spot pods. Shows disease resistance to enation, fusarium wilt races 1 & 2, and powdery mildew. 68 days.
My other option (and maybe better option?) would be to stake in posts and set up some trellis netting. It would be less likely to blow over in windy spring weather then the wooden trellis I've been using. It would also let more light through for the plants directly behind the peas. This would allow me to plant whatever variety of pea I'd like. What's your favorite variety of shelling pea?
Our Witch-hazel in bloom.
At this time of year there are so many seed catalogs stacked up it's hard to decide what to order from who. My general preference is to place an order for organic seeds from a local company. I personally feel that those varieties they grow for seed that do well for them, will do well for for me too. It's very difficult to resist some of the seed offers from East Coast or Mid West companies but I'm mildly wary of their performance here. This may not be rational but still my feelings are to support local and organic agriculture. Not to say that I never order from far flung companies but the bulk of my seeds comes from companies like Territorial Seed Co. because they are local and have a good offering of organic seed. I was reading an article from Motherearthnews.com in which Patrick Steiner ( from Stellar Seeds) sums up my feelings on the matter rather nicely, "We feel it’s important that organic seed production be part of local organic farming systems, so that local growers work to provide each other with organic seeds from their own region.” Nice, hu?
A Paperwhite that I forced, making our indoors a bit cheerier in that in-between time (between Christmas and spring) when it can seem so gloomy.
I placed my seed order this year on Saturday and I will have to say that I'm quite proud of myself for showing such restraint. It was a small and very reasonable amount of seed. Since I split half the seeds I already own with my sister for her new garden she's putting in this spring, she paid the shipping costs of the order (we went in on the seed order together). Plus there were a few varieties of veg that we'll split seed packs of so that'll be fun too. She ordered some interesting corn I'd like to try and I convinced her (it wasn't hard) to grow some Sweethearts grape tomatoes which are my all time favorite garden snack food.
As you can see the squirrels have discovered the bird feeder but can't quite figure out how to get to the seed easily enough. They are too fat... maybe when they lean up in the late spring? So far they're not inhaling the seed like I thought they might. I did try to buy seed that was geared toward smaller birds - finches and such - to help discourage the squirrels, jays and crows.
Actually I think this is a Mama squirrel that's visited before. She found her way in the feeder once when she was pregnant but fell and has been a lot more cautious since.
THINGS TO DO IN THE GARDEN THIS WEEK FOR ZONE 8:
- Now that you've got your garden all planned out don't forget to place your SEED ORDERS. With the exception of the harvest this has to be the most fun thing about gardening.
- Organize and buy SUPPLIES. This is the week I assess my supply needs. The next few weeks are going to be busy with starts and seedlings and there's nothing worse then going to start seeds only to realize that you're out of potting soil or trays or the seeds themselves! It's also a good time to clean up the potting bench, dust off the dirt and cobwebs and organize the supplies you do have. There is nothing nicer then beginning the gardening season with a clean slate.
- Speaking of which don't forget to give your old potting trays a good STERILIZATION by soaking them in a 10% bleach solution to kill off any disease pathogens that maybe lurking from last season before reusing them this year.
- Like last week and the week before, it's time to PRUNE apple trees and blueberry bushes.