Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I'm not too big on annual resolutions (I like to make them year round as I see I need 'em) but I feel like I've really been neglecting this blog and I want to get back to it. I'll use the excuse of the new year to get started. I'm not promising daily posts but I would like to check in at least once a week even if there's nothing going on in the garden... really there's always something though. So today is a new day...

There was a beautiful wintery sunrise early this morning that begged to be captured.

So this week in zone 8a there are a few things to be done if you're feeling motivated and don't mind standing outside in the freezing weather trying to get your fingers to work all the while dreaming of a warm fire and a hot cup of coffee to wrap your hands around. Oh wait. One of them can be done with coffee in front of a nice warm fire. Mmmmm... But, I digress.

Now that the holidays are over and done, with nothing left to do but take down the tree and lights and pack it all away again till next year, it's time to start planning the garden.

This is best done on an over caffeinated brain.... just sayin'.

While I haven't actually started yet my brain has been in over drive thinking about it. I just need to get it all down on paper. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this next week...

Yes, paper, that archaic form information storage.

Not everything in my world is done on the lap top (though there would be those that might disagree!) the reality is: dirt and water don't really get along so famously with delicate electronics. Besides there is something extremely satisfying about writing with a pencil. I both chart out my garden for a good visual idea of what will go where and how it will all fit but also try to note what varieties I'm planting where so that I can keep track of them throughout the year. It'll give me a good idea of what varieties like my microclimate or what varieties had problems with pests or diseases. But like I said, I'll give this whole process more attention next post.

So what can you do outside at this time of year? Well if you have apple trees, this is the earliest that you'd be able to prune older trees and winter hardy varieties but there is no rush, pruning can take place anytime between now and the end of February. I think it's pretty safe to say that my apple stick tree is still such a baby that I won't have to worry about this task for a long while yet.

See that little bit of green fluff in the center of the bed? Yeah, that's my apple "tree". It amuses me. *Someday* I might even get an apple from it.

After the third year, you need to prune blueberry plants every winter. The best time to prune is January to early March, when plants are dormant. The main objectives of pruning are to promote the growth of strong, new wood and to maintain good fruit production. If you prune too little, plants produce too many small berries and shoot growth is weak. Plants have weak, twiggy growth at the end of the season and fail to develop strong new wood for future production. Severe pruning produces fewer, larger berries and more new wood.
If you prune bushes correctly, you’ll have a good balance between fruit production and growth of vigorous new shoots. Experience is the best guide on how hard to prune.

For more information on cultivating blueberries in your home garden check this link.


Stefaneener said...

I love my pencil and paper graph planning system. I actually feel spoiled when I roll out the drawings and uncap the pencils.

Thanks for the apple pruning reminder. I did get the grapevine yesterday, but those apples aren't going to prune themselves.

Randy Emmitt said...


Thanks for the tip on blueberries, ours are 3 yearts old and not growing much. Two of them did get pruned by a dump truck smashing them, growing back anyway.

Also it is time to prune Butterfly bushes too!

Shawn Ann said...

I have a mixture of paper and computer stuff, still never ends up the way I plan! Maybe someday! I can't wait to start growing blueberries this year! That is the plan anyways, will see if it happens!

Liisa said...

Happy you will be posting more this year. Thanks for the reminder! I have some pruning to do. I would love to grow blueberries. Just need to find the best one for my area and find room in my garden. Maybe next year.

Just Jenn said...

Stef, It is fun with the pencils isn't it?! I'm hoping this weekend I get a chance to sit down and delve into it (as long as I'm not too distracted by all the garden catalogs that keep showing up!)

Randy, I think I need a dump truck to come for some of my blueberries - I didn't prune hard enough last winter and had a thousand tiny little berries on a few of my bushes. It really is a learning process. I don't have any butterfly bushes but I do like them!

Shawn Anne and Liisa, Hope you get your blueberries in, they're great garden snack bushes. ^^