Beginning the Garden Fence (Friday Free For All)

I've been busy this week.  I say that as if it's something new but it seems like life is just a matter of varying degrees of busy.  Sometimes you're really busy and other times less so but always busy!  This week I dove headlong into my latest project.  I've been talking about this one for years and I'm just now getting to it!  Those of you who have followed me over the years may remember the vegetable garden fence that hasn't been built yet.  Well hopefully that project will be completed this year!  I'm working on the fence in phases.  The current phase is to build the front fence area. When I'm done my goal is to create something like the picture below.  The grid pattern on the sides of the garden is practical for growing vining vegetables or flowers.  The arbor entry in the middle will also function as…

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It’s not Winter or is it?

Today we had a light snow drop down over our gardens in Tennessee.  It isn't the craziest thing to happen but it's not something that gardeners enjoy.  We would much rather have the sunny and warm days that spring is known for!  Here's our garden after a light dusting. Grape hyacinths.  Snow around the flower covered Bradford Pear tree.   (Don't plant this tree.  It may be pretty but it has issues!) Snow in the grass.  Very light snow in the grass! 'Otto Luyken' Laurels (these laurels are easy to propagate) Our Camellia 'Winter Snowman' looks the part! More grape hyacinths. Daylilies coming up in the snow. Pansies with a little snow. I hope the weather is warmer where you are today! Spring will be here soon... we hope!

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Germinating Japanese Maple Seeds in a Plastic Bag

I love a nice Japanese maple! Who doesn't? There are Japanese maples  with variegated leaves, ones with deep burgundy colors, others with interesting shaped leaves that are highly dissected and many other kinds. The fall color on a Japanese is almost always guaranteed to be something special.  Their highly ornamental nature makes them very popular trees in the landscape. Last summer I gathered up quite a few seeds from a 'Bloodgood' Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) located in my mom's garden with the idea that I would grow more Japanese maples from seed. Collecting Japanese Maple Seeds I collected the seeds from the tree when they had turned reddish in color which was on July 10, 2012. I placed them in a plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel (important: not soaking wet, just slightly damp).  Then I put the bag of Japanese maple seed in the refrigerator to stratify.  Stratification is the cold…

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5 Great Companion Plants for Tomatoes

Tomatoes are what I think about when I think of my summer garden. I can't help it. They are the number one crop I like to grow in the summer.  To help my tomatoes prosper I use companion planting techniques to combat insects and help my plants grow better.  Since we're still a couple weeks away from tomato planting time in Tennessee I thought going over a few companion plants for tomatoes might help you to plan out your garden this year. Basil Basil is my number one favorite companion plant in the garden.  It's useful in flavoring sauces, salads, and delicious in pesto but is also a great deterrent for insects in the garden.  Basil attracts beneficial insects when in flower (the flowers are edible too) and requires next to nothing to care for it. Chives Chives and tomatoes seem like a good fit since since they taste great…

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Starting a Nursery Business: Cost Analysis

Today's post is going to be a bit geeky.  I hope you can get past that because I think one of the most important parts of running a successful nursery business (or any business) is good financial management.  No matter how much you enjoy gardening you don't want your business to lose money.  Planning on the front end for the expected costs will help to give you some idea about your potential profit before you even start. What Are the Costs With Running a Nursery Business? Land Greenhouses Soil Pots and Containers Plant Materials (Seeds, Cuttings) Land It doesn't take much land to get started. We all dream of owning acres upon acres of land for our nursery businesses but you have to start somewhere.  I have a 1.3 acre property in a residential area and I know of another person nearby who has about a quarter of an acre…

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Spring in Tennessee

The first day of Spring is marked by gardeners everywhere.  Unfortunately not everyone gets to experience warm days, growing plants, and all the wonders of spring at the same time.  It's different for every region but that doesn't make it any less significant.  The first day of spring symbolizes the beginning of the growing season for many gardeners.  Even gardeners who are stuck indoors with snow on the ground know that warmer days are coming soon and it is time to sow seeds and make plans. Our springs in Tennessee are marked by the blooming trees, the cherries, the peaches and plums and as much as I am loathe to mention the Bradford pears are blooming too.  Hyacinths are releasing their fragrance across the garden and the grass is looking as green as it possibly can.  The robins are here, but not because it is spring.  The harbingers of spring…

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The Last Frost Date

The last frost date is one of the most important dates for gardeners.  The last frost date determines when to plant the vegetables and ornamentals at the best possible time for maximum growth over the season.  Some plants like being planted before the frost date while others have to be planted afterward. Last year Spring and warm weather came early to Middle Tennessee where we live.  My heirloom vegetable plant business targeted the last frost date then factored in two extra weeks to allow the soil time to warm up. My plan was to offer my plants at just the right time for planting to my customers.  I wanted to give my customers the best possible conditions for their gardens to succeed.  Normally the last frost date for our area of Middle Tennessee is April 15th and if you add two more weeks to give the soil time to warm…

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5 Things to do for the Mid March Garden

The garden is gearing up for growth are you ready?  Have you prepared the garden and gotten everything set to grow?  I haven't but the warm weather is going to be here this weekend and I'll be making some headway into my garden's preparation.  When to prepare the garden varies depending on where you live but several of these tasks can be accomplished just about anytime you are able to get to them! Clean-up The Vegetable Garden Beds I have a few raised beds in the vegetable garden cleaned up already but normally I clean them up as I need to use them.  In a month I'll need to plant tomato and pepper plants and I need to get the garden ready for them. I try to avoid planting tomatoes in the same place each year to dodge those diseases that lurk in the soil.  For me cleaning up a…

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Beginning a Nursery Business: Finding a Plant Supply

Two weeks ago I posted about propagating plants for a nursery business but there are other ways to acquire plant materials for sale in your nursery.  I personally enjoy the propagation process because it allows me to tell my customers exactly how they were grown, what products I have used to enhance growth, how to care for the plant, and I believe it improves my knowledge as a plant grower but it does have a few disadvantages.  Let's look at a few alternatives to propagating plants on your own. Liners and Plugs There are numerous sources for places to find liners and plugs.  A liner is simply an unfinished plant that is sold in bulk to a nursery who will upsize the plant into a larger pot.  Liners are grown in large amounts and generally are sold fairly cheaply per plant but come in bulk quantities.  A plug is pretty…

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And So I Went to Arizona with the Saturday6

Over the weekend I was able to do something that I never imagined I would be able to do and it was all because of blogging: I took a business trip for blogging. I received an email several weeks ago asking if I would be interested in working with Troy-Bilt to try out some of their products.  Of course I was interested!  On Thursday I boarded the plane for Arizona where I would meet several other bloggers and members of the Troy-Bilt Saturday6 team. The last time I was a plane was before my oldest daughter (now 7) was born.  I was a little nervous about the flight, about security, and about the trip in general.  I'm not a traveler, I'm a gardener.  I landed in the Phoenix airport on a flight from Nashville about 20 minutes earlier than the flight was scheduled.  That eased my nerves.  Everything went off…

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