Balcony Container Gardening ~ Sparks, Nevada

My garden space this year has diminished quite drastically…I have to utilize my balcony. Luckily it’s positioned for optimum sunshine!

I decided to limit myself to herbs, tomatoes, leafy greens, and probably a chile pepper of some sort. We have pretty good farmers markets around the Reno/Sparks area so I’ll supplement my kitchen herbs with the local farmer’s goodies.

I got these nifty containers, from Lowes, that sit on top of the balcony rails…the rest of the containers are made up of old flower pots I’ve found and some of my enameled cooking pots.

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So far I have planted chives, sweet basil, Greek oregano, Italian flat-leafed parsley (hate the curly stuff), lemon thyme, rosemary, orange mint, two different lavenders, summer savory, cilantro, red Russian Kale, German chamomile, and arugula.

Still need dill, either a jalapeño, serrano or New Mexican green chile, I’m thinking two heirloom tomatoes, garlic…and some radish seeds.

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Weekend in Photographs ~ Garden, Birds, and Bees…Fabric too!

It’s windy, cloudy, and my left sinus is killing me so I thought I’d just post a few photos I took over the weekend.

A few Denyse Schmidt fabrics in 1/3 yard cuts that I got at Joann's.

Part of my haul from Garden Spot in Sparks...Bee Balm, Dill, Sweet Marjoram, Orange Thyme...Thank you Groupon, $40 for $20!

Tarragon and Chives I planted in one of my old enameled pots. Catnip behind it, Thyme and Oregano to the left, taters in the barrel.

Taters are growing! Taters are growing!

Bee on what I think is an Oregon Grape/Barberry bush...at Crystal Peak Park in Verdi, NV.

Bees were loving the pretty yellow flowers! Loading themselves down with pollen!

Goldfinch along the Truckee River at Crystal Peak Park, Verdi, NV.

My Irises are starting to bloom in the front yard.

Spring Garden Tips for Truckee Meadows ~ Northern Nevada

Gathering up some gardening information for us here in Northern Nevada, especially the Truckee Meadows area. 🙂

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BIRD NOTE! 🙂 Offer birds in your area with high energy foods like peanuts and suet…as the natural food supply is at a low this time of the year. Place nesting materials in your yard. Offer fresh water.
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Annual Master Gardener Plant Fair will be held on May 19th from 7-11:30 am. Same place…over at the County Cooperative Extension 4955 Energy Way, Reno.
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Gardening in Nevada: The Bartley Ranch Series
Location: Bartley Ranch, 6000 Bartley Ranch Road, Reno.
6-8 pm

Find out how to identify and solve plant problems. Get tips on caring for your northern Nevada landscape, trees and gardens. Cosponsored by Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space and the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. Free with no reservations required.

March 20: The Keys to Successful Vegetable Gardening
March 27: Roses for Reno

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GARDEN SHOP NURSERY

Events and Workshops held at the Garden Shop at Caughlin Ranch. This place has amazing shrubs and flowers!

The host the Impatient Gardener Radio Show.

They also have my FAVORITIST seeds ~ Botanical Interests.

Every Sunday from 10-3 they hold a Winter/Spring Farmers Market…then the summer one kicks in.

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From Rail City Garden Center

MARCH

• To control weeds this summer apply pre-emergent herbicides thru March to prevent annual weeds from germinating. Pre-emergents don’t harm anything already growing, but will prevent weeds from germinating.

• Start transplants indoors of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant

• Prune roses when they have 3 pairs of leaves at each bud

• Check your tools and get your mower serviced and blades sharpened!

• After cleaning up flower beds apply a slow-release organic fertilizer for healthier plants this season.

• As the soil thaws, be sure to water dry areas, especially evergreens.

• Early spring is the best time for renovation & clean-up in the yard & garden. Broken & rubbing branches as well as sucker growth are easily spotted & removed at this time. Thinning overgrown shrubs by removing the oldest branches to encourage new growth is also easier before new foliage emerges.

• As new growth begins in the perennial & shrub borders, clean-up of last year’s stems is easily done. Application of Sustane fertilizer 5#/100 sq.ft. & Preen is done now (Forsythia will be in bloom) & again in late July.

• Shrubby type perennials (sub-shrubs), such as Butterfly Bushes, Blue Mist Spirea, Russian Sage & Beautyberry should be cut down now to 6-8” as these plants bloom on new wood. Ornamental grasses also need to be cut down to 6”. To make cutting grasses easier, tie a rope tight near the base of the plant & cut below it.

• Roses, Lavender & Clematis are plants that should not be pruned until new growth begins, generally in late April or May. Roses need to have dead & diseased branches removed as well as crossing stems to open up center for good air circulation. Cut lavender back to 4-6”. Summer & fall blooming clematis that bloom on new wood need to be cut down to 12”. Spring blooming varieties are best thinned & removal of dead or broken branches done.

• Spade edge borders need to be cut in spring & again mid-summer to keep grasses from encroaching into beds. Even brick borders will look sharper if edged at least once every year.

• Be sure wood mulches are top dressed early, before plants are up & in the way. Mulch should be 2-3” deep, but tapered down at trunks of trees & shrubs.

• Fall-blooming perennials as well as hostas & daylilies can be dug & divided in half or thirds (depending on size) as soon as they are up 6” to be replanted for blooms later in the season.

• Do your annual Spring Pond Clean-Out while temperatures are low. This causes less stress on the fish and gives you a chance to control algae and aquatic weeds early

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Moana Nursery have a few seminars and events lined up ~

Edible & Ornamental Herbs
Begins: Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 10:00 AM PST

Fresh herbs are good for you, good for the birds, and good for the eye. Learn where and how to incorporate them into your garden or containers and how to cook with them.

Rose Pruning Time
Begins: Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 10:00 AM PST

Master Gardener and “rose guru” Charlene Oakes will discuss when (April) and how to prune your roses and demonstrate proper techniques. She will also share other care tips for having spectacular roses, especially if you’ve never grown roses before; you’ll learn how easy they can be when the right varieties are chosen.

Good Bugs, Bad Bugs
Begins: Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 10:00 AM PST

Yes, there are good bugs and they are your garden’s friends — the trick is knowing what they do and how to identify them. You’ll also learn how to identify the bad bugs and how to control them. Join Moana Nursery’s Jim Stanton and Bonide’s John Ford for this informative seminar.

March 1st to March 15th, 2012
Moana Nursery Teammates say, “For successful highdesert gardening, NOW is the time to …

General Garden & Lawn Care:

Apply pre-emergent weed control to prevent germination of weeds and unwanted plants in your landscape.
Aerate your lawn, and if necessary, dethatch.
Feed lawn with Lawn Fertilizer.
Prevent crabgrass and feed lawn.
Rake up remaining leaves and debris, but leave a little for nesting material for the birds.
Sharpen tools and pruners – drop off at Moana Nursery by Monday and pick up late Tuesday.

Perennial & Annual Care:

Cut back, close to ground, all ornamental grasses and perennials.
Gently press back any perennials that heaved out of the ground over winter.
Plant cool-seaon flowers.
Plant summer blooming bulbs.

Herb, Fruit & Vegetable Care:

Start an edible garden.
Prune grapevine & raspberry bushes and feed.
Start warm-season annual and vegetable seeds indoors.

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The Drycreek Garden Company is offering FREE NATIVE GRASS SEED to the victims of the Washoe Fire (proof of residency is required) this Saturday, March 17th. This will be at the Old Washoe City location only from 8:30 to 11:00 am.

LIST OF SPRINGTIME FLOWERS from DRYCREEK GARDEN
SUMMERTIME FLOWERS
AUTUMN FLOWERS

How Grows Your Garden? May 2010 ~ Northern Nevada

Well…if you’re here in Northern Nevada…probably not very well at the moment!

Snow! The ski resorts are even REOPENING for Memorial Day weekend. Big sigh.

New snow on Mt. Rose and Slide Mountain

All that is growing in my garden is garlic and potatoes. And they be very very sad looking. 😦

Monday’s Rambles ~ Birds, Computers, Dirt, and Cats

I’m so excited…soon I’ll have internet at home again. Just bought myself a new laptop ~ an HP Pavilion dv7-3160us entertainment notebook. I spent almost a month configuring computers on HP, Dell and Lenovo websites…but they kept creeping up to $1,300-$1,589! So I just said screw it…am going to Office Depot and get that computer on sale for $699. That leaves me funds to buy MS Office 2007 Enterprise WIN for $15.00 here on campus (or I can outright buy it for $95) and one year of internet. (I have a $1550 interest free loan).

I’m loving it…just have to wait for AT&T to send me my HSI…which is Wednesday. Luckily some guy somewhere near me has unsecure wireless that I was able to pick it up now and again over the weekend.

Had two visitors to my bird feeder out front yesterday! Black-headed Grosbeak…at first glance I thought the Rufus-sided Towhee came back, but then realized they had yellow tummies. Sorry about the pictures…some were taken through a very dirty window. That’s one of them behind the Robin.

Found Lucy in a corner of the dining room…she made a nest out of the newspapers…she loves those newspapers.

A Foxglove plant and some soil for the garden boxes that I picked up from Lowes. I was given a $20 gift card from a friend. Soon I’ll be planting.

Speaking of that friend…this is what she sent me in one of our group’s Spring Exchange. Thank you, Donna!

I finished putting together a Christmas quilt top-wall hanging for a coworker (she started paper piecing it in the 1990’s!)…the four blocks were already finished. What I did was put the two borders on, quilted and bound it.

Rest of the weekend was rounded out by going up to Virginia City for the Chili Cook-Off on Saturday. I think cookers need to make more than one pot of chili when going to cook-offs…we paid for tickets to taste the chili and most ran out before we could taste. We were there early too. Some had Chili Verde…which was much better than any of the regular chili (the verde was really really good!)…and one guys chili tasted like they just put a can of tomatoes with the juice into a pot. It was AWFUL!

They also had one of those dog competitions where they see how far they can jump into a pool. I saw one of our graduate students with her dog. Will have to see how she did on Sunday, as they qualified for the finals. There were two dogs (a black lab and a saint bernard) that wanted nothing to do with jumping off of the dock…they’d get to the edge and bark at their toy out in the water. Then they’d run down the steps and get up onto the ramp and gingerly get into the pool that way. Too funny. They all looked like they were having a great time.

It’s Monday…am back from vaction…WAAAAAHHH!

Took last Thursday and Friday off from work…stayed home. I wasn’t at work so it was a vacation to me! 🙂

Not only did I make 3 4×4 veggie boxes…but I partially filled them with horse poo (a co-worker lives on 40+ acres and has lots to share! :)) Since I’m renting a house on a third acre now, I thought I’d start out smaller than what I had at our old house. I’ll have some extra containers for tomatoes and potatoes.

Started my herbs over the weekend too…2 oreganos, 2 basils, marjoram, summer savory, chamomile, dill, and not an herb…tomatillos.

It was in the 80’s over the weekend…and it will be in the 40’s by tomorrow. I think I’ve told you this before…but…I HATE SPRINGTIME IN NEVADA. I’ve been through 30 years of them and I just hate the yo-yo weather.

I received my order from Connecting Threads on Friday! Fat Quarters and some extra yards of a few in the Antoinette Line.

A Fons & Porter Design Wall…something that I have put off buying for several years, and now I can’t figure out why I would have waited that long! I love it! Who’d thunk it?!

And for a present to myself…a Sara ConeFlower Thread Holder made by Paul’s Metal Petals in Minnesota! OMG! It’s absolutely BEAUTIFUL and works great. It’s handmade out of recycled steel, welded together into one solid piece. My old sewing machine, the Jamone 6500P (RIP), had a built-in thread holder…but the Janome Threadbanger does not, and the thread would get tangled now and again. Not any more! 🙂 If you have the extra money…I’d say TREAT YOURSELF to this BEAUTY! Besides…it’s made in MINNESOTA, USA! Thanks, Paul!

I know I don’t have a cone with this, but I didn’t have a way to use a thread cone with this machine.

Now to Hannah’s quilt…I picked out a Star from Star’s by Magic…and then decided the Jacob’s Ladder would look cool (and an easy block to make!) with the Star. It looked great on the design wall. Then I sewed the blocks together and my stars lost some points and if you follow the sequence of pictures you will see how I added a purple triangle onto the stars to make the Jacob’s Ladder flow…only they ended up smaller than the ladder. 🙂 Glad I read the forward in the Liberated Quilting book before ~ even with these mistakes, I think Hannah will love the quilt.

I just need to add a border, machine quilt it, and put on the binding. Green or Purple border…what do you think?!

What the quilt was going to look like at first:

With the added purple triangles on the Stars to fill-in the Jacobs Ladder.

All sewn together…just waiting for me to decide to add a purple or green border.

Now I’m back at work and my head hurts…eye is twitching…and a certain person here makes me feel like how Clouseau made Chief Inspector Dreyfus feel. I FEEL FOR YOU DREYFUS!

Garden Seed Rambles ~ And Kitties

Am very happy…I came home to all but one of the heirloom tomatoes sprouting!

I planted the following maters ~ Mortgage Lifter, Cherokee Purple, Caspian Pink, and Red Beefsteak (not sure if that one was an heirloom or not).

Tomato Sprouts on St. Patrick's Day

Here’s a picture of the Ruby corn and the Pickling cucs…you may be able to see a leek and onion in there too. 🙂 Me thinks my corn might be more than knee high by the Fourth of July!

cucs and corn on St. Patrick's Day

I need to start the tomatillo seeds and for flowers…I want some oriental poppies. A coworker gave me some Renee’s Garden poppy seeds, Hungarian Breadseed, that will produce baking seeds. They are sooooo pretty!

I plan on stopping by the Garden Shop Nursery, that moved to the old Caughlin Ranch House on Mayberry & McCarran (the house that I’ve loved for about 30 years now), at lunch today to look at more seeds.

I love how Catherine at Quilt Obsession shares photos of her kitties every day…so here are my two critters (although I share lots of pictures of them).

Lcuy at the back sliding glass door


Lucy is our back door sentry…she guards that sliding glass door like her life depends on it. The fact that there are a whole backyard full of birds might have something to do with that. 🙂

Leo watching the bird feeder.

August 2009 Garden Update ~ Sparks, Nevada

Well…it’s almost the end of August and here is what is left of my garden. I don’t think it produced as well as last year, but I tried different plants than last.

Cucumbers…I’ve oodles of cucumbers. The best producing ones have been the Lemon and the Homemade Pickles. Both I bought as seedlings from the UNCE Plant Sale, and that particular Master Gardener got her seeds from Botanical Interests in Colorado.

Cucumber ~ Homemade Pickles Seeds

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They have made many many many pints and quarts of pickles (picture shows lemon and homemade cucs):

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Lemon Cucumber Seeds ~ These are tasty little cucumbers!

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Spacemaster Cucumbers round out my cucumber plants. It’s not producing as many as the other two…but supplies us with great cucs to slice into salads and add with red onions and vinegar.

Squash…I’ve diddly-squat in the squash department. Squash bugs ate my whole crop. I couldn’t smoosh them fast enough.

I do have a mystery volunteer that is coming up in the decomposed granite in between two of my boxed tomato plants. I’m thinking it’s a winter squash of some sort…or a mutant. Anyone have any ideas?

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Tomatillos…I’ve tomatillos coming out of my ears. 🙂 They grow well here in Northern Nevada, that’s for sure. I think I may decrease to 2 plants next year. I’ll be making more salsa soon. I’ll add a bunch into pesole that I plan on canning (going to break out that pressure canner that I got for my birthday soon).

Peppers…peppers ALWAYS do well here! I’ve been picking bell peppers, hungarian stuffing peppers, yellow pickle peppers, jalapeno, cayenne, and sweet italian. I’ve borrowed my sister’s dehydrator and plan on using it and the pressure canner to put up my peppers after roasting them. I read that you can dehydrate peppers even after roasting them. Will be making sauces up and canning them too.

Sweet Italian peppers starting to ripen

Sweet Italian peppers starting to ripen

The corn did ok, not as well as last year. I planted it in a different spot, guess it didn’t like it much.

The heirloom Brandywine tomatoes did not do well at all. The plant looks ok, it blooms, but then they drop. The heirloom Siberian tomatoes are producing very well.

Beets did great. Carrots not so well. Radishes did well. Brussels sprouts not so well…I finally yanked them as they were full of bugs. Cabbage did great. Cantaloupe got eaten by squash bugs. Horseradish is doing great…well, the top part is really big, not sure about the root part yet.

Herbs do great in my yard. You should see my one sun room…loaded with brown lunch bags of herbs drying. Basil, fennel, chamomile, oregano, thyme, parsley, rosemary, and sage.

Plant A Row (PAR) for the Hungry Program ~ Feeding America ~ GroGood

In my weekly Local Harvest electronic newsletter (5/28/09) there was a link in the LocalHarvest Store section on how you can plant a row for the hungry.

From the LocalHarvest Store:
Our favorite statistic of the month: about 30% more Americans are planting gardens this year, according to the National Gardening Association. What a growth spurt! We love it. Our seed sales are jumping too – so far this year we’ve sold over twice as many seeds as this time last year. Got a patch of sunny ground? It’s not too late to tuck a few more seeds into the ground. Have plenty for your family, and your green thumb is still twitching? You can plant a row for the hungry: learn more here.

That link takes you to the Garden Writers Association webpage which tells you about the PAR Program ~ Plant a Row for the Hungry.

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The purpose of PAR is to create and sustain a grassroots program whereby garden writers utilize their media position with local newspapers, magazines and radio/TV programs to encourage their readers/listeners to donate their surplus garden produce to local food banks, soup kitchens, and service organizations to help feed America’s hungry. PAR’s role is to provide focus, direction, and support to volunteer committees who execute the programs at the local level.

There are over 84 million households with a yard or garden in the U.S. If every gardener plants one extra row of vegetables and donates their surplus to local food agencies and soup kitchens, a significant impact can be made on reducing hunger.

Support your local food banks, soup kitchens, and service organizations to help feed America’s hungry.

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Take the Pledge and Grow a garden for the greater good.

Plant a little more than I need.
Make my garden with love.
Eat my home-grown foods as often as I can.
Donate my extra harvest to a local foodbank.

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, Feeding America, and Plant a Row for The Hungry have teamed up to create GROGOOD. Now we need you to grow an edible garden and donate some of your produce to your local food bank.

We’re donating over 1 million pounds of fresh produce to food banks nationwide. We need your help to donate another million pounds. GROGOOD will only succeed 1 person at a time, 1 garden at a time, 1 row at a time.

And by the time your garden is ready later this spring, you can come back to this site to find a foodbank near you.

Take the PLEDGE. Eat WELL. SHARE the HARVEST. GROW some GOOD.

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Find a local Food Bank in your area!

Here is the link to the Food Bank of Northern Northern Nevada.

Birds, Garden, Berries, and Quilts ~ Tuesday’s Nevada Rambles

I’m going to ramble all over the place…sort of how my brain has been working lately (budgets and budget revisions will do that to a person).

First off ~ my sister called me over the weekend saying she’s had a visiting Oriole in her backyard, feeding from the hummingbird feeder. Looks like a Bullock’s Oriole to me. I just don’t get it…she took some great pictures last May out in Washoe Valley when we took Mark Vollmer’s photography class. All I get in my yard are sparrows, scrub jays (which I love to death) finches, downy woodpecker, flickers, quail, dove, robins, junkos, and the occasional falcon and hawk…and those bloody pigeons. She gets the Oriole. Big sigh.

Here are a couple of her pictures…she lives at the very north end of Sun Valley, backing to BLM land.

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Lookie at this quit top I got for $10 at a local auction! It still needs some work to finish it off, but I’ve got fabric to do that. It’s a Wedding Ring quilt ~ done in the 1930’s-1940’s fabric. All hand-pieced. I absolutely love it. The colors and fabrics match a quilt top that my mom has of her Grandmothers.

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My Elderberry plant has berries setting! I just planted it earlier this spring and it looks like it’ll flower and have berries. Once I get the lawn up in that area I’ll be planting more elderberries and some more blueberry bushes.

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Horseradish ~ after not seeing it for a while I became worried I planted it wrong. Sure enough…I had it upside down. (Insert Homer Simpson sound effect here) Plant root cuttings with the narrow end downward and the cut end 2 to 3 inches below soil level…I had it going horizontal. It’s growing upwards now! 🙂

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This picture of 3 Lemon Queen Sunflowers is outdated now…they’ve had a growth spurt. Last night while watering I noticed that they are now 6″ tall. Can’t wait to start logging my data about the bees with the Great Sunflower Project.

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My backyard garden ~ picture taken over the weekend.

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Front and center raised bed has the following: 2 different types of radishes, carrots, heirloom beets, cabbage, brussels sprouts and two sunflowers that birds planted and a lettuce of some sort that must have been leftover from last year.

Bed in the back has garlic, red & yellow onions on the left, and broccoli & heirloom beets on the right. Soon I’ll have peppers and beans in the middle. The far left, against the back fence has Mexican grey squash. By the weekend (after Saturday’s Master Gardener plant sale) I’ll have heirloom tomatoes and tomatillos in the small raised bed (1×1) and in the other containers. Up front near the berry bushes I’ll have corn, pumpkins, and cucumbers.

Heh…I forgot the picture of what I found on my Weeping Cherry tree…berries! And the Green Mountain Maple is leafing out…

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