Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kids and Seed Catalogues

Mali asked if we should really be looking at catalogues now. "It's still winter grandma" she reminded me. "Don't we order seeds in the spring?" Yes, I reminded her. We do want to get seeds and plant them in the spring but this is the best time of year to look at pictures and read catalogues and order things so we can get them planted at the right time. I like order seeds over the holidays when there is time to dream and I had the kids for the afternoon so why not do a little garden dreaming?

My little six-year-old grand-daughter wrote down her usual favorites. She wanted beets and carrots and especially tomatoes. She asked for pickles and then corrected herself. "I meant cucumbers". After a few minutes consideration she crossed everything off her list. "What I really want Grandma is Phlox and Saskatoon berries", she confirmed after reaching the back of the catalogue with its tempting blooms and colourful fruits.

Her brothers were browsing their own catalogues (yes- grandma has a few on hand) and came up with their own favorites. Four year-old Kale wanted Veronica Romanesco Cauliflower and Pattypan squash. He was very specific and very driven by the full colour photos and memories of his garden last summer where he excelled with purple cauliflower. Cohen, at three, wanted everything purple. Purple beans, purple cauliflower, purple cabbage, purple carrots. He had no interest in anything else.

They are gone home now but their excited little faces are still with me. I am going to start ordering spring seeds this week!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Tree Drama

My husband had a plan. He was getting out his power drill so he could to drill holes up into the base of our newly purchased Christmas tree. A Grand Fir. Very stately and large.

As I came into the room to witness this scene I realized basic biology had escaped him and he was relying on his logical engineering brain instead. The way living trees move moisture is through the xylem - basically a series of hollow straws in the tree from the roots right up into the stomata in the leaves (or needles) where the water that came in up the trunk escapes as a gas.

Drilling holes up into the trunk does not improve the chance moisture will be drawn into the tree. The way to do this - I gently reminded him- is to saw off an inch of trunk from the base of the tree. This fresh cut will mean a fresh opening to water wicking xylem and improved uptake of water. The old trunk xylem becomes dry and filled with sticky bacteria and sap and dirt and is no longer effective, so a clean cut opens up the channels. Adding a drop of bleach to the water will help to keep it fresh as well.

So simply cut off the base of your tree and water water water. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Action on the Web Page!

My new book is under production and along with that a new web page. Check out http://twogardengurus.squarespace.com as it is being built.