Tag Archive for GOOPs Day

Connecticut gardening plans and reflections

It’s the end of the year and nearly the beginning of the next. Time to reflect on time passed and make future plans.

First the future plans.

I spent some time this morning noting garden-related events in my 2012 calendar. Winter and early spring are wonderful months to expand gardening smarts and unearth gardening inspiration. Much discovery can come from books, here’s some of my recommendations, but sometimes you just need to venture out to see and hear from gardening aficionados. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of garden talks, presentations, symposia, meetings, conferences and shows to get the house-bound gardener’s creative sap flowing.

The Connecticut Gardener website offers a regularly updated list of gardening events planned from early January onward at sites all over Connecticut. Check them out early since many talks and classes have pre-registration deadlines. Current listings cover January through March.

Those interested in organic land care and organic farming and gardening should regularly check the events page of CTNOFA (Connecticut’s chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association). Also check out the educational reading material available via CTNOFA’s resources for gardeners link (on the website’s left sidebar) and the Homeowner’s Corner links (right sidebar) at the Organic Land Care website.

For my reflection, check back on January 1, 2012. The first of each month is GOOPs Day – GOOPs stands for Gardening Oops. I confess some of my gardening mistakes or mis-steps in hopes of preventing others from walking the same path.

GOOPs is an open party, anyone can join. So if you have a gardening blunder you’re willing to bone up to, resolve now to share your faux pas with me and other GOOPs participants on the first of each month.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUntil then, one more look back at my version of Clement Clarke Moore’s classic Christmas poem, originally published last January.

‘Tis Days After Christmas, What To Do With the Tree

By Joene Hendry, in honor of Clement Clarke Moore

‘Tis days after Christmas and still in the house
Stands a tree in the corner that no longer sprouts.
Stockings unhung, now the chimney is bare
And the tree needs undecorating and disposal, but where?

The children are busy outside with their sleds,
Or elsewhere with I-Tunes blaring through their heads,
While parents reach gently, avoiding tree sap,
To store each ornament for its long summer’s nap.

The blizzard has passed, the winds have diminished
And outside there’s still snow shoveling to finish.
Yet the tree must come down, its lights cease to flash,
But what can one do besides throw it in the trash?

With sun reflecting brightly off newly drifted snow
That shines from outside the living room window,
New visions pop into your head and you cheer,
“We don’t have to make our tree disappear.”

We can use it outside near where winter birds feed
And decorate it anew with suet and seed
So chickadees and titmouse and juncos can roost
While other feathered friends seek their seed-eating boost.

Our tree could block the unlikable view
Of the propane tank or trash can or generator that’s new.
We could make it a surrogate, in a landscape hollow,
To illustrate the look of a new shrub to follow.

We could cut off boughs and place in a mound
Over perennials firmly frozen in the ground
To prevent them from sprouting up too fast
When early spring temperatures rise with a blast.

Then the branches, when taken from atop growing shoots,
Can head to the compost to give it a boost.
And the trunk doesn’t have to give up the ghost
If we use it next spring as a birdhouse post.

Our Christmas tree doesn’t need to end its use
In a brush pile or as municipal refuse.
We’ll set an example. We’ll use every part.
Let’s make tree recycling a post-holiday art.

Garden thoughtfully and stay safe.

Shortening the lifespan of a trellis – a gardening oops.

Here we are at another first of the month … the day I reserve to confess one of my gardening oops – fondly known as GOOPs. Traveling has kept my hands out of in-the-dirt gardening for the past month but I still have a good faux pas to share.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA My November 2010 GOOPs involves two cedar trellises I picked up a few – let’s say more than 5 but less than 10 – years ago. I positioned each trellis to rest upright on either side of my long front porch with visions of Sweet Autumn clematis (Clematis paniculata) spiraling up each. After one year in the ground the clematis tendrils intertwined up, through, and around the trellis supports and delighted me and visitors alike with a few late August/early September blossoms. During the second year the clematis completely covered each trellis and bloomed profusely, looking much like the one in the photo here that currently resides in a different location.

My plan was a home run … or so I thought. During the subsequent winter, voles or chipmunks or both tunneled around the clematis and developed a taste for the roots of my beloved vines. By spring one vine was dead. The other struggled and eventually died. The trellises, however, stood strong. Rather than replace the two pricey clematis plants, I planted morning glory seeds which have covered the trellises each summer since. I let the morning glory vines self-sow, preventing the need to purchase fresh seed for these spots in subsequent years. I’ve been really happy with my system until this year when, after a night of strong wind, I looked out to see one of the vine-laden trellises broken off at the ground and resting heavily on a small boxwood shrub planted nearby. In my haste to implement my original plan I had placed the legs of each trellis directly into the ground. Each spring I meant to pull the trellises so I could sink lengths of metal pipes into the ground to rest the trellis legs into. I’ve used this technique on other trellises with success – scrap pipes or tubes, such as an aluminum hose attachment of an old, broken canister vacuum cleaner, cut to length and pounded into the soil so about an inch or two remains above the soil line. Using pipe the trellis legs firmly fit into prevents the trellis from rocking to and fro. The hollow pipes keep the trellis legs from direct contact with soil and allow the wood to remain dry and rot-free for a longer period of time.

But I never managed to do this with the two trellises along my front porch. Now they have both broken at ground level and currently lean against a porch post. (Since the morning glories were still in bloom when the breaks occurred I tied each trellis to a porch post to prevent continued falls to the ground.)

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Now that cold weather has diminished the vines blooms and leaves, the bare facts of my neglect smack me in the face every time I look out front. It’s time for a revamp. I will remove both trellises, repurposing each as shorter supports in the same spots or elsewhere (still pondering my plan). The bottom line is had I installed the trellises properly way back when they would have had a longer vine-supporting life in their current spot. My GOOPS, my faux pas.

Now it’s your turn … will you admit to any garden neglect or other gardening oops? I’d love to read any GOOPs you care to confess in a comment below or on your own blog. Just leave a teaser and link here so readers can find your GOOPs. I hope my GOOPs will remind other gardeners to avoid my blunders. If you are willing to join this confessional we might all sprout better gardening habits.

Color from the garden, but not enough

Here it is the first of the month, time for my monthly gardening oops – GOOPS for short – post. Each month I dig one of my gardening blunders out to share with you. I hope that doing so will help others not make the same GOOPs. Once you read mine, please share one of your GOOPs.  Don’t be shy … we all make mistakes. Share yours in a comment below or, if you have your own blog, share it there – just be sure to tease us a little in a comment below and give us a link to your GOOPs post.

This month’s gardening faux pas will be concise. You understand … I’m busy in the garden or busy cooking/preserving goodies from the garden.

Here’s what I picked recently. Clockwise from the top: Cherry tomato ‘Sweet Million’, Bush bean ‘Purple Queen’, eggplant Ichiban, Bush bean ‘Pencil Pod Yellow’,  more Sweet Million cherry tomatoes, more Purple Queen beans, a heirloom zucchini called ‘Black’ (delicious sliced in half, grilled, and topped with provolone cheese), the last snow peas ‘Carouby de Maussane’, and centered, zucchini ‘Gold Rush’ and an onion ‘Red Wethersfield’ that originated with Connecticut’s own Comstock, Ferre & Co. (now open again in Wethersfield, CT)

color from the gardenThe beans and onions have been producing for a few weeks now , the tomatoes just started.  We’ve harvested about 4 eggplant of the Ichiban sort with many more coming, and these will shortly be joined by Lavender Touch eggplant. I planted the zucchini late so this is the first of the Black variety and likely the last of Gold Rush since squash borers have attacked Gold Rush plants. The cherry tomatoes have just begun to ripen, in a few days we’ll be overrun. Larger tomatoes – Pruden’s Purple, Manyel, and Roma – will be ripe soon.

The GOOPs is that it’s the first of August and I’m just now sowing a second crop of beans and zucchini – I should have done this a couple weeks ago. Even with many good intentions I have yet to plant a late sowing of lettuce and tatsoi, and another batch of cucumbers might do well if I have enough seed.

Summer’s bounty is so much larger when the overseeing gardener manages to get second plantings in the ground in enough time for crops to mature before frost. Beans, lettuce/greens, summer squashes, and peas are ripe for second sowings. Good intentions don’t put food in mouths … now I need to take my own advice.

Okay, it’s your turn. Do you have a gardening faux pas you’re willing to share? The first admission is the toughest. After that it becomes pretty easy to admit a GOOPs. Just look at all the GOOPs I and other gardeners have made.

Happy GOOPs Day – here’s hoping my GOOPs are not yours.

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