In an effort to stay on top of the garden and it’s various requirements, I’ve been out over the last few weeks cleaning up and pruning before spring. I started with the blueberry patch to rejuvenate and remove old wood.
I found an excellent video on youtube produced by the University of Maine. I have read various bulletins, books, instructional sheets about how to prune blueberries but this video finally helped put it all together for me. Pruning helps to keep the bushes productive and ensures a long life for the plants and lots of berries for us 🙂
The picture on the left is of an unpruned bush, the one on the right has just been pruned (different bushes but this gives you an idea of what it should look like). Six to eight canes are left and the branches with many leaves and buds starting are the ones that have been left. Any branch that was sparsely budding was removed. I find I have to go over the bush several times to catch any branches I’ve missed. The same with weeding, going back to an area several minutes later helps me see more weeds I missed the first time around.
Ever since I implemented advice I received from an employee at Glyndon Gardens the bushes have had excellent berry production: use cottonseed meal and cover with peat moss. This is advice for our area, not sure that the same would apply everywhere. So I sprinkle cottonseed meal, then peat moss, then Leaf Gro and cover with a straw mulch. This is the only place I use peat moss in my garden as it is not considered to be a renewable resource.
The weeds have had a fieldday over the last few weeks with some of these warm days and I’ve been out weeding the various beds. It’s been really nice to go out and EXPECT to weed a huge expanse, only to realize there’s just a very small patch because of previous weeding sessions.
The maples started blooming a couple of weeks ago and on those warm days the bees were working the flowers heavily. Since the trees are so tall, I don’t have a picture of the bees, but here’s a bloom:
I put out my lemon tree to enjoy the warmth as well and within 45 seconds, the bees had found the flowers:
This morning, the temperature said it felt like 9 degrees, I went out to keep weeding but ended up scraping the hive equipment [best to do this when it’s cold because the bees won’t be flying–they’re always interested in anything that smells like home] and surveying the garden (making plans in my head), cleaning up the asparagus bed, laying down more cardboard to kill the weeds between the raised beds.
I’ve started using my garden notebook more solicitously to keep track of what is planted where and using sturdy metal plant labels for the same reason. The plastic tags plants are sold with or the white labels you can buy have a tendency to become brittle either from the sun or from the cold and end up broken and useless. The best thing I have done for my sanity is to buy metal plant labels. I get these and I love them. I also think taking pictures of the garden bed in question, annotating the photograph (iPhone has a program where you can add text to a picture) and printing the picture would prove to be useful. I may invest in one of those iPhone photo printers as I suspect I would use it often. I can print a picture, paste it in the book and have a reference to use over the planning season. Even better, you can take pictures during various stages of growth to get a good idea of what the bed looks like at various times and purchase or move plants as needed.
Looking forward to productive growing season. Get ready for spring!