May 17, 2013
Info on classes, gardening and more
May, named for Maia
In Greek Mythology, Maia is the daughter of Atlas and Pleione the Oceanid, and is the eldest of the seven Pleiades. She is the mother of Hermes, the Messenger. In ancient Roman myth, Maia represented growth.
We are all ready to start growing things, after The Long Winter.
Let's get right to that, shall we, and start with garden work? Then we'll cover:
Straw Bale Madness
Plastic Pot Recycling
Two questions: Is it too late to plant, and do you have straw? No, it is not to late to plant. This is definitely a later spring than we have been used to, but unless we are going to plant edibles with many, many, many days to harvest, most things will be fine. A little rain, a little sun, a little hot and a little seasonal temperatures have certainly changed the landscape around our neighborhoods, no? Plants from the greenhouse are looking nice and healthy, hardened off nicely with all this challenging weather. Of course, we always recommend waiting on the "hot feet" plants - those that prefer warmer soil and air temps, like tomatoes, basil, beans, cucumbers, melons and squash. Memorial weekend planting is a good rule of thumb; more about the ins and outs of successful tomato husbandry can be found in last year's May newsletter: All Tomatoes, All the Time. The only tomato info you won't find there is that involving our new Grafted Tomatoes. These fascinating creatures are comprised of tomato varieties grown for taste grafted on to hardy, disease-resistant root stock. The purported result is a heavy producing, super healthy, delicious tomato! One thing to keep in mind: they must be planted with the graft ABOVE the soil line.
Other tasks? I will be clearing out old nutrient depleted potting soil this weekend and preparing to plant some flashy annuals for all season color. An herb pot is easy for beginning gardeners; anyone at the store can guide you to the ones that enjoy the same living space. Other edibles that are great in containers: leaves of all kinds, such as lettuce, kale and swiss chard. Peppers like full sun - try a container you can move around so it gets adequate sun all day. Potatoes are also great in a large enough pot; we have some specially made for potatoes and tomatoes.
If you haven't cleaned up the garden and lawn yet, you could probably squeeze one more weekend of corn gluten meal, and if you miss the weed seeds, it is an excellent source of nitrogen for your lawn. I will be pulling the mini maples and elf-size elms while the soil is moist and forgiving, and doing the last of the raking out. My favorite tool for this task is a shrub rake, about 6 inches wide, on a long handle. When you first look at this tool, you might think: that's just dumb, you can hardly rake anything with that! But of course, that's the whole point - it makes the job of raking out and around small shrubs and perennials the careful job it should be, without bending over. I have noticed some really painfully slow growth on several perennials, and a few that apparently gave up the ghost when spring did not arrive as promised. A little expectation adjustment is sometimes called for.
Northeast Goings On: First, let me say, on behalf of all who toil at the Mother Earth Gardens: THANK YOU, Northeast Minneapolis, for your hearty welcome and your patience with our ongoing construction project. As many of you know, when it became clear that winter would never end, we were left with the choice of not opening for spring (the only real season a garden center has), or forging ahead despite the fact that we couldn't finish the outside plant display area by May 1. So we forged, and you shopped herbs while talented folk laid paths of water pervious pavers, put fences up, finished exterior doors and many other loud and not peaceful construction projects. We are rounding the bend! What remains? Another paved path, a concrete sidewalk repaired, a cistern and pump put in to capture water off the roof of the store (we'll use it to water ornamentals), a rain garden and other miscellaneous landscaping. Soon....in the meantime, we are getting more and more product in all the time, so visit us again if you've been once, or come on down if you've yet to have a look. We are at the corner of Stinson Blvd and NE Lowry Ave. Don't worry - the Mothership across from the Riverview Theater remains, and always shall...
Straw bale gardeners - whoa! Can't hardly keep up with you, but we are trying. We had no clue this would be such a phenomenon; our straw and hay farmer is getting it to us quick as he can, but we are running out weekly. Naturally, we have an organic fertilizing alternative based on the book's conventional fertilizer description.
And finally, sorry, no plastic pot recycling this year. The Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association has opted to stop funding this program and we are not a big enough operation to negotiate with big plastic recyclers. That said, lots more of our pots are compostable, four and six packs are made from recycled plastic, and a certain large municipality that has recently started one sort recycling takes anything plastic labeled 1 to 7. We are still looking at our options and will report back.
Have a lovely Maia!