January 2, 2011

Maine Gardener
Note to self: Stop basking in afterglow of 2010, look ahead

By Tom Atwell tatwell@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

With the new year, my thoughts usually turn to the coming gardening season. But this year I am having a little bit of difficulty looking ahead. The gardening season for 2010 was so great, I hate to let it go.

But part of our great gardening season in 2010 automatically has us looking forward to 2011. Nancy and I did some renovations to our perennial gardens last fall, putting in a lot of peonies, daffodils and some other bulbs, extending a garden along our driveway and digging and dividing hostas and other perennials.

We have a mental picture of how it will look, but it always is exciting to see the plants come the first of the season. You never know if they are going to look exactly like the catalog picture.

One recent garden trend is edible landscaping and permaculture, a more specific type of edible landscaping.

In the introduction of the 2011 Fedco Trees catalog, John Bunker and Susan Kiralis write that they considered adding an edible landscaping or permaculture section to the catalog, but decided against it: "We'd probably have to include every plant we offer."

They did add a column for edible landscaping in the plant chart at the back of the catalog.

Nancy and I have always grown flowers in our vegetable garden and fruits and vegetables in our perennial beds. That will continue this year.

For the past few years we have been getting fewer blueberries from our five high-bush blueberry bushes in the back. Our neighbors have some maples trees that weren't there when we planted the blueberries, and the roots and the shade from the maples have hindered our production. We still have blueberries -- Nancy's mother has full sun on her blueberries and produces more than she can eat. But last year we planted three new blueberry bushes in one of the sunnier areas of our front garden so we can make sure we have our own.

We will also be doing more container gardening this year. We grew Bright Lights Swiss Chard in the vegetable garden last summer, and it was gorgeous as well as tasty. Nancy plans to use more chard in our patio containers.

In recent years, we have done a lot of our creative gardening in containers. And that is mostly Nancy, because she has a better eye.

But we have lived in the same house since 1975, and unless we rip out some of the older plants on the way to a major change, there isn't that much room for change. But with containers, we can add tropical plants with big, colorful leaves to give us an entirely different look each season.

Nothing has jumped out at me to test in next year's vegetable garden. I want to grow more Mitla tepary beans. They got lost in the seed shuffle early last spring, and when I found them I had only a tiny space left in the garden. About a dozen seeds planted in late June or early July produced about a cup of dried beans. That is pretty good production.

After I read beyond the introductions in our seed catalogs, I am sure I will find something that I want to plant. And looking back to 2010 has to stop soon.

Tom Atwell can be contacted at 791-6362 or at

tatwell@pressherald.com

 

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)