Monday, February 23, 2009

Today's garden safety tip is brought to you by antibiotics and urgent care

OK, gardeners - here's your Garden Safety Tip o' the Day, courtesy of your intrepid--and wounded--rainy day gardener:

When you sustain a minor injury in the garden, immediately clean the wound, apply some antibacterial ointment, and bandage it up.

Never mind that it's the first halfway warm, sunny weekend day the Northwest has seen since October. Never mind that it's just a scrape, and that's only a little bit of dirt and compost and manure in the wound. Never mind that you really need to get those radish seeds planted, because the wind is kicking up and you're tired and the chickens are loose and might get snatched by hawks if you leave them alone in the yard. Never mind all of that. Clean the damn wound. Now.

I could post a picture of what might happen if you don't, but I wouldn't want you to lose your lunch. Let's just say it involves pain, swelling, a trip to urgent care, antibiotics, and a tetanus shot. Apparently manure has germs in it. Who knew?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hope (for Spring) Springs Eternal!

Since we're still in the throes of winter, most of the gardening I've been doing lately is of the armchair variety. But February is when the garden really starts to call out to me, both because it always seems to suddenly look like a victim of nuclear apocalypse and because I've been inside looking at seed catalogs for MONTHS now and, jeez, LET'S GO ALREADY!

There are actually a few things you should be doing this month if you are a Pacific Northwest gardener. First and foremost is the annual pruning of the roses, which is traditionally done on or after President's Day. Pruning encourages new growth and blooms, and also improves air circulation (which is theoretically good for black spot prevention -- fight the good fight, yo) and getting rid of the dead stuff. What I've read is that you should prune hybrid teas heavily, but go easy on English roses and shrubs, taking off only a third to half of the branches.

For detailed instructions on how to prune your roses, check this fantastic site out:

Or, be dumb like me and just make it up as you go along. Hey, whatever works. The nice thing about our roses (none of which I can identify for you other than to say that one is light pink with small flowers and the other two have big blooms and are yellow and dark pink, respectively), is that they seem to thrive as long as they are being completely neglected. The more I attempt to do right by them, the more they tend to thumb their nose at me and tell me to mind my own damn business.

Would that the other plants in my garden had that attitude. Stupid lettuce.

February is also usually the month I get serious about yard clean-up again. The ferns are all brown and grody looking, so I finally get out behind the fence to clean them up. There are STILL LEAVES that need raking (Lord, have mercy!), and this is a good time to start trying to expose your grass to some more light and air. Especially that patch that we just left a pile of leaves sitting on all winter long, which is now either A) dead or B) mushrooms. I'm curious to see which.

If you have perennial grasses, start grooming those babies up by trimming old seeds and stalks. And if you usually fertilize with lime on your garden beds before planting season, now's not a bad time for that either, apparently. I never do that. Janet, should I be doing that?

All in all, February is a month where hope for spring begins to spring eternal. It's close! So close! Hang in there a few more weeks, and then let the dirt play begin!

Know of anything else we gardeners should be doing in February up here in the deceptively-sunny-yet-still-utterly-freezing Northwest? Edumacate us in the comments!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Rainy Day Gardening Roundup

One of the reasons I named this blog Rainy Day Gardening was that blogging--and reading blogs--is a great way for us gardeners to get our fix on rainy days. I haven't done as much of either as I would like, but this morning I pried myself away from Facebook long enough to visit some of my fellow bloggers. There are some wonderful writers out there, most of whom make me sound like the two-bit hack I am. Here are my latest discoveries:

  • Blunders with shoots, blossoms, 'n roots - a fellow Portlander chronicles her garden experiences
  • Weed Whackin' Wenches (oh, how I wish I'd thought up such a cool blog name!) - Two Seattle gardeners with a passion for gardening and chocolate share their wit and wisdom (and recipes--yay!)
  • Garden Muse - Another Seattle gardener whose posts are more like photo essays. I wish I had her talent for photography!
  • And if you want more garden blogs, check out Blotanical.