Thursday, October 20, 2016

Time for bed....

Some fun pix of the dogs at bedtime....

"Cant we sleep in the big bed Mom?"

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Winteizing Tropicals in the Garden: PART 2 gardening zone 7b -zone 9

I just raked up some leaves from neighbors house to use as mulch, (Thanks for the leaves George!)
I put a layer beneath the Bananas to keep the bases warmer, right night nighttime temps are in the upper 40's
Since this banana gave off 6 pups this year and they all are about 6-7ft tall, I'm going to need chicken wire to make a frame around them...(more on that later)
No... onto "Cold Hardy" Palms!
I have a few Palms in our gardens, Date Palms and Windmill Palms, 
They will also die if you don't protect from the cold, I'm preparing for a cold, long winter, since we haven't had one for awhile in the Seattle area.
You want to protect the bases and roots of them, most of mine are in pots so they will get cold really fast.
I start by digging out my old burlap coffee bags and some sticks, posts or small fencing.
I cut the top off the burlap to make a tube, put it over the pot and add the sticks, since its not so cold yet, I leave the palms uncovered and as is, once temps reach into the 30's I will add mulch and cover, I do this now just in case we get a surprise cold spell I can at least pull the burlap over them temporarily.

 you still want them to get water (rain) so be sure to leave the tops open like this

on the taller pots I pulled the burlap down over the pots for now to keep the soil and roots warmer.

 the small palm in the green pot, above, will move to the covered front deck with just a small burlap bag covering the pot, it will have enough protection on the deck. The other pots are just to heavy and large to move. I will post more on these as the temps drop! 
Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Winterizing Cold Hardy Banana Trees: PART 1 gardening zone 7b -zone 9

First look up your gardening zone, you can do that here

I'm in a confusing area, slightly south of Seattle, however I've created some what of  a microclimate in my backyard so I can grow a few tropical and exotic plants.

I planted my Banana trees August 19th 2015, I bought them from my local nursery on clearance and didn't know if they would make it through the winter since I was planting them so late in the season. They were pretty much done for already, but I always like a garden challenge and the challenge of bringing plants on the brink of death back to life....

When I planted them they were all about a foot tall.  

This is what it looked like Aug 2015
and what it looks like now....
It had many pups (new shoots from the base)  now there is about 5-7 banana trees total from the one, the mom stands about 6-8ft tall. I winterized them last year and obviously they survived so I'm going to do it the same way as I did and hope for the best, that they make it until next spring.

So today is Oct 17th 2016, lets get started preparing for the next couple weeks.
First any dead or yellowed leaves I cut and lay at the base of the stalks, (also save any other leaves in your yard you might have, I collect my neighbors maple tree leaves to use for mulch, as long as they aren't diseased or have fungus/mold on them,they will come in handy later)
this will help keep the bases and soil protected from the upcoming freeze. 
I will not do anything else until the first frost happens, usually around Oct 31st in my area, wait until you get the frost first.
Looking forward we will be cutting all the leaves off, so in the meantime enjoy the beauty of these plants while you can.
The following photos are where we will be cutting the leaves off at the stalk:

 Here is the stock with the leaves
 this is where we will be cutting

You will cut at an angle to let the stock "weep" the moisture out.
This is it for now, DO NOT CUT THEM YET! Wait until the first frost happens!
In the mean time, gather up:
clean leaves (no fungus or mold on them, they can be wet)
bubble wrap, 
old blankets/sheets or burlap bags ( I use burlap coffee bags, its Seattle, they're everywhere)
a bail of  straw (local feed or home improvement store,keep it dry, don't buy it until the day you cut the trees, we need it dry)
and depending on how tall your trees are either tomato cages or chicken wire.
Now sit back and enjoy them for the next few weeks and I will post the how to cut/mulch and winterize these Bananas! 


Monday, October 17, 2016

Lower Garden goes to the Dogs!

Ive decided to make the barren lower garden area, a play area for the dogs, our septic tank is located here, so I cant really plant anything, the dogs like to run, dig, and wrestle in this area, 
I reconditioned the soil, mulched and tilled it,
adding pea pebbles....
adding brick boarders..
it looks nice and I dont have to worry about the dogs messing it up, just rake it out and that's it!

Saturday, October 15, 2016