Saturday, April 23, 2016

NJ #nativegardens "Bringing Nature Home" author Dr. Tallamy @WheatonArts @NWF #gardenchat

Wheaton Arts ECO Fair
Keynote Speaker
Dr. Doug Tallamy

Saturday, May 7th, 2016
at 1:30 pm
The presentation will be followed
by his book signing: Bringing Nature Home

Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center
1000 Village Dr, Millville, NJ

CU Maurice River invites anyone who gardens, would like to garden, and/or who would like to support local biodiversity to attend Dr Tallamy's presentation.

Wheaton's ECO Fair will be open 10 am to 5 pm and will also feature local NJ Artists, Nature Walks and a Rain Barrel Workshop!
photo Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

How-to-Build Your Own Garden Raised Beds #GardenCuizine #gardenchat #doityourself

How-to-Build Your Own 
Garden Raised Beds

Yesterday, Harry made another raised bed to replace the rotted ones that we ordered online. They are quick and easy to make; he is making more today. We could have saved money if we made our own in the first place. Well, we did make our first two, or I should say - Mom made them! She built two, really sturdy raised beds years ago and then as our garden grew we added several more raised beds that we ordered online. 

We decided to keep the design simple and low cost using just one, single-panel on all sides. If you wanted your raised beds deeper, just increase the height of your corner pieces to allow for as many additional slats of wood desired.  

Also, you could increase the thickness of the panels from 1x6 to 2x6 and use 4x4 corners; but beware, that increases the cost and the weight! You can make your raised beds any size you want. Here's how we built our 5-ft x 6-ft, single-panel raised beds:

Supplies Needed to build one raised bed
4, 1x6, 8-ft treated wood panels (cost: we paid $5.57 ea at Home Depot)
1, 2x4,- 8 ft treated wood for the corners (we paid $4.17)
16, 2-inch galvanized deck screws

Equipment Needed
Wood saw
Electric screwdriver
Drill and drill bit
Clamps (optional- a handy tool if you want to build it alone)

Putting it all together

Saw the wood: 7-inches long for four corners; two, 5-ft long and two 6-ft long panels
Drill 2 holes per panel on each corner
Add screws to hold together
Move to desired location and fill with soil

Happy Gardening!
Blog post and photos Copyright (C) Wind. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

English Ivy dermatitis. Looks like Poison Ivy! #gardenchat #allergicreaction

English Ivy Dermatitis
Well, it looks like I'm headed to the doctor tomorrow to get a professional look at my severe reaction to English Ivy. Too awful to post a photo of it on a food blog. Trust me, it's terrible! It started out as a few raised bumps on my skin and then it erupted into an awful mess. Now my skin is red, raw and oozing. It turns out that some people react to English Ivy the same way as they do to Poison Ivy. Lucky me! The moral of the story...wear gloves while pulling out English Ivy.

Update: 5/2/16 - well, now I'm not 100% sure it was English Ivy Dermatitis after all. I have noticed that we do indeed have poison ivy popping up in the area with the English ivy... in any case, in all my life of avid gardening I've never had poison ivy. I had no idea it was so bad.

Related Links
English Ivy Dermatitis

Blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Can't Afford to Eat Healthy? @EatRight #eatright #GardenCuizine

Can't Afford to Eat Healthy?

Yes, you can! Look at your receipts from fast food establishments - it's not that cheap. A McDonald's burger, fries and soda may cost more than $6.00 per person. For just $2.00 a meal, people age 12 and older can eat a thrifty, nutritious meal prepared at home from the MyPlate recommended food groups. (The cost is even less for children under age 12) And, for less than $3.00 an even more liberal meal can be enjoyed. Evidence shows that a healthy home cooked meal can be made for less than half of the cost of a typical fast food meal.

The USDA estimates thrifty to liberal meal costs based on the recommended dietary guidelines. Figure out a budget for yourself that works for you and your family. Focus on the quality of your food choices:

  • Plan
  • Get the best price
  • Stock up in season
  • Cook more at home
  • Limit eating out
No excuses - you can eat healthy on a budget!

Coupons posted daily online and in local supermarkets help to reduce the cost of eating healthy even more. And, additional assistance is available for those who qualify from
NJ SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), New Jersey's supplemental nutritional assistance program that can help low-income families buy the groceries they need to eat healthy.

Happy and Healthy Shopping and Cooking!
Related Links
USDA Low Cost Food Plans
Eating Better on a Budget
Eating Better on a Budget - Spanish

Blog post and photo Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Grow More Native Plants, but why? #gardenchat #gardenforwildlife #NJ

Grow Native Plants,
but Why?

This year we hope to add more native plants to our yard and landscape. Like many people, our yard has a mix of invasive, non-native and natives. Harry recently asked me with regard to plants, "What does native mean?" And, why do native plants matter?

Does native mean grown in the state? Or, native to the United States? Or in our case, native to the East Coast? What a good question. It would seem "native" regions would vary depending on water, soil and weather needs for the plant to thrive. 

For those in South Jersey with interest in learning more The book "Bringing Nature Home"  - will be the topic at the Millville Public Library on Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 6 pm. There will be a reading circle hosted by the group CU Maurice River and led by CU member and Rutgers Master Gardener Suzy Merighi.

A good reason for growing more native plants is to sustain biodiversity and provide food for wildlife. Do you enjoy nature and getting outdoors and watching backyard birds, hummingbirds, squirrels, ladybugs and butterflies? Then plant shrubs and blooms that sustain these critters. Clearing trees for housing developments and planting non-native plants deprives local wildlife of habitat and sustenance

The more I learn, the more I cringe, because we are GUILTY of growing invasive, alien, non-native plants. As many of you know, if you read my last post, I mentioned that I relocated a few butterfly bushes; they are a big NO-NO in native gardens. We have too many non-native plants like Burning bushes, Mugwort, English Ivy and Periwinkle.

The good news is that we are trying to grow more natives! Mother Nature will thank us and will thank you too if you do the same. I'm looking forward to planting more Mountain Laurel and may try Highbush Blueberry and Beach Plums. Any other recommendations?

Happy Gardening!

Related Links
Citizens United 2016 Calendar of Events

8th Annual Native Plant SWAP
Galloway, NJ: Saturday, May 7, 2016 (9 am - 2 pm) -- rain or shine!

Pat Sutton's Source List for Native Plants 2016 
Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens by Pat Sutton

Blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Today in Our Garden #NJ #gardenchat #GardenCuizine

Today in Our Garden
South Jersey
USDA Zone 7a (formerly zone 6b)

Yesterday, the hot 79 degree Jersey weather coached more leaves, buds, herbs, veggies and blooms to emerge in our yard and gardens! An asparagus spear surprised me this morning. Nothing beats snacking on a thin, tender spear of raw asparagus snapped at the base fresh from your garden.

Cold air is on the way though that will slow growth down over the next few days. Most hyacinths and daffodils have had plenty of show time already and surely won't mind a little more cold air. In fact, greens like lettuce and arugula prefer cooler temperatures.
Bleeding hearts are pink and pretty. I forgot to look to see if our white bleeding hearts are coming up. Harry's favorite vinca vine is still blooming carpets of purple and makes for a great ground cover wherever planted. Purple money plants are blooming too. 
PJM rhododendron was in full bloom in time to be trimmed for Easter flower arrangements made at church. PJM stems are firm and sturdy; the leaves are a nice chocolate (burgundy tinged) color that work great in arrangements
Our veggie garden has a few straggly arugula that taste good and spicy. We need to get more seed sown outside as soon as I clear away some weeds. Bronze fennel has naturalized and taken over a raised bed all to itself. On the edge of the fennel bed a butterfly bush decided to grow there. Butterfly bushes have shallow roots and can easily be yanked up and disposed of, shared, or moved. I relocated a few yesterday.
The wood in all our raised beds is showing signs of wear and tear and collapsing from rot. I guess I'll have to see about remaking a few myself. We have 6 raised beds that were ordered from a catalog company; they aren't lasting nearly as long as the 2 sturdy mom-made raised beds we have! I'm not very good at building things and mom may be too old now to participate. I'll blog how to build one if I figure out how to. How hard can it be?

Meanwhile indoors, we have coleus cuttings from last summer under grow lights and heirloom seeds sprouting. Just like a watched pot never boils, a watched seed tray seems to take forever to grow. However, seedlings that include dill, tomatoes and basil are growing slowly but surely.

Now is not too late for you to start some seeds indoors too. All you need are seeds (can get some online or at a Garden Center including Home Depot), a pot of dirt, water and a grow light or sunny windowsill!

Happy and Healthy Gardening!
Photos and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.