A GROWING CONCERN: Planting resolutions for a new year

JUST LOOK HOW much difference a week can make.

Already the sun has moved off it’s noon nadir, the daylight length is getting measurably longer and by coincidence, the mercury in the thermometer is getting longer as well.

This welcome increase in weather means now is a great time to consider plants, perennials or bulbs that may be under your eaves, porch or other overhangs.

As the winter rains (and this years snow) persist, many gardeners tend to overlook these small areas where the ground is now getting quite arid.

Make sure to keep these areas watered and moist.

And don’t forget that Christmas tree — dead or alive.

If it is in a stand, keep it well watered and when you are ready to take it down remember these two tricks: First cut off the branches and place them on the ground over areas where bulbs or early emerging perennials, like autumn sedum, mums, delphiniums, lupines or asters are planted.

The cut pine boughs provide shade from the sun. This light mulch will protect these plants from “breaking out” too early in February and possibly avoid late winter freeze damage.

They are also an excellent particle (texture) size in compost and this small amount will not significantly change your soil’s pH.

Second, once you have pruned off the branches you can store the trunk so it will dry out for next year’s use in the fireplace.

This leftover piece of firewood, when burned for the holidays in 2019, becomes the yule log and you will have then recycled the whole tree.

And since were talking about 2019, it is time for me to make a prediction or two and a resolution.

My crystal ball tells me that in light of the current economic conditions and trends of healthy eating, sustainable lifestyles and having a lower carbon footprint, many more people will (or should) be growing their own food.

If ever there was a place on the this planet for Harry and Harriet Homeowner to grow superior produce than what is in the mass outlet store, then the North Olympic Peninsula is that place.

Our growing season is long — green onions, carrots, beets, leeks, radish can all be going now in cold frames. Our cool evenings and northern latitude with the sun low in the horizon means your fruit and vegetables will take longer to mature and ripen.

This factor translates to a higher sugar content (sweeter, crisper) and more concentrated nutrients.

Home organic vegetable gardening will be more in vogue this year, which means you need to buy big supplies, seeds and materials early because the new hordes will be looking as well.

New knowledge may be needed to help with this endeavor, and lucky for you, there are a few excellent sources.

Then too, do not miss the fabulous Northwest Flower and Garden Show at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Feb. 20-24.

This years theme is “Gardens of the World.” Having been to 54 countries around the world and being that plagiarism is the second oldest profession in the world, you do not want to miss this gardening event.

There is still space as well on the “PDN Garden Bus” on Feb. 20, opening day. Call me at 360-417-1639 for details.

It will feature the largest collection of seeds, supplies, books, speakers, information, displays and ideas you will ever encounter under one roof.

And as for my resolution, I resolve to dig deep back in my archives of articles and figure out what subjects I have overlooked.

I resolve not to just write on new information, but to also temper the year’s columns to reflect the trend in sustainable, organic, xerscaping (drought tolerant) home produce and eco-friendly yards.

Then we can all join the force to save money, eat healthier, pollute less and live better.

I wish a very happy New Year to each and everyone of you, and may all of your thumbs be green.

________

Andrew May is an ornamental horticulturist who dreams of having Clallam and Jefferson counties nationally recognized as “Flower Peninsula USA.” Send him questions c/o Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or email [email protected] (subject line: Andrew May).

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