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Saturday, February 27, 2010


HELLO from your Garden Daddy here at the garden home! While attending and helping present today at the 2010 W. TN Home, Lawn & Garden Show here in Jackson, TN, I came upon some information that was in a presentation yesterday about Lasagna Gardening. No, not growing food that goes in a vegetable lasagna but it means the "style" in which you actually plan & plant your garden plot. I am going to attach it here for your usage and your enjoyment

If you click on the pages above you will open them in a larger window for readability and may feel free to copy at your discretion. You might find this NO TILL approach to gardening a good idea for those of you either with limited physical ability to till or dig large plots at a time or just for the sheer savings it gives, in that one can actually do what I call live, real time composting instead of waiting about a year on your compost pile to work off to usable product. One might find this to work in many cases and in my case this is a lot of what I am doing in my veggie patch as I even write this post. My vegetable patch is currently under about 8" of leaves, pine straw and grass clippings that I applied all last fall after clearing off the garden area and removing the stakes, fencing, etc., in the garden area. I applied about one half of my entire yard of leaves and all of my pine straw from last fall along with late season grass clippings to this area and what I intend to do is use that area under this composting plot by opening up areas large enough to plant my tomatoes in first on the perimeter of the garden area. Then I will rake back some areas into rows and work my plants and seeds into these spots and then pull the straw, etc. back up around the young plants, using this not only as a natural weed block but as the material rots and makes itself back into soil again as it breaks down into usable, soluble material I will redress as needed with other organic material or possibly artificial fertilizers or go revisit my friend that has horses and cattle in Friendship, TN for a truck load of product.
Talking about the W. TN Home, Lawn & Garden Show this weekend here in Jackson, I was a little disappointed in the booths that were represented this year. It seems it has gone mostly toward landscapers who bring in lots of rock and waterworks, etc. and a few home improvement folks and a few plant/tree vendors. Not much of anything else like when I first attended one of these in 2007. I did not see our local utility company, Jackson Energy Authority, did not as far as I could see, have a booth. That was disappointing as I was hoping to see them present their composting and mulching products I have mentioned before here in these postings. Yes, a little disappointing!
But I was able to locate some fruit trees at a very good price for my middle brother, 12 fruit trees & 2-free dogwood trees from my MG's. He plans to make his property into a feeding lot for his wife and himself, providing fruit from spring thaw thru frost I think is his/their plan.
I will leave you then today, this 27th day of February (I cannot believe tomorrow is the last day of this month already now) with our ongoing gardening affirmation: "GARDENING: ONE YARD AT A TIME!"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


HELLO to you all from your Garden Daddy here at the garden home! I have some things I wanted to share today, though this may take a few days to compile in one thought & writing. I want to remind everyone that one must treat his gardening almost like someone running a race. You are racing against EVERYTHING - weather, water, sun, warmth, cold, pests & pets, personal issues, time...especially and I guess that is really the greatest issue here is TIME! Planning, planting and harvesting whether it be fruit/vegetables or blossoms or just taking in the beauty on the stem, your race is against time and all it brings each season. Preparing and implementing your plan against all odds and making it really work is the true marathon and what gets us gardeners really going.
Since this is the last week of February, I want to get you to really get out this next week, March 1st, and get in the yard and get some tools out and get those beds cleaned out and prepare for side-dressing your flower beds with either your own homemade compost, find a friend with a good horse or cattle barn and beg some good fertilizer to add in or do what I add in with MY OWN composted material here at the garden home and check with your local utility company to see if they have what we have here in Jackson for purchase. My local utility, Jackson Energy Authority, takes our yard waste, grass clippings, limbs piled in yards for refuse pickup and leaves taken to the street or lined up in bags for public pickup and grinds all this stuff up, adds some sawdust and sand and then adds the dried and pasteurized waste water (sewage), piles it up to "cook off" after pasteurizing, then when it meets government standards for heat and purification they sell you back your own trash you already paid them to pick up from your own yard. I buy probably 4-5 pick up truck loads of this stuff a year and is it ever wonderful. They offer both "leaf compost" & wood chips. Either is good and I also use this for my potted plants on my deck and on from front entry stoop, as well as added into both flower and vegetable beds. Here is the website for better and further information for those of you here in Jackson or those interested in maybe passing this on to your local utility concerns:
I am so ready to get back outside and begin again on my own gardening marathon here at the garden home. I already feel I am behind for 2010 in that area and look forward to another wonderful garden season. I hope and plan to put my new found sense of "educated authority" from my UT Internship this past fall to very good use and look forward to helping and guiding you in any area(s) you feel you might need a little tip or some investigation on my part. Even those of you who had rather remain anonymous may feel free to contact your Garden Daddy via my email here and I will be happy to add what I can. I have also realized some of my plants are putting out "babies" around, either from seeds or runners or self-layering. I hope to share some of these as I can with anyone interested. I saw recently I have an abundance of very small Nandina (nandina domestica), often called "Heavenly Bamboo" not at all related to bamboo at all though. These have come up from the red berries they have had for the past few years since I arrived here at my garden home. These are the large variety, not dwarf size, which I like the larger ones better. I will remind you here that one does not trim these like hedge. They bloom and then produce their wonderful red berries on NEW growth. One must trim them very carefully as not to prune like a hedge. Let them be more natural and just cut or break off some of the tops after blooming and fruiting in late fall/winter. Leave the berries on during winter for good winter color and the birds here just love them when pickings are scarce as well as they look wonderful used in floral arrangements during the holiday season.

Well enough of this ranting for today. I just had some things I wanted to pass on to you and there you have it. So I leave you today with our ongoing gardening affirmation: "GARDENING: ONE YARD AT A TIME!"

Sunday, February 21, 2010


HELLO from your Garden Daddy here at the garden home! It is with joy and great pleasure I report today of the wonderful temperatures we have been experiencing over this past few days. Now we are getting unusual 60+ degree temperatures in the daytime and this morning it was in the low 40's at 6:00am. We have not had this kind of weather for so long and today was the first day in many-many weeks that I only wore 1-pair of socks instead of a white cotton pair under my regular dark socks! I am thrilled with this except that starting again tomorrow, Monday, Feb. 22, 2010, we are going back into the 40's for highs again. But I will take full advantage of this today for sure.
I should be able to go retrieve the gift of the picket fencing I was given from a neighbor at some rental property they own, all for the sake of just going and getting it. That is the start and basis of the new vegetable garden I am laying out this year. Once I get the 4 x 4's in place and set then I can install the fence panels. I am so anxious to get this project done. It should give my veggie patch the look I want and keep little "Max" from trying to terrorize the neighbors' white Shepperd that is very calm and docile but "Max" seems to want to jump his head and create a backyard "fight club" with him. "Max" of course is only 13lbs, being a Silky Terrier, or as I call him a silky terror, as he envisions himself to be about 80lbs instead. I will use the interior perimeter around the entire area to plant and support my tomato plants on the inside of the fence area and then plant the middle with the rows of other vegetables, flowers and herbs I want and usually have to offer in my neighborhood gifting of homegrown vegetables.
Now, you are probably asking yourself what kind of winter gardening should I be doing here in the middle of what should be a long, cold winter that is still ahead of us all, right? The end of February/first of March is the perfect time to begin some projects for either future completion or to prep some areas of the garden to get a head start. You can use these milder, late winter days to build that rock wall, install a fence, clean out your gutters again from winter leaves clogging them before the heavy spring rains hit...there are numerous projects to work on. You can start to prune some of your trees if you have not already done so. FYI: REMEMBER, NO CRAPE MURDER! That is do not trim your crape myrtles where they look like 3 or 4 sticks there and nothing else. The place I work has done just that. They have let the property management company that handles our landscaping completely ruin our crape myrtles. You want to just trim out the old bloom heads if any are left and basically just shape the tree. Read the following attachment and learn the best way(s) to care for your crape myrtle and enjoy them for years to come :
You can prune your fruit trees if you have not done so but do it carefully as this years buds are really already forming and preparing to shoot up. Do this only this time of year if there has been severe winter storm, ice or other foul weather damage to your fruit trees. Otherwise just live with what you have for this spring and then trim as needed in the late fall or NEXT November 2010 after the leaves and sap are down. But you can prune back other items at this time. Lower tree limbs on most other shade trees are still very dormant and have not at this stage started putting out buds of any kind yet, here in Jackson, TN anyway. Some other yard clean up you can do when weather permits is to go ahead and clean up your day lily beds and get the old brown, dead foliage out of your beds and ready to side dress with your compost from your last years compost bin. Get the remainder of your leaves out and added to your NEW compost pile you should be starting almost anytime now. All in all other than some trimming go ahead and start your yard clean up any time after March 1st here in our area of Zone #7 and get a jump on your neighbors. Go ahead as well and get some of those seeds out and started in some flats in the house or the basement if you plan to "grow from seed" some of the long season items. This could give you some many weeks ahead on items such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc., that you can transplant into your cold frame later on in the late spring when weather permits. So I feel I have given you some ideas to at least get you started and then just keep checking back with your Garden Daddy for new and updated ideas at time draws near and projects are needed.
Remember the upcoming West Tennessee Home & Garden Show dates of Feb. 26-28Th here in Jackson: West Tennessee Lawn and Garden Show; Jackson Fairgrounds Park, 800 South Highland Avenue; Downtown Jackson (Madison County) - The Lawn and Garden show promises the newest in landscaping, home building, and home improvement. Admission is $5 per day, children 12 and under are free. Friday 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Saturday 9:00 am to 7:00 pm; Sunday 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. For more info, call 731-664-6161.
I leave you today with our ongoing and forever Garden Daddy original affirmation: "GARDENING: ONE YARD AT A TIME"

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


HELLO again from your Garden Daddy here at the garden home! I will never get the veggie patch re-structured and the new fencing project in place if this weather keeps up! Based on a weather report last week on the television program "AG DAY", this section of the country and especially our Zone 7 (Remember, I have mentioned that Madison County and this section of the 'Hub City' area of Tennessee are really in a zone all our own, often Zone 6, 7 & 8 all at once!) is in for below average temperatures over the next 90-days or so. Look for more of what we are getting now, as I also predicted early last fall. Winter weather like we have not seen here in many years. Snow, ice, sleet, freezing rain...just plain old nasty winter time is here and not looking to let up soon. We will have some mild days still before the official spring but not like we normally have had over the last many years.
I give you another peak at this garden home earlier today and leave you with this thought in mind for your daily gardening affirmation: "Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle ... a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream."- Barbara Winkler

Monday, February 8, 2010


HELLO from your Garden Daddy here at the garden home! This is just too good to be true. This past week, Friday, 02/05/2010, I received a note from someone who had been sent a copy of the newspaper article that was published November 29, 2009, during the LANA Holiday Home Tour about this garden home and your Garden Daddy. It was from the cousin of one of the families who had lived, loved each other and grew up in this home. I was thrilled to say the least. But even with that, there is more...much more! Today, Monday, 02/08/2010, I received a long letter with an old photograph of this garden home from one of the actual children, now much grown and moved on, whose family lived here from about 1939 until the late 1980's. Her letter was filled with information & details I have wondered about and more than that, I felt the love, wisdom and just plain joy and wonderment that came from her life here at this garden home. In fact she told me how she helped her family plant the now 60+ year old Dogwood trees that line my street, now large and giving a canopy of white in late March/early April that mark this block of Division Ave with the grandeur, grace and elegance I have longed for in my home and am reaping the results of this little girls' work and worry. She related to me in the letter how she would dig the dirt around them, bring them water and add her encouragement for growth, when now they are oh so lovely! Look at this photo she sent me!
This first photo was taken before the yellow siding was added and the house was white and the Dogwoods were in bloom. I was in heaven with this information today. So being the ever inquisitive sleuth, I got her phone number online and called and we had a marvelous conversation, ending with plans to meet and visit when she comes to Tennessee from out of state this summer. I was so thrilled to not only correct some misinformation from the library but to get some explanations about certain "scars" and other structural identities that have been questions in my mind for these past years.
With new friends, new history and knowing in person who has lived in and loved this home, I will go forward with a renewed sense of belonging here even more and to all of you, you may know that your home IS NOT just a roof and walls, but it is a reflection of all you hold dear and have loved and have lost and a MEMORY of that fact you were here. I missed that feeling for many years in the past, even as a child, but in these few short years in MY garden home I have recaptured a sense belonging and owning and sharing something that I know shows pride and joy and love to both give and receive.
In these thoughts with you, I leave you with this garden home affirmation: “Home, the spot of earth supremely blest, A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest”...Robert Montgomery


HELLO to all of you from your Garden Daddy here at the garden home! Well, last Thursday night, Feb. 04, 2010, I attended the monthly meeting of the Madison County TN. Master Gardeners. It was graduation night and many-many were recognized for outstanding yearly service, lifetime achievement service, intern graduation for educational work completed and master gardeners were officially awarded their credentials from the previous year. Your Garden Daddy was among those recognized for completion of my educational requirements and training in the effort to become a 2011 graduate as a full fledged Certified Master Gardener here in Tennessee.

It was a wonderful night, with reunions of those of my intern group who had not been together for some months and it was a delight to be in our "zone" once again. Four of our group were also graduated in full, having completed their education time and their volunteer hours as well. I just could not work it in to my schedule this past fall, with all the rehab I did on this garden home and doing the class time and working as well. I just could not do it and survive to tell the story. I cannot tell you how proud a moment it was for me to have the realization that I can give you here in these lines some comfort knowing that somewhere either filed in my mind or in my paperwork I have the tools and knowledge to not only send you some guidance but some insight into some future projects that I might inspire you to do on your own as well. It was an idea from some years ago when I first heard and spoke with some MG's about their program that came into reality for me this past year and I have not felt so good about an accomplishment for many years in that this old dog learned some new tricks! As "GARDEN DADDY" comes into full growth somewhere down the road, I hope to receive your questions and give your needs and concerns full time attention!
I will update you on this never ending winter weather here in West Tennessee, where here again today we are getting hit with yet more snow. Not as much as last week but enough to be nasty and somewhat dangerous. I hope every one remains safe this time as well. Due to our weather I have not been able to work in the actual revamping of the veggie plot even though the plans are drawn and ready to implement. So while I wait, I prepare for this months LANA meeting (Lambuth Area Neighborhood Association) where the new president of Lambuth University will go over his vision for the school and how to bring it back to better days without closing the doors.
So until our next time together, I wish you well and hope you are building those bird houses and ordering seeds and working on your spring planting ideas and what new things to try. Please remember to add at least one thing new to your garden plantings this year. It not only tests your abilities to try something new and surprising but add some vision to your garden home with the excitement of seeing that new bloom or new growth spring up to the wonder and enjoyment of all that share your garden views.
And as always, remember your ongoing daily gardening affirmation from your Garden Daddy here at the garden home: "GARDENING: ONE YARD AT A TIME!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


HELLO from your Garden Daddy here at the garden home! I have been thinking ahead already, with all these snowy days and cabin fever at an all time high, about the many preps I must do during this cold weather to get this garden home ready for spring and the do-ahead chores that will help the transition to that time of year. With so many days this winter season where one cannot get outside for long stretches at a time, this is the perfect time to start your birdhouse projects. I will attach several sites with house plans for an assortment of our feathered neighbors that one can do in a relative short time frame when you will only get a few hours of good weather outside just now. The cutting & sawing can be done after you have made your pattern(s) inside and then return the cut pieces to the inside warmth of the house or your garage and glue & nail together and paint or stain as needed.
Birds not only eat insects that can negatively influence your flower and vegetable production but they are quite the little entertainers and make your yard come alive with wildlife and add enjoyment to all who view their visual splendor. Make several different types of houses so you can increase your chances to attract a variety of species. Do not forget to make a few of the "platform" type of nesting ledges that many of our Jackson, TN and birds of the Mid-South like here in our area. These work mainly for Morning Doves, Robins, Phoebes and a few Jays will most often use this type of nesting site.
Here are two of my favorite sites that give easy to read and design houses that I think you might get some use out of. I hope you will follow this advice and give a little gift to your own garden home guests that come and give you so much enjoyment. If you are like me, there are plenty of scraps of lumber and lots of nails and screws to make any of these projects listed in these sites. Remember when building to make some area on the house, either the roof or the bottom or a side panel one where you have it hinged to make for easier cleaning out once your fledglings have "flown the coop". If you clean this out immediately after the first brood leaves and replace it quickly, you can often get a second setting of eggs and even a third in some areas and certain conditions being perfect (such as food & water availability, etc.).

(This is part of the site from the USGS, the United States Geological Society)

(This site gives you the home page and then you can pull down from the top heading under "Houses & Feeders" and find plans, dimensions, etc., as well as coloring pages for the kids, other birding information, etc.)
I leave you today with this gardening affirmation in mind today: "There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before." Robert Lynd