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My Love of Gardening

(...scroll down for tips, articles, and many helpful website links!!!)

My Garden in Early Spring

As I am an avid gardener desperately trying to grow vegetables and flowers successfully in this wonderful Northwest weather of ours, I thought that I would share with you some of my gardening resources.  For my fellow gardeners out there, I will update the articles to include tips and advise I myself have found to be both helpful and successful.  I will also continue to add any helpful links and resources that I have come across to help make your gardening experience as enjoyable and worry-free as possible. ~ Jeanette

Eat for less! Grow your own fruits & vegetables: 

Toilet Planter

A little about me:
In 2006, I built a garden consisting of two 7' x 7' raised beds for my annual vegetables & herbs, a 3' x 20' perennial vegetable garden along the fence line, and several flower beds throughout the yard.  I also tend to keep several pots surrounding the garden, as I never seem to have qite enough room in the garden.  I do try to grow as organically as possible.  The garden has been very successful for a variety of annuals such as lettuce (being a cold weather crop, this grows well nearly year round, and there are so many kinds!) zucchinis, tomatoes, carrots, onion sets, and my personal favorite - cucumbers (they taste entirely different straight from the vine!) just to name a few.  I  have asparagus (although not enough for a meal yet...) rhubarb, and artichokes in my perennial bed.  I like to fill all around them with gladiolas and other tall flowers for my peas to climb.  I stained and finished a wood bench & tables, added a painted trellis, gravel walkways, and I recently added a toilet planter in the corner.  I now have my very own little sanctuary right here in my back yard.  Quite an improvement from when there was remodeling debris everywhere! That is now all confined behind a fence where I can't see it behind my garden, and although it doesn't give my husband much room left to work with - when the wife is happy, everyone is happy!


Need specific plant ideas?  www.ProvenWinners.com has a great plant search tool that narrows down your results based on specific things like shade or sun, hanging, etc..  It then shows you pictures and details about each plant to help narrow down your search even further - before making that trip to the greenhouse.  No more struggling to read those tiny plant labels in the store!


And check this out:  www.Learn2Grow.com has information on everything from plant care and instruction, to a landscape design tool!  Kind of fun...and a wealth of information. 

 Rules of Thumb for Pruning Flowering Shrubs

Pruning is a source of confusion and worry to many gardeners.  How and when to prune are two of the most common questions asked of gardening experts.  Luckily a few simple guidelines provide good advice for growing most types of flowering shrubs.

Rule of Thumb Number One: Don’t Prune.  Many gardeners labor under the belief that they must prune regularly to keep their shrubs in good condition.  Not true.  Most shrubs need only one significant pruning session a year and many don’t even need that.  Pruning common shrubs like lilacs, forsythia and burning bush into tight mounds is not only unnecessary but isn’t that great for the plants, either.  Many flowering shrubs will look their best when allowed to grow in their natural form or habit.  Frequent shearing encourages lots of surface branching, possibly resulting in an unhealthy structure and reduced flowering.  If you really want a tightly sheared look in your garden, choose a plant that is suited to it, such as boxwood. 

Rule of Thumb Number Two: Prune Spring Flowering Shrubs After Flowering. 
Plants that bloom in early spring usually produce their flower buds the year before.  The buds over-winter on the previous year’s growth and open in spring.  If you prune these spring bloomers in fall or winter you’ll remove the flower buds and won’t have flowers that year.  The plants will be ok, but you’ll miss a year of blooms.  Most of these plants don’t need heavy pruning every year, just some selective thinning of branches to give them a nice shape. 

Rule of Thumb Number Three: Prune Summer Flowering Shrubs In Late Winter or Early Spring.
Many summer flowering shrubs bloom on the current year’s growth.  Pruning them back in later winter encourages them to produce lots of new growth that summer and will result in more flowers.  Don’t be afraid to cut fast growing plants, such as buddleia or caryopteris, down to as little as 10-12” tall.  The exception to this rule is Hydrangeas.  See Rule Number Four for more on that. 

Rule of Thumb Number Four: Hydrangeas.  Hydrangeas alone account for at least half the pruning questions in gardening advice forums.  Some bloom on ‘old wood’ (see Rule Number Two) while others bloom on ‘new wood’ (Rule Number Three.)  You’ll need to identify what kind of hydrangea you have and follow the appropriate rule.  Hydrangea macrophylla, the ones with big blue or pink flowers, and Hydrangea quercifolia, oakleaf hydrangeas, both bloom on old wood.  The little pruning they need should be done immediately after flowering.  Hydrangea paniculata, which have white, conical flowers, and Hydrangea arborescens, such as ‘Annabelle’, bloom on new wood.  They’ll produce better flowers if cut back in late winter.Rule of Thumb Number Five: It’s OK to Trim Anytime.  Really. 
Gardeners are often confronted with stray shoots and branches in late summer and worry about removing them.  Go ahead and cut them back.  The plant won’t be damaged by removing a branch or two.      

In summary, relax.  Your landscape plants don’t need as much pruning as you may think.  If you’d rather go to the beach than shear back your landscape plants, go right ahead.  The only potentially tricky part of pruning is determining when to trim a particular plant.  For a quick review, prune summer bloomers in late winter and spring bloomers right after flowering – just check the hydrangea rule before you trim them.  Stray or broken branches can be trimmed back any time.  If you do make a mistake, plants are very forgiving.  You may miss a season of flowers but the plant will recover for the next year.

help@GardenHotline.org ; www.GardenHotline.org



TIP: The USDA has released an updated version of the Plant Hardiness Zone Map, with adjusted zones and more helpful online features.
The USDA Hardiness Zone Map divides North America into 11 separate zones; each zone is 10°F warmer (or colder) in an average winter than the adjacent zone. If you see a hardiness zone in a catalog or plant description, chances are it refers to the USDA map. To find your USDA Hardiness Zone, go to http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/


"Grow smart, Grow safe!"
A consumer guide to lawn and garden products - 600 pest controls and fertilizers reviewed for health and environmental hazards
This link puts this information at your fingertips, as well as a downloadable guide:

USE RAIN BARRELS TO CONSERVE WATER! see: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20405190,00.html?xid=grnewsletter-110706-rain-barrels 


See our listing: https://rainwise.seattle.gov/city/seattle/vendors#p-v=1&per-v=10&h-v=2701408005&sort-v=alpha&s-v=vs15

For information about Seattle's Residential RainWise Program, as well as general information on conservation and gardening/landscaping: 

For Plant Identification, Rainwater Management, Landscaping and Green Roof Info.: http://www.seattle.gov/util/About_SPU/Drainage_&_Sewer_System/GreenStormwaterInfrastructure/ResourcesforResidents/index.htm

Just let us know if you would like help with your yard. Smile




How about "elevating your gardening game" by having raised garden beds similar to mine?

About raised garden beds:
Advantages include:

  • Less stooping when planting, weeding and harvesting.
  • Depending on the style of garden bed, you can sit on the edge as you work.
  • You can control soil quality well, mixing exactly the types of soils and materials that you want and not relying on what the good Earth gives.
  • Garden beds look good, giving your gardens a tidy appearance.

Just give us a call, and we will help you design & install something that fits both you and your space.  It's what I love to do!


Jeanettes Tip-of-the-Day: 

On average, women use 5 products to clean their homes during the week. But you don’t need an arsenal of cleaners to do the job, so save yourself a dime by skipping those toxic cleaners...

 The Basic Ten Green Cleaning Products

Here are "The Basic Ten" products you can use to clean just about anything, courtesy of GreenAmerica.org:
1) White vinegar: An antifungal that also kills germs and bacteria.
2) Baking soda: Eliminates odors and works as a gentle scouring powder.
3) Borax: Borax, the common name for the natural mineral compound sodium borate, eliminates odors, removes dirt, and acts as an antifungal and possible disinfectant. Use with care around children and pets, as it can be toxic if swallowed.
4) Hydrogen peroxide (3% concentration): A great nontoxic bleach and stain remover, as well as a proven disinfectant.
5) Club soda (fresh): A stain remover and polisher.
6) Lemon juice: A pleasant-smelling nontoxic bleach, grease-cutter, and stain remover.
7) Liquid castile soap: An all-purpose cleaner, grease-cutter, and disinfectant. “Castile” means the soap is vegetable-based, not animal-fat-based.
8) Corn meal: Great at picking up carpet spills. (I did not know this!)
9) Olive oil: Makes a wonderful furniture polish.
10) Pure essential oils: Adding all-natural, organic essential oils to your cleaning concoctions can add wonderful scents to your housekeeping endeavors. Some—such as lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and tea tree oils—also may have antibacterial, antifungal, or insect-repelling properties.

Take Small Steps Over Time to Transition Your Home into a Green One

The thought of transitioning your home into a green home may sound daunting or even expensive. Instead of trying to do it all at once, develop a strategic plan that you and your family can implement over a period of time. Set goals along the way and make small but significant changes as you can.

Stop receiving all of that junk mail! www.CatalogChoice.org

Annual mammograms are recommended for woman over 40...they can even come to you! http://www.seattlecca.org/mobile-mammography-service.cfm

This page is really just for fun, and a way to share with anyone who might be interested...but if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to Contact Me

McCready Remodeling * 2304 NE 9th ST. Renton, WA 98056 * Phone: (425) 271-6453 * Fax: (425) 271-6453

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