Category Archives: Problems

65 Degrees at Christmas- My Bulbs are Sprouting

Welcome to Christmas season 2015 and in Central Virginia a time of spring-like temperatures have delivered a very warm and unseasonable Christmas holiday.

Now the lack of fireplace use and chestnut is not the only concern with this weather,especially if you are a gardener.

This warm weather has caused many trees to begin budding early and many flowering bulbs have sprouted after the short cold period early in the fall.

Will the flowers be ruined for spring time color? Will they be damaged?

What about the trees? AND

Is there anyting we can do to counter the problem?


There is not much threat of damage if the bulbs do not flower and only the green leaves sprout. There is a good chance that the flower will arrive in spring , though it may be ealier than is the norm. Do not to do anything to try and help the bulbs. The flowers are still inside the bulbs.

Mulching is not recommended as this may kill the plant and bulb and prevent future growth. A heavy spread of frozen mulch can do more damage than strange weather. Now a light spread of compost or composted mulch around and on the leaves might be helpful – I would suggest that the leaves still be visible and open to the sun. Photosynthesis cn still occur and the bulbs will remain viable. You may still lose the bloom this year but the bulb will survive to produce another season.

There is even less that can be done for trees that have begin to Bud Out.

Be patient, enjoy the weather since snow shovels may be needed soon enough and this warmth will be gone.


Beautiful Deer -Unwelcome Visitors in The Garden

Deer are beautiful creatures and they roam freely throughout the USA and they can be challenging co-habitants of our gardens. They love to eat our greenery and fruits and generally wreak havoc in gardens and landscapes. BUT the buffet can be limited. 

FIRST THINGS FIRST-Unless you plan on building a FORTRESS of Solitude, Accept some losses and share with our fuzzy friends.


Young deer- looking for food?

Now that you accepted that premise what can you do to the  limit losses?

There are 3 basics- Barriers, Repellents,  and Scare tactics.

1. One option is to use less “tasty” plants in the garden BUT since many of the deer faves are also ours we need to plant to block their lunch.  

Barriers –   A.  Plant large, sprawling deer repellent varieties such as thick hedges of boxwoods or short needle spruces around the borders of your garden.

B. Plant hairy or thorny plants on the perimeter and near crops you want to protect. Plants like fuzzy lamb’s ear, barberries, and cleome are a good place to start. One perimeter location to focus on is any entrance spot. Though roses are a favored snack- some roses are particularly thorny, built for self-defense and are an attractive fence.


Jumping a Low fence

C. The obvious barrier option is to install a fence at least 6 feet high but since deer are capable jumpers a fence of 7-9 feet would be useful.

Repellents – 1. The first step is to plant strongly scented herbs—garlic, chives, mint and lavender (left)—can mask the appealing aroma of nearby snacks.  Many of these are also useful in the garden to prevent many insects. AND they are delicious and useful crops.

 2. There are some specific repellents to make and use that include

*fabric softener strips and/or wrapped bars of soap from trees

*hot pepper sprays 

*garlic and rotten egg mixtures

*ammonia soaked rags

*bags of hair ( or spread on the ground)  {call your barber/hairdresser} 

*blood meal
Most these are applied as a spray and should be covered from the ground and up the plants and around the perimeter. Most of these are water soluble and should be reapplied after rainfall. It may also be a good idea to rotate the sprays so the deer don’t develop a tolerance to the irritants.  Many of these are available in commercially packaged formulas. 

Most of these are water soluble and should be reapplied after rainfall. It may also be a good idea to rotate the sprays so the deer don’t develop a tolerance to the irritants.


Still healthy without Your smorgasbord.

Thoughts ideas- borrowed from the web/brain of others

I am dying to jump into the garden- tomorrows morning run will include a 30 minute visit to the garden plot and some work…..(CROSS-TRAINING anyone? )


Helping friends with a garden and have a few stumps to play with so the following may be good idea.

Also concerned with heavy rain/flooding that we dealt with last year. I have added a 2nd layer of wooden pallets to raised the beds even more- here are some more ideas.


Always glad to find pallet ideas for garden and home-


Some pallets for double decker raised bed(burlap bags for weed control)

Snowy day- Garden Planning, Reading and Dreaming


I spent a little time at my garden plot yesterday – dropping off coffee grounds from the coffee shop and mixing with dried leaves as I build up the beds for spring and summer.

The beds being developed are for beans, peas and squash. They will also have poles/teepees to climb and maximize the space.

My favorite poles are bamboo cut from a local “wild”patch.

I have been thinking of adding some potatoes to the garden this year. This is just for fun since they are quite inexpensive to buy at the Farmers Market- BUT they are such a rewarding plant. I have seen a few plans for building towersto maximize the growth of spuds in small spaces- The following was the first I found on a random search.

I am also adding a 2nd layer of wooden pallets to raise the beds in the garden to provide for deeper roots and protect against the flooding like we had last year. Hopefully I will grow some full sized veggies this year , rather than the stunted babies I got last year.



Some of the following ideas I found with a quick search. I may add starwberries as well as potatoes. Pallets make great sense for this sweet treat.

This article has a lot of fun ideas- many of which i have seen and read and tried in the past.


Summer not over but losing plants and Having Questions

Sad day at garden yesterday. The cucumber plant that has produced some nice fruits finally gave up and died. I got 1 last cuke from it but it is a bummer. Image

It was having some problems over the last few weeks and I trimmed a few vines and leaves off but was not sure what was worng and how to save it.
Must do some reading about cucumbers and the diseases/ enemies.

The other fun item in the garden that has concerned me in the weird and under-grown sunflowers.
I planted seeds for 2 different types and they took off initially but they never seemed to grow. The only ones that grew are no more than 18″ tall and the flowers are only 2-3″ across.                      Image

Bad soil, Too much water,too little feed, bad seeds, wrong seeds?

I have a fall plan to build up the soil- something I could never do since I got into the garden in early spring.

Mulch, grass, leaves, compost and soil will do the OVER-winter build up and hopefully give us a great soil next spring.

The soil seems to start plenty of plants quickly and heavily- but they seems to back off.