The Yellow Farmhouse Garden

November 30, 2012

Bringing in Rosemary for Winter

Filed under: Herbs — bob @ 4:34 pm

Last spring, I had a rosemary plant in a six inch pot that over-wintered in the garage.  It looked like it could use a vacation, so, I took it out of its pot and planted it directly into the garden.

While in the garden, it suffered the regular abuse that you expect a rosemary plant to endure.  Whenever I needed rosemary for cooking, I pulled off  leaves. Also, I tore off a few stems to use for starting some new plants from cuttings. It certainly didn’t get coddled during the summer.

Some stems look vigorous while others look stressed on my rosemary.

This fall it survived those nights when the temperatures  dipped down into the teens. Normally, rosemary can’t deal with our harsh winter temperatures. I have in the past, had one or two, by chance,  survive a mild winter.

This week, I finally decided to dig and re-pot this tough little plant. Despite all of the abuse and neglect, the roots grew large enough to fill a 12 inch pot. Also, the dead and damaged stems needed some pruning.  Otherwise, it looks to be in pretty good shape.

I was careful to leave the root-ball intact when digging my rosemary.

The plant grew large enough to need this 12 inch recycled plastic pot.

My plan is to let it rest in our cool, dimly lit garage over winter, just like last year and plant it out in the garden again next spring.


November 16, 2012

Lime Garden in the Fall

Filed under: Fertilizers,Soil — bob @ 6:06 pm

The weather people are predicting a string of nice days through the weekend and into next week.  Many of us will looking for things to do out in the yard and garden.

Because November is the ideal time to apply lime,  this weekend would be a good time to check the pH of your garden soil.  If you have been fertilizing your garden regularly for several years in a row, the chances are your soil may need lime.

Lime is a calcium-based soil amendment that farmers and gardeners use to sweeten garden soil — raise the soil pH.

It’s not a good idea to just guess if your soil pH is low, your soil has to be tested. Fortunately, this is one test you can do yourself with a pH test kit from a garden center. These kits are pretty accurate. Just make sure you buy a fresh test kit because the test-chemicals will get old over time and produce an inaccurate reading.

There are several different types of lime and each type has a different application rate.  Don’t worry though, all lime containers have application instructions printed on them. The amounts are usually given in pounds per 100 square feet or 1,000 square feet depending on the size of the bag.

In many cases a five pound bag of lime will be all you need to treat 100 square feet of soil.

Keep in mind, that sandy soils need liming more frequently than loam or clay soils.

Lawns too, will benefit from a fall application of lime if the soil pH tests low.

So, there’s your excuse to head out to the garden center, pick up some supplies and get some productive work done in your garden.


November 2, 2012

My New Potato Digging Fork

Filed under: Tools and Equipment — bob @ 9:38 am

Earlier this week I was out in the garden digging the last of my potatoes.  I had the cold northern winds from hurricane Sandy to keep me company. So that gave me the incentive to get the job done before lunch.

I got a chance to use the antique potato-digging fork I found at an estate sale this summer. It’s a rather hefty tool with several heavy steel tines.  While I was standing in line to pay for it, a guy offered to buy it from me so his son could use it to spread bark mulch. If his son knew, I’m sure he would thank me for not selling it to his Dad. Then, a lady told me she wanted to take it apart and have a blacksmith bend it into a coat-hook. I was glad to save it from that fate.

At first, it was a real struggle wrestling that beast of a tool. I almost traded it for my lighter weight garden fork but decided to keep going.

The secrete I found was to use the weight of that steel to my advantage. By directing the downward force of the tool into the garden soil, I was able lift many more spuds with each forkful than with my garden fork.

I got the job done before lunch and have about 150 pounds of potatoes stored for the winter. The potato-fork has earned a permanent spot in garden tool collection.

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