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Gardening

Building an edible forest that mimics nature and may even fix environmental damage

An edible forest sounds like something out of Willy Wonka. Ripening pears and bright berries drip from trees. Branches brim with cherries, blackberries and blueberries.     The food forest is an idea ripe for the picking. It’s an idea Birgit Sharp, of Fairhaven, is already planting.

Put those seed catalogs to good use

Perhaps you have received seed catalogs for the coming spring planting season. On the the front and back cover you will likely be encouraged to order early to receive bonuses or discounts. Many seed companies also offer free shipping for early orders. You can save quite a bit if you take advantage of these special offers.

Planning for spring starts now

Calvert Garden Club awards mini-grants of $100 to $1,000 to local non-profits to Beautify Calvert County.     Last year, when the grant theme was educating a new generation, a $750 grant to Mt. Harmony Elementary School funded a vegetable garden and wildflower bed.     Apply by Feb. 1: calvertgardenclub.com.

Anne Arundel County offers just the right raw ingredients

Anne Arundel County has more horses than any other county in the nation. It follows that we also have more horse manure. Some of that horse manure occupies precious landfill space or is dumped near streams, thus contributing to Bay pollution.

Your pot must runneth over

By now your houseplants are adjusting to winter life inside. Or not. Many potted houseplants fail to grow properly because they are never watered properly. Here’s the right way.     Every watering should be so ample that an excess of water drips from the bottom of the pot. Of course the pot should have drainage holes in its bottom and sit in a saucer to protect the furniture or windowsill. 

Santa’s a gardener himself, so he knows what’s on your list

T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the yard The branches were bare and the ground frozen hard. The roses were dormant and mulched all around; To protect them from damage if frost heaves the ground. The perennials were nestled all snug in their beds; While visions of compost danced in their heads. The new-planted shrubs had been soaked by the hose; To settle their roots for the long winter’s doze. And out on the lawn, the new fallen snow;

Get a fast start with my Gouin brew

This is a great time to activate the compost pile. The fallen leaves are rich in nutrients and organic matter. Mother Nature has been using leaves as natural mulch since the beginning of time.     I begin with my leaf blower, blowing as many leaves as possible under the branches of the shrubs to mulch them over winter.

From boxwood to white pine, you’ve many evergreen choices

Here in Chesapeake Country, we have an abundance of evergreen plants to choose from. Many — but not all — narrowleaf greens will hold their needles if you treat them right, while adding beauty and aroma to your home. For long-lasting holiday greens, gather arborvitae, Canaan fir, Douglas fir, junipers, Nordman red cedar, red pine, Scots pine and white pine.

Give a little, get a lot

The vegetable gardening season does not end with the first killing frost. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, sweet corn, snap beans and lettuce may have been killed by the first frost. But if you are an avid gardener, kale, collards, peas, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and Brussels sprouts should still be growing.

Dig deep for tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and other bulbs

If you want big flowers and more flowers from your bulbs next spring, plant them now. If you wait until the ground starts to freeze, you’ll see smaller flowers and short stems.