Monthly Archives: November 2013

Winter Bird Feeding

Birds need additional energy to make it through the cold nights. They also need to replenish the lost energy when wake up in the morning. I always recommend that you have your bird feeders full the last couple of daylight hours and at daybreak. This is to help birds endure the long winter nights and fill those empty bellies in the morning. I put out Black Oil Sunflower seed and suet. Roosting boxes are a big help as small birds will gather on the perches and “huddle up” to stay warm over night.

Winter Bird Feeding

Bird feeders in the snow. R.A. Stafford Photo Jan 2010 copyright

Winter Bird Feeding

Nuthatch and Slate Juncos in the snow. R.A. Stafford Photo Jan 2010 copyright

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Tower Garden First Frost

Tower Garden Winter Protection Blanket

Don’t laugh, it’s not a missile!

My Tower Garden had its first frost Tuesday night. I didn’t realize that it was going to get down to freezing!. When I got up on Wednesday morning Jack Frost had painted the whole outside with white sparkles! I ran outside to check my Tower Garden and found the leaves to be frozen. I feared that I had lost everything!

The sun came out and warmed up to the low 40’s. My Tower Garden is positioned on the South side of my house, the sunniest area. At 1 PM Bob turned the tower around for me so that the backside would also get direct sun, too. My plants just came right back as if nothing had happened. Amazing! So I trimmed leaves and made a lovely 100% organic salad for dinner.

Last night I put the Juice Plus Winter Protection Blanket over my Tower Garden. It was 26 degrees at 6:30 AM, and the frost was thicker this morning. My Tower Garden seems to be happy with no frost on the leaves and no frozen plants this morning. Happy, happy! Looks like I’ll be covering it every night. Don’t laugh, it’s not a missile!

From previous posts, you’ll recall that I have a submersible water heater in the reservoir and have wrapped the reservoir in commercial quality insulating bubble wrap to conserve on electricity.  Click on the links below to go to these posts.

5 Ways to Expand Your Growing Season

Tower Garden Reservoir Winterized

Tower Garden Winter Heater

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Urban Garden My New Potting Bench

Urban Garden Potting Bench

For my birthday this year Bob built me a new potting bench out of cedar. He stained it for me so it matches our fence.  Bob enclosed the back of the shelf’s so that pots and ‘stuff’ on them would be hidden. He originally planned to enclose the whole back, but I wanted an area open. Now I can see out and see my urban garden as I’m working.

It is lovely to have a working area that is all grouped together; greenhouse, garden shed, and potting table. Bob ran a water line and a yard hydrant so I would have water year round.  No more dragging hoses!

Urban Garden Pottng Table

My new potting table.

Urban Garden Potting Table Work Area

My potting table, greenhouse and garden shed.

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Vegan Salad Recipe

Vegan Salad Recipe

This is the recipe for my home made Linda’s Entree’ Vegan Salad

Yield 3 large servings

2/3 c cooked, drained lentils.  Cook it separately from the Basmati brown rice and the wild rice. Takes 15 to 20 minutes. Cool

1/2 c. cooked Basmati brown rice

1/2 c. cooked wild rice.  The two rices can be cooked together. Cool.

1/3 c. chopped  Manzanilla green olives

¼ c. chopped fresh onion

1/3 c. dried cranberries

1/4 c. chopped roasted unsalted peanuts

1/2 c. chopped Granny Smith apple

Combine all the above ingredients in a large bowl.

Dressing:

In a separate bowl, combine ¼ c. mayonnaise ( or your favorite vegan alternative) and 1 Tbls. Basalmic Vinegar.  Stir to thoroughly blend.  Gently blend in to the other ingredients.  Serve over leaves of romaine.

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Urban Garden Another Flower to Attract Hummingbirds

Urban Garden Container Garden Hummingbirds Fountain Plant Russelia equsetifornis

The Fountain  Plant or Russelia equsetifornis is the one!  Its brilliant red flowers appear on 12-inch

Container Garden Fountain Plant attracts Hummingbirds.

Container Garden Fountain Plant attracts Hummingbirds.

long sprays throughout the warm season.  The blooms are 3/4 “to 1” in length and are narrowly tubular, making them ideally suited for the long, slender bills of hummingbirds.

Other common names for this plant are coral fountain, firecracker plant, rain of fire, and coral blow.  With its cascading fronds and red blooms planted in a tall slender red pot, it will be a great focus plant!  I love containers as you can vary the forms and colors you select and they can be moved to show them off when in full bloom, then retired to less prominent locations when not at their peak of glory.

The Fountain Plant can reach 3 to 6 feet high and 4 feet wide.  If that is a bit large for you, just limit the width of the container but keep good height to the container as the branches take root easily and may  have a tendency to be invasive.  Or, to simplify, just plant it in a hanging pot!

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Tower Garden T-5 Growing Lights

Tower Garden Urban Garden

It is now fall and the days are too short.  I have too much shade on my green house so I needed to add some light to my Tower Garden.  I will be growing all winter maximizing my investment.. From my online store,  I purchased a set of 4 T-5 lights.  They were very easy to install. Here are some photos and  detailed instructions of how Bob did it.

Tower Garden awaiting its grow lights.

Tower Garden awaiting its grow lights.

To install grow lights on the side of your Tower Garden it will need to be equipped with a Tomato Cage. The grow lights will attach to the Tomato Cage.

Bottom of Tower Garden grow lights installed.

Bottom of Tower Garden grow lights installed.

When you remove the grow lights from the box you will find two metal clips and plastic tie on strips. Do NOT install the clips where the instructions say. These lights are designed to be used on other things besides the Tower Garden. The grow lights need to rise a bit above the Tower Garden so your plants will grow upward toward the light.  I put the clip on the bottom just above the rivet. This elevated the bottom above the bottom row of plants so they would grow upwards. When putting on the clips make sure they are pointing downward to slide over the plastic tie strips.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABob put the plastic wire tie around one of the supports of the tomato cage. He didn’t pull it tight. He left some slack in the clip so the light would fit over it. Once he had the light clipped over the tie strip, then then he pulled it tight.

Close up off plastic wire tie and clip.

Close up of plastic wire tie and clip.

Next he installed the second metal clip so it was opposite the top ring of the tomato cage. He installed the plastic tie strip by threading it through the metal clip and then pulling it tight. He mounted a grow light to each of the four supports of the tomato cage.

Grow lights installed on Tower Garden plugged into timer.

Grow lights installed on Tower Garden and plugged into the timer strip.

Next he set the timer that came with the lights.  With artificial light, the plants need a minimum of 12 hours. So we set them from 7 AM  to 7 PM. I plugged the grow lights into the timer and plugged it in and we were done.

Note the small new seedlings that I started directly in the net pots.  I used a heat pad and once they sprouted, I kept them under a grow light.  What fun! To learn more about how to grow fresh vegetables during the winter months see my blog 5 Ways to Extend Your Growing Season.

Contact me to find out how easy it is for you to also own a Tower Garden.

Contact me to learn how easy it is for you to own a Tower Garden.

Tower Garden Winter Storage

Tower Garden Urban Garden

I don’t have anywhere to store my Tower Garden inside for the winter. After I cleaned it I put a plastic leaf bag over the top and wrapped a second leaf bag around the bottom. I taped the bags down with my greenhouse tape. Now my Tower Garden will stay clean and ready for spring planting.  I will start my peas in March and some more kale, spinach, collard, and Swiss Chard, maybe some more beet greens and lettuce varieties too. To see how I cleaned this Tower Garden out for the winter read my blog Cleaning our Garden Towers.

Tower Garden all covered up for the winter.

Tower Garden all covered up for the winter.

To find out how easy it is for you to own a Tower Garden contact me. Easy monthly installment plan.