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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cold Climate Gardening: My Adventures in Gardening

I have been growing flowers in containers each summer, in the front of the house.  However, that is about as far as I was willing to go regarding gardening.  I usually spend around $100 per season on flowers and hanging baskets.  I have learned to wait until June to even buy my plants; the earlier ones just don't seem to make it.

For several years, I have been wanting to try planting a vegetable garden here in La Pine, but I knew that was going to be a difficult challenge.  The reason being is that we have a short growing season and big temperature fluctuations that include freezing temps at night, even in the summer.

Last summer, I seriously studied our property, figuring out where to put the garden.  I have decided to use livestock fencing, and block off part of the back yard that gets lots of sun.  My idea includes a long rectangle of space backed up against the wood fence.  It will be filled with raised beds, drip hoses, a portable greenhouse and a chicken coop.  We'll put chicken wire along the livestock fencing so that the chickens stay in and the dogs stay out.  Cary has always wanted chickens, and now that I am trying to become more self-sufficient, I think that chickens are a good idea.  Fresh eggs.  No roosters.

I was so happy to find this book at Round Butte Seed Company in Bend yesterday.  It is written by Linda Stephenson, the owner of L & S Gardens here in La Pine.  Linda tells it how it is, in plain language, exactly how to garden here.  It cost $16.95, but that is pretty inexpensive for all the information that she has put there.

Last night, as I was reading the first few pages of this book, I realized that the raised bed idea was actually a pretty good one, and figured out how many boxes that we need to make, and which kinds of plants to put in each box.  I learned that root plants need different fertilizers than plants that grow on top, like lettuce.  Keeping them in separate beds will make it easier to give everybody what they want and need.

To say the least, I am pretty excited about this new project.  This is the year, if everything goes the way I would like it to.  Hopefully, by the end of the season, we will have some home canned veggie's from our own garden.  That sounds like fun to me! 

Here is a link to Linda's website.  I just learned that she has several books out, including a couple on dutch oven cooking.  I guess that I'd better go to their nursery and get some of those too.

L & S Gardens is presenting a Cold Climate Gardening seminar on Saturday, March 6, from 1pm to 4pm at the La Pine Senior Activity Center.  Linda Stephenson, owner of L & S Gardens, will present the What, When and Where of gardening in south Deschutes county.  Bring your gardening questions for a question and answer segment of the program.   Linda's books will be available for purchase.  A donation of $5 per person is requested with proceeds being donated to the La Pine Sign Project.  Coffee and cookies will be served.  For more information call Linda at 541-536-2049 or e-mail here at lsgarden

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