Jane Reed

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since Feb 06, 2013
USDA zone 9a
2300' elevation
Fairplay, Northern California
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Recent posts by Jane Reed

Steve, thanks for the recommendation.  I also have Ribes aureum, R. nevadensis, and R. sanguinium (all young and not yet bearing).  I think I can find a spot for Crandall.


6 days ago
Marta—-Like you, I am wanting to fill my young garden with perennials.  I do have tansy and I do not find it invasive.  Yes, it spreads easily, but for me it does not spread quickly and it is easy to remove.  

I also have bee balm.  Two years ago it was in full sun and grew tall and wide.  Then I moved it to a shaded area and the growth slowed remarkably.  This was my solution to both having this plant and wanting it to be better behaved.  

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) is attractive, tough, useful, and well-liked by bees.  It will have pups so you can dig up the little babies and plant them elsewhere in your garden.  Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) has leaves and blossoms which can be made into a tea, blooms late in summer so the bees have nectar and pollen as the growing season comes to a close.  I’m also very fond of some of the salvias.  They are mostly ornamental but some have edible flowers and leaves and have long blooming periods.  One of my favorites is Salvis darcyii.  It has triangular, gray-green leaves and red flowers which the bumble bees love.
Jay, In my situation, I’m overrun with non-native annual grasses.  When comfrey shoots up in the spring it will cast so much shade that only a few grass seeds germinate and reach maturity.  If shade will discourage buttercup then comfrey might work.  The next question is, will comfrey crowd out your currants?

I live in a Mediterranean climate and decided to try black currants.  I put in 2 plants a year ago last December, bare root.  I put them in a somewhat shaded part of the garden but finally had to erect a shade cloth  to protect them from the blazing hot afternoon sun.  Last fall I dug them up and moved them to an even shadier spot where I don’t think they’ll need that kind of protection.  But the heat, not just direct sunlight, might limit my success with them.  I had to try because I really like the flavor of the berries.
3 weeks ago
Despite living in a region with hot, dry summers, the Ragged Jack kale I planted a year ago survived the summer and is providing me with leaves to this day.  There are a handful of plants which did not go to seed, which is undoubtedly the reason they persisted. I suggest that if kales are kept from bolting, are in a shaded and relatively cool spot with sufficient water, then you could keep them for at least one whole year plus another cold season.  Since their bolted fellows have dropped seed, when the long-lived individuals run out of steam, there’ll be new ones to take their place.
4 months ago
I’m in USDA zone 9a, on the western slope of California’s Sierra Nevadas, at 2300 ft.  I’m also in climate zone B, dry.

Wild blackberries grow here invasively, so any blackberry varieties do well, as do Raspberries.

Apples, peaches, plums, persimmon, and figs do very well.  Cherries seem to be problematic but mostly because of pests and disease, not because of innate cultural habits.  Apricots are reputed to be a little iffy (no personal experience) but are suited to the hot, dry summers.

Mine is a fine grape growing region, with many vineyards and wineries

4 months ago
A company called Inergy makes a compact (20 lb.) lithium battery pack which is recharged from your household current or, optionally, by using a small solar panel.  Their popular model is the Kodiak.  It has several standard outlets for plugging in things like lamps or other household electric device that plug into regular household current, even your refrigerator.  It also has USB ports.  It allows you to daisychain deep cycle batteries.  It’s a little pricey but not outrageous, in my opinion.
7 months ago
It looks like mullein to me.  The fuzzy-leafed rosette at the base combined with the tall flower stem with yellow blossoms....just like what I have on my property.
7 months ago
I use the Pyrex cup method also but I don't use a metal strainer. I prefer to use a paper filter in a plastic (gasp!) cone, as I like my coffee clear.  I've tried several other methods but this one results in the fewest dirty dishes to wash.
10 months ago
Not sure of their endangered status but I do know my 2 plants are collected thoughtlessly in the wild. I grow white sage, Salvia apiana, and sweetgrass, Hierochloe odorata.  

Here's a story about the sage.  A local demonstration garden, run by a Master Gardeners group, has stopped growing white sage because people kept tearing off stems and ruining the plant.  They replaced the plant twice and then gave up on it.

White sage is easy enough to grow from seed and the seed is easy to obtain.  But I understand that in the wild the plant is harvested by people who sell smudge sticks at art fairs and it has become scarce in the wild on that account.

I believe sweetgrass suffers the same fate.
10 months ago
One reason why fruit trees, which bear fruit on spurs, don’t bear for a few years after planting is that the spur wood takes time to develop, 2-5 years in some cases.
1 year ago