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Weekly Gardening Thread (Soil Structure Part 1) Vol. 9, March 2, 2012
Friday, March 2, 2012 | JustaDumbBlonde

Posted on 03/02/2012 8:10:56 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde

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Previous weeks' threads:

Weekly Gardening Thread (Catalog Fever) Vol. 1 Jan 6, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread (Seeds) Vol. 2, January 13, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread Vol. 3, January 20, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread (U.S. Hardiness Zones) Supplemental Vol. 1
Weekly Gardening Thread (Soil Types) Vol. 4, January 27, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread (Vacation) Vol. 5, February 03, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread (Vacation) Vol. 6, February 10, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread (Vacation?) Vol. 7, February 17, 2012
Weekly Gardening Thread (Home Sweet Home) Vol. 8, February 24, 2012

Next week: transplanting new tomato plants

1 posted on 03/02/2012 8:11:07 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde
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To: Diana in Wisconsin; gardengirl; girlangler; SunkenCiv; HungarianGypsy; Gabz; billhilly; Alkhin; ...
Photobucket

Ping to the Weekly Gardening Thread

Please let me know if you would like to be added to or removed from the ping list.

2 posted on 03/02/2012 8:12:58 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

Is there a smiple and easy way to check soil pH?


3 posted on 03/02/2012 8:15:46 AM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde
Photobucket

Detailed State Plant Hardiness Zone Maps

Alabama District of Columbia
Kentucky Montana Ohio Texas ( East )
Alaska Florida Louisiana Nebraska Oklahoma Texas ( West )
Arizona Georgia Maine Nevada Oregon Utah
Arkansas
Hawaii Maryland New Hampshire Pennsylvania Vermont
California ( Northern )
Idaho Massachusetts New Jersey Puerto Rico Virginia
California ( Southern ) Illinois Michigan New Mexico Rhode Island Washington
Colorado Indiana Minnesota New York South Carolina
West Virginia
Connecticut Iowa Mississippi North Carolina South Dakota Wisconsin
Delaware Kansas Missouri North Dakota Tennessee Wyoming

International Plant Hardiness Zone Maps
Australia
Canada
China
Europe
Japan

4 posted on 03/02/2012 8:16:27 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

Hi, may I join your gardening list?


5 posted on 03/02/2012 8:17:17 AM PST by MiddleEarth (With hope or without hope we'll follow the trail of our enemies. Woe to them, if we prove the faster)
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To: BenLurkin
Yes, there are pH test kits available at most home improvement stores and garden centers. WalMart has carried them in the past.

If your yard or garden is large, do the test in more than one spot.

6 posted on 03/02/2012 8:19:40 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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To: MiddleEarth
You sure can ... welcome!!!

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7 posted on 03/02/2012 8:21:14 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

Thanks!

Any recommendations from anyone on a cheap, enclosed, outdoor composting bin? I’m going to try composting for the first time.


8 posted on 03/02/2012 8:24:49 AM PST by MiddleEarth (With hope or without hope we'll follow the trail of our enemies. Woe to them, if we prove the faster)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

You don’t have any soil types listed with soil capped by several feet of snow. That is the soil type I have!


9 posted on 03/02/2012 8:25:50 AM PST by MtnClimber (Tim Tebow will never be successful in the NFL - Leftist journalists who have sold their souls)
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To: MtnClimber

Are you bragging or complaining Otzi...


10 posted on 03/02/2012 8:28:59 AM PST by tubebender (I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.)
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To: MiddleEarth

The trick to successful composting is sunshine, moisture and turning pile often.

You can use a trash can, make a simple frame with scrap lumber, or just of pile of compost on the ground.

Compost ‘works’ better in a sunny spot, but moisture and turning more important.

Turn your compost pile every 3 days or so, and add water to maintain a high moisture content.

I use a rake to pull the compost pile apart, and then repile with a shovel - makes a tough project as easy as possible.

Consider using a compost screen to remove/recompost larger pieces as you start to use your compost.


11 posted on 03/02/2012 8:33:07 AM PST by ImProudToBeAnAmerican
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To: MiddleEarth
If you can get your hands on an old 30 gallon or larger drum, you cut an access door and drill some holes in it for aeration. Periodic turning of the compost can be achieved by simply rolling the barrel on the ground, or you can devise a stand with a turning handle.

The best plans I ever saw for a homemade compost bin used 2 old baskets from washing machines that were welded together and mounted on a stand. The air holes are already there and you make an access door.

But the cheapest and easiest way to get started is to find a spot on the ground and begin piling your kitchen scraps and yard waste there. There is really no need for an official 'bin'. You can turn it over with a garden rake or shovel when the time comes. That is the way that I started, and I still have a pile that is closer to the house than my compost enclosure.

12 posted on 03/02/2012 8:33:29 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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To: MtnClimber

LOL! Actually, I envy you and your snow. :)


13 posted on 03/02/2012 8:35:22 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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To: ImProudToBeAnAmerican

My compost heap only gets turned a couple of times a year and breaks down very well. What is the advantage of turning every few days?


14 posted on 03/02/2012 8:37:05 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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To: MtnClimber; JustaDumbBlonde

Me too. Well, not several feet, but a fraction of an inch!

Good morning. Oetzi That’s a good one!


15 posted on 03/02/2012 8:37:36 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: tubebender

Mornin’ Mr. Bender! How are you and the lovely missus?


16 posted on 03/02/2012 8:42:40 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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To: tubebender

Good morning tube blender.


17 posted on 03/02/2012 8:47:51 AM PST by MtnClimber (Tim Tebow will never be successful in the NFL - Leftist journalists who have sold their souls)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde; MtnClimber
Funny that you should mention Oetzi this AM. The following article appeared yesterday. So depressing!

Iceman Oetzi's DNA Shows He Was Predisposed To Heart Problems (and Lyme Disease)

Back in 1976 I learned that the Egyptian mummies residing at the University of Philadelphia suffered from varicose veins and gum disease. Some days, it seems hardly worth trying!

18 posted on 03/02/2012 8:48:23 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

The more often you turn your compost pile, the faster it works.

And the top (dry) level will compost better too.


19 posted on 03/02/2012 8:51:50 AM PST by ImProudToBeAnAmerican
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To: tubebender

I’m sorry. I should have directed #15 and #18 at YOU I didnt think you’d be up and at ‘em so early.


20 posted on 03/02/2012 8:52:43 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: JustaDumbBlonde
What is the advantage of turning every few days?

It breaks down much faster. I try to turn my compost every two weeks. I'll be turning both piles today.

21 posted on 03/02/2012 8:54:05 AM PST by Arrowhead1952 (Dear God, thanks for the rain, but please let it rain more in Texas. Amen.)
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To: ImProudToBeAnAmerican

Does “open air” compost bring critters though? How much water do you add?

Thanks for the reply!


22 posted on 03/02/2012 9:03:33 AM PST by MiddleEarth (With hope or without hope we'll follow the trail of our enemies. Woe to them, if we prove the faster)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

Good info.

Don’t the kitchen scraps bring mice and flies etc? That’s my main hesitation with just an open pile on the ground.


23 posted on 03/02/2012 9:07:20 AM PST by MiddleEarth (With hope or without hope we'll follow the trail of our enemies. Woe to them, if we prove the faster)
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To: MiddleEarth

No critters in my open compost piles - just worms.

I bury the kitchen scraps - and chop into smaller bits to help it compost faster.

Wetter is better - downright soggy.


24 posted on 03/02/2012 9:12:18 AM PST by ImProudToBeAnAmerican
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

How far down do the leaves need to be broken? I will be planting my first vegetable garden this year. I found several garbage cans full of leaves on the side of our house.We weren’t even thinking about mulch so they just sat there over the winter. Mostly dry on top with more wet leaves at the bottom. None were really broken down except at the very bottom. (They all had drain holes except one. That one was very rotty and bad smelling, probably not usable)

Can you just till in the leaves if they aren’t broken down yet, or will that cause problems?


25 posted on 03/02/2012 9:19:39 AM PST by boxlunch
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To: MiddleEarth
Well, yes, an open compost pile will attract rodents and flies. Possums, racoons and birds too. I didn't even think about that because there are not enough cats roaming the earth to kill all of the mice and rats that live around our homestead. The flies aren't a consideration since the heap is so far from the house that they are not even noticed (but really I've never seen that many flies, even with fresh stuff in the pile).

A drum bin of some sort will probably suit your needs much better.

26 posted on 03/02/2012 9:22:19 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

Please add me to your list.

I had my front lawn dug up recently to replace a sewer pipe, and now need to plant grass there. I plan to work in some compost (old leaves from 1-2 years ago), then cover with fertilizer for new lawns, then seed.

Any comments?
Thanks


27 posted on 03/02/2012 9:25:30 AM PST by Doneel
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

We had a bit of hail here in Central Missouri this morning. Fortunately it was small so no damage was done.

I had intentions of hauling composted horse manure in over the weekend but the rain has put the kabosh to that.

My orchard trees are about to start blooming. It’s too early and the blossoms are sure to be frozen.


28 posted on 03/02/2012 9:28:24 AM PST by Augie
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To: ImProudToBeAnAmerican; MiddleEarth
I've got to disagree with the 'downright soggy' portion of that advice. The bacteria and other critters that are responsible for the breakdown in a compost pile are aerobic creatures. Air flow in the pile is essential or the aerobic critters will die.

Everything I've read indicates that a compost pile should be moist, but that any excess water should be able to drain away. Don't put your compost material in the lowest spot of the yard.

If rain is not providing your compost pile with enough moisture, you will need to add some water yourself. Collecting rainwater is a good practice, because rain is generally close to pH neutral and has no added flouride or other chemicals.

I do not add additional moisture to my heap unless there is an extended drought. Simple reason is that I don't have time to worry about it. I'll use it when it breaks down, but I'm not really helping the process along as much as many folks will.

29 posted on 03/02/2012 9:34:23 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde
Did someone say Compost?

Your going to have rodents but you'll learn to deal with them. The biggest shock I ever received was when I lifted the plywood cover and a Garter snake was smiling back at me...

30 posted on 03/02/2012 9:47:09 AM PST by tubebender (I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

A good working temperature for your active compost pile...

31 posted on 03/02/2012 10:00:55 AM PST by tubebender (I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde; call meVeronica

Bump & can you add me to the ping list please


32 posted on 03/02/2012 10:05:34 AM PST by call meVeronica
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To: JustaDumbBlonde; All
I ran into this article/chart on edible flowers the other day. It is really extensive and I thought I would share it. I will definitely be making sure that I will have some 'edible flowers' in my garden this spring/summer.

Edible Flowers

33 posted on 03/02/2012 10:15:21 AM PST by MissMagnolia (Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't. (M.Thatcher))
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To: JustaDumbBlonde
Since my tomatoes were in containers, I was able to bring them inside a few times this winter as the temps plunged into the lower 40s, so I've been able to get a constant production for months. The second time I brought them in, instead of just "balancing" them on the ledge between the living room and kitchen, I grabbed a couple pieces of an old dock gate out of the back of the truck and with a floor flange and a piece of 3/4" pipe I built a stand which worked out great.

But then at Lowes I found these planters designed to sit on a fence (or perhaps a ledge between two rooms). I've got plenty of sunny space on the dock, several feet from the existing hydroponics, so I ran another line and planted some tomatoes. I think this is going to work out well, especially in the winter.

The tomato on the right in the second picture is actually a decent size chunk I found on my living room floor one cold winter morning, BTW.

34 posted on 03/02/2012 10:27:09 AM PST by Darth Reardon (No offense to drunken sailors)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde
Had to put off ordering my seeds and trees until my tax refund gets here. My budget suddenly got tighter, and it was either wait 3 weeks, or cut out 90% of my order, so I'm waiting. The refund should be here soon, though.

My order this year is going to be a combination of market crops and prepper crops. Things like apples, cucumbers, kiwi, and peppers for market, and things like witch hazel, hulless oats, and several varieties of beans for stocking up. I might not plant them all this year, in fact I don't have room yet for everything on the prepping side of the list, but I want to get the trees planted and have the seeds on hand just in case. I've already got a big box full of seeds, including several I saved from last year. There was something satisfying about watching my piles of squash and beans grow last fall.

There's a shop that buys produce from local gardeners to resell, so I won't have to worry about actually running a produce stand. Last year, they were surprisingly short on cucumbers and zucchini.

35 posted on 03/02/2012 10:42:54 AM PST by Ellendra ("It's astounding how often people mistake their own stupidity for a lack of fairness." --Thunt)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde
What is the advantage of turning every few days?

Exercise? [grin]

36 posted on 03/02/2012 10:44:04 AM PST by Petruchio (I Think . . . Therefor I FReep.)
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To: Doneel; call meVeronica; Big Horn
Welcome!!!

Photobucket

37 posted on 03/02/2012 10:53:32 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

When we bought this place 20 years ago, the garden was as hard as concrete. My husband had a dickens of a time plowing it. The old garden fence had been removed, and wouldn’t you know it, the soil on the other side of the fence was a beautiful rich black and extremely easy to work. The previous owner had thrown scraps, trimmings, and weeds outside the garden. The only fertilizer he used was chemical because he didn’t want weeds.

My husband spent years adding clippings and dried manure from the barn, and plowing it into the soil. No more chemicals have been added, no pesticides. He spends endless time, squishing bugs by hand. Yuck! But it certainly has paid off.


38 posted on 03/02/2012 11:02:25 AM PST by Library Lady
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To: Darth Reardon

I LOVE the concept of those planters. I’m going to check my local Lowe’s to see if they have them. They would be perfect on my deck!


39 posted on 03/02/2012 11:09:54 AM PST by Gabz (Democrats for Voldemort.)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

“The bacteria and other critters that are responsible for the breakdown in a compost pile are aerobic creatures. Air flow in the pile is essential or the aerobic critters will die.”

That right there is the reason to turn the compost pile.

I have read that some people use PVC pipe drilled with many holes placed into the middle of the pile with the open ends sticking out of the sides in an attempt to get O2 into the pile.


40 posted on 03/02/2012 11:31:57 AM PST by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: tubebender; All
In the interesting factoids department:

It's not just dirt! Soil is a mixture of minerals, air, water, and organic materials, such as roots, decaying plant parts, fungi, earthworms, bacteria, and microorganisms. An acre of healthy topsoil can contain 900 pounds of earthworms, 2,400 pounds of fungi, 1,500 pounds of bacteria, 133 pounds of protozoa, 890 pounds of arthropods and algae, and in some cases, small mammals.

Funny that small mammals are mentioned. Every time we plow or disk a field for row crops, the mice and small rats running out of the way of the tractor is astounding. Hawks, herons and other birds are routinely drawn to a field with a moving tractor because they know that all sorts of mice, frogs and large insects will be stirred in the process.

One year I actually disturbed a fox den containing 4 kits. I won't even get into the variety of snakes we encounter!

41 posted on 03/02/2012 11:40:00 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't wish doom on your enemies ... plan it.)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

http://whatscookingamerica.net/EdibleFlowers/EdibleFlowersMain.htm

Edible flower anyone it turns out I already have some of them in my herb garden


42 posted on 03/02/2012 12:41:11 PM PST by scottteng (Tax government employees til they quit and find something useful to do)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde; tubebender; greeneyes; Diana in Wisconsin; rightly_dividing; Gabz; Daisyjane69; ...

I have a different problem — well question — this year. I changed a deteriorating front door and 2 windows on my house in December and February. I’m in a quandary on what to plant in my urns on the front steps.

I think I want something RED to match the front door in a mixed urn. The terrace faces south, is surrounded in brick, and gets quite hot in the summer.It’s like an oven. There are mixed tulips and daffodils in the front gardens with bronze chrysanthemums that come alive in the fall. I can plant just about anything in there (in front of the boxwood) in the summer.

But what to put in the urns? I used to emphasize pink and purple. But, what should I do now that I have a red door? I’ll post a couple of pictures as soon as I get them on Flickr.

I want something that grows lush and trails. I’ll mix several plants, if necessary.


43 posted on 03/02/2012 2:00:17 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

Good afternoon JustaDumbBlonde and all.

I just read the weekly garden column by Bill Finch in my hometown newspaper and he did a pretty good column on tomatos growing in the hot humid southern gulf coast. It was particularly good with discussion of tomato history, varieties and his SuperSoil, a cross between Lasagna gardening and composting.

Link: http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2012/03/gardeners_its_time_to_plant_to.html


44 posted on 03/02/2012 2:18:23 PM PST by rightly_dividing (You cannot put a gun rack in a Volt !)
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To: afraidfortherepublic; tubebender; Diana in Wisconsin; Ellendra; knittnmom; rightly_dividing; ...

OK. Here it is. THe underside of the porch roof gets done next week.

Suggestions of how I can decorate with flowers for the spring, summer, fall are appreciated? Colors? Plants? Anything beyond geraniums?

45 posted on 03/02/2012 2:30:32 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

PS It looks like I’ll have some time to decide. Although I had just traces of snow left at noon, it is snowing hard and it looks like we’ll get several inches. I don’t imagine the garden stores will have any flowers in stock for a while...sarc/off


46 posted on 03/02/2012 2:39:33 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Cannabis sativa is a good choice but it is more upright in growth habit...


47 posted on 03/02/2012 2:53:59 PM PST by tubebender (I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.)
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To: tubebender

I don’t do no cannabis...no, no. That’’s a real Humboldt suggestion.

Mrs. Bender does all the wonderful impatiens which won’t thrive on my front porch. What does she do for a sunny location?


48 posted on 03/02/2012 3:01:34 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Supertunias. They’re a variety of petunia that grow long vines that spill out nicely.


49 posted on 03/02/2012 3:07:02 PM PST by Ellendra ("It's astounding how often people mistake their own stupidity for a lack of fairness." --Thunt)
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To: afraidfortherepublic; JustaDumbBlonde; Red_Devil 232; All
Indoor Garden lessons in Humboldt County Classes have been postponed...
50 posted on 03/02/2012 3:11:11 PM PST by tubebender (I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.)
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