Question: I noticed (from your photos) that you use horse watering tanks for vegetable growing. Please comment on their efficiency or point me to info on the subject. Was going to have wooden planters made but would like to know about the tanks as an alternative worth pursuing.
Thanks, C. Gay McVey
Answer: My garden is mostly raised beds, including round feed troughs, each four feet in diameter. I love the look of the feed troughs (they also come in a slimmer, bullet shape). They must be the least expensive large planter possible, their metal sides heat soil up earlier in the spring, and if you drill enough holes in the bottom so that they drain freely it appears they're indestructible. To locate feed troughs, see www.polocenter.com/health/feeduswa.htm for a city-by-city list of feed and livestock stores in Washington state.
Here's a photo of the feed troughs just after they were installed, and the first year they were planted:
Question: I Need some advice on where to purchase ground cover and what you would recommend. This would be in-between steeping stones/pavers. Look forward to your advice.
Answer: What will work best depends on your taste in plants, your soil, sun/shade..You'll want groundcovers that can take some foot traffic. Buy enough to plant them close together so that they fill in quickly. Until then, weed and water regularly. There's a bunch of tough groundcovers marketed as "Stepables" - check out the web page for ideas, and then shop one of our larger nurseries for a good selection.
My great-grandmother grew the full, tall, pink, bread-seed poppies back in the late 1800's. The seed has been passed on through the generations. Each year I hold my breath that I haven't killed off the line. My late mother planted her seeds from the previous year around Washington's birthday in February. I tried that but found if I planted them in the backyard they'd grow in the front yard (I suspect from seeds in my compost) . Either one heck of a root system or they're taunting me. I suspect the latter. I just read a suggestion of planting in the Fall for zone 7 here in Seattle. Would appreciate your advice on 1) storing the seed, 2) when to scatter, and 3) how do you handle mulch/wood chips? I like to use mulch to control the weeds but, since the seeds grow so shallow I worry about smothering. Could I mulch first and then scatter, or would they do better in plain soil. Thank you so much for your great articles and any poppy advice you can offer. Shelley Butchart
P.S. Apparently marrying a man with the last name of "Butchart" does not make me a gardener. It worked for the woman in Victoria, but for me, not so much.
Answer: Avoid the wood chips when it comes to poppies, and sow them directly into the soil. Either spring or fall is fine, but I'd wait until later than February. I sow poppy seeds in late March when the soil has warmed up a bit, and again in early October.