Everything listed under: High Sierra Gardening

  • April 2017

    I'm trying to put out an e-mail for Earth Day but the weather is just too nice to sit at the computer...  I'll once-more recap this winter, I'll schedule some class dates, I'll offer some specials and I'll thank you (quite sincerely, really) for sharing your experiences and for your "patronage".  I'll tell you about the new hardy plants and the loads of garden art, pottery and organic composts were receiving daily.

    email notes: 2017 Mountain Gardening Begins     http://conta.cc/2q4vhmK 

    I promise I'll put more here soon but right now I gotta go, I'm sorry but I need to get outside.


  • Villager Test

    (January, 2013).  For the first time, since we took over the existing Villager Florist in 1975, we will try closing for a couple of months.  It seems to make sense. As a fanatical gardener and botanist, I can't help responding to interesting phone calls and e-mails on my own time so if you have a burning question, by-all-means, drop us a line.  I answered a phone message from a Truckee visitor who wanted info about the trees in downtown Truckee that no one could answer so the Town of Truckee recommended he call "the Villager Nursery...they know everything".  We love that kind of high praise ... and of course, it's true.  :)

    We have long used Lewis Hill's book Cold-Climate Gardening wherein it is written "on whatever it is they write it it on up there" that "in northern Vermont the first Tuesday in March, New England's Town Meeting Day, is the traditional time to plant tomato seeds inside".  "They like heat, lots of light and exactly the right amount of moisture."  The Villager will be open part-time by then and we'll be here to provide you with all your cold-climate seed starting supplies from organic, short-season seeds to organic seedling potting soils, trays, heat-mats, lighting and all the rest.

  • Truckee's Gardening Season


    I saw a beautiful rainbow today.  A neighbor and friend stopped by while I was hedging my Amur Maples and said "drive down to the end of the street and look!"

    It was a nice summer rain.  Made me want to expand on Truckee's Gardening and Growing Seasons.

    At the beginning of the year it is winter.  January gardening entails paperwhite bulbs and amarylis bulbs and some houseplants.  I do check-out the plants on exposed rocky ridges while skiing and marvel at the toughness of Heuchera, Artemisia and Eriogonum.


    February keeps us busy trying to force bulbs for Valentines Day.  On our south facing rock wall, we have had Crocus bloom by late February and be covered with snow and be still blooming when it melts out a couple of weeks later.  After several months of a warm blanket of snow, the earth warms-up and thaws out the frozen soils that we see in late fall.  I'll often pick-up some hardy bedding plants off the hill somewhere and plant up a flower box to show how tough pants are.  Dianthus, Calendula, Viola, Stock, Pansy, and English Primula can all take temperatures in the low teens.

    The first Tuesday in March is THE day to start tomato and pepper seeds indoor so they'll be big enough to put out in mid-May.  Lots of Crocus and rock-garden Narcissus bloom in sunny spots in March.  In low snow years, I have planted many trees, shrubs and perennials in March to take advantage of pre-leaf root growth.  Pulsatilla Anemone usually blooms late in the month.  The first time YOU see bare Earth in spring is a great time to spread wildflower seeds.

    April is frequently a gardening month.  April 1st is THE day to plant sweet pea seeds outdoor.  I usually try to plant spinach, chard, lettuce, carrot, beet (and more) seeds my mid April (This year some just rotted but warm weather usually arrives before mid June).  I also plant starts of spinach, lettuce, chard, onion, hardy herbs and hardy edible flowers like Dianthus, Calendula and Viola.

     May-June-July are the basic spring - early summer gardening months, everything comes into bloom, the days are long and we get frost here and there.  More plants bloom this time of year so they;ll have time to make seeds and store energy later on.  Our "Average Last Date of Frost", according to NOAA is July 15.  Our "Average First Date of Frost" is August 15.  So August 1 is dead-center, the middle of our season.

    August - September - October are a mirror of July-June-May and are the bulk of the late summer - fall gardening season.  The days are shorter but the soil is much warmer than in spring. It is of course the best time to get out and enjoy the mountains and lakes, to collect seed and to plant for next spring.  We are ALWAYS planting for "next year".  Plants only look their best when they've had a winter in the ground and can rise with our natural spring weather.  When we plant in the fall we don't have to wait as long for "next year" as we do when we plant in May.

    November often has beautiful days (who am I kidding? These are the Sierras; we get beautiful sunny days all winter as well). Autumn Crocus and Autumn Monkshood are often still blooming as are a few Asters and the tallest Rudbeckias.  Planting bulbs before the soil begins to form a frozen crust is a good idea.  As the sun drops lower in the sky and the days get really short, shady spots are the first to stay frozen.  Ecology books speak of the "Autumnal Thermal Overturn" when the air temperature stays colder than the soil temperature.  Though it can be hard on some plants, we hope for a good deep frost before the snows come because it is particularly hard on the rodents.  "If ice skating is good the voles won't be as bad next spring".  Deep in the soil the earth is consistantly warm ad once the blanket of insulating snow covers it, the soil begins to thaw.  Wildflower seeding on top of the first 3" of snow is a technique that has worked very well for many.

    Remember that most deciduous trees and shrubs put on the majority of their annual root system expansion in fall, AFTER they lose their leaves.  The secondary root push occurs in early spring, before the leaves emerge and before most folks get out and plant.

    So - were just into the second half of the gardening season with a few months left until winter.



  • Start Sweet Peas Today

    I told Rob that we'd be getting a big storm because I'd just ordered 30 flats of hardy color and hardy veggies.  The plants arrived on Friday and the storm on Tuesday.

    Today is another spring gardening landmark day. 

    April 1st is the day we put sweet pea seeds in the ground.

    Sweet Peas need a fairly long season  AND they can tolerate cold. They also like sun, so they're usually planted in the first spots to melt off.  I'm not planting mine today, the snow is too deep today.  Here's what you do.

    Pick up some cool pastel, hyper-fragrant,  heirloom sweet peas (like 'April in Paris') from your favorite Garden Center.

    Soak the seeds overnight in a glass of water, change the water before you go to bed.

    In the morning, put the seeds into a folded paper towel.  Fold the paper a little more with the seeds inside and dribble some water on it.  Put the moist paper towel containing the seeds into a plastic bag and set it someplace dark and warm.  I put mine on top of the refrigerator.

    - Prepare the soil where you'll be planting by digging in a little compost, Gromulch or Amend, a little lime (oyster shell, dolomite, etc...), and some Dr. Earth Life fertilizer (it has bacterial innoculum that legumes associate with).  I dig a 4" trench along a south facing wall and amend the trench all at once, smooth it out and then make a 1" furrow where I'll put the seeds.   If the spot is not melted off, wait to start the seeds.

    You don't want them growing indoors.  If they come up in the cold, they can take frost.  If they are grown indoors and transplanted, they suffer in frost.

    Look at the seeds in 2-3 days (it may take 4-5).  As soon as you see a little radicle* emerge you'll plant them 1-3" apart and  1" deep. *(the radicle is the little white shoot, that the embryo sends out to become the root)  Sweet Peas need support as soon as they emerge.  I stapled bird netting to the back of a redwood trellis. It works well and looks nice.

    (ed. Pam McAdoo) 

  • Start Tomato Seeds Indoor in March

    (03/2010) March is counted as one of our winter months. March also happens to have the most beautiful sunny spring-like days. Rob likes to quote a famous VanDyke who said that "The first spring day and the first day of spring are often months apart".  We may have beautiful spring days for the equinox but frost-free days are a long-way-off.

    For years, just before Valentines day, I planted violas, dianthus, calendula, pansys, vinca, primrose and stock in a flower box outside the nursery.  Those plants always thrive, no matter how cold it gets.

    The first Tuesday in March is Vermont's Town Meeting Day. According to Lewis Hill (Cold Climate Gardening), it is also the traditional day to start Tomato and Pepper seeds inside in northernVermont (their climate is similar to ours in many ways).  We have used mid-March as our seeding time for decades with great success.   I heard recently that said Tomatoes are the "gateway drug" to vegetable gardening.  We all grow tomatoes here (in containers) with great success (and frost protecting cloth).  It's not THAT hard.  Our goal at the Villager is, and has always been, to share our passion for gardening and to see our clients and friends SUCCEED in this avocation we love so much.  

    We offer several vegetable gardening classes at the Nursery each spring; check the calendar page. It should be updated by mid March with this year's schedule.  

Contact Villager

Villager Nursery, Inc
10678 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, CA 96161-4834
Central Truckee, exit 186 off I-80
(530) 587-0771
www.villagernursery.com
info@villagernursery

Founded 1975, Incorporated 1990

California Nursery License 1975
No. C 3976.001, Co.29CA
Contractors License 1977
No. 413907-C27 LS
ISA Certified Arborist: Eric Larusson
No. WE-7983A

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