Hello from the northern Shenandoah Valley

DoozyWombat

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Greetings, all!

We have our first vegetable garden in a number of years, since we moved to the northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia last summer. We are growing heirloom carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, kale (which isn't coming up), a variety of lettuce, peas (which also aren't coming up), and three kinds of tomatoes (Amish Paste, Paul Robeson, and Brandywine.) We also have in the ground heirloom cucumber, zucchini, butternut, spaghetti, radishes (meat and Daikon), sweet peppers. Brussel sprouts and artichoke planned for the fall.

Also have two gardens planted for the chickens, for browsing variety, and several flower gardens.

We are removing a bunch of invasive trees, mostly Tree of Heaven, Osage Orange, and Autumn Olive, and we have planted 16 trees so far, with 4 more to plant this week. For each tree, we are planning to plant a "guild" garden around it, supporting both the trees and native wildlife.

It isn't in formal gardens, but we are trying to establish a bunch of different natives to replace the Asian Honeysuckle that strangles everything, particularly to support the return of quail. So far, we've heard one quail call once, and we haven't seen any. But we are hopeful.
 

Beekissed

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Are the trees you are planting the type that will provide food for bees? The invasive trees and vines you are removing are food for bees and can be coppiced to control overgrowth if you are of a mind to do so. If you have a lot of those and you remove them all, that's removing a massive food supply for local honeybees, bumble bees and other pollinators.
 

DoozyWombat

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Welcome from Louisiana glad you joined.

How long has your kale been planted? It usually pops up pretty quickly for me.
The kale and the peas have both been in the ground much longer than they should need to come up. We think we just got defective seed. Peas have never failed to come up quickly for me, and the one time I planted Kale, it did as well.
 

DoozyWombat

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Are the trees you are planting the type that will provide food for bees? The invasive trees and vines you are removing are food for bees and can be coppiced to control overgrowth if you are of a mind to do so. If you have a lot of those and you remove them all, that's removing a massive food supply for local honeybees, bumble bees and other pollinators.
Yes. Supporting native pollinators is one of our main concerns. I've been gung ho to support honeybees, but we are focused on native bees, now.

We are planting native honeysuckle, but it will take several years before they manage to replace the invasive honeysuckle. We have milkweed and a bunch of other meadow and treeline flowering plants, but the honeysuckle has been killing them off. We are hoping they can come back quickly.

We have planted a bee lawn, replacing a quarter acre of grass with pollinator-friendly low-growing plants. And another quarter acre is growing into a pollinator meadow, with taller plants.

For the trees, we have planted crabapple, dogwood, redbud, persimmon, chestnut, wysteria (I know, a bush), and hawthorne. Again, they will take several years before they are fully established.

Another thing about the Tree of Heaven, is that it is a favorite food of the lantern fly, which is coming into our area now. We haven't seen one yet, but that tree supports the fly, and it is one nasty bugger to remove.
 
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ninnymary

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Welcome! Nice to hear you are planting natives. I just finished a virtual gardening talk/garden tours for the last 3 Sundays. They were 5 hours long! Full of great information. Whenever something dies I will slowly replace with natives for our pollinators. So far I've planted 3 this past week. Two were native yarrows and one a salvia commonly known as hummingbird bush.

Under my Fuyu persimmon I have made a monarch habitat with milkweed and other plants for them along with a watering plate.

Mary
 

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