Thursday, February 2, 2023

Surviving Winter - Best YouTube Channels

 Here we are in the depths of winter.  The best we can do is plan and dream.  I am still over a month away from starting even my earliest seeds.  I have received all of my essential seed orders and am now just indulging in an occasional order to build my inventory and enjoy a tiny bit of retail therapy.  I am putting off buying new supplies just yet but I did go to the Dollar Tree and buy a dozen wire waste baskets which I use to shelter seedlings.  Up to now I have only used the short version which are fine for new transplants but this time I scored the tall ones which will be excellent for protecting larger plants and supporting row covers.  I even tried a little winter sowing with some leftover snapdragon seeds in a milk jug just for an excuse to put my hands in soil.  

This is my second winter of retirement and I am not having any trouble staying busy.  The weather has been mild but dismal and we are currently going through a bright but cold snap.  I am having to carefully monitor the temperature of my stored dahlias in the basement bulkhead, but it is worth it to see the sun again.  For the past week or so I have been working on updating our drapes.  I put an Audible book on, make myself a latte and putter slowly through through measuring, ironing, hemming and stitching.  I know just enough about sewing to frustrate myself and do it often enough that I believe (erroneously) that I will remember how to work the machine. Just when I work out all the kinks and get good at it again I come to the end of my project.  I am having to shorten the lined drapes from the top which is simple enough but the door treatment I created from scratch including hanging new hardware.

This is beautiful fabric which is nice to work with and I am very happy with how it turned out.  After taking down my old faded, unraveling calico attempts from almost twenty years ago I was determined that the finish on this panel would match that of the beautifully made panels that I got from the now defunct Country Curtains.  You can still get these drapes from Vermont Country Store who bought out the business from CC.   I purchased these exactly five years ago when CC was going out of business (at a 30% discount no less) and am just now getting around to hanging them.  Which is a shame because they do so much to update and brighten the room.  Next I need to freshen up the curtains on the living room side.  First I am going to try rehanging the existing panels by changing them from gathered rod pockets with a header and hold backs, to adding rings and letting them hang straight.  If that doesn't freshen them enough I will add lining and if it still doesn't help I have swatches on order.

Now enough about my drapes, and back to gardening.

When I don't have an active project, I could while away the hours watching documentaries on YouTube.  I pay for a subscription so I don't have to watch the ads and I get many, many hours a week of entertainment for less than 50 cents a day.  For starters, there is virtually unlimited music options.  I usually begin my day with a workout video. I could spend hours studying the socioeconomic affects of climate change in the year 536 A.D.  or the reason why the color blue was the last one to be named.  Each week I spend a little time in the world of Tolkien thanks to the many excellent channels devoted to in depth study of all of his works.  And if you just need a simple pick me up there is nothing better than watching funny animal videos.  Quirky cats and baby goats will brighten anyone's day and anyone who has trained horses can feel relieved that they never had a truly uncooperative horse.  

Of course my main interest is gardening.  So here are my Top Five YouTube Gardening Channels to get you through to spring.  The main reason I like all of these channels is that they are gardening (for the most part) in zone 5 or just on the edge, as I am, and they focus on outdoor gardening and vegetables, the things I am most interested in.  They also take a lot of time and effort to edit their videos making them very enjoyable to watch.

#1 Garden Answer:  Garden Answer is actually the number one English speaking garden channel on YouTube by number of views.  They garden in eastern Oregon in the high desert which has recently been reclassified from zone 5b to zone 6a.  This husband and wife team started YouTubing as a hobby because he wanted to edit videos and ten years later they have both quit their day jobs and also employ full time garden help and an excellent video editor.  They work their butts off and put a great deal of their YouTube proceeds back into making daily content which ranges from landscaping, planting an orchard, extensive vegetable gardening, a cut flower garden and seed starting just to name a few.  Sometimes the videos feature her families garden center so you can see behind the scenes of what it is like to run a large nursery and garden center.  I like to live vicariously through them and would never want to plant on the scale they do. Here is an example of one of their project videos which involves designing a formal English garden around their (very expensive) glass greenhouse. I found them first when looking for raised bed gardens similar to mine.  This channel is so popular because of the wide range of content and down to earth friendliness of the couple.  She is out there almost every day with her hands in the dirt getting things done.  I watch it daily because I don't want to miss some fun little project or tidbit of useful information. They also have a second channel where they answer viewer questions each week.

#2 Susan's in the Garden:  Susan's is a much smaller, low key channel.  She gardens in the Pacific Northwest Spokane Washington, zone 5b.  Susan has a raised bed garden much like mine and she has the same mindset towards pest protection as I do.  She has a good volume of content and also covers some perennial gardening and bird watching. She has put out a couple of excellent books The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook and recently The Vegetable Garden Problem Solver Handbook which is still in the preorder stage and will be released next week.  I get a lot of ideas from her for dealing with climate and pest challenges and I am really looking forward to this latest book.

#3 The Impatient Gardener: Erin gardens in zone 5b Southeastern Wisconsin within a (literal) stone's throw of Lake Michigan.  Once again, she has a raised bed vegetable garden almost exactly like mine and I've learned a lot about growing Dahlias from her.  She is also very good at testing and recommending tools. She still has a day job (at a sailing publication) but she has a very practical approach to both landscaping and vegetable gardening, puts out a lot of good content and takes a lot of time editing.

#4 Huw Richards: Huw gardens in England so a little milder climate then mine and he also likes to grow all the traditional, sustainable English root crops like Jerusalem Artichokes and various beets which aren't of a lot of interest to me.  But if you want to spend some time in a traditional English vegetable plot, his videography is excellent and can transport your mind to a beautiful place.  He posts about once a week and does well keeping content going in the off season. I first found Huw when I was studying up on growing potatoes in grow bags.   His overall gardening philosophies match mine very closely.  He practices no dig and waters with collected rainwater and has product lines that ship to the US and books.  Plus, he's just so darn cute.

#5 Gardener Scott:  Scott gardens in zone 5b in Colorado.  What I like about Gardener Scott is his scientific approach to growing conditions.  He has a lot of good, basic growing content and would be excellent for a beginner vegetable gardener to follow and get off on the right foot.  The content can be a little dry and rudimentary but every now and then I pick up a good tid bit.  It puts me in a good mind set for gardening.

Honorable Mention:  I follow these channels religiously, but they don't apply to my gardening as directly as the first five do.

    Gardening with Creekside is a landscaper, nursery and grower in zone 7 Dallas, NC.  Their channel focuses more on varieties that do well in the hot southern climate and vegetables are just an occasional side line.  They put up a video a day through the week and I skip the ones that focus on what they have to offer for sale at their nursery.  But I do enjoy seeing new varieties and some of her care tips translate very well to what I have going in the landscape.  What interest me most about their channel is the production end of things.  They start with plugs from Proven Winners, and grow them out to a saleable size.  They are increasing the production side of their business and recently purchased a machine that fills the containers automatically.  When they vacation they often visit other growers so you get to see some of the behind the scenes of what goes into getting annuals and perennials to your local retailer.

    Charles Dowding is another traditional English gardener without the modern charisma of Huw Richards.  Still he offers great insights to composting and no dig gardening.  He presents projects in a complete start to finish video as opposed to a daily Vlog update and does a lot of comparison experimentation to support his theories. He has decades of practical growing experience and if you can lower your blood pressure enough to follow along at the pace he talks, there is a lot of good information to be had.

So those are my top gardening resources that I visit daily to get my gardening fix.  Seeing what everyone else is doing in their gardens helps keep me on schedule without having to give it too much thought.  Now I have to get back to my drapery adjustments.

1 comment:

  1. By crikey, you certainly are keeping yourself busy! I think your sewing abilities are just fine. Any kind of a drapery is not that simple to make. Especially if, like me, you're a bit challenged when it comes to numbers. It's one thing when I make a little mistake with a small piece of fabric when quilting, but that same little mistake when dealing with yards of fabric can be really bad!