What’s Happening in the Garden- June 30, 2015

Wow, where has a month gone?  Well, here at The Salem Garden it’s gone to medical emergency after medical emergency after medical emergency. After months of sickness and a very tough weekend in the hospital my youngest daughter was diagnosed with Functional Abdominal Pain Disorder. Yes, this is a real thing and it involves a lot of pain. She’s doing better but we have some work to do to get her back to her happy ten year old self. In the two and a half weeks since that happened my dear mom was also hospitalized and had surgery to remove her gall bladder, then last Friday my younger brother had a major cardiac event (while at my Mom’s house helping her recover) and was hospitalized. He tells me that he feels much better now that he has a pacemaker. Thank God!

So, the garden is a combination of the last thing I’m thinking about and my biggest outlet for stress. I have very little time to tend it, let alone blog about it, but when I do get out there it’s the most wonderful place in the world and I weed and prune my heart out. This is horticultural therapy at it’s very best!

It’s been cold here. So cold that my tomato plants are still waiting for that push of heat that puffs them up and the lettuce is as happy as can be. It’s been a very strange garden year.IMG_9016Here’s the garden looking down from the deck. Weeded and edged but pretty darn simple. That’s okay, we have a nice Farmer’s Market downtown on Thursdays.

IMG_8995 The onions have grown quite a bit in a month. They don’t mind the cool temperatures.

Here they were last month:IMG_8937

IMG_8998To say that the tomato plants have struggled is the biggest understatement ever. I had two solid flats full of seedlings that were just beautiful. They grew right on schedule and were ready for the garden at the exact moment that I planted them. Then they just sat there and looked sad and small. It was cold, very cold. Tomatoes do not grow well in cold. Their little leaves start to turn in and turn yellow. Fortunately my dear friend Betsey came to the rescue with some extra seedlings that were bigger. I added them and replenished mine with some extras that I had held back under shelter. I  fertilized with vermicompost a few days ago and I swear their starting to look better. We’ll see what happens. Maybe some mulch would help as well.
IMG_8997We do have buds and one fruit on an early girl. Thanks to Ed and Betsey for this plant!IMG_8999 Poor peppers, same story as the tomatoes. I don’t know about this.IMG_9004 We have tons of  raspberries. Maybe this will be the year that I figure out the raspberry jam.IMG_9007 The chicken coop flowers are fine.

IMG_9014

We integrated our four baby chicks in to the flock last week. Their still spending some time on high perches but overall their doing quite well. This is a very feisty little flock of chicks. They can defend themselves. IMG_9008 I may still start some cucumbers in this little bed. We pulled the herbs out a few weeks ago because we have plenty in the new herb garden closer to the house. It seemed silly to use this precious real estate for herbs when we can add some veggies to it. I just have to add some compost and plants, and remove some rocks… which is all the equivalent of scaling Mount Everest at the moment. Maybe some fall plants will land here?IMG_9010 Here’s a little plot of bush beans. I’ll share the variety when they produce (and I find the seed packet). IMG_9013My Harrington estate rose is blooming! No, that’s not a real variety of rose. I just call it that because it came from the Harrington property that abutted our old house on Forrester Street. I missed the spring pruning this year but I’ll try to catch up with it soon. IMG_9027My little crop of broccoli seedlings are doing well. I should really start some more for the fall. I think that would work.
IMG_9031And of course the lettuce is still thriving. We are enjoying this lettuce all day every day! I should find a spot to add some more, especially if it’s going to stay cold. We could have lettuce all summer, no bolting here!

How’s your garden growing? How are you doing? I miss all of my blogging friends and I hope your all well and having a great garden season if your in the northern hemisphere, and a good winter if your in the southern.

Enjoy everything!

Love, Michele

Sort of a Stream of Conscious Garden Post

There is so much going on in my head… happy things, sad things, things I just can’t understand and things that are perfect. Often times if I sit down and blog it all settles down and feels better. It’s amazing how cathartic blogging can be. I probably won’t even write about what I’m really wrestling with, but sharing my garden thoughts helps me put something in a place. I guess it gives me some control over at least a little part of it. Stream of conscious can be scary, can’t it? Okay, out to the garden….

Thank you all for your comments that helped us to identify Cindy’s  Purple Shiso (Perilla frutescens nankinensis). I’ve never seen it growing here and it seems that my southern blogging friends were the most familiar with it, although my new friend Kathy at Witchcitygarden.com chimed right in too so it might grow around here. One of the very best aspects of gardening is learning new things, so thank you all for your help with that!

Let’s see, what else? I harvested lots of onions over the weekend. IMG_6933

IMG_6935 Their curing and will be cleaned up and stored for the winter. I think we have enough to last until next spring as long as I don’t make huge vats of onion soup.

I also made five quarts of refrigerator pickles with our cucumbers and dill. If you have fresh cucumbers around you should really try these. Their quick and easy and no canning is required!

We spent quite a bit of time weeding and pruning. Michael did lots of edging so our beds look fresh and ready for the second half of the gardening season. I’m hoping to plant some more lettuce and Asian greens after I add fresh compost to the onion beds. The kids were busy playing in the neighborhood and hanging out with friends while we worked. Sometimes it all comes together.

We even did the Ice Bucket Challenge last night, right here in the garden! I tried to share the video, and to post it on The Salem Garden facebook page but something quirky was going on with facebook, google, gmail and wordpress. So, unless I magically figure it out you’ll just have to believe me. Michael and I dumped the ice water right over our heads in the middle of the zucchini and tomatoes! It was great, and of course we’ll make our donation to the ALS association.

I have another non-stop week ahead. We’re preparing for another family vacation, celebrating a twelfth birthday, welcoming a beautiful new baby to our extended family and praying for friends from church who lost their beloved granddaughter to cancer on Saturday. I have to remind myself to breathe. Hopefully I”ll pull more weeds and write another post.

Wishing you peaceful time in your gardens.

Love, Michele

What’s Happening in the Garden- May 24, 2014

Good Morning! Happy Saturday and Happy Planting Day! Yes, I’m using upper case letters because in my world Planting Day is an official holiday. It’s really Planting Weekend around here.

IMG_5784We have some pots to deal with. Winnie and I can’t wait!

IMG_5787The marigold seedlings can’t wait either. Their ready to move in to their new homes.

IMG_5788I have to give us a little pat on the back because we made headway on borders like this over the past week. There’s still a lot to do but it’s getting there.IMG_5781 Talk to me about the blueberry bushes. We planted two of these last fall and I dare say their looking good. For relatively new, small bushes they have lots of flowers that appear to be turning into berries. Should we cover them? Will the birds eat them? Anyone?

IMG_5774 We’re eating plenty of asparagus now. My whole family enjoys asparagus. I think that’s because the kids grew up as it was becoming established and Michael and I were so thrilled with every stalk we served when they were younger.

IMG_5773 This black australorp is sitting because her leg hurts and she’s not using it. We’ve treated her in every way possible and she’s still hopping on one leg, but she’s laying eggs, eating and seems quite happy. It’s a watch and wait situation.

IMG_5772Michael found a bag of yellow onion sets blowing around in the street downtown and brought them home, so now we’ll have yellow onions this year.

IMG_5771The red onions are cooking right along.
IMG_5767 As is the lettuce which could be thinned out. The one advantage of a very cool spring is a nice crop of lettuce.

IMG_5765Kale… I bought these seedlings at the Salem High School plant sale a few weeks ago, which was a fun event!

IMG_5789The sweet peas are going to start climbing the fence any second now.

IMG_5778It’s almost time for iris!!!

IMG_5734

And check out this awesome gardening basket that I won at the Salem Beautification Committee’s plant sale last Sunday. I never win anything. It was a great sale and a nice surprise!

The official out in the garden season is off to a pretty good start!

Plant, plant, plant!

Hope your in the garden today!

Love,  Michele

 

Glowing White Garden

Last night after our lovely Mother’s Day dinner in the garden, our first this year, we played a little bit of soccer. I’m an absolutely wonderful player and I really think that the reason my team won was because of the way I screamed and covered my head every time the ball came toward me. I’m a little sore today because I played so hard and so well!

While we were out there I was struck by the amount of white in the garden. Usually by Mother’s Day the crabapple trees are blooming but this year we’re several weeks behind so I spent a good part of the day missing the beautiful shades of pink that I typically enjoy while I work outside on Mother’s Day. As it got a little darker last night the white started to glow and I was completely caught up in how special it was.
IMG_5581I tried to take photos last night but it got dark very quickly so my photos had kind of an evil look like this

IMG_5553and this.

I tend to live in the light so this morning I went back out hoping to capture some of the glow.

IMG_5626

IMG_5619

IMG_5615

IMG_5611

 

IMG_5601

IMG_5594

IMG_5591

IMG_5629The white garden of this week really is beautiful in it’s own way.

IMG_5631I hope that you won your game too and had a great Mother’s Day!

Love, Michele

 

What Do You Want For Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day is tomorrow and the scramble is on! What to get, what to give, what to do with Mom for Mother’s Day?

Around here Mother’s Day has been about the garden since my kids were tiny. I love getting a few plants and then having a few hours to myself to plant them on Mother’s Day.

Here’s some of my favorite garden related Mother’s Day gifts:

IMG_5531A special shrub or tree… this black pussy willow was a gift from Michael and the kids on our first Mother’s Day in this house. I love it more every year.

IMG_5538Some lovely gloves, boots and tools. If your Mom isn’t a hardcore gardener a pretty fork and spade may be just enough to keep the garden looking great and for her to enjoy it in style.

IMG_5540A nice collection of herbs.  Herbs are generally very easy to grow. Their also appealing to the senses and come in handy to add to favorite dishes, scent a room or drawer, or to cut and enjoy in a vase. You can’t go wrong with a collection of herbs.

IMG_0414A hanging basket for a doorway. There are so many beautiful choices available this weekend and Mom will smile every time she walks by it. If you want to make some “I will water your hanging plant on a day of your choice” coupons to include with the basket, your Mom will be even happier.

 

Okay, you knew it was coming… my very favorite compost maker! If your Mom keeps talking about wanting to make compost, this compost tumbler may be the perfect gift for her. You may remember that we use it at work and I love this compost maker. I blogged about it here at Christmas time too! I don’t have one at home and I’d be very pleased to see one all set up and ready to go tomorrow morning… hint, hint… (don’t worry they don’t read my blog)

IMG_5548If your Mom is into Pandora bracelets and gardening she’ll love these pretty Pandora charms. What mom who collects Pandora doesn’t enjoy a new charm?

IMG_5545These botanical prints from Ikea are just a few dollars and really brighten up a room. I bought them a few weeks ago and in my state of Ikea bliss I forgot to get the frames that I intended to put them in. Their actually quite pretty propped on the windowsill and now I have a reason for yet another road trip to Ikea to pick up the frames.

IMG_5535Here’s my Mother’s Day gift to myself this year. This is a corkscrew rush, also known as the beginning of the pond that I’m going to create for our deck this year. There will definitely be more to come on that soon 😉

These material gifts may make your mother smile and feel loved, but I think that the best gifts of all are time with family and some time in the garden.  I hope that all of my blogging friends get a little bit of those things tomorrow.

Wishing all of you a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Michele