What’s Happening in the Garden, May 29, 2021.

Hi everyone! We are in the middle of a beautiful spring here in Salem and I thought I’d share a few photos of our garden. I hope to blog more consistently this year. Please leave a comment and say hi if you’re here. I’d love to know who’s stopping by, and your energy will inspire me to post more often.

Lots of zinnia, nasturtium and basil seedlings are ready to plant. It’s very cool, windy and rainy today, so I’m waiting another day or two.
I’ve also started coleus, marigolds, hollyhocks, alyssum, dianthus, cosmos, Brussels sprouts, eggplant and some tomatoes…hoping to plant on Monday!
My greatest success so far this spring is the return of my perennial hibiscus. These take their time to show green in the spring and we have given up too early in the past and tossed them. This year I ordered everyone away, held my breath and here it is! I’m honestly not sure what color the blossoms were, but I do remember that they were large and beautiful last year!
Salvia and yarrow, with much more to come in this corner..
Kale, radishes, lettuce and onions..
This is a Russian Kale that I planted on Mother’s Day. I found the seedlings for sale at a coffee shop downtown..
New garden fence is in progress.. that rhododendron used to live in our front yard.
Lemon balm is everywhere. If anyone who lives nearby wants some, just let me know. This is one of my very favorite herbs. I put it in everything!
Bee balm is about to bloom. I’m trying to decide if the white flower is a weed or not.. if anyone knows, please comment so I can take care of it!
Siberian iris are starting to bloom ! ❤️
And the ducks are still entertaining us! We have ducklings and goslings, but I don’t see them today. They’re often out early in the morning with their mamas.

Wishing all of you peace, love and a moment of reflection and gratitude this Memorial Day, as we remember those who have sacrificed so much.

Love, Michele

What’s Happening in the Garden–July 11, 2016

Oh my goodness… It’s been a month.. and I have a million posts written in my head but not one made it’s way to my blog.  I’m sorry!

People ask questions at work that would be great posts all the time. I need to  write about the experience of serving people in a garden center and share some of that. I love the questions! Some are very common and happen all day (is it the annual or the perennial that comes back every year?) and some are surprises. Let’s just say I’m learning a lot about plants and gardening so I’m probably much happier than the average garden center employee.

I wish I had about five more hours in the day. I think I’d feel perfectly balanced and on top of everything if I did.

Or not.

Then, there’s the garden…

That keeps us busy.

This isn’t exactly the epic gardening year that I always think it’s going to be, but we’re doing okay. It’s been quite dry so the watering is non-stop. I think I lost my garlic crop to neglect and I feel badly about that, but it happens.

IMG_1709On the bright side, the potatoes are doing well. These are kennebec and we have three pots of them. I like growing them in pots because the disease and critter issues decrease a lot when they’re protected by the wall of the container.

IMG_1710The sungold tomatoes did better than I expected. My tomatoes went through a rough patch when I was just too busy with work and end of the school  year commitments to take care of them, but many have rebounded nicely. This variety does great in a pot.

IMG_1717I think that’s a little spider web, but some of you may know better. Is it going  to be okay?

IMG_1718The blueberry bushes are clinging to life. This is so sad because they were great last year. I’m still blaming that extreme cold(-10)  few days for this. I’d welcome any ideas for organically fertilizing and shoring them up.

IMG_1721The lovage has lept. I love leaping lovage. It tastes like celery and it looks so cool.

IMG_1722Most of our kaleidoscope mix and chocolate beauty pepper plants are still with us. The bunnies got a few of them.

IMG_1724These rattlesnake beans came from seeds that Michael’s uncle gave us when we were in Arizona in January. I’m waiting for them to climb their poles but they’re just sitting there teasing me!

IMG_1725-001This is Russian kale and it’s sweet! I’m using it as a vegetable, and as a filler in containers. Stay tuned for a better look at that on Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day on the fifteenth.

IMG_1726Here’s a few more tomato plants that I had given up hope on.

I believe my exact words to Michael were “we’re going to have to go buy some tomato  plants.”

He wasn’t too happy about that since they’d been living on our pool table for quite a while.

You just never know if things are going to come back…

IMG_1727The opalka tomatoes are too, along with the strawberry plants that I thought we had lost a few years  ago.

IMG_1728It’s late, but there’s basil growing and there’ll be plenty of time to enjoy it. This variety is Osmin from Pinetree Seeds. I need to do rock removal everywhere. They look huge next to the seedlings, don’t they?

IMG_1729And this is lemon basil. and little rocks.

If it all survives the critters it should be a foot high for my next What’s Happening update.

IMG_1731The lettuce is awesome, I need to plant some more asap!

IMG_1735And then there’s the onions… remember my onions last year?

IMG_9473Here they are! They were fabulous!

I’m not so sure about this year’s crop. They’re competing for space with a chipmunk and it’s been quite a battle. Those furrows that you see in the middle of the photo of this year’s onions are the chipmunk’s mark.

I know chippys are cute, and they have stripes on their back, and they sing in a movie…

But, I’d like for them to stay away from the garden. That’s all..

IMG_1736So this may be my favorite photo of this post, if not the whole season. Michael is using rhubarb leaves as mulch! I have a zillion questions about whether or not this is a good idea, but I think it’s really creative. Will it work, I don’t know? Are those leaves okay for the soil?  I’m not sure… but they look great!

IMG_1738I caved and planted store bought zucchini  plants, so far so good.

IMG_1739Same with the cucumber. This isn’t a great photo but I got these bamboo hoops from freecycle a few years ago and I love them. I hope the plants grow up over them again.

IMG_1741-001Mother Swiss chard and baby swiss chard are happy together.

IMG_1765So are our new baby chicks. This is one of the easter eggers.

IMG_1755We also have another Easter egger, two white leghorns, two Buckeyes and a Black Giant.

IMG_1743The black Giant is going to weigh ten pounds and she already rules the roost.

I’m loving our new little flock this year. These chicks seem special, maybe because with the exception of the EEs, they’re all new breeds to us.

If you’re still reading I need to say thank you so so much, this is a long post!

If I posted more often, they could be quite short, and easy to read.

Hmmm…

How’s your garden growing? Leave me a comment so I can check in with you 😉 I love to hear about how you’re doing!

Enjoy everything!

Love, Michele

Our 2015 Garden Year

The year is almost over and I thought that it would be fun to do a bit of  reflection on our garden year. I considered limiting this post to simple photos without words, but I started to fuss about whether to include just the immediate garden or the garden, yard and basement or garden related activities that didn’t necessarily happen here. In the end I thought that there’s too much to say and so I’m just going to talk!

January started out pretty typically with dustings of snow and the ground freezing… pretty much what we expect here in New England.
IMG_7756

And then it started to snow…IMG_7935

And it didn’t stop snowing for many weeks…IMG_8054

It went a little crazy going into February…IMG_8159

Fortunately around this time the seed order arrived!
seed order

And the orchid bloomed beautifully…IMG_8136

And we did puzzles, lots of puzzles…IMG_8152

By March we had snow farms in Salem.  The snow had to go somewhere!
IMG_8228

Michael and I had some much needed respite at the Boston Garden Show.It really felt like spring had sprung.

And then, just when we thought we’d never see them, the first crocus leaves appeared…IMG_8431

In April,  seeds started to germinate under the grow lights in the basement…
IMG_8491

And lettuce could be planted! This was kind of a late start for lettuce. I’d have planted it in March if the ground had started to defrost.IMG_8530

The snowdrops finally appeared!IMG_8533

By May the seedlings were ready to be transplanted, but we had to hold off because it was still unseasonably cold.
IMG_8636

Our new chicks were adolescents by now, ready to take on the world!IMG_8613

And toward the end of the month the iris bloomed.IMG_8913

By June the onion sets had been planted and were really taking off. The tomatoes tried to, but it was cold and not too sunny…
IMG_8995

The lettuce was ecstatic. Lettuce loves cold and not too sunny…IMG_9031

The perennials seemed to follow their normal routines despite the temperatures.IMG_9153

In July the onions were  thriving…
IMG_9242

Along with purple opal basil that had seemed to disappear right after I originally planted it in early June. You never know…IMG_9244

As August began the tomatoes still struggled…
IMG_9264
And we went on a week long vacation to a place that was packed with Rose of Sharon, hydrangea and arbors. IMG_9275

Finally, in September the tomatoes came in..IMG_9511

IMG_9482
IMG_9518

And were ready to be stored away for the winter…IMG_9705

The zinnias took over the area in front of the fence.IMG_9495

And the peppers were popping!IMG_9510

I remember saying that this was the year of the onion for us. I planted them from seed in March and they exceeded my expectations. We ate all of these white onions and have moved on to the red variety. I may plant a third type this spring.
IMG_9473
In October this tomato came in weighing about three pounds and resembling a pumpkin. It was so hard to cut this one up!
IMG_9703
The zinnias still danced…IMG_9603

while the leaves in our woods turned color.IMG_9729

In November I saved bean seeds for next year..
IMG_9762

And harvested the last crop of carrots for Thanksgiving dinner.IMG_9841

The frost came and overtook the swiss chard.IMG_9826

But not for long, it came back a few days later!IMG_9829

December was so warm that the herbs continued to thrive..
parsley

The dill and Christmas lights coexisted happily together. dill

And the broccoli that had bolted earlier in the year produced florets for  soup! IMG_9964

Finally,  a hellebore landed on my table. IMG_0016

Which left me wondering about it’s future. Can I plant this outside? It seems like I should wait until spring. What do you say hellebore growers? This is a new one, full of promise if it survives the winter in my house!

2015 was a very hard year for me personally. We lost my mom to cancer in late August (hence the absence of photos and posts this summer). She loved to garden and enjoyed ours whenever she visited. I like to think that she’s nearby and will be out there with us as the years go on.

New seeds catalogs have started to arrive already. It will be fun to see what the new year brings to The Salem Garden.

There’s interesting possibilities on the horizon.

I’d like to thank all of you for visiting here often, enjoying the garden love with me, and for sharing your gardens and gardening experiences with me and my readers.

Here’s to a happy, healthy 2016 in the garden!

Lots of love, Michele

 

What’s Happening in the Garden– November 24, 2015

I looked back quickly earlier this morning and realized that I missed posting a What’s Happening update in October.  The Halloween hoopla kind of overtakes everything around here, even as the kids get older.

Anyway, it’s November and we have had absolutely beautiful weather.  I hate dismantling the deck so I resisted and resisted. Michael is the primary dismantler and he prefers to do it without snow on the deck. I don’t mind a little snow if it means that we’ve enjoyed coffee or lunch (it’s too dark for dinner) one more time. But, the time has come and it’s been reduced to this:
IMG_9828A lovely pile of pots that need to be washed out as soon as possible.

It has to happen but it’s never pretty.

IMG_9829Down in the garden the chard is still beautiful. I took pictures of it covered with frost last week…

It’s amazing how some plants bounce back!

IMG_9832Same thing with the cilantro…

 

IMG_9837The sage can still be used for Thanksgiving.
IMG_9839And I don’t think the lemon balm ever really dies.

Herbs are just so darned hardy!

IMG_9833I took this little bunch of geranium plants in to soak for awhile. I think I’ll plant them in pots and winter them over in my office.

IMG_9835The asparagus fern will probably be on the table on Thanksgiving day.
IMG_9841As will the last clump of carrots that I harvested this morning.
IMG_9852This very grateful girl is wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

And so am I!

We are both blessed!

Enjoy everything!

Love, Michele

 

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

What’s Happening in the Garden- May 31, 2015

Hello from finally rainy Salem, Massachusetts!

I haven’t posted in quite a while. There’s been so much going on here; sick children, graduating children, coming home from college children, going to college children, dancing and soccer and proms. Big life events can be great subjects for blogging but they don’t jive so well with gardening and garden blogging, especially the sickness. I’ve been pretty consumed with the needs of my family, as I should be.

So, the garden isn’t quite where it usually is at this point in May, but that’s okay.  I can always catch up on the bean planting or substitute things or buy bigger plants that are further along. It will all work out in the end, or not, and that’s okay too.

IMG_8924These are the rainclouds that I was trying to out plant and out photograph before they burst this afternoon. I just made it and now we’re under a flash flood warning. It’s been so dry that the flood warning is welcome.

IMG_8913I post a pic of this view every year. It’s raining hard and is expected to continue through Tuesday, so I’m not sure that the iris flowers will survive. I’m glad I took this photo when I did.

IMG_8917Things are getting underway out in the herb garden. That’s parsley in the foreground. The oregano came back strongly, along with some dianthus, thyme and chives. I just put that brownish lovage in the back and added the new rosemary plants. Rosemary doesn’t winter over here unless we have an extremely mild winter, which is rare.IMG_8920 Looking from the other direction the cilantro was started from seed. IMG_8923 The blueberry bushes are loaded with berries! I need to plant more blueberry bushes. IMG_8925The Solomon’s seal is about to bloom…IMG_8926…along with my favorite yellow iris,IMG_8930 and the German iris.IMG_8931 Here’s a first for us; horseradish in bloom! It emits an odor of horseradish all around it. I don’t really love horseradish, but I’m kind of enjoying this. I hope the flowers don’t take away from root formation.IMG_8933 I planted a little bit of broccoli… so cute!IMG_8936 And the lettuce is happy. This is thriving because Michael does a good job of watering it for me with the leftover chicken water.

Here’s an interesting fact about this lettuce; the mesclun mix on the right was fertilized with vermicompost a few weeks ago and the row on the left wasn’t. Vermicompost is the way to go! I have a nice little worm bin here under my desk and all I do is feed them fruit and veggie scraps and keep an eye on the moisture content of the box. I harvest the compost once in a while and the “tea” or liquid that the worms produce every few weeks. It’s easy once you get the hang of it. I should blog about my worms more. IMG_8937I started these onions from seed in the early spring and transplanted them a few weeks ago. I need to make sure they don’t dry out and keep fertilizing them. Maybe I’ll try some vermicompost.
IMG_8941 Looking back, there’s lots of open space. IMG_8943I still have basil, tomato and foxglove seedlings,IMG_8914along with peppers.IMG_8942I dug this big pot of dill out of the front yard yesterday because we reconfigured the landscaping out there. Dill doesn’t really transplant that well, it’s better grown from seed. These are small enough that they might settle in if their handled carefully.

If any of you local friends want some dill just let me know! It will be here for a few days until the rain stops.

How’s your garden growing? I miss you and your comments and your blogs! Leave me an update so I can stop by and check in!

Love, Michele

 

Here Comes the Garden Plan!

I published this post two years ago and thought I’d pull it out and share it again for new readers who might have missed it. As the post reads, for $25 a year Mother Earth News gives you the ability to graph out and print, share and post your garden plan. You can change it as much as you’d like and they send you regular garden chore reminders.  I’m finding that this year we are way behind many of the recommendations that Mother Earth News and gardenplantingcalendar.com have sent me because of our cold and snow. Maybe our weather will catch up with the calendar soon!  As a side note, this Mother Earth News planner also works wonderfully with a group of people who are planning together using a smart board or computer. The men and women at Bass River, Inc enjoy identifying all of the things they would like to plant and using their hands to place the plants on our virtual garden site. It’s definitely worth the investment. Let’s get planning!

One of my very favorite things about winter is thinking about the garden plan.  Yesterday I spent some time poking around the internet looking at planning websites and found this great service at Motherearthnews.com. For a thirty day free trial ($25/year after the thirty days),  you can design your garden space using lots of cool features.  The site uploads plant lists for your climate. Then you can determine your square footage and add all of the beds, structures and plants that you’d like. You can share it on social media, publish it, view it on your phone and print it.  I used the video tutorials that are provided to get started and before I knew it I had created this complete map of my kitchen garden.

Here is the link directly to the vegetable garden planner which I happened upon when I googled “garden plan.”   Just a side note about the Mother Earth News web site,  that’s a wonderful resource too! There’s lots of great information about gardening, sustainable living and health. I could spend days just reading and gathering ideas and information there.  Here’s the link  to the online version of the plan just above. You’ll see the plant list that comes with it just below the plan.

As I finish typing I can hear the ducks down in the pond for the first time this year.  Spring really is right around the corner!

If you create a garden plan, let me know, and I’ll share here on The Salem Garden!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

*This is not a paid endorsement, I have no connection to Mother Earth News, I just liked it  ;)*

And the Winner Is….

John Pelletier of Salem!

John is the Program Coordinator of Mass In Motion Salem and said that he would use the calendar to help the Salem Public School Gardens! Since those gardens are so close to my heart I’m happy to think that the calendar will be used for them.

Here’s my process, just so you know that he won fair and square!
IMG_7903While I had lots of views of this post, the comments were light so the chance of winning was quite high. Note that John had two entries because he talked about how he would use the calendar in his comment.

IMG_7905I placed the entries into one of my favorite little baskets.

IMG_7910And the basket maker, who happens to be sick today, drew the winning entry.IMG_7914Congratulations John! I’ll email you with the coupon code for the free premium subscription to Gardenplantingcalendar.com.

Don’t forget to use coupon code salemgarden20 to save 20% off of a premium or standard subscription!

Happy garden planning and planting!!

Michele