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

Gardenplantingcalendar.com – Your Personalized Garden Planting Plan and a Free Giveaway!

It’s the beginning of a new garden year and just as I started to think about this year’s garden I was invited to try this website;

 

With a few clicks of my mouse I was hooked!

Gardenplantingcalendar.com will help you plan a wonderful garden. The site considers your local weather conditions and the needs of your seeds and seedlings, then provides a coordinated planting schedule.

How cool is that?

If your wondering about when to start tomatoes outdoors or indoors, you’ll have some guidance.

Maybe your pondering the possibility of growing potatoes in March?

Perhaps your a little nervous about just which week is best for planting your first row of lettuce.

Figuring out when to plant each type of seed or seedling is a big job.

Using the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) “Climate Normals” Gardenplantingcalendar.com takes care of that for you!

You simply enter data about your location, the fruits and vegetables that your hoping to grow, and your preferred growing methods.

Immediately after answering the questions your garden calendar will be ready.

I actually cut and pasted each week of the plan onto my google calendar so I could keep up with the tasks and plan each one in to my schedule.

Needless to say I’m feeling super organized and ready to go!

I can’t wait to plant seeds and I’m sure that this little boost of organization is going to propel me right into the greatest garden season ever!

So now for the giveaway;

I will be giving one reader a premium subscription to gardenplantingcalendar.com. Just say hello in the comments section by Thursday evening at 6pm eastern time and your name will be entered into my random drawing! If you go beyond a quick hi and talk about how you’d like to use the calendar I’ll add two entries.

If you can’t wait for the giveaway winner to be announced to subscribe, use the coupon code  salemgarden20  to save 20% off of a standard or premium subscription.

Gardenplantingcalendar.com is going to be a great way to get this garden season started!

Check it out and leave your comment today!

Michele

PS/ Please feel free to share this post widely! Thanks!

 

What’s Happening in the Garden, and With Me –September 14, 2014

 

 

I’ll start with the garden.

That’s a good lead in to the “and with me” part. To be honest I don’t know what’s happening with me. Maybe some of you can help with that. The garden is okay in a kind of mediocre way. I’m accepting of my limitations and abilities but I have to admit that I expected more from the garden this year. Maybe it was the relatively dry weather, or my organizational skills, or all of the fun vacations.

When your a gardener you have to spend time in the garden!
DSC04737 That said we still have kale. Is it me or is this photo a bit out of focus? Sometimes I can’t tell.DSC04740 The tomatoes were actually pretty good. A little wilt but not too much and it came very late in the season. I think I want to grow more romas again next year, or maybe a variety called opalka that my friend Betsey shared with me yesterday. Their larger than roma and make a sweet, meaty sauce… I brought some home from a visit with Betsey yesterday and popped just one of them into a little pot of fresh sauce that I made for dinner from some of my tomatoes that needed to be eaten. I think there was a very big difference!DSC04742 I planted quite a bit of cauliflower but it looks like the bunnies, or maybe even deer enjoyed the flowers for us.DSC04744The marketmore cucs are done and I have to say that this variety was a success. We enjoyed lots of pickles and salads and cucumbery things… DSC04738Here’s some later planted swiss chard that just isn’t taking off…DSC04743A few candycane zinnias came up near the chicken coop door. Their cute and happy but not too prolific. DSC04745 I have one, yes one, watermelon still growing. I’m fertilizing it weekly as my neighbor suggested and hoping it makes it through the next few weeks. It’s about the size of a large honeydew melon right now.DSC04747 We had a few cantaloupes almost grow into edible fruit. This one is imploded and slightly rotted. It will be food for another project that I have going so it’s not a total loss.DSC04748 One pumpkin, yes one. This is the year of one, two or three of anything that I worked on over time.DSC04749 Of course the horseradish is happy. I don’t like horseradish but several of our friends and family members do so it will be fun to harvest it in a few weeks.DSC04750 The new little herb garden got off to a decent start. Next year we’ll hit the ground running in this area of the garden.DSC04751 I’ve got pots of potatoes growing. They haven’t flowered and have lots of foliage so I’m kind of unsure about where we’re going here. Generally they flower and then die back and you can dig out the potatoes. So I’m waiting to see what happens. I dug around a little bit the other day and I really think there are some good sized tubers in there.DSC04753 Parsley and basils need to be frozen in ice cube trays for the winter. DSC04754 The onions kind of worked out! Remember when I was inspired by Betsey and Ed and planted them back in the spring? No need to buy onions around here this winter!DSC04755Oh, and then there’s this little project. Guess what’s in the box? Here’s a hint:  It thrives on the cantaloupe.

Okay… about me.

I’m tired and busy and tired and worn out. I want to do right by my family so I took a major blogging break. I don’t think I’ve ever gone so long in between posts. It really has me wondering about what motivates me and what’s that best use of my time. Should I keep blogging? I like to blog because I love connecting with  people all over the world. I like to think that I might encourage or entertain someone somewhere. I definitely feel accountable about what I say here so it keeps me on a good path in the gardening sense and beyond.

Have any of you fellow bloggers gone through this? It’s kind of writer’s block, but almost more like a writer’s resistance. I know what I want to say. I have a long list of posts to write but I wonder about the value of it. Does it matter? Should I just garden for myself and call it a day? No one who I know personally has said a word about my absence. Maybe I shouldn’t expect that, but maybe I should use my energy for other things.

That was a pretty stream of conscious paragraph or two. Thank you, I feel better,

Pioneer Woman used to say “tap, tap… is anyone out there?” She doesn’t need to do that anymore but I guess I could…

Tap, tap… hello?

Leave me a comment or send me an e-mail. I’d entertain any constructive feedback you have to share.

Enjoy everything!

Love, Michele

The Great Cape Escape

Last week my family escaped to Cape Cod! It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth, and there’s so many fun things to do. We trekked from one end of the Cape to the other and a little bit beyond up to Plymouth. Michael spends time down there every year for work but we tend to head north on vacation so it was new to the kids and I hadn’t been in a long time. DSC04529We saw gardens… some really amazing gardens! This is a bed at the Heritage Museums and Gardens. I didn’t know that this 100 acres of surprises existed until a few weeks ago. I’m hoping to do a post or two about this wonderful place!

IMG_7127We loved the beaches…lots of wild and beautiful beaches!

DSC04557We encountered some very large insects…

DSC04632And lived in a very untypical dwelling for seven nights.

DSC04662There were gardens in unexpected places…

IMG_7082and unexpected seal sightings in harbors.

IMG_7172 We saw pristine views of Cape Cod Bay at Plimoth Plantation.

IMG_7199And I learned all about the gardens that the pilgrims grew!

I’m planning to write a lot more about our great day there later this week.

IMG_7111We visited a Cape Cod windmill…

DSC04676and drank camping coffee.

It’s the best coffee in the world!

We swam (actually the kids swam), ate lots of cupcakes and had ice cream for dinner one night.

It was a trip of beautiful views, new experiences, family time and some great garden visits! Truly an escape like no other.

This week we’re back in Salem preparing for the start of school next week and harvesting things in the garden.

What are you up to? Are your kids back to school? How’s your garden growing?? questions, questions..

Enjoy everything (and answer one of my questions in the comments)!

Love, Michele

 

 

What’s Eating the Petunias?

Hmmm…IMG_7042Do you see chewed up flowers on your petunias?

IMG_7043 They look like this..

IMG_7044And in worse case scenarios, like this… Yikes!

IMG_7041 Here’s the culprit… the green hornworm.

They can be very tiny and they’ll try to blend in with the stems and leaves. You have to look carefully to see them but their there, munching away.

Just pick them off and give them a little smoosh and your petunias will start to come back. There’s usually just one or two per plant.

IMG_7046This pot of lemon ice petunias has been beautiful this year. I’ve been watching closely for the “petunia worms” as I call them. I think I caught them in time. I’ll keep you posted.

Don’t be shy, pick them off and smoosh! You can do it! It’s simple!

I’ll be on the road this week but checking in from our family vacation on Cape Cod :)!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

 

What’s Happening in the Garden, July 30, 2014

I truly can’t believe that it’s been almost a month since I posted a garden update. Where does the time go?  We’ve been doing everything… camping, hiking, visiting, working, gardening… you name it! It’s a crazy busy summer! While we’ve been so busy lots has happened in the garden.

IMG_6833We have tomatoes!! These are super sweet 100s… I haven’t grown this variety before so I’m looking forward to tasting them.

IMG_6846There are tomato plants tucked in all over the place. One of the great things about growing from seed is the sheer abundance of  plants when it’s time to plant. I’d better get that canning thing down because I’m going to need to do something with these tomatoes.

IMG_6827Yes, their a little bit too close together but I think they’ll be okay. I keep watching for blight so I can remove the yellow branches right away, and believe it or not, hardly anything is touching the ground.

IMG_6822We’ve picked several zucchini and more are on the way. I like to get them when their on the small side so their not too seedy. There is evidence of squash borer. I haven’t figured out how to organically prevent it from hitting my plants, but I have figured out how to deal with it to limit the damage….

IMG_6823I bury the base of the plant where the borers work their evil and the plant reroots almost immediately and keeps right on growing and producing. If you cut open the stalk you will clearly see the wormy little borers eating away. Not everyone handles that well. I think it’s kind of interesting.

IMG_6829There’s basil everywhere too. The flowers on this plant should have been cut back at the beginning of the bud stage. The photo that I took after I cut it was blurry, but you get the idea. You’ll have beautiful basil for a long time this summer if you cut it back!

IMG_6824The red onions look just about ready. I planted them close to the surface as I think I was supposed to and now their very high in the soil? Should I have covered them with soil as they grew or is this okay? It seems like they would have gotten bigger if they had stayed submerged a little bit longer.
IMG_6834The asparagus is gone for the year. It needs to be weeded and fertilized to shore it up for next spring.

IMG_6835The cucumbers are incredible this year! I guess the rain helped, along with researching the variety. I’ve harvested many and there’s lots more coming!

IMG_6845Okay, so, this is kind of a problem. I clearly wasn’t thinking when I put watermelon, cantaloupe and pumpkin in the same row.

IMG_6840The good news is that we have some fruit.

IMG_6841The bad news is that there appears to be some cross pollination happening. This is a very watermelon like cantaloupe.

IMG_6843Just across from the melon patch is a huge horseradish patch. I still have some in the freezer from last year.

IMG_6862The blueberries, covered with bird netting, are happily producing.

IMG_6855However, these brown dying branches on one of the two plants is a concern. Anyone know what’s happening here?

IMG_6857We have potatoes in the cat pot again… I mixed tons of compost in so I’m hoping for great tuber development.

IMG_6825My favorite border is hanging on. Maybe some good deadheading will bring back another bloom?

IMG_6820We made a little goldfish pond on the deck this year. It’s just a plastic barrel filled with water, pond plants and fish. It’s so easy and a nice addition to our sitting area where we enjoy our view.

IMG_6859Life is so good here…

Enjoy your blessings today!

Love, Michele


Grandma’s Garden in Delaware-2014

A few years ago I blogged about my mother-in-law’s beautiful garden. We don’t get to Delaware every year and it’s always a treat to get out of the car after our long journey and step into the garden.  It’s interesting and whimsical and fun!

IMG_6430We caught the last little bit of larkspur and that very long coned rudbeckia..

IMG_6477The larkspur adds pops of color everywhere.

IMG_6439I haven’t seen this in Massachusetts.

IMG_6433The shagbark hickory tree has grown and become the focal point in the last few years…

IMG_6482with good reason.

IMG_6438Elephant’s ear winters over in Delaware, imagine that?

IMG_6464Echinacea
IMG_6470I love this little clay birdhouse/feeder and I’m wondering what that tall plant to the left might be?

IMG_6478Looking out toward the back yard…

IMG_6480Michael’s mom is an avid garage sale and thrift shop hunter so the ornaments are always changing.

IMG_6486The hear no evil statue is a new addition. I thought it was funny that Michael just gave me a similar statue a few weeks ago.

IMG_6429This guy continues to keep watch from the deck.

IMG_6492He has help now.

IMG_6467And Chester takes care of on the ground surveillance.

I think they’ve got it covered.

It was a fun visit in a beautiful place. I hope we return soon!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

 

 

What’s Happening In the Garden- July 2, 2014

Good Morning and Happy July!

We left for a camping trip last Thursday (our last day of school was Wednesday) and came back to the work, garden, home and the new summer routine first thing Monday morning. I’m trying to get everyone settled in and caught up so I’ve been quite absent from The Salem Garden. Sometimes I wish I just had a few hours a day to garden and blog, but, that’s not the deal. Things are looking pretty good out in the garden anyway!

IMG_6275This statue is a recent gift from Michael.  I saw it in a shop downtown and liked it so he traded some chairs that were taking up lots of garage space for it. That’s scarlet runner bean ready to climb up the pole and decorate. I’m not sure that I agree with the “have no fun” ending to this saying, especially in terms of the speaking part, but I think it’s cute.

IMG_6249Zucchini are cooking… well, not cooking but growing. Last week I saw the beginning of the squash borer infestation and I buried the stem at the base of the plant immediately. I’m keeping an eye out for more but so far so good.

IMG_6250Oregon sweet peas

IMG_6251And the alaska variety… salmon and peas are on the menu for the Fourth of July!

IMG_6252The horseradish is back. This got a slow start this spring. I think I harvested deeply last year so it took a little while to reach the surface again.

IMG_6254Tomatoes are coming along. They need to be staked and weeded asap.

IMG_6255Some marketmore organic cucumber taking off. This variety got good reviews and so far I can see why. A trellis might be helpful here.

IMG_6256I bought cauliflower seedlings at the Witchcraft Heights Elementary School plant sale. Remember my cauliflower fiasco last year? Click here to read about it  if your feeling brave. These plants were so cute and for a good cause so here we go again…

IMG_6257Sweet little marigolds… they’ll be everywhere soon!

IMG_6258I slid some peppers in here and there where I found bits of space. We’ll see how that approach works.

IMG_6259Silver and Gold are still working their way in to the flock. I think their dreaming about better days but they’ll be okay soon.

IMG_6261Kale… anyone have a great kale chips recipe?

IMG_6262The red onions look happy with the exception of the obvious weeds and rocks which I need to remove, and I will, as soon as I get a few minutes, sometime… soon.

IMG_6263Here’s their flower. When are they ready? Betsey, talk to me!

IMG_6270Lavender!

IMG_6271The window box on the coop is planted, not perfectly, but it’s okay.

IMG_6272The cold weather has been awesome for lettuce.

IMG_6273Mesclun has bolted and will be coming out to make way for some swiss chard that I have started.

IMG_6268And finally, here’s my favorite rose bush, the one that I rescued from the Harrington estate…

IMG_6269nestling a carefully kicked football in it’s branches.

That’s how things are in a yard full of kids, chickens and chaos…

Time to get to work!

How’s your garden growing?

Lots of love,

Michele