Here’s a few quick pics just to stay in the game. This has been the year of the bunny. We’ve been inundated with rabbits who have eaten everything! We do have decent rows of kale, swiss chard and Brussel sprouts but our harvest of beans, lettuces, tomatoes, cucumber and zucchini are very low. Michael’s been working hard to secure the fence and we’ve finally got a handle on them inside the fenced area, but the wider yard is their’s to roam! There’s also a lack of black-eyed Susan and many of the other perennials that we enjoy every year. I keep telling myself that the roots haven’t been eaten, so maybe these plants will come back stronger than ever next year.
Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to leave me a comment or question. I love to hear from you!
Lots of garden love,
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms who may be reading! One of the many luxuries I allowed myself this weekend was taking the time to snap some quick photos for a blog post. These were taken yesterday before the inch or so of rain that we were hit with today.
Spring has finally sprung here in Salem, Massachusetts!
Since we’ve had a lot of rain everything is lush and green… a very different scenario from last year when we were in a severe drought all. season. long.
Michael welcomed spring last weekend by replacing four of our five raised beds. They’re sturdy and should serve us well for five years or so.
I haven’t had time to do much seed starting this spring so I’ll direct sow some things and I purchased spring seedlings a few weeks ago. I saw these celery plants and decided to give them a try. We had a cold snap about ten (?) days ago and they suffered a little but they seem to be greening up again.
I also purchased Brussel sprouts which were quickly chomped on by someone, a bunny or deer? Yes, we have deer in our yard here in the city of Salem. They’re beautiful creatures but not so good for the garden.
The sweet peas grew quickly from seed and the spinach is quite happy. They all just push those rocks to the side, don’t they?
My little row of Swiss chard is also being “tasted.” I think those are bunny tooth prints.
The lettuce is starting to sprout. It needs some vermi-compost and rock removal, stat.
And then there’s the kale, always easy, always happy… you can’t go wrong with kale.
I did go wrong with this passion flower that I plunked in late last fall. I bought it on sale and I can’t find the receipt or container or I’d take it back.
On the brighter side, the liatris that I planted last fall are starting to bloom.
I scattered them in front of the garden fence. I may move more mid spring blooms into that bed to keep them company next year.
Our apple trees are full of blooms too. We may have a real apple crop this year! We bought some organic horticultural oil to spray on the trees to keep the pests away and it helped them get off to a good start. We’ll repeat it after the flowers start to turn to fruit.
I believe that this is the first time I’ve photographed an apple blossom. 🙂
Our horseradish is prolific and about to bloom. I think it’s funny that these flowers will surely smell like horseradish.
In the beds closer to the house the bleeding heart are beautiful.
The lovage came back beautifully and I replaced some thyme with fresh new plants.
Soloman’s seal, iris and lamium are thriving in a part sun/ shade area.
And I’ve got a few tomato plants that are ready to go out in a week or two. I started these sweetie tomato plants at work with the participants in my program and brought some extras home when we thinned them out. They’re a bit crowded in their pots, but I think they’ll be okay for a little while longer. I’ve been watering them from the bottom in hopes of forming strong roots systems. I’ll keep you posted…
We got new chicks this year so I made my first video! You’ll hear me taking about them toward the end. I’d like to do more of this and work on making it a little zippier, but it’s a start!
I hope that all is well in your garden, wherever you are. Thanks for stopping by and don’t be afraid to leave me a comment and say hi if you’d like to!
Love to you all,
Hello out there and Happy 2017. I’m feeling quite sad and worn by recent events here in the US and sometime I need a mental escape and happier thoughts, even if just for a few minutes. One of my biggest escapes is always the garden. We’ve had a mild winter so far but the garden is still cold and quiet on the surface. Below the ground, the perennials and bulbs and trees and grasses are alive and well and just waiting for spring to arrive.
I’ve added lots and lots of houseplants in the past few years and my time at ICS Plant Specialists taught me how to take good care of them. I’ve been enjoying my indoor garden this winter.
My mom’s Christmas Cactus, which sat in her dining room window for my whole life, is a little bit behind schedule but it’s finally blooming. She would be proud to see it here.
I still have wax begonias from last summer blooming in the office. They’ll be ready to go out to the deck in a few months.
Our bookshelf in the living room holds an angel begonia (also mom’s). It seems fresher and stronger than it used to… right plant, right place… maybe it will bloom?
This little vignette kind of cracked me up (no pun intended) when I saw it so I had to share. Do you happen to have a bamboo plant, fresh eggs and a Droll Designs Bugs Bunny teapot sitting together on your kitchen counter?
My very sweet sister-in-law gave me this Thanksgiving Cactus during the holidays and I just moved it into a more permanent pot last week. My Dad took the photo somewhere in Asia many years ago. He passed away when I was 21, but I always look at it and think that he would have appreciated the attachment parenting style that we chose to use with our children when they were small.
I have philodendron everywhere and to add to the cactuses, here’s an orchid cactus! It blooms in the summer warmth and looks like a piece of sculpture in the winter.
My money tree (Pachira aquatica) also came from Mom. When I brought it north last fall the leaves fell so much that I was sure I was going to loose it. I did some research and found that this plant likes to stay away from drafts and hates being overwatered. Those were easy things to fix and as soon as I moved it away from the front door and adjusted my watering routine it started to produce new leaves and they’ve been filling in ever since.
I found this cute little polka dot plant on sale for $2.50 last week. It brightens things up!
My succulents thrive outside in the summer but they’re holding up well in their indoor winter home.
Maddie is standing guard over them. Fortunately, our current cats never touch the plants.
This is the first time that I’ve raised African Violet to a full bloom stage. They’re in a bathroom with very filtered light and it seems that between the humidity from the shower and the gentle light that they’re receiving, they are happy. I need to add a few more plants to this windowsill.
Here’s another first… a hellebore bloom out in the herb garden! Something is munching on this plant (I believe that it’s bunnies or deer) but that one bloom is enough to keep me in the game!
I’m hooked on African Violet and hellebore!
You may remember that I’m also hooked on seed starting and it’s just about time to start the onion seeds. I picked these up last weekend and they’re sitting above my kitchen sink calling to me to plant them. I’m receiving seed catalogs and thinking about the spring plan. See, the garden is an escape all year long!
In other news, I’m still working on getting a handle on this full time work schedule, but it’s getting better as we adjust and develop good, new routines. I think there may be some fun garden projects at my workplace as the year goes on. If that happens, I’ll be sure to share them here.
I hope that this little trip through my indoor winter garden gave you a break and made you smile. Check in and let me know how you and your garden are doing! I miss you and wish you peace and love, wherever you are.
So, the last time I worked on this post was September 1st and the last time I posted anything was … August 10th, from my vacation..
Aye aye aye..
One of the problems with garden blogging is that summer is a busy time in the garden, and at work, and with family… so just when we “should” be blogging like crazy, there is no time to do it.
I think that this happens to other garden bloggers too. We have the best of intentions but we’re kind of out in the garden, or at the beach…
I’ve been a bit stuck in blogging land in other ways too.
I think I need to clearly define my purpose here. Sometimes I feel like I’m all over the place because I have a million different interests and I get distracted or overwhelmed. Now that the kids are settling into all of their different school environments and I technically should have more time on my hands I’m going to try to focus in a little.
If I blogged about just one of the questions that I’m asked or that I overhear every day at my job as a plant merchandiser I’d have the best blog in the world! The questions are endless.
So, heres to moving forward and catching up!
Maybe I should start with some pics of where we are, or were, a few weeks ago. It’s still about the same. One of the very tough aspects of this garden year has been the extreme drought that we’re experiencing in Massachusetts. It. just. won’t. rain. About once a week we have a forecast for some rain but again and again it squeeks by and misses us..
In spite of this, we still have a few black eyed susan hanging in there. I should mention that the photo credit for this picture goes to my little Alli.
The pepper crop has been decent.
It’s not what it would be with a more consistent drink, but we’ve been watering conservatively.
The Russian kale seems to thrive no matter what. We like this vegetable, it’s sweeter than standard kale.
This was a Berkley Tye-Dye tomato. These plants weren’t huge producers but we’ve enjoyed the fruit that we’ve picked.
The star of my tomato patch was this variety… Principe Borghese.. they will be returning next year!
We’ve used them for everything from sauce to salads and they’re always perfect! The plants looked downright gangly when I put them in and I thought I’d be pulling them out, but they rebounded and took off!
I’m 98% sure that these are Manyel tomatoes.. I can’t be 100% because they grew out of the chicken poop compost in another part of the yard and we transplanted them to see what would happen. I can baby plants along for months with fans and lights and vermicompost and they’ll never do as well as the ones that grow out of last year’s compost.
Here’s another yellow variety… I don’t have the name on hand but this was grown from seed this year. Looks like there’s some blight taking over.
The green beans were chomped in half by something (we think a deer jumped the fence).. good news is they’ve grown back and are now full of beans.
The lemon (on the left) and Osmin basil (on the right) has been a fun little twist. I should cook with it more than I do but I’ve been throwing it onto salads and chicken.
There’s been good news and bad news about the cucumbers.
The good news is that they grew. I’ve battled cucumber beetles and squash bugs a lot for the past several years. Last year I didn’t plant any cucumber or zucchini in hopes of decreasing the populations of pests and it worked!
The bad news is that these pickling cucs were just a pain in the neck. I never got the hang of when to harvest them. I checked often but they were either not ready yet or had passed and turned yellow. I think it’s all about having time and staying focused. That can a little challenging for me.
The zucchini did okay in terms of pests but didn’t produce much. I’ve been wondering if our bee population is down and if the pollination rate was low. I’m not sure about what happened here but feel free to weigh in with your thoughts.
The seeds for these rattlesnake beans came from Michael’s uncle in Arizona. They’ve been a fun twist too. Their easy to grow and cook up beautifully! I’ll have to post a pic here or on instagram of the beans themselves. They’re beautiful!
So, that’s an update of the kitchen garden. The flower gardens are hanging in there but not really flourishing like they usually do. I didn’t even plant zinnias this year because it was way too dry in June. I hope the seeds last until next year!
My next post, which I promise will be soon, will feature a new chocolate from the Harbor Sweets Chocolate Company that I’ve been asked to review..
Think chocolate and honey..it’s divine and I’ll be giving a box away!
Don’t miss it!
What’s growing in your garden? Are you dealing with drought or deluge?
Please say hi so I know you were here! I love that!!
Thanks for stopping in!
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.
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.
On 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.
The 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.
I think that’s a little spider web, but some of you may know better. Is it going to be okay?
The 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.
The lovage has lept. I love leaping lovage. It tastes like celery and it looks so cool.
Most of our kaleidoscope mix and chocolate beauty pepper plants are still with us. The bunnies got a few of them.
These 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!
This 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.
Here’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…
The opalka tomatoes are too, along with the strawberry plants that I thought we had lost a few years ago.
It’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?
And 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.
The lettuce is awesome, I need to plant some more asap!
And then there’s the onions… remember my onions last year?
Here 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..
So 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!
I caved and planted store bought zucchini plants, so far so good.
Same 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.
Mother Swiss chard and baby swiss chard are happy together.
So are our new baby chicks. This is one of the easter eggers.
We also have another Easter egger, two white leghorns, two Buckeyes and a Black Giant.
The 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.
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!
Good morning! Happy June! We’ve made it past Memorial Day weekend and here I am AGAIN apologizing for my inability of publish anything at all here on The Salem Garden. I think about and write posts in my head all. the. time. and yet I just can’t get the hour or two needed to sit down and publish something constructive.
I think it has a lot to do with the five kids, husband, multiple animals, garden in spring and the still newish part-time job. About the job, it’s really quite good. The work is physically hard and very good for me mentally. I love the plants, the task of finding spaces and figuring out where to put things and getting paid to work out for four or five hours, four days a week. Lord knows I wouldn’t do it any other way. My co-workers are great and I enjoy the customers. It’s fun to listen to shoppers interact with each other and ask questions. I believe that if I blogged about the questions I’d probably have an award winning garden blog here.
I just need more time!
Here at home lots has been happening in our garden. We’ve had nice weather. It’s been warm enough, yet kind of cool. Things were getting pretty dry, but we’ve had several good rains in the last few weeks.
I’m very happy to report that I got the deck decorated nice and early this year so it’s already heaven on earth. I love to sit here when I have a few minutes.
My little fish Pepper loves the deck too because that’s where his summer house is (he spends the winters on my kitchen counter). I put this barrel together with plants from a great nursery that specializes in ponds. If you’re a local water gardener, be sure to visit Country Gardens in Ipswich. They have everything you could ever need and it’s a fun place to look around.
The herb garden is filling in nicely. It looks like the foxglove that I planted last year is going to flower!
Iris are in bloom! I love iris.
Down in the kitchen garden we’re in the fence business this year because we’re sharing our space with a family of bunnies. Bunnies munch a lot.
In fact they munched the beejeebees out of the peas that I planted in March. Here are two of the five or six that survived. I’ve noticed that in the few days since the gates went up they’ve started to grow again. I’m not sure that we’ll have enough peas to serve a bowl on the Fourth of July, but there may some for a salad or two.
I planted all of my tomato plants (about 40 altogether) even though they were neglected and got kind of leggy. This is what happens when you don’t move your seedlings to a larger pot. I knew that, but repotting them just didn’t happen. I’m going to stake these asap and hope for the best.
I had to share a picture of this horseradish because I think it’s going to take over the world. If you want horseradish, just let me know and I’ll dig some up for you in the fall.
The lettuce is finally edible, thanks to the bunny gates.
The swiss chard (on the right) wintered over and is picking up again. I need to learn to incorporate it into summer recipes better. The spinach (on the left) is starting to grow, but I’m worried that it’s going to bolt as soon as it gets hot.
Our garlic looks quite happy. It may be a big year for garlic around here.
Not so much for the asparagus… I should plant some new sets of roots. I’ve been wondering if we’ve over harvested it for the past couple of years because some of our plants didn’t come back this year. Any thoughts on why we’d loose asparagus plants?
These are kaleidoscope mix and chocolate beauty peppers. They’re on the outside of the wooden fence so I’m hoping that this metal fence is enough to keep the creatures away.
The onions need to be planted, like… now…
I grew coleus from seed this year and I’m pretty pleased with the results. I’d like to increase the number of flower/annual seedlings that I grow myself. It’s very easy and saves lots of money. Sometimes I winter coleus over in pots inside too.
Speaking of seeds, I still have a lot to go in. Carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, multiple flowers… I need to get out there and get these in the ground!
And finally, these ladies arrived on Mother’s Day.
We have two new White Leghorns, two Buck-eyes (the first chicken breed developed by a woman), two Easter Eggers and a Black Giant…
The Black Giant thinks she’s all that… lol..
What’s happening in your garden? I hope that you’ve been out there planting something.
Happy May Day!
Our male mallards are on the pond while their sweeties sit on their nests.
Flowers are blooming, hosta has made it’s way out of the ground and it looks like I have a new maple tree growing in my tulip patch.
… all good signs of spring!
Michael cleaned out our perennial beds and they are bursting with new life. I have to give him all of the credit for this task because he just does it.
I’m always watching and waiting for my slithery friends at this time of the year so I tend to procrastinate and step lightly. He dives right in and finishes before I get my shoes on!
The rhubarb is making a nice snake shelter. As long as they stay under there we’ll be just fine.
We have a little row of spinach coming along..
Yes, there are rocks but that’s okay.
I keep pulling them out, one rock at a time…. for the rest of my life.
These peas took a few weeks to germinate and I was a little worried, but now they’re going to climb!
The first crop of lettuce is almost ready to eat. It’s time to plant some more.
And what do we have here?
NOTHING, my friends… the kale must have been plucked away by the birds because it’s gone, and the onions haven’t sprouted yet. Sometimes onions take awhile or don’t grow at all.
Most bloggers wouldn’t show you this picture, but I want you to see that it happens to everyone and it’s okay!
Half of the fun of gardening is the surprise of it all!
I have to admit that the asparagus kind of makes up for it. This will be dinner tonight.
I’ve been researching our options for replacing this wood and we’re still undecided about what to use. The denser woods like cedar and juniper are very expensive and the softer woods like pine won’t last too long. We don’t want to use pressure treated because the chemicals from the treatment process leach into the soil. I’m reading about composite wood and alternative methods of pressure treating too. I’ll keep you posted, in fact, this topic could be a post!
Heading inside; the tomato seedlings are cranking away! I’ve been moving these lights up an inch every few days. You’ll notice that I keep the lights just above the plants to keep them from from getting tall and thin. A compact plant will be strong and hearty when it’s planted in the garden.
I’m excited about planting these hollyhocks outside. Some of them will be right outside of the chicken coop door, and some will be near the archway.
The peppers are ready to spend some time outside hardening off.
This coleus is for the deck. I’m wondering if it’s going to grow quickly enough to be ready by the end of the month. I’ll save lots of money if I have the patience to let it grow without buying any.
This parsley is just for the fun of it. I’ll sow some parsley seeds right in the garden too, but it’s nice to have a little jump on it. We love our parsley.
I’m going to start cucumbers, basils and squash this week. I like to wait on those because they get too leggy if I plant them earlier. As I move some of the earlier seedlings out from under the lights I’ll make space for new things to come.
Seedlings are so much fun!!
If you haven’t started any yet, think about planting some cucumbers or zucchini. You might even be able to sneak a few pots of tomato seeds in. It’s okay if things are a week or two behind the “recommended” time frames for planting.
As I close I’d like to thank so many of you for reading my “I Was Stuck” post last week and for your many words of love and encouragement. I’m always amazed that people read my “all about me” posts more than the garden related ones. I need to think about ways to balance that, or put more of myself in the garden posts.
If you have any thoughts or comments, please comment in the comment section just below. I love the facebook conversations, but this community would GROW if the facebook comments were posted here, so don’t be afraid, just do it!
Happy Sunday, Happy May Day, Happy SPRING!
Good morning and Happy Easter to those who celebrate! Yesterday’s rain held me back from taking photos for my garden update, so I’m sliding it in before I begin my Easter baking and cleaning. I have help, but no one around here does it quite the way I do ;).
I walked out the back door this morning and turned the corner to enjoy my little herb garden. Two years ago this area was planted with big juniper bushes and I haven’t had one second of remorse about removing them. I love this garden because I can enjoy it from my dining room window and I can flip laundry and scoot outside to pick herbs for whatever’s cooking.
Everyone should have an herb garden outside of their back door!
Looking in a little closer the parsley wintered over. I’ll need to plant more, but it’s nice to see some green.That’s chocolate mint snaking it’s way in. I’ll need to keep up with the mint or it will completely overtake everything.
The chives are coming back as well. I’m pretty sure that these are just common chives but now that I’m looking at them I’m wondering if their garlic chives. It’s tough to get old. I wish I could remember things like this.
I grew this foxglove from seed last year so I’m hoping to see a nice big bloom this year.
Down in the garden, we have lettuce coming up! I planted it a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been covering it with the plexiglass on the really cold days. This may be the earliest lettuce crop we’ve ever had.
The garlic is very green and vibrant. I didn’t mulch with those pine chips, my dear husband did because I kept meaning to get some straw to mulch with and it didn’t quite happen. I think it’s okay, but I’m going to remove it asap because I’m not sure that the acid from the pine is good for garlic. Winnie is wondering about that too…
… and the girls are keeping an eye on him from a nice safe place.
The delphiniums that I planted last summer came back! I wasn’t sure that that would happen, but they must like this spot in front of the fence. I’ve read that they prefer shelter from the afternoon sun.
Today was my first peek of primrose from Mom’s yard. I love these plants.
And inside, the peppers were planted yesterday. They’re on a heat mat and covered with saran wrap until they germinate to create a little greenhouse. Fingers crossed for good seedlings!
And here are the onions. As you can see I had a good germination rate with the candy and Spanish onions, but not so with the Southport Red Globe. If five seeds hadn’t germinated I would be thinking that maybe they just take longer, but this looks like a lost effort. It’s getting late, so I’ll probably buy sets of red onions for this year.
I spent a few hours organizing all of my supplies this week. I’ve been into the Konmari method of letting go of things that don’t bring me joy. I’m enjoying my newly decluttered gardening area!
It’s going to be a great gardening year!
What have you started? What’s growing in your garden? Are you decluttering too?
So many questions!
Enjoy everything and Easter blessings to all!
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:
A lovely pile of pots that need to be washed out as soon as possible.
It has to happen but it’s never pretty.
Herbs are just so darned hardy!
I 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.
The asparagus fern will probably be on the table on Thanksgiving day.
As will the last clump of carrots that I harvested this morning.
This very grateful girl is wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!
And so am I!
We are both blessed!