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  ;)*

Process or Product?— I’m a Process Gardener

I’m sorry, I’ve been away, lost in the realm of back to school routines and commitments that make me run (sometimes literally) from 6 am to 9pm most days. I  need to get back to my  blog so I’m going to jump right in and just talk about what I’m thinking about today.  I’ve been tossing around the idea that I am a “process” gardener.  In other words I love the process of planning the garden, planting and growing things. The end product is not that important to me. I enjoy the fruit of my labor but producing a zillion tomatoes is not my goal. The enjoyment for me comes from the act of gardening. I think that this is very different from gardeners who have their eye on the prize at the end and consider the work it takes to get there to be hard labor. It isn’t ever hard for me. I can weed, water and prune all day and love every second of it. If I loose to the conditions, so be it, I’m okay with that. I have to stock my freezer with dinners in the spring because I know I won’t want to come inside and cook. I just love being out there.

What I’m not too okay with is the idea that it’s almost over. Fall in New England is really beautiful but I get hit with a little case of the blues at this time of the year. I just can’t believe that summer is ending. Where did it go? Do I really have to wait through three long seasons for it to return? That seems like forever right now.

Okay, enough wining… there’s still a ton of work to do. We have broccoli, lettuce, Brussel sprouts and herbs growing . I’m planning some winter gardening activities to keep things busy. I have lots of window space here in my new office that my rosemary plant,  geraniums and other herbs will love. Maybe I’ll finally get a cold frame going and stay in the game for a longer season. At the very least I could add some new houseplants and spend some more time reading garden blogs from the southern hemisphere.

It may be fall but spring will be here before we know it, right?

What kind of gardener are you?

Be well and enjoy everything.

Michele

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Growing Life Skills in the Garden

Garden/Allotment
Garden/Allotment (Photo credit: tricky (rick harrison))

Just below is the link to a great article about a youth gardening program in Loveland, Colorado. It highlights the many benefits that gardening provides to students with special needs. The adults that I work with grow and change as they garden as well. As I settle in to my adaptive gardening specialist position I’m able to see it more every day. Take a minute or two and click on the link to read about the Loveland Youth Gardeners! I truly believe that gardening benefits all who are interested!

Michele

Growing Life Skills in the Garden

Ron Finley, Guerilla Gardener— This Is Awesome!

Every one of my guerilla and therapeutic gardening friends must watch this video! Ron Finley says “gardening is my graffiti” and “gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant thing you can do.” His goal is to improve health and society in South Central LA one unused space at a time.  I LOVE it!

The Salem Garden is a Year Old? Really? Your Kidding Me!

WordPress sent me a message the other day to tell me that I’ve been blogging for a year. Seriously… one year? They must be kidding!

Lots of great things have happened since I started The Salem Garden and I didn’t really plan on any of them. You know that I turn everything into a list, so here’s what happened:

1.  I found out that blogging is fun, interesting and maybe a little bit addictive.

2. I also learned that blogging takes a lot of time and energy.

3. However, the time commitment decreased as I kept blogging.

4.  But, the time commitment then increased because I loved reading other blogs and learning about the craft.

5. I connected with friends, interesting people and gardeners from all over the world.

6. I also connected with friends, interesting people and gardeners from right here, in fun, new ways.

7. I learned a lot about gardening. This happens when you read gardening blogs, so keep reading!

8. I found my blogging voice.

9.  I got a wonderful paid position as an adaptive gardening specialist (I had never even heard of an adaptive gardening specialist). My first job in seventeen years has given me the gift of vision about what I’d like to do professionally in the future.

10.  My family did well with all of the above, almost all the time.

A year ago I had no idea or expectation about where this would go.  I knew that I had something to say or do but I didn’t know what it was or that it would be life-changing. I had spent many years raising my young children and enjoying every minute so I couldn’t  imagine doing anything else.  Thank you so much for reading, following, encouraging and sharing your thoughts with me.  You have all made the last year into an amazing journey!

I love sharing photos, so here are some of my favorites from the past year. Click on any image to view them as a slide show.

With lots of love and gratitude,

Michele at The Salem Garden

Here Comes the Garden Plan!

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 space using lots of cool features.  The site uploads a plant list for your climate, then you can determine your square footage and add all of the beds, structures and plants that you’d like. Whenever your ready you can share it, publish it, view it on your phone and/or print it.  The tutorials that are available helped me to get started and before I knew it I had created this complete map of my kitchen garden.

Here is the link to the vegetable garden planner which I happened upon by simply googling “garden plan.”  Somehow it’s a little tricky to get there from the main Mother Earth News website.  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 there.   Here’s the link  to the plan above that Mother Earth News publishes on-line. You’ll see the plant list that comes with it just below the plan. I believe that Mother Earth even sends you e-mails telling when to plant things.

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

***Just so you know, this is not a paid endorsement, I have no connection to Mother Earth News, I just liked it  😉  ***

Who’d Have Thought I’d Become An Adaptive Gardening Specialist?

I’m sorry that I’ve been absent from The Salem Garden all week. Sometimes life gets in the way and I have to step back and take care of things. We are in a pretty big adjustment period here because last week I began a part-time paid position as an adaptive gardening specialist! Yes, I can now combine my passion for gardening and my love of and past experience in working with adults with developmental disabilities. The agency that I work for provides opportunities for the men and women whom we serve to work and to broaden their life experience in a huge variety of ways.  We have an amazing garden on the rooftop of our building (hmm, did I talk about rooftop gardens recently?  😉  ) and we will have lots of things growing at ground level for those who can’t get up to the roof. I believe that gardening is therapeutic and educational on every level. I’m looking forward to using that approach to help others develop an appreciation for nature and their food supply, along with self-esteem, patience, hope, the list goes on and on. Needless to say I’m really excited to be there!  I have so much to learn and I hope to share a few parts of my journey here. A special note from a blogger’s perspective is that my blog served as a sort of resume for my new employer. Reading it gave my supervisor a way to look at my work and see how I might fit in to the program. When I started The Salem Garden last May I never dreamed that it would help me in this way. You never know where your blog may lead you. Keep blogging! Good things will happen!

With lots of love from very snowy Salem,

Michele

My 100th Post!

It’s very hard to believe that I’ve reached my 100th post… who’d have ever thought it…certainly not me. I remember my first post well. I was so nervous. I’d never done this or anything quite like it before, other than joining Facebook, and other yahoo groups and web sites a long time ago. This was completely different… my little kingdom where I could post anything I wanted, wide open and completely unchartered territory!  So I started posting photos and captions, and writing about them. Lots of my posts were about the garden and my family, which is where my heart is. Sometimes I think I’d like to write a very polished and professional gardening blog, then I find myself writing and sounding just like myself. I’m not generally polished and professional. I can be if needed but I don’t think I’ll ever have that well-spoken, intellectual tone that gets freshly pressed and recognized widely. That’s okay, I’m going to enjoy this and be comfortable in my own skin. I’d like to use The Salem Garden to help people. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. Maybe I should laser focus in on basic gardening concepts, or start another blog dedicated to helping people who are in very difficult circumstances? Those who are close know that I’ve had kind of a Forest Gump type of experience, especially in the past seven years. I may write about all of that someday, we’ll see.

In the meantime here’s a re-cap of some of my favorite moments from the past six months or so…

The garden at the beginning of the season, all planted in and ready to go..IMG_0311

This was my third post, the one about turkeys in the yardIMG_5727Then I wanted to give you an idea about what  Salem is really likeIMG_3908And of course, I posted about weeds. I never, ever profess to be a perfect gardener in any way. I make lots and lots of mistakes and I have no professional experience. I just love it and that’s what I share.IMG_0738Then there are these moments, when we can just enjoy the view. IMG_0751The little kids and I planted potatoes!IMG_0769and there were always chickens..IMG_7674And the Common..IMG_7732And kids helping. I love this photo, I used it on our family Christmas Card this year..IMG_7777People loved the green monster post. I should decorate more, and blog about decorating more. There is a really big audience for that!IMG_7806I should post more recipes too, this chocolate chip cookies recipe post is a big favorite…IMG_7829and there’s always more chickens… In the spring I might do some nitty gritty chicken maintenance posts with Michael, especially if we have baby chicks again. Chickens are fun!IMG_7853The bee balm grew.IMG_8605And I posted about my dream house… this was widely read too. I may do a series of dream houses…  IMG_8584We played on the beach at Winter Island a lot..IMG_8754And enjoyed one of my favorite gardens anywhere! IMG_8085There have been waterfalls…IMG_0794

And very special visitors..

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I visited lots of gardens and I have a very long list that I missed!  IMG_8306

We even painted chairs one dayIMG_0094The garden kept growing and growing…IMG_9490We had the experience of Hurricane Sandy, although we were spared the worst of it.. There was also the near miss of the tornado. Who would have ever thought this would happen?DSC00859You all seemed to enjoy this guy last weekend! So did I!
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and now we’re looking at the winter garden…

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It’s time to settle in for the long New England winter, plan for the spring and enjoy a some quiet, cold days. I have lots of thoughts for the winter edition of The Salem Garden… It will be fun!!

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for reading, commenting, correcting, and cheering me on!

I love it here.

Michele