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

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day and Wordless Wednesday (Or, an Unusually Quiet GBBD)- June 2016

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Here’s a little bit of what’s blooming here today! The wind was blowing, so there’s some blur here and there, but you get the idea.

Be sure to visit May Dreams Gardens by clicking here to see gardens in bloom all over the world!

Enjoy Everything!

Love,  Michele

What’s Happening In the Garden–May 1, 2016

Happy May Day!

IMG_1404Our male mallards are on the pond while their sweeties sit on their nests.

IMG_1380Flowers 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!

IMG_1388Michael 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!

IMG_1389The rhubarb is making a nice snake shelter. As long as they stay under there we’ll be just fine.

IMG_1391We 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.

IMG_1395These peas took a few weeks to germinate and I was a little worried, but now they’re going to climb!

IMG_1393The first crop of lettuce is almost ready to eat. It’s time to plant some more.

IMG_1390And 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!

IMG_1398I have to admit that the asparagus kind of makes up for it. This will be dinner tonight.

IMG_1399I’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!

IMG_1382Heading 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.

IMG_1384I’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.

IMG_1383The peppers are ready to spend some time outside hardening off.

IMG_1385This 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.

IMG_1387This 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!

Enjoy Everything!

Love, Michele

 

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day-April 2016

Hey everyone! Happy Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day!

I’m a little behind schedule today so I’m just doing a quick post to stay in the groove.

I looked back at last year’s April GBBD post and saw crocus and snowdrops.

I’m happy to report that this April 15th we’re way past crocus and snowdrops!

IMG_1337We have pulmonaria or “Bride and Groom” as my mom called it..

IMG_1338and forsythia.

IMG_1340Our forsythia are planted in a space out back, between a pine tree and the neighbor’s fence. I should put some out in the sun where I can enjoy it and it will grow better.

IMG_1347Grape hyacinth…  remind me to plant some small daffodils in this area in the fall. Wouldn’t they be pretty?

IMG_1349Greek Anemone

IMG_1346and a new pink Anemone. I hope these take off.

IMG_1350Buds on the Juneberry (Serviceberry) tree

This tree has been on the brink of bloom for the last ten days! Let’s go Juneberry tree…

IMG_1351I have a pot of daffodils, tulips and a few hyacinths on the front porch.  These bulbs have been through two snowstorms and several very cold nights.. they literally frosted over and bounced back twice.

If you have a chance, check out my instagram account  for pics of the freezing and defrosting process .  While you’re there, follow me and I’ll follow you back! I’m starting to really have fun with instagram. I’ve been posting some seed starting photos and connecting with lots of gardeners and great websites.

IMG_1355Just below the bulbs are a few cute little pots of pansies. These guys are also a bit weather worn, but they’re hanging in there!

Be sure to visit May Dreams Gardens to see the other GBBD posts. I had fun looking at them this morning.  April is a month when all subtle changes in temperature create a wide array of bloom stages as you travel around to different time zones and climates!

Be well, be happy,

and remember on this third anniversary of the Boston Bombing that Boston is strong!

Love, Michele

 

Early Spring Veggies That You Can Plant from Seed Today!

There’s lots of potential for the garden season to start much earlier than Memorial Day!

Everyone is used to planting vegetables in late May, but you can direct sow many seeds right now if you’d like to!

You only have a dollar or two to loose, and so much to gain! All it takes is a packet of seeds, some well nourished soil (add organic compost), sunlight and water.

It isn’t too early for lettuce, and with the warm weather forecast for New England over the next few weeks, I believe that we’re going to see a nice early lettuce harvest this year.IMG_8936

 

Peas are another early favorite.  They can be sown directly in an area where a fence or trellis is ready to support them as they grow.

IMG_5760Here’s the peas a few years ago just starting their climb.

Radishes will germinate now, and they grow so quickly. You could be eating home grown radishes in just three weeks if you plunk a short row of seeds into some well nourished soil!
IMG_2694As I looked at this photo from a few years ago I noticed the rocks… I’m always removing rocks.. but small rocks are okay, as long as you add lots of compost. It’s really all about the compost.

 

Kale and Swiss Chard are also very hardy. When we say that a plant is “hardy”, we usually mean that it will withstand cold well.

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This is swiss chard from last summer. Some of it actually wintered over a little bit (photos of that are  here ). I added more seed over the weekend to fluff it up and fill in the spaces between plants.

Spinach is another good early spring choice. It loves cool weather and will bolt as soon as it gets hot, so plant it now!

Here’s a quick list of spring vegetables that you can plant outside from seed right now:

-Lettuce

-Peas

-Radishes

-Kale

-Swiss Chard

-Spinach

-Scallions

Most of these will be ready by Memorial Day, or the 4th of July!

Our weather changes so quickly at this time of year, but don’t be afraid, give it a go!

Have you planted anything yet?

Leave me your questions, concerns, successes, anything that’s on your mind…

Happy Planting! Happy Spring!

Love, Michele

 

 

 

What’s Happening in the Garden-3/26/16

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!

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Looking in a little closer the parsley wintered over. I’ll need to plant more, but it’s nice to see some green.IMG_1143That’s chocolate mint snaking it’s way in. I’ll need to keep up with the mint or it will completely overtake everything.

 

IMG_1144The 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.

IMG_1145I grew this foxglove from seed last year so I’m hoping to see a nice big bloom this year.
IMG_1147Down 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.

IMG_1152The 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…

IMG_1153… and the girls are keeping an eye on him from a nice safe place.

IMG_1155We have our first little hint of rhubarb. My brother-in-law sent us a photo of their rhubarb a few days ago. It’s much further along in New Jersey.

 

IMG_1159The 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.

IMG_1161Today was my first peek of primrose from Mom’s yard. I love these plants.

IMG_1186And 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!

IMG_1187And 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.

It happens…

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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!

Michele

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day- March 2016

Happy Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day! I don’t think I’ve published a GBBD post in March in a very long time. Last March looked like the photo just below and I was blogging about our Salem snow farm.

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This has been a very different kind of winter!

With the exception of two days of minus ten degrees, our temperatures have been unusually high. No one is complaining, expect for the skiers. It hasn’t been their best winter, but here in the city I think I can safely say that we’re all quite happy that we didn’t get last winter’s four plus feet of snow.

We have blooms in the garden this March that we didn’t see until well into April last year.

Image 3-15-16 at 8.50 AM (3)The scilla is about to open up.

Image 3-15-16 at 8.50 AM (1)And my first anemone bud is also almost ready to pop!

Image 3-15-16 at 8.50 AM (2)The crocuses are surviving the basketballs somehow.

IMG_1109And the snowdrops have been beautiful for a few weeks.

Image 3-15-16 at 8.50 AMInside, the Christmas Cactus is in it’s second bloom. My very large Christmas Cactus was my mom’s and it’s been a joy all winter.

What’s bringing you joy today? I hope it’s a spring bloom or some seedlings that are sprouting.

More on the seedlings soon!

Be sure to check out all of the garden blogger’s blooms at May Dreams Gardens!

Love you all,

Michele

 

 

 

 

About those Onion Seedlings…. and… Spring is Springing!

Here’s my first tiny little dose of spring for you…

It’s really going to happen!

I believe that this particular crocus is always the first one every year. It’s in the exact same spot of my front yard, next to the walkway.

I don’t remember seeing it in February before but it’s out there this morning, as beautiful as can be.

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And then there are the onions…

IMG_1023I planted them on Saturday and left them covered up and in the dark. I think they should have had light for half the time.

IMG_1024Yesterday was a very busy day and I didn’t have a chance to check them. It was a nice treat to look under the wrap this morning to see that they were well on their way!

IMG_1027The only problem is this hairy looking mold.

I don’t know…

I’ve never seen this before and I’m wondering if it’s going to be a problem going forward.

Anyone have experience with this?

There’s getting to be a bit of a time crunch so I’m reluctant to start over but that may be best.

Weigh in if you have any suggestions!

About the onions:

–I planted them in damp seed starting mix

–about three or four seeds to a cell, 1/4 inch deep or so

–covered them with saran wrap (because I couldn’t find the plastic cover that goes with the cells)

–and put them on a heating pad to keep the soil at 70 degrees. I’m leaving them on the heat until most have germinated.

It’s as simple as that.

I planted four varieties… sweet Spanish, candy, southport red globe and Alisa Craig exhibition. The Alisa Craig were kind of a cheat because I used leftover seed. Generally onion seeds are only considered to be viable for a year, but I had some space so I thought I’d plant one row of cell spaces and see what happens.

I did look around at different planting methods. There were plenty of suggestions such as spreading the seeds randomly or in rows in an open container then moving them to cells or pots, direct sowing, and not worrying about drainage  (really)?  I had good results last year so I decided to let history repeat itself. I’ll try to keep you posted on  how things are going.

Further along on the spring is springing subject:

IMG_1030Swiss chard that wintered over, I kid you not!

I was very sure that the -10 temp of a few weeks ago pretty much eliminated anything that might be borderline. Swiss chard is amazingly hardy!

IMG_1033Because it’s 58 degrees outside today I moved this plexiglass over this little bed to warm the soil and create an area to start some lettuce soon. I covered that open edge with some boards, then my camera died so you can’t see it finished…

We have nothing to loose other than a $1.49 package of seed..

IMG_1029The snowdrops are popping… not sure about the cause of the blurriness of this shot, it may  be related to the mud in the yard and the indoor shoes that I was wearing…

IMG_1035And the daffodils are coming up too. February is kind of early for daffodils but if we stay in this weather pattern they should be okay.

How’s your garden growing?

I hope that spring is springing early for you too!

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

 

Beans Beans the More You….

…let them dry on the vine, the more new plants you’ll enjoy in the spring!

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These are Bountiful Beans, an heirloom variety that I ordered from Pinetree.

IMG_9230Here they were in July. These beans were delicious and prolific, just as promised, so we’re looking forward to next year’s crop. I already have the seeds on hand because I harvested the dried seeds and they’re ready to go!

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Pop open a dried bean and your likely to find bean seeds that are ready to plant next year.

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I’ll leave them in this pot for a few weeks, then move them to a marked envelope.

I’m not sure about reason for the color variation, but they may be at slightly different levels of dryness or they may just dry to different colors. I can’t remember what they looked like going in last summer. I tossed all of the discolored pods because the beans inside were shriveled and kind of moldy.

Moldy beans will only give us more moldy beans and we’re all about freshness around here.

If you have a few dried bean pods (heirloom, not hybrid, because hybrid won’t produce) hanging out in your garden, bring them in!

You’ll be one step closer to spring!

Enjoy everything!

Michele