A Tale of Two Bulb Beds

So here’s what happened…

I planted bulbs from the same three packages in two different beds in my yard within an hour of each other.

I even blogged about it here. This was just a few months ago, right before we experienced the most difficult winter ever recorded in eastern Massachusetts.

There was a lot of snow.

IMG_8601Here’s the backyard herb garden today.  Remember how I carefully planted bulbs along the path, in the nooks and crannies? It was going to be amazing! The herbs are slowly coming to life but there’s not a bulb in sight.

IMG_8599And then there’s the sunny front yard…same packages of bulbs, same planting time and their blooming to beat the band.

I’ve been reading about microclimates and I think that this situation is a good example of two very different climates within about twenty yards of each other. The front bed gets morning sun that’s reflected off of the house and the big windows just above it which makes warm soil, almost like a greenhouse. The herb bed in the back gets afternoon sun and it’s kind of tucked in behind the hemlock tree and shielded by the house until later in the day. As the sun rises higher in the sky this spring it will hit this spot earlier in the day. Right now, it’s still pretty cold out there.

Or maybe squirrels dug everything up when I wasn’t looking!

I don’t think so, I would have noticed.

It could also be related to the soil. That front yard soil isn’t anything special. I kind of neglect it, but it does have years of good mulch composted in. The herb bed was just dug last spring and fertilized with compost from our piles and a few bags of organic compost that I bought.

So, I’m on bulb watch! I’ll let you know if anything pops up.

How’s your garden growing? Did your bulbs come up?

Enjoy it all!

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  ;)*

What’s Happening in the Garden- April 1, 2015

Yes, I am very brazenly beginning my “what’s happening” posts today, April 1, because I know that things are happening in the garden already, in spite of the foot of snow that still covers it.

IMG_8468 Here’s the garden today.

Do you see the progress? I believe that that’s oregano that I never deadheaded last fall. Last week it was still buried! And right below the surface everything is just waiting for that last bit of snow to melt!

IMG_8469The pond is thawing, ever so slowly, no ducks yet but they’ll be here soon…

Has anyone noticed that I’ve been changing my header pics as the pond changes? I love to mark time and changes with photos.

IMG_8470 And, the black pussy willow is blooming!IMG_8476 I’m attached to  this plant for so many reasons.

It was a Mother’s Day gift the first year that we lived here and it’s one of the very first signs of spring that I see each year. And it’s just so lush and pretty..

IMG_8481It looks like the forsythia still needs some time. This plant is behind a pine tree and next to a fence. It might be further along if it got more sun. My friend Blaire sent me a photo of forsythia blooming downtown a few days ago. Maybe it’s a few degrees warmer down there in the city.IMG_8486 Heading inside, the onions are up! I got an almost 100% germination rate with these seeds from Pinetree. I’ve read that I should trim back the taller seedlings to let the energy go to bulb formation. I’m hoping to get to that today.IMG_8491We have peppers too.
IMG_8493 Heading out to the front yard, a few of the bulbs that I planted last year are fighting their way through despite the fact that most of the ground is still frozen. I remember thinking that we’d have these blooming for Easter this year. Maybe not…IMG_8495And here’s two of the three crocus flowers that we’re enjoying so far.

The first morning that these appeared the whole family was out on the front sidewalk jumping for joy.

The little things are the best!

How’s your garden growing? I’ll bet that most of you have more going on than we do in Salem Massachusetts. That’s okay, we’ll catch up!

Love, Michele

Blizzard in the Garden

It’s Wordless Wednesday but I couldn’t really do a post without words today. We just had a blizzard after all…

The official snow total for Salem is 24 inches, but honestly, I think our number is a little above that. It snowed well into the night last night, long after I read that on the internet.

IMG_7958 The garden fence is buried. Michael usually shovels through the arbor but decided to take a little break from that this time. That made me feel better about all of the shoveling that he does.IMG_7945The coop can be reached again!IMG_7946But there’s not much room to play.IMG_7949 Which is just fine with the girls who are refusing to go outside. I’m with them!IMG_7944Michael feeds the wild birds..IMG_7942The cold snowy bunny hutch doesn’t have a path yet…IMG_7955but that’s okay because Paula Tucker is happily tucked away in the chicken coop.IMG_7939 The pond is white now, and the big rock is submerged in snow. See the track across the bottom? A deer or coyote must have gone through.IMG_7935As buried as we are, all is well. Everyone stayed warm and dry.

The next storm is on Friday but nobody’s talking about that yet.

Stay warm my friends!

Love,  Michele

 

Christmas Herbs

It’s been so warm here in Salem that we have lots of fresh herbs for Christmas this year.

I consider them to be my own personal Christmas gift~IMG_7737There’s little bits of dill popping up out front… not quite enough to cook with but there may be just enough for a bowl of carrots in a day or two.
IMG_7735 I brushed my hand over lemon balm and was transported right back to July….

…in my mind, but it was very pleasant.IMG_7733a few more days like this and we could have blooming lavender again.IMG_7732 There’s fresh growth on the sage…IMG_7729 …along with the oregano.IMG_7727My rosemary plant that never quite made it inside this fall is full of beautiful fragrant foliage..IMG_7722…same with the thyme.
IMG_7719And I’m putting fresh parsley in everything..potatoes, chicken soup, you name it!

Merry Christmas to me!

Love, love, love,

Michele

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day- November 2014

Happy Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day!

Sometimes I have things blooming into the fall and sometimes I don’t. This has been a pretty forgiving fall with the exception of some snow storms that lasted for a few hours so we still have some color in the garden here in Salem, Massachusetts.

IMG_7596As I posted last month our lavender is still with us.IMG_7594 The stevia flowers are sweet, both in appearance and taste.

Actually the flowers aren’t sweet but the leaves sure are!IMG_7592 The snapdragons are always pretty hardy and this year is no exception.IMG_7590 This is the last little bit of a new ivory echinacea  that I just planted. I’m pretty excited about this addition. I think it’s going to mirror the traditional purple echinacea just across from it nicely.IMG_7588 We still have rose buds but I’m worried about this one. Are those little thorns evidence of rose rosetta disease? What do you think? IMG_7587 I have lots of grasses scattered around and I love the transformation that they make at this time of the year when they “bloom.”IMG_7576And of course, I have a red chrysanthemum on the front porch. This one is still beautiful!

How’s your garden growing?  Be sure to check out the other GBBD posts on May Dreams Gardens right here!

Three posts in four days for The Salem Garden… hmmm…soccer and hockey seasons must be over!  😉

Enjoy everything!

Michele

It’s Not Too Late to Plant a Few Bulbs….

Maybe your feeling kind of done or like  you’ve missed the window to get those bulbs in the ground….

…but guess what? You haven’t!

As long as the ground isn’t frozen you can still plant bulbs.

And in a few short months when spring springs you’ll be glad you did!

IMG_7542I decided to put some daffodils and dutch iris along this little walkway in my herb garden.

IMG_7543I used simple bags of bulbs from a big box store. You can be fancy and order them, or buy organic or whatever you like… or, you can just go buy some up the street like I did.IMG_7560Here’s the key.. Read the label and plant as directed. Be sure to take note of the planting depth and light requirements.

Considering the light requirement is so important, just like it is when you plant everything else!

The correct light, soil type and water, that’s what does it!IMG_7551I like to loosen up the soil well then place my bulbs a few inches apart.  IMG_7555Next I dig holes to the depth indicated on the package and gently place the bulb in, pointed side up. In this case the daffodils are planted six inches deep and the iris 2-4 inches. I’ve also seen gardeners layer them with the deeper bulbs sitting under a layer of soil with another layer on top. I was working in and around the herbs so I planted them randomly but if your grouping them together to fill in an open space they’ll look great if you use the layering method.

Does that make sense? I hope so…

You can add a handful of bonemeal as you plant if you have some. I didn’t have any on hand but it helps!IMG_7556Fill back in with soil, and their all set!
IMG_7557I chose to scatter bulbs along the sides of this pathway, in between and around the herbs. Most of the herbs are perennials so they should be part of the arrangement when spring comes.
IMG_7547And now we just wait!

One last quick tip… don’t add manure of any kind to a bed where your planning to plant bulbs in the near future. Some lighter compost will be fine, but manure will burn your bulbs and you’ll never see them again.

Let’s just say that I learned this lesson the hard way 😉

Hope your inspired to grab a bag of bulbs off of the sale rack and spend a few minutes brightening up a corner. Look for a spot near a doorway where you’ll enjoy them often!

Hurry, before the polar vortex sinks down and gets us all!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

ps/ Since I wrote this post this week the weather systems have ramped up and the snow is coming, so I’m clicking publish and telling you to hurry! You can do this!