Winter Lettuce and Spinach On the Rooftop!

I’d like to introduce the “other blog” in my life! Bass River Gardens is the blog that I’ve created with the individuals who I work with in my position as an adaptive gardening specialist. Last week we planted an experiment in our new “cold frame” and I thought it might be a good time to share Bass River here on The Salem Garden. This is a really cool project and so easy to do! Check it out, and while your there please look at some of the other posts that we’ve created and follow us! We’re having a good time in the Bass River Gardens, even in the cold weather! Michele

Bass River Gardens

We made a cold frame for our rooftop garden a few weeks ago. A cold frame is like a little greenhouse and it’s used to extend the growing season by keeping in the heat and keeping out the cold, snow and wind. We made ours very inexpensively using window well covers, metal clips and bungie cords. You can watch the video that showed us how to do it here.

We decided to try to grow different kinds of lettuce and spinach to see what varieties would grow best in the cold frame.

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We made labels for each packet of seeds,

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Then we went up to the roof, lifted the cover off and got ready to plant.

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Each set of seeds was gently planted.

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And carefully marked  with a white label.

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When we were done planting we had five varieties of lettuce and three types of spinach ready to grow!

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We…

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Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day- November 2013

I didn’t think that I’d have a November GBBD post to share but I just can’t quite give up yet.

We still have a few blooms to enjoy here on the coast of New England.

IMG_4372Still a few knock out roses, the rest of the roses are gone. I’m really in love with this color that I chose for the front and side yards. We planted several of these recently. You’ll see more of them in the spring.

IMG_4364Some snapdragons too…with the right kind of winter I may be able to post a photo of these in the February and March GBBD posts (just kidding, probably).. 

IMG_4359Not quite a bloom, but the asparagus foliage and seeds almost qualify. I love these!

IMG_4329And just enough foxglove to make sure that we don’t forget about it.

That’s it for me!  Looking forward to looking at the other Bloom Day posts at May Dreams Gardens!

Hope you do too!

Michele

ps/ It’s the weekend! Be sure to take a few minutes to check out the video that I shared here the other day of Margaret Roach‘s gardens in New York State. It’s great!

This Year’s Deck

DSC00769Here’s our deck last year. It was a construction zone and kayak storage area. I felt very, very anxious every time I set foot out there.

IMG_1953It’s really cozy this year. We finished the office construction and found other storage for the boats. Then we put up a canopy, added furniture and I filled it with flowers. I feel that some type of “roof” is really important on a deck. It can be an umbrella or a canopy like this, or a really nice pergola, but it reigns the energy in and makes it feel good, kind of the way an area rug makes a difference in a room. It provides shade too.

IMG_1927There’s lots of color!

IMG_1943There’s also cucumber plants because I kept them out of the garden beds in the hope of outwitting the cucumber beetles.

IMG_1941Remember when we painted this bench last summer?

painting chairs and benches
IMG_1935I planted a pot of succulents this year and I love them. Margaret Roach said that their everywhere and I have to agree. I’m seeing them in lots of posts and ads right now. Their very forgiving and easy.

IMG_1936I love this pink metal stool.  We painted it on the same day that we painted the peach bench and the metal chairs that are near the cucumber pot.

IMG_1924I also put out a little pot of kitchen herbs. They were growing beautifully until Maddie (the cat) jumped out of the window and onto this planter on the deck railing. She and the planter went flying into the succulents. The herbs are coming back and their very nice to have on hand when I’m cooking. Fortunately Maddie survived her flight with no problems.
IMG_1932Aside from being a wonderful place to relax, the best thing about our deck is the view of the garden. We like to plan our day here over morning coffee, then we’re on the move until lunch or dinner. It’s a great place for a rest or for family time.

Did you decorate your deck or porch this year? It’s as simple as adding as many plants as you’ll enjoy taking care of, creating a roof of some sort and finding a chair or two so that you can relax a little bit.

Enjoy everything!

Michele

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day- April 2013

And now for something new and different–I  thought that I’d participate in “Garden Bloggers Bloom Day” this month. This is a group of garden bloggers from all over the world who share a post about what’s blooming in their gardens on the fifteenth of the month.  You can see all of the participants and link to their blogs here at maydreamgardens.com. It’s really fun to check out all of the beautiful gardens and see the huge variation by climate!

My one reservation about doing this is that it’s still early here in Salem, Massachusetts. I didn’t plant daffodils last year and everything is a few weeks behind due to the cold weather we’ve had. In spite of that I’ll show you quite a bit of green, and a little color. Don’t worry, in May and June we’ll be overflowing with blooms!

Since it hasn’t snowed or sleeted for the past three days the primrose popped out!IMG_0723This morning there was dew on the lady’s mantle.IMG_0695 And I had my first glimpse of the bride and groom plant that my mother gave me years ago.IMG_0699The chives are ready to enjoy.
IMG_0702 And the tomato cages are waiting. Our neighbors gave us the lupine plants last year. I’m hoping that these will be blooming as beautifully as theirs do soon.IMG_0705 This is largely a children’s chicken garden, as evidenced by the “sculpture” that Michael brought home recently and the three gnomes waiting for their summer assignment out in the garden.IMG_0706The chickens may not be blooming but they add lots of color and personality.IMG_0708

Lamb’s ear is poking out…IMG_0715 Siberian irisIMG_0716 And finally a little bit of bloom from the scillaIMG_0717and from the pansies that I planted a few days ago.
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Happy Spring from the Salem Garden! Thanks for visiting!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

A Spring Morning In The Derby Garden

I had a chance to pop into the Derby garden this morning. This garden is really precious to me. Michael and I helped with it’s installation about 23 years ago. At that time I had an appreciation for gardens but no experience or knowledge.  This is where gardening really started for me. The young couple who created it worked very hard to design it to represent a garden typical of this setting and the early 1700s time period. I should back up a bit and explain that it sits behind the home of the first American millionaire, Elias Haskett Derby, hence it’s name the Derby Garden. 

At first glance over the fence it may look a bit barren and gray, but if you slow down and look closely you’ll see that the beds are about to spring to life.IMG_0415

I believe that these are the first few leaves of hollyhock.IMG_0409There are plenty of snowdrops.IMG_0384They really are one of the first signs of spring. These will be there for a few more days before it’s time to say goodbye till next year.IMG_0385I’m pretty sure that these are small daffodils. I’ll have to try to check back in a few days to confirm.IMG_0387Something from the allium family? Time will tell us exactly what.IMG_0388CrocusIMG_0390A beautiful carpet of green, maybe grape hyacinths? IMG_0407

This apple tree bears small, tough fruit but I’ve made a pie or two from here.IMG_0406

Here’s the view looking out toward the water. We lived in the blue building to the left when we were first married. It was a perfect honeymoon loft for us. We have lots of good memories from our days on Derby Street.

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I loved thinking about how we were looking at the same view that the Derbys did when they lived there.

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It has changed a bit but their spirit is here.  I can feel it. Especially when I spend time in the garden and imagine what they might have grown and raised in the yard.

Enjoy Everything today!

Michele

What’s Happening in the Garden– Early Spring Sunday

We’re having a beautiful day here so I spent some time looking around in the garden. Of course, I can’t just look, nor should I. There’s stuff  to do!

The pea and bean trellis is just about ready, but the snow still lurks. Maybe I’ll shovel it away so that the ground can unfreeze and we can get some peas started. While I’m at it I might want to clean the old vines off of the trellis.

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I don’t think the Rosemary made it. I should have covered it, my fault. I’ll have to plant a new one soon.IMG_0377

The girls look happy. They don’t love snow and cold weather. It feels like they’ve finally relaxed and smiled. We even got six or seven eggs yesterday. IMG_0349 It’s still really muddy out there!IMG_0353What’s this? a big, beautiful sign that spring is really here! IMG_0362Maybe it’s time to plant some lettuce? You just need a trowel and some seeds (and the soil of course)…IMG_0363It’s in! First lettuce of the season! You can see the leftover salt marsh hay from last year. Pretty soon we’ll add compost and turn it all in thoroughly. In the meantime, it will be fine.
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Lettuce is very hearty and can be planted as soon as the ground can be worked, just like sweet peas, carrots, spinach and radishes.

Hope your able to get out there and plant  something! It just takes a little bit of seed and it’s a great activity to do with kids, although I must admit that my kids were scootering and I treated myself to a few minutes alone with the soil.

Happy Spring!

Enjoy Everything!

Michele

Things That Work For Me— My Pink Bench

Good Morning Everyone! I have decided to do a weekly winter series  called “Things That Work For Me”… Lots of people have questions and queries about how I manage our household of seven. It’s a juggling act most days but I do have some tools and tips that really help.  I have a little list of products, services,  house rules and routines that make a big difference. There are lots of moments in my day when I’m thankful for having found a way to make life easier.

As superficial as it may seem, I’m going to start with something very basic, my pink bench.

I found this bench at TJ Maxx several months ago for the clearance price of $7.99.

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I am 5’1″ and I’ve been climbing on chairs to reach things for as long as I can remember.These are my cabinets. They are very, very tall. It’s virtually impossible for me to get things down without a little help. This bench gives me almost eleven inches, making me six feet tall! IMG_0504

That’s a lot of help with the milk glasses!

And it folds up so that it can be easily hidden almost anywhere.

IMG_0510just like this, although I never put it away.

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It’s also used as a barrier for Dino’s food so Winnie doesn’t eat it and a place for whoever is passing through the kitchen to sit for a minute. I’ve had many great conversations with my kids lately while they’ve relaxed and I’ve cooked.  I revel in the fact that I can just reach up and get almost anything down without having to climb up on a chair or ask one of the four other people who are taller than me to do it.

It’s the little things that make life easier.

Enjoy Everything!

Michele

Is It Just Me?

I know, I know, this is silly, but, when I take apart the planters it’s hard for me to throw the old plants into the compost. I’ll miss them. They were beautiful and I feel a sense of loss. I can throw anything away in the house with no problem, but plants are different. I tend to hang on for a long, long time. So the other day I took everything out of the big front porch planter and went down to the compost bin. In went the spike plant, the verbena and the stock…. then I got to the geraniums. I threw one in and took it out. Then I looked at the four plants in my hand and I knew what I had to do. So, up they went to the kitchen counter. Michael came home and they were still there. Of course he said something like “oh, please, no, not again… you know that these are going to hang out all winter and your never going to do anything with them. In the spring you’ll be buying more”…   Well, he’s probably right. I do that.  I have great thoughts about wintering things over  and re-using them.  But maybe this is the one time it will work. Maybe these geraniums will come back as beautiful as ever. So for now I’ve tucked them away in a dark, cool corner of the basement. Just hanging out, waiting for spring.

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Maybe they’ll be back, we’ll see!

Our Retirement Home

I know, it’s a little crazy, but there’s something about this building that draws me in. I’ve watched it for years.  Michael and I actually lived at the other end of the court when we were first married.  It’s a garage, with space overhead, but for just two people, couldn’t it be adorable?

Here it is with an antique edit…

Michael likes it too, I think that’s because of the garage…

He’s a garage person  🙂

I’m a garden and kitchen person.  There’s some great garden potential here.

The kitchen might need a little work~

Enjoy Everything!

Michele