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  ;)*

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day- December 2013

It’s Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, December 2013!

Ten days until Christmas!

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I wish I could say that I have more, but this poinsettia is my only bloom.

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It’s a beautiful color. I love a pink poinsettia.


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It lives on the tippy top of our big organizing cabinet in the foyer, far from our cats’ reach.

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Here’s the garden this morning. We had about five inches of snow overnight, which turned to rain and slush and is now in the process of re-freezing. Yay! Not really.

IMG_4476If only ice could be considered a bloom.

Click here to read all of the warmer climate posts on May Dreams Gardens and some creative northern climate posts as well.  It’s amazing what a difference a few degrees if warmth makes, along with a positive outlook.

Enjoying everything (even the ice)…

Michele

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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The First Annual Salem Garden Holiday Wish List

It’s the holiday season and that means it’s time to find a gift for your favorite gardener.  There are so many choices and ideas everywhere you look, from your local garden center to millions of places on the internet. Here’s a few of my favorites this year:

First up, how about a pair of great gardening clogs? I’m really love the adorable chicken design. These are $36.95  here at Gardener’s Supply company.

 

Snap & Grow Greenhouse - 6' x 8' (2 boxes) - Hobby Greenhouse Kits

If I were in the market for a greenhouse, I’d choose this one.

The sides are polycarbonate, it appears to vent well and it’s a nice size. I found it here at Greenhousemegastore.com for $749.00.

 

Herb Garden Markers / Plant Stakes - A Set of 3 ceramic garden markers

Look at these great garden markers! I found them on etsy for 3/$22 at this cute shop called FromArtisanHands. I think they would add a nice punch of color and they look nice and sturdy and fade proof.

At the very top of my “gardening books to read” list is Margaret Roach’s  “the backyard parables, lessons on gardening, and life.”  I loved Margaret’s last book “And I Shall Find Some Peace Here” in which she talked about her journey from corporate life as a garden editor for Martha Stewart to a full time gardener and writer. This new book looks to be a continuation of her story. It’s available on Amazon.com for $17.57, hardcover and $11.04 on your kindle.
If your a very practical gifter or receiver this bucket caddy is perfect. For just $9.19 your favorite gardener will be able to store all of his or her tools and weeds in one place and move around the garden.  This is also an Amazon find. Take a look here if you’d like to check it out!
Here’s another practical gift—a tumbling compost bin!  People ask me about compost bins all the time and this one is absolutely my favorite. We purchased it for our adaptive gardens at work last spring and I love it! It makes compost in two to three months, has two chambers so one  “cooks” while the other is in use, and it’s quite compact. I’ve never noticed any odor, which is often a concern of new compost makers and its quite animal proof since it’s up off of the ground. You’ll find it at Home Depot for $99 or it can be ordered online here.
This bench/kneeler is a great find for the gardener who needs a little extra help to be comfortable physically. It can be used as a bench as pictured above or flipped over as a  kneeler with handles to assist when pushing up to stand.  It’s $28.95 here at Amazon.
And finally, I had to include this lovely rocker for two. I can just imagine sitting in this chair with Michael enjoying our view (when we’re 99 and 102, maybe). It’s  so pretty and I think it would be a beautiful accent piece without distracting from the rest of the garden. I found it on Overstock.com for $217.00 along with 117 other beautiful bench designs. If your looking for a bench, you will find something at Overstock!
So there’s my wish list. What’s on yours?
Feel free to share this post far and wide… just put hint, hint in the subject line if you send it by e-mail ;).
Enjoy everything!
Michele

~Just a Few of My Favorite Houzz Thanksgiving Ideas

Gosh I love Houzz.  It is just so much fun to sit with a snack or cup of coffee for a few minutes and look over all of the ideas. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I like to make it special so I usually make place cards and decorate the table with a little twist. I need some inspiration this year so I spent a few minutes looking around Houzz.com this morning.  I could post a thousand photos, but here are my favorites so far:

This first arrangement is just classic and pretty. I like the way the textures of the runner and ribbon accent the shapes of the pine cones.

Beautiful pinecones and textures again, but with a little bit of glam…

I don’t have a mantel but I  have a server that I could decorate like this.

Simple and restful… I love it!

And a different take on the idea,pumpkins that were painted white.  The “white” centerpieces really allow the food to shine.

Candles and acorns…

More white (white seems to be all the rage this year) embedded with upholstery tacks…

And finally, mason jars, candles, greenery and a nice natural wood base…

At the moment I may use white pumpkins, pine cones,mason jars, candles and some greens, with some asparagus foliage for color.

I’ll keep you posted!

Love, Michele

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!

Now THIS is Horseradish….

It started out like this.  I  remember saying something like “there’s the horseradish” and going on to my next thought.

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Yesterday I was cutting back and cleaning up the garden and realized that the horseradish had died back from the frost and was ready for harvest. I thought I’d pull some out for Michael to enjoy. I didn’t get the horseradish gene but he and my mom eat it like it’s candy. So I started digging, for at least an hour.  Long story short, we have a lot of horseradish root out there and it’s buried very deeply.  There will be horseradish on our property for many years to come. 

IMG_4308Here’s what I was able to dig out. It was getting dark and I was tired. We had pizza for dinner.

IMG_4312… a view with my hand to give you a better sense of the size of this root.

IMG_4313I soaked it a little and washed the dirt off. My middle daughter, the Harry Potter fan, saw this and immediately went downstairs and put in the Harry Potter movie with Professor Sprout and the mandrakes and watched the whole thing, lol.

IMG_4322It looks like the large one is actually six roots that fused together. I might of missed it last year.

IMG_4314The smaller, normal size root was easily peeled and chopped.

IMG_4315Then I processed it with some water and red wine vinegar.

IMG_4320And my Michael was happy.

He doesn’t smile like this for just anything.

The larger root is still sitting on my counter. I think that I’m going to try to cut it into smaller pieces and freeze it to grate later since the refrigerated version only lasts for up to six weeks.

Looking forward to a nice horseradish cream sauce with the roast beef on Christmas Day 🙂

Enjoy everything!

Michele

Keene Pumpkin Festival 2013

Gosh this looks fun! Great pumpkin carving ideas for the talented and patient carvers out there too! Great post New Hampshire Garden Solutions!  Michele

New Hampshire Garden Solutions

In 1991 Keene, New Hampshire had a harvest festival that attracted a few local people who brought about 600 jack o lanterns. By 2003 the harvest festival had become a pumpkin festival and the number of lit jack o lanterns had risen to 28,952. The Guinness World Record people became interested that year and gave Keene the record for the most lit jack o lanterns assembled in one place. Boston took the record from Keene in 2006 with 30,128 jack o lanterns. This year on October 19th Keene took back the world record with 30,581 lit jack o lanterns and I was there taking photos. I thought I’d show you a few of the better ones. These were all taken in the dark without a tripod, so I’ll warn you that they aren’t the sharpest photos you’ve seen. Even so, I’d guess that most of you have never seen anything…

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What’s Happening In the Garden– September 30

Hey everyone! It looks like I’m a one post a week blogger at the moment. It’s fall and I’m all over the place…I know I keep saying that life is busy, but, really, it is. To add to it Halloween in Salem starts on Thursday night with our Halloween parade. I love the localness of that event. It’s really “our” Halloween as a city. From that point on we give the rest of the celebration over to the visitors. That’s fine with me, it makes money and people have a blast! Let me know if your going to be in town in October, I’d love to meet you!

Okay, so, here’s the Salem Garden this morning. IMG_3184

It’s beautiful out there today. The summer garden is winding down but the fall garden has it’s own special character and charm.
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I think I said this a few weeks ago— I love these Romano beans.

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The swiss chard is doing okay. I should spend some time weeding and trimming so the center leaves can produce. See my little asian cucumber hiding in the back?IMG_3173

Here it is up close, we’ve eaten some and there are several growing. Not bad for an early August afterthought. I think there will be more of these next year.

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Broccoli and lettuce are perking along too. I really believe that the broccoli is all about the chicken manure… that’s it. If you don’t have some available it’s very easy to purchase. Just read the labels at your favorite garden supply store and you’ll find it easily.

IMG_3171A broccoli flower that actually looks like broccoli! Will there be more? Time will tell…

IMG_3172These need to be picked and cooked or frozen today. I wish I was a canner…IMG_3176

We have five or six happy Brussel sprout plants. My Uncle Ossie says that they sweeten up when the frost hits them.
IMG_3178What do you think about this bit of browning on the bottom of the stalk? Anyone? Miss Betsey, you may have a thought here. I’m hoping it’s okay.

IMG_3179Tomatillos… hundreds of them… salsa verde here we come!

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And the leaves on the trees are just starting to turn. It’s going to be a pretty few weeks here in Salem. I hope I can share some of that with you.

So there we are. Thanks for hanging in with me and for stopping by. Let me know how your garden is growing, I love, love, love your comments!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

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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