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

 

 

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

 

Lettuce Plant Lettuce

LOL, I can’t stop myself sometimes…

Creating blog post titles truly amuses me.

But, the title is true, we really can start lettuce from seed now.

IMG_8530Last Saturday was cold and windy but I had lots of fun planting four varieties:

-Merveille de Quatre Saisons

-Winter Density

-New Red Fire

and Pinetree Mix

I chose each type for different, specific reasons.

I’m hoping for an early harvest from the Winter Density. It went in on the late side because the ground was still frozen but it’s an early variety that grows quickly.

The New Red Fire is said to be slow to bolt, and it’s so pretty.

Merveille de Quatre Saisons is described in the Pinetree catalog as  “truly marvelous. It was the only lettuce in our trials that remained good tasting during an exceptionally dry and hot summer years ago, and continues to impress us each year. ” I couldn’t resist that kind of high praise.

And I chose the Pinetree Mix with the hope of having a nice little bed of baby lettuces that we could pick easily and often.

We love fresh lettuce!

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I also love taking pictures of lettuce markers early in the morning in my pajamas and Michael’s mud boots. 😉

Lettuce is easy…

–You can scratch up an existing bed then add compost and seeds at about 1/4 inch depth,

–or plant it in a pot

–or open up a bag of organic soil and just add seeds to it like this (click on the link to see!)

So lettuce plant lettuce! It’s finally time!

How’s your garden growing?

Love, Michele

 

What’s Happening in the Garden- April 25, 2014

I’m working on a million little projects this morning but  I’m well behind here in the blogosphere so before I move on I must do a quick garden update. I don’t know what it is about my blogging hobby but somehow publishing a post grounds me and propels me forward like nothing else.  I think it’s the sense of accountability, or maybe the creativity (not that I’m that creative), or maybe it’s the satisfaction in having finished something. Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting and helping me to keep moving!

So, after the coldest snowiest winter ever, and the coldest early spring ever, we are finally seeing a little bit of an improvement here in Salem, Massachusetts. I’m convinced that we love our gardens more in New England than anywhere else because we work so darn hard to get through the winter and into the sunshine.

IMG_5309I’m pretty sure that the lady’s mantle would agree with me. It’s been a long, long winter!

IMG_5311Just behind the lady’s mantle a clump of iris is springing into action. It won’t be long now!

IMG_5313We have lettuce! I believe that this is Black Seeded Simpson.

IMG_5314There’s also a little bit of mesclun peeking through.

IMG_5316And those onion sets that I planted two weeks ago are settling in nicely. We had a lot of rain the day after they were planted so the rocks really came up and I had to reset some of the bulbs. It’s nice to see the greens. I think I’ll add some compost around them later today to give them an extra boost.

IMG_5318The little peek of rhubarb has filled out nicely. We have several of these throughout the garden.

IMG_5320The asparagus patch looks empty and untended. I need to get Michael to take that little fence away so I can get in and out of there without incident. When you get a little older there are “incidents” when hopping over fences like this one. It was put up to keep our toddlers out and I think I can safely say that we’re well past the toddler stage now.

IMG_5321We do have teenagers though… I wonder if these will grow so I can outfit the younger kids with very expensive flip flops.

IMG_5322How about that, there is asparagus popping up on the slightly warmer other side of the garden.

IMG_5325This does my heart good…

IMG_5328This area needs some work. If I remember correctly I was choosing between Nutcracker rehearsals, soccer games and garden cleanup last fall.

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The baby girls say hi! IMG_5336Here’s a peek at the beginning of our newest project. We took out two juniper trees last fall and are planning to create a nice herb garden in this spot. I’m going to start by sifting out rocks and adding a lot of compost. I have plants that are ready to relocate and I may add a few new varieties. There’s a concrete “patio” and shingle sided wall to the left that I’m hoping to fill with containers.  I have lots of ideas and my handy dandy pinterest board is in full swing. Click on the words pinterest board to check it out.

In other news, I’m starting seeds, repotting houseplants and planting spinach later.

What’s happening in your garden?

I hope your enjoying the spring as much as I am!

Love, Michele

 

What’s Happening in the Garden– April 7, 2014

What’s happening? Well there’s a little bit of spring out there. It may not be as much as we’re used to at this point in April, but it’s coming along.

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Yesterday I dug  up the very end of a bed and planted some lettuce in anticipation of the soaking rain that we were expecting today, The rain is here, so grow lettuce grow!

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Chives are peeking through…

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The rosemary didn’t make it but I kind of expected that. For this plant to winter over in the kind of winter that we had this year was a huge stretch. I did manage to maintain a plant in the house and I consider that a huge victory!

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There’s a little bit of yarrow peeking through.

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The girls say hi!

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This guy is still perched on his rock but I think his front legs were amputated. Go figure?

IMG_5149 The pond is home to the canoe again.

IMG_4540Very different from the skating days of a few weeks ago. It’s only a foot deep and it’s been very cold so the kids skated up to the last possible second.

IMG_5158Mr and Mrs Mallard are back!

IMG_5161I love this old bench. It was given to Michael by Lucy Set, one of our old neighbors on Forrester Street. 

IMG_5176 Winnie was thrilled to be sitting in his spot while I planted yesterday. I think it’s time for a haircut.

IMG_5177 It’s good to see the markers coming back!

IMG_5137 And theres a little bit of tomato seedling started in the basement. More to come on them soon I hope! It looks like it’s time to get out my manicure scissors to thin them back a bit. I’ll cut off one of the two plants in the cell to give the remaining plant the best possible chance. I’m focusing a lot on seed starting at work this year and carrying everything I learn home. I love that the garden lessons that I learn for my job are so helpful to us here. You can read about our seed starting adventures at Bass River here. We’ve been having fun!

How’s your garden growing? Tell me about it!

Enjoy everything!

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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Catching Up ~

Wow! The past eight days have flown by! I’m sorry that I’ve been so completely absent. My middle daughter was inducted into the Junior National Honor Society last week, then twenty-four hours later our oldest son graduated from Salem High School. It’s been a whirlwind of events, celebrations, family and fun! I’m “off” today and trying to catch up around here. A lot happens in a week in my cyber world, not to mention on my desk and in my fridge… time to clean out, freshen up and get moving again!  It’s been raining a LOT for the past week. There’s a little glimmer of sun today so I got out for a few minutes this morning and snapped a few very quick photos. Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is on Saturday (where did a month go??) so I’ll share most of the blooms that haven’t been destroyed by torrential rain then.

Here we go:

Potatoes, spilling out of their pot… I keep adding soil and hoping that we have a nice harvest from this bucket. I’m starting other potato pots a little at a time in the hope that we can enjoy them over time. I wonder if I could grow potatoes year round if they were in a cool spot? I’m thinking about that, especially for my workplace. IMG_1570The first little Adirondack Blue potato sprout… I hope to see lots of these in a few days!
IMG_1572 I planted and caged quite a few romas. Margaret Roach talked me into staking the rest of the tomatoes this year. Click on the link to read about that. I love Margaret, she is one of my very top gardening mentors…  IMG_1574 Someone is digging a hole, I don’t know who.  I think a Have a Heart trap is in order here…IMG_1575 Okay, one bloom… a very waterlogged white iris. I can’t help it. It’s beautiful, even in it’s frazzled state.IMG_1579 Lots of lettuce… we need to keep eating it. I’ve had a tendency to forget lately!IMG_1582The bush beans sprouted. There’s just a few, I’ll probably start to add a few seeds where the lettuce is as we use it up.
IMG_1583 Hi girls. Their wet too, poor things…IMG_1590Buff orphington chickens are quite friendly and tame. This lady may be doing some visiting around town soon.
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I need to add some twine  to help the poor peas reach the arbor… I’ll be there as soon as I can! My littlest girl grew the lettuce and carrots that are coming up in front of the peas. She’s really proud of “her garden”…

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So, as you can see I have lots of work to do today! Now that I’ve gotten back to my blog and caught up a little I can move on to the outside stuff. I may even get the laundry under control!

Thank you, thank you for stopping by, and reading and commenting! You are all wonderful!

Enjoy everything!

Love, 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