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




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!



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…


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!



Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day-May 2014

Happy GBBD-May 2014!

I haven’t looked at last May’s Bloom Day post but my worry is that it’s very similar to this year’s. Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day is making me think about adding new plants and changing the garden around a little. We’ll see what happens with that.

Here’s what I have:

IMG_5679Tulips are still hanging in there.

IMG_5677Lots of pansies everywhere.  Did I tell you that we grew our own pansies from seed at work this year? They need a little special care in the beginning but their not that hard and it felt like quite an accomplishment. These are not those homegrown pansies, but maybe I’ll try it here next year.

IMG_5672My mother’s Day plant…petunias, verbena and marigold…kind of an interesting combination, don’t you think?

IMG_5668Solomen’s Seal


IMG_5664Rhubarb, sorry I can’t help but include it, it’s a bloom!

IMG_5663Bleeding Heart…

IMG_5651Bride and groom… This is always such a tricky flower to photograph.

IMG_5650It’s so pretty but it barely stays still.



IMG_5642And we’re finally seeing some crabapple blooms! These are very late this year…

IMG_5641…but definitely worth the wait.

IMG_5639And a little bit of dogwood bloom.

IMG_5640Last year this tree was covered with flowers. This year we  have just a few. Was it the winter? Does it need a boost of fertilizer? I’m not sure but we’ll keep an eye on it.

So, that’s it for us here at The Salem Garden. Nothing too flashy or impressive, all common names, very imperfect, but full of love! Love works for me!

Grab a cup of coffee or tea and be sure to check out the other garden blogger’s posts for GBBD on May Dreams Gardens! What a treat!

Enjoy everything!


Square Foot Onions, and a Hint of Rhubarb

Recently these beautiful onions that my friend Betsey has stored in her basement inspired me to get serious about planting my own.

WP_000521Please pardon the quality of this photo which I took with my very unsophisticated non I-phone. I just wanted you to get the idea. Aren’t they amazing? This was in January no less!

I bought a bag of onion sets and after doing some research I decided to maximize my space and plant them using the square foot method.

I haven’t intentionally square foot gardened before but I thought that onions might be a good crop to try with. The concept behind square foot gardening is to grow as much as is feasible in one square foot of space using optimum soil and raised beds. It takes some planning to be sure that plants have enough space for root development and air circulation.  The rule of thumb seems to be that large plants need one square, while smaller plants can be planted more densely. The recommended square foot spacing for red onions is nine per square foot, so nine it is!

IMG_5215I started with my package of onion sets and my tape measure.

IMG_5214Next I loosened the soil (which had been thoroughly turned over this past weekend and well composted last fall) and using my tape measure, I very unscientifically, and quickly, and without painstaking accuracy, because that’s how I do things, divided the end two feet of my bed into eight one foot squares. I used my trowel to make lines in the soil.

IMG_5220Then I placed each bulb in to the soil, three inches apart in a grid so the bulb was just below the soil with the top pointing up. The top of the bulb is the pointy part that you see here, while the bottom where the roots develop, is flatter and usually has a slightly rough texture.

IMG_5219Some are sprouted already. I think that’s fine.

IMG_5223Here’s my finished grid. My research tells me to make sure that they don’t dry out too much but that they’ll resume growing again if they do. I’ll keep you posted!

IMG_5225In other news; the rhubarb is peeking through! I wish I liked it more. I’ll cook and bake it for Michael and I love to give it away. It looks so pretty in the garden when it gets big. Rhubarb has so much going for it, I think it’s just the tartness or texture that I personally struggle with.

Anyway, grab a bag of onion sets at your local garden center and plant them in your well fertilized eight square feet of space and let me know how it goes!

Enjoy everything!



What’s Happening In the Garden- May 1

Happy May Day!

 I hope that you had as nice a day where you are as we did in Salem. It was gorgeous out there!

 I had to spend some time poking around outside and checking things out.  Here’s what I saw in between dropping off and picking up children…

Lady’s mantle and siberian iris, with the bleeding heart in the background.


I pruned the beejeebes out of this poor butterfly bush the other day. I’m planning to move it way over to the left in the next few days. I ran out of time and steam when I started this project so I have to get back to it (or get Michael to help me, soon)…IMG_0855
The sweet peas are all in a row, ready for their climb up the fence and trellis…
Asparagus is peeking through!IMG_0864 And we have this beautiful pile of red twigged dogwood branches. I have to decide what to do with them. I think that they would make a great little fence!IMG_0869The rhubarb is ready. I wish I liked rhubarb more. My mother-in-law makes the best rhubarb custard pie in the world! I should work at that.
IMG_0872 The flowering pear tree that we planted last spring is turning out to be beautiful!IMG_0874 The soloman’s seal is poking through. I need to clean up and get rid of the dead stuff around it, however that requires me to  steel up my courage because it’s snake country over here, not across the yard, just over on this side ;)!IMG_0875 There’s a pot of potatoes underway. This year I’m planning to add a little bit of soil at a time, as the plants grow.IMG_0877 The radishes pushed through. Radishes are great to grow with kids because they germinate in 4-6 days and you can be harvesting them in just a few weeks. IMG_0856 Here’s the view looking down through the dogwood tree. Dogwoods take several years to flower after transplanting. I think this is going to be the breakthrough year for this tree. I have a feeling that it will have been worth the wait.IMG_0848 And finally, looking out at the juneberry tree. This is another example of patience paying off. I was very tempted to cut it down a year or two ago because it just looked so sad and sickly. We treated it with Treetone organic fertilizer last spring and fall and the comeback is dramatic. It looks quite healthy and happy this year!IMG_0843

Try to hang in there with your plants and trees.  If your having difficulty with something in your yard go ahead and google for a solution, or ask me to help you find one.

My husband will tell you that I live for this stuff 🙂

Enjoy everything!