Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day-April 2016

Hey everyone! Happy Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day!

I’m a little behind schedule today so I’m just doing a quick post to stay in the groove.

I looked back at last year’s April GBBD post and saw crocus and snowdrops.

I’m happy to report that this April 15th we’re way past crocus and snowdrops!

IMG_1337We have pulmonaria or “Bride and Groom” as my mom called it..

IMG_1338and forsythia.

IMG_1340Our forsythia are planted in a space out back, between a pine tree and the neighbor’s fence. I should put some out in the sun where I can enjoy it and it will grow better.

IMG_1347Grape hyacinth…  remind me to plant some small daffodils in this area in the fall. Wouldn’t they be pretty?

IMG_1349Greek Anemone

IMG_1346and a new pink Anemone. I hope these take off.

IMG_1350Buds on the Juneberry (Serviceberry) tree

This tree has been on the brink of bloom for the last ten days! Let’s go Juneberry tree…

IMG_1351I have a pot of daffodils, tulips and a few hyacinths on the front porch.  These bulbs have been through two snowstorms and several very cold nights.. they literally frosted over and bounced back twice.

If you have a chance, check out my instagram account  for pics of the freezing and defrosting process .  While you’re there, follow me and I’ll follow you back! I’m starting to really have fun with instagram. I’ve been posting some seed starting photos and connecting with lots of gardeners and great websites.

IMG_1355Just below the bulbs are a few cute little pots of pansies. These guys are also a bit weather worn, but they’re hanging in there!

Be sure to visit May Dreams Gardens to see the other GBBD posts. I had fun looking at them this morning.  April is a month when all subtle changes in temperature create a wide array of bloom stages as you travel around to different time zones and climates!

Be well, be happy,

and remember on this third anniversary of the Boston Bombing that Boston is strong!

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

 

 

 

Help Needed! A Raccoon Control Question

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My dear Uncle Ossie needs our help!

Uncle Ossie gardens in Pennsylvania, and when I say gardens, I mean that he gardens!

I grew up watching him and my late Aunt Josie grow and preserve their harvest. I wish I’d gardened years ago the way I do now. It would have been fun to share the love with Aunt Josie.

Uncle Ossie seems to ebb and flow with things that happen in the garden. Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate or a neighbor’s tree might block the sun a little bit, but this problem has him stumped.

The raccoons are eating his corn!

I mean decimating it… every year for the past few years.

He’s trapped them, sprayed concoctions on the corn (last year it was made with ghost peppers), and tried other humane ways to move them along, but they keep coming back!

Any ideas out there?

I told him I’d ask you.  I know that there are some amazing gardeners who stop in every now and then. One of you must have the raccoon elimination from the corn patch secret!

People still eat corn, don’t they?

Feel free to share my post widely with anyone who might be able to help.

Love and thanks,

Michele and Uncle Ossie

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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

 

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day- March 2016

Happy Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day! I don’t think I’ve published a GBBD post in March in a very long time. Last March looked like the photo just below and I was blogging about our Salem snow farm.

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This has been a very different kind of winter!

With the exception of two days of minus ten degrees, our temperatures have been unusually high. No one is complaining, expect for the skiers. It hasn’t been their best winter, but here in the city I think I can safely say that we’re all quite happy that we didn’t get last winter’s four plus feet of snow.

We have blooms in the garden this March that we didn’t see until well into April last year.

Image 3-15-16 at 8.50 AM (3)The scilla is about to open up.

Image 3-15-16 at 8.50 AM (1)And my first anemone bud is also almost ready to pop!

Image 3-15-16 at 8.50 AM (2)The crocuses are surviving the basketballs somehow.

IMG_1109And the snowdrops have been beautiful for a few weeks.

Image 3-15-16 at 8.50 AMInside, the Christmas Cactus is in it’s second bloom. My very large Christmas Cactus was my mom’s and it’s been a joy all winter.

What’s bringing you joy today? I hope it’s a spring bloom or some seedlings that are sprouting.

More on the seedlings soon!

Be sure to check out all of the garden blogger’s blooms at May Dreams Gardens!

Love you all,

Michele

 

 

 

 

About those Onion Seedlings…. and… Spring is Springing!

Here’s my first tiny little dose of spring for you…

It’s really going to happen!

I believe that this particular crocus is always the first one every year. It’s in the exact same spot of my front yard, next to the walkway.

I don’t remember seeing it in February before but it’s out there this morning, as beautiful as can be.

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And then there are the onions…

IMG_1023I planted them on Saturday and left them covered up and in the dark. I think they should have had light for half the time.

IMG_1024Yesterday was a very busy day and I didn’t have a chance to check them. It was a nice treat to look under the wrap this morning to see that they were well on their way!

IMG_1027The only problem is this hairy looking mold.

I don’t know…

I’ve never seen this before and I’m wondering if it’s going to be a problem going forward.

Anyone have experience with this?

There’s getting to be a bit of a time crunch so I’m reluctant to start over but that may be best.

Weigh in if you have any suggestions!

About the onions:

–I planted them in damp seed starting mix

–about three or four seeds to a cell, 1/4 inch deep or so

–covered them with saran wrap (because I couldn’t find the plastic cover that goes with the cells)

–and put them on a heating pad to keep the soil at 70 degrees. I’m leaving them on the heat until most have germinated.

It’s as simple as that.

I planted four varieties… sweet Spanish, candy, southport red globe and Alisa Craig exhibition. The Alisa Craig were kind of a cheat because I used leftover seed. Generally onion seeds are only considered to be viable for a year, but I had some space so I thought I’d plant one row of cell spaces and see what happens.

I did look around at different planting methods. There were plenty of suggestions such as spreading the seeds randomly or in rows in an open container then moving them to cells or pots, direct sowing, and not worrying about drainage  (really)?  I had good results last year so I decided to let history repeat itself. I’ll try to keep you posted on  how things are going.

Further along on the spring is springing subject:

IMG_1030Swiss chard that wintered over, I kid you not!

I was very sure that the -10 temp of a few weeks ago pretty much eliminated anything that might be borderline. Swiss chard is amazingly hardy!

IMG_1033Because it’s 58 degrees outside today I moved this plexiglass over this little bed to warm the soil and create an area to start some lettuce soon. I covered that open edge with some boards, then my camera died so you can’t see it finished…

We have nothing to loose other than a $1.49 package of seed..

IMG_1029The snowdrops are popping… not sure about the cause of the blurriness of this shot, it may  be related to the mud in the yard and the indoor shoes that I was wearing…

IMG_1035And the daffodils are coming up too. February is kind of early for daffodils but if we stay in this weather pattern they should be okay.

How’s your garden growing?

I hope that spring is springing early for you too!

Lots of love,

Michele

The Seed Order Is Underway!

I’m working on the next post about our trip, but I thought I shouldn’t stray too far away from the garden. The Grand Canyon was pretty snow covered, so, not much garden activity to report. When I move on to Winslow that will change in a big way! Still wintery, but definitely some gardens to share at that stop.

In the meantime, here’s what’s happening here in Salem this morning:IMG_0753Yes! The seed order is underway!

I’m anxious to get this done because it’s almost time to start the onions and a few other things that need a lot of time to get stronger and can hang in there in the natural light of my office while I use the grow lights for other plants.

I like to use sticky notes to organize my order. This year I had these cute color coded stickies on hand so I’m actually marking the possibilities by color… green is a yes, light green a probably, pink a maybe and orange needs some research. I just texted Michael a picture of this and said “I think we need more beds”… no response back… I wonder why? Lol

This is the Pinetree Seed Catalog which is the company that I used last year. I like Pinetree because their based in Maine, so it tends to be geared toward the New England climate. Another big plus is that they sell seed in smaller quantities at a much lower price. This gives me the chance to grow close to the specific mount of produce that we’ll actually use with more variety, so my garden is more interesting and there’s less waste of plant material and money. I had a nice high germination rate last year as well. I didn’t keep track formally but I’d estimate it at about 90%. I’m looking at other catalogs but I tend to come back to this one.

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It’s also time to start saving yogurt cups, plastic cups and clear containers that make good mini greenhouses. I love these yogurt containers because their nice and sturdy and just the right size for many of the plants that are best for us.

I really, truly can’t wait to get things growing again!

Have you started your seed order yet? What are you thinking about growing?

Hope your enjoying this beautiful Saturday!

Michele

 

 

Our 2015 Garden Year

The year is almost over and I thought that it would be fun to do a bit of  reflection on our garden year. I considered limiting this post to simple photos without words, but I started to fuss about whether to include just the immediate garden or the garden, yard and basement or garden related activities that didn’t necessarily happen here. In the end I thought that there’s too much to say and so I’m just going to talk!

January started out pretty typically with dustings of snow and the ground freezing… pretty much what we expect here in New England.
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And then it started to snow…IMG_7935

And it didn’t stop snowing for many weeks…IMG_8054

It went a little crazy going into February…IMG_8159

Fortunately around this time the seed order arrived!
seed order

And the orchid bloomed beautifully…IMG_8136

And we did puzzles, lots of puzzles…IMG_8152

By March we had snow farms in Salem.  The snow had to go somewhere!
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Michael and I had some much needed respite at the Boston Garden Show.It really felt like spring had sprung.

And then, just when we thought we’d never see them, the first crocus leaves appeared…IMG_8431

In April,  seeds started to germinate under the grow lights in the basement…
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And lettuce could be planted! This was kind of a late start for lettuce. I’d have planted it in March if the ground had started to defrost.IMG_8530

The snowdrops finally appeared!IMG_8533

By May the seedlings were ready to be transplanted, but we had to hold off because it was still unseasonably cold.
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Our new chicks were adolescents by now, ready to take on the world!IMG_8613

And toward the end of the month the iris bloomed.IMG_8913

By June the onion sets had been planted and were really taking off. The tomatoes tried to, but it was cold and not too sunny…
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The lettuce was ecstatic. Lettuce loves cold and not too sunny…IMG_9031

The perennials seemed to follow their normal routines despite the temperatures.IMG_9153

In July the onions were  thriving…
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Along with purple opal basil that had seemed to disappear right after I originally planted it in early June. You never know…IMG_9244

As August began the tomatoes still struggled…
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And we went on a week long vacation to a place that was packed with Rose of Sharon, hydrangea and arbors. IMG_9275

Finally, in September the tomatoes came in..IMG_9511

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And were ready to be stored away for the winter…IMG_9705

The zinnias took over the area in front of the fence.IMG_9495

And the peppers were popping!IMG_9510

I remember saying that this was the year of the onion for us. I planted them from seed in March and they exceeded my expectations. We ate all of these white onions and have moved on to the red variety. I may plant a third type this spring.
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In October this tomato came in weighing about three pounds and resembling a pumpkin. It was so hard to cut this one up!
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The zinnias still danced…IMG_9603

while the leaves in our woods turned color.IMG_9729

In November I saved bean seeds for next year..
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And harvested the last crop of carrots for Thanksgiving dinner.IMG_9841

The frost came and overtook the swiss chard.IMG_9826

But not for long, it came back a few days later!IMG_9829

December was so warm that the herbs continued to thrive..
parsley

The dill and Christmas lights coexisted happily together. dill

And the broccoli that had bolted earlier in the year produced florets for  soup! IMG_9964

Finally,  a hellebore landed on my table. IMG_0016

Which left me wondering about it’s future. Can I plant this outside? It seems like I should wait until spring. What do you say hellebore growers? This is a new one, full of promise if it survives the winter in my house!

2015 was a very hard year for me personally. We lost my mom to cancer in late August (hence the absence of photos and posts this summer). She loved to garden and enjoyed ours whenever she visited. I like to think that she’s nearby and will be out there with us as the years go on.

New seeds catalogs have started to arrive already. It will be fun to see what the new year brings to The Salem Garden.

There’s interesting possibilities on the horizon.

I’d like to thank all of you for visiting here often, enjoying the garden love with me, and for sharing your gardens and gardening experiences with me and my readers.

Here’s to a happy, healthy 2016 in the garden!

Lots of love, Michele

 

What’s Happening in the Garden– November 24, 2015

I looked back quickly earlier this morning and realized that I missed posting a What’s Happening update in October.  The Halloween hoopla kind of overtakes everything around here, even as the kids get older.

Anyway, it’s November and we have had absolutely beautiful weather.  I hate dismantling the deck so I resisted and resisted. Michael is the primary dismantler and he prefers to do it without snow on the deck. I don’t mind a little snow if it means that we’ve enjoyed coffee or lunch (it’s too dark for dinner) one more time. But, the time has come and it’s been reduced to this:
IMG_9828A lovely pile of pots that need to be washed out as soon as possible.

It has to happen but it’s never pretty.

IMG_9829Down in the garden the chard is still beautiful. I took pictures of it covered with frost last week…

It’s amazing how some plants bounce back!

IMG_9832Same thing with the cilantro…

 

IMG_9837The sage can still be used for Thanksgiving.
IMG_9839And I don’t think the lemon balm ever really dies.

Herbs are just so darned hardy!

IMG_9833I took this little bunch of geranium plants in to soak for awhile. I think I’ll plant them in pots and winter them over in my office.

IMG_9835The asparagus fern will probably be on the table on Thanksgiving day.
IMG_9841As will the last clump of carrots that I harvested this morning.
IMG_9852This very grateful girl is wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

And so am I!

We are both blessed!

Enjoy everything!

Love, Michele