What’s Happening in the Garden, May 29, 2021.

Hi everyone! We are in the middle of a beautiful spring here in Salem and I thought I’d share a few photos of our garden. I hope to blog more consistently this year. Please leave a comment and say hi if you’re here. I’d love to know who’s stopping by, and your energy will inspire me to post more often.

Lots of zinnia, nasturtium and basil seedlings are ready to plant. It’s very cool, windy and rainy today, so I’m waiting another day or two.
I’ve also started coleus, marigolds, hollyhocks, alyssum, dianthus, cosmos, Brussels sprouts, eggplant and some tomatoes…hoping to plant on Monday!
My greatest success so far this spring is the return of my perennial hibiscus. These take their time to show green in the spring and we have given up too early in the past and tossed them. This year I ordered everyone away, held my breath and here it is! I’m honestly not sure what color the blossoms were, but I do remember that they were large and beautiful last year!
Salvia and yarrow, with much more to come in this corner..
Kale, radishes, lettuce and onions..
This is a Russian Kale that I planted on Mother’s Day. I found the seedlings for sale at a coffee shop downtown..
New garden fence is in progress.. that rhododendron used to live in our front yard.
Lemon balm is everywhere. If anyone who lives nearby wants some, just let me know. This is one of my very favorite herbs. I put it in everything!
Bee balm is about to bloom. I’m trying to decide if the white flower is a weed or not.. if anyone knows, please comment so I can take care of it!
Siberian iris are starting to bloom ! ❤️
And the ducks are still entertaining us! We have ducklings and goslings, but I don’t see them today. They’re often out early in the morning with their mamas.

Wishing all of you peace, love and a moment of reflection and gratitude this Memorial Day, as we remember those who have sacrificed so much.

Love, Michele

What’s Happening in the Garden- January 30, 2017

Hello out there and Happy 2017.  I’m feeling quite sad and worn by recent events here in the US and sometime I need a mental escape and happier thoughts, even if just for a few minutes. One of my biggest escapes is always the garden. We’ve had a mild winter so far but the garden is still cold and quiet on the surface. Below the ground, the perennials and bulbs and trees and grasses are alive and well and just waiting for spring to arrive.

I’ve added lots and lots of houseplants in the past few years and my time at ICS Plant Specialists taught me how to take good care of them. I’ve been enjoying my indoor garden this winter.

img_2700-003My mom’s Christmas Cactus, which sat in her dining room window for my whole life, is a little bit behind schedule but it’s finally blooming. She would be proud to see it here.

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img_2701-003I still have wax begonias from last summer blooming in the office. They’ll be ready to go out to the deck in a few months.

img_2720-003Our bookshelf in the living room holds an angel begonia (also mom’s). It seems fresher and stronger than it used to… right plant, right place… maybe it will bloom?

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This little vignette kind of cracked me up (no pun intended) when I saw it so I had to share. Do you happen to have a bamboo plant, fresh eggs and a Droll Designs Bugs Bunny teapot sitting together on your kitchen counter?

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My very sweet sister-in-law gave me this Thanksgiving Cactus during the holidays and I just moved it into a more permanent pot last week. My Dad took the photo somewhere in Asia many years ago.  He passed away when I was 21, but I always look at it and think that he would have appreciated the attachment parenting style that we chose to use with our children when they were small.

img_2712-003I have philodendron everywhere and to add to the cactuses, here’s an orchid cactus! It blooms in the summer warmth and looks like a piece of sculpture in the winter.

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My money tree (Pachira aquatica) also came from Mom. When I brought it north last fall the leaves fell so much that I was sure I was going to loose it. I did some research and found that this plant likes to stay away from drafts and hates being overwatered. Those were easy things to fix and as soon as I moved it away from the front door and adjusted my watering routine it started to produce new leaves and they’ve been filling in ever since.

img_2725-003 I found this cute little polka dot plant on sale for $2.50 last week. It brightens things up!

img_2718-003My succulents thrive outside in the summer but they’re holding up well in their indoor winter home.

img_2737-003Maddie is standing guard over them. Fortunately, our current cats never touch the plants.

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This is the first time that I’ve raised African Violet to a full bloom stage. They’re in a bathroom with very filtered light and it seems that between the humidity from the shower and the gentle light that they’re receiving, they are happy. I need to add a few more plants to this windowsill.

img_2736-003Here’s another first… a hellebore bloom out in the herb garden!  Something is munching on this plant (I believe that it’s bunnies or deer) but that one bloom is enough to keep me in the game!

I’m hooked on African Violet and hellebore!

img_2728-003You may remember that I’m also hooked on seed starting and it’s just about time to start the onion seeds. I picked these up last weekend and they’re sitting above my kitchen sink calling to me to plant them. I’m receiving seed catalogs and thinking about the spring plan. See, the garden is an escape all year long!

In other news, I’m still working on getting a  handle on this full time work schedule, but it’s getting better as we adjust and develop good, new routines. I think there may be some fun garden projects at my workplace as the year goes on. If that happens, I’ll be sure to share them here.

I hope that this little trip through my indoor winter garden gave you a break and made you smile.  Check in and let me know how you and your garden are doing! I miss you and wish you peace and love, wherever you are.

Love,  Michele

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

 

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

 

 

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 1, 2015

Yes, I am very brazenly beginning my “what’s happening” posts today, April 1, because I know that things are happening in the garden already, in spite of the foot of snow that still covers it.

IMG_8468 Here’s the garden today.

Do you see the progress? I believe that that’s oregano that I never deadheaded last fall. Last week it was still buried! And right below the surface everything is just waiting for that last bit of snow to melt!

IMG_8469The pond is thawing, ever so slowly, no ducks yet but they’ll be here soon…

Has anyone noticed that I’ve been changing my header pics as the pond changes? I love to mark time and changes with photos.

IMG_8470 And, the black pussy willow is blooming!IMG_8476 I’m attached to  this plant for so many reasons.

It was a Mother’s Day gift the first year that we lived here and it’s one of the very first signs of spring that I see each year. And it’s just so lush and pretty..

IMG_8481It looks like the forsythia still needs some time. This plant is behind a pine tree and next to a fence. It might be further along if it got more sun. My friend Blaire sent me a photo of forsythia blooming downtown a few days ago. Maybe it’s a few degrees warmer down there in the city.IMG_8486 Heading inside, the onions are up! I got an almost 100% germination rate with these seeds from Pinetree. I’ve read that I should trim back the taller seedlings to let the energy go to bulb formation. I’m hoping to get to that today.IMG_8491We have peppers too.
IMG_8493 Heading out to the front yard, a few of the bulbs that I planted last year are fighting their way through despite the fact that most of the ground is still frozen. I remember thinking that we’d have these blooming for Easter this year. Maybe not…IMG_8495And here’s two of the three crocus flowers that we’re enjoying so far.

The first morning that these appeared the whole family was out on the front sidewalk jumping for joy.

The little things are the best!

How’s your garden growing? I’ll bet that most of you have more going on than we do in Salem Massachusetts. That’s okay, we’ll catch up!

Love, Michele