What’s Happening in the Garden- May 13, 2017

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms who may be reading! One of the many luxuries I allowed myself this weekend was taking the time to snap some quick photos for a blog post.  These were taken yesterday before the inch or so of rain that we were hit with today.

Spring has finally sprung here in Salem, Massachusetts!

Since we’ve had a lot of rain everything is lush and green… a very different scenario from last year when we were in a severe drought all. season. long.

IMG_2827Michael welcomed spring last weekend by replacing four of our five raised beds. They’re sturdy and should serve us well for five years or so.

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I haven’t had time to do much seed starting this spring so I’ll direct sow some things and I purchased spring seedlings a few weeks ago. I saw these celery plants and decided to give them a try. We had a cold snap about ten (?) days ago and they suffered a little but they seem to be greening up again.

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I also purchased  Brussel sprouts which were quickly chomped on by someone, a bunny or deer? Yes, we have deer in our yard here in the city of Salem. They’re beautiful creatures but not so good for the garden.

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The sweet peas grew quickly from seed and the spinach is quite happy. They all just push those rocks to the side, don’t they?

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My little row of Swiss chard is also being “tasted.”  I think those are bunny tooth prints.

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The lettuce is starting to sprout. It needs some vermi-compost and rock removal, stat.

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And then there’s the kale, always easy, always happy… you can’t go wrong with kale.

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I did go wrong with this passion flower that I plunked in late last fall. I bought it on sale and I can’t find the receipt or container or I’d take it back.

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On the brighter side, the liatris that I planted last fall are starting to bloom.

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I scattered them in front of the garden fence. I may move more mid spring blooms into that bed to keep them company next year.

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Our apple trees are full of blooms too. We may have a real apple crop this year! We bought some organic horticultural oil to spray on the trees to keep the pests away and it helped them get off to a good start. We’ll repeat it after the flowers start to turn to fruit.

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I believe that this is the first time I’ve photographed an apple blossom. 🙂

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Our horseradish is prolific and about to bloom.  I think it’s funny that these flowers will surely smell like horseradish.

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In the beds closer to the house the bleeding heart are beautiful.

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The lovage came back beautifully and I replaced some thyme with fresh new plants.

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Soloman’s seal, iris and lamium are thriving in a part sun/ shade area.

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And I’ve got a few tomato plants that are ready to go out in a week or two. I started these sweetie tomato plants at work with the participants in my program and brought some extras home when we thinned them out. They’re a bit crowded in their pots, but I think they’ll be okay for a little while longer. I’ve been watering them from the bottom in hopes of forming strong roots systems. I’ll keep you posted…

We got new chicks this  year so I made my first video!  You’ll hear me taking about them toward the end. I’d like to do more of this and work on making it a little zippier, but it’s a start!

 

I hope that all is well in your garden, wherever you are.  Thanks for stopping by and don’t be afraid to leave me a comment and say hi if you’d like to!

Love to you all,

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

 

 

 

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

A Tale of Two Bulb Beds

So here’s what happened…

I planted bulbs from the same three packages in two different beds in my yard within an hour of each other.

I even blogged about it here. This was just a few months ago, right before we experienced the most difficult winter ever recorded in eastern Massachusetts.

There was a lot of snow.

IMG_8601Here’s the backyard herb garden today.  Remember how I carefully planted bulbs along the path, in the nooks and crannies? It was going to be amazing! The herbs are slowly coming to life but there’s not a bulb in sight.

IMG_8599And then there’s the sunny front yard…same packages of bulbs, same planting time and their blooming to beat the band.

I’ve been reading about microclimates and I think that this situation is a good example of two very different climates within about twenty yards of each other. The front bed gets morning sun that’s reflected off of the house and the big windows just above it which makes warm soil, almost like a greenhouse. The herb bed in the back gets afternoon sun and it’s kind of tucked in behind the hemlock tree and shielded by the house until later in the day. As the sun rises higher in the sky this spring it will hit this spot earlier in the day. Right now, it’s still pretty cold out there.

Or maybe squirrels dug everything up when I wasn’t looking!

I don’t think so, I would have noticed.

It could also be related to the soil. That front yard soil isn’t anything special. I kind of neglect it, but it does have years of good mulch composted in. The herb bed was just dug last spring and fertilized with compost from our piles and a few bags of organic compost that I bought.

So, I’m on bulb watch! I’ll let you know if anything pops up.

How’s your garden growing? Did your bulbs come up?

Enjoy it all!

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