Cold Frame

When I read this post by Ottawa Gardener (who got 3 feet of snow) I realized that I had no excuse not to go out and brush the 4-6 inches of snow off my cold frame and peek inside. Despite all that I didn't check on it until yesterday when most of the snow had melted off of it.
Amazingly, everything was still alive. Nothing worth harvesting, but still alive! I'm getting some ideas on how to make it work better next year. It might help if I actually get around to reading Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman. The pictures are of my remaining lettuce plant(s) and my spindly little scallions.

Green Thumb Sunday 12-30-07

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Flowers for my birthday! My grandparents sent me this lovely basket of flowers for my 21'st birthday. The above picture is the front and the one below is the back. It's pretty from all sides! Thanks Grandpa & Grandma!
Happy GTS to everyone else.

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.


Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I probably won't post until after New Year's celebrations are over with, so enjoy your holiday gatherings, and don't lose sight of the Reason for the Season.


Green Thumb Sunday 12-23-07

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My African Violet very kindly decided to bloom in time for GTS. I'd had it in my room, and it was starting to die, so I moved it downstairs. It's either getting more attention or more neglect - I'm not sure which one. Anyway, it seems to be getting just what it needed.
Happy GTS, and Merry Christmas!

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.


Green Thumb Sunday 12-16-07

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I'm late with my GTS post again; but it's still Sunday for 4 more minutes. On Saturday I finally got around to my bi-annual cleanup of my Wandering Jew. I didn't expect to have much still alive, but was pleasantly surprised.
Happy GTS~
Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.


Green Thumb Sunday 12-9-07

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Sorry this GTS post is so late. I meant to do it yesterday, but didn't get around to it. Since everyone's been posting pictures of Christmas Cactus I thought I'd do the same. The one on the left is a Christmas Cactus and the one on the right is a Thanksgiving Cactus. Or Easter Cactus. I'm not really sure. It just blooms when it wants to, regardless of it's name.

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

Happy GTS!

Blogger OpenID 'Feature'

Chigiy over at The Gardeners Anonymous Blog posted recently about Blogger's new comment feature which won't allow people using other publishing services to leave comments with their URL in them. I was not aware of the change, so thanks for blogging about it!

Since I like to visit my commenter's blogs, I've changed my comment setting to Registered Users (includes OpenID). So, if you have an account with Google/Blogger, AOL/AIM, LiveJournal, TypeKey or WordPress you can leave comments and have a link to your blog. If your blog is not hosted by any of the above options, you can use the Any Open ID option. Unfortunately, this means that you can no longer comment anonymously if you don't have a blog or Google account. If you would like to contact me, I'll be adding an 'email me' link soon.

EDIT: In playing around a little more, I discovered that the 'anyone' option has OpenID and allows anonymous comments.



Garden Bloggers: Old & Young

Kathy at Cold Climate Gardening asked Why Don't More Older Gardeners Blog ? It seems to have sparked a lot of discussion, along with the question where are the under 30 gardeners? Being under 30 myself, (I'll be 21 in a couple weeks) I started running through my list of friends and trying to recall if any of them enjoyed gardening. What I came up with was that the friends who go to college don't have time for gardening, while the ones who don't go to college tend to have more interest in and time for gardening. It doesn't seem to make much difference if their parents are gardeners - it appears to be more of an individual thing.

As long as I'm blogging about young gardeners, I figure I might as well share my journey to becoming a garden blogger. Up until my family moved in January 2005, I didn't do a lot of gardening. I did have two little beds though; one was a perennial/annual, and the other focused more on herbs.

After we moved, I still didn't have much interest in gardening - I kind of wanted my own flower bed, but in my opinion (at the time) all the good spots had been taken by my Mother and Sister. You'll be glad to know my opinion has since been revised. I did tend to a couple of tomato plants and some garlic from the old house. The tomatoes were a success, but the garlic was too old. That fall, my Grandma offered us some plants, and I asked for a few figuring now I would have to have my own space. That was how the perennial garden got started. I planted a bunch of pinks, and the few bulbs I brought with from the old house.Also that fall, we got an note in our newspaper box from 'The Plant Lady' who was having her annual sale. We went, and I got Valerian, Yarrow, Bee Balm, and some seeds from her. Next I needed a garden space. I chose the area under the tree, and my Dad helped (ok, he did most of the work) me dig up the area.

The next July (2006) I finally decided to keep a garden journal. I don't really remember why, but I'm thinking it had something to do with needing an excuse to buy a really cool Cars notebook. The notebook was a good idea, because that year my seed collecting hobby took off full swing. If it had seeds, I gathered 'em. My experience up to that point had been limited to garlic, Cosmos, Calendula, Cleome and Salvia. As a result, I grew the same plants over and over since I knew I could get seeds from them. The previous year I had grown and saved seeds from an heirloom tomato; that was how I got started growing and saving tomato seeds.

By Spring of 2007, I had picked up Patricia Lanza's Lasagna Gardening Books at the library and the veggie garden we'd been talking about became a reality. In April I started this blog with hopes of eventually connecting with other gardeners. I now enjoy reading many many many gardening blogs, and interacting through comments.

As for why older gardeners don't blog, I came up with a few answers;
  1. They don't have/know how to use the internet
  2. They're too busy
  3. They aren't aware that blogging is something they can do.
Well, that's my 2 cents worth.


Tomato Experiment

I got the idea for my experiment from this book; 1,112 Down-to-Earth Garden Secrets. Unfortunately the book has been discontinued, however when I Googled the title, several places came up where it can be bought used. I used the idea on page 17 - here's an excerpt:

"For each plant...prepare 1/2 gallon wax coated milk carton. Completely open the carton and slice the corners halfway down. Fold down the flaps you created and secure them with rubber bands. When plants {started in peat pots or newspaper pots} have two or three leaf pairs, move them to these cartons. Remove all but the top pair of leaves and cover the stem with potting soil. The stem sends out roots where the leaves used to be."
When the plants have several more pairs of leaves, the process of removing the leaves is repeated. Then you fold up the flaps, tape them in place, and add more soil. The folks who sent in this tip start their tomatoes on April first, and set them out right after memorial day.

I started two Mrs. Benson heirlooms with this method. First, I made the newspaper pots on page 12. Since we buy don't buy milk in 1/2 gallon cartons, I used 1 quart non-dairy creamer containers. I folded the flaps over twice to make them stay down better. I also discovered that the rubber bands around celery worked really well for holding the flaps down. When my garden beds were finally ready to be planted, I put one plant in the veggie garden and the other in a container made for growing tomato plants. The one in the garden did extremely well, and grew much faster and stronger than the rest of the plants. The one in the container did well, although I frequently forgot to water it.

Summary: I am very pleased with the way my experiment turned out, and am planning to start as many vegetables as I can this way next Spring. Here are some links for makeing your own newspaper pots:
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3
Link 4
They're all a little different, so pick the one that works best for you!
Here are some pictures of the tomatoes.

Green Thumb Sunday 12-2-07

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These are our Indoor plants. The shelf/bench is new, and Mom just finished staining it. The hanging plants are hung from a curtain rod.
Plants from left to right: Parsley, Zerbina Wandering Jew, Mother-in-Law's Tongue, Pothos, Thanksgiving Cactus, Aloe, Mother-in-Law's Tongue.

This one is a little hard to do from left to right, but I'll give it a try. Basil, Lemon Balm, Coleus, Jade plant, Catnip, Amaryllis, Christmas Cactus, and the pot on the floor is our herb pot. I might have missed a few plants, but the list above contains all the ones in the picture.
Happy GTS~

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.



I've been very busy lately working on making Christmas presents. (Check my other blog for more details.) I will try to keep up with GTS posts, but that will be about all until January. While you're waiting for me to stop being so busy, check out Blotanical.
It's a garden blog directory (formerly Garden Blog Directory) that just got a 'makeover'. Besides listing garden blogs by location, it now has several new features; you can check out the most popular blogs, and read the '100 most recent posts from the gardening blogosphere'. There's also a cool feature called 'my plot'. It works like a profile where you can list favorite garden plants, write a mini biography, make a list of favorite blogs and all sorts of other fun stuff! Have fun!


Green Thumb Sunday 11-25-07

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All the pictures were taken on the morning of 11-23-07 after our first snowfall-that-stayed-on-the-ground-long-enough-to-take-pictures.

I've been meaning to photograph this tree for quite a while. There was no tag on it when it was planted by the developers, but one of our neighbors thinks it might be a flowering pear tree. Whatever it is, it has beautiful flowers in the spring, and has lovely fall colors.

The Canada Geese decided it was time to start flying south. In this picture they're actually North. Our theory is that they all congregate at Marketplace Mall before flying south. They were flying over our house for about 3 hours the morning I took this picture.

Here is my garden all covered in snow. The cold frame seems to be working better now, so maybe I finally got it right.

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.


Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Here's a copy of my Thankful List that I posted at my other blog.

  • Medical Science; if not for modern medicine, my Dad would probably have died from kidney failure. Praise the Lord, he has regained some kidney function and his cancer is in full remission.
  • My vegetable garden this year. We still have tomatoes ripening in the basement, carrots in the fridge, chopped peppers in the freezer, and jars of canned tomatoes and tomato sauce. It's so nice to have home-grown produce.
  • My hobby of collecting seeds has become a way for us to save money in the spring. I have two types of tomato seed, bush bean seeds, and a lot of flower seeds.
  • Living in Rochester, NY. We don't get hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, droughts, floods, or tornadoes. Just an ice storm every 5 years or so.
  • My relatives in California didn't lose their home to the wildfires this year.
  • I have a wonderful family who loves me no matter what my shortcomings.
Enjoy your celebrations!


8 Things You Didn't Know About Me

Blueblue at A Spot With Pots tagged for the 8 things you didn't know about me meme. When tagged you must list the person who tagged you and post the rules. At the end of the post you must tag and link to 8 other people.

  1. I am a Christian and my life's goal is to glorify God in everything I do.
  2. Besides my parents and sister, our house is inhabited by 2 cats who tolerate a dog and have a passing interest in my fish.
  3. I love shopping at Build-A-Bear Workshops.
  4. I was home schooled from kindergarten through high school. My favorite subject was (and still is) history. My least favorite was math.
  5. My current favorite Pixar movie is Ratatouille.
  6. My favorite colors are lavender and yellow.
  7. I have a natural blond streak in my hair.
  8. Astronomy is one of my hobbies.
I tag: My Mom at A Crafter's Chronology, Grace at The Picture Effect, Lisa at Greenbow, Diane at Lace-lovin' Librarian, Chigiy at The Gardener's Anonymous Blog, Chris at Through My Garden Gate. I can't think of anyone else, so if you want to join the meme, consider yourself tagged!


Leaves & Cold Frames

Yesterday I finished spreading the leaves I got from my grandparents. Two bags went in Mom's garden, and the rest went in my garden paths and compost pile. It was only after I'd finished that I realized I'd need some for the Russian Sage. I guess I'll just have to borrow some from my garden paths when I get around to mulching it. I was planning to so it today, but then decided it was a little chilly to be fussing with burlap and leaves. I don't know why I decided that since it's just going to get colder. I guess I was just being lazy. Anyway, hopefully I'll get it done before the end of the week.

The cold frame seems to be working better and I planted some lettuce and radishes in it. I'm still not sure I'm doing it right, but I started reading Four Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman. I studied the book briefly in school, but we never used much of the information in it. This is the first time we've tried extending the growing season. I hope it works out.

Farewell for now~


Green Thumb Sunday 11-18

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It's getting harder to find plants that are blooming outside. Next week I'll probably have to photograph something inside. This Alyssum is hanging on though.

My 'find of the day' was this lone 'Mum blossom. I was very surprised since the rest of the plant is done blooming and the cold weather these past few weeks should have discouraged any blooms. I was reminded of these verses from Matthew chapter 6, verses 27-29: "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these."(NASB) I realized that if God cares enough to give this little plant a single blossom, then how much more He must care for me!

Happy Green Thumb Sunday!

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.


Perennial Garden: Installing Edging

One of the things on my To-Do list was to put edging around my perennial garden. Today seemed like a good day, so after breakfast I headed out to start digging. As I dug, I found rocks. Lots of rocks. I found pebbles too. I think I spent more time pulling rocks and pebbles out of the trench than I did digging it. I finally got my trench dug, put in the edging and put the soil back around it. It's not the most attractive thing in the world, but it should help with the runoff problem next summer.

Last week I went over and helped rake up my grandparent's leaves. I ended up with 6 bags. I've already used two bags on my veggie garden, and the rest will end up around plants that need extra insulation for the winter, in the compost pile, and whatever is left will go on my garden paths -check out this blog for more things to do with fallen leaves.

My outdoor project list:
  • Wrap/mulch transplanted Russian Sage
  • Finish spreading leaves around gardens
  • Figure out how to make the cold frame work right and plant some more lettuce in it
Farewell For Now~



I started a new blog about my crafting hobbies. I just finished the cute little critter below, which I've dubbed a 'dronkle'. (The directions were in Swedish). If you're interested check it out, if not I'll post sometime this week after I finish reading all the GTS blog posts.


Green Thumb Sunday

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We finally had a really hard frost last night. This volunteer Sunflower survived; also among the survivors were a Gerbera Daisy and Mom's Lavender.

The Japanese Maple was so pretty with the frost on it's leaves; it was just begging to have it's picture taken.

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

Happy Green Thumb Sunday!


You Know It's Fall When...

  1. It's hard to find something in bloom
  2. Plants appear in every nook and cranny of your house
  3. The dirt under your fingernails starts to disappear
  4. Your hands get so cold you consider wearing gardening gloves
  5. Your compost pile gets really big
  6. You have trouble finding storage space in your shed or garage (or both)
  7. You spend less time in your garden and more time on the internet reading garden blogs
  8. The weatherman starts talking about snow flurries
  9. You wish you had a greenhouse
  10. You're making plans for next year's garden

We really got spoiled with the warm fall. Now the temperatures are in the 30's and 40's and not going any higher. Buffalo, NY is having their first snowfall of the season. A possible accumulation of 5-7" is expected. The forecast for Rochester predicts a possibility of snow every day through Friday.

Yesterday we finally bought some heavy plastic for the cold frame. I put it over the frame this morning and got half the job done, but between the wind, rain and numb hands I had to stop. I'm going to try planting some scallions in the cold frame, along with more lettuce, and maybe a few radishes. I finished harvesting the veggie beds - all that's left is what's under the cold frame. The carrots were smaller than I expected. Half of them had their growth stunted from the bean foliage that sprawled everywhere. I also pulled out the beans, harvested my scallions and some lettuce that managed to survive the cold weather. The scallions are pretty small since the tomato foliage blocked out most of their sunlight.

Farewell, and stay warm!


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As I was searching the yard for something to photograph for GTS I found this little Dandelion that is obviously very confused about what season it is.

I also discovered these pretty Cupflowers that are blooming profusely.

Happy GTS everyone!

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.


Fall Chores

I spent my afternoon today planting bulbs and 'helping' (ok, supervising) my Mom with her flower beds. I planted 8 Hyacinth and 20 Anemone bulbs in my perennial garden. CountryMax had a nice selection of bulbs last year, and I'm hoping they do this year too. If I ever get around to stopping in and they do have bulbs, I'd like to try Gladiolus, and maybe some Irises.

Mom's flower bed had a lot of volunteer plants in it (we suspect Rose Campion). We were hoping that they were just growing in the mulch or on top of the landscape fabric. It was, so Mom pulled up all the landscape fabric before she planted her bulbs. She planted 8 purple Hyacinth and 20 Anemone bulbs. (The Anemone bulbs came in a pack of 40 so we split them.)

My Dad mowed the lawn this afternoon, for the final time this year, we hope. I noticed a lot of leaves got mowed over. If they're still there tomorrow I'll rake them up and start spreading them over my vegetable beds. I'm also going to try and get over to my Grandparents for some more leaves - they have more trees than we do, hence more leaves.

Stay tuned for my next project: putting edging around my perennial garden. I've never done it before, but how hard can it be?



Possible Frost Tonight

When I checked the weather this morning I noticed that the temperature was supposed to get down to 31 tonight. Tomorrow night it's supposed to be 33. In fact, the nighttime temperature for the next week doesn't even make it out of the thirties. With this sad news in hand I decided it was time to start winterizing my garden. First I picked all the tomatoes and peppers and filled a half-bushel basket.

Then I started pulling out plants, knocking the dirt off, and hauling them off to my compost heap. In one bed I have a cold frame set up over a basil plant and some lettuce. I set up a grow tunnel (similar to the one here, but mine is smaller) over my scallions and another lettuce plant. I covered the tunnel with the 'fleece' that came with it and a blanket over that.
Most of the tomatoes I picked were still green, so I punched holes in some paper bags, put a layer of tomatoes on the bottom, folded the top over and took them down to the basement. I'll probably freeze most of them after they ripen. I also harvested about half a dozen peppers.

After lunch I helped Mom and Dad move one of the Russian Sage plants. It was very hard to get out of the ground - the roots were really strong. I had to break a couple, but I think most of the roots are strong and healthy. It should survive the transplant pretty well. The picture was taken in August when the Sage was a honey bee magnet.

Still on my To-Do-Before-It-Snows-List:
  • Get rose cones or other coverings for Mandevilla and Mom's Heather
  • Plant more Lettuce and Scallions in cold frame
  • Get heavy plastic to help insulate cold frame
  • Rake Grandpa and Grandma's leaves, mow over them, and spread on garden beds
  • Wrap transplanted Russian Sage and Japanese Maple with burlap
  • Plant bulbs
  • Install edging around Perennial garden


My Family's Blogs

I'm posting about my Mom's and Sister's blogs today. They both have great blogs and would like to see some more traffic, so check them out!

Mom blogs about her hobbies and crafts here. She sews, cross stitches, and smocks, among other things.

My Sister blogs about her photography hobby and posts pictures. She recently went to a nearby park and took some gorgeous pictures. Check it out here.



Green Thumb Sunday:

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This is a picture of Sweet William; we started some in a pot 2 years ago. As you can see it has left the pot and self seeded itself in a new location. In fact, it has spread all across the front gardens. Next year it'll probably be in the lawn. In the meantime I'm enjoying the bright, perky blossoms that keep blooming as everything else dies.

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.


Garden Makeover Update

Everything appears to have survived so far. It's kind of hard to tell with the Bee Balm and Anise Hyssop since they had already died back. They don't look any deader, so I guess that's a good thing. The Cosmos and Calendula plants I saved revived nicely. I broadcast some cosmos seeds over part of the garden before I replaced the mulch. Hopefully they will germinate next summer.

Today I took some Mandevilla cutttings. I'm trying to root one in water and the other with rooting hormone in a potting soil mix. As for the rest of the plant, since Mom doesn't really want it dug up and brought inside, I'm going to cover it with straw, a rose cone, and possibly some burlap.

We are expecting a frost over the weekend, so I brought some containers into the garage. I discovered that one of the plants in the herb container had grown through the drainage hole and into the ground underneath. I think it's the fennel since it's the largest plant in the pot. I also rummaged around in the shed and unearthed a cold frame. I put it over one of my remaining basil plants and some lettuce. I'm hoping to be able to grow lettuce all winter, or at least get an early start in the spring.

Here are some pictures from Wednesday:
This is from after I finished replacing the mulch.
This is from June, so you can see the changes I made. (The pictures are not taken from the same angle. The picture above is the front of the garden and the one below was taken from the left side of the picture above.)

My Horehound:
And last but not least, my 'supervisor':


Green Thumb Sunday Blogroll

I have just joined the Green Thumb Sunday meme. Hopefully it will encourage me to do something with the hundreds of pictures on my hard drive. Click the picture on the right to find out more.


Mini Garden Makeover

Yesterday my Dad and I added some compost, manure, peat moss and topsoil to my flower bed. I started by pulling up all the annuals that were dead and then worked at moving the mulch to the side and dug up perennials as I came to them. It was a good opportunity to do some rearranging, so I took advantage of it. The Horehound finally got planted in a paint can- I first mentioned this in August -Dad and I discovered that it's very difficult to punch a hole in a plastic paint can. Anyway that's taken care of now and one less thing to worry about. I also figured out why my Valerian has not grown much this year - it got pushed out of the soil and was trying to grow in the mulch. It is now firmly in the ground, but it remains to be seen whether or not it will survive the winter.

On Monday I gave my Mrs. Benson tomatoes a major trim. I'm trying to encourage them to produce and ripen tomatoes instead of flowering and growing leaves. I noticed the peppers are also flowering. I've gotten quite a few seeds from my beans. Next spring I'll test for viability and decide whether or not I should buy seeds or use what I collected. The garlic has been planted, as have some bulbs called Puschkinia libanotica. I haven't researched them yet, but it has a pretty white flower and blooms in March or April.

Speaking of bulbs, I did errands with my Mom today, and we bought some Hyacinth bulbs and Anemone bulbs. After we got home, I spent the rest of my evening sorting flower seeds. Mostly Calendula and Salvia. Wouldn't it be nice if all seeds were as simple to collect as bean seeds are? My Mom loves it and I've been saving the seeds for her for a few years now. It's so tedious to pull all the flowers open to see if there's a seed inside. I'm really starting to dislike Salvia. A lot. So, if anyone has a better way to collect Salvia seeds, please let me know.



Quick Post & Website Link

Just a quick post to let everyone know I haven't fallen off the face of the earth! I've been busy this past week painting my room and completely ignoring my gardens. (I know that's really naughty of me, but I promise I'll make time to find out what's still growing sometime today.) Since I don't have a lot of time or anything really interesting to blog about, check out Dave Epstein's website:
Growing Wisdom.com Advice, Inspiration and information for Gardeners
(The videos take a while to load, but they are well worth the wait!)

Enjoy Fall; Winter is just around the corner!


Indian Summer

According to Wikipedia Indian summer is 'a name given to a period of sunny, warm weather in autumn, not long before winter. Usually occurring after the first frost, Indian summer can be in late October or early November in the northern hemisphere, and late April or early May in the Southern hemisphere. It can persist for a few days or extend to a week or more.'
We haven't had a frost yet, be the weather this Fall has been unseasonably warm -not that I'm complaining - I'll take as much warm weather as I can get. Anyway since I have no idea when the weather will change I decided to give my tomatoes a trim yesterday. The Mrs. Benson variety have had early blight for quite some time now, so I trimmed all most of the affected branches. (If I'd done all of them there wouldn't be much left on the plants) Most of the affected branches were at the bottom, so they're rather top heavy now, especially since they've had a lot of growth at the top. I don't know if the flowers will set fruit or not, but I figured it'd be worth it to find out. According to my favorite online weather forecast the temperature will drop dramatically in the next week or so. Maybe I'll look for another forecast...
I'm still getting tomatoes and peppers. I've been freezing the tomatoes, hopefully I'll remember they're in the freezer and use them. The recipe I have in mind is a basil tomato sauce from Mom's canning book; I'm going try and adapt it for fewer tomatoes and some different ingredients.

My attempt to root the Clematis failed - the cutting was to far gone. However, the plant managed to revive itself. I think it has enough growth to survive any upcoming cold snap. Now I just need to figure out the best way to overwinter the Mandevilla...



Canning Pictures

Saturday Mom and I canned 9 pints of tomato sauce and 19 pints of tomatoes. Here are some pictures:
What I started with:

The final result:

19 pints of tomatoes + 9 pints of tomato sauce:

What's left of a Zucchini Fudge Cake I made earlier in the week:

Enjoy the pictures!


Making Pizza Sauce (And Pizza)

Every time I make pizza sauce, I use a larger pot. I started with a 3.5 quart, moved on to an 8 quart, and today I'm using my Mom's huge stock pot. It holds 16 quarts and 24 pounds of tomatoes!
For some reason making pizza sauce makes me want to eat pizza, so I decided to make pizza for dinner. The sauce won't be ready in time for dinner, so I pulled some out of the freezer and made some dough in the bread machine.

Then I went out to the garden to pick basil for the sauce and anything else that needed picking and wound up with another dozen tomatoes. If I have time on Friday I'll can them. I also got a gorgeous red pepper - the first I've ever grown- and some lettuce. Now that things have cooled down a bit the lettuce is doing much better.

The herb container garden is doing well, although the smaller ones are having a difficult time growing since I keep pinching sprigs for tomato sauce and pesto. We are planning to winter them over inside. The current plan is to put as many as possible in a window box; it should take up less space than having individual pots of various sizes.
If you're curious, here's a list of the plants that we will be attempting to winter over in the house:
Mandivella (Alice DuPont var.); Basil, Sweet and Spicy Globe; Lovage; Winter Savory; Rosemary; Fennel; Pineapple Sage. I'm not entirely sure all of the above plants will survive the winter this way, so I'll be doing some research in the next few days to figure out the best way to winter them over.



When Your Garden Gives You Tomatoes...

...Make pizza sauce, tacos, salads, spaghetti sauce, salsa, can them, and don't plant as many next year! Our kitchen has been entirely overrun with tomatoes. There are 24 pounds on the kitchen counter, and that's after using the largest pot in the kitchen (holds 8 quarts) to make a large batch of spaghetti/pizza sauce yesterday. Tomorrow I'm going to dig out my Mom's stock pot and try to use up the rest of them. That should also fix the fruit fly problem that's developed. I haven't been able to find an effective way to get rid of fruit flies other than removing the food that they're attracted to.

The peppers are coming along nicely; I'm excited to have red peppers this year instead of green. It sure takes a lot of patience, waiting for them to turn red, though. Speaking of patience, I'm rapidly losing mine with that nasty little chippy that keeps digging in my garden. I'm currently considering mixing up cement and using that to fill in his hole.

One of the Clematis plants seems to be dying, so I took a cutting, dipped it in root hormone, and put it in Miracle-Gro Potting Mix. I've never tried this method of rooting before and it will be interesting to see how it turns out.
The Lemon Balm finally rooted, and has been planted in a small container. Once the weather cools off a bit I'll check out the larger plant that's outside and either divide it or trim the rootball and repot it.

That's All For Now~


My Favorite Recipes

Here are some links to the recipes I've been using this summer:
I chop the basil with a chef's knife so it won't lose as much flavor, then put everything but the oil and basil in the food processor and blend until mostly smooth. Next add the basil, blend a little then slowly start adding the oil. I've lowered the amount of oil used to 1/3 cup. This tastes ok with walnuts, but if you can afford the pine nuts, go for it! I have only used freshly grated cheese for this, and always pack it down a bit.
Zucchini Pesto
Keep a close eye on the walnuts while you're toasting them - they will burn; ask me how I know.
Toasting Walnuts:
Preheat oven to 350 (I used a toaster oven - maybe that's why they burned)
Place nuts in single layer on rimmed baking sheet
Bake 5-10 minutes until golden brown - they may be more golden than brown and will continue to brown after removal from oven.
Chicken Pesto ~~ I made this one up: Preheat broiler; make pesto, spread on chicken, broil until thoroughly done, turning halfway through. Be sure the chicken is at least 6 inches away from heat source.
Grilled Potato Skins
I find that to serve 4 I need to double or triple the recipe; or just buy a five pound bag of potatoes and use all the ones that are big enough. I don't make extra topping as it's usually more than enough. Also, I can fit 4 potatoes in the microwave with no problem. On a gas grill, cook over med/hi heat until cheese melts and just starts to bubble.
I've also adapted this recipe for the oven: Follow beginning of recipe. After brushing with butter place on baking sheet in 425 degree oven until skins begin to crisp; about 5-10 minutes. Add Picante sauce, cheese and bacon, and return to oven until cheese is melted. Add tomatoes, onion and topping, and serve!
Note: Since I don't usually have scallions on hand, I use a pinch of dried onion and put it on right after brushing on the butter. Also, we put the tomatoes, scallions, and topping on the table so people can use as much or as little as they like.
Grilled Potatoes
This is a good recipe for when you don't have time for grilled potato skins. The recipe is a ways down the page. Be sure to read the section about parboiling.
Pizza Sauce
You need to scroll down a ways for the recipe. Since I didn't have any fresh oregano, I stared at the spice shelf in the cupboard and pulled out anything that sounded like it might be good in the sauce. I also put in some fresh parsley, lovage, and winter savory.


Tomatoes & Zucchini: Taking Over The Kitchen

The tomatoes have started ripening, and the blossom end rot seems to have cleared up. I've gotten quite a few seeds from not-quite-perfect fruits, and last week I made pizza sauce for the first time. It came out really well, and I will probably make more since the fridge is rapidly filling with tomatoes.
A huge windstorm came through last week and four of the Mrs. Benson tomato plants and cages fell over. All of the peppers fell over too. None of the plants were damaged, although one tomato fell off and got smashed. The garden is now criss-crossed with string: the tomato cages are tied to the fence in several spots, most of the peppers got tied to the tomato cages, I had one tomato cage left over and was able to slip it over one of the plants and tie it to the fence. It's a little difficult to get around now, but hopefully nothing will fall over.

My garlic arrived and I can hardly wait to plant it. I can't find any specific date to plant but most of the websites I looked at suggested mid to late October, so it's on my calendar for October 15-27. The variety is Sam Loiacono and I ordered it from Underwood Gardens. It is grown locally by a family in Canandaigua, NY.

Yesterday I found a large hole in my garden, presumably made by my chippy friend. I'm trying to think of something to cover his hole with since I'm getting awfully tired of filling in his hole every day. I also pulled up the zucchini plant because what little fruit it was producing would rot at the end before it got very large. Besides, I still have 5 zucchini in the kitchen that haven't been used and several cups of shredded zucchini in the fridge. I'd better get busy cooking, and finding some new recipes to try!



Updates On Miscellaneous Plants and Gardens

Looking back through my posts I realized there are a few things I've neglected to mention, so here's a list of all the things I should have mentioned, but didn't.

  • The Repels-All seemed to keep the critters away for several weeks. I have not had time to re-apply it, so I'm still having to put up with chippie holes in my garden. They don't dig far, just enough to make an indentation. I found a hole outside my garden and I fill it in with rocks and pebbles every day. If I ever get to Lowes, I'm going to get some expanding insulation and fill in his hole for good!
  • I have two container garden tomatoes; one has 2 or 3 plants that didn't fit into my garden plan and the other has one of my experiment tomatoes. They have both grown well, but I have to water them every day as they dry out very quickly. Somehow I ended up with a Calendula plant in one of them. It doesn't get much sun since the tomatoes are so bushy, but I'll leave it there and see what happens.
  • Back in July I mentioned I was going to try and root some Basil and Lemon Balm. The Basil was a huge success! I took the cuttings on July 5'th and planted them 6 days later on the 11'th. I'm still working on the Lemon Balm, but have finally gotten some to root.
  • Our herb container garden is doing well, except for the Lovage. I think it's getting to much shade from the Fennel and Pineapple Sage.
  • I bought 2 Clematis plants to climb the lattice and make it look a little nicer. They seem to be doing well.
  • My Brandywine Tomatoes have gotten blossom end rot for the second year in a row. I don't think I'll grow quite as many next year. I've been giving them more water, fertilizing and cutting off runners and some of the larger leaves in an effort to get more calcium to the tomatoes. It seems a little bizarre since Brandywines are supposed to be the easiest heirloom tomato to grow. On the other hand, the Mrs. Benson tomatoes have had no problems and are producing much larger fruits than I expected.


Culinary Fun, Tomatoes, and To-Do Lists

Did you all enjoy your Labor Day Weekend? I know I did. We had a wonderful picnic on Monday, complete with hot dogs, sausage, baked beans, and (my specialty) grilled potato skins. I even got to use a fresh-picked tomato! Tuesday I made Pesto Chicken for dinner. It turned out really well, as did my experiment of putting some pesto on tomato slices and broiling them.

I have good news, and no, I didn't save a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico(R). The slugs seem to have vanished from my garden! I'm not sure what persuaded them to leave, but I don't really care, as long as their gone.
My tomatoes have finally started to ripen. The Mrs. Benson tomatoes are very large, weighing between 8 and 15 ounces each. So far I have not gotten any Brandywine tomatoes; the ones that ripened got blossom end rot. I'm somewhat surprised since Brandwines are supposed to be very easy to grow, and not prone to disease. I guess end rot is exempt since it's not a disease, but a calcium deficiency in the fruit. If I can get to the garden center some time soon, I will try to find a calcium spray for the leaves, so more calcium can get to the tomatoes. In the meantime, I've been trimming the plants of unnecessary leaves and runners in an effort to keep the leaves from absorbing all the calcium. I'm also fertilizing and watering the plants more often.

Due to the cooler weather most of the flowers have slowed their seed production, but I'm still getting seeds from Calendula, Cosmos, Anise Hyssop, and Salvia plants. On the To-Do List this fall is revamping my flower garden, and finishing the new bed around the mailbox. The bed around the mailbox will be getting Lavender and Rose Campion. I'm not sure what else is planned for it. For my flower bed, we are going to put in a mix of peat moss, top soil, compost, and sand. We're also going to reshape the border to make it look more like a circle than a wavy line.

Farewell For Now~


Vegetable Garden Becomes Slug Buffet

Tuesday was unseasonably cool, and when I was out gathering some Basil for dinner, I found slugs all over it, and the peppers. So, having solved the mystery of what was eating my plants, I started researching how to get rid of the slimy little things.

Ortho's Bug-Geta was recommended in several places, and since we had some on hand I'm trying that. Also on the list of things to try: coffee grounds, salt, cleaning up any debris on the soil, trimming any leaves that are on the ground. And if all that doesn't help I'll find something else to try.
Yesterday I put out the Bug-Geta and applied Sevin as I read that it can also help deter slugs (and whatever else might want to munch on my peppers).
This morning was hot, humid and sticky, just the sort of weather slugs enjoy. So I took a metal can from the recycling bin, put some salt in the bottom, and started picking slugs. Ugh. I went out again this evening and found some more. In case you're wondering why the salt, slugs are mostly made of water and the salt dehydrates and kills them.

I finally got around to making my pesto - it was delicious, but time consuming to make. It would help if we owned a food processor, but I made do without. I also burned the walnuts the first time I toasted them...anyway, I put it on some chicken, put it under the broiler for a few minutes, and Viola! A meal everyone likes.

My flower bed is surviving, but not thriving. I get a few seeds now and then, but not as many as I'd hoped for. I noticed that the Calendula mix that I gave my Mom is growing much better than my Flashback Calendula. Probably due to a slightly shadier location.
The Pennyroyal is still alive, and seems to be adjusting well. It rained today, so maybe the ground will be soft enough to dig a hole for the Horehound - it's still pretty droopy.

I finally got all my pictures organized, so now I can start going through and decide which ones look good enough to put on the internet. Which reminds me, it's about time for another photo shoot of the gardens...which means I'll probably have another hundred or so pictures to sort through and label by the end of the week.

It seems I won't be running out of things to do for a good long while...maybe I'll get caught up on everything in time to start planning next years garden.

Keeping Busy~


Revenge of the Chippies

The chippies had their revenge while I was on vacation. The garden was dug up in numerous places. If they don't stop soon, I may have to take more drastic action, so chippies, beware!

In spite of the chipmunks, everything is growing well. The tomatoes are nearly as tall as I am, and starting to ripen. The beans are pretty much done, as is the zucchini. The lettuce, scallions and radishes are growing slowly, possibly from all the shade the tomato plants provide. The peppers are very large with multiple fruits on each plant (my family's never grown peppers very successfully before) so I'm excited about that. Several of the peppers have been bored into; the peppers seem ok though, so I'm going to leave them and see what happens. The Spicy Basil plant keeps growing and I've got enough to make pesto again; this time I'm going to try a slightly different recipe - it calls for zucchini. Should be an interesting culinary adventure.

My perennial garden died while I was gone. I'm not sure if it was from a lack of water or if the soil is just to rocky there. I planted some Coleus there last week, and it seems to be ok so far.

The flower bed is doing well, although not as well as I'd hoped. It rained today so maybe that will perk things up a little. I've been able to save a few seeds, but the plants are not growing very fast. I finally got around to planting my Pennyroyal - it wasn't doing very well in the container. The Horehound isn't doing very well either. Since it's part of the mint family I don't want to plant it in the garden and then spend all spring pulling it out. I found an old (clean) paint can and am going to put some holes in the bottom for drainage, plant the Horehound in it, and then 'plant' the paint can.

That's pretty much all the news. I spent today working on my plant files. I keep an index card for every plant I grow, and some of the ones my Mom and sister grow. At last count I had nearly 45 cards. Hopefully by the end of the week I'll have gotten around to organizing my pictures and I can get them up on the internet.

Farewell for now ~


Mini Update (I'm On Vacation Again)

My vegetable garden is huge! Everything is growing well. I'm on vacation again, but before I left I'd been harvesting beans, zucchini, radishes, lettuce, parsley, and basil. There are lots of baby tomatoes that will probably ripen while I'm gone and a few tiny peppers.

Mom and I started a herb container with fennel, pineapple sage, lovage, creeping winter thyme and creeping rosemary. I have lots of pictures and will work on posting them after I get back from vacation next week.



New Pictures!

I just spent most of my day updating the vegetable garden pictures. Due to problems with my internet connection, I'll do the rest of the pictures another day. Enjoy. :)

So Many Things To Do, So Little Time

I've been pretty busy the past few weeks. I spent 8 days in Raleigh, NC with my sister and grandparents, visiting my Aunt, Uncle and Cousin. It rained the entire time we were gone, and I could not believe the size of the plants in the vegetable garden. Hopefully I can get some pictures up this week. I'm leaving again next Monday to visit my Great Aunt and Great Grandma in Chicago.

The Japanese beetles seem to have disappeared, so we decided to take down the bug bag and not invite more trouble. The Japanese Maple looks pretty bad, and it lost a lot of leaves. I hope it survives. I also noticed that despite all the rain, the 4 o' clocks have not grown at all, and the Cleome isn't doing that great either. The soil must be to rocky for the roots to grow well.

All the veggies have flowered, and some tiny tomatoes and beans are starting to grow. I had enough Spicy Globe Basil to make pesto, and it tasted wonderful!
The Calendula finally bloomed, although I expected it to be taller. The Cleome plants are producing seeds, as are the Cosmos plants. Again, I expected the Cosmos to be taller. Maybe it's because of the late start I got planting everything.

So, on the agenda for this week: fertilizing some of the flowers, collecting seeds, starting a third planting of radishes and possibly scallions and lettuce, finding a recipe for all the zucchini that grows as soon as your back is turned, and getting all my pictures posted in my online photo album.

Farewell ~


Rain Made The Veggies Grow

The vegetable really took off after the rain Wednesday and Thursday - the zucchini is huge and using up the entire 3' x 3' space allotted to it. I've been harvesting radishes every few days and the lettuce should be ready for picking soon. We got some more rain this afternoon, so I shouldn't have to water for a few days.

I took several cuttings from the Spicy Globe Basil, and one from the Lemon Balm. From everything I've read, they should root quickly. The basil will go near the tomatoes and peppers to deter the insects that are eating the leaves. The Lemon Balm is a bit of an experiment - we grow it in a pot to keep it from spreading; it wintered over well, but the leaves have black spots all over them. After doing some research I decided to try starting a new plant since the old may be root bound or in need of division. I thought it would be a good idea to have a new established plant in case the old one dies after division in the fall.

We are still battling the Japanese beetles. The trap didn't seem to be working very well, so I made a mixture of soap and water with a little vinegar to spray on the beetles; it seems to be working pretty well. The next day there were fewer beetles, but they had spread out to Mom's Rose of Sharon and my Anise Hyssop and Bee Balm. We applied Sevin to the Japanese Maple, Anise Hyssop and Bee Balm. Of course it's probably all washed off now with the rain today, but hopefully it did some good.

I took 70+ pictures Friday and Saturday, and should have them on the internet by Tuesday.



It's Raining, It's Pouring...

The rain started yesterday, and has continued today. Just what the flowers and veggies need. Everything (including the weeds) is getting a good soaking. This quote seems to fit me perfectly: "God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done." (Author Unknown) Since I'm stuck inside it's the perfect time to do the cleaning that has been neglected, update this blog, update my online photos and organize the rest of my digital pictures.

On Tuesday I figured out why the Japanese beetles I'd seen in my flower garden weren't doing much damage; they're feasting on the Japanese Maple tree. I set up a Japanese beetle trap and it seemed to be attracting them. It should solve the problem; if it doesn't I'm doing some research on the internet for other ways to deal with them.

In the vegetable garden: Dad put the chicken wire around the bottom of the fence to keep the critters from squeezing through and enjoying my vegetables before I can. Mom and I decided it would be way to much work to try and mow the paths, so we decided to kill the grass and put down some mulch. It's a little like lasagna gardening: I started with a layer of wet newspaper to kill the grass. Then I put down a layer of straw and soaked it well with the hose. The straw should keep the paths from getting muddy and slippery once the grass dies. We haven't decided on a mulch yet, and will probably wait until next year to put it down. The straw should work until then. It's not done yet - I ran out of newspaper - but hopefully it will be done by the time I go on vacation next week.

Farewell ~


Cold First Day of July

The the month of July is usually warm with temperatures in the upper 80's and 90's. Not so today. The high temperature is 66 and the overnight low is 51. It should warm up in the next couple of days. We're still waiting for rain according to the meteorologists we should get some before the end of the week.

The vegetable garden is growing rapidly. I bought another basil plant on Friday to plant near the Brandywine Tomatoes and hopefully stop the insect damage. The wilted tomato plant didn't survive, so the basil is going in it's place. I'm still having some trouble with something digging in the dirt and around the plants. We're going to put chicken wire around the bottom of the fence to try and stop the chipmunks from sneaking in.
Dad finished the gate yesterday. He took a piece of fence and remade it into a very nice gate. I'll take pictures tomorrow. He also attached a piece of lattice to the south end of the fence to serve as a windbreak. The lattice was only 8 feet wide, and the fence is approximately 14 feet wide, so he put some slats through the spaces left in the fence to break the wind. Next year I will try planting some clematis or morning glories to hide the lattice and provide some extra protection from the wind.

I've started collecting Cleome seeds. The Rose Campion is also producing seeds, and should be ready for harvest soon. The 4 o' clocks haven't grown much, but I think a good rain shower will fix that. The Double Click Cosmos is amazing! The flower petals start off rolled into little cones that gradually open over a few days. The package described double and semi-double flowers, but they look more like a variety called Sea Shells. They're pretty anyway. Maybe when the plants get taller the blooms will improve; they're still pretty short. I'm still waiting for the Calendula to bloom, and most of it is still pretty droopy.

I'm sure everything will perk up as soon as we get a good rainstorm, however as this quote so aptly puts it: "Despite the gardener's best intentions, Nature will improvise." ~Michael P. Garafalo, gardendigest.com



Needed: Precipitation to Lessen my Perspiration

In other words, we need rain! Unfortunately the meteorologists have not scheduled any rain until next Tuesday. So until then I will keep watering my plants the hard way. One of my tomato plants (Brandywine variety) was completely wilted to day. I gave it some extra water, hopefully it will revive.

The critter problem seems to be fixed, so I've turned my attention to the problem of insects eating the plants once the Sevin wears off. The 3 peppers closest to the basil plant seem unaffected, and since basil is supposed to be very easy to root, I'm going to root several branches and plant them near the affected plants. I may also get some marigolds, but since I'm very allergic to them they will be a last resort.

On the bright side, my flowers are doing very well. The calendula is a little droopy, but other than that all the plants are happy and thriving. I hung my Zerbina Wandering Jew on the porch since it did very well out there last year, but it is taking quite a beating from the wind this year. If the wind keeps up I'll have to move it inside.

I take pictures of my gardens and plants nearly every day and post the good ones here.

Farewell ~


Chipmunks & Squirrels & Critters - Oh My!

Sunday afternoon - I went to water the vegetable garden, and it looked as if the little critters decided to play tag in the dirt. My Dad said he saw a squirrel taking a 'dirt bath' earlier in the morning. Needless to say, I'm not very happy and have declared war on any critter that invades my garden. We went to Lowes this afternoon and bought a spray called Shot Gun (R) Repells-All by Bonide that should repel the critters; it smells strong enough to keep humans away, so why not little critters? I sprayed it along the fence this evening. If that doesn't work I'll try spraying it on the bricks around the beds.

The Sevin seems to have worked - the insect damage to the plants appears to have stopped. The carrots are finally coming up, as is the lettuce. The second lettuce planting went in today so we can have continual harvests. This is also called succession planting in Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening book. I'm also succession planting the radishes, and the scallions.

Mom got her parsley and chives planted tonight, and we also planted the space around one of the trees. I'll take some pictures tomorrow.

Farewell for now ~


Bugs Are Eating My Veggies

Most of my vegetable plants are being eaten by bugs. Nearly all the tomatoes, quite a few of the beans, and one or two of the peppers have been affected. I sprinkled Sevin on the plants, so hopefully that will fix the problem. The basil has not been touched and neither has the zucchini, apparently the bugs don't like them.

Everything else is doing great. The Cleome plants are putting out seed pods, so I can start collecting seeds from them fairly soon. The wind has blown most of the petals off the Double Click Cosmos. I think the new blossoms should be a little more hardy. I planted it so late that it was blooming when I planted it.

Farewell ~


The Windy City: Rochester, NY

Yes, I know that Chicago is supposed to be the windy city, but it was misnamed. Two huge thunderstorms came through the area on Tuesday, with wind gusts of up to 70 mph. Everything seems to have survived, except for one tomato plant. The stem appears to have snapped.

Before the storms started on Tuesday I was able to mulch my flower bed and take some pictures. It looks a lot better now. It is still windy, however and causing me some trouble, particularly with the taller plants. I had the same problem last year. Since we live in a brand new development there are no full grown trees to break the wind. I'm still thinking up solutions to solve the problem. So far the best one is to buy a hedge rose and plant it along the south side of the garden.

Everything seems to have perked up - hopefully it will stay that way. On Wednesday I planted my Horehound (in a pot so it won't spread). The Pennyroyal finally started growing, and I'm considering planting it in the flower garden, since it hasn't spread much in the container. The 4 o' Clocks are also doing much better since the rainstorm, although they do seem to be growing quite slowly.

Farewell From the Windy City of Rochester!


Perennial Garden Pictures

Here are some pictures of my perennial garden. More pictures coming soon!!

Check out my photos and videos on MyPhotoAlbum! (Click on the album cover to view all the pictures.)

Edit: The rest of the pictures I took today are now on the website above. Enjoy!

Where but in a garden do summer hours pass so quickly?

I finally got around to taking some pictures of my gardens! Hopefully I can get some pictures posted this afternoon. The vegetable garden is doing well. All the tomatoes seem to have survived, and the beans and radishes are coming up. So far the carrots, lettuce, and scallions haven't come up. I went to the local farm market last Friday and bought 6 pepper plants, 1 zuchinni,
1 basil, 1 horehound, and 1 chive plant. I also bought 2 varieties of cleome for my flower beds- Rose Queen and White Queen.

The hardest part of gardening is waiting for the harvest. Right now I'm watering every day and fixing the parts of the garden the chipmunks dig up. If they start going after my plants I'm going to declare war on them. I also started fertilizing my tomatoes today. I used Miracle-Gro (R) Water Soluble Tomato Plant Food on my container garden tomatoes last year and was very pleased with the results. I fertilize every 14 days, as instructed on the label.

All my flower beds are doing very well. I am having some trouble with the 4 o' clocks, but I think they'll be ok. The bee balm started spreading this year, and even though I pulled up quite a lot, it's still taking up a lot of space. That's what makes gardening fun, you never know what will come up where.



I Can Finally Plant!!!!

As you probably figured out, I'm very excited! The beds are finished, and a friend came over to help my Dad and I put up the fence. Right now it has a fence with a temporary gate, to keep all the little critters out. We're working on a more permanent gate, but since we really need to get the garden planted the temporary one will have to do for now. I'm planning on planting my tomatoes tomorrow, and any other seeds I have time for (hopefully all of them). We still need to buy some plants: Zucchini, Peppers, and a Cherry Tomato plant. I still haven't gotten around to taking pictures, but I will search for the camera and take some tomorrow before and after I plant.



Tired Muscles + Bad Sunburns = Vegetable Garden

I managed to get one 4x8 bed set up last week. I got half the sod dug up on Thursday, and the other half on Saturday. I also managed to get severely sunburned on Saturday. Anyway, all the bricks are in place, and the beginning 'lasagna' layers are in place. Interesting thing about the bricks - they aren't square. They also aren't 16" long, more like 15.5". So there's about a 6" space at one corner where they don't come together. I'll be looking for a half brick or maybe just cut one of the ones I have in half to fill in the space.
So, after I got the bricks set up around the perimeter, I smoothed out the soil in the bed, put down a layer of newspaper, straw, and grass clippings. The next layers will be compost, peat moss, and grass clippings until the bed is filled. I'm hoping to get the compost and peat moss sometime this week. In the meantime, I'll start working on the other 4x8 bed. And this time I'll make sure I've got plenty of sunscreen!

All the seedlings are growing quickly, so I'm going to start hardening them off this week. I know I should allow more time, but I've been rather busy lately. Better late than never, right?

Farewell For Now ~

PS~ I haven't forgotten about pictures of my tomato experiment, I just haven't gotten them posted yet. I'm also going to be taking some pictures of the process of building the vegetable garden.


Rain, Rain, Go Away!

So, I was all set to start working at digging up the sod in the vegetable garden, and it rained today. Guess I looked at the wrong forecast. Yesterday was Mother's Day and I spent most of last week working on my Mom's gift. I now have one week to get everything dug up, the bricks set up, help Dad with a fence, and get everything planted. Oh, and buy the plants that we didn't start from seed.

My Anise Hyssop decided to come up! I'm so happy -- and it smells so wonderful! I've moved on to the next step of the tomato experiment, and all seems to be going well. I took some pictures and will try to post them somewhere, soon.



Veggie Garden: Coming Soon!!

This will be the first vegetable garden I've had in 2 years. There will be 2 8x4 raised beds. My family started Square Foot Gardening many years ago, so we will continue doing that and we are going to try 'Lasagna Gardening'. I picked up the book at the library, and was very intrigued with the methods described. The last frost date for our area is May 18, but we've always planted on Memorial Day weekend. So, before then I have to clear the area chosen for the garden, set up the bricks for the beds, fill the beds with soil, and build a fence to keep out all the little critters. (So far we've seen rabbits, groundhogs, chipmunks, squirrels, and foxes).
Our soil will be in layers (this is where the lasagna gardening comes in). We will start with layers of newspaper. This will keep the weeds from coming through 8" of soil, and will eventually decompose. Then alternating layers of compost, grass clippings, straw, and anything else that sounds like it would be good for the plants.

My perennial garden is doing nicely this year. It has snowdrops, crocuses, hyacinths, daffodils, tulips, and 2 rose campion plants. I saved seeds from the rose campion last year, and have started 2 more plants. I'm not sure what else to put there. I need to find something that will bloom or continue to bloom after the tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths have faded.

In my flower garden, my Bee Balm is spreading - I pulled some up, and hopefully it won't take over too much space. My Yarrow is coming up, and so is the Valarien. So far the Anise Hyssop hasn't done anything, but I'm hoping it just needs a little more time to start growing.

Farewell -

PS: The books mentioned are Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew http://www.squarefootgardening.com/
And Lasagna Gardening for Small Spaces by Patricia Lanza, Available at Amazon.com


My Plants Are Sprouting!!

I've ordered seeds from two company's this year: Johnny's Selected Seeds and Underwood Gardens.
My family has ordered vegetable seeds from Johnny's for several years, and we have always been pleased. Underwood Gardens sells heirloom seeds, and so far I've been very happy with their service, and also with the germination rate of the seeds.

There are three flats of seeds scattered throughout my house, a couple jars of plants being rooted, and a mini greenhouse. I have 2 varieties of Tomatoes; Brandywine and Mrs. Benson, 2 varieties of Cleome; Sparkler and Queen, 2 varieties of Calendula; a mix, and Flashback, several varieties of Cosmos - most are of the bipinnatus variety, but I planted one sulphureus variety for my Mom (Ladybird Mix). Of the Bipinnatus variety I have Old Rose, Double Click, a Pink variety and a mix. Also for my Mom are Chives, Bachelor's Buttons, Salvia, Parsley, Lupine and Columbine. I also have some 4 o' Clocks, Scallions, and Rose Campion started.

I'm trying an experiment with a couple of tomato plants this year: I started them in newspaper 'pots' and when they got their second or third set of leaves, transferred them to a (clean) Half-and-Half quart size container. The sides of the container have been slit and folded down. When the plants are taller I will straighten the sides, tape them together, and add more soil. So far things are going well. If the plants do well, I may use this method for all my tomatoes next year.

Farewell for now!


Welcome To My Gazette


I've created this blog to document my gardening successes (and failures). I currently have 3 gardens, and my Mom and I will be starting a vegetable garden this year. I'm very excited to finally have a vegetable garden after 2 years of not having one. :) I also take care of my Mom's and sister's gardens, when needed.
Currently, my main reason for growing plants is to collect the seeds. I grow vegetables mostly for the produce, although I am saving and growing seeds from one heirloom tomato variety. I hope to add more heirloom vegetables to that list very soon!

Thanks for stopping by and feel free to give me advice!!