Garden Planning 2014

Hello! I hope you are well.  I’ve been under the weather the past couple days and it makes me appreciate being healthy!

Speaking of weather…my garden is still completely covered with snow, but it is time to start some planning and preparation for garden season!! Woo Hoo! That makes my sore throat sing.  I don’t have much to add to last year’s post about garden planning, but is it time to get those seeds started if you are going the seed route, which I hope you are.

Garden Planning

If you’ve never grown anything by seed before, I encourage you to at least get one packet of seeds to try out.  They’re cheap and it’s so fun and rewarding to grow something from seed.

I like to try something new each year but haven’t yet decided what that’s going to be for this year.  There are so many choices! I normally only like to grow food, but I think I will plant some flowers this year.  I have a longing for cutting pretty little flowers and putting them in jars around the house.

To help you choose, think about what you like to eat and think about what you missed eating throughout winter.  Perhaps you can grow enough over the summer to put some up to enjoy during winter.  What worked well last year? Or what didn’t work well last year? My sweet bell peppers didn’t do a darn thing last year…I may just get those at the farmer’s market this year and use that space for something else.

The most important thing to remember is to have fun! Gardening does take some work, but it’s mostly just pure fun and learning and growing.  It’s a great way to spend time with family and friends.  It’s a great way to get some exercise out in the fresh air.

So while it’s still snowy/cold out, go ahead and start planning your garden and then when it warms up you can go enjoy the great outdoors.

Goodbye, Garden

Sniff, sniff…the saddest time of year is when it’s time to undo the garden.  The threat of frost is just a night or two away and to be honest, my plants need to be put out of their misery.  Poor, poor plants.  It’s time.

As I look back, I realize didn’t post very many garden pictures, so here’s a little collage:

 

garden collage 2013

 

For a while, the garden was comically jungle-like and out of control.  Then squash bugs decided to make themselves at home and I’ve decided they are not very nice neighbors.  Thankfully I got to pick several butternut squash before the plants completely withered away.  I only saw one tomato worm and there was no problem with bottom/blossom end rot this year.  I was able to share lots of cherry tomatoes and put up lots of roma and normal tomatoes for winter use in soups like Roasted Tomato Basil.  Matt got a serrano pepper plant for free and it produced quite a bit – my bell peppers did nothing! My herbs did really well despite the squirrels wreaking havoc among them.

 

All in all, I think it was a good garden year.

 

So, to prepare for winter, it really is best to pull everything up.  If you have any green tomatoes, you can pick them and they will eventually ripen.  I always set mine in a tray by a sunny window.  I’ve never tried it, but you could also make fried green tomatoes.  I’m going to leave the rosemary and thyme in the ground.  I’ve always had them both in pots and would put them in the garage for the winter but this year I decided to put them in the ground so we’ll see if they survive.  My oregano is in a pot so I’m going to trim it and put it in the garage for the winter, as usual.  If you have any basil left in the ground, you can put it in a pot and bring it in and it should last quite a while.  Last year mine lasted almost all winter long in my living room, but not not quite.  For anything you’re bringing into your house, you should clean off the plants as well as you can so you don’t bring any unwanted guests into your home.

If you’ve been composting throughout the summer, I believe that now is a good time to mix it all in to your garden plot.

If you haven’t already done so, you might want to draw a little picture of what plants were where in your garden.  I like to do this because I don’t like to plant the same plants in the same place every year.  It may not be a huge deal, but just one of those things I do.

 

Did you garden this year? How did it go for you? What did you learn? What are you looking forward to next year? I hope you enjoyed your experience.

 

Here’s to winding down one season and moving on to the next.  Happy Fall, y’all!

IMG_7753 (640x427)

How to Root Rosemary from Cuttings

Do you or someone you know have rosemary growing out of control in the garden? Do you or someone you know want rosemary growing out of control in the garden?

Well, I have good news for you, my friend.  Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end, there is a solution!

 

Step 1: Cut some rosemary sprigs.

 

Step 1

 

Step 2: Snip off the leaves from one end of the sprigs, a few inches worth.

 

Step 2

 

Step 3: Place sprigs in water by a sunny window.  Refresh water as needed.

 

Step 3

 

Step 4: Wait a few weeks and voila – new roots will grow!

 

Step 4

 

Step 5: Plant in a pot or in the ground and water it in.  Watch it grow! (I put some protection up over mine to protect from those pesky squirrels).

 

Step 5

 

 

Rosemary is a great herb to use in cooking or just for smelling.  Some freshly rooted rosemary in a cute little pot with a ribbon would make a great gift too!

Enjoy your weekend! Summer is here!!!!

Garden Planting Tips

Happy Weekend!

 

I don’t really want to complain but I AM SORE.  It’s a good sore, though.  I spent all morning doing one of my favorite things – planting my garden! The rain held off all week (so Matt was able to get compost for me on Wed and till it in that same day) and today is mostly cloudy, which translates to, “Get out there and plant before it rains again and you have to wait another week or two or three or…”  Well, you get the idea.  It really hasn’t been warm enough to plant anyway, despite the rain, but some of my little seedlings were getting too big for their britches and were begging to be put in the ground.

 

Here are some photos of my tomatoes and butternut squash just before planting (here are earlier photos – newborn to about 2 weeks old)..they grow up so fast!

 

tomato plants

 

butternut squash

 

So as I was planting, I was trying to think of some tips to share with you all.  Here’s what I came up with:

When you’re planting tomatoes, you want to dig a deep hole – put the base of the plant way down there even though your plant may be tallish.  Another way to say this is to bury your plant with just its head showing.  This will promote good roots. (always remember where you came from!)

Leave plenty of room between your plants.  They’re small now and it may look like you’re wasting space, but just like people, your plants will grow.  Hopefully, they will grow big and strong and you want to be sure you have some space to walk between plants come harvest time…and watering time.  Also, having space between helps decrease the spread of yucky diseases and stuff because the leaves aren’t touching each other.  It’s just like when your dear friend is sick and even though you love them, you really just want to stay away from them.  You can look on the back of your seed packet for spacing, but I just measure out 2 feet between each plant.  Sometimes it’s enough…and sometimes it isn’t.

For keeping your rows straight, you could make a grid with string like I used to do.  Now I just eyeball it.  I think I’m getting less particular as I get older.  Well, about a few things, anyway.  Oh yes, the grid.  The plant goes where the lines intersect.  I believe when I used to do this, I used my 2 foot guideline.

 

grid

 

grid with plants

 

WATER! Be sure to water in your plants gently after you lovingly place them into the ground.  Especially if it’s a hot day.  They’ll wilt quickly if you don’t.

Also…a good tip is to slowly acclimate your indoor seedlings to the great outdoors.  You can do this over the span of 2 or 3 weeks, putting them outside an hour or two at a time and then increasing their time outside each day.  I confess, I don’t normally do this.  However, I do open the sliding glass door that they’re sitting in front of on nice days so they do get a little taste of the outdoors before I plant them.

I do like to put mulch or straw in my garden.  It helps keep moisture in there and also minimizes those pesky weeds.

If you have out-of-control, extremely irritating, likes-to-make-you-cry-because-they-dig-up-everything wildlife, you will definitely need fencing around your garden.  Fencing may not be enough.  But put some up so your garden does not become all-you-can-eat buffet.

 

I think that’s it for now, my friends.  There are many joys of gardening and there are some challenges too.  But believe you me, gardening is a very rewarding experience and when you eat your first whatever-it-may-be, you will smile and think, “I did this!” and when you share some of your harvest with a friend, you will be filled with pride and joy as you watch your “little ones” go off to make someone else happy too.

Sprouts and Shouts (of joy!)

I hope you all had a good week! Mine was super busy but good.

 

The simple things in life often provide me with the most joy.  In preparation for my garden this year, I started my seeds indoors and after a week I had sprouts! Every day I have squealed with excitement as I have found more.  Matt even saw some that I missed – I swear they had to have popped up in the 5 minutes between my intense scrutiny and his casual glance.  I found more today and there are still more to come.

 

So, I just wanted to share some pictures with you today.  I hope some of you out there are going the seed route this year so you can experience the magic.  The little sprouts are just so cute and it’s so amazing that one day they will be producing food!

 

The Seeds Planted and Sitting in a Sunny Window

Just planted

 

Pea Sprouts

Pea Sprout 1

Pea Sprout 2

 

Sunflower Sprouts

Sunflower Sprout 1

Sunflower Sprout 2

 

Tomato Sprouts

Roma Tomato Sprout

 

Phototropism

Sun

 

Remember phototropism from biology class? The sprouts will lean towards the sun.  Just turn them around every day so they straighten back up.

 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!