Mother Nature’s April Fools Joke


I am dumbfounded that it is 80 degrees in the middle of March. It seems like a huge April Fools Joke from Mother Nature to all of us. It’s a little unsettling. I have the Spring Fever though that comes whenever great weather crosses our path. I’m spending every second I can outside.

For the last week I have been raking my yard. With that amount of time you would think I had a big yard but that is not the case. It is postage stamp size but I just do a little section at a time. I love the smell of burning leaves. It evokes memories of a nice clean yard from when I was young and working on the yard with my Dad. I’m pecking at the weeding in my flower beds. My children came and made me two raised bed gardens and we also bought two half barrels to plant in. This was about ten years ago. I love them because I can sit on the wall or pull a chair up beside  the barrels and just work at it a little at a time. Last year my husband put in a raised bed at the end of the house. I have some things planted that come up each year and then I plant a few from seeds like zinnias, nasturtium, and marigolds. The zinnias are wonderful for cut flowers.

Darnell, my husband has spring fever too. He loves the vegetable garden.

Flat of Starter Plants

He has been busy as a bee planting seeds inside so that they will be ready when it’s time to plant. He couldn’t resist though and planted some peas, carrots, beets, and radishes right in the ground out in the garden. I just know that we are going to get a surprise and have snow the first of May but if we do we will cover it and try to save them. If we fail we will replant. It made him feel good to plant it anyhow. The flat to the right has been planted about 10 days.

Our houseplants need re-potting in the spring so we got most of the pots done. We have palms, aloe, christmas cactus, purple heart, geraniums, angle wind begonia, and Hoya. We have really thinned out our plants so there isn’t so much to care for. We used to have a jungle.

To start our plants for the garden, we saved the plastic box containers  that spinach and lettuce come in and grape or cherry

Planting in Egg Carton

tomatoes also. We put a little dirt in the bottom, water it completely and plant the seeds apart enough so they have a bit of room to grow. We used egg cartons in the same way. The boxes act like a green house since you can close the lid.  We did save a flat with a lid from last year  So many of the seeds are so minuscule that it is so hard to plant them but we keep on doing it.

We mist the dirt or the plants if they are up, everyday. The anticipation nearly kills you as you watch for them to come up. We are going to try to start cauliflower and broccoli from seed this year. We are going to plant some heirloom seeds this year for part of the plants. A friend is going to share with us. Heirloom seeds have not been genetically altered and the seeds have been gathered from the plants year after year.

Most seeds take 7 to 10 days to come up then you thin them out

Planting in Lettuce Box ~ Instant Greenhouse

and give them time to mature into a healthy strong plant before you put it into the garden soil.  I told you our garden spot is small. In the picture toward the bottom of the page, you can see what it looks like now as it’s waiting for the plants. Soon it will be filled with plants. Darnell goes out when they are producing and picks what is ready and brings it to me. I do the preparation that is needed for us to eat it right away. If there is more than what we can eat, I will package it to put in the freezer.

My rhubarb is just up and looks so tiny compared to the size the leaves will be very soon. You have to watch the rhubarb and not let it go to seed at the top of the leaves. As soon as you see something that isn’t a leaf you cut it off so that the plant will continue producing.

                                  

Baby Rhubarb

We still have to finish framing in the box around the garden spot. We will add compost to the box each year and occasionally a bag of fertile soil from the hardware store. We water our plants once they are in the garden some but not too much. I want the roots to reach for the water. If you water too much then the roots just lie in the first few inches of the soil and are much more vulnerable.

 

It was framed in but when Darnell decided to expand the garden, he moved the frame over and he will finish building around the whole area.

We have better meals since we started growing a garden. It is wonderful what we get from the plantings.  I hope you will try growing something. It doesn’t have to be a lot but even one plant will bring you good nutritious food for your family to eat. I hope that I have enticed you to make a garden path of your own. I am always glad when you visit mine. Thanks and come visit again soon and see what surprises you will find along my garden path.             Jan

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A New Day


Sample of Seeds Collected 2011

What a nice weekend!  It’s actually like winter but the sun is shining. It’s awesome. I love sun shine and I like the snow. I’m torn between the two. I’m just glad to live in a place that has different seasons. The time has come to look forward to spring. That’s my favorite season. Everything about spring speaks of Hope and Life. I have an itch to scratch and that itch is the itch of the gardener. I’m already looking at what needs to be planted. I feel like a current day Johnny Appleseed.

There is this thing about seeds . It’s like I’m driven to collect and plant. I save every seed that crosses my path. I take them home to care for them like a child. I dry them, package them, and date and label them. Then I itch untill I can plant it myself or find someone who will treasure it as the wonder it is.

“Today’s mighty oak was once a single nut who held it’s ground.”~Mark Twain  Love this saying!! I found this @ this site:http://www.quotegarden.com/food.html

I told you in a past post that we have a postage stamp size kitchen, well, we have several postage stamp size garden spots. One is 4×8 behind the shed and 2×8 to one side of the shed and 4×4 behind the addition. This is a combined square footage of 64 square foot.  We plant not in rows but in mass 3″ wide strips. A very special woman in her 80’s gave me 3 rhubarb roots. that is in the 2×8 strip by the shed. I waited several years like you are supposed to giving it time to mature before we finally pulled the stalks last summer and had rhubarb and strawberry pie and rhubarb sauce. Splenda is a great sweetener to use if you are diabetic

I was amazed at the amount of produce we got out of our little garden. My husband and my labors in the garden paid off. Out of just such a small amount of space we ate all summer and froze goods for the winter. Not a huge amount left for the winter but every little bit counts.

We saved seeds from our produce … tomatoes, peppers both green and jalapeno. We had a volunteer plant come up in our garden because during the winter we composed on the main garden spot. We distributed egg shells and vegetable peels and coffee grounds out there and anytime the weather broke Darnell, my husband would go out and rototill the garden. We have a mini rototiller for our mini garden. It’s awesome!  So the volunteer that we had come up because of composting was a sweet potato squash which is  about the size of a large sweet potato and tastes just as good. Yum!

This year we are planting:

  1. Tomato-of course – saved seeds
  2. Peppers-Green and Jalapeno – saved seeds
  3. Swiss Chard – Rhubarb Swiss Chard with a red spine – already have seeds
  4. Basil-for some good pesto and seasoning – buy these as plants
  5. butternut Head lettuce – small loose heads – dark green – buy seeds
  6. Carrots-buy seeds
  7. Beets -buy seeds
  8. Onions -buy seeds
  9. Butternut Squash – saved seeds from squash we bought
  10. Fennell – buy seeds
  11. Kale – buy seeds
  12. Potatoes – Planted 6 whole potatoes and got 10lbs potatoes!

A Little Topsy Turvy Like Me

We have a “Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter” that we plant cherry tomatoes in that hangs by the patio so

we can eat them at will. It hangs down from the bottom of the container.

Hope you gardening fans are out there looking through the gardening catalogues and planning. Spring is coming. Tell me what you like to plant and if you have any special ways you plant things. I would love to hear from you.

I will be pre-planting tomatoes and peppers soon. I save the plastic containers that cherry or grape tomatoes and spinach or spring mix lettuce come in that has a hinged lid and is clear and makes an awesome mini greenhouse to start seeds. 🙂  Can’t wait to start!

I have flower seeds too. I gathered hibiscus seeds. I read that they’re hard to start from seeds but I’m

going to try. Anyone out there have any tips for me?

Till next time…happy dreaming about spring!

Jan

Journey Along the Garden Path

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