Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rain & 80's

A lot of rain and a day in the 80's can change everything. Of course, the T is suppose to drop today and we are expected to see T's in the 30's tonight and tomorrow night. A spring by any other name is still crazy.

Something about not doing the big tomato sale this year has me feeling like I'm behind on putting in the veg, but it is still early. I did buy a 4 pack (with 6 plants) of Green Bell Peppers and put them in the other day. The maters are still hardening off, but meanwhile the garden has suddenly become green in weeds and desirable plants.

What's in Bloom:                         The New Bulb Bed- first bloom 2013

Muscari macrocarpum Golden Fragrance

Muscari ambrosiacum Musk Hyacinth

"Magical Muscari Mixture" planted last fall

The Woodland Garden
Bleeding Heart

Bluebells- Mertensia virginica

Celandine Poppy Stylophorum diphyllum

Trillium recurvatum

Mayapple Podophyllum peltatum

Toothwort Dentaria laciniata
(finished blooming)

Solomon's Seal Polygonatum biflorum

Golden Seal Hydrastis canadensis

South side of house bed
Sensitive Fern emerging Onoclea sensibilis

Bed near entrance of driveway
Bellwort Uvularia sessilifolia


Brunnera macrophylla- perennial forget me nots

Spirea leaf burst, 2nd display of Narcissus, Grape Hyacinths

broader view

Note to self: need more daffs in zone behind and on west side of Redbud

Landscaping Project at Mom's: The Clean Slate
Salvia, Hosta, Viburnum, Geranium, Ladybells, Tiarella, Lamium, Violas, Columbine

Right side

Left Side

View from Front Porch- Yesterday 4-17-13
Serviceberry & Redbud in bloom

This morning- notice the serviceberry flowers are already knocked off from the rain

Serviceberry flowers yesterday

Other notes
I bought bare root from Michigan Bulb
I decided this method is only slightly cheaper than buying plants in pots at the box store, considering pots, soil and shipping. Here are some Hostas coming up. They did very well. Nice roots.

I planted some seeds that needed stratification in pots last fall. All species are germinating: 2 varieties of Ironweed, Blue Star, 2 Asters and Wild Oregano. 

Zinnias & Balsam in cold frame. Need to repeat this next year. So much easier to start and avoid hardening off inside the frame. It also takes up less space in the basement.

White & Red Alpine Strawberries germinating.

Coldframe stuff: basils, salvias, cotton, castor

Mesclun that NEEDS to be transplanted!

Hardening off continues...these guys got hailed on (pea size) on Tuesday (4-16-13)

The keyhole bed progresses. I turned the soil and then had to cover to stop the growth of a perennial weedy Aster. This is where I want to grow my winter squashes this year. 

Into the Orchard/Chicken Yard
The Cherry burst yesterday. All sorts of bees.

If every bloom becomes a cherry...

Winter Oats under the fruit trees.

Rosa, Scarlet, Viola?

Viola or is it Francesca? 

Purple Sprouting Broc

Yay! Kale. Bad = I think I saw some Harlequin Beetles mating yesterday. UGH.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Chitting the Time Away

This chitty post will be short. I want to talk about 2 things- chitting potatoes and dividing plants (aka garden frugality).

First, chitting is the process of allowing your "seed" (nothing seed about them) potatoes to grow some buds before planting them. It isn't necessary, but it does give one the sense that they are at least doing something before they went in the ground. Put them in a dry egg carton and set in a cool and bright area until they grow little stems and roots. If you please, you can cut (before or after chitting) them into smaller chunks with 3 "eyes" each. If you do cut them, allow them to dry (callous over) for a day or so before planting. Cutting is up to you and obviously, if you choose to do this, you will have more plants.

These are my Kennebecs that arrived this week. One good thing about the process of chitting is that if your garden isn't ready or the ground is too wet you can wait to put the potatoes in the ground and just say you weren't procrastinating, but rather chitting the time away.
Kennebec potatoes
Would you rather pay $10 for 1, 1 gallon plant or $2 for 5 smaller plants that will grow to be the same size this season as the 1, $10 plant? Well, if you are like me you would prefer 5, $2 plants, because I'm frugal like that. Here is what you do. Some, but not all plants, will be divisible when you purchase them at the nursery. I always look for the plant with a base (where the plant comes out of the soil) that is taking up the most room in the pot or another way of putting this is that there are multiple stems arising from the soil. I've done this with sedums, hostas, grasses and I will show you the example of Carex (sedge).  You will not do this with woody plants.

Take the plant out of the pot and lay it on a flat surface on its side. Using a serrated knife cut through the base of the plant down the middle and then repeat with the 2 halves until you get as many plants as you can out of it.
Here, I managed to make 5 plants from the 1, $10 sedge (Carex testacea or Orange Sedge) I bought.
Don't worry too much about the surgery bit of this. You won't kill the plant and you won't hear it scream anyway.
Carex testacea- Orange Sedge

That's it folks. Two ways to make more plants. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bud Burst & Emergence

It's amazing how quickly plants can change in spring. There are not enough hours in the day to garden.

Photo Montage
Ferns in the woodland garden

Mayapples in the woodland garden

Woodland garden path

Out the Woodland Garden and into the Orchard (aka Chicken Yard)
Plums, apricots & Spicebush in bloom

Spicebush flowers

Kale finally ready for picking in the orchard

Kaylie's Square Foot Garden
Green onions, kale and peas at present
She wants Yellow Wax Beans, Dragon Snaps (as she calls them) and Tomatoes for summer

Mason Bee home of cupplant stems



Out of the Orchard and into the Veg Garden
California Poppies emerging, along with Lamb's Quarter

Carrot seedlings planted months ago.
I wasn't sure if they would germinate.

Pea progress

Chives in garden blocks

Out of the Veg Garden and to the back porch
My temporary cold frames took a little beating from winter, but they worked very well nonetheless. 
I overwintered cuttings and stratified seeds in the front two and later added the back two for hardening off seedlings and starting more seeds.