Sunday, March 24, 2013

Indoor Greenhouse and Fruit

   I'm trying something new once again. It's a small greenhouse that I can use indoors to start seeds and then move outside the first thing in the spring to give my plants some extra warmth. I found this at my local farm store for only $34.99. The posts and shelving is metal but the side supports are PVC.  It's 6 feet tall at the peak and about 3 feet deep.  I can't walk into it like you would a full-sized greenhouse but it's just perfect for seedling trays.  Hopefully, when it is outside I can use it to protect my potted plants when we get, and we will, those unexpected freezes and frosts.  I'm not sure how long this will last; the plastic seems pretty thick though. And it has to be put away each winter; that could be a pain.  There were larger, more expensive models, but I was afraid to try them until I saw the quality and how it weathers the wind and rain.  I'm sure we'll have to stake it down, or it could take off like Mary Poppins' umbrella!

   And while we were at the farm store, I couldn't resist something else I have wanted for this new northern garden -- raspberry and blackberry canes. And with a new raised box for some strawberries being built this spring, I should have all of my garden plans complete.  Well -- maybe. There's that area along the garage that needs to be planted, and then the side of the storage shed that should really have a few clematis trellises and the strip along the driveway for more daylilies and the wildflower seeds to plant and the woodland plants to plant and, oh yes, I could use two more apple trees and two peach trees and ............. well, you get the picture.

You might also like to visit my cooking blogs at An Herbal Bedfellow and my restaurant reviews at Grabbin' A Bite

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Deer Chasers

 I said Deer Chasers, not Beer Chasers.  What were you thinking?

 It's almost gardening time now, but you'd never know it by looking outside, here in Michigan, where it is now officially Spring but only 19 degrees.. We had a very mild winter with almost no snow until February. And then it seemed like the old-fashioned winters of my youth.  Never ending cold and snow.

  Last year at this time we were hitting records temps of 70-84 degrees. All of the neighbors were outside cleaning up their yards and preparing gardens for the soon-to-come planting time. We should have known better.  What were we thinking?  Mother Nature had a good laugh with her one-two punch of freezing rain, thaw, freezing rain, thaw.  It played havoc with the gardens and blooming trees that were also lulled into thinking their time to preform was here.
Instead of an early blooming spring, the entire state's fruit crop ( mostly the apples) was destroyed.  My daylilies took it hard, too.  They had started to rise to the occasion and then their tender new leaves were turned to mush.

  Okay, I see now there is a bigger picture.  Take our time.  Let the plants remain dormant for a while longer and then maybe we won't have a killing frost. So in the meantime, to stem some of my cabin fever, I have started some seedlings indoors, one of which are marigolds, my buddies, my deer chasers. I will edge the daylily garden as much as possible with these pretty little plants.  Deer can't stand the smell of them.  Last year I managed to keep them out of my garden with only 8 plants.  This year for extra protection, I will edge the whole garden with them - I'm hoping for 30 plants -- I now have 50 sprouts. Yesterday I saw a herd of 10 running through my woods right at the edge of the yard.  I love watching deer, just not in my daylilies and vegetables. Luckily they leave the herbs alone.( another good deer chaser)
 As soon as the marigolds are big enough and the weather cooperates, out they go.  Chase away, my little pretties, chase away!

You might also like to visit my cooking blogs at An Herbal Bedfellow and my restaurant reviews at Grabbin' A Bite

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Whether you're Irish or not, it's just a fun day. Make some Irish stew, decorate green cookies with the kids, and have a few laughs with family and friends.
This link is to one of my previous posts; one that generates many hits each year at this time.  Of course, the vote /contest is long over.  But you can still appreciate the Irish Sayings!

You might also like to visit my cooking blogs at An Herbal Bedfellow and my restaurant reviews at Grabbin' A Bite

Friday, March 8, 2013

Wildflower Seeds

I've always wanted a wildflower garden like this.  I've never had much luck sowing wildflower seeds, but I keep doing it anyway.  I know the main reason I don't succeed --  you have to plant them in an area that is truly wild and then leave it alone.  No fertilizer, let the rain take care of its moisture needs after the initial planting, and then for heavens' sake, don't mow it!  That is the big culprit.  Sometimes there is miscommunication between my husband, the mower, and me, the planter.  It's also difficult to keep myself from pruning and organizing.  If you want your wildflower area to look wild, then you have to allow the weeds to grow along with the flowers.  In this way, it becomes a carefree garden.  And, ecologically, it just makes sense.

Recent, I ordered a Midwest Wildflower mix from American Meadows. ( This is not a plug, just stating the facts.)  It comes in a cute little burlap bag and claims to be 100% pure seed.  I won't know that for sure, if I don't weed, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
My seed bag has such a large variety of seeds, I couldn't believe it. Some are annual, some biennial, and some perennial.  Here's what was  included:
siberian wallflower
shasta daisy
lance-leaf coreopsis
sulphur cosmos
sweet william
coneflower, purple
California poppy
inidan blanket
baby's breath
dwarf candy tuft
scarlet flax
blue  flax
lemon mint
baby blue eyes
evening primrose
shirley poppy
purple, prairie clover
mexican hat
prairie coneflower
clasping coneflower
gloriosa daisy
black-eyed susan

I am so ready for spring, it's unbelievable.  I am as excited as a young girl dancing in puddles on the last day of school..  Yahoo!!!!

You might also like to visit my cooking blogs at An Herbal Bedfellow and my restaurant reviews at Grabbin' A Bite

Friday, March 1, 2013

March -- Lion or Lamb?

I'm sure you've all heard the phrase if March comes in like a Lion it goes out like a Lamb. It's finally March 1st ! It's still early in the day, but I wonder what will it be today -- Lion or Lamb?
Just two days ago my backyard looked like this......

 But since it is now March, I can officially dream about this ......

Flowers, flowers, and more flowers.  I can't wait to go from white to green, from Lion to Lamb.

Our weatherman says it will be cold (only 28 degrees) but sunny and clear. Yesterday it was overcast but warmer (34 degrees) and thawing.  Confusing.  It's that time of year when Mother Nature can't seem to make up her mind.  The good thing is, there is no turning back the clock.  Spring always comes, and brings with it hope and excitement for another great gardening season.

You might also like to visit my cooking blogs at An Herbal Bedfellow and my restaurant reviews at Grabbin' A Bite