Grateful For The Rains!

I am so grateful for the rains that have finally come to New England!  We are behind a good three inches of rain fall this season.   This has been a really unusual Spring, very cold and dry!  I enjoyed my afternoon walk around the yard late yesterday, joyful to see my happy veggies and flowers loving the showers!  My Lilac bushes and Cherry Blossoms are blooming.  Breath taking!  A gray rainy day cannot steal an ounce of their beauty for a second!

Cherry Blossoms

Lilacs Blooming

The colder nights are finally beginning to warm, staying in the mid 40’s or higher now.   I finally moved my seedlings outside to the deck earlier this week to get them acclimated for planting.  My long sweet peppers are finally starting take off and my Moon & Stars Water melons are catching up fast! (this is my first time trying water melons, so excited!!!!)

Sprouting VeggiesI am hoping to get some of my crops in the ground this weekend now that the temps are warming.  Once the sun starts shifting in late August, the garden starts to fizzle out.  I learned that the sooner I plant the longer I will be able to enjoy my harvest.  I am planting three weeks earlier than last year. ( I didn’t finish digging the garden till the end of May last year and got everything planted the first week of June ).

Garden 5-9-13

I have the garden clean and ready for the new additions!  Plotting what goes where is one of my favorite aspects of gardening, I love to mull over this for hours, read books to get ideas and inspirations.

Happy Beets and Peas

My veggies in the garden are finally doing great! They seemed stalled for weeks and now with these warmer temps and refreshing rains everything is really beginning to take off!  I think they are going to catch up to where they should be fast!  I am so excited to see how my carrots and beets turn out (also first try’s), love the idea of adding these to my selection of tasty veggies.   My pole beans are finally starting to sprout, I planted both Kentucky wonder and wonder wax.  If the weather and rains cooperates I suspect we can start enjoying some of the crops by the end of the month!

Unfortunately still no sign of any humming birds, I have had the feeder out for over a week and still no visitors.  I planted red petunia’s in the window box again, perhaps when they start growing and blooming this will attract them.  I suspect that when my Humming Bird Bush Blossoms they’ll definitely return!   Have any of you greeted these little visitors back to your yard yet?  I cannot wait to see these little beauties!

Now that the veggie garden is making progress and somewhat established I am looking at a few other areas in the yard on my “tackle” list.  The side of the house and the area around the driveway really need some love and attention so will probably work on those next.  I will be sure to share my planning and progress with you all! Hope your gardening and projects are all going great and that Spring is filling you all with noodling inspiration!

Wishing all of you Mother’s out there a Blessed and very Happy Mother’s Day!

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Happy May!

Happy May Everybody!

It’s amazing but May is already here!!!! I am a little late in my blogging this week but I have had a great time working in the yard! Our temperatures here in Massachusetts have been awesome. All of my daffodil’s have finally bloomed and their bright yellow colors are wonderful!  Nothing lifts my spirits like flowers!

DaffodilsBeing such a late Spring, I treated myself to a hanging planter full of yellow pansies a few weeks back, these were so pretty I just could not resist them.  They added a nice splash of color until my other flowers bloomed.

Yellow Pansie

 

 

My spring vegetables in the garden are really starting to sprout!  My sugar snap peas, my radishes and spinach are in the lead.  My carrots (that I am trying for the first time) and green onions are finally starting to poke out of the soil.

I’m so excited and happy you would have thought I won the lottery or something!  I just love gardening!  (Have you noticed your friends who don’t garden look at you like your nuts?????) 

I planted my first batch of sunflowers, Sunzilla (Giant) and Van Gogh (Ornamental), these seeds are from Renee’s Garden, I started them inside three weeks ago. They are all growing great!

Giant Sunflower

I also added a few Climbing Nasturtiums “Moonlight” also seeds from Renee’s Garden, to the corners of the vegetable garden where they can climb and bring more color.  I really like the idea of growing both vegetables and flowers together.  It’s like having the best of both worlds.

I worked on giving my herb garden a face lift with fresh mulch and added in some hot peppers (I got at my local nursery) and yellow marigolds.  I learned the hard way last year that most flowers become tasty snacks for the rabbits so won’t do that again. There are only a handful of flowering perennials and annuals they will not eat.

Herb Garden

My Double Blue Balloon Flower finally has popped through the soil! I thought I lost it but quickly learned these usually don’t start growing till late Spring.

Ballon Flower - Platycodon

I am reading up on all these plants and learning their growing patterns, there is so much I still don’t know about gardening! I’m learning and loving every minute of it!  I added in lavender, thyme and other herbs to replace the plants that didn’t make it through winter. I lost more than I anticipated, so hoping by planting them early this Spring they will be more established before next winter.

My bee balm is really doing well and so looking forward to them blooming!  These really attract the butterflies in my yard!  Thankfully they are hearty and easy to grow!

Bee Balm

Last year I planted numerous plants to attract butterflies and humming birds. (Humming bird bush, a butterfly bush (purple), pink and white phlox and bee balm.  So excited for everything to bloom!

We have our humming bird feeder out but no sign of them yet, with the temps getting warmer I expect to see them any day now!  I have only seen a few small butterflies but I expect to start seeing more of them soon too.  I am really looking forward to their return!

By chance anyone in New England seen Humming birds yet???? I will post and let you all know when they arrive here!  I would think they should be here in the next week or two.

I also recently came to the conclusion you can never have enough Basil in your garden, so also growing some in containers on my deck.  Just love fresh pesto and this will make more room in my garden for other veggies to try!!!!

Basil-Container

 

 I am also delighted that my Lilly of the valley is finally growing, I am hoping this will spread to help fill in this shady area of our back yard flower garden.  We have quite a few shady areas in the yard that I am hoping to add a few more perennials to this spring.

Lilly of the ValleyMy Snow Drop Anemone is growing great too and is filling out nicely.   These flowers are beautiful and really hoping it will bloom more this year as they make great cut flowers to bring a friend!

Snow Drop Anemone

Most of my indoor veggies are doing well with the exception of my tomatoes, my first batch died off except two, the second batch of seeds I started are slow to sprout.  May have to go buy them from one of the local nurseries.  I find it a challenge to find organic veggies, I was lucky to find the peppers, but may have to look for tomatoes if these seedlings don’t make progress.  Do you guys have a hard time finding organic veggies and herbs where you live?

Over the next week hoping to get my other garden beds planted and mulched, as well as welcome the return of the Humming birds and Butterflies.  Hope your Spring gardening and projects are going great!  Looking forward to reading everyone’s blogs to see what you’ve been up to.

Have a great week everyone!

 

I Finally see Buds!!!!

I am very happy to share that my daffodils are finally starting to bloom.  Amazingly they are almost three weeks late in comparison to last year.

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This is going to be another night of low 30’s unfortunately.  Spring is coming but boy is it slow!

Many of my shrubs and trees are starting to bud, my heart is filled with anticipation that “real” spring temps will be here soon!  I found little ants working on their entry tunnels and saw a few moths last night when sitting out on the deck.  This made me very happy as once the bugs start crawling, warmer weather is surely on its way!

I am almost done with the yard clean up and my seedlings are all taking off nicely.

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I moved some of my yellow bush bean seedlings into the garden, (started to do well) but the wind was so strong last night, it bent and broke some of the stems. Lost four of them, Bummer!  Nature is just too extreme at times!!  Luckily my next batch will be ready in another two weeks.

I am trying to design my garden so it will continually produce veggies throughout Spring, Summer and Fall by starting seedlings ever few weeks.  This is a new approach to gardening for me, but very excited to give it a try.  If any of you have any suggestions it would be great to hear from you!

So far in the garden only my radishes, arugula and lettuce are sprouting, I am really surprised anything is growing given the weather.

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Even with these cold temps these radishes are looking pretty good!  Almost ready to be thinned out.  Amazing how hearty these veggies are!

I am still waiting for my sugar snap peas, spinach, kale and beets.  My progress is slower than hoped for but I am delighted just the same!  Better to be doing something than nothing!

I sure hope the weather is warmer in your corner of the world and that you guys are accomplishing your yard and gardening projects. Personally, I think this has got to be one of the coldest Spring seasons that I can remember here in Massachusetts!

Will touch base again soon with another update, until then happy gardening!  Drop a note with an update if you have a moment, would love to hear how everyone else is making progress!

Sheryl

Spring Warmth….Waiting Impatiently!

Hello All!

Not sure how the temps are in your corner of the world but it is still mighty cool here in Massachusetts.  Luckily the nights are staying in the 30’s instead of the 20’s but we are still averaging 15 – 20 degrees below normal!  This is pretty crazy and I am growing more impatient everyday!  I would be interested to know how things are in your corner of the world, are your temps below normal like ours????

To keep my spirits up I’ve been researching cooler weather veggies, I decided to add beets, kale and carrots to my spring veggie assortment.   Being so much cooler than normal it will likely delay my spring veggies from sprouting, but luckily these veggies can grow even in cool spring weather so I am keeping the faith they’ll sprout eventually.

I decided to try a few new brands of seeds this year, I used to always trust Burpee but I have not been as happy with the results so I spent last few weeks gallivanting the country side visiting nurseries and checking out other sources.  I have have discovered Renee’s Garden and Plant Hart.  I used Seeds of Change last year and was very pleased with my crops, so thought it would be good to try a few more new seed companies.  I will be sure to let you know how they did.

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My family thinks its hilarious that seed packets still cover our dining room table, a along with my notes and details ( I have kept old packets of last years seeds to compare with the new ones) I bought some specialty seeds (uncommon varieties) and very excited to see how these grow!  I also have maps of my gardens, figuring out the placement of all these seedlings that are taking up space in our picture window….My obsession to gardening now includes my love for researching and shopping for seeds!!!!  I just wish my vegetable garden was bigger!!!!

In the midst my hectic schedule and the seed shopping, I have managed to get out and work on other beds and areas of the yard.  Many of the herbs and perennial flowers I planted last year did not fair well unfortunately.  Our temps were really low and being fairly young, they likely were not established enough to survive our weeks of deep freeze temps.

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My pink phlox (pictured above) somehow survived, after a summer of being chewed on and stripped naked by rabbits and our woodchuck, it is happily growing and wakening to welcome spring.  My Bee Balm also survived, but unfortunately lost my lemon balm, peppermint, sage, thyme and others…..so disappointing. Many of these I planted in early July so if I decide to plant more I am going to plan to do so in May.

My peppers did so well in the front yard last year, that I have decided to save space in my veggie garden and grow all of them in the front garden beds this year.  The sun and soil there grow happy pepper so figured I’d mix it up and turn the front beds into more veggies this year.  As you can see in one of my front flower beds below, my daffodils have still yet to bloom.  This time last year they were beautiful and bright.  Cannot wait for them to open!

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By some miracle I have most of the beds prepped and ready, with a handful more around the yard to get too.  This yard is huge, its almost overwhelming!  I am really happy that I am making good progress this year, last year putting in my veggie garden took a lot of time and some areas I did not manage to get to.  Hoping I can get to all of them this season!

I would love to hear how the weather is fairing in your area and how your spring gardening is going!   Happy gardening everyone and looking forward to reading your posts!

Sheryl

Good Bye Snow! Hello Spring Veggies!!!!!

I am so delighted that Spring finally has arrived here in Massachusetts!  This is the last little pile of snow left in my front yard.  After this rough winter, I am glad not to have to see it much longer!

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I have been working hard this past week cleaning and prepping the garden to get my Spring veggies in the ground.  I planted Sugar Snap Peas, Radishes, Lettuce, Spinach, Arugula and Onions.

I learned from last year that my garden is more of a spring-summer garden.  By Mid September the garden does not get a lot of sun and a Fall harvest is not very successful. In watching the sun, I have great sun exposure in the Spring!  So Spring veggies it is!!

This is year two of my garden that I started late last May.  I have hand tilled in compost and other natural fertilizers, great exercise! I hurt in places I forgot I even had!  I am so very excited to see the improvement in my crops and taste those fresh veggies.  Last year I had the expense of putting in a fence so my budget was lean and I did not have the ability to add a lot of top soil, compost, ect.  I am so happy that the soil is looking great!

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I am waiting for the seeds I started indoors to start peeking through.  This year I am planting them in larger containers just in case.  A late arrival of Spring could mean a late arrival of Summer.  I lost some of my seedlings last year because I used tiny little seed starting containers and being so damp and cold they did not survive the wait inside very well.  Learned my lesson not to let that happen again.

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We are going to have a great collection of hot peppers and tomatoes this year!  I am really looking forward to keeping everyone up to date with the goal of posting weekly. I am also excited about reading everyone’s progress as we start a new growing season! May this year be a blessed harvest for us all!

Happy gardening everyone!

Sheryl

Easter Eggs Are Easier To Find In the Snow!

Boy it seems like winter has been soooooo long!  I was hoping to start my spring veggies this week but the garden is still under a foot of snow! I am getting ready to shovel….

Praying for warmer days!  I am so excited to garden again, starting seeds in containers tomorrow.  I have my garden plotted and planned, just need to melt this snow so I can get to work!

The only positive thing I can see in this is that Easter eggs are easier to find in the snow!  For kids this is not considered a bad thing!

Wishing all of you a Blessed Easter, and looking forward to blogging again over the coming months and catch up with everyone!  Happy Spring and Happy Gardening!

 

Garden? Not Garden? I Chose To Garden!!!!

I took the leap and decided to Garden……

As I shared in Mid May, between the rain, failing seeds and physical issues (pulled out my back and had vertigo, three weeks of barely being able doing anything!) I was totally frustrated with not being able to start my vegetable garden and accomplishing other inspired yard projects.

Well on Sunday Morning, May 20th, I was sitting on my back deck feeling down and overwhelmed, realizing that it was late spring. I started to consider container gardening on the deck as my realistic option, but to see such a spot perfect for vegetables sitting there untouched, was just too much.

Without saying a word to my boyfriend Jim, I got up, walked to the shed, pulled out all the shovels, tools, wheel barrel and garden gloves, and placed them next to the back deck. As lousy as I felt physically, I felt more lousy sitting there staring at what was supposed to be my garden by now.  I could not bear to miss another summer of gardening bliss.

Here are photo’s of before I started and my progress breaking ground!

Here is the area before I created my garden. It has excellent sun here, over 7.5 hours daily, perfect for veggies! This is the best spot in the yard and will be conveniently off the deck, 20 steps from my kitchen!

This is the beginning of my garden, I did not have access to a rototiller so created it the old fashion way with a shovel, muscle and sweat!

There was a good eight inches of top soil to work with! I first started with a 12′ x 8′ in mind, but I soon realized I needed more space for the veggies I love!

Over two days I continued expanding until the garden reached my perfect size of 16′ x 12′! The Iris’s were almost done blooming so those will be cut down and bulbs dug out. I have other flower beds where they will be planted in the fall.

I was breaking ground late, but I knew if I could get the garden established and started by the first week of June it could still be successful.  Luckily, many local nurseries sell healthy “garden ready” organic vegetables and herbs so my failed seedlings didn’t matter.  I could still have my garden!

Happily, I realized our woodchuck has been avoiding this area of the yard now for three weeks. He does not like the presence of people or the activity of the bird feeders attracting more critters and birds to the yard.   His once quiet yard is now one of constant activity and he is now frequenting the large unoccupied lot adjacent to the back of our yard!  This turns the odds in my favor, which is really encouraging.

I have to say it was a battle with rain showers, which slowed down my progress, but the basic foundation of my garden is now established!  It is 12 feet by 16 feet, just right for all the yummy veggies I want.  The fence is over 1 foot deep in the ground, secured with heavy bricks.  The height is 3 1/2 ‘.   I left the top loose so if the wood chuck climbs  it will bow and buckle back due to his weight making him feel like he is falling backwards.  A friend said this worked for him so I am trying it.  I will be sure to let you know how it works out.

Digging this type of fence along with establishing this new garden has been one of the most exhausting challenges I have ever attempted.  But gratefully, with a lot of praying, sweat and tears, I did it!

Here are photo’s of my progress…

The top soil in this yard is excellent, it was a lot of work shaking out the soil, but saved me considerable money on purchasing bags of top soil!

Using affordable chicken wire and fencing posts I put up the fence. This required a lot of deep digging for the heavy bricks that would secure the fence under the ground ( discouraging digging! ) Placed fencing on outside on posts, so the loose top would flop out when climbed, making a wood chuck fall backs enough to discourage climbing. This worked for a friend, hopefully it will work for me as well!

Yesterday, I planted tomatoes, peppers, cukes and zucchini,  the rest will go in over the next few days as each bed area is prepped and completed.   I still need to put in a walking path with patio bricks, add more fertilizer and mulch but the basic garden is here…..I can now blissfully play and noodle in my vegetable garden to my heart’s content!

What a blessing to have this little piece of heaven in my backyard.

I cut and removed the Iris bulbs (to plant in other flower beds in the fall), then put up the rest of the fence and cultivated the areas where the zucchini, cucumber, Peppers and tomatoes were planned to go. I did not finish getting them in till late yesterday eve. We are getting heavy rain here today so will finish the rest of the planting within the next few days. Still have the patio blocks and additional mulch to add as well.