One (Wo)Man’s Trash…

Visited my parents over spring break and took the kids to the farm to explore. The barn is likely going to be razed this summer, so I went in search of old storm windows. Luckily, my dad is a packrat so even these weren’t the ones I was looking for, they’ll do. I loaded up the back of the fan with them and can’t wait to get started on the fun project I have in mind. More to come.

Haven’t been in the barn in 20 years but the smell is forever burned in my brain. Old wood + hay, + straw + dust. Thankfully animals haven’t used it in 35 years so no animal smells. 

And so it begins…

It makes me so happy to plant seeds for the garden. Most of these will have to wait at least seven weeks before they can be planted outside, but there’s something about the potential of all of these seed trays that lifts my spirit.

Starting a mix of tried-and-true seeds along with some new things this year.

12 Broccoli (Sun King*, Bonanza*)
12 Brussels Sprouts (Octia*)
12 Kale (Dwarf Blue Curled, Ornamental*)
24 Hot Peppers (Habanero, Jalapeno, Anaheim, Cayenne)
12 Sweet Peppers (Cabernet Hybrid)
6 Tomatillos Gigante
42 Tomatoes (Sweet Aroma, Early Treat, Super Tasty, Gladiator*)
18 Basil (Thai, Sweet, Pesto Party*)
12 Sesame*
6 Spinach (Baby’s Leaf*)
6 Chives (Garlic*)
12 Bachelor’s Buttons (Blue Boy*)
12 Zinia (Fruit Smoothie*)

Three trays of these trays happily sitting in my box window with heating mats underneath them. 


Calla Lily

I bought these calla lilies from the Master Gardener’s sale in May. I really had no idea how they would do, but they were cheap and I needed something for this bed. The first one opened today and it’s gorgeous!

When I bought them, I didn’t realize that calla lilies are rhizomes so they have to be dug up every fall and replanted in the spring. I’ve avoided planting any rhizomes because I like the ease of perennials. These might just make me reconsider that though.


Things Are Happening!

Exciting developments in the garden today! Almost all of the tomatoes have their first blossoms on them. I can almost taste the fresh tomatoes! The broccoli plants are forming their first heads. I tried to grow it the first year of gardening (2014) and I didn’t realize how fast it would be overripe so I’ll be watching it much more closely this year.

I really need to start carrying my big camera out for detail photos. It’s too hard to pinpoint the focus on my cell phone.

Yes, those are tiny little flowers on my tomatoes! I am so excited for fresh tomatoes I can hardly stand it! Just a few more weeks to wait. 
I seriously need to stop using my cell phone to take photos. Anyway, yes, that is the start of a head of broccoli! I’m guessing we’ll be eating fresh broccoli in a couple of weeks if the weather stays warm and sunny. 

New Landscaping Project

You know how sometimes you have an idea in your head and then would you see it in reality it’s not as good? That’s not the case here.

I wish I’d taken a before pic because it was awful. We had a rack for storing firewood along the fence. The ground slopes down a bit along the fence so the ground is always really saturated after a rain.

There are three varieties of hydrangea. The two on the left grow 6 to 8 feet so they’ll be visible from the street. The other two are different varieties and they both grow 4 to 6 feet. The all should eventually spread together. I planted alyssum in between this year just to give it a little interest.


Poly Tunnel Greenhouse

I’ve started seeds myself the past two years and have had good luck with germination. I don’t have grow lights though, so they got pretty spindly trying to get enough sunlight inside during April. I casually told N that someday I’d like to have a poly tunnel so that I could extend the growing season. He looked at the photos I found on Pinterest and said he could do it so off to Home Depot we went. We couldn’t find the lumber we wanted (I really wanted to have a tunnel for the 4′ x 10′ bed and they didn’t have anything in stock over 8′ feet. We settled on that and decided we’d put it on the old 4′ x 8′ bed instead just to see how it all worked out.

I didn’t take nearly enough steps of the process, but it turned out great.

The frame is 2×2 screwed together with brackets for additional support. 
You can see the corner brackets we used to really secure the frame.
We used pipe brackets (no idea what the technical term is to attach the 1/2 inch PVC pipes to the frame. After we had them in position, he put a screw through it into the frame to hold it in place.

The weather turned really cold and miserable with some snow so we had to wait a couple of weeks to finish.

Here are all of the PVC pipes attached. 
We added hook and eye locks on either side so it wouldn’t blow open. The chain is to keep it from opening all the way back. 
You can see that we added a strip of chicken wire on either side and the top to stabilize the pipes. 

ETA: May 16—We had two nights of heavy frost and everything inside was protected and happy. So happy we built this and can’t wait to use it in the fall and spring.


Starting Seeds

Spring break was lovely and the warmer weather has really  made me antsy to get the garden started. One tray is all tomatoes. 72 of them to be exact. Four different varieties, including three new ones that I haven’t grown before. The other tray has tomatillos and four kinds of hot peppers. To be honest, the past two years I have had mediocre success starting my own seeds. My success rate for germination is great, but without grow lights, they tend to get spindly. Plus when it’s time to transplant outside, I’ve usually made a couple of trips to the nursery. When I compare my tiny plants to the start plants they have, I always cave and buy them. I’m impatient and don’t want to wait for mine to get bigger.

Six tomatillos and 66 hot peppers. Grow baby grow.

Over the winter, N built this shelf for me in the box window over the kitchen sink. It faces west so it gets lots of good sunlight. It’s the perfect size for two heating mats plus two seed starting trays (72 each).

I hadn’t noticed how dreary the sky looked today. Can’t garden outside, but at least I can inside. Under the seed trays are several succulents plus two Romaine lettuce plants. It’s too early for them outside, but I just couldn’t wait to start them. I put them outside on warm days to get more sunlight.