Nursery Trip

Neil and I made the trek to Woldhuis Farms today. It sounds a little crazy to drive over an hour (one-way) to a nursery, but this one is definitely worth the trip! Not only are the prices absolutely amazing, the selection is unreal. I wish we would have taken more photos throughout, but I was too busy obsessing about what to buy. This is the second year we’ve gone and I was smarter this time. I had some idea of what I wanted to buy and I knew to grab it when I saw it because it’s a long walk back if you forget something. If you go, make a list and plan to spend at least a couple of hours. We were pretty focused on what we wanted and we were still there three hours. OH! And don’t go on a Saturday. Apparently the crowds are huge.

Some of the things we bought today:

  • Peppers. Lots and lots of peppers.
  • Tomatoes and tomatillos.
  • Squash
  • Blueberry bushes
  • Basil
  • Sage
  • Flowers for the front of the house (Coleus, Wave petunias)
  • Sedum for the mailbox be




Busy Weekend

Did the spring clean up in the front yard and flower beds while Neil pulled out the weigelas on the side of the house for the new project. I definitely got the easy job. We had to make an emergency run to Home Depot after he broke the pick axe trying to dig out the stumps. Any trip to there are this time of year can only mean one thing: plants! This trip was no exception. Despite not planning to plant yet, I couldn’t pass up the sale on early veggies and came home with two kinds of lettuce, broccoli, basil and a new variety of tomato.

While he finished digging out the stumps, I started scraping off several layers of what I’m sure was lead paint from the window frames. These windows were original to the farmhouse I grew up in, which was built in 1920. They were replaced when my parents remodeled the kitchen sometime around 1990. All of the other window sashes are original, although they replaced the exterior storm/screen windows while I was still a kid.

I’m painting the windows and since they’ll be outside, I’m not too concerned about perfection. The glass from the one on the left broke in two pieces on the drive back from Iowa. It should be an easy fix with some glazing caulk.

On Sunday I transplanted a bunch of the seedlings into cups so they can grow stronger roots until it’s time to plant outside, about another month in northern Illinois (zone 5).


Yes, I ran outside in my slippers last night to get a photo.

Neil also got the plastic up on the hoop house so the seedlings are now happily living in there. I also planted the lettuce and broccoli in there to get an early start. The basil is in pots and I’m already drooling over the idea of our first caprese salad.

Romaine at the top, broccoli on the right, iceberg lettuce on the bottom and three trays of tomatoes, broccoli and sesame plants. 
The hoop house.

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.