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Lots of photos, a few words.
Props to my hubby for the cute paths between the raised beds. The bamboo in this pic came from friends who have a ton of it growing behind their house. Bad for them, good for me!
Very disappointed in my tulips this year. Only 4 from the 20 I planted in the fall came up (wtf?!). And all of them (those and my old ones) have only really lasted a day or two because it was hot when they bloomed. Lame. I need better tulips that will do better for me year after year. Suggestions?
…more to come on my winter sowing efforts and some mystery seedlings in my raised beds.
Took these of Hank and Alice over the weekend. They do love an open window! They are looking out over the driveway/parking area to the “side garden,” the end of which (that you can see) is the old veggie garden. Right under the window they’re sitting at is the triangle garden. That doodad in the window is a super cute solar-powered rainbow-maker (that I love).
FEBRUARY 19: St. Joseph’s Day – Children born today are especially lucky. If the weather is fair, it will be a good year for gardening.
Thanks to twitter, I was reminded that it’s bloom day! And thanks to my hubby, I have a bloom. Inside. Because the outside it still soggy and covered with snow. There may be a pansy bloom or two under there, but I’m not trudging through the snow to check.
When he went to Lowe’s to buy stuff to hang my lights in the seed shelf, he picked me up two plants. That phalaenopsis orchid is my second. He also got me one year before last that is still alive, but I haven’t gotten it to bloom again. I think I don’t fertilize it enough. I’m thinking about repotting it into a smaller pot because I also think it’s overpotted. Then mybe both orchids can live on that plant stand in the office. For right now, it’s on top of the giant old-school style TV we never watch in the office.
When he called me at work to tell me what he’d gotten for the seed shelf, he also said he’s gotten me a rescue plant. I think all of us plant people are suckers for a cheapo rescue plant at Lowe’s or somewhere, and my hubby was a sucker for this one because of the cool factor.
That’s right…a pineapple! It’s about the size of the palm of my hand. Apparently it needs high light and low water (but don’t let it dry out). I’m keeping it on top of the entertainment center in the living room (highest light place we have available) until the summer, when I’ll probably put it outside. I feel like I must be the envy of all the other gardeners. Anyone else have a PINEAPPLE PLANT? I mean, really. (If you live somewhere cool, you don’t count and I hate you.) Props to hubby.
Of course the addition of the pineapple caused massive reorganization and shuffling of all the houseplants. I’m going to take the one dracaenea to work because it doesn’t seem thrilled where it is, and my one dracaenea margerita at work is super happy. I moved some other stuff to the fridge, moved my fave “flower pot” pot to the living room, and ended up with this. (Also, I’ve decided I’m not a huge fan of peace lilies. Meh. But I have 3 of them sooo…)
Fun fact: That silver bowl is actually a trophy (you can’t see the engraving). My grandfather was a champion ring jouster and I have several of his trophies. Unfortunately in my teensy house I don’t really have anywhere to display them, but this one is out. The colorful glass in there is an ornament my BFF sent from Hawaii.
I also decided to repot my jade into the pot the recently deceased rescue orchid one occupied. I think it turned out cute. (How do I make it have more branches? Or will it do that by itself?) I still can’t believe this thing started out as like one leaf that my aunt gave me when it fell off her giant jade plant when I was over there. Craziness.
FEBRUARY 15: “In February in the New of the Moon, sow borage, coriander, marjoram, radish, rosemary, and sorrel.”—Gervase Markham, The English Housewife, 1683
[I have rosemary evergreen outside, and I will be sowing borage, coriander/cilantro, and radish this year—but not for a few weeks yet!]
Also, the FEBRUARY 14 entry tells us “some herbal aphrodisiacs are cyclamen, lettuce, pansies, periwinkle, bay, marigolds, thyme, wormwood, marjoram, coriander, clove, cinnamon, ginger, lavender, rose, borage, rocket, garden cress, artichokes, parsley, carrot, dill, anise, and chervil.” I propose you cover yourself in all of them and see what your sig-o does.
Apparently there is a house plant census going on, which is nice because it gives me something else to think about besides the 18 or so inches of snow outside. ugh.
Now I have a small house – while we have almost an acre outside, the inside is less than 1,000 square feet. It’s…cozy. We’ll go with cozy. And I have a lot of plants inside! You never realize how many until you actually go and count.
All of my plants have to be in high places since I have 2 cats. I don’t want them to eat the plants and get sick and I don’t want half-eaten plants all over the place. So I stash plants where I can.
Let’s start in the kitchen, shall we? On top of the fridge I have quite a few plants. An arrowhead plant in one of my fave flower pots (you can’t see it in the back there, but the pot says “flower pot.”). Another small arrowhead plant I am rescuing for my mom, a few philodendron cuttings rooting in water, and a parsley and geranium I saved from the summer (that lamp is on a timer for them) among other things. This area gets some sun and stays warm from the fridge. Current count: 7.
Let’s move to the sink area (sorry – bad pic). I have some hanging dried herbs that I will eventually use. I also have variegated pothos and green pothos cuttings each growing nicely. I’ll pot some up every not and then. There’s opal basil, sweet basil, and sage growing in the small container on the windowsill (wish I had bought more of these pots – perfect size for the sills!). I had an orchid I had rescued for $1 sitting on the sink, but that finally croaked (I’m not great with orchids), so I now have an empty pot for another plant. The little terra cotta pots are sometimes used for seedlings in the spring, but now they hold dried herbs and dried jalapenos from the summer. We’ll count the windowsill herbs all as one, so that brings the total to 11.
On top of the microwave I have…more pothos! These both came from the cuttings that were started in the kitchen window. The variegated cuttings originally came from my mom, and the green ones came from a plant grouping I got on sale at walmart and separated. The pothos hanging on the laundry room door (off the kitchen) is also from that same plant, and the philodendron here (some sort of silverleaf kind) is the parent of the cuttings on top of the fridge. Current count: 13.
And now on to the living room. On the TV stand is a christmas cactus my mom gave me after the holidays, another arrowhead plant (this one is called Berry Allusion and has pink in the leaves – very pretty), and a peace lily. I also have a lucky bamboo rooting. So…17
Then there’s the entertainment center. I won’t count the lucky bamboo hanging from the curtain rod. I wanted to root it (bought a long piece and cut it), but clearly something went wrong and the yellow is slowly moving up. But on the entertainment center is, starting from the bottom, a dracena and a pothos (same cuttings)…19
…and then on top is another dracenea (both of these from from that walmart bunching), a bromeliad I recently rescued and need to repot, a jade that started as one leaf with a root on it from my aunt, a dracenea magenta (or similar) that also came from the walmart arrangement, and 2 pots of pothos – the greener from the walmart bunch and the smaller variegated from the kitchen cuttings. This is the sunniest area in the house that is still cat-safe. Southeast facing, I think. So um….25?
This little guy is in the bathroom. Came from a friend’s going away party (she moved to Hawaii – the nerve!). I bought the lucky bamboo that I killed because I wanted 3 stems in here (one was dying when I got it). We’ll see how that works out. No windows in this room, so I move it to the TV stand in the living room for a couple days each week. It’s looking kind of “lighter green” on the stem, so hopefully it lives because I’d like to have a plant in here and I think it looks cute. And yes, I do have pictures of plants in my potty. And that makes 26.
Let’s go to the office, shall we? In here I have a smaller peace lily that I separated from the one on top of the fridge. On the other shelf is an ivy that I got back in college from IKEA. It grew like a champ when I had it at work and now it’s alive but doesn’t really grow. Might eventually take it back to work. Also you can see my overwintering hibiscus and the orchid that hubby got me a few years ago for Valentine’s day that I just can’t get to bloom again. This room gets nice morning sun, but not a lot later on. That brings us to…30.
30 plants! For a house this tiny, that really is a lot. The only rooms that don’t have plants in them are the bedroom and the spare bedroom/cat room. I used to have a small bit of pothos rooting in a wall hanging (actually a candle holder, but I used it as a vase), but that room gets no sun plus the room-darkening shades are almost always closed because of hubby’s work schedule, so eventually it yellowed and died. And obviously no plants in the cat room other than the occasional cat grass over the summer.
I also have (let’s see, peace lily, dracenea, dracenea, dracenea magenta, pothos) 5 plants in my cube at work. Do I have a problem???
FEBRUARY 6: St. Dorothea‘s Day – the patron saint of florists
It’s the first day of spring for gardeners according to my almanac (see end of post). What better time to post snow pics from the weekend? Seriously weathermen – if it’s going to snow 10 inches, tell us that. We’re totally not prepared when you say we’ll maaaaaybe get 3 or 4, if that. Thanks, guys.
Here are some pics from the snow on Saturday, 1/30/2010. (PS – Please say twenty-ten.)
First of all, yes I did make a snowman/pile. So let’s just get that awesomeness out of the way. (I had a scarf prepared, but he has no neck so that didn’t work.) Doesn’t the song go “two popcorn tree eyes, a fingerling sweet potato nose, and a leaf mouth”? No?
That’s what it looked like when we got up. As you can see, it was still snowing hard then. It wouldn’t stop until well into the night.
Not having anticipated this much snow, I had to feed the birds (I added some on the deck as well, which was buried in a few minutes. I dug it out later that night again), get out the snow shovels, and finally screw on the temporary gutter downspout (since the rain barrel is out for the winter, and the temp one keeps falling off without a screw). I dropped a screw somewhere in all that snow. We’ll see if I ever find it.
By the night, the snow was deep enough to have totally met up with and covered that front stoop. This was in the afternoon – lord all these pics look dreary! But it wasn’t sunny because it was snowing so damn hard!
This is the next day after shoveling the driveway. Never thought those 2 snow shovels from my mom for xmas a few years ago would come in so much handy. Of course a snow machine would have been an even better gift…
Just for kicks, here’s a (high quality!) sketch of the veggie garden areas. The blue is all driveway/parking. We made the garden on the left when we moved in, and the area towards the front is what I have been using as my veggie garden. This year, we are also going to make a garden all along the back of the driveway (raised beds, tiered, probably). Most of this will be reserved for veggies, with the corner closest to the existing side garden perennials/shrubs. While we have almost an acre, our lot is traingle shaped. So most of our land is in the front yard up a hill, or to the right of the house (facing it). We want to put up a fence eventually – the part on the right looks like it belongs to the neighbors, but it doesn’t. That area would be PERFECT for growing veggies (great light conditions, nice open space), except that’s where all of the underground lines to us and the neighbors run. Though that is where, eventually, we will add an addition to the end of the house (since we’ll have to stay here longer than we’ll fit here with kids – stupid housing market). But anyway – I’ll be like quadrupling my space for edibles gardening, hence the big list o’ seeds and stuff in the previous few posts.
Me, looking *just stunning!* in my new, very warm winter coat (with a (detachable) hood! yay!). And I assure you that is not a booger, it is a falling snowflake. Also my hair is the same colors as whatever kind of faux fur that is supposed to be. Interesting.
Ever had snow cream? I hadn’t had it since I was a kid, and it’s still yummy. Mix together some milk (sweetened, condensed if you have it), sugar, and a little vanilla. Take a scoop of snow ans slowly stir in the mixture. Enjoy! You can jazz it up with nutmeg and stuff, but the above is good enough for me. Tastes like a perfect consistency vanilla sno-cone.
This has to go into the books as one of the snowiest winters in Southern Maryland in a loooooong time. And I’m scared – last year we got a big snow in March, so there’s still plenty of time for more snow! As long as I get a work snow day out of it, it’s cool. If I don’t though, then it’s extra annoying.
FEBRUARY 1: St. Brigid/Brigit’s Day. Also the first day of Spring in the gardener’s year. [BRING IT ON!]
FEBRUARY 2: [FYI since I doubt I’ll post tomorrow] Candlemas Day
Just a quick post with a bunch of random thoughts. Because I am currently stuck inside and there are at least 10 inches of snow outside. Driving home yesterday they said maybe, just as far south as me, we miiiight get 3 or 4 inches. Maybe.
It’s been snowing (hard!) since 6AM and is supposed to continue through the night. Good job weathermen!
So today I decided to go through all my seeds and start organizing things. I have few more coming (sharing with @betweenthelimes!), but mostly I have all I’ll get. I’ll buy a few standard hybrid tomatoes (Better Boy always does well) and peppers from the Amish to get some earlier fruit. Plus annual flowers. But on veggie seeds and herbs, I’m all set and just have to figure out layout.
(Click that to see it bigger.) So I made a spreadsheet. Looking at last year’s posts from March (use the archives link – lower left), I can see that I started right about at the right time last year. We’re usually frost-free before May 1, that’s a pretty darn safe date. And there are a couple local flower sales I hit up every year that are right around then, so I do my major planting (annuals, etc) after then anyway. If I remember, I want to put the date of first flower or fruit on the spreadsheet too, for future reference. Maybe keep it ongoing from year to year?
I’ll be starting a lot more stuff outside this year, knowing that some things just don’t really benefit from an early start and some do well started in the ground without having to be moved. So the aim is to get the raised beds that will go behind the driveway done by early April (to allow for sowing stuff outside), and also turn the current veggie garden into a small raised bed (possibly for herbs?). I’ll have to figure out the layout of the stuff IN the gardens at some point, too.
One good thing I happened to think of today while thinking of layout is that between bean trellises and tomatoes, the garden will have some height that will give the backyard some privacy from the road. We live on a back road, but it’s a rather busy one, and because our house is down a hill I often feel like I’m sort of on display when I’m in the yard (as evidenced by horn-honks who appreciate my shorts – ugh). So that’s a plus.
I’ve also decided that I want a stone garden Buddha. Not sure if I want fat Buddha or young Buddha though. There is a local stone guy that I’ll have to go to to check it out. I pass by there every day to and from work, and he’s out there with molds and pouring concrete into the drum. He supplies to other local places I think, but also sells a lot from his shop. So I think I need a Buddha from him.
Hubby and I bought a little greenhouse shelf thing (looks like this) from Lowe’s last night. It has four 3ft shelves in it. My plan is to get some fluorescent lights to hang from each level (hubby is in charge of that – having probs finding them in the right size-ish and for the right price-ish) and attach it to a timer in the shed. If I need to/can, I can also use it outside with the cover. I saved a lot of things to start seeds in from last year, plus I have a bunch of peat pots. I’ll probably go to the dollar store and get some metal plans or litter boxes or something to catch water (since there will be lights under each tier) and then put a bit of sand or rocks in those under the actual plants (I’ve heard this helps with them not soaking up too much water and keeping them moist still). I’ll probably also get a fan for outside to move them around a bit and keep them strong, and attach that to the timer as well.
I will most likely START the seeds inside on top of the fridge (where I grew them totally last year). It’ll be much warmer there both because it’s inside and on top of the fridge (tends to be warm up there), so it’ll be warm enough for germination and then I can move them outside once they get a bit bigger. I think there will be room to do that with the cycle of when things need to start, since some are 6-8, some are 4-6, and some are less.
I’ll add the Herbal Almanac stuff later (I’m in another room typing because we have a space heater in here so it’s warmer) and maybe a picture of our (again) snow-covered house and the greenhouse and stuff. Though it’s much more snow-covered now!
[…Later that night…]
JANUARY 29: Keep a pot of catnip in the windowsill for the house cat in the winter. The adage is “If you set it, the cats will get it/If you sow, the cats won’t know.” [My cats – ok, mostly just Alice – get too crazy for catnip all the time. I do grow it in the summer though and have some dried.]
JANUARY 30: To ward off nightmares from the long winter nights, try aniseed, licorice, and garlic. [um ew.]
Not a whole lot to show here for bloom day. Normally in this area, it doesn’t *really* get cold until February/March. And when it does stay cold, it generally hovers around freezing, but won’t dip below for more than a few days at a time. Well not this year! It’s already snowed a measurable amount three times and we just finally got above freezing for a bit today. So that means everything outside is frozen. The pansies are limp and sad looking, and need a good cutting back and some warm weather before they do anything. So that makes me even more happy that I brought in this pelagorium/false geranium to overwinter this year. And it bloomed!
This (long) weekend, hubby and I are taking a trip up (well, left) to Luray, VA to stay in a nice cabin in the woods. We’ll soak in the hot tub and make s’mores. I was actually *supposed* to be a friend’s date at a party, and I even bought an adorable 70’s themed dress for it (it’s a 70’s theme party), but then everyone sorta forgot the dates and they ended up the same weekend. Lame! And I feel bad. But I will definitely enjoy a much-needed weekend away with the hubby. I doubt there will be any blooms in the mountains, either, but I’m sure I’ll have some nature-y pics to share when I get back. Have a great weekend, everyone!
JANUARY 14: If you are single greet the first new moon after New Year’s by standing astride the bars of the garden gate and saying, “All haul to the Moon/Hail to thee/I prithee good moon reveal to me/This night who my wife [husband] must be.”—John Aubrey, Miscellanies, 1695
JANUARY 15: “Thy garden twifallow, ‘stroy hemlock and mallow.”—Thomas Tusser, 1557
So that’s the list of the stuff I want to order this year (click for a bigger view). A lot of varieties. Some stuff will go in pots, some in the old veggie garden, some in the yet-to-be-created one. And I’ll definitely have some seeds to share, plants to give away, and/or seeds to save.
I did get some stuff already. It snowed last night and this AM (about 2-3 inches or so), and I bought seeds on my way home from work from a local nursery chain that I knew sells Botanical Interests seeds. They didn’t have the rainbow cherry tomatoes or the lime basil, so I’ll have to order those online or look for them somewhere else. Here’s what I bought today:
– Spinach – Lavewa (supposedly slow to bolt) – Botanical Interests
– Basil – Mrs. Burns Lemon – Burpee’s Heirlooms
– Mesculun Salad Mix – Burpee
– Cinnamon Basil – Lake Valley Seed
– Broccoli – Di Cicco – Botanical Interests
– Shelling Pea – Wando (supposedly deals w/ some heat) – Botanical Interests
– Brussels Sprout – Long Island Improved – Botanical Interests
I went through “the stash,” and these are all the seeds I have left from last year. If you’re interested in trading for any of these, let me know! I’m giving the type and the brand of seed, in case you care where they’re from. Most were bought spur-of-the moment from Lowe’s, WalMart, or the local grocery chain.
– Black from Tula tomato (actually this year’s, from Seed Savers’ Exchange)
– Gaillardia Aristata – Blanketflower – Ferry-Morse
– Nasturtium – jewel mix – Ferry-Morse
– Campbell’s Tomato
– Detroit Dark Red beets – Page Seed
– zinnia – giant cactus flower mix – Burpee
– Royal Burgundy beans – Livingston Seed
– sweet pea – galaxy mix – Burpee Signature
– radish – Early Scarlet Globe – Page Seed
– Basil – sweet – Ferry-Morse
– Parsley – flat leaf Italian – Ferry-Morse
– Cilantro – Ferry-Morse
– Basil – opal (purple) – Livingston Seed
– giant cosmos – orange – saved by me (Burpee?)
– Peachy Mama peppers (sweet, small peppers) – saved from CSA peppers
OK, Herbal Almanac. (Please note, everyone that it says January 7 is the traditional first day to go back to work after Christmas. I feel jipped of some days off! Perhaps I should bring the almanac in to my boss to sway him?) January 8 is mentioned as a good day to make herb bread, and poppy seeds are specifically mentioned. I LOVE poppy seeds. Does anyone else have trouble finding poppy seed bagels outside of bakeries? They’re my favorite, and no one seems to carry them (only in the form of “everything bagels,” which I don’t like). Bring back the poppy seed bagels!
JANUARY 9: Winter Cockle-warmer is an old name for a winter soup. Make cockle-warmer more savory with dried calendula blossoms, winter savory, lovage, chives, and rosemary.
First things first, it’s my blogiversary! I did have one post before January 6, 2009, but it was just a “uh hi, I’ll post something later” deal, so I’m counting January 6 as the start of Jennah’s Garden. Happy Blogiversary to MEEEE! 🙂
And now onto other things. Like many of you I’m sure, the holidays are over so I’m now like “ok, time for spring!” But since that’s quite a ways away (it’s just started to consistently be hovering around freezing here in Maryland), I have to be content on garden planning. Here’s my 2009 planning. All of that actually panned out except for the hypertufa, which I still want to try. And the stupid poppies which just never even got close to blooming. Not too shabby!
This year, hubby has promised that we will finally do the mythical “garden extension.” We have a very large driveway/parking area, and currently we have gardens on two sides of it – the side by the house (“triangle garden” – wow, I just realized I should start tagging by what garden is what. *note to self*), and the side parallel to that (“side garden”). The veggie garden is at the end of the side garden nearest the road. We want to edge the back of the parking area with another long strip of garden, about 2/3 of which will be raised veggie gardens. I also want to make the current veggie area raised, to help with the problem of the GIANT pieces of concrete and asphalt that are buried under there and make putting in tomato cages etc very difficult.
So the moral of the story is: more room for veggies! Here’s the plan for this year, as of right now. Also I have to figure where the eff I’m going to start these, or where I am going to move all the plants currently in my seed-starting area, on the top of my fridge. hmm. I think I’ll have plenty to share with friends and with the local plant sale/exchange. I am Zone 7A, so any suggestions on varieties are welcome! I’ll probably start ordering what I want from online in the next few weeks. I am looking to order from Botanical Interests and Seed Savers Exchange mostly, but am welcome to other good suggestions. Also, if anyone would like to swap seeds, I’d LOVE to do that and would be willing to organize something via blogs or twitter. I know I’ll have way too many for this year. I can save stuff, but we can also share!
– heirloom tomatoes (already have Black from Tula)
– Better Boy tomatoes
– some sort of yellow tomato
– jalapeno pepper
– pimento pepper
– cayenne pepper
– basil – genoa and opal
– peas (Any suggestions?? Never grown them before.) – spring crop
– green beans (Ditto – suggestions welcome.)
– broccoli (Again…)
– brussels sprouts (And again…)
– lettuce mix – spring crop
SEEDS I SAVED:
– peachy mama peppers (from my CSA)
– gerber daisy (We’ll see if it works.)
STARTS (prob from Amish/Mennonite farm):
– Roma tomatoes
– cherry tomatoes
– mint (in a pot!!)
– marigolds (if mine don’t sprout like crazy from seeds left in the garden last year)
And now on to the Herbal Almanac. I really need to get those Christmas decorations down, I guess. I wanted to do it this past weekend, but I might have been blown away it was so windy. And now it’s COLD! Maybe I’ll get my butt out there this weekend.
JANUARY 6: This is the traditional end of the Christmas festival, Epiphany. A cake was served in which a bean was hidden. Whoever found the bean was called the Bean Cake King and ruled over wassailing festivities. Today is the time to wassail the apple trees. If one neglects this ritual, there will be a poor crop of apples.
Today is the day to take down Christmas greens—always to gently burn or lay about the garden as mulch.
JANUARY 2: It is traditional to burn twigs of sweet-smelling marjoram as kindling in January.
JANUARY 3: Highlanders burn juniper this time of year. This holiday celebration has much in common with the ancient Roman Saturnalia, the festival of Janus, the two-faced god.
I don’t have any marjoram proper, but I do have plenty of dried oregano. And I didn’t pull up all of the oregano outside (it’s perennial)—some of it actually looks fine still, despite over a foot of snow and several hard frosts. I have lots of blue rug juniper planted on a hill – perhaps I’ll burn some next time we use the outdoor fireplace.
When I was emptying the last of the flower pots out for the winter, I just couldn’t let myself toss a totally fine looking geranium and parsley. So I potted them up in small pots and they’re living on top of the fridge with a fluorescent desk lamp on when I remember to plug it in (the same lamp I use to start seeds). I am happy to report that the parsley is getting new sprouts happily and the geranium (AKA pelagorium) has bloomed! I’m hoping it sticks around until Bloom Day, but even if it doesn’t then darnit I’m probably going to count it and post more pics anyway. I’m proud! I’m also overwintering the hibiscus, which I’ve mentioned before. I have limited space for overwintering (no basement or anything), so 3 or 4 is pretty much my limit. All of them look healthy so far, though!
Are you overwintering anything new this year?