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This past Saturday my mom and I went to one plant sale/exchange and another plant sale. Both at local historical plantation/mansions (one right down the street from me!). I had been planning to participate this year, so I started extra veggies ans divided some perennials. Some of the perennials I gave to a friend who just bought a new house and is working on “curb appeal,” but some I kept for the exchange.

For the friend:

  • 3 daylilies
  • bee balm
  • hosta
  • black-eyed susan
  • mini hollyhock
  • also some tomatoes and a pepper from the exchange (I got 6-packs)

What I took to the exchange:

  • oregano
  • maxibel bush bean
  • lemon cucumber
  • sungold tomato (I took the SMALL ones for some reason. I had bigger ones I should have taken)
  • lemon and lime basil
  • broccoli
  • white hot habanero

A lot of this stuff is smaller than I’d hoped it would be. And I have more (I have some really nice looking sungold tomatoes that I felt the need to keep even though I have nowhere to put them…?) that I still need to share.

What I got (traded unless otherwise indicated – some given away before photo…and I only spent $11.50 for purchases!):

  • chocolate mint (purchased)
  • 6 marconi peppers
  • 1 fish pepper (purchased – 50¢)
  • 4 chili peppers
  • 6 eva purple ball tomatoes
  • mystery threadleaf coreopsis
  • 2 mouse ear hostas
  • 3 emerald hostas
  • marjoram IN TERRA COTTA POT!! (with a slight crack)
  • cuban oregano (purchased)
  • creeping jenny (purchased)
  • bright green sedum (purchased)

It’s funny because at the exchange, they always say “people aren’t taking enough!”. I hope all my stuff that I brought found a home. I know several things had been taken when we left. I could have taken more, and next year I will keep that in mind. Though I glanced at things last year and was invited to take stuff even though I didn’t bring any trades, I didn’t look too hard. They have things divided up pretty well (veggies and herbs, perennials, annuals, trees). I had to ask about the marjoram in the pot because I couldn’t believe I could take both, but they said it was a donation.

When we were getting to the end of the line, a woman pulled up with a wheelbarrow of hostas and my mom’s eyes lit up! 🙂 She had been wanting some, so she took several. I took a mouse ear hosta and I had to give it back for a second because the lady didn’t want to donate the pot it was in. My mom didn’t know that they brought it to me a second later, so she grabbed me another one and now we both have one! Mine is living happily in a pot on top of the rain barrel. I got some black tomatoes (Eva Purple Ball) to replace some of the black ones that I lost during the Great Plant Fry. They had a ton of tomatoes. Some just germinated, some large like the ones I got. And all for free! Such a great deal. I’ll definitely be participating again next year and leaving some more garden space for tomatoes (lots of cool kinds too, not just all Better Boy!).

I’m actually future-posting all this week, because I’m not at home, I’m on Hatteras Island! My garden is in the capable hands of my aunt for part of the week and my parents for the end of the week. Hopefully some goodies will be ready for me when I get back! (hint: see this week’s Wordless Wednesday)


#wordlesswednesday #somethinggreen

bean seedling

cucumber seedling

basil seedling

bean seedling

Last year I started my tomato and herb seeds on March 14. “Sacrifice seedings” started going outside on March 26 to see if they could fare well outside (I’m pretty sure all the sacrifices lived). This year I started them today, March 6. I also have a much better setup (see March 2009), so I think they’ll do much better. It was gorgeous and nice and warm out today (well, in the 50s).

Today I sowed: sungold tomato, Russian rose tomato, purple passion spinach, Japanese black trifele tomato, speckled roman tomato, black from Tula tomato, black cherry tomato, rainbow cherry tomato, Campbell’s tomato, sweet basil, cinnamon basil, lemon basil, lime basil, lemon cucumber, lovage, ground cherry (omg small seeds!), luffa, spacemaster cucumber, gold rush bush bean, lemon grass, maxibel bush bean, dragon tongue bush bean, white hot habañero, green tomatillo, pineapple tomatillo, peachy mama pepper, serrano pepper, black pearl pepper. (Thanks to betweenthelimes, snarkyvegan, and getinthegarden for sharing some of these seeds with me!)

rainbow cherry

Rainbow Cherry Tomato seeds from Botanical Interests - adorbz!!


Basil is good for sharing

seed shelf

The seed rack - in the cats' bedroom/reading room.

I used my dollar store stuff plus stuff I had gotten before, except I didn’t use the sand from the dollar store. Since I know it doesn’t have anything weird in it, I used the sand from a truck weigher downer roll (do they have a name?) of sand we got when it snowed. One had busted so I used it at hubby’s suggestion and will prob donate the colored dollar store stuff to my mom for the art teacher. The sand seems to be doing a nice job of keeping things moist without just having a ton of sitting water. So I’ll water from the bottom, then I have a spray bottle to keep the tops moist without drowning them.

I also have lots of saved yogurt containers and larger pots to up-pot as needed and to start the outdoor seeds. All the other seeds I have will be started outside when it’s warm enough, or will be direct sowed…you know, once there’s actually 3 raised beds of about 130 square feet between these sticks and not just sticks stuck in the grass. (Except for the parsley, which I forgot I need to soak first – those I’ll soak then do a few cells of soon. I actually overwintered one parsley plant and the one in the pot outside looks like it may come back – hm.) Hubby has drawn up a nice plan, we just need to till up the grass and get things started. I aim to have it ready for plants/seeds by April 9 at least.

So…they’ve been in there for a few hours. Think they’re sprouted yet???

(Finally did it! Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts.)

winter dowing

(And don’t worry…I did take the lids off after I asked and @getinthegarden replied!)

Quick post…I wanted to get some cake tins to use under my seed starting pots on the seed shelf, so I headed down to my local dollar store (a Dollar Tree) today after work. Well I found the cake pans, plus a whoooole bunch of other great stuff! And this is a REAL dollar store, where everything really IS one dollar!

dollar tree

• 2 small ceramic pots (very cute – going to get another set of these for my mom)
• 2 x-small ceramic pots
• 10-pack of 3″ starter pots
• 4-pack of 4″ fancy starter pots
• 2 3-packs of 7″ starter pots (good for when transplants get bigger)
• 2 10.25″ pots with saucers
• 14 cake pans (for under starter pots on shelf – they come in 2-packs)
• 7 tubes of craft sand (should be safe for food) for in pans to absorb/hold water
• 1 bag of rocks (to experiment with water control, too)
• 1 roll of twine
• 1 pack of zip-ties
• 1 bag of spanish moss (to use some of whenever I repot the old orchid)
• 1 very pretty garden hangy decoration thing (in the cellophane bag)
• 2 rectangular planters

All that for, if I counted right – $31! Imagine getting that somewhere else. At least twice the cost, probably. The 10.25″ and 7″ pots will be used for giveaways – I was planning on making a pot of herbs or flowers for a couple friends, and these will be a great home for them. They actually look pretty nice if you use some antiquing gel (or brown paint) on them with a dry brush – I’ve done that on some other cheap planters and they look more expensive and have held up well. The fancy smaller pots (the white ones) will also be a nice home for some herbs to give someone as a gift. All of these came in the standard colors, so I picked from black, tan, green, white.

They have the fancy planters in a couple other sizes as well, and lots more different pretty ceramic pots. As I said, I am going tomorrow or Saturday to get some more of those for my mom, who really liked mine and has a pair of miniature roses that she needs a pot that size for (hopefully they have more in the color I got, or I may be forced to share 🙂 ). They also have some cute small garden shepherd’s hooks (I had one in my cart but put it back because I have a few small ones already) and lots of windchimes.

And look – my small peat pots fit in 8’s perfectly on the cake tins!
dollar store tins

So if you have a local Dollar Tree, now’s the time to check it out! It looks like they JUST got all the stuff in, so it’s perfect timing. I’d also check out the Dollar King if you have one – that one is farther away for me so I don’t go very often, but they also have a gardening department and probably also have similar stuff.

Let me know if you score any cool finds!

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.

2010 seeds

2010 seeds

(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…]

Herb AlmanacJANUARY 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.]

I posted a list of all my seeds a bit ago here – but below is an updated list. Lord – I do NOT have space for all of these plants! (I think I’m done buying…I really should be…) I’ll be sharing and giving away a lot, so I’m willing to trade or share some via internet as well! Just drop me a line via comment or twitter!

Also, I already gave them a shout-out on Twitter, but a big THANKS to Botanical Interests Seeds! I ordered some stuff last night and realized I had forgotten to add Lime Basil, which I *really* wanted to try. I didn’t want to just order that separately and have to pay for shipping again, though. I contacted them and they had no problem holding my first order so they could be combined. Great people! …and so of course when I just went back to order ONLY the lime basil, I also got carrots, loofah (didn’t realize they had it and had wanted it), and lovage. oops!

– 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
– Basil – Lime organic – Botanical Interests
– Lovage – organic – Botanical Interests
– Carrot – Tonda di Parigi – Botanical Interests
– Cucumber – spacemaster – Botanical Interests
– Gourd – Luffa – Botanical Interests
– Tomato – Cherry Rainbow Mix – Botanical Interests
– Tomato – Pole Speckled Roman (paste) organic – Botanical Interests
– Cypress Vine blend (my Granny grew this and I’ve had no luck with transplants from my mom, so I’ll give seeds a try) – Botanical Interests
– Zinnia – cut and come again – Botanical Interests
– Tomato – Heirloom Black from Tula – Seed Savers’ Exchange

Plus all these leftover seeds from last season…
– 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

There MUST be something in there you want! I plan on just buying starts from the Amish otherwise, but I’d be willing to trade for hot pepper seeds – anything that goes in salsa. Also looking for Black Russian tomatoes, large slicing orange or yellow heirloom tomatoes, and fun herbs. Flowers are also always good – anything as long as it’s not invasive in Maryland. Or anything else you think I’d like! Just ask – good lord that is a LOT of stuff when it’s all in one list. eek!!! Help a girl out and lets “spread the seed” (yes, I know that sounds dirty).

And now, welcome to the Herbal Almanac portion of the post. I’m going to start adding some comments in brackets if I feel the need.

Herb AlmanacJANUARY 22: This is the night to conduct love divinations. Maids scattered barley seeds under apple trees, saying “Barley, Barley, I sow thee/That my true love I may see/Taketh thy nake and follow me.” Her future husband walked along behind her, taking up the barley seed with his rake.

JANUARY 21: St. Agnes Day – Agnes is the patron saint of young girls. Today maids acquired sweethearts. To do so, they must carry ivy leaves next to their breasts, fast the day before, put on clean nightclothes, and go to sleep signing [a song I don’t feel like typing out – so watch out for girls in clean PJs carrying ivy in their boobies, guys!).

JANUARY 22: This is the traditional day to plant new hedges. [Exciting! ha. And nope, not happening today.]

seed list - 2010

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!

Herb AlmanacJANUARY 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
– parsley
– 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

– peachy mama peppers (from my CSA)
– cosmos
– gerber daisy (We’ll see if it works.)

STARTS (prob from Amish/Mennonite farm):
– Roma tomatoes
– cherry tomatoes
– lemongrass
– mint (in a pot!!)
– dill
– 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.

Herb AlmanacJANUARY 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.

2 scoops

2 scoops

It is amazing what a difference mulch makes in a garden. It makes it look all neat and pretty again for a new season. Also – it is killer to spread. Especially alone. I am going to be sooooo sore tomorrow. But I got almost all the mulching done. All we have left to do is around the baby Crape Myrtles in the front and behind the side garden around the vinca and juniper. I plan on putting some on the veggie garden after I’m finished planting there, too.

what I got on Saturday

what I got on Saturday

We went to the local tech center horitcultural department’s plant sale on Saturday (me, my mom and my aunt). Then we went to an Amish greenhouse nearby. Between the two I got a bunch of annuals, a few perennials, some cherry, roma, and better boy tomatoes. (Amish guy didn’t have peppers, so I’m going to have to get those from somewhere else). I got a lot of stuff! I got it almost all planted on Saturday, then I ran out of potting soil. So I had to go to the Greenery today to get more and finish that up. (Sidenote: no one ever tell me I need to purchase more pots. This picture doesn’t even show all of them – there were probably 7 or 8 with stuff in them already when I took it.) I also bought a few fun herbs they had (as if I needed more, I know). Pineapple sage, lemon verbena, and lemon grass (I knew I wanted that one because I thought it would look pretty in a cobalt blue pot I have, plus I want to use it).

seeds20090419So I potted stuff yesterday after buying it, finished potting today, planted perennials today, and mulched most everything today. I also sowed the rest of the seeds for the year (the ones that will start outside). I used all pots from the stuff I has just bought and planted – I feel sooooo resourceful!) So I am now starting seeds outside for opal (purple) basil, zinnia, cosmos, poppy, cilantro. Plus I potted up better the rest of my first seedlings. Going to give the rest of these away gradually: mixed heirloom tomatoes, common sage, oregano, nasturtium.

tulip20090419I’ve noticed that my tulips aren’t blooming as much this year. I guess maybe I need to pull them up and replace them next year. That makes me rather sad, because they’re sooooo pretty. But I guess that’s what you gotta do. Might give them one more year. We’ll see. Even the ones from Breck’s didn’t all bloom, but I think that’s because I had them in pots all winter in a location that was too shady. I also noticed that are a few little babies of my daylily and blackberry lily seeds I planted last year! That’s kind of exciting – though I’m not really sure why I bothered since my daylilies get so giant that I could safely divide them each year (I’ve done that every year so far, but don’t plan on it this year).

Soooooo can I have tomorrow off from work as a reward for all my hard work? It’s supposed to rain tonight, so that should be good for the garden.


@jennahw on twitter!


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