This week's 'dig'
Kate at High Altitude Gardening reports a neat thing happening in SLC, UT


You know you're a gardener when...
Photobucket
Blunders with Shoots, Blossoms 'n Roots
Where things either live or die!

Jan 29, 2009

Problems leaving comments?

 

Hello everyone. Megan at nestmaker, was so kind in letting me know she was experiencing problems leaving a comment on my blog. For some reason, the verification code is not visible. I have run into this problem myself on other blogs, and I would just hit the submit button anyway- and, of course, it to let me know that it needed a verification code, which was visible after that.  If anyone runs into this on any blogger blog, try that. I am not sure if this is a problem with non-blogger blogs.

I plan on doing so research into this, and will be posting an update if I find any solutions.  If anyone knows of any solutions, please let me know so I can include your findings in the update. I certainly don’t want anyone to not be able to leave a comment, if they choose to, so be sure to let me know if you’re having these issues.

Thanks so much for all your comments- know that they are appreciated :)

 



Happy Gardening!

Photobucket

 

Update (February 1): Well, no answer on the Blogger Help Group. Not one that helps anyway. Someone said that they had Firefox and checked an option to accept 3rd party cookies by going to tools>options>privacy tab- the option is in there. I checked mine and it was already checked- so that’s not it.

I’ll keep searching for an answer, but I have not run into this problem lately, so maybe they fixed the problem!

Jan 28, 2009

Opps...sorry!

 

 

I owe Catherine of A Gardener in Progress a big ‘THANKS!’ After attempting to email me with the cute little blue email icon I have, I discovered that I had my own email address wrong behind the icon! Duh, on me!

I’m sorry to anyone that has attempted to email me and has gotten no response! I’m not ignoring you...and I’m on my computer way too much for me to have missed your emails! He he! My humble apologies for not having it set right, and know that it is now correct! And to further beg for your forgiveness I’ve brought you these!

 

 
Happy Gardening!

Photobucket

Wordless Wednesday- Peetree






Jan 26, 2009

Relief for the bored...or professional procrastinator!

 

Friday, while getting caught up on some reading, I stumbled onto a post by Northwest Nature Nut. She had managed to get out that day and get a little bed cleanup tackled! We’ve had such great weather lately- sunny even...I know, can you believe it! I have been putting off doing this. All week. And it’s been sunny. And I’m lazy. You know what they say about excuses!

Saturday, because I knew the rain was a come ‘n and possibly snow, I thought I’d better get my butt out there and get some work done myself- Thanks for the much needed push, Northwest Nature Nut!

Now, for anyone that knows me well this will be of no surprise.

1. I always start out good  in the beginning of the season, but...
2. I hate cleaning out my beds- I’d rather pick up dog poo :).
3. I’m usually too busy sowing seeds...that later on will have no clean beds to go into.

So, for me to get this done- and it all to end up in either the compost heap, and/or the yard debris can is nothing short of a miracle. I told myself ‘It’s not so bad, at least you’re working in the poo-free zone’  Oh, wait, I forgot the incident with what the neighbor’s cat left behind a few posts ago! A careful hand (preferably gloved...this time) and watchful eye would be needed.

I started out good. Here is the bed I wanted to tackle. I am hoping to add some pretty bark around it this year, instead of straw- sigh! As time and $ allow :)

 

 

I call this bed the bird area. What a mess! I did do some (I said some!) clean up last fall, because of the monster Poke Weed I’ve been dealing with from my neighbor’s yard! Still, I was ready to tackle it. Then I got bored.

It all started with cutting and pruning out the dead, and very pretty, Russian sage twigs. I thought they would make a beautiful bouquet- and I’ve been going through severe spring withdrawals, so I thought I’d get creative and make a winter bouquet :). Well, it started getting way to big for the house, when gathering one thing and another, and another. The many tidbits all added up to this- you can barely see the rusted container it’s in, which I think is an old milk container my mom gave me.

 

 

 

I should have tried to get a shot of just the white twigs, so you could see  how beautiful Russian Sage is at this stage- after all it is what inspired the whole thing. I wanted to get the whole thing in, however, and it just got taller and taller! It smells nice too. Hopefully you can see it.

Along with it I included a few other things. The dead sunflower heads, long since picked clean by the finches, added the bulk I needed- it does need more though. The branches torn off our neighbor’s tree from the awful wind we’d been experiencing, complete with a few cones, added the green. And finally the left over long, brown, grass-like stuff left over by the Daylilies was a perfect material to create a trailing effect, like maybe Lobelia would. I must say, it was really fun, and gave me more to appreciate about winter :).

So, did I get done with the clean up? Yep!  I got a lot more done than I planned even. Maybe that is the key- looking for beauty in everything, and allowing yourself to be inspired by the seemingly uninspiring! This made a ho-hum job nothing short of exciting, at least for me anyway.

 

 

In the photo above, I included the cold frame and the small herb bed behind it (which still needs some work done.) You can see that the yard debris can is full! I didn’t finish the bird area bed  because I ran out of room in the can :). Most of it is done though, and I’m left with a great sense of accomplishment...and a sore back.

Just as it was getting dark (that’s happening later I’ve noticed,) I felt some sprinkles! Talk about last minute ;). When I woke up Sunday morning, this is what the yard looked like!

 

 

 



Happy Gardening!

Photobucket

Jan 25, 2009

Can Someone Help???

 

I noticed over the last couple of weeks that some of my pansies are developing dark, bluish, outer leaves- what could be causing this? If anyone can help, it would be greatly appreciated!



Happy Gardening!

Photobucket

 

Update!

Well, it is the cold that is causing this. Thanks Jan, and everyone for the helping hand- know it is appreciated :). I went out and took a look at my outdoor pansies and some of them have the same thing, not as dark, but maybe it’s because of the light they get? In any case I’ll just carry on as usual and plant them out in February at some point.  I think next time I water I’ll be sure that the fertilizer has higher Phosphorus and also Potassium. In Shane Smiths book Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion he states that Potassium helps with stress and cold/heat tolerance.

Thanks again to everyone! It sure is nice to know I have so much help...all I have to do is ask :)

Jan 23, 2009

Ahhh! To Be Stuck on a Desert Island!

 

While I’ve been busy out in the greenhouse, checking what has germinated and moving plants on to the next size soil block (boy! some of them grew fast!), there seems to be a challenge going around amongst the garden bloggers. I was catching up on my nightly reading with Feedly (a new reader I’m investigating and really like so far, by the way) and blog after blog I kept reading about a challenge presented to garden bloggers by Shirls Gardenwatch- I must say, after reading so many blogs about this challenge, I couldn’t stop thinking about it!

The challenge is simply, If I were stuck on a desert island and could have 3 plants with me, what would they be? Not simple!! Luckily Shirl added a couple things that help narrow it down...a little :)

1. There are no limits to growing conditions, whatsoever.
2. We will assume that food is not a problem :) (it probably wouldn’t be, yum fish!)

Well, needless to say, this took me a long time. I struggled greatly between taking plants that I love, and wondering, would that favorite plant become a not so favorite? Or, take ones that I’ve always wanted to grow but either can’t because it wouldn’t do well in my climate, or just ones I’ve never gotten around to trying. Can you tell I’m overly analytical?

I love tomatoes- home grown anyway. Certainly not the anemic, cardboard tasting ones you find in the store, of course- but food is not an issue and all the new tastes on that island alone would be an adventure! Okay, food’s out. Come on, a girls got to have her priorities straight!

So this is what I did to make my decision. I closed my eyes and thought for a minute ‘when you open your eyes, what plants would you want to see, smell, touch?’

Here is my answer. (I know, finally!)

Pussy Willow

 

Why Pussy Willow? I remember we had this in our yard growing up. As a very young child, I remember picking the little, soft, bunny tails  (catkins) and feeling them on my face- a great memory.  Actually, I’m really not sure if it was our yard it was in or the neighbors, but I loved them with all my heart. I don’t have one in my yard, but I’ve always wanted one- I borrowed this image from Wikipedia.

Nicotiana

I grow this annual every year, both for my mom and dad (dad loves it) and myself. It smells wonderful- but be careful, I have found that the white one says it has a scent, but doesn’t. I only grow the mixed ‘Sensation’ although there are probably others that have that sweet smell. The white and lilac colored, starfish shaped flowers are the Nicotiana (Gooseneck Loosestrife is the other). Grow them by a window or door and smell their scent around 7pm or so every evening. I love these- easy to grow as well. Very delicate appearance and bugs don’t like them!

Although the food would be taken care of on this island, what about illness? I know, there would probably be a lot of things growing already on that island that could be used for medicinal purposes, but I wouldn’t know what they were, probably- so here is my last choice...See, I can be practical!

Echinacea

 

Here is, what was, a happy, young, purple cone flower- Now it’s being choked out by...you guessed it Gooseneck Loosestrife!

Well, I’m almost ready to go, um, be stuck on a desert island...but wait!

Some of you may be asking yourselves, how did she ever NOT choose her beloved, feminine, classic, sultry if not slightly erotic, Calla Lily?

The Calla
(picture turned painting)

 

I’ve made plans for a friend to ship them to me!

 



Happy Gardening!

Photobucket

Jan 21, 2009

Nobody Breathe! A bit on seeds and record keeping.

 

I can’t believe how small they are- God, forbid I should sneeze! Lobelia seeds. They are ridiculously tiny! I’m sure there are even smaller seeds- but this was enough for me! And I insist on only having one seed per soil block, or try to have only one seed per soil block. I use these micro soil blocks for really tiny seeds and seeds that take forever to germinate- that way they take up much less room in the greenhouse. For me it is much less trouble to try to get only one seed per block rather than sowing a bunch and having trouble pricking out later on- teasing their roots apart to get a few plants- I can’t do it! I lose too many and feel horrible! Below is the size of soil block I use.

 

As you can see the soil blocks are tiny- sorry the dime has a glare on it. I use the micro soil block maker that I posted about a while ago to easily make these- they are by far my favorite tool for starting seeds. I’ve heard some say that the blocks crumble on them- this has never happened to me. I used to make my own soil for these, following Eliot Coleman’s recipe that I found in either his book Four Season Harvest, or his show Gardening Naturally that was on years ago. It was probably the book, however, because I’ve only been using this soil block method for a couple years. In any case, I’ve never had them crumble. Last year I started using the Black Gold Coco Blend potting soil and I now get close to 100% germination. I usually sift it for use with the micro soil blocks and add a little sifted compost, if I have any ready.

A friend was asking me a while ago how I store my seeds, and keep track of what I’ve sown. Well, I don’t have the best system, I’m sure, but here is what I do.

Here is my seed box.

 

I keep this in a very cool spot in my house. Most seeds go in this and for seeds that I’ve found don’t hold viability well, like corn salad, I put those in a special container in my fridge- one that air can be removed from. Someday I hope to get an old refrigerator for my garage and keep both my bulbs and seeds in there.

Inside my seed box, I have a few tools.

 

Real exciting, right? In the box are a label and marker, a glue stick to reseal the seed packs, a sharpened chop stick (I like to use the ones I saved from my trips to TX :), a soil test kit (which I have yet to use, I’m bad), and the seeds filed according to month. For sowing I use a white plate to put the seeds on, so I can see them better, and I keep a little cup with water near by to dip the chop stick into, so the seeds are easier to pick up. It makes it a lot easier to get just one seed in one soil block doing it this way. And of course, I have to have my granny glasses on! 

When going through the box this year, I found quite a few seeds that were a bit old, or some that friends gave me that I never did anything with, and a few that I just didn’t care for (looking at my records)- my husband suggested just tossing them into an unused bed and wait to see what pops up- I thought this was a great idea, so that is what I plan to do. I think I’ll throw them into the 4x4 I have for bulbs that I want to take with us when we move. That should be exciting!

 

I’ll even be nice and prepare the bed with sifted compost!

For keeping track of everything I’ve sown, I have a couple things I do. I have the Garden Tracker software that I use to keep records in, and it has a wonderful seed sowing log feature-  Here is a screen shot of the seed starting log. There is much more to this software, so be sure to check it out.

image


Garden Tracker has quite a few printable worksheets that I use for some things. I use the software and a notebook. I can take the notebook out in the greenhouse with me which is a nice thing. I use one sheet for greenhouse sowings and one for outdoor, including the cold frame. I don’t really care for the seed starting worksheet in Garden Tracker because the sheet is for only one plant type and I start so many seeds at the same time that I would end up with too many sheets. The other worksheets are useful, however. Below, are the ones I’ve managed to make. I’ve redone these at least a dozen times, changing this or that, I’m sure I’ll keep doing that until I get them just right. If you’d like to see them, or use them, here they are.

File iconseedstart-greenhouse.doc

File iconseedstarting-outdoors.doc

 

Some time in the next week, I’ll be putting up a list of things I’ve started  in the sidebar. And for my friends that are local, I was thinking of putting up a list of things available for you to come and grab for your gardens- please let me know if there is anything special you’d like and I’ll see what I can do.

 

Please let me know if you cannot view or use the files above- this is the first time I’ve used box.net and I’m unsure I have done it correctly :)



Happy Gardening!

Photobucket

Jan 20, 2009

Feedburner to Google

Hi all,

I just wanted to let everyone know that I will be moving my feedburner account over to the new Google feed burner this morning. I'm not sure how to do all this, but hopefully Google has made it easy. Apparently they have merged, so all of us using feedburner will have to do this by the end of February, I believe. If I encounter problems during this switch over, I'll be sure to post. For anyone that has subscribed to my blog- please stand by...I'm go'n in! And of course, please let me know if you experience any problems viewing my blog- I will appreciate it greatly. I am pretty new to all this and not sure how it is all going to work out. Thanks.




Happy Gardening, and blogging ;0
Photobucket

Jan 19, 2009

One of these things is not like the others...



Last fall I was ready to try my hand at having some early color in my little greenhouse. I looked through a couple books and decided that since it is not heated, except when we have really cold weather, I’d better stick to some safe ones listed in Shane Smith’s book Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion (click on the book link to preview this book, at page end, without leaving this blog:). I chose only a couple, and also wanted to have some pansies earlier than usual- which I knew would be a good choice since the ones I put out in my beds and some in pots, seem to make it through anything :)

I chose Ageratum and Snapdragon, going with a dwarf Snapdragon, and started them on September 25th. I made sure to put them in different colored pots, with a label, and all seemed to be going well, after potting them up from the soil blocks into 2” pots.
Here is a shot of a Snapdragon on Dec. 26th.


And here they are on the 14th of January. Yeah, overwatered...again!




Snapdragon (left) not a snapdragon (right)

One of these things doesn’t belong...can anyone tell me what the heck the one in the lower right is? It definitely doesn’t look like the Ageratum I started at the same time. The undersides of the leaves are a bronze color, if that helps. Any help would be appreciated :)

And I’m not sure, but shouldn’t I pinch the snapdragon out to get them bushier? When should you start pinching? Can you tell I’ve never grown Snapdragon? Can you believe I’ve never grown Snapdragon?...Who in the world hasn’t ever grown snapdragon! Funny, if you say Snapdragon too many times, the word starts to sound weird...
And the learning continues...



Happy Gardening!

Photobucket

Jan 17, 2009

Photo Tag...I’m it ;)

 

This is my first time doing a tag thing, and I didn’t really know what it was, but I’m always up for a little fun, so here it goes.

I was tagged by Aerie-el over at Gardener’s Roost in a post called Photo Tag, so here we go with the rules:


  Go to the 4th folder in your computer where you store your pictures  
   Select the 4th picture 
   Explain the picture
   Tag 4 people to do the same 


Now for me, I have subfolders in my folders and sometimes subfolders in the subfolders- No, I’m not a neat freak, I just hate having to search and search for a certain picture, so I really like the ability to have different categories :). Now the 4th folder had private photos in it (No, not that kind of photo! Shame on you!) so I had to go with the one just before it- The photo will zoom on mouse over :)

 

 

 

 

 

This is my baby Ransom. He is almost 4- hey, that’s another 4! He is a very playful, mischievous,  purebred Yorkie. I was considering breeding him, and also showing him, as he comes from a very good line of winners, but he’s just my pet and I love him to pieces!

In this shot he had fallen asleep on my dad’s lap at Christmas ‘07- fat and happy...with his tongue out. What a cutie!

Next time I take some pictures of him in and amongst my garden, I’ll be sure to post them.

Here are the 4 blogs I’ve chosen to tag- and as Aerie-el said, some people don’t get into the tag thing, so I too will leave it up to them whether they want to participate or not :)


Michele at Northwest Nature Nut 
Kim at Inadvertent Farmer  
Robin at Robin’s Nesting Place  
Jan at Thanks for 2 Day

 



Happy Gardening!

Photobucket

Jan 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: caught with my plants down- Jan.

 

I’m not sure what a meme is, or even how to say the word (some have told me, as in ‘theme’ and some me me.) I’m not even sure that the following is considered a meme, but it sounded fun! Over at May Dreams Gardens, Carol has started Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, so everyone can share what is blooming, not blooming, or they wish was blooming ;) in their gardens! What a great idea.

I went on a hunt this morning in the garden. Yes, after yesterday I was careful :). This time of year it can be difficult to have any blooms. Our weather here has actually been sunny- Wow! I know! This means that since it’s clear, the nights will be colder and the ground frozen in the morning. Here is what I discovered this morning.

 

I can’t remember the name of this weed, but I actually like the little blue flowers on them :) It looks much bluer than my camera was able to capture- or the user was able to figure out how to capture ;0 Funny how everything else won’t bloom, but the weeds do!

 

Poor Pansy, I grew these from seed last year. I’ve tried to give them a little cover with leaves- but the slugs seem to find them a comfy place to hide- darn slugs!

 

 

I believe this is my Oregano I started from seed last year and had a hard time holding out for warmer weather because the spring weather was so unpredictable, as it usually is. I think it looks beautiful with the frost on it.

 

The wood hyacinth is making its way out of the frozen ground- and I see the slugs have been at them.

 

I am pleased to find another bloom on the pansy (Yes, that would be a singular pansy!) in the greenhouse and hope that more will be on their way :)

 

I have started some more pansy, as I promised myself I would when they started blooming. I am unsure, because of low light levels, if I should be fertilizing them. Any thoughts on this?

The lettuce will be harvested today, and more started along with other greens that will go into the cold frame.

 

So, there you have it. My very first addition to the Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. If you want to join in visit Carol :)

 



Happy Gardening!

Photobucket