Saturday, April 24, 2010

Guess Who Won The Mulch War...

Not me. Hubby had his heart set on red mulch. So we went to Backyard Farmer and he got 3 yards (approx.) from Brian~who keeps promising that the ice cream is on it's way! LOL. I find the red mulch to be very modern and if you haven't guessed by now I'm an old fashioned country gal myself. But Hubby has done a bunch of manual labor so I let him win the Mulch War. YES, I let him win! It may take me a while to get used to but I have to admit it looks tons better than the weedy walkway.

Before and After
The weed fabric continues over my new flower beds. I have a lot of Siberian Iris and Daylilies to go into the new beds. I think I'll build a bench in one of the new beds. It would be nice to have a place to sit to enjoy both the flowers and the veggies.

Plans, Plans, Plans...So many Plans, So little Time!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Everyone needs a Plan, Man!

And I've got mine. Thank goodness for computers if I had done this plan with paper and pencil I would've had a hole from where I erased right through the paper! LOL. Even with the computer it took a while...but I got my plan.

Or has it got me?

The vining plants (green beans, pumpkins, Squash, Zucchini) are along the fence to make trellising easier. I saw a Squash plant in a whiskey barrel and it was so beautiful. So I decided to give it a try with both by Squash and Zucchs! I'll let you know how they do.
Have you ever seen a Strawberry Tree? I never had until I was browsing the Users Personal Albums at the SFG Gallery. That's where Therese's beautiful garden and Strawberry tree caught my eye. She was kind enough to share the how to build link. I love the kindness of gardeners. So willing to share, whether it's a cutting from their garden, seeds, extra plants, or links to the real cool garden stuff! Ill share photos after hubby builds it for me. LOL.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Building the Garden...Again

Last spring, I finally managed to convince my hubby to try raised bed or Square Foot Gardening. At the time we built three boxes and moved our arbor in front of them.

It looked incomplete so Hubby added a cedar fence that enclosed a very large area. And he added a box that ran the legnth of the fence. So last year, we had a total of 4 boxes and a fence and arbor.

This year, I asked for more 2 boxes. I should really know better...

We now have:
  • 3 ~ 4'x4' boxes
  • 2 ~ 4'x8' boxes
  • 2 ~ 2'x12' boxes
  • 1 ~ 2'x20' box

Last year we left the walkways natural. We figured that we could just weedwhack when needed but there was a terrible side effect of weedeating...All the weeds flew into our beautiful beds. So this year all the walkways have been convered in weed barrier fabric and await mulch. Which brings us back to The Great Mulch Debate.

Although, we may be debating what color to choose we have chosen where to buy the Mulch. Our favorite garden shop has re-opened for the season. We stopped in to the Backyard Farmer and had a great conversation with Brian about our plans for our gardens and about his plans for the shop this year. Apparently, I can now get an ice cream when picking out my herbs! We will get our mulch on Saturday (weather permitting). Brian recommended Preen for one of my flower beds that was taken over by crabgrass last year. So I'm anxious to give the Preen a try.

What a Great Gardening Weekend!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Harris Seeds to the Rescue

Have you ever realized that your best intentions of being early for something was quickly slipping away? Well, that's what happened to me on Monday, April 12th. Suddenly I realized that I hadn't ordered my seeds yet. Even though I received my Harris Seeds catalog months ago. I had even highlighted every seed I intended to buy. AND I made a matching list...All done months ago! But I had never actually ordered. So I hopped online Monday and ordered my entire list. ~Sigh~ I felt better.

3 nights later, I woke suddenly from a sound sleep. My heart was racing and panic filled me. I had forgotten to look at shipping! What if it was 6-8 weeks before delivery!?! What would I do? I needed those seeds to get started in the next week or two. Falling back to sleep was not easy.

Yesterday morning, as I wrote my blog about the seeds I ordered I nervously worried, and fretted. The "What if's..." playing havoc with my brain. So finally with catalog in hand I dialed the Harris Seeds number.

I hurriedly explained to the operator my worry. She immediately put me at ease by assuring me that most orders are shipped within 24-48 hours. YEAH! Then she offered to check the order for me. During the time that she looked up the information she talked to me about gardening, the warm weather, how she feared that some gardens hadn't given enough thought to the "killing frost" that sometimes hits late in the season. I told her about how I was starting my seeds much later than everyone else but how I refuse to trust my seedlings outside until Memorial Day (I'm in 5A after all!). It was a wonderful chat. Almost like talking with an old friend. She even asked for me to send some photos of this year's harvest!

Needless to say when the conversation ended I was very impressed Harris Seeds. I was so relieved and so pleased that I smiled for nearly an hour. Just as my smile started to fade I checked my mail and what did I find? MY SEEDS!!! It was like Christmas morning for me! I stood like a kid in the middle of the road, clapping my hands in excitement!

I was so pleased with Harris Seeds that I immediately sent off an e-mail. They quickly responded and asked for permission to use my "testimonial". I easily agreed. Why wouldn't I? With great service like that why wouldn't I?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Seeds...Better late than never?

I usually start my seeds in March but I've been disappointed by "leggy" and poor producing plants. Part of me blames the seeds. In the past I've bought any variety I could find at a local store but this year I received a seed catalog from Harris Seeds. I studied that catalog like a college kid cramming for finals. I liked the fact that they are located in Rochester, NY. I figured that if a variety did well in their test garden shouldn't be too different.

I also heard that you shouldn't start your seeds until 4 weeks before planting to avoid legginess. Or so Martha Stewart's gardening expert said. Knowing that I won't be planting fragile plants until Memorial Day I've decided that I'll be starting my seeds indoors in mid to late April.

Knowing I bought really great varieties this year. From an actual seed company! I just wanna get dirty!!! LOL. I bought:
  • Harris Lettuce Blend (a blend of Cimmaron, Red Salad Bowl, Tango, Slobolt, Green Salad Bowl and Royal Oakleaf)
  • Bush Blue Lake Beans
  • Colored Sweet Pepper Seed Blend (Lady Bell ~green to red, Early Sensation ~green to yellow, Valencia ~green to orange, Purple Beauty ~green to purple, and Flamingo ~light yellow to blush red to red. The kids will love all those colors!)
  • Regal Cucumber
  • Nantindo Carrots (pelleted~last year I had a horrible time with overcrowding)
  • Revelation Corn (early variety) & Renaissance Corn (late variety)
  • Waltham Butternut (why mess with a classic?)
  • Zuchini Elite
  • Howden Pumpkins
  • Charlotte Radishes (Can't wait to make more radish relish! Mmmm...)

As you can see there is no tomaotes. I understand almost every good gardener loves growing tomato. But hubby and I are not tomato fans. We've discussed growing them to make our own salsa, and spaghetti sauce but... not this year.

Until I can get my seeds started I've got plenty to do. Garden Clean-Up and Additions. Oooh what fun.

Monday, April 12, 2010

In Search of Mulch

Yesterday, I crammed the kiddies and hubby into the truck and went in search of Mulch. Bulk Mulch. I have way too much area to cover to get bagged mulch. It should've been an easy task...or so I thought! See what thinking gets me.

Store 1: My favorite garden store uncharacteristically closed for the winter ~ I blame the economy! So obviously there was no mulch there. They will reopen in a few weeks. So there is that to look forward to.

Store 2: Had Bulk Mulch but we walked through the entire garden center for nearly 15 minutes and never saw an employee! So we shrugged our shoulders and piled back into the truck.

Store 3: An out of the way Greenhouse that I've been wanting to visit FOREVER! Oh, it was a beautiful sight. Alas, they don't get their bulk mulch in until the end of April. ~Sigh~

Stores 4, 5, and 6: Bagged Mulch only! But the chickees and the duckies were in! I love Spring!

I don't know what I would've done if I found mulch anyways. Hubby and I couldn't agree on a mulch color. He loves Red but I know it doesn't "go" our log cabin stain. I like the black because I think it makes the soil look "rich". He thinks it's too dark. In the past, we've gotten natural but that doesn't stay fresh looking very long. Choices, Choices, Choices!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Trying to get back on Track

It's been forever since I've posted anything at all...and I'm very sorry. I had the best intentions last spring but the Gods of Reliable Computers weren't with me. However, that has changed. For my birthday I was gifted a brand new computer that doesn't object to internet browsing that lasts more than 5 minutes, or booting up on a regular basis.

Luckily, it hasn't been that long since I've gardened. Having finally become somewhat satisfied with my flower gardens I spent last year attempting veggie gardening. Now, in the past I've tried traditional methods of veggie gardening with horrifyingly terrible results. So I convinced hubby to try Square Foot Gardening. He thought I was a quack but I pointed out how well my flowers do in raised flower beds...why can't it work the same for veggies. We went out and bought the book by Mel Bartholomew. We followed his advice (to the best of our abilities) and we enjoyed the best veggie gardening of our lives!

I'll see if I can "dig" up some of last year's pics. That's kind of difficult considering they're scattered across 3 semi-working computers. LOL. This year hubby plans on adding 4 more SFG boxes (I think I've created a monster~LOL). And I solomnly keep up with this blog. And as long as I'm making promises...I think it's time I got back to my garden club. I just have to make sure not to overextend myself this time. I feel awful about letting the club down but my schedule just won't allow for me to be involved with anything more than attending meetings at least not for now.

For those who may or may not remember I had a blog regarding my daughter's diagnosis with Epilepsy. I have removed it. Thank you to all who stopped by the blog and offered your support but I've realized that the reason there are so few Epilepsy blogs are...when you spend all your time dealing with Dr.'s, Neuro's, School, CSE, Pharmacies, etc...who has time or energy to blog about it too!