Posts Tagged ‘garden’

planting tips

even though father winter decided to drop back in on the north east this week, planting is still on my mind! i started some tomato and pepper seeds inside under the grow lights weeks ago and even got some lettuce and flower seeds started in the greenhouse… but who isn’t itching to finally dig their hands into the soil?!

when the time is right for your grow zone, try out some of these crafty planting tips:

companion planting
something new to me is planting cucumbers by sunflowers to make them sweeter. they require similar soil conditions and the sunflower stalks give the cucs some support to climb. another is the ‘three sisters’ which the Native Americans used – squash, beans and corn all in the same mound.

fertilizer straight from your home
crushed egg shells sprinkled around plants provides a great source of calcium carbonate. oyster shells crushed up in a food processor are an even better source. a couple of Tums tablets dissolved in a gallon of water and used to water your tomato and squash plants strengthen them and prevents blossom end rot. and used coffee grounds tossed in the garden instead of the trash is another handy source of nutrients.

water for your plants
use cooled chamomile tea to water your plants to ward off bacterial and fungal infections and to prevent young seedlings from damping off. also, water used to boil pasta or vegetables is another source of nutrients to reuse in your garden.

plant in odd numbers
this makes your garden more balanced looking and pleasing to the eye – also gives the illusion that the plants are bigger and healthier.

gardening by moonlight
planting by the light of the moon actually causes gardens to grow faster and stronger than they do if you plant by day. this also helps when you’re planting new seedlings into the ground, they have less of a chance of being shocked.

plant placement
by keeping shorter plants on the south side of your vegetable garden and tall plants toward the north, this prevents taller plants from casting unwanted shadows over smaller crops, shading them from the sun.


operation: garden prep

last year’s first year experience of having a veggie garden taught me a lot of things. in particular, certain kinds of veggies just don’t like to be started indoors – be patient grasshoppa!

considering last year’s operation looked something like this:

while this year’s is something like this:

note: the glaring light to the right is from the AeroGarden which has 7 different kinds of herbs growing right now - to be transplanted outside on April 26th

uhh, yeah, you could def say i learned a WHOLE lot!

a lot of the seeds i started indoors under the grow lights last year had a rough time making all of the transitions – little peat pot to big peat pot to greenhouse to ground… sadly, lots were lost along the way 😦 … but i did account for that, so it all kinda worked out in the end – space-wise in the garden

this year i have grape and plum tomatoes and bell peppers started in the pots above, big enough so i don’t have to transplant them to a larger sized pot! this weekend the bell pepper plants will move to the greenhouse (as long as these temps stay like they are) until they can go in the ground and once the tomatoes get a little bigger, they’ll join the party in there

… side note: the plum tomato variety i am growing are the ones used to make Heinz ketchup = SCORE! …

lettuceromaine, butterhead and a patio blend – are getting started right in pots in the greenhouse this weekend too. another round will get started the same way in 3 weeks, then 3 weeks after that a round will get started in the garden beds outside. i my greens 🙂 depending on temperatures and how things are growing in the lechuga dept, i’ll probably keep a 3 week planting cycle going on for as long as i can then get it started back up towards the end of the summer when it’s not as toasty out there

as for the rest of the garden, here’s how its going down–>

sow in the ground soon:
carrots and green onions (hubster’s request – really?!)

after danger of frost:
bush beans, cucumbers and watermelon (another of his requests – does he know how long these vines spread = lawn encroaching!)

start in greenhouse soon:
summer and winter squash

what are YOU growing this year?!

PS – I got a “and no jig saws” last night… must remember to plot secretly, he actually reads this thing! :0)

gardening without the garden

it’s so incredibly satisfying to grow your own food, but not everyone has the space to set up veggie beds this spring… so what does a garden lover tight on space do?! check out these crafty gardening projects that work in even the smallest of spaces – or may add an interesting touch or conversation piece to what you already have growing!

click on the pics for assembly info:

Mason Jar Wall Planter

requiring little more than some mason jars, an old piece of wood, and pipe clamps


Re-purposed Shoe Organizer Turned Vertical Garden


Vertical Pallet Garden


and who says good things don’t come in small vertical packages?!

the giraffe test

your weekly special:
FRIDAY funnies

The Giraffe Test

there are 4 questions – don’t miss one!

1) How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?

stop and think about it and decide on your answer BEFORE you look at the answer

~the correct answer~
open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and close the door.
(this question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way)


2) How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?

~the correct answer~
open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door.
(i bet you thought, open the refrigerator, put in the elephant, and close the refrigerator? – this tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your previous actions)


3) The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the animals attend, except one. Which animal does not attend?

~the correct answer~
the elephant, he’s in the refrigerator. you just put him in there.
(this tests your memory… okay, even if you did not answer the first three questions correctly, you still have one more chance to show your true abilities)


4) There is a river you must cross but it is used by crocodiles, and you do not have a boat. How do you manage it?

~the correct answer~
you jump into the river and swim across.
(this tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes. have you not been listening? all the crocodiles are attending the Animal Conference!)


According to Anderson Consulting Worldwide, around 90% of the Professionals they tested got all questions wrong, but many preschoolers got several correct answers. Anderson Consulting says this conclusively proves the theory that most professionals do not have the brains of a four-year-old.


what’s on for the weekend?!

i’ll be getting my seed growing station set up inside (here’s last year’s operation), turning over the crimson clover to create that green manure i was raving about, planting pepper seeds (i know, i’m a little late on this!), and running 9 miles (i have 15k & 10 mile races at the end of the month and the half marathon may 6th!)


this weekend i hit up, for the first time ever, the Deep Cut Orchid Society’s annual show

i’m not gonna lie, i really thought we’d go there and see tons of the regular looking orchids you see around

WOW – was i in for a rude awakening!

my jaw was on the ground, there were SO MANY different types filling the greenhouse with their beautiful colors, textures, shapes, and smells

this totally hits the ‘ya learn something new every day’ nail on the head


did you get out on Saturday to RUN FOR SHERRY?!

six of us pinned on our bibs and hit the scenic trails in honor of Sherry and all of the other bikers, runners, walkers, hikers who never made it home to their families. it was such an unexplainable feeling knowing there were people all over the world doing exactly the same… what a beautiful thing :0)

challenge accepted

you ask, i answer

yesterday’s post on ridding the garden of pests by using nasturtium sparked a comment from a reader:

“… I need help on what to plant in my back yard in between the rocks that hold the hill up. Gets a lot of sun and since we are high desert very dry. I want a plant that has some color but not totally clinging to the rocks. Do you accept this challenge? …”

why, yes i do!

now, i happen to know this reader personally, so i was able to figure out that their town lies in zone 6b for gardening – makes the challenge a wee-bit easier, being im in the same zone  😉

i had initially suggested sedum/succulents… i have them in the rock garden i have been building over the years that resides under an overhang of our house, getting little to no water and is in the full sun most of the day, we may not be in the ‘desert’ but it seems pretty desert-y under there. the colors, shapes and size varieties that are available are great!

so, im sticking to my first response – check out some of these options below:

Sedum ‘Variegatum’ Stonecrop
zone 3-9
height 4-5″
full sun
low-growing, pale green succulent leaves tinged with white and pink
orange-yellow flowers in June to July

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ Stonecrop
zone 3-9
height 18-24″
full sun
gray-green leaves with rose-colored flowers in August that fade to brick red in October
needs to be planted in full sun in well-drained soil, it will tolerate most soil types and is drought resistant

Sedum ‘Cauticola’ Stonecrop
zone 4-9
height 3-5″
full sun
great groundcover
purple-edged blue-gray-green foliage, flowers are pink in late summer and age to reddish-pink
a spreader
well suited for hot, dry, sunny areas and works well in many different soil types

Sedum ‘Matrona’ Stonecrop
zone 3-9
height 18-24″
full sun
shiny-red stems that are lined with blue-green leaves
broad flower heads of maroon to pale pink appear in late summer, become chestnut-brown in winter
prefers dry soil, drought resistant
a great butterfly and bee attractor

Sedum ‘Vera Jameson’ Stonecrop
zone 3-9
height 9-12″
full sun
deep purple leaves and dusty pink flowers appearing in late summer and last in fall
a wonderful ground cover
new growth shows blue-green leaves that turn into deep mahogany red in the fall
tolerates most soil types and is drought resistant
excellent as cut flowers – another great butterfly and bee attractor

there are so many more out options available, but that’s just a handful to get started with

and yes, little missy, i expect some pictures once all of these – and then some – are planted!!

ridding the garden of pests – one flower at a time

because the seed catalogs trickling into the house these days has been getting me oober excited about this years vegetable garden, let’s talk shop for a hot second while this post is fresh in my mind

Farmer T and i are constantly emailing tips and tricks back and forth – gardening is def one of the main subjects – and he passed on this bit of goodness the other day that reminded me of my ‘Sacrificial Planting‘ post from this past summer

why you should grow nasturtiums in your garden this year:

1) they are well known for attracting aphid infestations
2) cabbage white butterflies like their large leaves
3) slugs go to nasturtiums like a moth to a light bulb
4) they protect your vegetables from predatory pests
5) nasturtium leaves, flowers and seeds are edible

plant them in the same hill as your squash plants, they’ll keep those pesky vine borers away from your main crop, AND they add a beautiful pop of color – who says only veggies are allowed in the vegetable garden :0)