Sunday, February 2, 2014

We survived January!

I know it doesn't seem much to celebrate, but the coldest January in over 100 years is behind us!  School was cancelled four days due to extreme cold.  That is unheard of in MN.  But it did give me time to put in a seed order, which arrived yesterday.  Now I have another two months of dreaming before I start my tomato seeds.  Sounds like time to create my garden layout for this spring.

February seemed to be the time of year when my garden pantry was empty.  But not this year.  I was either much more productive this fall (which may have been the case) or we haven't been eating from the garden pantry as often as in prior years.  This time of year, though, the potatoes and onions in storage are starting to look a little worse for wear.  As long as my family doesn't see what they look like before they get cooked and mashed, it's all good! 

A success last garden season was my carrots!  I'm so thankful that we brought the fridge from the garage into the basement before the snow arrived.  I still have about three gallon storage bags full of beautiful garden carrots that still taste as great as they did when we pulled them from the ground.  I love that the garden keeps on giving throughout the year.  Today I'm making this vegetable quinoa soup using my own beans, carrots, tomatoes, and onions.  Perfect on a cold winter day when I'd rather be in the garden.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Garden Tours

Each summer, one of the staff members at the school where I work organizes a staff garden tour.  This year we visited a couple of gardens belonging to retired school employees.  How fun!  Now I know what I will be doing in my retirement  (in 20 years)-- gardening my heart out!

I always come home from garden tours with at least a FEW ideas or plants that I just must add to my garden.  The plant I fell in love with this year was the hosta "Whirlwind." 

Whirlwind is the hosta in the center, with thick, deep green edged leaves that are all whirled around.  So of course I came home and ordered one right away!  The only site I could find selling this (with it in stock) was NH Hostas & Companion Plants.  I've never ordered from them before, so hopefully I won't be disappointed. 

Of course, one can never order just ONE hosta at a time.  No, that just wouldn't do.  So here's what else I added to my cart:

Tea & Crumpets Hosta

Wheee! Hosta

Rockets Red Glare Hosta

I also stopped and picked up some new shrubs, specifically a golden barberry and a neon colors spirea. 

Next week is the Carlton County Master Gardeners garden tours, so I'm sure I'll be back with even more ideas!


May 19 and we just now got the potatoes planted in the garden.  Tilling the garden seemed even a bigger chore this year than ever before, until I remembered that we did increase the size of the garden by 50%, so of course it took awhile longer!

This week is a crazy busy one at work and with kids' baseball and softball practices and games, but I'm hoping to get out on 5/21 to put in the other cold weather crops.

Slow spring

May 5th and I just got around to raking the leaves out of the perennial beds.  How very sad.  Not much is coming up at this point, except the hardy sedum and the tips of the iris.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

It's been a long, long time

After taking a almost a year vacation from blogging, I'm ready to get back into it. We have had such an unusual spring, I find that I'm wanting to go back to last year's blog to compare but I have so few notes! So I will do better this year.

We have had beautiful weather today but this has been a crazy spring. Last weekend we got 14 inches of snow (4/19) and this weekend we had 70 degree weather. The snow is almost gone now, but there is still plenty of ice on the lake. We finally saw a sliver of water a few days ago (see picture) and today there is about five feet of open water along the shoreline. Hopefully it won't be long now!

So nothing is really growing yet, unless you count the sedum that are just starting to poke their heads out of the ground. I started some seeds again this spring but not as early as last year. I stared tomatoes ( Early Girl and Roma) and green peppers April 1. About 4/15 I started some flowers (zinnias, petunias, impatiens, and cosmos) and just today I found banana pepper seeds that I saved from last year so I started those as well. I transplanted the Romas today and need to purchase some peat pots so I can transplant the rest of the tomatoes.

I am wondering, though... Is it safe to start lettuce?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Gardening Therapy

My heart is heavy this week as my little home town is dealing with a tragic flood that has caused extensive damage to the homes of my friends and neighbors, and my school where I also work.  So I have had little time for gardening this past week.  I don't know how long my martagon lilies were blooming (for the first time!) before I snapped these quick pictures on my phone the other day.  

Thankfully it has been good gardening weather and my garden was not in an area that suffered from the ten inches of rain that fell last week.  I am thankful for my family, my home, my health, and for my gardens that bring me peace!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kids in the Garden

Here's my little squash planter, the youngest of my three little garden helpers.

When I started gardening, I didn't set out to teach my kids about where food comes from, the pleasure of hard work and a job well done, and the sweetness of getting to taste the fruits of one's labor.  But in addition to the nutritional benefits of consuming home grown foods, they are learning a lot!  It is a lot easier to get them to try peas fresh in the pod when they had a hand in putting them in the ground.  They even help in the pickling and canning process in the fall. 

I come from a gardening family so I have always known the joys of the first bites of baby reds in early July, the feast of eating garden grown sweet corn all of August, and labor of canning tomatoes.  It shocks and saddens me when I hear stories of children not knowing where carrots come from and that they are a root vegetable that grows in the ground!  Not to sound all "doomsday-ish," but I'd like to think that my children would at least have an idea of how to save seeds and work the ground should our society crumble and they need to be able to supply their own food some day.  And wouldn't we all be a little better off if we were to move more in that direction now, without the whole doomsday scenario playing out, please.