Category Archives: spring planting

Early Spring!

With groundhog Phil predicting an early spring, I’m anxious to get back out into the yard! But it is February still. What to do?

Here’s what I’m planning:

  • While no snow is in the yard, rake up those darn oak leaves! They just keep coming–we still have some leaves on trees.
  • Start planning! Purchase seeds and bulbs.
  • Get ready for pea planting in March! Last year the peas I grew in containers did fabulously well; they were delicious! I’m definitely going to be planting more peas in containers on March 17.
  • Imagine how you want your yard to look, and make a plan. This is vital for me because I will be hosting a rather large graduation party for my son in June, and it will be held outdoors.

So, how will you spend the early spring? Whatever you do, happy gardening!

 

A Little Frost Coming: I’ve Got You Covered!

Everyone’s worried about their plants and the frost coming this week. First, don’t panic. This can easily be handled, given the size of your garden.

First, cold hardy plants, such as peas, are going to be just fine. You may cover them if you wish, but peas can even withstand a light snow, so they will be fine.

Spring hardy plants, such as Bleeding Heart, will also be just fine. Again, you may cover them if you wish, but I’m not going to do that. They will be fine, and mine are under trees, so I’m not really worried about them.

For everything else:

If you went ahead with the heat wave and planted pretty flowers, you have to cover them.

  • Before you cover them, make sure the plants are watered in well. This will actually protect roots from freezing, even though it goes against instinct.
  • Now, you may cover them. Do NOT use any type of plastic. Plants have to breathe, too! I’m going to use flannel sheets. Any sheet will work, but the flannel will give it just a little bit more warmth and protection.
  • Uncover the plants during the day, so they can have air and sunlight. Even on a cloudy day, they are still getting some sun.

And that’s all you have to do to keep your plants warm, comfy, and beautiful during the frost. Not so bad, really!

Sadly, if you own a large fruit orchard, this isn’t going to be enough–but if you own a large fruit orchard, you’ll know what to do!

Happy Gardening!

How to Grow Broccoli in Containers

broccoliBroccoli is a delicious vegetable, and it’s time to get planting! For zone 5, broccoli seeds should be planted outside on May 1. I’ve already started mine inside the house in a mini greenhouse. But in general, we want to plant the seeds two to three weeks before the last frost.

What we need:

  • Broccoli seeds or plants
  • Vegetable soil
  • A pot that is at least 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep with good drainage
  • Rocks or coffee filters
  • Fertilizer (I am using a combination of Epsom salts and sugar–1 cup each)
  • Water

How to Plant:

  1. Place your container in a sunny spot–broccoli needs at least three hours of sunlight a day.
  2. Add the rocks or coffee filters in the bottom of the container.
  3. Add in the soil. I am using an organic vegetable soil. If you want to go this route, it isn’t hard to find–I purchased mine at Target.
  4. Mix the fertilizer into the soil.
  5. Plant the seeds 1/2 inch deep or plant the small plants slightly deeper than their current growth.
  6. Space the seeds 12-24 inches to give the broccoli room to grow. Leave around 36 inches between rows, or use another container.
  7. Cover with soil.
  8. Water.

That’s it! Wasn’t that easy?! In about three weeks, you’ll want to fertilize the plants. Be sure to water the plants regularly, avoiding getting water on the broccoli heads.

When to Harvest
I wish I could give you a clear date–like eight weeks after planting–but that never works. Harvest the broccoli when the buds are firm and tight–before it flowers. If you see a yellow flower, harvest immediately! Off shoots from the main plant will continue to produce broccoli for several weeks–or all summer, depending on how hot it gets.

The Uglies
There are a few pests we have to watch out for–aphids (awful) and cabbage loopers (ick!). If you see curling leaves or small holes in the leaves, take action immediately. I generally spray with a combination of water and dish soap.

Overall, broccoli is easy to grow and will provide your family with a super food throughout the summer! Broccoli may also be planted again for a fall harvest–just keep an eye on the first frost date!

Happy Gardening!

 

 

 

Starting Seeds!

seedsLast weekend, we worked on starting our seeds for the spring/summer. We did this last year six weeks before the last frost, and my mini greenhouse was seriously out of control. So this year, we started them four weeks before the last frost. But right now, I’m not really sure when the last frost will be given that we just had snow yesterday.

So, I germinated the seeds over night by soaking them in a luke warm bowl, and then just planted each seed in a container. After just three days, I have broccoli, chamomile, datura, and other herbs coming up already!

I’m so looking forward to warmer weather and planting these outside!

Happy Gardening!

Snapdragons: An Early Spring Favorite in Our Garden

snapdragonsOn our last trip to Vite’s Greenhouse, our son asked us to bring back tropical snapdragons…..well, snapdragons aren’t tropical, but it might seem like they are up here in the frozen section of zone 5! When a bloom is gently pressed together, it really does look like a dragon.

For us, snapdragons are annuals. They may still be planted, though! Usually, the seeds are planted outside in a sunny or partially sunny spot a few weeks before the last frost date. These plants may also be purchased from a local vender, such as a greenhouse, Lowes, really anywhere they are selling outdoor plants.

Snapdragons begin flowering early–so they can add an incredibly punch of color into your garden before it’s time for the full summer blooms. Snapdragons come in a variety of stunning colors–some people like to plant a mixture of colors while others stick with one color for a larger effect.

Snapdragons may be cut and used for bouquets in the house, but mine usually do not last long in vases. Still, they provide a vibrant and attractive plant in your garden for audiences of all ages! This behavior might well be tied to the flower’s meaning in the language of flowers–deception and graciousness!

Happy Gardening!

Prepping for Spring!

clematis
Cleaning out planting beds

Today was the first warm (53 degrees), sunny day we’ve had since last October, so my husband and I got busy prepping for spring! It was so nice to feel the sun!

 

We began by cleaning out planting beds–we did this last fall, but we have massive oak trees behind the house and in the yard, so keeping the beds and the yard free of oak leaves is a year round job. We only got two beds done today, but once we did, we could see flowers finally sticking up out of the ground!

Pretty flowers Arriving Soon!

mycrocus2

tulip3
tulips peeking out

The crocus are finally making an appearance. I had about given up all hope for the crocus this year, but here they are! The tulips and hyacinths are also poking their heads out after our long, brutal winter. I’m very much afraid that instead of having a gradation of blooms, everything will bloom all at once; but, better this than no blooms at all! I hope the plants are coming alive in your garden, too!

 

Vegetables

peas
Planting Peas

We also planted our peas today. It is late; normally, we would have done this around March 17, but it’s just been too cold and snowy. I’m hoping for at least one good crop of peas, though! This time, we did add Epsom salts and sugar (1/2 cup each) into the soil instead of other types of fertilizer. As things develop, I’ll let you know what happens with this.

Happy Gardening!

Rhododendrons

orangerodedendronRhododendrons are spring favorites because of their lavish blooms, and they do come in a variety of colors.

Despite their beautiful blooms, rhododendrons are associated with danger in the language of flowers. I know; you’re probably asking why such a gorgeous plant could be correlated with danger.

The answer is quite simple, really. Rhododendrons are poisonous if ingested, and even kill people who eat honey harvested from bees who fed on the Rhododendron. They are also poisonous to grazing animals, so these aren’t the type of shrubs you want in a field or near a bee hive.

Nevertheless, rhododendrons are quite popular!

How to Grow

  • Pick a partially shady spot in your garden that is somewhat sheltered from the west wind.
  • Dig a shallow hole–you want the roots to be right at soil level or just slightly below. You don’t want the roots to rot.
  • Mix in a fertilizer, such as bone meal.
  • Place the plan in the hole and cover with soil.
  • Water and mulch.

Most varieties of rhododendrons will retain their leaves throughout the winter, providing some color in your garden year round.

Happy Gardening!