So many exciting things are happening!!

  1. The tulips are poking up!
  2. The snow is gone!
  3. My brain is going crazy with gardening stuff to do!

I plan to build some stuff this week:

  1. A window-box type holder for the back porch railing
  2. Trellises for the alley garden
  3. Maybe work on converting some planters to self-waterers

Also need to further plan my beds!  Also need to figure out how to get the manure from my parents’ down to my house!

I have a call in to the Capitol Region Watershed District about their rain barrel grants.  I am hoping we can install several since they match what you pay dollar for dollar.

My thoughts are also turning to hardscaping – flagstone paths and edging in the front yard.

My wildest dreams are trying to figure out how to espalier a fruit tree on the front of the garage.

Some bummers, too:

  1. The bunnies chewed off the climbing roses so we only have one cane of old wood now.
  2. The hydrangea planted last fall is not showing any signs that it plans to come back, though I may not be looking for the right signs.
  3. No crocus or daffodil action yet.  I am, however, encouraged by the tulips.

Today’s item of research has been organic lawn care.  Should I aerate or not?  Should I apply fertilizer (Ringers was recommended) or just compost?  Bah!!  Although in the process I did find a nifty new permaculture forum that seems pretty active and welcoming.

Overall, though, a Yippeeeeeeeeee!

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Winter Sowing

I prepped the containers last night and today planted the seeds, taped them shut, and put them out. However, I had to move them within a few hours because DH said they looked like garbage in the front yard (and they pretty much did, since they are reused containers 🙂 ) so they are living in the back yard now 🙂

Sowed scarlet runner beans, Minnesota midget melons, hollyhocks, lavender, and black eyed susans. As I acquire more containers, I will sow more kinds of seeds and put them out. We shall see!

Winter Sown Containers

The Winter Sown Containers Outside

Grow Lettuce Indoors

We bought grow lights from Menards and I mounted them on a board and hung them from some ceiling boards in the basement so we can use a shelf and it can be out of the way. Right now the flat is upstairs so they seeds can sprout in the warm, but once they germinate it will move back down under the lights. So not only have I located and planted lettuce seeds, but I got to play with the power drill! 🙂 Will keep updating.  Hopefully honey will like the lettuce 🙂

Our Lettuce Growing Station

Our Lettuce Growing Station

Just harvested the last of the worthwhile basil.  I kind of knew that if you pinched of basil it would still keep growing, but I was scared so I didn’t do as much pinching as I should have.  Now I see that if I’d really pinched often I’d have ended up with a few really robust plants rather than a bunch of puny twiggy plants.  So next year I will do that . . . fewer plants, more pinching.

Updated my dreams/to-do list.  Yippee.

I just got done devouring this lovely little book, which I happened upon simply because I wanted a better understanding of what lasagna gardening is and her other, more popular book already had many holds on it at the library.  Turns out this one is perfect for us!  Since we are novices, this book is great because she gives a ton of practical tips and doesn’t get bogged down in technical or philosophical stuff.  She has nice little lists of “Pat’s Picks” for annuals, perennials, vegetables, fruits and berries – all with space-challenged gardeners in mind.  She actually explains how to espalier (or train on a flat wall) a fruit tree.  And since it’s published by Rodale, it’s all organic techniques, especially important to me because we are on a corner lot with two storm drains going to the Mississippi.  I will be buying this book – now my to-purchase list is growing quite long!

Cover of Fresh Foods from Small Spaces

Cover of Fresh Foods from Small Spaces

For a novice like myself, this is a great book. It reinforced a lot of what I’d read elsewhere, inspired me to take on a sheet mulching project, and gave me tons and tons of good ideas about what kinds of edibles can be grown in low light. I plan to purchase it just for its recognition of and emphasis on the fact that foods can be grown in partial shade, which is most of our lot. His ideas about varieties for shade are awesome. I find this is a great follow-up book to The Urban Homestead – it’s got similar kinds of information but fewer illustrations. Admittedly, I only skimmed the chapters on fermentation, sprouting, and mushrooms. My interest mostly lies in the gardening-in-the-dirt types of activities right now.