Monthly Archives: March 2017

End of Month View – March 2017

 

Some months ago I found this monthly invitational hosted by The Patient Gardener and it is a monthly chance to show off your garden. Unfortunately my garden is only worthy of show for about 6-7 months each year. Happily this is the beginning of that stretch, so I have pictures to share. YAY!!!! You do not know how much my mood lifts when I begin to see flowers blooming.

When I last posted we had just finished a new bulb bed flanking our 12 x 16 greenhouse. Due to the warmer than usual weather this “winter” (I am bracketing it in quotes because I cannot in good conscience call what we experienced a full-fledged winter), our Daffodils made an unexpected show of blooms in late February.

001

004

In this same planting we included some new tulip bulbs that are holding close to their expected bloom time in April. I am not sure if they will still have color by the end of April to include with the April EOMV, but I may just include a photo so you can see our success.

Things are hopping in the greenhouse now. We have geraniums in our window boxes, having purchased them so we can “push” them toward an early May deployment just in time for our son’s graduation/22nd birthday celebration. The weather may not be amenable to leaving them out full time on May 7th, but we at least hope to have them in place on that day. Trust me, the combination of greenhouse and the feeding regimen we have honed over 15 years will make the final product in May look amazing.

036

It is veggie seeding time as well. We have tomatoes seeded as well as cukes and zucchini. These are ear-marked for a new raised bed yet to be built, but guaranteed to provide critter proof growing conditions. Unless the maddening creatures have been doing pole vault training in Salt Lake City, Utah that is!

Another new addition to our gardening facilities is a 32 foot raised bed to try to allow us to grow bush beans. At one time we were able to enjoy enough beans to can 150 quarts for use throughout the year. Of course at that time we had a beagle mix named Louie who feasted on groundhogs and rabbits. Lately the only creatures getting fat on our beans have been the rodents. This year we hope to end that trend.

022

Up front we have creeping phlox blooming, although only one color.

005

Due to some sagging on our deck we are having to do some repair construction, so the long standing rails that support two Clematis have been removed. While it will not hurt the Clematis, the tendrils will likely seek something on the ground to attach to and may be a pain to re-train after we are done.

007

Two others already trained on trellises are also beginning to emerge from dormancy. Hopefully in 5-6 weeks they will share their gorgeous blooms.

Lastly I went out to cut off all the spent daffodils in our new bulb garden to find several tulips beginning to show color. I hadn’t noticed them due to the large number of taller daffodils that were shielding them for view. I look forward to the multiple colors of these spring beauties set to peak just around Easter.

010

If you want to check out more End of Moth View posts click here: EOMV

 

 

 

 

 

 

Floral Friday Foto – March 31, 2017

022.jpgWeekly partakers of this blog hop share photos of flowers and the like through the Floral Friday Foto. I stepped to the side of the wide path with one of my photos of a new raised bed we built this week.

So that I won’t be asked to leave this welcoming place, I do have one of my now blooming Amaryllis.

020

fff

 

Skywatch Friday – 03/31/17 – Joe O., VA, USA

002.jpg

 

We should have a celebration! I finally sent out a post that is not sunrise or sunset themed. I took this on Monday of this week of an angry looking sky to our north. We did not receive the kind of result normally accompanying this kind of sky, so I am unsure if it passed over or was just something deceiving looking to me.

If you go to the Skywatch site you can see sky-themed photos from all over.

 

When Can I Start Vegetables for My Garden?

 

GH2006

As you can see in the bottom right hand corner of the photo this was of my greenhouse operation that I called Potter’s Dream Greenhouses in May of 2006. By this time 11 years ago, meaning May 9th, I had seeded a few thousand vegetables, including tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, melons and more. You learn very quickly if you want to succeed in the greenhouse business you have to provide the right plant in the desired state of development in the proper time frame.

100_0314

100_0315

If you are seeding vegetables for your own enjoyment your schedule can be a little more loose. I have seeded tomatoes in the end of February or maybe a couple of weeks later during my greenhouse career, because I wanted bigger plants by the time the early birds came looking in mid-April when 70 degree days were the norm in the mountains of Virginia. Of course that did not mean we would not get frost up and through mid-May. In fact, during my first growing season in 2002 a late frost actually benefitted me as most of the known growers were sold out of plants following a third week of May freeze killed a lot of previously purchased plants.

This year we waited until the third week of March to seed our tomatoes. Part of this was just not getting to the task due to some other projects, such as cleaning out the greenhouse for the first time in way to long. So you can see the fruits of our efforts I will share some pics.

011

012

013

We decided to plant our tomatoes differently this year. Rather than seed then transplant into single cell trays we are just going to grow them all in one mass plant and separate to bigger containers when the time is right. Here you can see the trays we utilized in planting.

010

Yes, that is a tree branch in the middle of the left tray, which is actually separating the types of seeds. We chose three varieties originally, Roma, Beefsteak and an heirloom variety called Red-X. Since then I rounded up three more, Better Boy, Celebrity and a Yellow & Red Stripe shared with my father by a friend. I tried something different with these three varieties, adding about a dozen seeds to the bottom of a disposable plastic cup and then adding an ounce or two of water to see if I could accelerate the sprouting process. I will let you know if this works.

We also seeded cucumbers and zucchini on the same day. Tell me what you think about my high tech labeling system.

009

The main thing to consider when trying to nail down the date for starting vegetables is to know a few of things:

  1. What is the average germination time of my seeds?
  2. Can I provide a sheltered environment so they have the best germinating situation?
  3. Once germinated how long until I can transplant?
  4. How long from transplant until I can plant outside (i.e. when is the frost/freeze danger over)?

Seeding your own plants can be fun as well as rewarding, you just have to understand all the components to successful seeding. Good luck as you take on this task!

 

 

Daffodil Montage – Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge

Why do I love mobile photography challenges? I have three of reasons. 1) I love nature. I know it is directly connected to my love of God. Creation is a constantly changing canvas that continually renews with ever more thrilling art for our eyes to enjoy. 2) Before, but especially since I had my own greenhouse business I have been thrilled with any kind of blooming plant or flower. 3) My cell phone has a wonderful camera lens that takes some very good photos. By the way in case you are wondering, it is a DROID MAXX.

Winter is my least favorite season of the year. Usually it promises nothing but darkness, cold, wet and snowy conditions for days upon end. Do you know the difference between usually and always, besides the uncommon letters? usually means not every year will this be true. Hello Winter of 2017, I think you closely resemble something we know as spring. Yes, I am pretty sure on balance the sheer number of spring-like temperature days qualify you as a non-winter.

The daffodils were thoroughly confused. I didn’t complain however, since I associate their bloom with the beginning of real spring.

Thankfully the tulips planted in our new bulb garden are still riding their expected schedule, so I may be able to share them the next time this freestyle challenge returns.

https://lensandpensbysally.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/sally-ds-mobile-photography-challenge-challengers-choice-portrait-of-another-orchid-photomontage/

 

 

 

 

 

This is for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge.

Floral Friday Foto – March 24,2017

022.jpgWeekly partakers of this blog hop share photos of flowers and the like through the Floral Friday Foto. I stepped to the side of the wide path with one of my photos of a new raised bed we built this week.

So that I won’t be asked to leave this welcoming place, I do have one of my now blooming Amaryllis.

020

fff

 

Skywatch Friday – 03/24/17 – Joe O., VA, USA

 

Skywatch 32417.JPG

I know, I know, I am a sucker for sunrise or sunset photos, but every day the canvas holds something different. I believe this was an early summer photo looking to the south over the replica log cabin my neighbor’s uncle erected 30-40 years ago.

If you go to the Skywatch site you can see sky-themed photos from all over.