• Last spring my garden is alive after along winter sleep. Plenty of work to be done. Planted many vegetable seedlings grown in the greenhouse. Lettuce, carrot (sowed direct into the ground), collard, kale, Swiss chard, corn, pumpkin, potato, beet, summer squash, tomato and leek. The garden is doing great. Just yesterday I harvested several zuccinni. Right away I made zuccinni chocolate cake. It is always a joy to be able to harvest from your own garden and cook with the vegetable that you grow yourself. Gardening is an excellent exercise for body and mind. Regardless how big or small your garden is.
    Thank you for coming by.

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Buying Seeds by Mail

By November through the end of December seed catalogs arrived in my mailbox.   I usually put them aside until I am ready to look at leisurely. 

Seed catalogs is like a magical place to visit.  Some are cleverly written, some show beautiful picture, while others offer gardening information and recipes. 

Seed companies realize how winter can make our life miserable.   So they mail us their magical catalogs to a frustrated gardener like me to peruse in their vast treasure troves.   Dreaming how our garden will look like in the summer.  

Today seeds pricing seem to be a little high.   Although if one search around, there are catalogs offering reasonable price with good quality seeds.  For me who enjoy gardening buying seeds by mail is still the best way.  They offer much more variety than buying plants from the nursery.

General catalogs offer a mixed bags of annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs and standbys such as corn, tomatoes, lettuce, marigolds, cosmos and sunflowers.  Compare prices carefully not all seed packets price are the same. 

I found certain company are more generous than others.  Some packets stuffed generously, while others mighty stingy.  When I opened the seed packet,  looked inside  “gosh is that all”  what a disappointment.  In spite of this I still buy seeds by mail.  They are prompt with shipping, hardly any back order.  I suggest  order early so you will not have any out of stock items.    

The joy of seeing one’s own work flourish in those growing trays and seeing them thrive in the garden, to me is an achievement.

Nichols Garden     in Albany, Oregon offering herbs, heirloom, vegetable seeds.

Territorial Seed     in Cottage Grove, Oregon, offering variety of seeds and gardening supply.

Pine Tree       in New Gloucester, ME  offering variety of seeds, vegetables, flowers and gardening supply.

Turtle Tree  a biodynamic seed initiative in Copake, NY flower, vegetable and herb seeds.

Fedco  in Waterville, ME  flower, herb, vegetable and gardening supply.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds Wainslow, Maine, flower, herb, vegetable and gardening supply.

Vermont Bean Seed Randolph, WI, vegetable, flower, and gardening supply.

Happy Gardening !

Building a Greenhouse

My husband and I have been discussing to build a greenhouse for along time.  Since we moved to Oregon several years ago finally our greenhouse is a reality. 

We decided to convert the carport when the roof collapsed by the sheer weight of heavy snow.  It is unusual to get snow in this area, if we do have, only lasted for a few weeks.  We hired a contractor/handyman to build our greenhouse.

The greenhouse all wood construction, beams, panels, and posts.  Glass windows and the roof a corrugated fiberglass provide ample light.  A regular greenhouse without bells and whistles.  No heating except for the growing box with heating coils where I have my seeds flats for germination.  It will stay there until ready to transplant outdoor in the spring.

Construction in progress

Greenhouses comes in many shapes and sizes.  Ours is 10 by 20 sq.ft.,  hight from top center of the roof to the ground approximately 25 feet.  The foundation is concrete slab remainder from the carport.  Built from scratched, it is  a sizeable greenhouse, similar to a small cabin in the woods.

When building  a greenhouse you need to consider many things.  Finding a suitable space on your property.  Obstructions such as buildings that will block light or trees.  Building codes, size of the greenhouse and the amount of money you want to spend.  You have to consider your possible options carefully.  If building a greenhouse from scratch is not an option, you can consider  prefab greenhouse that come in many sizes from small to large or in between. 

The finished greenhouse

Having a greenhouse has some benefit too.  You can start your seeds for early start in the garden or exotic plants that need to be  indoor most off the time.   The greenhouse have given me much pleasure over the years and gardening is more enjoyable.

Snow covered greenhouse

“Treat the earth well. It wasn’t given to you by your parents.  It was loaned to you by your children. ”    – Kenyan proverb-

Happy gardening ! 

 

                                  

 

May Gardening Calendar

I have been so busy lately my blogging is slightly slow.   Here is a list of what to do in the garden for this month.

  • Fertilize rhododendron and azaleas;  remove spent blossoms.
  • Plant chrysanthemums for fall color
  • Plant dahlias in mid-May
  • Control insects in vegetables.  Control can involve hand removal, placing barrier screen over newly planted rows or spraying with appropriate materials.
  • Tiny holes in foliage and shiny, black beetles on tomato, beets, radishes, and potato indicate flea beetle attack  Treat with Neem, rotenone or use nematodes for larval stage.
  • Fertilize roses and control rose diseases such as mildew.

Prevent root maggots when planting cabbage family, onions, and carrots, by covering with row covers, screens, or by applying appropriate pesticides.

Happy Gardening !

Rosemary and Thyme

 

 
Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis), my favorite herb.  I added to chicken, pork, fish, soups, stocks, and sauces.  Also, it gives the home a wonderful aromatic scent.  Simply clip off small leaves and place them in a potpourri container and brew for a fresh outdoors scent or cut stems and use in floral arrangement.  In the bathroom, I used it for a soothing and aromatic bath, tie on herb bouquet (rosemary, and lavender) to the faucet with a string, water will pour over the sprigs as it fills the tub.  Lavender will calm the mind, rosemary a light astringent stimulate and  rejuvenate.  The sprig will last for about two weeks.
The rosemary in my herb garden is the Tuscan Blue variety.  Rigid upright branches to 6 feet tall grow directly from base of plant.  Leaves are rich green above, grayish underneath.  Flowers blue violet 1/4 to 1/2 inch bloom in winter and spring.  I notice that the flower attract birds and bees.  Plant in a sunny location, endures poor soil, but good drainage is a must.  I fertilize every spring with compost tea and prune lightly in the fall.

Ancient time England rosemary were wound around church pillars and branches were placed on altars.  I wonder if they still do in this modern day?  Another folklore I read, a sprig placed under the pillow would repel evil spirits and bad dreams.  Dried rosemary was laid in the bed linen to insure faithfulness.  Whether this is true or not it remain to be seen.

 
Thyme (Thymus) another wonderful herb. Excellent for meat, stuffings, soups, and shellfish.  foliage usually heavily scented.  Attract bees.  Grow in full sun to light shade in well-drained soil.  I prune in fall  to encourage growth.  You can also propagate from cuttings taken early in the summer. 
 
This herb plant started from seed,  slow to germinate,  I thought it will never make it.  Now it has grown large and sturdy.  A common variety Thymus Vulgaris,  shrubby perennial  6-12 inch high narrow to oval, fragrant.  Tiny lilac flower in dense whorls, June and July.  Good container plant.
Bouquet Garni:  2 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 rib celery, 1 sprig marjoram, 1 dried bay leaf, and 1 sprig rosemary.  Cut the celery into two equal pieces about 2 1/2 inch length, and place the herbs between them.  When tied securely, this makes a firm little bundle of aromatics.  Good for stocks and soups. 
Herbes de Provence: 
3 tablespoons dried marjoram
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
3 tablespoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
3 tablespoons dried savory
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
                                                                     1 teaspoon dried basil
Combine all ingredients.  Mix well and spoon into small jar.
Makes 3/4 cup

Happy gardening…..

 
 

Night Blooming Cereus

I inherited this beautiful plant from the previous owner.  It did not bloom for several years.  I repotted and give it some tender loving care, finally my hard work paid off.  Since then it has been giving me joy over the year with its delightful fragrance and flowers.

Latin name Epiphyllum Oxypetalum (night blooming Cereus).  Bloom only once late at night, stay open until morning.  The fragrance would lingered for awhile.  A magnificent creation by nature leaves us in awe by this wonderful Epiphyllum.  A member of orchid cactus family, it needs period of dryness and cool time temperature in the winter to ensure summer bloom.

Happy Gardening…….