Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Creative Containers

I love container gardening.  Big containers, little containers, funky containers.  Haven't seen a container yet I didn't love.

I use colanders to grow lettuces.  I find it's the easiest thing in the world, and I place the containers on our outdoor dining tables as centerpieces.  Our tables have large umbrellas so the lettuces get some shelter from that hot, blazing sun.

I just take the container, throw the seeds right on top, water well, and place in the cold frame until the weather breaks.

I also add Johnny Jump-ups or marigolds in each colander just for the color.

This is an easy project, great for kids, so if you see colanders at yard sales or Dollar Store, grab a bunch and make yourself some nice edible centerpieces.

I'll upload new photos as the plants begin to grow.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

My Square-foot Vegetable Garden

2013 Vegetable Garden
In an effort to save myself countless hours weeding, I am foregoing row gardening for square-foot gardening.  This method has allowed me to double the number of plants I can grow in the same amount of space.

The only thing I have to be sure of is that the soil is very, very well nourished.

It's the only thing I need to focus on and everything else will fall into place.

This is my plan, seeds have been started, winter sown jugs have sprouted, and I am ready.

Frost be gone!  And let us eat!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Home-grown Potatoes

Sprouted Red Norland potato seeds
I've decided to grow my own potatoes this year for two reasons:

1.  It's easy enough.
2.  They'll taste better.

I'll be growing mine in garbage pails as the prospect of digging a trench a foot deep is not in my game plan.

The Red Norland potatoes are sprouted and can go in to the pail right now, but the Adirondack Blue and Yukon Gold show no signs of sprouting, so those will sit on my window sill for a couple of weeks until I see something happen.

Adirondack Blue on left and Yukon Gold on right
The way to grow these potatoes in your garbage can is here in video format or here in text format.

I am nowhere near my last frost date but the Red Norlands are so heavily sprouted that I will plant them now and cover the garbage can with clear plastic to let sunlight in an to create a greenhouse effect that will prevent frost from killing my crop.

The most important thing I got out of all my research was to eat NO GREEN POTATOES.  These can be toxic (who knew???) and the way to make sure you end up with no green potatoes is to be sure you have no sun directly hitting those potatoes.  So I will be mulching with straw to keep those rays at bay.  Also, do not attempt this with store-bought potatoes.  They're treated to prevent sprouting and you'll be waiting forever to see any action.

I'll post again as the season progresses, but I'm looking forward to a large bounty of fresh, home-grown potatoes.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Montauk Daisy in Spring
The Montauk Daisy is one of my favorite flowering plants and I have ten in My Father's Garden.  I planted ten in the Fall of 2010 and they were about six inches high and three inches wide.  They are now three feet tall and wide.

The put on a magnificent display in September and October but they are downright unsightly once the blooms are spent and the killing frost arrives.

As tempted as I am to prune them at that time, I hold off knowing that I risk losing them in the bitter winter.

So every year, at Christmas time, as friends and family come to see us, they are greeted at the door by the horror of the "spent" Montauk Daisy.

But come spring, I do a heavy pruning and cut each plant down to about two inches.  I cut off the buds, all the new leaf growth, and I do it unafraid.

I continue to cut the plant back until May 24, leaving only four to five inches of growth, and by doing this, I am guaranteed an amazing show in the fall, with big, robust blooms, and thick, glossy leaves.
Montauk Daisy Pruned

The plants do and will flop, but they won't get nearly as ugly as the Montauks you see in so many yards and gardens which are left unkempt and which haven't benefited from the hard pruning.

Ten plants will give me at least 200 cuttings every spring which are easily transplanted.  I have no place for new Montauks, but I have plenty of friends who are more than happy to take a few cuttings off my hands.

I purchased my daisies at a grocery store in September, and believe I paid $3 for each one.  There is no need to buy large plants that will cost you more; small plants will grow bigger than you can imagine.

Keep in mind that you need to give these plants plenty of space.  They need full sun, moderate amounts of water (rainfall is usually enough unless you have a bad, dry season), and I never fertilize.  I mulch with newspaper and shredded pink bark and that seems to be enough.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Oh Snow!

The wind blew the furniture into the obelisk
 It just doesn't want to stop snowing around here.

We had another foot of snow dumped on us, just when I was sure I'd be able to get out there and get to work.

The greens in the cold frame fared well, and the winter sowing jugs under the snow will be fine.

Word has it that temperatures will go up considerably over the next few days; I don't expect any more snow this seasons.

Seeds in jugs and plastic containers
 But this is Connecticut, and anything can happen.

Man makes plans, and God smiles.

Unfrozen Pond :)

Vegetable beds under snow

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