Sunday, December 30

Amaryllis Gift

I received this lovely Giant Amaryllis Bulb as a gift.
I thought about about what an easy this would be to make on your own and
how elegant!
Instead of the typical bulb in pot situation, the bulb is set on a round plastic disc to stabilize it and sits on top about 2inches of pebbles. I believe I have seen similar disks in the floral section of arts and craft stores for under $3. You might even be able to skip the disk.
Here is a close up of the pebbles. I know you can find these at your local dollar store. Flat marble type stones could work too or even stones from your own garden as long as they are smooth. The instructions directed me to add one cup of water to the stones.
A warning on the box states not to submerge the bulb in water.
The glass vase is one that is easy to find at the local dollar store or Goodwill.
Here you can see the leaves of the bulb emerging.
One important note is that these bulbs have been forced to bloom for the Holiday Season.

Here are the care instructions. The Amaryllis needs to be kept at 70 degrees.The container also needs to be rotated so the Amaryllis grows straight. I would simply type or hand write the instructions in an enclosed card.

Monday, December 24

Merry Christmas Sprouts Friends & Family

Caroline and I have just started to receive our Spring 2013 Seed Catalogs and can't wait to complete our 2013 Seed List. I have been busy moving my residence and business location still in Portland, Oregon this fall all within a 3 week period. As you can imagine it was quite hectic. Caroline has been busy with one son in college and another finishing high school requirements. Hope to catch you all up with our 2012 Gardening Plans after the new year!

Thursday, September 20

Note To Michele: September Garden Tour

Hi Michele,
 
We're starting to feel a nip in the air at night. It won't be long before we experience our first frost. This evening, I took a walk through my garden, camera in hand, to show you the last hurrah of summer at my house. Below is a bowl of produce harvested today-the last summer squash, cuke, eggplant, peppers and wax beans.
I have some tomatoes still on the vine but most are green. We'll be having fried green tomatoes very soon.
As you know, I haven't had much luck starting seeds indoors in the spring. These cosmos are the exception. I started these in peat pots in April. I'm letting them go to seed so hopefully, next year, we'll have more. This is the first type of flower I planted at my house when I moved in many years ago.
I'll bring some of this parsley indoors to grow on a windowsill soon.
In the asparagus patch, the plants have gone to seed. I read that these could possibly seed in so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
The onion bed is full to bursting. If you look closely you will see some peppermint sneaking into the onions.
Our grapevine has produced three bunches of grapes. I wasn't certain when we should harvest these, but tonight the entire garden smells like sweet grape juice so I'm guessing it's about time. I might just leave these out there to enjoy the aroma. It's heavenly. I'm hoping next year we'll have a bigger crop and perhaps can make some jelly.
It's the season for mums.....
and pumpkins!
I can't take credit for these pumpkins. I did plant pumpkins this year. I had nice vines, but no blossoms or pumpkins. My daughter was eager for pumpkins so we bought these ones. I told her how we grew big pumpkins by feeding them milk when I was a girl, so she wants to try that next year. I think a good part of our community plot may go to pumpkins in 2013.

We cleaned out half the community garden plot and will soon put that to bed for the winter. It's hard to believe another growing season is coming to a close. I've heard this coming winter will be snowy and cold. If so, we'll have lots of time to read seed catalogs and dream of next season!

Caroline

Friday, September 14

Note to Caroline: Last Day at Community Plot-Portland

Hi there. So I did decide to give up my plot and garden at my new apartment which has a large patio that I can place lots of those 4 gallon buckets. I have decided that is the most cost effective way for me to garden  right now although plastic food buckets are not too pretty! I do intend to paint them possibly if I have the time.I found a blog entry from someone that did an excellent job of painting them. I will post that information for our readers and for you to see soon. Here are some photos from my last day. Mostly I weeded, but I was able to save some bulbs, runner bean seeds and some potatoes to use as starts for next year. The weather is still great here and it is still in the 80's. The non-stop rain usually does not start until late October.






Tuesday, September 4

Reply to Caroline: Harvest Photo

Here are a few photos of my last harvest. I have been closing down my plot for the season. It does seem like summer is in full swing ,but I know that if I don't get started I will have tons to do. This year I am sticking with crimson clover as a cover crop. I want something easy to pull out by hand. I had the same problem as you did with yield this year.Last year I had three times what I needed and was able to share my harvests with two other friends. This year I hardly had enough harvest to feed myself but a couple meals. Yet the actual plant looked very healthy when they were growing. I think it may be a sign for me that I need to pay more attention to the soil.


Sunday, September 2

Note to Michele: September Harvest

Michele,

Above you see a photo of today's harvest. In talking to other home gardeners, many have report disappointing yields this year, but not sure why. I've had the best luck with the little heirloom tomatoes you see above which are a third generation of plants I bought a few years back. They seed in and pop up all over the place the next spring. If this continues, I'll never have to buy cherry tomato plants again. In the basket you also see lemon cukes, lemon tomatoes, habanero peppers, bell pepper, summer squash, zucchini, chives, lettuce, sage, lemon balm and peppermint. In other parts of the garden, I have some parsley seedlings which I hope to bring indoors after frost, herbs, green tomatoes I hope will ripen, and green grapes. I'm not sure when to harvest the grapes. I also have a pumpkin plant but no pumpkins at all.

One major problem I have is pokeweed which is sprouting up all over my yard but mostly in my strawberry patch. I've tried a few natural things this summer to kill it. First, I cut it down to the ground every time it produced leaves, but if I cut down one shoot, five popped up within a few weeks. I also poured boiling water on the foliage which killed it temporarily, but it came back in full force. I think I may try the vinegar idea which I posted yesterday.

As far as your garden next year- I think the raised beds sound great, but gardening close to your home would be convenient, too. Can you do both? It's so nice you now have a place at home to garden. How do you like your new place?

Saturday, September 1

How to Kill Thistles? Vinegar!

This gardener uses hot vinegar! It worked for her, so give it a try!
 

Note to Caroline: Starting to Close Down the Community Plot

It feels too early to close down since it is still warm here, but to tell you the truth, it's been a difficult growing season. As you know, I had to complete moving my residence and business within a two week span which resulted in no time to maintain the plot. Below is a photo of a plot they are getting ready for spring. I saw many plots covered with heavy black plastic. It is a great, quick way to kill weeds while the sun is still out.
Thistles, thistles everywhere. Do you know any effective way to get rid of them? I think the more you remove them, the more they spread. I know you have to remove the entire root, but is that even possible? I've seen many gardeners just leave them, and I think that may be a good solution if you can get away with it. I can't get away with it at a community garden.
Here is a photo of my not too lush runner beans. Pretty pathetic, huh? Not quite like the ones I grew as a child in England.
 I am trying to think about how to make my life easier next year. Thoughts of building raised beds pop into my mind from time to time, but I am not sure if it's worth the expense for a community garden. Another thought is to give up my plot as the apartment I have now has a tiny garden and a patio large enough for many containers. Any thoughts on what I should do?
 

Thursday, July 26

Note to Michele: Fruit, Veg and Blossoms

Michele,
It's hard to believe we're nearing the end of July and the end of Summer won't be long in coming. We've had beautiful days with just a few showers over the past month. This week we had some powerful thunderstorms but it was all over quite quickly. Things are happening in my home garden. The blackberries are ripening, we've several bunches of grapes coming along, and many pretty blossoms.
The first of my tomatoes to ripen. These are an size somewhere between a cherry tomato and a full size tomato.

My cukes are blooming but nothing to harvest yet. Here you see a plant mulched in seaweed.
A small sunflower which seeded in from bird seed, I believe. I have several of these all around our deck area.

Red day lilies- the most common type of day lily I have next to the wild orange type.
Cosmos which I planted from seed. I don't have much luck starting from seeds, but these did quite well. If you look closely you'll see a tiny bee on a petal.

I also have bee balm in bloom, a flower which never fails to attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

I recently took some photos at a display garden in the White Mountains of N.H. The garden exhibited a large variety of native species. I took numerous photos which I'll share with you very soon. In the meantime, I hope your midsummer is beautiful and productive.

Sunday, July 15

Note to Michele: Catching Up

Dear Michele,

It's been some time since I've posted due to the busy-ness of summer. My garden is growing and so are the weeds! Soon I will give you an update on that, but for today, I will show you some gardens I've admired in our summer travels around New England.
 Above you see the children's garden at the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH. I love the combination of plants.
 This delicate poppy is growing in South Berwick Maine in the formal gardens of Hamilton House.
And here are some views of the cottage and garden on the same property. The property overlooks the Salmon Falls River which you see in the background.

 This is the cottage garden which is filled with flowers and some herbs.
 Through the arbor you see the impressive Hamilton House and part of the formal garden.
 The rose garden below is in the gardens of Boston Common.
 Also in Boston, this farmer's market is part of the Sowa Open Market which happens every Sunday throughout the warm months.

So, as you see, we've been on the go. I'll be posting more about these places and some of our other excursions on my family blog Pinecones and Periwinkles throughout the upcoming week. We've also been to some other parks and a very interesting spot known as America's Stonehenge. What have you been up to lately?

~Caroline
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