Saturday, April 29

Note to Caroline: 2017 Season Start, Portland, OR

Dear Friend,

It looks like we are going to start gardening this year at the same exact time. This is not great gardening news for me since in past years I have been able to get going months ahead of you. But as we have noticed in previous years, you always catch up because your summers in Maine are so much warmer.  I heard on the news that it has been none stop rain since October.  This is more rain than even us Portlanders are used to. They also said that it was in the 80's this time last year. I don't know what has happened to our much milder spring weather. I can remember starting in February or March most years. This year I have not planted much of anything and it will soon be May.

View of the Community Garden
Sensing that this year could be a challenge, I decided to start a lot of seeds indoors,  hoping I would get a better start. So now the challenge is that the seeds have sprouted, but are not growing at all since they got their first set of leaves. I am starting to feel that I am going to lose all my seed starts. I had to move the seedlings outside on my porch on some shelves covered in plastic because they were getting too leggy and there was too little light. Maybe it is time to invest in some indoor lights and shelves for a better indoor seed starting set up.

First Spring Bulbs

Some of my gardening activities have involved making a new bed at my home for a cut flower garden, preparing the "gorilla gardening" space at the back of the property for planting, and getting the raised beds at my street's community garden ready. I love the raised beds because I can get them ready and plant all in one day.

Lettuce starts at the Community Garden

This year I am concentrating on flowers and herbs. For the past couple of years I have been blogging about vegetables. One reason for this is that I want to have a "Cut Flower Garden". I would love to be able to fill my home with flowers, and have some extra flowers to make  bouquets to give away.  I have been learning about growing cut flower gardens from these two books: Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzaken and The Flower Farmer by Erin Benzken. Both authors are growing cut flowers to sell, but the information is invaluable for just regular gardeners. I am planning to review both books soon for our blog.

Community Garden after the grass was mowed

One other goal I have for the 2017 gardening season is learning how to arrange  the flowers. I am thnking of ordering this book The Flower Workshop by Ariella Chezar. I have also been watching flower arranging video channels on You Tube, such as this one on how to make a hand tied Wedding Bouquet.

Another post I will be doing this season is a review of these channels. I want to also post each arrangement I make on our Instagram account. If you are reading this note and are a reader you can sign up for our Instagram account here Sprouts Blog Instagram. We will also be taking photos of our gardens, product reviews, etc.

Potted Roses

Yesterday I received  the stackable planter with internal slow drip watering system from GreenStalk
that I will be reviewing in a few weeks. My initial impressions are very positive. It holds 25 plants. That is a lot when you think about it, and you are not using a lot of space.  I am thinking of just growing all my herbs and most of my vegetables in this one planter which will free up a ton of space for flowers.

Different view of raised beds before weeding

I am so glad that we agreed to free up more time this gardening season to accept more requests to review gardening products and do more posts. If  you are a business and would like us to review your
product, be sure to contact us ASAP, so we can pencil you in our 2017 schedule. Also keep in mind that we like to see how the product works in both our gardens, Maine and Oregon, so you need to send us two of whatever you want us to review.

One of the David Austin Roses that I planted this spring

Lastly I want to apply some of the bio dynamic gardening methods I read about last season in the
Biodynamic Gardening Book. I think you remember that they garden by the phases of the moon. They have some simple fertilizers made from weeds and other garden by products I want to try.

So what is new for 2017 in your Maine Garden?


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