Friday, March 30, 2012

An updated plant shelf

I can't remember if I've put this in any pictures yet, but I have a bookshelf (built by my father years ago) that I re-purposed as a plant shelf last year (because it's a heck of a lot cheaper than buying a plant stand). I painted it, but it was looking a little worse-for-wear

So I decided to repaint it. I started by cleaning the pieces off really good, letting them dry and sanding down the rough spots where the previous paint was peeling. I found a bright red spray paint at Home Depot for about $3 per can. Here is the paint I used:

Once the pieces were dry from their hose down and wipe off, I set to work.
As you can see, I tried to avoid painting the driveway red as well by putting down some trash bags. As you can see from the picture above, I should have covered a larger area....oops. Anyone know how to get paint off of asphalt?

After two-ish coats of paint, I let the pieces sit until the following afternoon before stacking them together. Et voila!
I will probably let them sit for another day before I actually put anything on them, just to make sure the paint is all cured.

What do you think? Have you re-purposed items from your home in your garden?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Some New Additions

I made it out to the local nursery yesterday hoping to find some strawberry plants. No such luck, but I did find a few new (plant) friends!

I went in with a budget (and a Groupon). Here's what I came out with:

I suppose it doesn't look like a whole lot when you put it in one picture, but on the left are two ivy geraniums. They should eventually trail a little bit, and I planted some marigold seeds around them that will (hopefully) fill out the picture and give some nice color contrast.

Also (and I'm really excited about this one), I found a pink hydrangea! I went back and forth about this one for a while, knowing how big hydrangeas can get and how much water they need. The guy at the nursery said I should be able to keep it in the pot for a couple years before it will get root bound. I also made sure to get a smaller variety (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Berner, or "Let's Dance" Big Easy, is only supposed to get 2-3 feet tall). Hopefully I'll have some pretty pink blooms this summer!

Since I didn't find my strawberries at the garden center, I made a stop at the Depot on my way home for some potting soil, a big pot (for my new hydrangea friend) and a couple of strawberry plants.

What about you....any new additions in your garden?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Green Beans in the Ground

Ok, I know my average last frost date is technically not till April 15, and I may regret this later, but I just planted some of my green beans. I used a bush type (Blue Lake 274) so that I don't have to put up another trellis (I've already got one by the peas). This way, I can use the space inside the arc where the peas are planted efficiently.

As fast as beans grow, hopefully I'll have some bean sprouts soon!

With this consistently unseasonably warm weather, have you planted anything that you normally would wait to plant until later in the year?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Swiss Chard by the Bundle

Last weekend, we had a cookout with our neighbors and I cut about half of the four food row of swiss chard that was growing in the garden to make chard chips. They were a huge hit (even with the few kids that were present) and I figured it would take the chard a while to grow back, right?


I took this picture yesterday, just one week after cutting half of the chard down, it's all back.

So now, I have a question for you....what on earth do I do with all this chard??? (Besides making more chard chips)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Potted Tulips

Ok, remember those tulip bulbs that I potted in this post? Well those tulips are beginning to emerge. Hopefully I'll have some pretty tulips just in time for Easter!

Also, my rhubarb that had plans to take over the world is now relegated to its own container until I can find a better (more permanent) place for it.

Here's a before and after of the flower bed....just so you can see the difference.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Some Rethinking

I think I may have to do some rethinking of one of my flower beds in front of the house. I went outside this morning and noticed that the rhubarb is overtaking the boxwood that it's next to. Oops. Here's what it looks like...
I guess one of my weekend projects will be to relocate one of these guys (probably the rhubarb).

Have you had to do any rethinking so far this year?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Returning Hosta

I guess this goes to show how much I don't know about hosta.....the one I thought died I discovered magically growing again yesterday. It's twice as tall today as it was yesterday!

Oohhh....also, I have exactly one tomato and one basil sprout in the greenhouse! Hooray!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dinner tonight: sausage casserole with homegrown jalapenos

This is a popular dish around my house: sausage casserole. My hubby loves anything to do with the word "sausage", so it's kind of a winner by default, but that's ok right? Here is my recipe....and please don't get to mad at me.....I don't measure anything when I cook (unless I'm baking), so this is really just a list of ingredients except for the sauce.

Combine in a casserole dish:
Smoked sausage or kielbasa, sliced into bite-sized pieces
Cooked rice (I usually do one serving....whatever that measurement is)
Fresh (or in this case, frozen) diced jalapenos, to taste.
Celery seed
Salt and pepper

For the sauce:
Make a rue using 4 tbsp butter and 4 tbsp flour. Cook on low until the taste of raw flour is gone...just a minute or two once the butter is melted. Add 1 cup milk and 1 cup broth (I generally use chicken broth, but any kind will work). Cook on low, stirring frequently until thickened and then pour over the mixture in the casserole dish. Top with cheese and breadcrumbs and bake at 350 until the cheese is melted and the casserole is bubbling at the edges.

Tip: Assemble the casserole a few hours, or even a full day ahead of baking. This allows the flavors to really mix together and makes for an even tastier casserole!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Nasturtium Update

A week or two ago, I mentioned that I planted some nasturtium seeds. They must have really liked where I put them, because I've already got some tiny nasturtium leaves!

No sprouts in the greenhouse yet (except for the ranunculus)....hopefully those will come along soon!

What is sprouting in your garden?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sunshine on a rainy day

Ok, I promised pictures when the daffodils started blooming.

Aren't they lovely? It was a nice surprise to see them blooming because it's rainy and gross in Nashville today.

And speaking of garden "helper", Seger had a very smelly end to his (and my) day yesterday. One of the neighbors behind us has a large garden, and I'm thinking it was just mulched with cow manure. Well, Seger apparently decided said cow manure mulch was a good place for a good roll on the ground.....needless to say, he was not on my good list! One bath didn't get the stink took two....gross!

So I guess lesson learned, right? Don't let your dog roll around in cow manure? Not sure there was any letting to it!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Update: seed starting and ranunculus

It's a gorgeous day here for some gardening. It seems spring has officially begun, whether the calendar says so or not. I even spotted a few yellow butterflies flitting around the backyard.

After one more trip to Home Depot for more Jiffy Pots (we don't use enough tp to ONLY use the tube cups...I'll have to start saving them earlier next year!), I have got seeds started for each variety that needed an indoor start. My poor little green house is stuffed to capacity!!
Also, exciting news.....I have one teeny tiny ranunculus sprout!
I'm very excited. I bought a few tubers a while back knowing that they aren't really hardy in zone 6B, but hoping I could get them to grow in a greenhouse. I've had to clear out a few of the pots of ranunculus and relocate them to my windowsill while the food seeds are going, but I think I'll be able to put them back in there in a few weeks!

I also spotted a couple pea sprouts as I was walking around the garden.

And this friendly little bit of sunshine.
I'll take another picture when it opens up all the way.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Red Leaved Perilla

I decided to try a grand experiment this year. Well, maybe not so grand, but hopefully an interesting one. I decided to grow perilla in my garden.

This is an herb used in a lot of different Asian cuisines. I'm not sure exactly what it is going to taste like (it was suggested that I soak one of the seeds in water and then drink the water to get a sense of the flavor), but I hear tell they go great with tomatoes. I've planted a few seeds in a container, so we'll see what happens!

Speaking of containers, I think I'm going to have to find some way of making markers to show what I've put where. I've got enough stuff going now that I can mostly remember, but I'd rather be on the safe side and avoid my strawberries planted in the same spot I had sowed a ton of swiss chard seed (no strawberries for me).

Do you use markers in your garden? How do you remember what was planted where?

Monday, March 5, 2012

About to Bloom

I'm pretty excited to report that I have a couple plants that are about to burst into bloom!

My daffodils are one.
Look at the big old bud on there! Looks like I'll have some sunny flowers in a few days.

Also, the blueberry is about to flower. The buds on this one are pretty tiny, but you can make out their pink-tipped buds if you look real close.

I can't for the life of me figure out how to make my camera take a true close up photo without getting blurry on me! Any suggestions??

I have some more seed starting to do today (some more tomatoes, dill and red-leaved perilla), along with a greenhouse cover to fix (the one storm casualty), I've put grommets on it, but need to redo some of the zip ties so it will close all the way.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Re-emerging Rhubarb and (Some) Started Seeds

Last year I decided to try to grow rhubarb. My single plant did pretty well, but I thought it was kaput when it died all the way to the the point I couldn't tell where it had been at all! Needless to say, I was pleased to find some tiny rhubarb leaves with red stalks yesterday!
Now I just need some strawberries!

Okay...this is really trivial, but I'm going to tell you about it anyway because I'm excited about it....I bought a hose winder! No more messy, tangled hose for me...

I did manage to get some of my seeds started yesterday. I used my saved toilet paper tube cups along with some purchased Jiffy Pots. I purchased some disposable aluminum baking pans that were significantly less expensive than the "official" seed starting trays and labeled them according to what was going in them (one type of plant per tray, just to avoid confusion) and planted my seeds (container tomatoes, basil, bell peppers and jalapenos)! I still have two more trays of seeds to start, but I'll have to get more Jiffy Pots first. I'll keep you posted on how this turns out.

Have you started any seeds yet?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Springtime Storms

The spring storm season has hit with a vengeance. We have had thunderstorms and tornadoes (a few people actually died in those) around Nashville this week and this morning, I woke up to dime sized hail! Yikes!!
 A little blurry, but I was shooting one handed! You can see how big the hail stones were though.

Fortunately, our cars were undamaged. I was worried about the plants and the greenhouse and those were also undamaged. Now we just have to make it through the next round of crazy weather that's supposed to hit this afternoon! I'm ready to grab the dog and hide in the bathtub if need be.

What do you do to protect your home and garden from severe weather?