Wednesday, April 1, 2015


My sage plant from last summer survived the winter indoors.  In fact, it did so well that it started to bloom--very pretty, but usually an indicator that the plant has decided its time to set seed and die.

Before it keeled over, I took cuttings of new growth from strong shoots of the plant.  A dab of rooting hormone and a tuck into damp seedling mix later, and I have a container filled with new potential sage plants.

In the coming weeks, I'll be doing the same with my rosemary plant.  It's got long medusa branches on it that are just crying out for propagation.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Hot Mess

There comes a time when your little seedlings, so tenderly started from itty bitty seeds, start resembling the offspring of Medusa.

Here, a mixed flat of cabbages, kale, broccoli and cauliflower (with a few cosmos and calendula tucked in for good measure) are demonstrating that yes, this is what they look like when they need potting on.  I'll be spending part of my long weekend moving them to larger homes with fresh seed compost mix.

And of course, I'll be starting a few more seeds...and potting on others...and pinching out top growth...

What else is a long early spring weekend for, I ask you?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Trap Plants

Have you ever tried using a trap plant in the garden?

I have such an issue with the cabbage white butterflies.  They really, really enjoy my happy heirloom varieties and organic gardening techniques.  I swear, they make a u-turn off my neighbors' Sevin-laced poison plants and head directly into the salad bar that is my brassica bed.

The tiny seedling above is Lunaria, commonly known as Honesty or Money Plant.  I grew up knowing it as Silver Pennies (or Dollars, depending on who's house I was at).  It's in the brassica family, kin to the more delicious cabbages and broccoli of the world.  In theory, the cabbage whites should be just as attracted to these plants as they are to my heirloom Couve Tronchuda kale plants.  Particularly if said kale plants are fenced in by my soon-to-be-built cabbage cages.

I'm hoping they also work to deter the cabbage moths from eating my exotic purple Graffiti cauliflower.
Just look at those wee beauties.  Cannibal cabbage moths, beware.  This year, the brassica bed is OFF. LIMITS.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Hard-To-Starts

I enjoy a good gardening challenge.  New bed from scratch?  No problem--well, sore back but whatever, it's all good.  Add a trellis for more climbers? Sure thing.

But perhaps my more favorite thing is to tackle the hard-to-start seeds.  Things like the Fraise des Boise strawberry seeds above, persnickety little seeds needing moisture and light to germinate.
Or these lavender seeds, also needing light to germinate.
Or these gourds, which are both very hard and very prone to not germinating. 

I've had great luck so far, which is wonderful.  Everything is growing so well, and is so happy, I think in part to the seed compost mix I make up using peat moss, worm castings, vermiculite and perilite.  They can't help but grow in all that goodness!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Tomatoes and Peppers, Oh My!

The Germination Station has worked its magic again.  My tomatoes and pepper seedlings have popped up beautifully, and are growing strong.
Hot peppers, sweet peppers.  Orange tomatoes, red tomatoes, beef steak and plum.
They are stretching and curving, growing toward the light.  In another week or so, I'll pop them into a larger pot, giving their young roots bigger spaces to grow into and planting the thin stem in deeply which will encourage more rooting.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dahlia Update

The Great Dahlia Experiment is continuing on in its successful journey.  The two inch high transplants have settled in and recovered from the shock of potting on nicely.  In fact, I think I need to find some larger pots for them to grow into soon, as they are really taking off.  They are now, on average, three-and-a-bit to four inches high.  I am so pleased!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Garden Bling

Given that this time of year it seems that we live in the Land of Sticks and Mud, garden shopping calls for a little sparkle every now and then.  I found these fun treasures at the garden seminar I attended last weekend.  They are locally made in Hayward, Wisconsin, from old spoons and forks.  I love their shiny silverness, and the bright purple jewel in the center!