There. I’ve said it. I know it’s a terrible thing to admit on a gardening blog, but it has long been my least favorite season. The rollercoaster of temperatures is like a big tease. One weekend I’m outside in a t-shirt, the next weekend a winter coat (shoveling snow off my flowers). I hate it.
The moments I’m able to enjoy being outside in a t-shirt are glorious. Today is not one of those days. It’s barely 45 and I’m not happy about it.
Regardless, there is work to be done. I need to finish plotting out my garden so I can place an order for cement blocks to be delivered (hopefully tomorrow!). After much debate and research, I’ve decided to use my Dad’s tried and true method of building raised beds with cement blocks rather than wood. I did not want to use chemically treated wood and once I crunched the numbers for cement vs cedar, the choice was clear. Cedar only has a lifespan of about 10 years, so it would have to be replaced eventually anyway.
I’ve used bricks to tentatively plot my garden, checking at various times of day to see how much sun it’s getting. Our yard is quite shady, but I have one patch in what my husband named “the back 40” where this is fairly consistent sun.
I think I’m happy with this configuration. I’ve also plotted out how I want to use the space:
Now I need to order the supplies, and build a garden!
Both varieties of green beans have sprouted!!! We also have one little tomato sprout. I should not be so insanely excited about seeing green, but I am. One small victory at a time.
My John Scheepers Kitchen Garden seeds arrived! We quickly set to work getting these planted and added to the seeds we had already started. I decided to try toilet paper rolls for planting the tomato and pepper seeds. So far it’s worked out great!
I recycled a strawberry container to hold the rolls, filled them with soil and then planted two varieties of tomatoes (Glacier Early and Sugar Pearl Cherry) and three varieties of chile peppers (Pepperoncini, de Padrone and Serrano).
We also used more eggshells to start Emerite Filet Pole beans, Cathedral Bells Vining flowers, Mirabilis Four O’Clocks flowers, and more eggplants since the last round met an untimely end with previously mentioned cat debacle.
I also ordered shelling peas that we will direct sow in the garden.
My next project will be deciding how we will be build the raised garden beds and plotting it out!
The snow predictions were not overblown – we received around nine inches at our house!!
While I had some confidence the daffodils would be ok, the depth of the snow concerned me so I shoveled (yes, shoveled) the snow off the flower garden since it was so deep they weren’t getting any sun. When I first scooped the snow off, the tops were limp and leaning over, but they soon perked up and within a day all of the snow had melted from around the flowers. Success!
I learned an important lesson today… it is not a good idea to give cats access to the room where your seeds are growing.
The good news is that all of the green bean seeds were beginning to sprout, so we were doing something right.
Amazingly enough, most of the eggshells survived too, so I’ll replant the beans and use my extra seeds to start over with the others.
Do they look capable of such destruction? So mischievous, those cats!
Ecstatic. That was my first reaction when I heard the news – possibly 6 or more inches of snow headed our way!!! That is epic in the Central Piedmont region of North Carolina. My excitement quickly started to fade when I remembered my 120+ daffodil bulbs that are beginning to poke through the soil in what I’m trying to establish as a cutting garden.
Back in November I planted the daffodil bulbs, in addition to 75 crocus bulbs, 25 Asiatic lily bulbs, and two peony tubers. As an aside, I probably should NOT have done this a few days before being a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding, but all was forgiven (fortunately, she loves flowers too).
You can imagine my excitement when the crocus started to bloom toward the end of January. This is also when I noticed the daffodils starting to come up. I had a patch of daffodils when we lived in Virginia, but they typically didn’t emerge until March. This is the earliest I’ve experienced – I guess moving four hours south makes a significant difference!
Back to the snow… I did some research and feel some relief after reading that daffodils are quite hardy in snow and can survive temperatures down to 10 degrees. With this knowledge, my plan is to leave them uncovered and hope for the best while enjoying the snow!
My first experiment: will seeds that my husband bought me as a house-warming present when we moved to North Carolina nearly two years ago (that have been sitting on a shelf in the garage since) be any more successful than the much more expensive seeds I ordered from a reputable seed company? Only time will tell.
We got started with the $1 seed packets while waiting for the others to arrive in the mail. I rinsed eggshells and pierced a hole in the bottom of each shell and in the bottom of each section of the egg carton for drainage. I cut off of the top of the carton and covered with foil as the base for the carton and filled each eggshell with soil. I found the smallest of my set of cupcake batter scoops worked perfectly for filling the shells.
My trusty sidekick then helped me put labels on toothpicks to identify our Pacific Beauty, Eggplant, Green Bean and Serrano Chile Pepper seeds (I promise she was more enthused than she looks).
The seeds are now sunning themselves in our guest room (apologies in advance to our guests) where they will receive plenty of sunlight. I am concerned because that room tends to be the coolest in the house which could hinder growth. If nothing happens soon, I may need to find a new location.
I did discover in the process that a toothpick size hole in the bottom of the egg carton is not large enough to adequately drain. I had to go back and make larger slits to release excess water.
Let the waiting game begin.