April 18, 2018

The Excitement of Starting Your Own Seeds Early

Every year I say I'll do this, and so far, I've never done it. But THIS year is different. And I'm excited!

This year I carefully chose seeds from Renee's Garden for plants that aren't too finicky or high-maintenance. 

For veggies, I picked Container Baby Leaf Spinach 'Little Hero' and Container Kale 'Green Curls', and a gorgeous Heirloom Slicing Tomato 'Chianti Rose'.

For my flower gardens, I chose 'Watercolor Silks' Border/Container Dahlias, Butterfly Rudbeckia 'Cappucino', Chinese Delphinium 'Blue Mirror', and Perfumed Heliotrope 'Deep Marine'.
seed packets

Using trays of peat pots arranged into a little greenhouse type set-up, the potting soil goes in, gets wetted thoroughly, and I'm ready to start putting those seeds in. I also used some peat pellets to start some seeds I saved from last year: Four O'clocks, Tithonia, Lupine, and Lantana as well as a couple others that may or may not still be viable. 

Finding a warm spot with plenty of light will be the challenge in my small house. And keeping the cat away. 

Seeds just naturally want to sprout, so what could go wrong? (she said)

Starting too early produces seedlings that are weak and splindly because the light and temperature are not adequate. Seedlings stretch to reach as much light as possible, and they end up with long stems that won't support the plant.

Damping off is another worry. Granted, seedlings need to be kept well moistened, but they can rot at the soil level and all the waiting and watching is for naught. Use new clean, sterile potting soil and don't overwater.
trays of seedingls
Seedlings up!
Once the seedlings are ready to transplant to the outdoors, there's another step: hardening off. These babies have been indoors and tenderly cared for since sprouting. Plonking them outdoors will be too much of a shock and they'll collapse. Gradually acclimate seedlings to the outdoors by placing them in a shaded sheltered spot on a warm, bright day, just for a few hours for a few days. Bring them inside at night.

In late May, I'll plant a yummy looking Heirloom Container Tomato, 'Tasmanian Chocolate', and when outdoor planting time comes, we'll be planting French Gold Pole Beans and familiar Blue Lake Pole Beans.

With any luck this year, I will have a lovely garden and my own garden-to-table feast!

March 24, 2018

Beautiful Mural Art in New London, Connecticut

Ah Winter, you've overstayed your welcome.
With the landscape still filled with mounds of gray snow, and nothing even close to the suggestion of spring, here in New London, Connecticut we have some of the most wonderful murals to brighten up a winter stroll through town. Since there are no imminent gardening options on a bright, cold day, feast your eyes on these works by local artists—a perfect reflection of the maritime history, love of music, and diversity that abounds here.

This is only a sample of the works in New England's largest mural walk. Click here to learn more about the origin of this project. Plan a visit to New London and take the walking tour here.

The Great Sperm Whales by Jamie XV Wyland, 1993.

Racing Seahorses by Carolyn McNeil, 2010

One Place, Many Cultures by Russ Kramer & Katie Fogg, 2012
Jimmi Hendrix by Jamie XV, 2014

Hard Hat Painters by Michael McNabney & Troy Zaushny, 2012
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Greg Bowerman, 2001

Charles Nelson Memorial by Denny Rivera, 2014

Cabinet of Shells by Peter good & Jan Cummings, 2012

Songs of Our City by Mark McKee & Qimin Liu, 2012