Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Good morning to you all on this first day of spring that feels like early summer.  We had another 80F day yesterday and expect another today with another two or three to come.  The weather people tell us that we should have slightly cooler weather starting Friday.  Slightly meaning 60s and 70s.  I thought I would show some of the pictures from the gardens over the last  three weeks.  That was snow between the blue tub and the stack of 5 gal buckets.  The milk jugs (without their bottoms) covered the the blueberries.

Here is a close up of one of the blueberries.  Notice the leaf buds on the pretty green stems.  You will see pictures of these plants without their covers taken today.  Oh, what a difference.

This is the other side of the the patio and, yes, that is snow on the cement.  The milk jug is actually a tiny greenhouse I used to try the winter sowing technique I found on-line.  I split the jug just below the handle on three sides leaving the fourth as a hinge and filled the bottom with potting soil in which I planted spinach.  I am not really all that impressed with the technique.  I could have started the spinach in the bottom half of a milk carton inside just as easily.  On the far right you see a couple of very dead looking plants.  Well, those are mums (in the blue container) and lemon balm (in the pink.)  Under all that black, dead foliage there was green growth.

This is the frame for the mini-greenhouse without its cover as it was all winter.

These are the strawberries I planted late last week.  You can see the same tub in the last photo three weeks ago.

Here are the blueberries.  I took the photos just after I transplanted them from the large tubs they in which they spent the winter into their individual pots.

And this is the mini-greenhouse with its cover.  Inside I have my rosemary which spent the winter inside with the cuttings from last year's spearmint.  Also, I planted a new stand of spinach, lettuce, cat grass and cut off the tops of the milk jug greenhouses.  The spinach in those are doing well although only a third of the seeds sprouted.  I will see what happens with the newly planted spinach seeds.

This is the newly transplanted German thyme that spent the winter in the container with the roses and mums.  It came through marvelously--obviously a very hardy plant.  The container is an old laundry detergent container I cut the top off and washed out really well.  I am a big believer in using what you have whenever possible.
 Although I am not above taking advantage of a sale when I find one.  The large black pots were $2.50 each at the end of last season--about 75% of their usual price.  But the silvery pot and the smaller black pot were found in the street last year.  The smaller pot has the mums that looked so dead in the earlier picture.  I still have trimming to do on them but I will let them get some more growth first.  The large pot has roses that spent the winter with the mums and thyme.  All three are miniatures.  Two of them were gifts early last year.  When we got them home I almost gave up on them.  The arrangement looked good until you took off the pretty paper covering the pots and saw the seriously stressed little plants.  Each pot contained 3 or 4 individual rose plants and in the end only two (one of each pot) survived.  They look better now after a winter outside than they did last spring.  The third I found at one of the garden shops and loved the scent but that was the only scented variety they had.

This is what I do with the empty 1 gal vinegar jugs--cut the top off and punch holes in the bottom with an ice pick and stick in a plant. You can barely see the green growth of lemon balm (two on the left) and lavender.  I wasn't at all sure the lavender was salvageable but the roots were very healthy so I transplanted it.  Now I see a lot of new growth.

The next two photos show the blueberries today.  Look at all those pretty leaf buds!!

 The next two pictures are inside.  The first show my tomatoes (black cherry, sweet 100 cherry, brandywine, and fresh salsa).  The big rainbow failed to germinate.  I have added a slicer transplant to my shopping list along with a roma style plant.  I just planted the peppers so they haven't come up yet.  The last picture is my little bay tree--the one I almost killed last year when I put it in the mini-greenhouse that reached 120F.  I will put the bay outside when it gets warmer and take it in over night. And I am keeping closer tabs on the temperatures.  So far it looks like a good start.

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