Tag Archives: Seeds

Garden Center Therapy

I had a wonderful time at the garden centers yesterday!  I dragged my sis along with me and that made it extra fun!  It doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re doing, wherever we go… fun usually follows us.  I’m so thankful for my big sister and for the great best friend that she is to me.  ♥

We started out at Linder’s, it’s such an awesome place and it felt so good to be amidst all the gardening things.  They seemed to have quite a few of their displays and areas within the store designed with ideas geared more toward an urban style of gardening.  Having spent most of my gardening years in a suburban or country type of gardening setting, I found all of this very new, and cool and exciting, considering the fact that I now live back in the inner city and will need to learn a more urban type of gardening style.

Last year when I put the new raised vegetable garden in at my mom’s house, I knew I was entering strange and unfamiliar territory.  Prior to moving into my tiny apartment, I lived on 6 acres and I had never gardened using raised beds before, so I felt (and still feel) like an inexperienced noob in that area.  😉

Seeing all of the unique and interesting possibilities for gardening in small spaces was inspiring, but also a bit daunting because it’s just so completely different than what I know.  And it’s going to take a lot of thought, planning, time, and work to make my new garden area into something that reflects me, especially when it’s for a me that is sort of new too.  Hah, if that even makes any sense!

And speaking of me… apparently I’m a bee…  and a dork!

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Yeah… I’m pretty sure this little cut-out thingy is intended for children.  😉

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I did make a few purchases while I was there.  Some of which were the first of my seeds!  I know, I know, this is very premature since it will be at least a month and a half before I can plant them, but I couldn’t resist!

I also bought a new suet feeder.

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As soon as I figure out how, I plan to hang this on one of the branches of the tree outside my 2nd story bedroom window.  Then once the leaves start coming in, transfer it over to somewhere near my garden area.

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Speaking of which, I’m going to need to give some thought to where to put a bird feeding area.  During cooler temps when I’m inside, I’d like it to be near a window so I can enjoy watching my little feathered friends peck at the treats I put out for them, but when warmer weather arrives and I’m outside more, I’d like it be located in a place where I can watch them from the patio or from one of my couple of different sitting areas near my garden.  The space in and around my garden is so limited here that I’m not even sure there will be a spot, but hopefully I can come up with something.

Also, while we’re on the subject of birds, they have a parrot named “Baby” at Linder’s.  He’s really, really cute, and he’s so personable, chattering away and trying to communicate with people.  I could tell he genuinely enjoyed the attention we were giving him, and I loved giving it to him.  Honestly, I could have spent the entire afternoon there talking to him and watching his adorable little antics.

I didn’t have my camera with me, but my sis snapped this photo of him for me with her phone…

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Along the travels of our day, we also made a stop at Byerlys.  Not only did they have my mom’s favorite brand of butter on sale there as a BOGO, but they have the most delicious cheesy potatoes my taste buds have ever had the pleasure to savor.

Byerlys also sells these delightful little grow pots with spring bulbs sprouting in them.  For many years, during long winters where I’ve had a serious case of extreme spring fever, I have found these to be the perfect remedy, so I bought myself one.  🙂

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And just to prove that my getting these little grow pots actually does go way back, take a look at this cute old photo I found of my (now 21 year old) daughter admiring some little sprouts coming up in another grow pot from winters past.  Although, I think it’s possible that I may have planted this one myself.

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Aw… ♥

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The next place we went was to Bachman’s, where we found some beautiful spring things blooming.  Again I didn’t have my camera, so we used my sis’ cell phone to take a few photos while we were there.

Oh the lovely purple.  Well technically according to the label, these are considered “blue,” but they sure look purple to me…

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And ah, such pretty pink…

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I love the scent of hyacinths!  I even went back to sniff these again before we left.  🙂  I can’t wait until the ones in my little grow pot bloom!

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I really liked this arrangement, it had all sorts of random things going on in it, but mostly I thought the bird planter was really sweet.

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We also came across some silly things.  Like these totally corny, but festive arrangements that I have so named “the march of the big yellow chick heads.”

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And these things that my sis called “green hairy balls.”

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Seriously though, what in the world could these ever be used for?

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We also made stops at the library, the co-op and Culvers, where I indulged myself with one of their mint Oreo concrete mixers.  I couldn’t finish it all, but it sure was yummy…

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🙂

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Yep, going out to the garden centers was “just what the doctor ordered” for my case of spring fever.  ♥

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A Purpose in the Pain

It has occurred to me on more than one occasion (and maybe it has to you as well) that our sufferings in life have a purpose.  We hate it so much.  Suffering.  It hurts.  It’s scary.  And while we’re in it we just want it to stop.  Whether it’s physical or emotional or anywhere in between.  But through it we learn.  We learn about ourselves.  And we learn about others.

We mustn’t hurry off now to make some nice warm fuzzy realizations here, because the pain we go through is real and needs to be validated.  And we shouldn’t just rush through the sucky parts so that we can see that silver lining or get to the light at the end of the tunnel, because we need to allow ourselves to experience the low down dirty nitty gritty of it all in order get out of it whatever its purpose is.

There is a fine line here though because although we can wallow for a time, we have to be careful not to get stuck there.  We do learn while we’re wallowing though.  And even if we get into self pity ~ we learn there too.  During our wallowing we may make some bad choices because when we’re feeling low we may want to.  And guess what?  We learn from those too.  The wallowing process is different for everyone, and the amount of time we spend there varies as well.

And on the other end of that spectrum, we can try and “be positive” but we also have to be careful not to be fakey about it.  We need to be authentic and not just put on a “happy face” for the outside world to see.  There is a lot to be said for surrounding yourself with positive things when you’re going through a difficult time.  I have found this to be very helpful, and because I am generally a very optimistic person I usually tend to take this route.  I will often go out and buy myself flowers or do other nurturing types of things for myself when I’m hurting.  But at the same time, if someone asks me how I am, I am careful not rush to the typical response of “I’m fine” when I’m really not.  That is actually a pet peeve of mine ~ when people add “How are you?” to the end of their greeting of “Hello” when they have neither the time to listen nor do they really even care.  But I won’t get into that right now (heck, that deserves its own separate post).  Sometimes I’ll just roll over that question and not answer it, or simply say “OK” ~ because hey… I’m alive and breathing, so for the most part that can be summed up as being OK right?

But what is the purpose of the pain we endure in our lives?

I think a lot of it is about growth.  We are like the plants, only different.  Lets see if I can adequately describe the analogy that is forming in my mind…

Imagine a seed.  All of its life force trapped inside a hard shell.  But the seed isn’t meant to stay a seed.  It’s meant to be something else.  Something living.  Something growing.  Something bearing fruit.  Something that adds to the rest of the world.  Something to benefit the other “things” living and growing around it.

But in order to fulfill its purpose, it has to emerge and come out of its shell.  It may be painful ~ the delicate life breaking through the hard shell.  And the pain doesn’t stop there because once it finally emerges, there are oh so many other difficulties it experiences as it strives to grow ~ to fulfill its purpose.

Rain comes.  The rain brings with it, life.  But too much rain and the plant can drown.  Storms may come and the plant may struggle to keep its roots planted firmly in the soil as the winds blow.  And hail may come and beat down upon it, damaging it, sometimes seemingly beyond repair.  Insects may come and eat away at its tender leaves and fruits, even at its stem, threatening its very life.  And sometimes the plant gets cut down.  On purpose.  Pruning is painful, but necessary to produce more growth.

I know you can see the similarities here.  We too deal with all of those same things ~ only on a much more complex level, of course.

The storms, the wind, and the hail, may be the various trials of life.  And unfortunately we have no control over the “weather.”  We get blown around and beaten down.  But these trials serve to teach us.  To help us grow.  To show us what we’re made of ~ that we have what it takes.  And we can only continue to strive to survive through it all.

The insects may be disease.  And although we may have some natural immunities for fighting off certain diseases, sometimes an “infestation” occurs.  Modern medicine can work as a “pesticide” (that is exactly what chemo reminds me of in regard to cancer :().  Sometimes there are natural “remedies” that can help (like the garlic/pepper spray I just made for my plants the other day).  Sometimes the damage the “insects” cause to our bodies is beyond repair and severely weakens our physical form, but we still have our minds so therefore we can still “grow” and learn.

And finally pruning.  Pruning is so hard.  Because it’s intentional.  And it’s so painful.  If you are a person of faith as I am, you may wonder “God, ouch!  This hurts way too much.  Why?”  The answer I hear… to put it simply, and to repeat myself once again ~ is growth.  Pruning makes us grow.  Stronger.  More “fruitful.”  And as I grow as a person within my own self, I gain more understanding, more empathy.  I become more effective at reaching out and being a help and a source of light to those in the world around me.

We may not ever know how our lives, our story, with its various struggles, impacts the lives of others, but I have to believe that somehow it does ~ and maybe that is the purpose of the pain.

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And sometimes some pretty amazing and beautiful things are born out of pain…

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Besides…  what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Adventures in Gardening Part 14 ~ Planting Pleasures

After purchasing all of my goodies at the garden centers in Part 13, and then buying even more again on Mother’s Day, it’s needless to say that I ended up with quite a bit of planting to do…

And I loved every minute of it!  Up until now it has been only seed planting for me, and don’t get me wrong, it has been very exciting to watch all of those little green lifes poking up through the dirt, but planting actual plants definitely has pleasures of its own.

And because it was Mother’s Day, I also had the pleasure of having company while planting ~ my mom, my sis, and my daughter all took part in making it fun and memorable. ♥

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In all my years of gardening I’ve never happened to grow celery before, but I thought I’d give it a try and see what happens.  I love celery and I’m always up for trying something new!  🙂~

I love jalapeno peppers ~ gotta keep life spicy!  😉  Over the years I’ve developed a delicious recipe for jalapeno poppers that I came up with by combining bits and pieces from 4 or 5 different recipes.  With limited space in my tiny garden I only planted one, so I don’t know if I’ll end up with enough to make many poppers with.  Hopefully I’ll have enough to make at least a small batch.  They are sort of a pain in the butt to make anyway, so maybe it’ll better this way.  😉  I’ll just have to wait and see.~

I also planted a yellow bell pepper called “Golden California Wonder.”  I hope it grows happily here in Minnesota. 🙂  In the past I have always had red, green, orange, and yellow bell peppers in the garden (for making salsa), but again… with limited space, I had to pick and choose.  So I chose yellow because they are my favorite out the bunch.~

I didn’t know this, but apparently my mom absolutely hates the smell of Rosemary.  Oops sorry mom, you’ll be smelling it all summer in your yard.  It’s a wonderful garden companion to vegetables, not to mention its many culinary and medicinal uses.  I placed it near my carrots and beans because it is a great carrot fly and bean beetle deterrent.  And by the way, I happen to love the smell of it!~

Oregano is another great vegetable garden companion and provides excellent general pest protection, including being a delicious seasoning!~

I hadn’t planned on planting basil, but when we were in the herb section of the garden center and caught a whiff, it just smelled too good to resist.  You can see my one lone broccoli in the background.  It’s such a spindly looking thing, I sure hope it grows.~

The Apple-Mint I got is so pretty and yummy smelling!  I can’t wait to start snipping some of it off and using it to make tea!~

That first pretty strawberry blossom that hooked me into buying my strawberry plant is fading, but now comes the yummy part… the fruit!  You can see the strawberry just starting to develop.  Nature is so amazing! This is an everbearing variety so hopefully we’ll be enjoying fresh strawberries all summer.   Aside from this new beautiful bloom, I see 3 other buds starting too!~

I planted 2 Roma Tomatoes in an old double bench planter that I handed down to my mom when I moved ~ not knowing I’d eventually be the one using it to plant in again.  They’ll have a lot of growing room as they get taller inside the fun blue colored tomato cages I got.  😀

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Like the tomatoes, I planted these Yellow Sweet Spanish Onions in a separate container.  I love them and there just wasn’t room to plant them in the garden.  I’ve never grown onions in a pot before so I hope they work out.  Poor things look so pathetic in this photo, all flopped over.  Hopefully they’ll perk up a bit after getting used to their new home. ~

While we were at one of the garden centers, my sis surprised me by buying me some Bee Balm!  I absolutely love it and have always grown it in my gardens.  It’s a butterfly, bee, and hummingbird magnet!  This big guy will be living in a pot though because there is no room for him in the garden or anywhere else in my mom’s yard.  I am not used to growing perennials in pots, so I hope I can get it to overwinter all right.~

My Spinach is continuing to come along nicely…~

My cucumbers are now sprouting up!~

And even though that evil diabolical squirrel came back and all but destroyed 3 out of 5 mounds of my beloved zucchini, I am happy to announce that the ones I managed to salvage are looking great!~

My lettuce are coming right along as well…~

Gardening isn’t just all about planting food ~ it’s about flowers too…

I know Marigolds are common and not all that exciting, but they are bright and cheerful and last well into fall.  They also deter many garden pests.~

I rescued these Impatiens from one of the garden centers.  They looked so sad, all root bound, and scraggly, but I knew all they needed was a little TLC, so I bought them and put them in a mini Terracotta planter ~ another rescue, from a thrift store.~

When I moved, I couldn’t bear to part with a pair of urns that I had, so I brought them over to my parent’s and set them in front of their garage.  It’s a perfect spot for them and with a few growing things in them make for a lovely entrance when pulling up into the driveway.  🙂~

As soon and my mom saw this Hydrangea bush at the garden center she fell completely in love with it, and it just so happens that she has a bare spot along the side of her house to plant it!  ~

As we were leaving to go out for breakfast on Mother’s Day morning we noticed a bunny visitor over on the side of my mom’s yard.  She says it’s been making itself comfortable there for quite a while now.  It’s cute, but I have to say that I’m really glad that I built my raised garden up so high now because rabbits can reek havoc on a garden.  My peas and onions are pretty near to the ground in their separate pots though, so I hope this cute little critter doesn’t decide to team up with the evil squirrel and become a problem…~

Adventures in Gardening Part 12 ~ What a Difference a Day Makes

Because of the weather and with my being busy doing other things, It’s been a few days since I’ve done any gardening, but it’s amazing to see all that can happen in a garden within the span of just a few days!  (Having it raining buckets tends to make a difference too ;))

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Like “a watch pot that never boils”… I have been eagerly watching and waiting for my zucchini to pop up and here they finally are!

It’s pretty much common knowledge among most gardeners that zucchini can produce such a bountiful harvest, it’s way more than any one person could ever possibly use or want.  Not for me!  I love zucchini and even tend to hoard mine.  I guess you could call me zucchini greedy.  😉  I have a multitude of recipes that call for zucchini and always find a way to use it.  In the past, on those rare occasions when I have found myself with more zucchini than I could use up in a timely manner, I would just shred it, measure it in 3 cup increments, and put it into freezer bags to use later for breads, muffins, and cakes.  Sometimes I’d share it too.  😉  We’ll have to wait and see how much zucchini I end up with this year from this tiny garden…

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It’s about time the dang carrots came up!  They were one of the first things I planted.  I had a hard time getting a decent shot of them because they are still barely noticeable…

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My spinach have started growing their 2nd set of leaves!

They look funny ~ like they have outstretched open arms.  Guess they’re just happy to see me.  😉

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My peas are getting taller!

And look at how happy they all are in their little pot ~ I swear they are smiling…

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The new thing I planted this week was my cucumber seeds!  I can’t wait to see how they climb up the trellis I made…

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The last time I looked, my lettuce was barely poking up through the dirt, but now were already needing to be thinned.  Because they get planted in groups of 6 seeds, that means wasting the other 5 seedlings.  😦

They were so sad laying there looking all depressed and discarded after I yanked them all up that I couldn’t bear it, so I’ve ended up having 12 plants in my garden now instead of 8.  Guess we’ll be eating a lot of salads.  I can’t be the only one who feels this way… does anyone else ever have a hard time just tossing those other little lifes when it comes time for thinning?

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Another issue I have is keeping my dirt looking tidy.  Haha!  Dirt… tidy?  Can dirt even be tidy?  I think, yes!  It’s kinda like how after vacuuming the carpet, it looks so nice that you don’t want anyone to walk on it.  A lot of the time after I’m done doing anything in the garden I have to “fluff up” the dirt to make it look fresh.  Unfortunately, the soil I bought for this box garden has quite a bit of debris in it so it seriously messes with my need for dirt tidiness.  Maybe I’m just weird.  Maybe it’s gardening OCD.

“Maybe it’s Maybelline”

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Adventures in Gardening Part 11 ~ Darn Squirrels!

Don’t let this cuteness fool you ~ squirrels are pure evil!

Okay, I’ll admit… I may over exaggerating just a tad, and this is a really super cute photo of one (just look at its wittle questioning face ~ who me?  evil?  no, not little ol’ me, I’m innocent), but I’m not buying it.

I am not a fan of the squirrel.  I have nightmares about them, actually.  I know… squirrels?  Why would a person have nightmares about squirrels of all things?  Heck if I know… maybe I’m just mental.

When I was a little girl, my dad used to take me and my brother and sister to the park to feed the squirrels on Sunday afternoons.  It’s a very fond childhood memory of mine, so I have no idea where the nightmares stem from.

It’s a recurring nightmare where I am surrounded by dozens of creepy diabolical squirrels and I’m holding my dog; trying to protect him from them.  I’ve had several dogs over the years (all small breeds) and the dog I’m holding varies between them, as does the location where the event is happening, but it’s always the same …  scary freaky squirrels are trying to get my dog.  I seem to know this is a recurring thing because I always think to myself “Oh no, not again!”  Sounds dumb, but it’s seriously really terrifying.  Fortunately, they never succeed in their evil plot for world domination ~ er, I mean in their goal to get my dog, which must indicate something positive in the grand scheme in the dark reaches of my psyche.  I haven’t had the nightmare for quite a while, so that must be a good sign too.

But now I’m afraid these nightmares may take on a new dimension (in reality) because squirrels are digging in my garden!  When I went to check on the progress of my little seedlings the other day, I found several holes in various places throughout my garden, including finding one of my zucchini mounds ruined!  😦  Even though I didn’t catch the culprit in action, I know it’s a squirrel because last year when my brother was staying at my parent’s house, he had a squirrel that he was feeding on a regular basis while he sat out on their patio.  The dummy!

In all of my years of gardening I’ve never had a problem with squirrels before, so I’m kinda clueless as to what to do about it.  I went online this morning to find more information just in case this little wicked friend of my brother’s decides to make a regular habit of being a nuisance, but aside from chemicals and traps (neither of which appeal to me) it doesn’t sound like there is much you can do that will result in any great success.  Squirrels = pure evil…  like I said.

On a positive note…

I found that my lettuce seeds are sprouting!

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And my spinach were tall enough to be thinned so I now have 5 separate plants…

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I also found more peas sprouting ~ all 13 of them in fact!  Who says 13 is unlucky?  😉

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It may be silly, but I just find it really exciting to see all of these little greenies popping up! ♥   I’m still watching for my carrots and zucchini to come up ~ can’t wait!

And next week I can plant my cucumbers!

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“Mary Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow?”  Hopefully without an invasion of squirrels…

Adventures in Gardening Part 10 ~ Signs of Life!

Soooo excited to find that some of my seeds are sprouting!

Look at my happy little broccoli’s!

They’re in a crowded little cluster here because they get planted in groups of 6 and then get thinned once they reach 2 inches high.

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My spinach is popping up too!

These are planted in groups of 3.

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Only found 1 of the 13 Peas I planted sprouting up so far, but it’s still early yet and I have no doubt they’ll all be popping up soon!

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After all of the excitement over seeing my newly planted seeds growing, my daughter and I went around my mom’s yard and snapped a few photos of the other various things we found growing too…

I don’t even remember how many years ago I planted these yellow tulips for my mom, but it’s so wonderful to find them still coming up every spring.

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Here is one of my most favorites ~Lily of the valley!  They are just starting to bloom…

My grandmother planted these along the side of the house when my mom was just a teenager, so these have been around for quite a while.  Last spring when my dad was in hospice at home, I would pick some of these every day and bring them in to him.  I can still picture him holding them up to his nose, closing his eyes, breathing in deeply, and enjoying their beautiful fragrance.  I miss you pops. ♥

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And of course I had to take yet even more photos of my mom’s Lilacs…

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Later on, we took a drive over to my sis’s and found that the rhubarb growing in her yard was coming along nicely…

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And the strawberries are flowering as well…

We have plans to can some strawberry rhubarb jam as the strawberry growing season progresses.  It’s been a couple of years since I’ve canned so I’m pretty excited about it!

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I had this “grow” stone decorating my own garden for several years and passed it on to my mom for her garden when I moved.  I like to think of it as just giving the plants a little extra encouragement to GROW…

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How is your garden growing?

😀

Adventures in Gardening Part 8 ~ Let’s Plant!

Well, with the box all finished and now a trellis built all that is left to do is… PLANT!!!

But first a bit of planning was required and l should not be overly eager lest in my haste, I may find myself disappointed at the results.  So I spent a good hour or more sitting on the bench next to my garden drawing plans, reading seed packets, and contemplating the arrangement and combination of all the things I will be planting…

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It was beautiful sunny day and while I sat there soaking up the vitamin D, the lovely fragrance of my mom’s lilacs kept me company.  I L♥VE lilacs so much!

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After I came up with a general idea of where I wanted to place each plant that I would be growing, I decided the first thing I wanted to do with the actual bed was to break it down into sections to help me visualize things better.  I laid down some of that leftover lath to make a sort of grid. Each of the sections are roughly 2 x 2.  I don’t know if this is a normal thing to do or not, but I guess it’s how my brain operates best.  😉

Once I finish the majority of the planting I’ll pull these up…

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I always consider May 10th or so our last average frost date so I knew that according to the calender it would be time/safe to plant broccoli, spinach and peas this week.  So now it was finally time to plant something!  YAY!

You might not be able to tell by this photo, but look at how small these broccoli seeds are…

I’ve never really had much luck growing broccoli in the past, but I love eating it so much and wanted to give it another try.

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Next it was onto planting some spinach.  Yeah, Popsicle stick type stakes with the plant name written in black marker ~ not real fancy, but I’ll just be pulling these up once the plants start growing and toss them anyway, so I thought it best not to go to any great expense.  Believe me there are some pretty snazzy looking plant markers out there ~ aesthetically pleasing, yes, but in my budget this year, no…

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Gave my new little plantings a good mist of water, now the rest is up to them…

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I’ve been reading a lot about companion planting.  It’s all about growing certain things together that benefit each of them.  Spinach likes to grow near the cabbage family so I made the broccoli and spinach neighbors.  🙂

There are also certain “allies” plants have too, so I will be trying to leave open areas throughout the bed for planting some herbs and annuals that promote the health of the main vegetables that I’m growing.

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I am growing my peas in a separate pot outside of my main garden box.  I never remember reading before that peas need to be soaked for 12-24 hours prior to planting, but that is what the packet said, so I couldn’t plant my peas today.  😦  I did however get the pot ready and plan to pop them bad boys in tomorrow…

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