Friday, June 17, 2016

Early summer garden

It is always a pleasure to visit my friend's garden. 
It is a real oasis for various shrubs, perennials and trees. 
On a warm summer day the fragrance of many flowers fills the air.
Today the scent of sweet lilac, honey scented roses and 
peppery lupines was prevalent. 
Too bad that there is no possibility to bring that online.

But the photos may give you an idea.
The double filled lilac heads are big like grapes 
and so heavy that they are hanging upside down.

These tall, Bearded Iris' flowers are the size of my hand.
Sky blue wild iris
Allium siculum among blue Lupines
They look like pink and white bells.

They are also called "Sicilian honey lily", or Sicilian honey garlic.

Beautiful wild lupines, banned as noxious weeds in many places, 
but not on this island. 
June is the time for Lupines.
I especially like the pink ones with the red "banner".
When I planted some in my garden they all turned out blue. Hopefully I will get some pink ones over time. One never knows.

Scented roses 
(Rosa rugosa alba)

Filling the air with it's heady honey like perfume.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A multitude of choices

This time I will post about how I started out with 
planting seeds.
Online I found different pages that promoted to "winter sow" seeds in milk jugs and just leave them alone 
until you are ready to plant your garden. 
Winter sowing in milk jugs
Others praised to do your own cheap, neat,
"biodegradable" pots 
made out of newspaper, or toilet rolls. 

Well, I found all this intriguing and wanted to give it a try.
And that's what I found out about:
Seeds planted in milk jugs
It is easy to prepare the milk jugs and pots for the seedlings. I sowed cabbage and kale, lettuce and yellow cosmos. 
Kale - did not like it at all
The first batch was sown February 19th. 
A month later the plants were either there or not at all. 
On May 15th I was not impressed at all. 
Lettuce - neither
The only seeds that thrived somewhat in the milk jugs 
was cosmos. 
Cosmos - doing ok
The seeds in the newspaper pots did not thrive  
because the pots did retain the water. 
The tiny roots were not able to penetrate the newspaper 
at the bottom of the pot
The paper did not disintegrate. 
There is not enough room for the seedling to expand.
I had to peel off the paper to "rescue" the seedlings.
Lettuce got stuck in a soggy pot
Ditto with the toilet paper rolls.  
Seedlings in paper coffee mugs did way better. 
Additional I also used paper coffee mugs.
Lettuce seedlings.
Difference between coffee mugs and toilet roll
Maybe I am clumsy, but needles to say, I won't use newspaper, toilet rolls or milk jugs any more. 
I rather go back to my old way 
of starting the seeds -
in seed trays.
The water drains well, the seedlings thrive and are easily to be pushed out for transplanting when necessary.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Green thumbs

"Long time no see", and that's a fact. 
I have been absent for quite a while. 
Not that I couldn't have posted about something, 
but I thought nothing was worth while writing about.
Now, gardening is important, at least it is important to me. 
That's what has happened:
This year my gardening season started early in March. 
That was possible because we stayed at home this winter.
I soon found out, it was not early enough. 
I should have started some of the seedlings in February already. 
Well, that will be the plan for another spring.
As I said, I stared out in March. 
Searching the internet I found several "hacks" that I tried. 
One was this: glue tiny seeds on kitchen paper or toilet paper and be ready when the season starts. Just a little dab of flour/water paste keeps the seed in place. 
After several hours of drying the seed rolls were marked and stored in an empty coffee container. Ready to roll out when the time is right.
I was very lucky to get 2 special small green houses this spring. 
They are a generous  gift from one of my neighbours. 
Thanks to that it was very easy to keep the tiny plants 
warm and cosy during the cold winter days.
In April I started out in the out door green house, that hubby build for me last fall. 
Some of the plants survived the cold nights there under an extra layer of plastic 
and on top of a heating mat. 

Now, at the end of May things are really looking somewhat like a nursery.
Lots of vegetables and annuals are crowding for space. 
Our camper awning was re-used for shading the new plants. 
They easily can get sunburned.
I also created new window boxes from last years plants 
that over-wintered well in our house. 
See, that's were I found out that I could have started out in February.
That way the plants would be blooming already by now.
Now I have to wait another couple of weeks 
before I see the flowers.
Others plants are already transplanted into the garden beds. 
This year I use a fabric cover to keep out the beetles and 
protect the young plants from the still cool nights. 
Tomatoes, melons, beans and corn have to wait until the middle of June. 
They stay inside the green house for another couple of weeks.
Better play "it safe than sorry."
All in all it has been fun and that's how it should be. 

More about my "hacks" and the results in a different posting.