I started this blog to get to know other gardeners and track my own garden's progrss. It is a wonderful way to honor the stewardship I have over my plot of ground I have been blessed with. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Winter Greenhouse Gardening Research

This is a page with information gathered while researching Winter Greenhouse information:
Heating Options

Nightime Heat:
Depending upon what you are intending to grow, your greenhouse can be either heated or unheated. If you live in a northern climate, then an unheated greenhouse can be used to extend your growing season but will not allow you to grow plants and vegetables year-round. If you want year-round produce or wish to grow tropical plants, citrus fruits, or orchids, then you will need to plan on heating your greenhouse. On average, in an unheated greenhouse the temperature remains about 10 degrees higher at night than the outside temperature. So, you would be able to grow plants about one hardiness zone warmer than you live in. On a sunny day temperatures inside the greenhouse are much warmer than outside, perhaps up to 50 degrees warmer. Heating costs can vary widely depending upon the location, size of greenhouse, and materials used to construct.

Heating Bricks at Night
How to Heat Bricks for Small Greenhouses

Greenhouses extend the growing season into the months on either side of the growing season. Insulated greenhouses with a heating source allow plant cultivation in the dead of winter. Small greenhouses don't need as much heat as larger greenhouses because they have less space to heat. Heating a greenhouse is done by mechanical heaters, passive heating or heating an element of the greenhouse, like bricks, and letting them give off ambient heat throughout the cold nights. Heating several bricks may be all you need to keep your small greenhouse warm.

1 Turn on your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2  Place bricks inside the oven. How many bricks depends on the size of the greenhouse and how low the temperature is expected to get.
3 Remove bricks with hot pads.
4 Place the heated bricks in the center of the greenhouse away from plants, as 350 degrees will burn any leaves that touch the bricks. Bricks will stay warm to hot for up to a day.

Passive Heating
1 Cover the bricks with black plastic. A garbage bag will work.
2 Set the bricks in the greenhouse where they will be in direct sunlight all day.
3 Move the bricks to the center of the greenhouse on the floor, so they can radiate heat to the plants.
Read more: How to Heat Bricks for Small Greenhouses

Ideas to keep the heat at night (including barrels, milk jugs, etc)
Over Wintering in Unheated Greenhouse Article

Forum about lowest temps plant can handle

Temps for Germination
Here's a link showing the optimum soil temperatures for seed germination. http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1061/ANR-1061.pdf
If it still a bit too cold outside for most of those seeds to germinate. I would recommend bringing them inside until they germinate and then putting them back out into your greenhouse once they have.
Article about Temp's

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Post For Seed Storing

As I run across seed storage ideas - I will add them to this post.  I will be looking for more of these in the coming weeks as I get my seeds ready to be stored.

This one is a great one:  http://chiotsrun.com/2011/01/15/my-seed-organizing-stash/  There is a complete tutorial on organizing her seeds on this blog.
This one is from Martha Stewart:
To ensure that seeds wake up refreshed from their long winter naps, take the time to tuck them in properly. Moisture, heat, and fluctuating temperatures are a seed's worst enemy, so don't simply abandon your leftover packets to the elements by leaving them in a garden shed. By the next spring they will have lost much of their vigor -- the ability to germinate quickly and healthily -- and many may have died. Instead, place packets in an airtight container, such as a canning jar with a new lid. Then make a few moisture-absorbing sachets to store with them by wrapping 2 tablespoons of untreated cat litter (avoid colored or scented litters) or powdered milk in a double layer of tulle. Close the lid tightly, and put the jar in a cool, dark place.

This is a similiar method to Chiots Run above - a little differnt - great ideas!

Here are some templates for making smaller envelopes:
burgon and ball seed pouches

burgon and ball seed box

Monday, October 17, 2011

Winterizing My (Vegetable) Garden

Linking Up with Seasonal Sunday's - be sure and check out all the fun ideas here!
I haven't posted for a while - we have been harvesting and canning like crazy people! This week is supposed to be another mild week and probably my last week in the garden. So I am getting everything ready to go to bed for the winter.
My plans for the week which will make for a better garden next spring:

1 - I am cleaning out all our raised beds.
That means  pulling up all the old plants.  I am adding them to the compost boxes.  I am also adding a scoop of manure to each box to brew all winter.
2 - Gathering Seeds
I have all heirloom plants so there are still a few seeds that need to be gathered.  I put them all in large boxes to make sure they are dry. Then I bring them in one box at a time during a movie and extract all the seeds - store in marked containers and ready for next season planting.  Also some carrot  and beet plants covered with a bale of straw  for seeds next year (biennial seed throwers)
3 - Overwintering plants
I am planting pea seeds in one of my boxes....next spring when the snow melts there are little pea plants all over and we get a nice early harvest of veggies!  (I am in zone 4). I also leave the onions in the ground and by May they are 3 feet high!
4 -  Weeds
Getting rid of all the weed plants in the garden
5 -  Records
Making sure my gardening journal is up todate with what we planted - how much we harvested etc so I know better what we need next year.   I find if I do this in the fall - I have a much better record, rather than waiting till next spring to make sure it is up todate.
6 - Plowing
Half of our garden gets plowed and half is in boxes.  I will cut the corn stalks and that half will get plowed this week.
7 - Flower Beds
All of the flower beds are cut back - I need to put all the plants into the compost bins.
8 - Compost bins
When everything is added - I need to add some coffee grounds, some dirt and some water and they are ready for winter too.

A little sad that the season is ending outdoors.  I have loved this fall and being out everyday.  This year I have a greenhouse that will significantly add time to gardening for me and our family.  Next post will be about greenhouse progress.
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fall 2011

I have been so busy trying to get things ready for winter here in my garden I haven't posted for a couple of weeks.  I have been putting my flowers to bed.  I have been gathering seeds, harvesting veggies - tomatoes, beans, carrots, peppers, corn, squash, cucumbers, apples, plums, peaches and more.  We have been canning like fools. Also trying to get things set in the greenhouse before it gets cold.  (Which is being forcasted for next week - so this is the do or die week!) 

I will post more then.  Till then happy  harvsting!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Paving the Greenhouse and Canning

Linking up to  Fertilizer Friday!
We have been canning   beans from our veggie garden.   So far we have done about  100 pints of green beans.   We still have peaches, tomatoes, jellies and jams, applesaucem plums, apricots and corn to do.

Our darling son was home for Labor Day weekend and helped me put pavers in the greenhouse:

I have been studying tricks to keep the greenhouse warmer in the winter.  A few things I have found:
1  -Pavers  help warm the greenhouse into the night because the absorb the heat during  the day and hold it into the evening hours.
2 - Pop bottles  filled with water and hung   absorb t he heat of the day and help extend that warmth
3 - Milk bottles filled with water and placed around the base on the inside do the same thing.
4 - Mini hoop houses within the  greenhouse help  hold heat in a specific  crop.
5 -Christmas lights turned on and a blanket over the top help   keep a crop warm.
6 -  My own idea - use  Christmas lights under a mini hoop house and then add a blanket to that. I will let you know how it works!
 Thanks for stopping by! 
Temps holding at 41* at night - yippee!
Today I am thankful for that!
p.s. please stop by my Fall Blog Room - would love to have you visit!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It Is September!

Linking up to:
Bloomin Tuesday
Cottage Flora Thursday
Fertilizer Friday
Our weather has been so fickle! 
It is  like we are off by a month - July 4th it got warm - about 4 weeks late.  We didn't get our veggie garden in until the middle of June when we usually have it in by mid-May. 

It is acting like it is early August right now. The beans are just coming on, the corn won't be ready for a few more weeks.  The flowers are all late too.  We are all praying we have another month of warm weather so the tomatoes, the corn, the beans and peppers and everything can  ripen.

Since our normal frost time is in the next week or so and I really don't know when it is coming, I thought I would take you on a walk of how it looks now....this is looking out our back door .

This is the side yard where the pond is - everything so filled in and lovely.
This is the veggie garden

 Tomatoes starting to turn
  The peppers are getting big!
 Sunflowers - love their happy faces
  Corn - needs to get a little taller - squash in the background
 My compost bins have been rebuilt and are  starting to function again

  Beans, carrots, peas  and beets starting to grow in the greenhouse.
  This is the herb box
 Looking at the greenhouse from the back end - still have   two more boxes to get ready - it has been so hot and it is brutal in there! 
 This is the backyard looking east
  Crab Apples ready!
 Here are a few of the flowers out back:

Thanks for stopping by!
Today I am thankful for seasons - enjoying the lovely weather no matter the season.
Please stop by my fall blog - would love to have you visit!

Monday, August 15, 2011

It is Hosta Week!

Linking up with:
 I wanted to share my Hosta's this week.
This year they just popped up and are so much bigger this year.
Most of these were planted from small pots 5 years ago except where noted.
The next few are along the front of the house on the North Side. 
I love this Blue Hosta!

 This is a side shot of the ones along the front of the house.
The next few are from in the entry area.
 I wanted to show these - these were a tray that had been thrown in a dumpster. There were 24 in the flat and we were able to save about half of them...they are doing great now!
  This is  hidden - but I love this Hosta - oops you can see my foot - sorry about that..... 
  Thesse Hosta's are on top of the pond area.
 These are right behind the pond - they are all  starts from the Hosta's out front.
   Some cute Hosta's by the fence just to the right of the pond - these are Hosta's that were in the flat that had been thrown away.
   These are from the Hosta Quad in the side yard -the smaller ones are from t he throw away flat.              .
 Side shot of  Hosta Quad
You can look at my header and see  how much these have  grown.
 This Hosta is in the Wood land - I showed this last week.
Thanks for letting me share my Hosta's with you.  
Today I am grateful for all the wonderful green things that call my yard their home!
Instructions on gathering Hosta Seeds


Collecting, drying and cleaning hosta seed is not difficult. When one sees pods on flower scapes, the first question coming to mind is "When will these pods be ripe enough to harvest the seed?" Generally speaking, it takes at least thirty days, depending on variety and environment for seeds to be fully ripe, even if the pods are still green. The best way to know when to collect the seed is watching the bottom pods. When the pods start changing color towards a dark brown, they are ripe. When the pod starts to split open, the seed should be collected. If left for a day after pods have split open, the seed will fall on the ground and be lost.

After the seed pods have all developed (at least 3 weeks after the last bloom has faded), some people prefer to cut the whole spike, drop it inside a brown paper bag and place it in a cool dry room to dry out completely. Using regular sheets of paper with the edges folded up box -like; the collected pods can be dumped inside. Drying seed inside the house, where it is warm and dry, results in pods splitting open within two or three weeks. Dumping the seedpods into a box and shaking with some enthusiasm will result in seeds coming out of pods. Dumping the seeds onto a spaghetti strainer, having ¼¼ inch holes, results in seed falling through and the pods remaining behind.

However, if you are hybridizing, each pod must be treated separately and kept with a label indicating the pod x pollen parents. It is important to have good labels when working with hosta seedlings, since it can take as long as six years before the seedlings are at their mature stage. Using plastic labels, and writing on these with a waterproof marker is not nearly good enough. Outdoor elements make such a label unreadable. The sun's rays make the plastic brittle and then they break. Aluminum labels will not rust and will last forever. You can scratch your information right into aluminum labels with a nail or a carbide tip 'Scriber'.

The seed is now ready for sowing. If you do not plan to sow immediately, put the seed in the plastic bag, then label and seal it. Place the bags in a cool environment. Some nurseries will store their seed in the freezer so it remains fresh.

Hostas, being the perennials they are make this pleasure a lasting experience. New developing characteristics appear each succeeding year as the hybrids reach maturity
Lots more info on this website.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

It is August!

Linking up with:
       Fertilizer Friday          
Our season is so late  this year  because it has been so cool - weird I know because the rest of the country is so warm -   the lily's are finally starting to bloom...here is the first wave of them,

This is a pot in our pond area - love this spike and so excited because I can overwinter it in our greenhouse.

Here is one of  the hosta's    This little spot wouldn't grow anything so I tried this  hosta and it loves it here.  I  am going to save seeds from Hosta's this year and start them in the greenhouse.  I think next week I will do a  hosta tour for my post.
Here are some Hop's  - I haven't ever grown Hop's before, but it is doing great! Not totally sure  what to do with this since we don't drink beer!  Have to study this out a bit.
  Holly hocks starting to grow....

 Perenial Bachelor Button

  Love, love, love this Astilbe! It is amazing

 Daisy   and  Bee Balm
      Apples left, cherries middle, apricots on the right - apples and apricots not quite ripe.  The fruit is amazing.  We are picking a  1/2 to  1  gallon of  raspberries a day for now.

These are carrot seeds.   I thought carrots were hard to seed .  They are a biennial so you have to plant them  and then get the seeds the next season .  I planted them and then last fall put a bale of  straw on them, this year they made it and popped right up!  WOO  HOO
Greenhouse Progress
We have all the boxes  placed   - we  sprayed the weeds.    This next week I am adding   compost to each box.

Thanks for stopping by - this week I am thankful for  fresh rain that we have  been able to enjoy this past week.
Have to show you one more picture:
Now this is my favorite picture -  we had a family reunion last weekend.  We have a family B-day party each year. This year we did a pirate theme.  We have  20 people with our kids, son in laws and  grandchildren. 
This is a picture of our  just our kids and g-kids.

I was so tired when everyone  left on Sunday Night - this was my kitchen Monday morning - the sink is full of cups and plates that aren't on the cupboard anymore.   It is clean now - what a great time we had!    (Everyone's cups are on a clothesline over the sink  - that is still up - I am such a romantic!)

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