Hanging baskets from scratch

This is one of my most satisfying gardening projects. I start petunias in January the transplant them into hanging baskets in March. They spend the next six weeks growing in the cool greenhouse before moving to their hanging location at the front of our home.

I start with clean, reused plastic hanging basket. A coffee filter helps contain the potting mix but allows drainage.

I put in a layer of mix the some pre moistened water saving crystals. Pre moistened is the key word here. If you forget this step, you could see an erupting soil volcano when they finally absorb water!

Then I gently transplanted the petunias into the pots. The following is an example of a pot by the end of June.

Blooming by the end of June.

Blooming by the end of June.

Greenhouse Action

Assorted lettuce seedings transplanted to greenhouse bed.

Assorted lettuce seedings transplanted to greenhouse bed.

It’s Spring inside my greenhouse. Starting February 15th we get ten hours of sunlight and that is my daily minimum to support growth. I always start out with lettuce. The seeds were started indoors under lights with a heat mat around January 21 and were transplanted into the greenhouse bed this weekend.

I also have flower seedlings that are hardening off now and will be potted up soon.
Flower seedlings

Miniature Garden Inspiration

Every year I like to try something new and this seems to be the year for a miniature garden. Not a fairy garden, but just a small scene yet to be determined. Inspired by Janit Calro’s book “Gardening in Miniature” and her display at #nwfgs this year! I think this will be my new area of gardening to explore this summer.

Janit explains plant selection and scale very well in her book and on her website http://www.twogreenthumbs.com
Maybe I will be able to work in a micro mini rose.

New Year, New Beginnings

I started my first trays of seeds yesterday. Slow germinating petunias, delphinium and a few others. Plus a wide variety of lettuce plants that will grow in my cool greenhouse for crunchy salads in March and April. My light system is totally laughable. I repurposed my SAD light and propped it over the seed trays. Instead of having the lights move up and down, I vary the distance from the lights with different sized plastic boxes. It works for me. I like to think it was a creative use of things on hand. I enjoy viewing the Rusted Gardener videos and hope you will also.

My goal is to use a heat mat and light to germinate the seeds then move them out to the greenhouse where it has been 50 to 60* F in recent days.

Record keeping has been a learning component for this transplanted gardener. This is my second full season in this climate and my notes from seed starting in 2013 are paying off now. What I do is not fancy or professional, just enough so I do not feel like I have to guess every year or repeat mistakes!

Oyster barbecue

The oyster garden is being very productive and today I was ready for another recipe. Yes, it is dark, drizzly and cool 51* F, but I wanted barbecued oysters. So I was the crazy lady grilling in the rain, I admit it. They are so easy to cook on the grill and we enjoyed every one :)

Barbecued oysters

Barbecued oysters

The Oyster garden is very productive.
500 seed oysters. Pacific Triploid. May 24, 2013

500 seed oysters. Pacific Triploid.
May 24, 2013

Winter Interest

Look outside and what do you see? Fog, gray skies and a few recognizable twigs that may be dead or may have survived the recent cold spell. We will know about that by June. Many folks are in holiday overdrive right now but I prefer the quietness that winter brings. In zone 8, Western Washington, I have Pampas grass waving, Heather blooming and Euphorbia looking good after a week with lows near 20* F. Look closely and enjoy the plants that have winter interest. If you don’t find any, make a plan for your viewing pleasure for December 2014.



Cold enough for you?

The weather forecasters are showing a huge Arctic cold mass descending through Canada into the Northern USA this week. So cold, I can hardly believe that will happen in my garden, not more than 25 ft above sea level but very near the Sound. But zone 8b officially can get down to 10 to 20 degrees F. I just have not experienced that here, yet. Today I went into panic mode and decided that my beloved roses needed some protection, so I bought two 3.2 cubic ft. bales of Black Gold (the regional organic soil amendment) and just got in from mounding three mini/miniflora beds, four standard tree roses plus about four other roses that have only been in the ground since October. I really could have used two more bales but while everyone else was scurrying around Fred Myers with Christmas gifts, I was wrestling with putting two bales of Black Gold in my cart. We all have our priorities.