Ornamental and edible gardening adventures.

More spring appearances

It seems like we're a month ahead of schedule, doesn't it? Usually I don't see crocuses until my mother's birthday, March 28.

An experiment, if you will

I propped my two-year old cold frame up on bricks as the fall subsided so that the wood would not be in contact with the earth and rot. It's been really wet in the northeast ever since we moved into our house, and I spent a little too much money on it to let it degrade quickly.

However, with the cold frame up on bricks, the bricks began to settle and leave gaps where the warm air built up during the day would escape at night. My father-in-law gave me the idea of using pipe insulation to fill in the gaps, so today I went to the garden/hardware store, bought pipe insulation and cut it in half. I ended up balancing the cold frame on the entire thing, so now it looks like this:

It's not great-looking, and I'm not even sure it will work. (Right now there is a three degree difference between the inside and outside, but I lost most of the warmer air when I had the cold frame open today and was installing the insulation.) And not all sides are still air-tight. (In the front I had to put extra foam.) For $5, it' an experiment, and I'll see if it helps. I should probably get out there with a shovel and leveler- that might help the bricks set straighter... but I'm not that motivated yet. Besides, I'm just trying to push the season a little bit at this point, since I should be able to use it no problem starting next month.

The next project, for a warmer day, is to stain the wood to further protect it.

Have you ever tried to jerry-rig something to make it work in the garden?

A little setback

Earlier this week I noticed that the pansy seeds seem to look a little ... sickly. I hopped on Facebook and posted the photo below looking for any advice.

Karen from Paul and Sandy's, Too, a local garden center, was quick to reply to my cry for help. She determined from the photo that the soil was too wet, and that the soil mixture I was using might be too heavy.

She was right on both accounts. I usually wait and order my seed-starting mix from Gardener's Supply. Instead, before I ordered I got the seed-starting bug, and I bought a bag of Epsoma seed-starting soil to tide me over.  When I saw it contained perlite, I had a hunch that it wouldn't be right, but I sowed the seeds anyway.

Now I wish I hadn't! It looks like they are drying out but I may lose a few seedlings in the process. What's funny is that I recently read somewhere (either a gardening book or magazine) that the author considered seed-starting annoying because it was baby-sitting problematic children. I remember thinking, it's not that bad!


I'm disinfecting older seed starting containers today and I'm hoping to start onion and impatien seeds tonight, along with more geranium seeds.

Speaking of geraniums, here are the lovelies:

I found these seeds from Swallowtail Garden Seeds. It's surprisingly really difficult to find geranium seeds for sale! For some reason, I'm pretty attached to these plants now. Maybe it's because my grandfather and mom used to grow them every year, and keep them indoors over the winter. I used to keep them in our apartment before we bought a house, where they would take over all the windowsills in our west-facing apartment. Nowadays, window space is tight (we do not have windowsills so there are only a few tables where plants can live, and I try to keep it restricted to true houseplants). We have no basement so I can't overwinter them there, either.

I bought a mix of varieties - hoping they will look nice this summer!


While I was counting birds for Project FeederWatch today in the back garden, I spied something besides birds and squirrels through my binoculars.

These little snowdrops are braving our wacky winter weather. It feels as if spring could be just around the corner. I wish I had remembered how nice it feels to see these blooming- I would have purchased more this past fall to grow. Is anything blooming in your neck of the woods?

Doesn't feel like Winter!

We're having a wave of unseasonably warm weather. I have a few snowdrops peeking out of the lawn already (just a few- I wonder if where I planted them, it was too wet last season for them). And some of my roses are getting new growth. It feels like spring, with yesterday's high temperature somewhere in the 60s, on Feb. 1! I hope we don't pay for this with a major blizzard later in the month.

I haven't been as good as starting more seeds this past month as I had hoped, but maybe it's good I slowed down. I'm bound to run out of room faster that way. But I 'm hoping that the pansies will be big enough to move into the cold frame for all of March, so they can be blooming by April.
Taken yesterday, these are the pansy seeds I sowed on Dec. 27, 2011. I forgot what slow growers they are! This is after about a month of hard work!
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