Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sandy's Garden - 2009

Gardening, cooking, flowers and design - what could be better?

Gardening is a form of therapy for me. I love the smell of dirt and feel most at peace when I am digging in the dirt. I even enjoy small doses of weeding - it makes me feel good. So, I am very excited that spring is here and it's time to garden outdoors again.

I ordered my seeds a little late this year and my greenhouse did not really warm up until recently, so I am a bit behind schedule.

I have always had some type of garden, wherever I lived. Currently, we have two veggie garden beds and one cutting flower bed. I keep expanding our garden a bit every year. My wonderful husband tills the soil and humors me when I ask for more and more garden real estate, more labor to turn the soil, and more assistance with planting and harvesting. Little did he know when we got married (3 years ago) that he would be a gardener too. He loves it now and I think that I have him hooked. We walk the garden most evenings reviewing the day's progress with a glass of wine and some wonderful conversation. More garden therapy.

For the past two years I have been trying to grow flowers for decorating my home in a cutting garden. A cutting garden is typically planted in rows to grow flowers en-mass with easy access for cutting. My first year was not successful. I planted wildflower seeds and had just a few flowers. Last year I had better success. I started seeds and had quite a few varieties that I could cut along with some glads and dahlias thrown in. The joy of having a constant supply of fresh flowers has spurred me on to plant a few more varieties along with my vow to keep better notes this year about what worked best and to plant my seeds earlier next year.

Here is a nice article recently published in The Cleveland Plain Dealer about growing a cutting garden. I especially like the list of best flowers for a cutting in this article. I will tuck this list away for next year as I have already planted this year's seeds. I like starting seeds because I can select the exact color and variety that I want.

The 2009 Flower Seed List
Inca II Yellow (Marigold/African)
Tempo Watermelon (Impatiens)
Grandiflora Choice Finest (Phlox)
King Size Mixed (Larkspur)
Cascade Blue (Lobelia)
Madame Butterfly Mixed (Snapdragon/tall)
Bells Of Ireland
Evolution (Salvia)
Double Mix (Acroclinium)
Tiger Paws Mix (Aster)
Pastel Shades (Statice)
Chabaud's Giant Double Improved Mix (Carnation/tall)

For decorating around the yard I selected the following grasses this year:
Jester (Millet)
Purple Majesty (Millet)
Pennisetum Ruppelianum (Fountain grass)

Seedlings in my greenhouse

I saw this picture of a table setting by John Bossard for Erin Vorhoff in Southern Accents. What a gorgeous vase of Bells of Ireland!! So - I have started Bells of Ireland and we'll see what happens. :)

Bells of Ireland

I always grow marigolds - super easy from seed. I have always heard that they are a good bug repellent. I am not sure if this is true, but they looks so nice in a garden that I add them here and there.

Aster - Tiger Paw variety.

Impatient - Watermelon


Fountain Grass

Purple Majesty Millet

The Veggie List for 2009

Jalapeno Goliath Hybrid Pepper
Packet Big Beef Hybrid Tomato
Roma Tomato
Sugar Lump Tomato
Blue Lake Bush Bean
Cannellini Bean
Red Cloud Hybrid Beet
Stonehead Hybrid Cabbage
Sweetness I I I Hybrid Carrot
Poinsett 76 Cucumber
Packet Mammoth Dill
Packet Fairy Tale Eggplant
Genovese Basil
Cilantro Delfino
Red Salad Bowl Lettuce
Simpson Elite Lettuce
Delicious 51 Muskmelon
Eclipse Supersweet Pea
Golden Summer Hybrid Pepper
Red Beauty Hybrid Pepper
Connecticut Field Pumpkin
Early Scarlet Globe Radish
New Zealand Tetragonia Spinach
Summer Medley Hybrid Squash
Waltham Butternut Squash
Silver Princess Sweet Corn
Kleckley Sweets Watermelon
Red Norland Potato
Norkotah Potato

The 2008 Garden Plan pictured above was pretty successful. The new trellis system for tomatoes was excellent!! Great way to tie up tomatoes.

This year I am trying a summer medley mix of squash. Packet said to start indoors - starting squash indoors is a first for me.

I have such trouble with cucumber beetles. My seedlings look so happy - I almost hate to take them outside.

This year I have planted Big Beef, Roma, and Sugar Lump (cherry) tomatoes. The seed company also sent me several packets of experimental varieties and I started those tomatoes as well. The experimental variety was slow to germinate and is a little less hardy looking so far.

The cabbage is desperate to be transplanted. This weekend I hope. We wait until the danger of frost has passed here in Ohio - May 15th. Hurrah - we're there!!!

Happy planting day.

Monday, May 11, 2009

the 3/50 project

I just discovered this web site from a wonderful fellow blogger, Mrs Blandings, promoting purchasing locally to support our small, independent local merchants. I whole heatedly believe in the shop locally idea and practice this whenever possible. I shop for my design product from our area when I can (local artisans are the BEST,) we purchase the seed for our birds at the small local shop here in the Village called The Backyard Nature Company, we visit the local West Side Market every week, we get the most wonderful chocolate from our local chocolatier, Fantasy Candies, and the list goes on and on, from clothing retailers to small, independent restaurants - we support our local businesses.

To me, when we shop locally the products are more interesting, we get wonderful personal service, we make friends, and we are supporting a fellow small business person. It's all good!!

For more information on the 3/50 project click here. "Saving the brick and mortars our nation is built on" - I love it!!! And, I would love to hear about what fun and interesting things that you find when you shop locally too. Thanks!