Welcome - come enjoy my Garden with me

My Garden although it may be small is my garden. I love working in the garden and showing or telling others about it. While you are here take a look around. There is a lot to see. Take a look at the other blogs I love to read. Leave a comment if you like. But most of all. Enjoy your time here, and come back soon.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Observations of note

As the growing season comes to an end I am noticing different things.  It seems that Bob and Bobbet are not done giving me fruits of their labors.  Since the weather has turned cooler they seem to be perking up and growing better than they did all summer.  I am not totally sure as to the reason for this but I have a guess.  I believe that it was due to the high temperatures that the Greenhouse reached in the summer time.  Now that the outside temp doesn't get that high it is only heated by the sun.  It still reaches over 90 some days but not over 110.

 I have also noticed that the Peppers seem to be doing better now than before.  I took a quick count this morning and counted over 40 Peppers growing over all.  Thats a whole lot of peppers.

Something else I have noticed is that although the mint in the Greenhouse has been going nuts since I planted it the mint that is closest to the Peppers is trully going crazy.  But the mint that was inbetween the Pepper plants (in the middle of the square) has all but died.  I belive that this is due to lack of sun and not the Peppers.  As the other mint that I mentioned that is going crazy is right next to the peppers. 

For most of the summer the Mint that was next to the tomato plants was going crazy.  Since the mint there is no long as big I belive that it was mostly due to the sun it got in that area. 

I am very interested to see what happends in the greenhouse over the winter.  Basically my greenhouse is just a really big Cold Frame.  Sun powered ventalation in the roof and sun heated.  I do have a power cord that goes into the greenhouse so that I can have a fan on during the really hot days and have also brought a heater in there but as that raises the electric bill I don't want to use it as much. 

I have been reading about how I can heat the greenhouse or at least keep it above freezing for the winter without the use of power but the space is too small to really use most of the idea's. 

Any ideas are more than welcome.  Anyone else that is growing via soler powered greenhouse and has tips please let me know.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Storing seeds

So now that you have learned how to collect seeds your ready to go out into the neighbor hood and see what you can find.  But wait.....just gathering seeds isn't quite that simple is it?  Sure it is....as long as you have a plan before you go.  For instance when I went out I made sure I had a jacket or pants with lots of pockets.  This way each variety of seed that I collect can have it's own spot away from others.  And it also allows me to be sure that they don't get mixed.  Unless you know what the seeds look like for sure it's best to have some way to keep different kinds seperate till to arrive back home.  Small ziplock bags, envelopes, pockets, what ever you have handy that you can use to help keep them appart. 

Once home it's time to lable and store the seeds.  The Seed Site is a great site to go to for seed packets.  You just simply pick a design you like and print it off.  Cut out the shape glue or tape  together and presto a home made seed packet that is perfect.  http://www.wintersown.org/ is another site that has lost of good seed packet templates.  There are tons all over the internet.

Here are some examples from the 2 sites I listed.  These are some easy ones and can be very usefull.  They all have lots of room to lable the packet. 

So whats supposed to be on the lable?  Well for one you need the type of plant and if known the variety.  Another is when it was collected.  I just put the Month and Year.  This comes into play when you go to use them.  Since the gardens are pretty much going dorment right now mostlikely you are collecting seeds for the following year.  Or maybe you are giving them away.  Well it is suggested that you not use seeds over 2-3 years old.  So the ones I collect this year are most likely going to be good till 2013.  But again that will also depend on how they are stored and what kind of see they are.  Some last longer than others.  Now you can still use them after 3 years but their viability is questionable.  But hey give it a shot...you may be surprised.

Something else to consider when lableing these special collections is to put days till germination, depth, spacing, etc.  Things that you would find on a traditional seed packet from the store.  This way when you go to plant them or someone who received as a gift goes to plant them the information is right there.  I put that information on the back or on a index card filed with the packets. 

The Potting Shed gave me a seed saving kit for winning a contest on facebook.

This really cool little kit came with tins to put seeds in as well as Glassene envelopes to store seeds in.  Lables to put on both as well.  Even a pencile to write with and seed markers to use when planting.

It also came with a chart to assist in seed saving.  There was a card inside as well that gave some basic instructions on how to use the kit/save seeds.  I really liked the kit...in fact I ended up buying another one.  They have kits on the site for kids too.  I can see how a kid would love to use this kit as the tins have clear lids so they can see the seeds.  And as most seeds are dry and there for somewhat hard they make noise in the tin.

Having a kit like this actually got me very interested in learning how to save seeds.  I enjoyed my greenhouse and other gardens this year (still am actually) and untill I won this kit I hadn't even thought of saving seeds for future use.  But I won the kit and said well I can't just let it sit there.....I need to use it for something.....and I did. 

So print off some seed packet templates and have them ready, put on a jacket and grab the camera and kids.  Head outside and see what you can find that you could plant in your yard next year.  Come on you know that those really pretty flowers that are growing up your neighbors mail box would look really nice in your garden too....so go get some seeds.  Teach the kids how the life of a plant doesn't end every fall but begins anew with a tiny seed.

Collecting Seeds

On a nice fall day you head outside and take a walk.  As you pass a neighbors yard you see that once beautiful garden laying dormant and wish you had some of their flowers.  Well since it is fall most likely there are seeds that you can gather. 

Besides the colors of the trees fall is a great time of year.  Although your garden seems to be sleeping it isn't.  The last stage before that long winter nap is happening.....the setting of seeds.  Some may have already produced and released their bounty but many are still holding on to their treasure.

Collecting seeds can be fun and educational.  Learning what each plants seed pod or seed looks like.  Discovering that there are many sizes, shapes, and colors to seeds and seed pods. 

 Here is a good example of how different seeds can be.  The 2 black seeds are Morning Glory seeds.  The 2 big white ones are Moon Flower.  Both plants seem very simular in nature as they are both climbing vines and the leaves are virtualy the same.  But the flowers and seed pods are very different.

Here in these two pictures are both seed pods for Morning Glories.  They look very different though.  Both plants are indeed Morning Glories but in this case the seed pod shape and size are clues at to the variety.  The first is from my Heavenly Blue.  Large blue blooms. 

The second is from a vine on a neighbors fence. These blooms were significantly smaller in size as well as different colors.   The pods weren't the only difference either.  To gather these seeds I just simply had to touch the pods and they broke open.  Where my Heavenly Blue pods required a little more work...not much but a little. 

This pod here is from the Moon Flower vine.  Like the seeds a lot bigger than the Morning Glory.  These also take much longer to fully develope.  And are not as plentiful as Morning Glory.  Mostlikely because the amount of pollinating insects at night is far less than during the day...so not as many of the blooms will become seed pods.

Here is a close up of the 2 different Morning Glory seeds.  On the left you can see 3 larger and more oval like shapped...these are the Heavenly Blue.  The others are the ones from the fence.  The mini blooms.

This funny looking thing is a seed pod for a Mimosa Tree.  For these you have to make sure that they are brown not green.  Green is still growing. 

And here you can see what the seeds inside look like.  Although these all came from the same seed pod they are all different.  The basic shape is the same but size isn't.  If you were to open a green pod you would see that most are all the same size.  It is during the drying stage that they shrink...some more than others.

The Rose of Sharon seed pods are very different in many ways.  Although for the most part the seeds with in are the same from variety to variety unlinke the Morning Glory ones sometimes the pods will differ.  In size for one but also in time to maturity and ammount of seeds. 

These Rose of Sharon seeds all came from one pod.  But the next pod I opened had 2 seeds.  very different in numbers but both looked very much the same.  The hair you see is called wings.  It's how they get around when the pod is fully open. Carried by the wind.

I went to a few different sites to find out what to look for in terms of seed pods that are ready and that aren't.  What the seeds look like, and how to go about germinating them.  The following sites are really good to use to identify mystery seeds the kids may bring home http://www.theseedsite.co.uk/, and http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/seedid/ were 2 really good ones.  I used them to find out what this crazy looking seed was.  Turns out it is Clematis.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Seeds - Rose of Sharon

So we have 4 differnt Rose of Sharon bushes/shrubs around our yard and given this year I am all into learning how to do all things gardening I colected some seeds....with pictures of course to share with you.  First the Flowers in bloom:
My pure white beauty

A double bloom purple.

Single bloom purple

And a Red eye white.

All equally beautiful in their own right.  So I have been very very very careful while collecting the seed pods to keep each version separate.  So how and when do you collect these pods and then what?  Well here is a visual description of what to look for and what to do.  Some are dark sorry.:
Here you see 3 different stages of the bush.  The top green one is a seed pod soon after the bud has fallen off.  The 2nd Stage.  The next one down is a purple bloom about to emerge.  The 1st Stage.  The last one on the bottom is a seed pod nearing harvest time.  This is the 3rd stage.

Here is another view of a 3rd stage pod.  It is brown in color and appears to be dead.  You can harvest at this time but it will be a little more work for you.  If you wait for Stage 4 most of the work is done.

Although not very clear this one is the 4th and final stage before it plants it's self.  At this point when the pods are open like this you can harvest the seeds.  At this point though you may also find that some pods are empty.  As the seeds are exposed to the elements and may fall out.

This pod here was actually harvested in stage 3.  The seeds are ready but I had to pull the pod appart to get to the seeds.

Here is a close up of a few of the seeds in these pods.  Yes they are hairy. 
Ever wonder how many seeds are in one pod?  I did.  This one had 11 good seeds.  The small specks next to the seeds are actually more seeds but they didn't develop.  No room I guess.

So all of your pods have been deseeded and you have all these seeds everywhere.  What do you do now?  Well you need to store them for future use.  A Tin with a lid, Glass jar, or a Glassine Envelope are best but a homemade paper envelope is just fine too.  Just be sure to lable them with the name of the seed including variety or color.  And at least the Month and year collected.  Store in a cool dry place.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Flowers in the Garden Part 3

As fall keeps creaping in I feel the need to bring Spring to the blog.  So here is another instalment of 2010's flowers in the Garden.  This time we are moving to the side of the house .

The begin of Spring brought several beautiful Daffodils.

One of the Iris' that bloomed.  I love the coloring of these flowers.  The way that look like no other flowers.

The other version of Iris in the yard.  Also pretty in it's own right. 

The lilies that surprised me as well.  Since this was our first Spring in the house I didn't know what kind of beauty was lurking beneath the soil.  Gonna try to get a few other colors for next year.

Now these guys like the Irish have unique color patterns.  To me they look like they have frekles.  These guys are Rodadendrum

Here is a big of a close up of one of my other Rose of Sharon Shrubs.  This one is actually a double flower.  The center part for some opens just like the outer part and sometimes it just stays lacy like this one.  This shrub was covered in blooms this year.  And I am collecting seeds....
 And here we are to my pride and joy.  My morning glories.  This one is called Heavenly Blue.   And let me tell you when they first open they are very blue.  This one has touches of purple in it because it was a few hours old.  If you look to the left of the open bloom you can see a purple one.  This one opened the day before and is shriviling up.  The blooms are only good for one day but if you have a good healthy plant you won't even realize that.  I had some many blooms some days it was crazy.  You can cut them and put in water although the open blooms will only last that day but if you cut the stem so that there are other blooms ready they will bloom in the water.  In fact I had cut back some of the main plant because it was taking over my railing and I droped a stem with buds on it.  Even with out water apparently these guys can still be hardy....4 days after I cut it a bloom opened. 

This little beauty is actually not very little.  This is a Moon Flower, called Giant White.  Like the Morning glories it is only good for one day.  Actually for one night.  Yup these guys open at night.  Most of the time.  Every so often  a few of them got confused and opened early evening but not often.  Compared to the Morning Glories they are quite large.  They do have another big difference though in that they do sometimes last almost a whole 24 hours.  Where Morning glories usually don't make it past 12 hours.

Both of these two are vining plants and can be very aggressive though so be prepared for that.

Winter is comming - Now what!

So Fall has settled in here in the North which means Winter isn't too far behind.  Up here trying to grow stuff outside in the dead of winter isn't really possible.  Too much snow and cold weather for much to really grow.

But never fear there are other things that you can do.  As fall moves on think about planting some lettuce or another quick crop.  Or just get some cover crop seeds like grains.  Why?  Well because these guys can actually replenish lost nutrients in you soil.  Also as some you can just leave there till Spring then till it all up it will start to breakdown and create a compost of sorts.

Don't like that idea but want to do something?  There are always root crops.  Potatoes, carrots, etc.  Fall is a good time to plant these guys as by the time the soil freezes where the actuall crop is you will be able to harvest them. 

What about inside?  There are many great varieties of veggies, some fruits, herbs, and flowers that grow quite well in containers.  Herbs are always a good choice as long as you cook with them. 
The book that is listed on this page
is a great book on container gardening.  He goes thru different ways to grow inside or out all in containers.  He even had a section on Winter.

Something else that is very important to cold weather gardeners is the planning of the next years crops.  More to follow on that though.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Flowers in the Garden Part 2

So here are some more of the Front yard flowers in the newest section of the Blog the Flowers series.

This is the Hydranga....last year is was totallty covered in these heavy blossom stems.  Each one containing tons of little flowers like this one.  This year is wasn't as full.  But still very Pretty.

 Looks like a white rose about to bloom close up right?  Well you would be half right.  This is a Rose of Sharron bush.  I have others but this one is different. 

This is what it looks like open.  Nothing like a rose.  But very very beautiful.  This version is pure white.  Not a hint of another color to be found.  The pollin is almost white as well.  One of the other bushes that I have is very different in not only color but style.  It looks like it has 2 flowers with in one bud.  There is a second row of pedles inside....I will show you soon when I get to that section of the yard.  But this single layer beauty is well it's beautiful.

 And this interesting guy is a Yucca plant.  I didn't really like it much untill it bloomed.  The leaves at the base are cactus like and very pointy.  I thought it looked like an eye sore.  But when it blooms it is better.  These blooms don't last long though.

Here is a close up of one of the Yucca blooms.
And now for my favorite part.  My Roses.  I love roses.  The more colorful they are the better I like them.  Course my favorite flower is a tulip but roses come in a very close second.  So here are some random pictures of my roses from this year.  I hope you like em.

Flowers in the Garden Part 1

So along with my Greenhouse and the adventures of starting to grow an edible garden I took carefull note of flowers that were growing around the yard. Tried to put a name to them if I didn't already know them. Most of the flowers were planted before we moved in summer 2009. So some I just found this year as they bloomed earlyin 2009.

Did you know that flowers and some other foliage type plants can be VERY good for the edible garden? See some of these beautiful flowers actually attract good bugs and pests. Some can also attract bad ones....which if not planted near veggies is great because it can keep them away from the veggies.

So to the begining of a Flower series here are some pictures of flowers in the front yard.

A surprise of some pretty daisys....

Found out thru lots of reaserch that this pretty flower here on a tree in the yard is actually a Japaniese Dogwood.  They have some funny looking fruits in fall (pictures to follow later) also known as Kousa.  I may try to make a Jam from them...I read it's good.

Some Pansy's.  Now these I planted.  Some didn't make it but this was also early in the year so I was just begining my journy.  But these guys grew.

Just a close up of the Pansy's.

 Another close up from another of the Pansy plants.  I love this one....the coloring is so pretty.

After a lot of research - even more than the dogwood - I finally got a name to this big guy,  Peony. Such a beautiful  and full flower.  Reminds me of a Carnation. 


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