Archive | October, 2012

My Urban Farmscape was Nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award!

28 Oct

one-lovely-blog-award

I was nominated by photographer and blogger,  I.am.kristen  http://xxiamkristinxx.wordpress.com/  

Thanks Kristen!

So, if you’re not familiar with this award, here are the details……

To accept this award:

1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you.

2. Paste the award image on your blog.

3. Tell 7 facts about yourself.

4. Nominate 15 other blogs that you would like to give the award to.

5. Contact the bloggers that you have chosen and let them know about the award.

Here are 7 facts about myself:

  1. Formost and above all, I am a wife, a mom and a grandma.  My family is my life.
  2. I have other interests besides gardening, really!  Writing, photography of course, and I love to sew, quilt and craft.
  3. I have two dogs that rule the house
  4. Besides writing about gardening, I work full time as a university greenhouse manager and am the curator of a botanical garden.
  5. I DO NOT like to eat anything in the brassicaceae family.  You might already know this.
  6. Cheesecake is my favorite dessert.
  7. Mary Oliver is my favorite poet.

Here are the 15 blogs that I am nominating in no particular order.  Check ’em out.

  1. Memoirs From Behind the Chair http://tonimarielee.wordpress.com
  2. Swier Family Farm   http://swierfamilyfarm.wordpress.com
  3. The Soulsby Farm   http://soulsbyfarm.org
  4. Diary of a Small Town Earth Muffin  http://muffindiaries.com
  5. Patterns of Nature  http://patternsofnature.wordpress.com
  6. Grow Where You’re Planted  http://grwhryrpltd.wordpress.com
  7. Soul Food Sister  http://soulfoodsister.wordpress.com
  8. Richert Images  http://richertmanjarres.wordpress.com
  9. Danny’s Kitchen  http://dannyskitchen.me
  10. Boozed & Infused  http://boozedandinfused.com
  11. May Dreams Gardens  http://www.maydreamsgardens.com
  12. Late Blooming Entrpreneurs  http://latebloomingentrepreneurs.wordpress.com
  13. Pleiades 513 http://pleiades513.wordpress.com
  14. Our French Garden  http://ourfrenchgarden.blogspot.com
  15. Jeremy Gradney  http://avgmansfashion.com

Urban Farmscape: Florida Style

21 Oct

Just because gardening season in Michigan is about to end, it doesn’t mean that I will stop gardening.  Like I said in previous posts, my mind is always in the garden.  Not because I want to dig in the dirt, but mostly because I love nature and the beauty it offers.  I feel in total awe and hold a true appreciation for how plants grow, providing us with their delicious fruits, roots, and leafy flavors!  I guess I mostly garden for the love of food.

I took a long weekend trip to southern Florida to visit my daughter and her family.  I thought I was taking a vacation from the garden, enjoying the sun, a little swimming, playing with my granddaughter.  Both  my daughter and son-in-law work and don’t have much time for gardening, but wanted to offset the cost of their grocery bill by trying to grow more of their veggies.  Today, my daughter wanted to plant her garden.   She had already bought seeds and started some plants in peat pots. She had been gardening in containers and decided it was time to expand her growing space.  Now is the time to plant in Florida, so we headed to the local box store to buy lumber, topsoil, and a few other supplies to make a veggie garden.

After following directions from the post I wrote on March 18, 2012 Contained Chaos, my daughter and her husband decided on the best location to build their raised bed.  The morning is the sunniest on the southeast side of their house and it is totally shaded by 2:00 p.m.  Perfect for Florida when the afternoons are really too hot.  This will be good for working in the garden later in the evening with their daughter.  It didn’t take long before my son-in-law had the bed put together, trellises up, and then both he and my daughter filled them up with topsoil and potting mix.

 

They planted pole beans, zucchini, and cucumbers today as time was running short.  My granddaughter planted the plants she picked out this morning, along with a little tropical bird she fell in love with that adds a little garden whimsy.  Ha!  My daughter said she would never have one in her yard.  Funny what parents (and grandparents!) do for their kids.  There should always be a little fun in the garden.

It was a good day building and planting as a family.  Now I will go home to Michigan, where the leaves have probably fallen off the trees, and where I will finish some garden chores, pruning, cleaning and putting away my garden tools.  Next time I visit my daughter and son-in-law may be around the holidays, when I will expect fresh green beans for dinner!  As well as the amazing risotto that she makes.

Have you planted your garden yet?

How to Propagate Succulents in 5 Easy Steps

14 Oct

 

With all the rage about creating frames or terrariums filled with  succulents, I am often asked where one would find affordable solutions to this plethora of plants.   Even though putting the garden to bed seems to be my primary task at hand, it is  a good time to take cuttings too.  These tips will also work for succulents purchased at a greenhouse or garden center, thus allowing for an endless supply of little succulents to use for indoor growing projects.

 

Succulents are probably one of the easiest plants to propagate.  Slow growing, these plants usually thrive in warm sunny locations and require very little care.  Unlike a cactus that barely needs to be watered, succulent plants should be watered anywhere from  ten to fourteen days depending on their growing location.  Keep in mind more sun = more water.   I have found a wide variety of sedum (stonecrop) and sempervivum (hen and chicks) that make great succulents for propagating and growing and using for plant crafts.  Look for a wide variety of colors and textures.  The groundcover sedum varieites in your garden also work great.

To propagate, follow these 5 easy steps:

1: Pinch off the tip portion of a stem only.  You don’t want to use another parts below this, as the newer growth at the tip of a stem will produce better roots.  You don’t need any more than one inch of stem, depending on the plant.  Cut between two nodes, which is the part where a leaf meets the stem.

2: Remove lower leaves, leaving only a few on the tip.  Set aside for at least a day to allow the stem to callous, or heal over.  This will allow better root formation.  You can also use the leaves to make new plants.

3: I like to stick the new cuttings in a flat when allowing for time to grow roots.  I use a traditional peat/perlite potting mix for houseplants.  I never use cactus mix as it is too sandy and have found that my succulents have grown better in the general potting mix anyway.  It looks pretty too.

4: Once they have developed roots, it’s time to plant them into your frame, container or terrarium. 

5: Once planted, little care is needed.  Keep in a low light area for about two weeks before moving them to receive sunlight.  Water when the soil dries out. 

Caring for your Succulents:  If your new plants become “leggy” pinch off the tips and start a new plant.  The original stem should develop smaller shoots. I like to keep my creations pinched back and have a continuous supply of baby succulents.  I never know when I need a little gift for something.  These little treasures make great gifts when planted in small terracotta pots. 

TIP:  Want to increase the variety of your collection of succulents?  Share this post with friends, and have each of you purchase a succulent plant, propagate, and hold a plant swap.  Soon you will end up with many different varieties!

Sedum Lime-Zinger PPAF
photo by Chris Hansen courtesy of http://www.PerennialResource.com

Funky Pumpkin Totem

7 Oct

It’s October and it’s pumpkin time!  Not only do I love to eat everything pumpkin, I love decorating with them.  Not the traditional carving the Jack-O-Lantern type of decorating like when the kids were little, but finding the most unique pumpkins and gourds to decorate my front porch with.  Needing an inspiration piece, I decided to create a totem of pumpkins and set out on a journey to find the funkiest pumpkins around.

 

Roadside stands are one of the best places to start.  Here my daughter and I found these nice white pumpkins.  Definitely a keeper. 

 

 

 

 

 

I LOVED these variegated white, green and orange pumpkins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hearty Harvest in Remus, Michigan

With a selection like this, who needs to go anywhere else!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thought the cat would be a nice touch to my autumn decorating, but she wasn’t for sale. 

 

 

 

 

 

A swan and her babies maybe? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once we got a nice selection, we headed back home.  Initially, I thought that they should all be somewhat flat.  Some people call these Cinderella pumpkins.  But there were some that looked really cool, and were anything but flat, so decided to use them in the totem anyway.  Besides the pumpkins, some re-rod and a drill with a really long drill bit were used.  Here are a few tips to make your Funky Pumpkin Totem.

Line the pumpkins from largest to smallest.  Remove the stems if they have any from all except for the top pumpkin.

 

Starting with the largest, place that one on the ground where you want your totem to permanently be.  Level it using your eye as a guide.  You may need to bury it in the ground a little.

 

Drill a hole in the center of the first pumpkin and drive a stake or piece of re-rod through it.  You want to have something strong enough to keep your pumpkins in line and prevent them from falling off of each other.

 

Stack the pumpkins, drilling a hole in each one, until you get it as tall as you want. 

Now I have a starting point for my autumn decorating! 

No more decorating for today, it’s time to go indoors to eat some pumpkin muffins and drink some cider while I come up with my next outdoor project.  YUM!  Don’t you love October?

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