Daily Inspiration’s…

Beauty

Do you enjoy admiring beautiful things?
Would you like a plethora of ideas & inspirations at your finger tips?


If you said yes, then head on over to my Pinterest page and follow me there.

You won’t be disappointed!
Happy Day Dragonfly Friends,
Jean

How-to Overwinter & Propagate Your Geraniums

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul.” Luther Burbank

I recently posted on how-to save your canna’s & I thought now is the perfect time to talk about overwintering your geraniums. As the nights grow colder and frosts are right around the corner, it’s time to bring in your geraniums if you plan to overwinter them. In my post about canna’s I mentioned how much my grandmother loved them, well she was equally as passionate about her red geraniums!

I know so many of my readers are gardeners, so I thought this would be the perfect time to share this great bit of information! I use all of these methods myself and have had great success with them. Let’s get ready for old man winter and keep as many of our beautiful blossoms as possible!

If you missed my post on saving your canna’s, here’s the link for easy reference: https://fordragonfliesandme.com/2022/10/08/how-to-preserve-your-canna-rhizomes/

1. Bring your potted geraniums inside to enjoy all winter long!
This is by far the easiest way, however depending on how many you have and how large the containers are you may need to utilize a few other methods for some. Care for your plants as you would outside with respect to sunshine & watering.

One of my porch pots with several plants in it including a beautiful salmon colored geranium.

Hard pruning your plants will give them an upper hand from the stress of coming indoors. Cut back at least one third of the plant, however you can try to keep any stems with buds. When cutting them back, be sure to cut at the swollen part of the stem, called the ‘node’. This will stimulate growth on your plant!

Pro Tip: Before you bring in your potted geraniums, be sure to carefully snip off any dead or decaying blossom heads & leaves. Also be sure to check for any hiding insects on the bottom of the leaves, in the blossom heads, and around the dirt. I recommend cutting the plant back & then using an insecticidal soap spray a few days prior to bringing them in. I use Garden Safe Insecticidal Soap.

2. Store your geraniums using the Bare Root method! This method is also super easy. Here’s the skinny on how-to:

  1. The first step is to cut back your geranium. You will want to use sharp garden shears and cut the plant 6” above the soil line. DON’T throw the plant away, you can use it for stem cuttings! Hold on for that info coming. 
  2. Once your plant is cut back, remove any excess leaves carefully plucking off from the stem as closely as possible. Next, take a hand trowel and carefully dig straight down around the base of the stem, about 5” away, sliding down on each side- think North, South, East & West; gently lift the plant out of the pot or ground.

3. Once you’ve carefully dug up the plant, gently shake off any dirt clumps clinging to the roots.

4. The final step is to store the bare roots in either a thick paper bag or cardboard box. Keep them in a dark, cool, dry space that stays between 50 to 60 degrees. Check them once a month for any mold. If mold is found, carefully cut off the area and place in a clean bag or box. 

Pro Tip: Be sure to tag your bare root stems by color. You can simply write the color & variety on the outside of the paper bag or box. Store the same colors together unless you only have one.

Pro Tip: Removing any excess leaves will help prevent mold from growing on your roots.

3. Take cuttings from your plants & rooting them in water! Taking cuttings & rooting is very easy and can be done right in your kitchen! This is a great solution for small spaces, or if you just want more plants! Here’s how!

  1. Be sure to take green stems that are not woody or old, and at least 4 to 6 inches in length. 
  2. Be sure to remove any flower stems & buds. 
  3. Leave 2 to 3 leaves at the top of the stem. 

4. Take a sharp pair of kitchen shears or a scalpel and carefully cut just below the swollen part of the stem called the ‘node’ on an angle. Cutting at this part of the stem will stimulate root growth. This is the opposite of what you want to do to encourage new stem growth on the plant.

Place cut side down in fresh water covering about 2 to 3 inches of the stem. I recommend giving the stems fresh water every 1 to 2 days. 

Pro Tip: If you want to use rooting hormone you certainly can, but I don’t feel it is necessary. I’ve used this method for years with great success!

Generally it takes about 3 to 6 weeks for a cutting to root in water. Keep the cuttings in a sunny window with an average temperature of 65 to 75 degrees. Once you see roots sprouting, you can plant your new geranium. Place them in fresh potting soil in any container you may have. Just be sure they have proper drainage & don’t overwater! 

Pro Tip: If you are using the bare root method,  you can use the tops of the plants you cut back. If you intend to do this, be sure you have some totes of weather to place the cut tops stems in while you are working. Keep them in water until you are ready to start this method.

If you enjoyed this blog, please LIKE, Follow, Share & leave me a comment! I love your feedback!

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Happy Day,
Jean

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Black Bean & Corn Salsa Nacho Skillet!

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”
– Harriet Van Horne

Dave said, “Lets make some black bean & corn salsa!” Of course it was game on… & of course I said, “Let’s give it a twist!” You can make this recipe as is served with chips, or you can add the Queso & chorizo to give it that special Jean twist! Let me know how you like it in the comments below!

Our Favorite Recipes

Ingredients for the Salsa:

  • 1-15.25 ounce can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1-15.25 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained & rinsed
  • 1 cup diced Roma tomato- about 2 large
  • 1/2 cup diced red shallot- about 1 medium to large
  • 1/4 cup diced jalapeno pepper, ribbed & seeded- about 1 large or 2 medium
  • 1 glove fresh garlic OR 1 tsp jarred
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 TBSP Lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • Bag of your favorite tortilla chips!

    Ingredients for Nacho Skillet:
  • 1 pound chorizo pork sausage fried & drained
  • 1 TBSP Extra virgin olive oil to fry sausage in
  • 1 cup taco blend shredded cheese
  • 1 cup your favorite Queso- I like On The Border with Monterey Jack

We have been feasting from our garden daily. Using fresh ingredients gives this recipe such wonderful flavor.

Pro tip: If you would like to use fresh sweet corn, simply purchase 2 ears, steam until cooked, and then cut the kernels off. Super easy, & super yum!

1. Drain & wash both the black beans and corn in a colander until the water runs clear.

2. Combine the remaining ingredients into a large bowl; mix well, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.

3. While the salsa is chilling fry chorizo sausage in olive oil until cooked thoroughly; once cooked drain in a colander.

4. Place fried sausage in a 6×9 baking dish.

5. Spread 2 cups of the salsa over the sausage evenly.

6. Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheese over salsa. Then pour 1 cup of Queso over cheese.

7. Cover baking dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.

You can also warm this in the microwave on high for 10 to 12 minutes if you prefer.

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips!

Pro tip: I purchase all my pork & beef from local farmers. The taste is genuinely so much more flavorful!

One of the meat, egg, & cheese vendors at The Royal Oak Farmers Market

If you enjoyed this post & thought this was a super yummy recipe leave me a comment.
…. and of course please LIKE, Follow & Share.

You can purchase my wonderful cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats & Treats again! Click this link to purchase: https://fordragonfliesandme.com/purchase-my-cookbook…/

Be sure to check out my Facebook page & follow me there for daily inspirations, lovely photos, & of course all kinds of great home & garden tips! https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100049613212778

Happy Day,
Jean

Marinara Sauce

“To get the best results you must talk to your vegetables.”
Charles, Prince of Wales

The late summer garden calls out with her exuberant abundance in a teasing way. Almost saying… “Whatcha gonna do with all this smarty-pants?” Well this weeks bounty made more salsa & this wonderfully easy marinara sauce.

To see more recipes like this one (and my spaghetti sauce recipe) click this link https://bit.ly/3PzAkXG
to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the testimonial page while you’re here as well!

Our Favorite Recipes

Aaron & I went out to the garden this afternoon to check on the harvest… and wow did we score! After he saw the load of tomatoes he said, “Let’s make spaghetti sauce!”

This recipe is for a single batch, but can easily be adjusted for canning by simply multiplying the quantities. It’s super easy and so delicious. You can add other ingredients to spruce it up, however it’s great just the way it is.

If you want to make this a meat sauce, just add 1 pound of lean organic ground beef or pork. Delish!

Pro-tip: Be sure to use only the ripest tomatoes as these will give you the most flavorful sauce.

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups of pureed tomatoes- about 8-10 tomatoes- Heirlooms are the most flavorful

1- 8 ounce can of tomato paste

¼ cup minced onion- about 1 medium onion. NOT white onions

4 fresh garlic cloves minced or 4 tsp of jarred

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 TBSP sugar

4 tsp basil- dried

1 TBSP pink Himalayan salt

Dave’s Eggplant Parmesan

Keep posted for Dave’s delicious eggplant parmesan recipe coming soon!

Our garden harvest!

What you’ll need to have to make the marinara sauce:
Large stock pot
Food processor
4 cup measuring cup
Measuring cups & spoons

Chop onion in food processor

Prep before you start:
Chop onions in food processer before sautéing and wash the tomatoes. Be sure to have all your ingredients ready.

Make sure you have all your ingredients before you start!

1. While the onions & garlic are sautéing, chop washed tomatoes into quarters removing any bad spots and the stem; place in a large bowl. After all the tomatoes are quartered begin pureeing them in your food processor until you have 4 cups.

Cut tomatoes into quarters
Put quartered tomatoes in processor & puree

2. Leave the pureed tomato in the processor; add oil, onion & garlic mixture, spices and sugar, blend until completely pureed. Move the mixture back to the stock pot.

Add tomato mixture back into stock pot and bring to a low boil

4. Bring tomato sauce to a low boil on medium heat covered, stirring often; cook on medium heat covered for 2 hours or until mixture has cooked down one third.

5. Add the tomato paste and whisk in; cook for an additional hour stirring often so the bottom doesn’t scorch.

If you would like to add meat, cook thoroughly and add to sauce for the final half hour of cooking. 

Serve over pasta noodles, or make a delicious eggplant or chicken parmesan!

If you enjoyed this post, please LIKE & Follow me for more great recipes and home & garden tips. Be sure to visit me at my Facebook page for more informative & fun posts! Be sure to say “Hi!”.

Happy Day,
Jean!

Bruschetta with Feta Cheese & Balsamic Glaze

“To make a great garden, one must have a great idea or a great opportunity”
Sir George Sitwell

Aaron & I were in Myrtle Beach last summer and visited a local restaurant where we ordered pizza & bruschetta. To my surprise it was served with feta cheese & a delicious balsamic glaze. The best part about it though was that Aaron loved it!! I could hardly get him to eat my ‘basic’ bruschetta, but he devoured this. So of course I decided to put my own spin on this for my sweet little guy to enjoy at home! 

Our Favorite Recipes

INGREDIENTS:

  • I loaf Italian bread unsliced
  • 6-8 large roma tomatoes diced, Heirlooms are the most flavorful!
  • 2 fresh garlic clove minced or 2 tsp jarred
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil + ¼ cup+
  • ½ cup fresh basil, snipped- Watch my video on how-to snip basil or any fresh herb in the video to the right
    OR 2 TBSP dried
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, snipped OR 1 TBSP dried
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1- 8 ounce container feta cheese crumbles
  • 1- 8.45 ounce bottle of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena glaze (I love the Kroger Private Selection brand).

With the garden bursting at the seams with ripe tomatoes, now is the perfect time to experiment with new recipes. Let me know if you have any tips for your bruschetta in the comments below!
Watch this video on how-to snip basil & other fresh herbs!

1. Combine in a medium sized bowl all ingredients EXCEPT feta cheese and balsamic glaze; mix well. Set in the fridge for 30 minutes.

2. While the tomato mixture is in the fridge, cut 6- 1” slices of Italian bread; use the ¼+ cup of olive oil and brush oil on both sides of each slice; place on a cookie sheet and toast bread on both sides under a broiler until golden brown. Remove and set aside.

3. Once bread is toasted, spoon tomato mixture evenly over bread; sprinkle 1 TBSP feta cheese on top of tomatoes; drizzle glaze over top.

Serve immediately with any pasta dish, chicken or fish dinner!

PRO TIP:  When snipping your fresh basil, bunch about 8 to 10 leaves, hold firming with your fingers and snip with kitchen shears. Also, be sure to only use the ripest tomatoes, and of course Heirlooms are best!

Added bonus tip: This recipe has been altered from the original in my cookbook. You can go to my blog at www.fordragonfliesandme.com to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!

Garlic: 4 Easy Steps To Plant Your Fall Garlic

“Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.”
Alfred Austin

Garlic-Thyme Infused Olive Oil- See recipe link below

Did you know that September is the best time to plant your garlic for the following season?
Garlic is a staple in our home, and goes into most dishes. 

There are two types of garlic, hardneck & softneck. Generally hardnecks tend to be more flavorful, where softneck varieties have a more mild flavor. These flavors are determined by the location & temperatures in which they were grown. Hardneck garlic grows best in Northern climates and can withstand cold winters down to zone 0. Softneck garlic prefers hot summers and mild winters from zone 8 to 12. 

Garlic Scapes
Only hardneck varieties will develop garlic scape’s. These are the seedpods that will grow up out of the center of the garlic’s neck. These are harvested just before they begin to develop the ‘seed’. If not cut off, the plants energy will work towards making the seeds rather than a large bulb of garlic. The scape has a delightfully mild garlic flavor and can be added into many dishes including omelets, pasta sauces, meats, and more!
Heirloom Garlic German Red

Here are my top picks for each variety.


Hardneck: Music is a delightful and pungent flavored white bulb.
German Red, a beautiful variegated bulb of white and red hues sporting a wonderful garlic spice to the pallet.


Softneck: Corsican Red originated in the Mediterranean island of Corsica and has a mild, complex & fruity aroma. Inchelium Red has a medium spiciness with a mild pungent taste.

Choose a large, well proportioned bulb

Step 1: Choosing the perfect garlic bulb is essential. Make sure there are no defects, rotten spots, and find the largest bulbs. Whatever qualities the bulb you choose has will be developed in it’s next generation.

Music Garlic

Divide the bulb into individual cloves

2.  Once you’ve selected the best bulbs, divide them into separate cloves. Leave the skins on.

This is the appropriate way to plant your clove.
Burying the garlic

3. Make a hole in loosened soil about 4 inches deep. Placing the flat root side down put one clove into the hole; cover with dirt and tamp lightly; I cover with mulch, which happens to be grass clippings here.

Step 4. Repeat this process, planting your cloves about 4 to 6 inches apart.  I recommend you place a stake in the ground marking it as garlic and the date you planted it. Despite our best intentions, we will forget! I even go as far as to take a photo & put it in my garden journal/ planner for the following growing season. If you plant in raised beds it will definitely be easier to remember, but still jot it down!
If you don’t keep that kind of information, I highly recommend you start!

Garlic is not for the faint of heart, it takes patience but the reward is worth the wait!
…now walk away and dream of spring, because this is where the patience starts.

Click this link for my recipe for Garlic- Thyme Infused Oil. It’s wonderful to toss in pasta or baste on fish or any meat. https://bit.ly/3R4b8dm

If you enjoyed this post please like, share, and let me know your tips & tricks for planting garlic. What’s your favorite variety?
Please follow me on Facebook for fun & informative posts!

Happy Day,
Jean

My Top 5 Reasons to Support Local Farmers Markets

The Ann Arbor Farmers Market https://bit.ly/3AHViQd

One of my favorite things to do is attend area farmers markets. Whenever I travel I immediately look up any surrounding farmers markets, and you better believe if we can attend, we do! 

Here are my Top 5 reasons to support our local farmers markets.

1. Support your local economy by supporting your local farmers & entrepreneurs! 

As educated consumers we want to know where our food is coming from. We’re tired of food being mass produced on assembly lines with labels sporting names of ingredients that can’t even be pronounced. We
want clean & healthy food locally sourced & grown.
Where do you get this great stuff you ask? You get it at your local farmers market!


The Ann Arbor Farmers Market https://bit.ly/3AHViQd

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)  Released August 17, 2020,
“On an average market day, 916 households shopped across markets in the U.S. and spent $14,547 per farmers market. Farmers Market Managers served as paid employees in 4,321 markets, while in 3,162 they served as volunteers. On average, the paid Farmers Market Managers earned $18.40 per hour. Managers worked an average of 19.4 hours per week. “
Taken from https://downloads.usda.library.cornell.edu/usda-esmis/files/pz50hd694/gx41n598k/jd473j98z/nfar0820.pdf

2. Support your local farmers & entrepreneurs!

Direct marketing of farm products through farmers markets continues to be an important sales outlet for agricultural producers nationwide. Small businesses can get their product out to a fresh target market at a very reasonable cost. Markets can eliminate the need for a brick and mortar facility and all the expenses associated with it. Most importantly, it allows customers to build relationships with producers. You can see the positive impact of supporting local from this infographic for the Kalamazoo Michigan Farmers Market. 

Kalamazoo Farmers Market Metrics http://pfcmarkets.com/

3. Explore new varieties of fresh fruits & veggies, & other healthy foods!

I’ve often been asked, “What’s an Heirloom?” or told  “I’ve never seen a purple carrot!!!” Well, you’ll find a plethora of Heirloom varieties including purple carrots at most farmers markets! 

Tomatoes are by far the hottest item in the Heirloom market, but there are several varieties of eggplant, squash, carrots, beans, and so much more. 

Besides  providing a wide range of fresh fruit and veggies, you’ll be dazzled by a slew of delicious baked goods, dairy, egg and meat products, honey and maple syrup, body care products, both fresh and dried herbs, along with all types of artisan products. Some of these include handcrafted baskets, wooden bowls and cutting boards, as well as beautiful pottery, jewelry and several forms of art media. Pricing is typically very reasonable when compared to brick and mortar stores. Everything at the market is fresh from that day or the day before, unlike grocery store produce which has been shipped and transported for days.

4. Education- Kids programs, Cooking demos, & More!

Many markets incorporate kid’s programming, cooking demos, health fairs, & live music, to name just a few! The reason is simple: it is every market’s mission to provide healthy, nutritious, reasonably priced food to all people.

The farmers market is an ideal project for every community to incorporate. It promotes healthy eating, and enables community members to build relationships with their local producers.

One incredible program many farmers markets offer is The Power of Produce Club (POP Club). The POP Club provides both an educational & entertaining opportunity for children to engage in their market with the opportunity to discuss produce with the market farmers while exposing them to new & unique fruits and vegetables. ” In addition to participating in educational activities, POP Club kids receive vouchers to spend at the market, allowing them to make their own shopping decisions at the market.”

Ask your farmers market manager if this is available, if not tell them how to participate!

5. Connect with your community!

Farmers markets provide a place where the community can come together, meet and shop locally. The market is a gathering place for friends and family.  Markets offer fresh products locally produced, face-to-face interaction with producers and artisans, live entertainment, family activities, all the while supporting the local economy. 

Infographic taken from Farmers Market Coalition

Check out this great video https://youtu.be/uUm6coaRKBQ

“According to the USDA, Farmers Markets are an integral part of the urban/farm linkage and have continued to rise in popularity, mostly due to the growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products directly from the farm. Farmers markets allow consumers to have access to locally grown, farm fresh produce, enables farmers the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with their customers, and cultivate consumer loyalty with the farmers who grow the produce.

Direct marketing of farm products through farmers markets continues to be an important sales outlet for agricultural producers nationwide. USDA celebrates National Farmers Market Week, view the Proclamation (pdf), (the first full week in August) each year and as of 2019 estimates, there are 8,140 farmers markets in the US.” Taken from https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/local-regional/research-publications

Dave & I at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market!

Thanks for taking the time to read my article. Please like it & leave me a comment!
Let me know what your favorite farmers market is, and where it’s located! I’d love to visit if I’m ever in the area! Maybe we can meet up for a coffee!

Please share this blog if you found it informative, and follow me on Facebook for fun & informative content!
Happy day,
Jean!

How-to Start seeds in-doors, Homemade Liquid Fertilizer Recipe

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The longing of my soul for warmth and sunshine is becoming deeper everyday… especially now that the calendar says it’s truly spring. I, as I’m sure so many others, are anxious for warmer days. This winter was a trial for many of us die-hard gardeners… even for winter lovers.

I long to place my hands into the warm soil… sense the life force that dwells within the seeds… watching life spring forth out of nothingness… yes we are gardeners.

Many of you who are my friends on For Dragonflies And Me Facebook page have witnessed many changes take place in my life over the last several months. I’ve sadly left my beloved farm in the thumb of Michigan for a newer, brighter location that I now call home. I am blessed to be living at a wonderful greenhouse/nursery that I am in my literal heaven on earth. I would like to thank all of my followers for their patience as I needed a hiatus from the love of my life… my writing… But now things are in order and I feel that I can put my whole heart back into my passions…

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We are like plants… we are conceived… we are born… we live… we struggle… then all too soon we will die. But… in the midst of all this we find joy in life and living it to the fullest…

It is spring… and I am ready to live my life to the fullest… I hope all of you will continue to join me here as I share my love with all of you…

It’s time to start thinking about starting seeds and planning our gardens. Starting Seeds in doors is very easy and extremely rewarding! All you need is a few everyday household items~

*If you buy organic baby lettuce, greens or spinach than you will have access to those handy clear plastic containers with lids. These are perfect for seed starting. Be sure to poke several drainage holes on the bottom of the container.

*Fill your container about 2/3 way full with a good organic potting mix. Plant your seeds as package describes. Be sure to follow planting dates on packet. Water accordingly.

*Put the lid on, which will give a greenhouse effect. You will not have to water due to the condensation that will be created.

*Put in a sunny window and wait until seeds start to sprout see seed packet instructions.

*Once the seeds start to germinate, remove lid and water according to packet instructions. Another easy but more extravagant way is to set your flats on a table and hang lights on ‘s’ hooks with light chains from the ceiling in a warm basement or other room. The lights must be no more than 3 to 6 inches from the top of the flat (or the plants once they start growing), so be sure to make your light set up adjustable. Plain old fluorescent shop lights work best for starting seeds, or you can even purchase ‘grow lights’ from greenhouse supply companies or seed catalogs.

*You can go to any big box retailer and purchase really slick ‘seed starting’ kits. Follow instructions on kit…. and enjoy! Transplant outdoors following packet instructions.

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Here’s an easy and inexpensive recipe for liquid fertilizer. You can use this for both house plants as well as your outdoor potted plants. I’ve shared this recipe before, but it’s worth a repeat.

IMG_9206

Easy Liquid fertilizer~ to give your house plants and potted outdoor plants an extra boost, add 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt and 1 teaspoon of fish emulsion plant fertilizer to 1/2 gallon of water, then stand back and watch’er grow! Extra fertilizer water can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 months.

Please feel free to share this information with your friends… and I hope you’ve found it helpful.  Please be sure to follow me on Facebook for daily posts!

Happy Day,
Jean

 

 

 

 

Heirloom Seeds: Why they’re better and my favorites varieties

Hello all…

Check out my new post over at Farm to Table, Field to Plate!

http://outdoorsexperiencejournal.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/heirloom-seeds-why-theyre-better-and-my-favorites-varieties/

 

 

The Promise of Spring: 5 garden planning tips

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“It’s raining but the tulips are still managing to poke their green shoots out of the mud, a promise that spring is coming, and so is the sun. I suppose I owe it to them to at least keep my head up until then.”
Quote adapted from one by Writers Block

Only 57 days till my beloved spring. The new life I long for along with all her secret promises will soon come up out of the ground. The snow drops and crocus’ and then the daffodils and tulips rising up to greet me each day. Sending me silent messages of love to encourage me on through the last of winters dead days.

New life… but presently life is dormant. Still and cold.

Winter is filled with dreams and anticipations of planning new garden projects.
Spring is one of new beginnings… fresh hopes… dreams of what will be…

The dream I’m ever longing after is feeling the dirt once again along with the warmth of the sun.Close up of my garden plan I drew out.

I thought with all this dreaming we’d look at something all of us die-hard gardeners are doing… planning our gardens.

Here are 5 garden planning tips to get you started in the right direction.

1. Gather all your seed catalogs, sticky notes, a pen and high-lighter along with a note pad.  Once you’ve decided on the amount of space you have in your garden you’ll know what you need and the quantities.

2. Decide on the varieties that you want to grow.  The best way to do this is to plot out some time when you can sit and peruse your catalogs. Read variety descriptions carefully to determine light, soil, moisture and spacing requirements.

3. Draw your garden design out. I always draw out my gardens so I have a visual to see. You don’t have to get as detailed as mine… I just enjoy the whole planning aspect.  You can use graph paper or a piece of notebook paper. Be sure to think on your space and it’s limitations.

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4.  Determine available space.  When planning your garden you need to keep in mind space limitations and each plants growing habits. For example, a tomato plant should have three square feet for proper growth and maturation.  Think about your isle ways when planning this. If your isles are two feet wide, then plan your tomato row with three feet and then two on both sides. You’ll need a total of 7 feet minimum for a row of tomatoes.  Look at the plant descriptions in the catalogs.DPP_0011

5. Soil testing. I advise, especially for first time gardeners to test your soil. You can buy a simple soil test at most garden centers or take your sample into an agency that offers this service. You will have better success if you know what your soil may be lacking. It could be something as simple as calcium/lime or copper.

Although there are many other aspects to getting your garden plan done, these are the basics to get you on your way!

Enjoy friends,
Jean