Friday, May 7, 2010

It's HGTV Green Home Giveaway Time!

Hello folks! I know its been a while since I last posted, but since beginning this blog, I've started a new job, which keeps me away from the garden and the home computer quite a bit. However, I felt it was my duty to share the news that HGTV is giving away a "green" home in Plymouth, Mass this year. I think there's still 28 more days to enter daily, so get right on it!

The house seems a bit less ostentatious than their usual giveaway--probably because it's a Green home giveaway, and not just a Home giveaway (not exactly sure what the difference is). The house seems lovely, not so sure about the gardens. I really wish they would give more details on the size of the lot and the outdoor features. It seems a glaring oversight to neglect an area that can be devoted to growing food, doing composting, etc...if it's supposed to be "green," but then, HGTV consistently gives short shrift to the "G" in their programming.

Anywho, I hope someone I know wins!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Curse You Big Box Stores, Curse You



This is what my garden looks like now. Frozen and/or dead. Looking at it daily is pretty painful. I can glean no happy insights just now. Spring is just too far away, the snow is too gray, and the wind is too bitter.

With these happy thoughts as reference, you have to understand why I couldn't resist buying these:


9.99 for 10 Lilies! 9.99 for 6 Dahlias! It was just too tempting to pass up. So while my yard might be uninspiring, there are definitely some inspiring shopping opportunities out there.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Learning about Garden Blogging!

I'm a regular reader of a couple of garden blogs, most notably Garden Rant, and C.L. Fornari's site, Whole Life Gardening, and there's a few things I really like about those sites.

The Ranters seem to be in touch with all the really important trends and issues in home gardening and the gardening industry. The readers who leave comments actually seem to want to have a discussion, rather than random incendiary insults, which you find at most sites. I've learned tons about the politics and business of gardening from Garden Rant.

C.L. Fornari, on the other hand, is from Massachusetts, and just writes really practical advice on plants and the joys of gardening.

As I do more gardening and writing, I'm trying to figure out where I fit in, and what sort of blogging I like to do, and I've decided to seek professional advice; I'm attending an actual Garden Writer's Association event at the New England Grows convention.

New England Grows sounds like fun, but I'm really attending because there will be a talk about how to improve your garden blog or web site from Richard Banfield, an internet designer and marketer.

So here's hoping I learn a thing or two! And if any of my readers, all one or two that are not family members, are thinking af attending, there's still time--registration is open until January 28th!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Should I Bite the Bullet?

The actual title should probably be, "Should I Bite the Worm?" but it doesn't really have the same ring to it.



Pictured above, is a "Can O' Worms," a worm composting system that I've been mulling over purchasing. I think it's between the Can O' Worms and the Gusanito Worm Bin. They both run around $100, and I've read pros and cons for both.

The bigger question is, should I really embark on growing a colony of worms in my basement? I keep reading about how awesome worm castings are (that's worm poop for the uninformed), and how I can cut down on household waste, but I'm still a bit nervous.

I mean, it's sort of like getting a puppy. There's a breaking in period, where the worms have to get acclimated to my bin, I have to water and feed the worms, and I have to do maintenance (i.e. figure out how to separate the worms from their poop). And it's sort of a lifetime commitment. What if we have to move? Do the worms go on a moving truck? Do they need care when we go on vacation? Will we need a worm sitter as well as house and dog sitter?

My husband already thinks I'm slightly deranged from all this gardening obsessing, so I think this would put me over into the certifiable category. I'm pretty sure I'm going to do it, but maybe my husband is correct, and this just puts me one step closer to my own special kind of bin (looney, that is).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Not Quite Seed Starting Time

As we're in the depths of winter here in Massachusetts, my yearning for gardening seems to be inversely proportional to the mercury level. I troll my favorite seed and plant sellers (Bluestone, Antique Rose Emporium, and Pinetree Gardens), compulsively loading up my cart, then leaving the site, swearing I'm only going to buy plants from Kane's Flower World on May 1st.

I did, of course, order some seeds from Pinetree. I'm obsessed with Nasturtiums, several neighbors mentioned that they missed the giant sunflowers I had planted the year before, but opted against last year, and I've decided that I can't have enough basil.



Thinking about the rest of the seeds I'm going to start , I stumbled across this story on MSN, "Five Foods it's Cheaper to Grow." And usually, I'm a bit dubious about gardening advice from the major media, but I actually agreed with what they said. With limited time, space (heat and light too), and money, I had to think hard about what I really enjoying growing and eating, and if any newbie gardeners are thinking about making a stab at it, it's a good article for some general advice.

After my own first attempts with the veggie patch last summer, I've whittled down my list of plants significantly. This year, I'm going to focus mainly on tomatoes, basil, lettuce, and try to get by with just one cucumber and zucchini plant each (way too many cukes last year from just two plants), and then maybe buy a couple pepper plants (the Massachusetts growing season is really too short to start them from seed).

Now I have to try and hold myself back from starting up my seed operation, and count the days until March. I'm sort of satisfying myself with indoor plants and forced bulbs, but man, winters are tough on a gardener in New England.



A cutting from the oft-cloned family Pothos.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Winter Sights on the Way to the Library

I made my bi-weekly pilgrimage to the Swampscott Library with my son, and saw a few interesting sights along the way (besides watching my son repeatedly fling himself onto the snowbanks lining the sidewalks--oh, to be five again and loving snow!).



Of course, since my house was the first stop, I had to memorialize the 5-15 inches of fluffly stuff we got this weekend.



Quite a change from this shot from late June:


Of course, it's hard to appreciate January in Massachusetts, with pictures like the above, just teasing us, but I like to think that days like this makes me appreciate the warmer weather even more. And there are some lovely things to see, like these Sedum seed heads poking out of the snow at a house along the way to the library.



Or even slightly more whimsical sights, like this green chair and blue hose. They sort of make me think the owner was in the middle of the driveway, enjoying a sunny day in his/her garden, and then bamm! a blizzard struck.



And even on a day when it doesn't get much above 30, these Rhododendron flower buds, were a hopeful reminder that Spring will come.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Some Unexpected Fall Sights



Except for a few cold weeks early in October, we've had a really mild November, and some of my plants are still trying to bloom their little hearts out. Every one of my roses were in bloom these last two weeks and even my Nikko Blue Hydrangea bloomed a bit (though the above buds were knocked back this week).



Weirdly enough, I've had a ton of these little Jalapeno peppers ripening these past few weeks (I made Turkey chili again this week), even though the other pepper (sweet banana) plant I bought was totally killed by the cold. So thumbs up to jalapenos! These are super hardy plants.



Another surprise and delight has been this sweet pea plant, which I sowed way too late in the spring. I totally forgot about them, and lo and behold I got this one plant growing on my fence. I really like sweet peas, but I'm still scratching my head a bit about where they should go and when exactly I should plant them. I had pretty much thought I was going to forgo planting them next year, but this one pops up and now I'm in love again.

As I was raking up my sidewalk today, I looked around and everything is pretty much brown and going dormant. The air is a bit more still and the sun is hanging lower on the horizon, making 1:00 PM, feel a bit more like sundown. In some ways, its my favorite time of the year because it makes me appreciate all the energy that went into getting to this point, and gives me a chance to rest a bit from the usual gardening chores. At this point, I'm pretty psyched to hang up the weed wacker, stow away my pruners, and actually enjoy having pretty nails again.

On to the seed catalogs!

-Steph


-Steph