Monday, May 5, 2014

Protecting your garden

This growing season is getting off to a slow start and with that slow start, there are blustery cold winds and rapidly changing temperatures.  I found a surprise at our local DollarRama.  I found a frost cover that looks remarkably like the TM Reemay cloth.  These sheets of cloth work amazingly well at keeping the plants covered but still allowing the sun and rain to filter through.  Warmer soil means better seed propagation and extended growing seasons. One cloth covered my 16' flower bed in front of the raised beds.

I purchased enough packages to cover each of the beds (our beds are 4' x 8') If the weather continues to be cool, I might have to cover each of the beds until the seedlings and weather are compatible!!  I am also thinking of soaking them in Tea so they do not look like snowbanks after the long winter we had or I might draw the ire of the neighborhood!!  The reason why they are white is so they are not roasted with a darker color.  They can be used in the heat of the summer when plants are baking in the really hot summer sun.

Grocery Store finds and seed cups???

I purchased inexpensive dollar store plastic dishes to house my recycled finds - yes, those are the used keurig cups from my coffee maker.  I simply removed the foil, allowed the coffee grounds to dry before tapping it into my compost container.  These cups have a paper filter with a convenient drain hole already punctured into the bottom when it is used.  I have Kale growing in these cups from cuttings.  They will be put into the garden in a few weeks once they have established roots.  Simply pull the edge of the paper filter and remove it from the cup or lift the plant out gently if the roots are not attached to the filter.  Its great to start a garden with grocery store finds especially when the plant begins life at a more mature stage.

Taking advantage of the sunshine
The front of my house in the early morning is bathed in sunshine until mid afternoon so it is time to take advantage of the sun away from the wind.  The small greenhouse houses the seeds that are just sprouting.  The flats fit nicely on the steps but would look much nicer in the garden!!  The front door is really starting to look welcoming.  

The glass in the door and the sidelight will be replaced to give it a more modern look.  

The bricks from the walkway were removed to accomodate the clematis that I split from the one growing on the other side of the garage.  The walkway will be rebuilt with a more modern update and to frame the new flower bed a few feet away. The clematis did well in the transplant and is sprouting some leaves.

It is a lot of work and a labour of love to pull all the over-wintered pots of Geraniums and bulbs out of the garage each morning, only to return them at the end of the day.  It is still too cool to leave them out overnight.  Seeding and watching everything grow is all worth the effort and really.... I love being in the garden.  Today I was substitute teaching in our local high school where the students were so excited about transplanting the seedlings and just being involved in the greenhouse.  Teaching our kids about gardening and sustainable living is actually interesting to them.  Surrounded by all these young people who were involved, engaged and solving an infestation of the arugula like pros!!  One young man spoke to me of a plant he has taken great pride to grow at home in his room.  He did not realize how much he would ultimately enjoy taking the course and now he is hooked. 
My own children have become involved and interested in the urban garden and the seedlings.  My son is keen to get involved in any project that we are involved in and has become adept at using the power tools to create the above ground boxes.  He is quick to help take the plants in and out of the garage with me and is now getting up earlier on the weekends when he knows that he is needed for another project.  Our daughter loves the greenery and in the summer, she will begin her home gardening business in the neighborhood.

This week....
On Tuesday, I am heading out to Heeman's for a quick class in planting.  I am always keen to learn techniques from others.

I am heading to Whiffletree Farm on Friday with my friend Mary.  We are looking forward to meeting Steve.  He is the quintessential Tree Hustler.  You can find him on FB

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