Sunday, February 27, 2011

After a Winter Storm Warning Thursday night for 5-9" of snow and waking up to only 2"....what a disappointment....that melted when the sun came out, to enough Friday night to make everthing white again only to be melted again, to a 100% chance of thunderstorms tonight.  Yes, it is starting to feel like spring is trying to take hold in the Midwest.
 Trusty red ruler out to measure the latest "storm".

The snow must have come straight out of the north overnight by the look of the oak tree. 
This snow was heavy and wet.  The pretty kind that makes everything have a layer of white on it making the landscape look like a Christmas card.  Lauren must have thrown a heart rug down on the patio which made this pretty snow heart....sans Riley's paw prints as he ran through....
The garden blanketed in snow....soon....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bulbs coming to life

I was catching up on some of the blogs that I like to follow when I noticed that May Dreams Gardens, who is also zone 5, noted that her crocuses were up.  Of course that sent me straight outdoors with my camera in tow looking for signs of bulb life in my gardens.  This is what I found....

 The crocuses are coming up!  This piqued my curiousity about the daffodils....
They too are starting to grow.  I found this under the mulch still.  I could see mounds in the mulch that were covering the emerging leaves.
Spring is coming after all....

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Outside walkabout

I came home from a trip for work to find that our snow is gone.  It was a good opportunity to check what was going on out there.
 My onion chives are greening up.  I checked these first knowing that if I need to see some promise of spring, these are always a good standby.
 These "surprised" surprise lilies AKA Resurrection Lilies are coming up already.  They are up next to the south side of the house so they do get a bit more warmth.
 Bearded iris
A couple of several mouse runs that I found. 

What's bloomin'?

I have a couple plants that are blooming right now in my potting shed.  Both of these are plants that I had outdoors last summer and brought indoors in the fall.

Sweet William

Gerbera Daisy....this is probably one of my favorite flowers.

Lettuce update

It seems that my lettuce seeds are having a poor germination rate.  It has been 2 weeks since I planted them, and very few have sprouted in either container.  I was looking online and lettuce seed is supposed to have a 5 year viability and my seed is from 2007 and 2009. It is around 62 degrees in my shed, so not too warm for lettuce.  Not sure what the problem was.  Perhaps they will continue to germinate.  Not holding out too much hope...

White flies

My gerbera daisies have been infected with whiteflies.  Lack of constant attention and a bit of drought stress probably didn't help.  I was looking online for an organic homemade remedy and found one from The Greenhouse Catalog that I am going to try.  One gallon of water, 2t. dish soap (it didn't specify a particular kind or brand), 2 t. baking soda, and 2t. vinegar.  After mixing mine, I would definitely recommend putting in the soap after the water.  I put the soap in and then the water and ended up with a lot of suds that I had to wait to go down to add more water.  I am interested as to why the vinegar and baking soda in the same amounts.  One is alkaline and one is acid...wouldn't they cancel each other out in some way?  It has been a long time since my chemistry days.  My infestation is small, so spraying each leaf, top and bottom, every 3-5 days should not be too bad.  It did mention that the temps should be under 80* and not drought stressed (mine are getting regular water now) in order to prevent damage to the plants.  I will keep you updated.  :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Spoke too soon....

It looks like I spoke too soon on the lettuce.  I was working on cleaning up the potting shed with my youngest, Lauren, today when I noticed just the start of seedlings coming up.  I planted these seeds one week ago today.  Granted they are very small, but it is the first thing that I have had growing so I am a bit excited.  :)  I almost need a pointer or an arrow to show the sprouts, but they are there....

Spring fever

Spring fever has hit central IL.  Funny how it gets around 40* in the winter, and everyone thinks it is warm.  :)  It is just the opposite in the fall...we think we are freezing at that temperature.  Today the forecast is calling for 47* and mostly sunny with temps rising to 61* by Friday.  It is hard to believe that not quite two weeks ago we were experiencing a blizzard with 12 inches of snow!  Even with the warmer weather and the melting snow, everything is still covered in a blanket of white.  I had a dream that my chives were sprouting the other night.  Let the gardening dreams begin.
The lettuce seeds have not yet sprouted.  They should take 10-14 days, so I have up to another week to go.  I keep checking for that little bit of green....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Indoor lettuce planting

There is a foot of snow outside and the gardening bug is starting to bite.  I thought that I would start some indoor lettuce in my shed.  I have done this before with some pretty good results.  It is always gratifying to know that you grew your own food, and knowing that it wasn't contaminated with goodness knows what toxic chemical is a definite plus!
I start with a woodburning tool to burn holes in the bottom of my plastic containers.  This tool works wonderfully!  Be careful though, plastic fumes are toxic.  You will want to do this in a well ventilated area.  Long ago, my great-gramma used to do the same thing with a nail that she would heat up.   
 The result of my hole punching.  Ironic that I am recycling spring mix lettuce containers to plant my lettuce in.  :)
 Container filled with soil and ready to plant.  I have turned the lid upside down to use as a tray for water.  All this recycling is good for my soul.  :)
 Two different lettuces in this container.  My seed is getting older, so I overseeded a bit.  The thinnings will taste great!
Another mix in this one.  I planted all looseleafs to add to the romaine that I buy at the store for my salads.  The colors from these varieties will make for a very nice looking salad.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The snow has ended.  The latest total that I saw for our area was 12 inches.  I need to go out there and measure for myself, but at the same time thinking how accurate would it even be with all of the wind?

The driveway after Bill and I shoveled.  One of the few times that I could rationalize a need for a snowblower.  My back is telling me that we need one...  I see the potential for snowforts here.  The plow has not come through yet and this picture of the end of the driveway gives a good indication of the amount of snow we have.    
The picture on the left is out the back porch.  Now our beagle can make it out to potty.  Always a good thing!  The picture on the right is from my front door.  Lots of snow!! 
Snow drift coming off of the roof in back of the house.  Lauren couldn't wait to smack it.  :)  Our a/c is almost completely obscured by the snow. 
My queen of the mountain and Riley.  
The birds at least have some water that isn't frozen to drink and a view of the snowy garden. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

First set of blizzard pics

Well, the snow started to fall here around 11 am.  By 5 pm, Lauren and I had been outside scooping the driveway and playing in the snow and measured between 5 and 6 inches.  It was hard to tell how much snow we really had with the wind blowing it around so much.  I saw that we were having gusts up to 50 mph.  The latest forecast is saying that the snow is at a bit of a lull with the expectation that it and the winds will pick back up with 10-14 more inches of snow tonight!  :)  Saw (and heard) some thundersnow tonight which caused quite a stir on facebook.  Lightning is just so much more....well, light....when there is snow on the ground.

I mentioned that Lauren and I went out to play in the snow this afternoon.  I think that I was as excited as she was!  Above is a picture of the beginnings of a snow fort.  The snow is very fluffy and did not pack well at all.  I think she was just happy to have someone play outside with her.  She made a snow angel in the back of Bill's truck also.  :)  Below are the two of us in our wet headed snow glory.