Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Early spring

We have had a couple spring like days here in Illinois with temps around 60.  On a fluke, I looked outside and found this...

My daffodils have started coming up...in January no less!  I don't know if I remember them ever coming up this early.
I started peeking around a bit and found my hyacinths with buds.  These surely wont last long when the next cold snap hits.  :(  The tulips have also just started to peek through the ground.  I bet my crocuses are up as well, but they are well buried under a layer a leaves, and I didn't want to disturb too much knowing that warm weather will not be lasting for long.
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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pre Spring Prep

Winter has been so mild here.  It is supposed to be in the 50's this week here in Illinois.  Hard to think of it as a January thaw when it seems we haven't even really been frozen yet!  We did receive a 2-3" snowfall this weekend.  It was a pretty icy snow and started to melt the very next day.
Seed starting will begin shortly so I took advantage of the weekend to start cleanup of my potting shed.  So much to do!  First of all, Charlotte and her babies had set up shop and had to be sucked up by the vacuum.  I am amazed at how quickly spiders make a home.  A summer and fall of in and out, drop and run had made for a disarray in the shed.  One day I will learn...maybe. 

The to do list continues to grow:
  • catalog remaining seed so I can determine my order for this year
  • all dirty seed starting containers and trays need to be cleaned...this is something that I definitely need to start doing in the fall.  It is too chilly out to be washing dirty containers outdoors and I don't want all of that dirt going down my drains in the house.
  • check and replace flourescent bulbs for seed starting
  • figure out what containers I want to plant outside and what I want to plant in them...preferably before sending off my seed order.  I want to start more flowers from seed this year.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fallen feeder

I woke up this morning to let the dogs out and found this.  My fly through feeder was knocked over.  We were gone over the New Year's weekend, and I knew that there were high winds in our area.  Between that and what appears to be a rotted post, it looks like the wind probably knocked it over.  It looks like my husband will need to put a new post on it.  Getting it back in the ground may be a challenge though with the ground frozen solid.  I hope he can get it back up.  I love to watch the birds in it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

So, the new year is upon us.  Time for thought, reflection, and resolutions.  Boy, do I have some for my gardens this year! 
  • Start more flowers from seed.  I always think that I will have these wonderful plans and know just what flowers that I want to put in which containers.  Well...ummm...that never happens.  I tend to be a great veggie seed person and the flowers get put to the side.
  • Start reasonable numbers of vegetables from seed.  I need to not feel that I am feeding the masses when I seed.  :)  I always over plan for seed failure, which leads me to the next bullet...
  • Rethink how I start my seeds.  I usually start my seeds in small dixie drinking cups.  I know that this is not environmentally friendly which goes against most of what I believe, but I continue to do it.  It reminds me of my great grandma.  She started seeds this way.  I need to be better about starting in small containers and pot up frequently. 
  • Better planning of my family's needs.  What veggies do I need and how many.  I have been bitten by the raw food bug and hope to increase my vegetable juicing this year.  That will mean more beets, carrots, spinach and adding some kale perhaps.  Celery would be good, but I am not sure about how to grow it.  Not that I couldn't try and learn.
  • Move my raspberry patch from the main garden area.  My husband told me in the beginning that putting the raspberries in the garden was not a good idea.  Being my hard headed, stubborn self, I persisted that I wanted them in the garden.  Now I tell him that he was right.  :)  They have become invasive with their runners.  I think that having them in raised beds in the yard where I can go around with the lawnmower will help keep those runners in check. 
  • Redo my south facing flower bed.  I had torn this bed apart when we first moved to this house nearly 11 years ago as well as expanded it.  I accepted a gift of a sunflower type flower from my neighbor that she promised was only a couple feet tall.  Needless to say, my dirt must have radioactive properties.  Those darn things grow to well over 5 feet tall and are as invasive as any plant I have grown.  They have overtaken the bed.  The bed is getting everything removed and replanted in the spring.
  • Last but not least, weeding.  Ugh.  The bane of my existence.  What can I say, my blog is aptly named.  Spring always starts with the best of intentions and energy.  Along comes the Illinois heat and humidity which I do not like, throw in a summer vacation or two, and you no longer have a neat and tidy garden, but a rambling plot of opportunistic weeds!  This year's plan is to be a better weeder.  How will I accomplish this goal?  The basics of more frequent weeding.  Weeds in general brings me to the last bullet which I need help with from my gardening friends.
  • How to control the weeds between my raised beds.  How do others accomplish this?  I don't want to use a pesticide at all.  We have used straw with some success.  Any suggestions?