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Posted: 27 Apr 2009

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What's on my mind tonight

Category: 2009 Garden | Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:55 am

Gardening! I've got the fever :) I've dabbled with annuals in window boxes for years. Last year I started a @%*!load of seeds and watched most of them die b/c I had no idea what I was doing. I then bought some seedlings and planted them - again no idea what I was doing. But I learned a lot. Hopefully this year will be more successful than last and 2010 more successful than this year, etc. etc.

Progress so far in flower garden:
Expanded it to extend out to the edge of the front steps and all the way from the front steps to the left hand corner of the house. I used layers of newspaper covered with red cedar mulch. So far it looks pretty sparse as the only things out there are the 2 blueberry bushes that came with the house, 2 daffodils that I planted a few years ago, and 1 each of chives, catmint (that spread this year so actually 2), heliopsis, black-eyed susan, larkspur (if it survives, just 2 tiny little clumps of leaves) that I planted last year, and a sage plant that I rescued from last year's vegetable garden and moved to the flower garden today. There are also a few clumps of common violet that I left b/c they are so pretty. I will keep an eye on them so that they don't get out of hand.

Plans for the flower garden:
This spring I plan to take my $40 gift card to Agway and buy some more perennials. I do have a few pansies that were given to me that I will tuck in for this year, but I would really like to keep it a perennial garden.
Also, I have some strawberry plants and a few other perennials that I bought from the Boy Scouts coming. This fall I plan to transplant perennial herbs from my window boxes to the flower garden and to plant more bulbs - daffodils and tulips at the least. Each year I plan to add more to the flower garden until it a spring to fall riot of color.

Progress so far in the vegetable gardens: Last year I created 2 small (3'x3'?) vegetable plots to the right of the front steps using the wet newspaper over existing lawn method. I used pine nuggets to create pathways. This year I removed all the pine nuggets because I did not like walking on them in bare feet and I did not like the red ants that enjoyed living in them. So far all I have done is remove the pine nuggets and weed the existing soil.

Plans for the vegetable gardens:
I plan to add a new layer of Pro-Mix to the existing gardens as well as adding a third, slightly longer plot next to the first 2. This will extend the vegetable gardens to the edge of the bulkhead. I also plan to create a 5'x5' plot to the left of the house for corn, beans, and squash and another rectangular plot where the old above ground pool was for watermelons and pumpkins.

Other progress:
I purchased 230 6"x9" pavers from Lowe's and placed them in 2 rows creating an 18" pathway all along the front of the house. I put layers of wet newspaper underneath. I made the path continuous even under the front steps and also filled in with pavers directly under the bottom step for additional weed control. My father in law is in the process of making me roughly 12" wide pathways out of excess/substandard decking material (he does his own wood from cutting the tree to running it through his sawmill to planing and more) to go along the front edge of the vegetable gardens as well as in between them and around the 2 new spaces. This will give me good access around the gardens. I will put wet newspapers underneath them and refresh it annually.

Other plans:
I am getting a late start on seedlings so I will have to buy some - especially tomatoes, but I have ordered heating pads and purchased shop lights. My husband is going to make wooden frames to hang the shop lights from. I have many seeds left over from last year and will buy some more. I hope to have seeds in soil by May 1st for early June planting. Next year I plan to start earlier so that I can grow my tomatoes from seed.
Also, last year I bought most of the material I need to put in drip irrigation. I plan to install that ASAP to make watering easier and more efficient.
I plan to have my husband set a post in the ground to which I will attach plant hangers for growing tomatoes upside down.
I plan to start herbs in all 4 of my window boxes and dry them in my food dehydrator throughout the summer for home use and for Christmas presents. (sachets, dip mixes).
We have a very wet, very grassy, very milkweedy field beyond our front lawn that ends in a "frog bog" by the road. I want to turn it into a spring to summer wild flower field. I will not try to plant things right down at the bog - the cattails are cool looking anyway, but the rest of the field has very little color throughout the summer. I will start by smothering the grass with wet newspapers in several areas (keeping away from the driveway for now as we are about to have work done on it) and planting seeds that I have been given - Cosmos, Butterfly Flower, and a butterfly garden flower seed mix. I will see how they do this summer and perhaps sow some new seeds in the fall. I also have a friend with many established plants in her yard that need thinning so I may try to drop in some here and there to see what takes off.
I need to learn about how to care for my perennials through the winter and about fertilizing and feeding.

I will post updates on progress both in my carrying out my plans and in what the results turn out to be. I am having a great time reading books and websites and learning.

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