Wordless Wednesday: Autumn Roses

Pink Rosebud in Fall Yellow Roses in Fall

Fall Gardening: Putting the Garden to Bed

Rake in Fallen LeavesAfter I hurt my hand in the summer, I really didn’t do much gardening for the rest of the summer, although I did harvest the tender veggies earlier in the fall, as the frosts began. So the garden has been getting pretty raggedy-looking. This month, it seems I have either felt sick and the weather has been lovely, or I have felt fine and the weather has been miserable.

This weekend was lovely, and the garden center warned that the snow was coming today, so all the tender plants, like roses, needed to be put to bed for the winter. Since Saturday afternoon, I have spent 6 hours in the yard, and I have nearly accomplished all the tasks that must be done before the snow falls. The storm isn’t here yet, so I hope to get out more today and finish those few tasks. There is more to be done, but there will be a few more nice days before it gets really cold, so I’ll have a few more work sessions in November.

So far I have:

  • deep-watered the trees
  • raked the leaves
  • put rose collars on the roses
  • cleared out the vegetable beds and the over-grown front bed
  • laid leaves over the vegetable beds and the roses
  • emptied the pots of annuals
  • brought tender, potted perennials, including the geraniums, indoors
  • cleared the leaves off the deck
  • cleaned out my deck greenhouse and latched it
  • folded the deck furniture & coiled the hoses, in preparation for winter storage

I still need to:

  • fertilize trees & shrubs
  • trim grass edges of the front hedge
  • cut back irises
  • empty the last containers of annuals
  • wrap containers of overwintering perennials (blueberries & hostas)
  • cover winter veggies that will overwinter*
  • plant sedums*
  • put away summer furniture & hoses
  • harvest herbs*

The * items are the ones I must absolutely do before the snow — hopefully I can get to it before the snow comes.


Wordless Wednesday: Planting Rosebushes

My Garden Today

The last frost date is creeping closer. Some nights it doesn’t even freeze, and the days are getting warmer. It feels like it might actually be spring. The daffodils are blooming. The tulips in my cold, north-facing front yard are on the cusp of blooming. A few in the warm, south-facing backyard have begun to bloom, but they are not at their peak yet.

Over the weekend, I finished digging out my new bed from the lawn. I emptied out my compost bin, and got many buckets of compost out, several of which went to cover the new bed. Then I added a mini-hoop house to warm up for cabbage seedlings next weekend, and I planted the kale and leek seedlings. They are not too happy, but I think they’ll make it.

Today, I finished pulling out the grass and dandelions from the bed that went fallow last year when I couldn’t be out in the garden as much. Tomorrow the solar mulch goes in, to warm the soil for cucumbers and melons. Then two more sections to clear out. These sections were used last year, but I neglected weeding them and I only removed the tired tomato and pumpkin plants at the end of the season, not the grass. This year I will put in the artichokes and okra here, and hopefully have enough room for beans. The tomatoes will move across the lawn, and I’m not sure where the pumpkins will go.

I also started the pumpkins, squashes (2 types of gourds, 2 types of squashes), melons, cucumbers, and okra this weekend. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure where the squashes will go, either, but I’m sure I’ll find a place for them. Perhaps there will be room with the cucumbers and melons, or perhaps they would like the empty bed to the north, just on the other side of the mini-hoop house I set up in late winter for early greens (which are doing quite nicely).

I wanted to plant more seeds outdoors this weekend, like carrots and lettuce, but was too busy. Hopefully I can get to them soon.

In the garden today

{Looking for a Teaching Thursday post? I’m posting that exclusively over at the Etsy DListers blog today.}

I spent some time out in the garden today — I should have been out last Friday to sow more seeds in the mini hoop house, but we have been having nasty weather for a week — first it was cold and cloudy, then rainy, and then really windy. Today was the first mostly nice day in a week (it was still rather breezy even though it was warm), so I thought I better get out there.

The crocuses are still pretty, although the little purple ones are done, and the remaining ones are pretty beat up by the big wind we had yesterday. A lone grape hyacinth has made its appearance, and the tulips are coming up nicely. The daffodils are beginning to bud, and the hyacinth are too, although they are still weeks away from blooming.

So what did I actually do out there? I discovered I needed to enlarge my mini hoop house, so I loosened the soil with my garden fork (instead of turning it over and letting sunlight reach the weed seeds, I read this tip in a magazine a month or so ago),  and pulled out the grass and dandelions. Then I added my plant markers and seeds for kohlrabi, napa cabbage, cabbage, and beets. I also sowed more arugula, but I just added those seeds to the existing arugula section. Then I added more hardware cloth and a row cover. After watering both hoop house sections, I tacked the row covers down with plenty of garden staples.

Then I headed across the yard to my existing vegetable bed, which was sadly neglected last year. I found last year’s onions and the bulbs were a little soft but they’ll make great baby green onions. After harvesting those, I forked the rest of the bed and pulled out the grass and dandelions (and something that looked like some kind of tree but not the usual suspects for weeds). Then I sowed my seeds: arugula, spinach, mache’, and lettuce.

I also watered a few beds and weeded a flower bed. I also hoed the new bed I partially dug out last week — grass was popping up & I’m not ready to cover in compost yet.

All in all, a productive afternoon.

Indoors, my sweet william, pac choi, yellow pear tomatoes, kohlrabi, and cabbages (2nd sowing) have sprouted. The celery, celeriac, leeks, onions, and cabbages (1st sowing) continue to do well.

Wordless Wednesday: Spring Crocus

Bed of Crocus White Crocus Yellow Crocus

Spring is Here!

I’ve been spending tons of time outdoors, getting the garden ready for summer. I also transplanted lots of celery starts today — hope they survive the treatment. And my napa cabbage is doing so well I had to thin it today. I can hardly believe I have to keep it indoors until the seedlings are 6 weeks old, but I am trying very hard this year not to do things too early — I lose too many starts that way, trusting the weather to hold, and it never does here in Idaho in the spring.

Celery Seedling Starts

Celery Seedlings

Napa Cabbage Seedling Starts

Napa Cabbage Seedlings

Wordless Wednesday: Crocuses in the Rain

Purple Crocuses in Rain Spring Crocuses in Rain

First Seeds Started

In past years, I have always started my seeds too early and ended up with leggy, unhappy seedlings. So this year, I made myself wait until 3 months (12 weeks) before the last frost date to start any seeds, and I am spacing them out more carefully. I hope this results in happier seedlings. I also have a grow light, now.

Yesterday I started seeds indoors: celery, celeriac, and leeks (2 varieties to space out harvest) under the grow light; and onions, napa cabbage, and cabbage in the window. Both flats are on heat mats.

Today I built my first-ever mini-hoop house in the backyard, and planted endive, more onions, and mache’ (corn salad) in it. I built the mini-hoop house with hardware cloth, a row cover, and garden staples. It won’t stand up to heavy snow, so it’s not a winter hoop house, but I’m hoping it will stand up to the winds and light snows of early spring. So far, the cover hasn’t blown off with the mild breeze we’ve had today. (Well, it’s a mild breeze for eastern Idaho, it might be considered more of a stiff breeze most anywhere else). If it continues to hold up, I will post a how-to article here. I am planning to build a more substantial hoop house next fall for next winter, but I didn’t have the time or energy to deal with stakes, heavy-duty hoops, and half-frozen soil today.

Yesterday, I made a trip to the plant nursery to pick up some large peat pots and new gloves (I go through gloves like you wouldn’t believe). I couldn’t resist two tiny kalanchoes in bloom, one pink and one white. They are very sweet.

Wordless Wednesday: Summer

Pink Geraniums and Purple Pansies

Pink Geraniums and Purple Pansies

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