The sun is finally showing its face in middle Tennessee just in time for March 1st seed sowing. In anticipation of color (in this case lots of purple) we’re working with heirloom varieties Sugar Stars Phlox and Amazing Grey Poppies. I actually planted these seeds three weeks ago as well but I imagine they might show up down river somewhere if my neighbors are lucky as we have been drenched for many days. I’m so grateful that we did not have any major flooding but all the seeds I planted have surely washed away.
Just a light covering of soil – I brush them into the area I want them to grow with my palm – and keep them moist for a few days. We should see the phlox in about a week and the poppies in three. I can’t wait for these beauties to appear! Happy planting!
There’s always excitement in ordering seeds in the winter but this year seems extra prime for new varieties. I started saving seeds in earnest this last year and the process has fueled my mission of buying heirloom and organic seeds to begin with. I love the idea that when I gather seeds from my own garden they are now and will continue to be more adapted to our soil and environment each year. What an amazing Creator!
This past week I got a start on my seeds with lettuce, eggplant, peppers and sweet peas. If you need a refresher on the process, check out my post on seed starting here. I find it an amazing way to get a jump on the season while I have a bit more time and it saves us so much money as we no longer buy plants. If you’re in the Nashville area but not a seed starter and still want the very best in heirloom varieties for your garden, keep an eye out for our very first heirloom flower and vegetable plant sale in April. We’ll be announcing info here on the blog as well as Instagram and Facebook. We are so excited to share some amazing varieties that you just can’t get at your local landscape or big box stores.
In addition to adding excitement in the garden each year, new (to my garden) seed varieties are a great way to support small businesses that are an intricate part of preserving heirloom seeds from all over the world. Joe Lamp’l (aka Joe Gardener) mentioned in a recent podcast that having an heirloom seed company is trusting your customers to try new things each year. I have done my duty with Baker Creek Heirloom seeds and went a bit crazy. But what a cool company! Jere Baker started the company as a hobby in 1998 and they now have over 1000 varieties of seed from all over the world!
My aim this year is to expand my “garden” space to include edibles throughout our two acres in edible landscaping. I’m imagining thousandhead kale taking the place of the very cool elephant ear plant and placing amaranth in my front beds instead of fountain grass. This property is always an experiment! I am especially excited to introduce more flowering native plants into our various beds to attract and nourish more beneficial insects to our property.
As you’re using these chilly days to plant this year’s bounty, what are you excited to try? Take a look at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for inspiration and let me know what inspires you and if you have other favorite seed companies please comment below as I love to hear from others.
This past year has been a wild one but afforded our family the time to start our first serious garden project at this house. I started the plans in November when my boys were out of the country with no idea that we would have ALL THE TIME WE COULD WANT to get it off the ground (or is that “in the ground”?)
We’ve completed SO many indoor projects in the past four years (I promise that one of these days I will post about our hall bathroom, game room and basement bathroom remodels), but it’s time to head outdoors. Our goal was to have a big enough vegetable garden to provide for our family with dreams of having plenty to share with friends and neighbors. Honestly, I also wanted a project big enough for my three children to be able to pitch in as well! Hard work is a great teacher and so much fun.
We planned for 32′ x 18′ of fenced space for annuals (I’m not interested in sharing with my wild neighbors) with an additional 3′ on each side for perennials. We’re starting this experiment with Charles Dowding’s no-dig approach. (As a side-note: if you need a way to escape the craziness of life, Charles Dowding’s YouTube videos are inspiring and really restful.) Now, let the digging begin. No, no digging. Well, we did dig the holes for posts but I think our garden still qualifies. My oldest daughter, Annika, and I got the holes dug for the posts in about a week. Not bad! We chose 6′ cow fencing for our sides and left a 4′ space on the east end for an entry gate.
Next we posted on NextDoor for cardboard boxes and were able to collect plenty to cover the entire garden area. Our walkways and entry area needed a solid mulching so we sent a request to ChipDrop and got a beautiful FREE load of wood chips from a local arborist. We found a local landscape company that had a February special that would deliver garden soil if we purchased 5 yards so $150 later, we were set. We spent a few days with the wheelbarrow and placed the materials in a pattern of rows that I planned out with the help of the Farmer’s Almanac online Garden Planner tool. We were ready to… wait. It was only the end of February. Our last frost date isn’t until April 27th dang it! Patience is a virtue and indoor seed starting is about to become a new skill.
My husband thought I needed a little shed-type entry area to hang tools and provide some shade for our house critters that like to visit the garden with me. He built a 4′ x 6′ garden hut that is perfect for all of us. That’s Misty the dog and Winter the bunny taking advantage of the shade – getting a break from their hard work.
Overall we have been extremely pleased with the results of the project. We were amazed at the amount of vegetables we have harvested and the fun it has been to cultivate. If I were to start this again there are a few things I would change. First, I would have made sure there were NO exposed seams in the cardboard. The weeds we had in the garden (namely: Bermuda grass, wild chive and dandelion) all came up through the spots that we did not layer the cardboard at the seams. We continue to weed those spots but hope with diligence that they will clear out eventually. Second, we would have dug a trench round the whole project. Because Bermuda grass spread with runners as well as by roots and seed, we are now digging a trench that will be maintained to spot those stragglers. All in all, it has been SO worth it.
I am ready for spring! I don’t know about you but this winter seems to be dragging. It could be that my family has been cooped up for three weeks alternating sickness or the fact that we’ve had almost no snow to play in this winter but I am so ready for spring! What do I do when I’m ready to see some new life and encouragement? I plant things.
Seriously, I know it’s only February but one of the benefits of living in the South is sometimes these winter experiments work!!! So, the other day I drug out my little shovel, my rake and my newly delivered bag of seeds and headed to the back 40 (square feet of raised bed.) After a quick perusal of my stash I decided to experiment with sweet peas, broccoli, radish and beets. Their not called winter veggies for nothin’ (I hope!) So in they went with a good dousing of MegaSea from Sweetcorn Organic Nursery and a healthy sprinkling of MegaStart worked into the soil.
I have hopes, high ones! It’s supposed to be 60 dregrees today so I’m thinking I should be picking peas by Easter, right?!? Well, maybe my patience will be exercised in this endeavor, but the hope that spring is coming will keep me encouraged for another few weeks til I see the redbuds showing signs of life.
I would love to share my easy-peasy 1…2…3 directions to building my cedar arbor but it just wasn’t. I found directions for the project at thevioletfern.blogspot.com and I’m thankful but it took 3 days, 5 children, 3 adults, 1 saw, 1 sawhorse, 1 drill, 1 measuring tape, several pencils, 2 bandages and a bunch of wood screws to get it done.
As you can see the top is still a little bare but a wind storm tore a branch from our front sycamore tree so with a little help from my kiddos and friends (whoops! add 4 more to the children tally) we will have the branches for the top today.