In my travels, I visit gardens of all shapes and sizes and take tons of photos. Always excited to visit my friends’ gardens, attend garden tours and visit local botanical gardens, I just love to pick up new ideas and think about how I might apply new designs or planting combinations in my own gardens. I am often as envious as I am inspired. Here is a collection of some of the gardening ideas I admire:
Teri’s tomatoes were protected from early season hail under the hoops. They are so tall and healthy.
Dale’s potted tomatoes and trellised vegetables. Its a marvel what he accomplishes in a side yard.
My neighbors at Rosedale in 2014, Diane and Johanna Montague, had such a perfectly orderly spring garden. Beautiful!
Christine’s garden was already chock full of produce in late May – garlic, kale, berries, onions, greens, herbs. I loved how she used every square inch and had seedlings growing in egg cartons ready for hot season crops. Easthampton, MA
An attractive solution to keeping the wildlife from eating the produce.
At Nate and Ashley’s 2013 wedding in New Richmond, WI, the reception was held at a local farm. The little garden next to the house was surrounded by flowers and very organic in it design.
My friend Mary’s squashes were trellised on these cool wooden structures. Hartland, WI. July 2017
Centennial Gardens, University of Wisconsin, Madison. I love the order of this planter although I am realistic enough to know that my plants won’t conform to such order.
Raised bed for greens is a great idea. Centennial Garden, UW-Madison
Love the trellis ideas here. Centennial Gardens, UW Madison
I love the idea of a garden right outside the front door. The log Adirondack chairs, prayer flags and hollyhocks in the background all create a lovely vignette. Steamboat Springs Garden Tour, 2013.
Spring Garden with lots of space to grow up. Spinach in the foreground with tomatoes in wall of water. Ute Trails Garden, May 2017
Colorful Pot, Grand Lake Lodge
Perennials in a wine barrel, Nancy Sanchez
April is a heady time of year for me. Passionate discussions about all aspects of gardening (in-person, on the phone, via text message), frequent visits to local nurseries, intersecting projects and conversations, early morning inspirations and a parade of dirty shoes, gloves and digging clothes littering my floors are all signs that my brain and energy are focused on one subject – THE GARDEN. Fortunately, the days are getting longer, I have time to work on a myriad of projects and garden geeks eager to talk and share surround me at every turn.
Making Lacto Bacillus Serum – organic fertilizer
- Contacted John Swain, the horticulturalist for the Denver Golf Courses and designer/planter/co-manager of the donation garden at Harvard Gulch Golf Course and passionate home gardener. A winter has come between our last fact filled gardener conversation so we had a lot to talk about. As always, he is a fountain of enthusiasm and information and turned me on to two important sources as well as the benefit of using lacto bacillus serum in the garden (labs for short):
- The Unconventional Farmer: http://theunconventionalfarmer.com/
- Build a Soil: https://buildasoil.com/blogs/news/8634877-gil-carandang-lactobacillus-serum-recipe
- Labs are a workhorse of beneficial bacteria (which is edible) and has multiple applications including — speeding decomposition in the compost pile, unclogging drains, treating powdery mildew on squash plants, eliminating odor in animal bedding and most importantly, “Improves growth of plants when applied as foliar spray and soil drench. Improves their efficiency in uptaking nutrients so naturally, growth is enhanced. With the use of these microorganisms, the nutrients you spray or drench to feed your plants become more bio-available and easily absorbable by the plants. Technically, you can say that plants do not use organic nutrients directly. Microorganisms convert organic nutrients to their inorganic constituents which the plants utilize. Utilizing microbes, you will notice better plant growth and health.” -The Unconvential Farmer.
- Labs recipe: I mixed myself up a batch and its still incubating. Its easy to make and the recipe can be viewed on the link about from the Build a Soil website. Basically, you wash rice and take the water and fill a Ball jar about 75% full and cover with a paper towel — make sure air can get in. Store it on top of the refrigerator and after a few days, the liquid will separate. Siphon off the center layer adding 1 part serum to 10 parts milk and put in another container, cover tightly and let sit for another few days. Once curds appear, you can strain the liquid with a cheesecloth (the curds can be fried up and eaten). You add 1 part serum to 20 parts water to spray in the garden. Store in the frig or add molasses to store at room temperature. Stable for about a year.
- Strawberries and asparagus grow happily together; plan to add strawberries to my new planted asparagus patch
- Used my mole cages to sift compost into my cold frames
- Sprinkle carrot and beet seeds together every few weeks to have a continuous crop
- Marijuana growers have to dispose of growing mix are harvesting the plants; the vermiculate and soil less mix is great mixed into raised beds and helps lighten the soil
- Dryer lint can be put in the compost pile
- I used paint stirrers for marking seeds and plants. Pick them up for free every time I stop at Home Depot or Lowe’s.
Progress at Rosedale Garden – my 19th year in this community garden!
- Planted purple and green asparagus in two 8 inch deep trenches this week; once sprouted will cover with 3 inches of dirt
- Peas planted on March 15 finally sprouted, planted a third row on April 7
- Prepped more beds and mapped out where everything is going
- Seeded pumpkin bed with winter wheat; won’t be planting there for two months
- Garlic planted in frozen soil in late December is up and growing; looks like its going to make it!
- Susan has been making videos of me at the garden and I am learning how to edit them!
Opening up the St. Philip Donation Garden
- Scheduled a work day for this Sunday to get started prepping the beds at St. Philip.
- One volunteer came and we cleaned up two beds, added fresh compost and planted peas, onions and a variety of cold crops. Watered and talked about plans.
- Three plots are spoken for with another two gals potentially interested in volunteering in the donation beds.
- This is our third year and I’m sorry that I’ve lost my partner of the first two years, Lerae Schnickel to another church ministry. She was great to work with and its hard to move forward without her support.
Helping at a Jovial Gardens Neighborhood Project
- Jovial Gardens is a really cool Denver-based organization that helps build gardens in neighborhoods. One of their goals is to decrease food scarcity in the urban environment and grow food for local food banks. The group originally started in Edgewater, a suburb on Denver, and organized gardens in more than 40 yards in the neighborhood. https://jovialconcepts.org/about-us/
- My friend and master gardener, Teri Connelly is working with Jovial to install gardens in the yards of a number of her neighbors in Arvada. Today, I had the chance to visit on a work day and saw work in progress in at least 6 yards. The enthusiasm and excitement of the neighbors and volunteers was awesome. Teri shared that in one front yard garden they harvested almost a 1000 pounds of organic produce last year. I would love to start such a program in my neighborhood (Trailmark) in Littleton.
Seedling Update on the Home Front
- My experiment of seeding tomatoes and peppers for the first time has had mixed results. All but one of the 12 varieties of tomatoes I planted has sprouted. It took less than a week. I learned that they need a heat mat and lights!
- 8 of 11 peppers sprouted this week. More time needed?
- The tomatoes are very leggy but John Swain told me that they need grow lights and that its not too late for them to stabilize.
- I only have one grow light so I’ve set it up for 14 hours alternatively above the trays of peppers, then the tomatoes. Ordered a 4 foot rack with light from Amazon yesterday so hope it arrives this week.
- Nothing has sprouted in the milk jugs I planted last week. Time will tell
Visiting other people’s gardens is one of my favorite things do. I am eager to see how they do it and possibly learn something that I can apply to my own gardens. During my trip to Smith College for my 30th College Reunion in May, I was forturnate to have the opportunity to provide rides for the Headquarters Chair, Christine Kravetz Mc arthy, whose only form of wheeled transportation is a bike. Our chief mission was to harvest fresh lilacs from her yard to decorate the tables at one of our reunion dinners. Making several trips to her house in Easthampton, Christine gave me an inside glimpse of the surrounding community, her garden, the local farm stands, the bike paths, and the Northampton Community Garden. What a treat it was!!!!
Harvested lilacs ready for transport to Smith College Reunion Dinner. Imagine the beauty of all little blue flowers lighting up the Spring lawn!!!
Seedlings sprouting in egg cartons.
Christine giving me a tour of her berry patch.
Even though, it was barely mid-May, Christine’s garden was already blooming with flowers, salad greens, herbs, spinach, fledging tomatoes, garlic and more! The last frost date must be earlier in Massachutts — we are so often bitten by frost, snow or ice as late at May 22 in Denver. On her driveway, Christine had seeds sprouting in egg cartons and other seedlings housed in a kiddie pool.
A bed ready for planting.
The backyard was blooming with flowers, lilacs and spring veggies behind a sweet white house on a quiet street right off the bike path.
Lettuce happily growing in straight rows.
Autumn’s garlic standing tall with kale in the background.