POTD: DIY MINI Green House

20130310_115155 Easy DIY green house.

I used Coke bottles because I found the shape interesting, and because of my husband’s love of Coke and my procrastination I had 12 in my recycle bin.

1. remove labels, wash, rinse, and dry the bottles.
2. Cut the bottle above the narrow part on the bottom, and below the wide part at the top.
3. Fill the base with dirt and plant herb seeds according to package directions.
4. Mist with water until soil is damp, but not soaked.
5. Place top over base
6. Leave in a sunny location.
7. If you want to be fancy you could write the planting date and type of plant on the top, I just left them as a surprise.

POTD: sharing the sunshine

20130306 cat and plants Grow little plants grow! Soon you will be sweet, and green, and good to eat. I give you sun now, and you will give me a treat.

While sunning the new seedlings my kitty jumped up on the table and stared at them for a few minutes. It’s like she wasn’t really sure why they were in her sunny spot, and if she was allowed to evict them. She sat quietly watching the seedlings slowly push their way out of the soil, thoroughly sniffed it, and then moved on to the next one. Perhaps she is waiting for the catnip to sprout?

Gardening 101: Weather Details in Pictures

http://weatherspark.com/ has great charts for those that are more visual. Just enter your city, province/state/area, and country.

I’m will be attempting 4 season gardening this fall (if all goes well this summer) and the hours of daylight, and average temperature during different parts of the day is essential to that planning. Great site with colourful graphs and useful information on sunlight, temperature, wind, precipitation.

Planting 101: First and Last Frost, Number of Frost Free Days

To determine when, what, and where to plant you will need to start with knowing the approximate last and first frosts of the season.

If you live in Alberta, Saskatchewan, or Manitoba this is a good resource:

http://www.gardenersweb.ca/vegguide.lasso

Choose your city, or the one closest to you, and it will give you all the frosty information you need.

City of Origin

Average number of frost-free days 120
Average date of last spring frost May 21
Number of years last spring frost fell
Before May 31 16
Between June 1 – 15 3
After June 15 0
Average date of first fall frost September 18
Number of years first frost fell
Before August 31 2
Between September 1 – 15 5
After September 15 12

If you live outside the prairie provinces there are many other charts. Google is your friend. Search: Number of frost free days (city name) and you should find a chart that suits your needs.

I just want to plant stuff…what is all this planning for?

I’m planting a garden.

Such a simple phrase, but yet so complex. When we bought our house last summer it was too late in the season to plant anything so we left the garden. Then the weeds came. Oh, the weeds! Vicious thorny things that snagged our clothes and dug into our flesh when we tried to remove them. The heinous melding of thistles, brambles, stinging nettle, and the man eating plant from Little Shop of Horrors (or at least that was our best guess).

After many hours of googling I came up with a plan. The Plan. Feeling very accomplished, and dreading the work that would be involved after the snow melts, I set about starting some seeds for the part I like the most PLANTING!

When I was a child my mother had the best garden ever. It was filled with all sorts of swipable nibbles. Raspberries, carrots, peas, strawberries, and rhubarb all flourished in her garden along with staples like corn, beans, chives, radishes, lettuce, and cucumbers. We even had a few fruit trees: cherry, plum, apple, and crabapple. From mid spring to early fall I feasted on my stolen treats.

She made it look so simple. Till, make rows, plant, water, weed, and harvest.

My babysitter had an even larger garden (that I was not allowed to enter, but toured carefully anyways).

Now that I have a large yard, and a home that I will be staying in for the rest of my life (knock on wood) I want a garden my children and grandchildren will enjoy, sneaking peas, feasting on berries, and generally having fun.

I had visions of spending a lazy afternoon weeding my garden while my toddler rambled around eating baby carrots and playing in the sprinklers. My daughter grabbing some fresh herbs for her legendary pesto sauce. Casually asking for a few potatoes and chives for breakfast.

Loving to cook and bake means a love of fresh ingredients. It seemed like a match made in culinary utopia. A large yard. Time to dig, and plant, and putter. Poof. Access to the quality of ingredients not available from my local grocers.

Then I started looking into seeds. At first I just bought seeds for my favourite plants that I knew I could keep in pots: tomatoes, basil, rosemary, and chives. While some sprouted almost immediately, others haven’t peaked their heads out yet (days after their last estimated germination date). So I returned to google to see why my seeds weren’t sprouting..and received a lesson in biology and soil chemistry. Turns out plants are not so simple.

So after a flurry of e-mails to every avid gardener I know, and a lazy afternoon snowed in with a copy of The Year Round Vegetable Gardener by Niki Jabbour, I have determined that yes. Planting requires planning.

So with 3-4 feet of snow on my garden, and several months before I can actually dig, I am planning where and how to grow all my favourite things, and dreaming of a walk-in green house.