May in Vermont started off with some glorious weather, warm and sunny. The grass started to turn green; the daffodils were in full bloom. It was just beautiful.
This week is a different story. The week has been cool and cloudy. Despite the frosty mornings the creeping phlox is creeping along.
My garlic is up and doing very well. Won’t be long before I’m cutting the scapes and making garlic scape pesto!
My oregano is back and ready to be used in cooking once again.
The rhubarb patch has burst from the ground and is almost ready to be picked. I love rhubarb and look forward to making my first batch of rhubarbeque sauce.
I love spring in Vermont, the weather can change drastically from one day to the next. The hills are bright with various shades of green. I’ll continue on with the mulching of the garden beds and the planting of the vegetable garden. It will be a few more weeks before I am able to move my tomatoes into the garden..
No matter what the weather the dandelions are back and are everywhere!
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The tomato, pepper and eggplant seeds that I recently planted are doing well and some were in need of transplanting already! I like to transplant the seedlings after they’ve grown two or more true leaves (the cotyledons don’t count). This can be anywhere from two to six weeks after germination.
Before I start I make sure I have everything ready; my new pots and some potting soil. I put a piece of paper towel or newspaper in the bottom of my pots to keep the dirt from coming out the bottom. By the time I transplant again (either into bigger pots or into the garden) this paper will have dissolved.
Freeing a seedling from its neighbors in a pot can be daunting if you haven’t done it before. One precaution is to always grasp a plant by a leaf not the stem. The plant can survive loss or injury to a leaf but if you break the stem it is fatal! I use a spoon and start at the edge of the pot and carefully lift the seedling. I try to choose the strongest seedlings rather than transplant every single one. I am often tempted to transplant them all as they look strong and healthy, but then I end up with way too many plants for my garden. Choose the sturdiest, most uniform plants and regretfully discard the others.
Set the seedling deeper than it was in the germination pot, placing the cotyledons just above the soil surface. Some plants, like tomatoes, will form roots along the section of the stem that is buried when you transplant deeper. Once every seedling has been transplanted make sure they are all labeled and given a drink of water. Then place them back under the grow lights.
This is the time of year that my kitchen really gets crowded as I usually run out of room under my two grown lights. We have wonderful south facing windows so I will alternate my seedlings so they all spend a little time in front of the widows. It won’t be long before I can move everyone outside into the garden!
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Recently I had the opportunity to visit the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island in the beautiful state of Washington. The reserve is just a short ferry ride from Seattle, WA and was the perfect place to visit before we had to fly home to Vermont.
I love visiting other people’s gardens whether they are just a small home garden or an estate. The Bloedel Reserve is a unique, world-renowned public garden. The founder, Prentice Bloedel, intended The Reserve to be a place that “provides refreshment and tranquility in the presence of natural beauty”. Prentice and his wife, Virginia, resided on the property from 1951 until 1986. During his time as the head of several timber businesses he became a pioneer in renewable resources and sustainability. He was the first to use sawdust as a fuel to power his company’s mills. He retired in 1950 and devoted the last half of his life to the creation of these gardens.
The Reserve has numerous paths that you can wander on, all very well maintained.
You can follow a map, which describes the various parts of the garden. The Japanese Garden is incredible with a guesthouse and a Stone Garden. Further along the path is the Moss Garden. You can feel the quietness of the landscape. It almost seems surreal. Moss carpets the ground and tree stumps with lush green.
Two of my favorite areas were the white birches along the walkway; the white elegance of the trucks was in sharp contrast to the greenery surrounding them.
Near the original mansion where the Bloedel’s lived is a beautiful pond. The Mid Pond was the first feature created by Prentice Bloedel with advice from his friend, the landscape architect Thomas Church. There are many beautiful trees including a weeping willow, which reflected in the stillness of the pond.
If you are ever in the Seattle area do take time to visit this beautiful piece of property. I am so glad it is preserved for others to enjoy. I can’t wait to visit it again someday.
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This week I am far from On The Home Front visiting our children that live on the west coast. I love visiting Seattle it is such a beautiful part of the country. This time of year they are ahead of us as far as spring goes.
Everywhere I look flowers are blooming and the grass is green. We took a day trip to Tulip Town to see all the tulips in bloom.
What an amazing sight. Brilliant colors everywhere.
The day was slightly overcast but the colors were so vibrant. It was fun to walk around envisioning what these tulips would look like in my garden!
It was the perfect day, walking around with our grown children enjoying the beauty.
Hopefully when I get back to Vermont every last bit of snow will be gone and our grass will be turning green! In the meantime I’m enjoying the sights of Washington!
You may remember my posts about the Tower Garden last year. I was very excited about the possibility of enjoying fresh herbs and vegetables during the winter.
I soon realized that without making the investment of purchasing the grow light system it was not going to be a reality in Vermont.
The seedlings all took off with a good start but very soon they got leggy and pale. I decided it wasn’t going to be a success and transplanted the surviving herbs into a pot. The chives have done well and will be ready to be transplanted into the garden this spring;
I have a very small cilantro plant and a couple of basil plants that have managed to survive our long winter.
They will also go into the garden if they survive that long.
I have seen numerous pictures of the Tower Gardens that people have used and had great success. However here in Vermont in order for the tower to be a success I would have had to purchase their grow light system and it just wasn’t worth it to me. I have a feeling that the Tower Garden’s were developed for people with limited space, living in warmer climates where you could set the Tower up on your patio or lanai. It was a fun experiment and I wish all those with Tower Gardens of their own great success. As for me, I will stick to my large vegetable garden outside!
Be sure to check out my Celebrate Spring giveaway – High Mowing Seeds has donated a seed packet with ten different varieties of seeds! Enter here!
Spring is very slow in coming to Vermont, especially for those of us who live close to the mountains. It has been a good maple-sugaring season but the season is nearing the end.
The chickens are enjoying their time out of the coop and finding ground that is snow free! Since we lost a chicken recently to a hawk they are much more cautious when they are free ranging.
My raised beds are finally peaking through the snow.
Even though there is snow in the garden the rhubarb is coming up!
There are even signs of the daffodils. It won’t be long before things start turning green on the home front!