Well, I thought I’d give you all an update on how all the growing green things are doing here at Frugal Upstate!
Spring FINALLY sprang here in Upstate New York-we had a week straight of rain then a few glorious days of sun, followed by yet another week of constant rain. If my garden had already been planted I would be copacetic about the whole thing-but instead I’m chomping at the bit, wishing that the rain would stop and things would dry out enough to let me plant some things.
This year I decided to try to keep a few of my plants alive over the winter. I brought my Geraniums, Hanging Geraniums and Ferns inside in the fall and kept them alive all winter-if barely. When the weather turned nicer they started going outside each day-but in the evening I would bring them in to avoid frost. I used a plastic tablecloth to protect the wood floors. . .
I trimmed all the dead stuff out of the ferns. They look OK-but not great. I think that next year I will keep them up in our bathroom the entire winter (they started out down in the entry hall). The humidity up there should make them stay healthier.
The hanging geraniums wound up looking pretty pathetic.
Blech. I trimmed out the dead stuff and hung them off the back porch where they are doing ok. The leaves have already turned a darker green. I think they will be ok-but not great. However the cuttings that I took from these and then rooted downstairs are doing FANTASTIC! I put 3 of them in a hanging basket off the front porch and expect them to get lush pretty quickly.
Lesson learned. Next fall I am just going to take cuttings and make a whole bunch of propagated plants. I didn’t even do these until what, January-ish? If I start them in the fall they will be even further along by spring. Granted, they will take up space under the lights in the basement-but it will be when nothing else is down there. By the time they are rooted and a bit bigger, I’ll pot them up a size and I can put them around the house as houseplants.
All of the perennial landscaping has popped around front. You can see my gorgeous huge hostas that line the front porch-the ones in front have small daylillies in between (I planted them as bulbs and now that they are 2 years old I hope to get some flowers!) and the ones on the side have peonies that have gorgeous flowers for about 2 weeks each summer. Those I have special supports around (even though you can’t see them) otherwise they’d just fall over from the weight of the flowers.
Oh, and just off to the right you can see a little tiny bit of my ENORMOUS rhododendron. That just grows & flowers with no help from me.
Now I have a lot of planters that I put around the porch railing-a total of 7 on the front porch and 3 on the side porch. I use the same self watering planters every year, and the same soil. But it’s been 2 or 3 years so I decided it was time to revitalize the soil a bit. First we dumped it all out onto a tarp, then I had Buddy help me clean up the planters.
Then I added one big bag of organic potting soil to the old “used up” soil, along with about a 1/4 cup of “flowers & blooms” fertilizer that is about 6 years old (from my pre organic phase). I mixed it all up with a hoe and refilled the planters.
Usually I have planted them with wave petunias-last year I tried nasturtiums, which really wasn’t that successful. This year I decided to start some wave petunias from seed & buy some from the store-so I’d have instant color from the store bought but intersperse them with my home grown which will take a while to catch up and provide color. I also put some grown from seed alyssum in there on the edges to cascade over.
Oh, and that black plastic you see to the right of me in the photo? That is my new second garden. Yankee Bill tilled it then we covered it with plastic to keep the weeds out and warm the soil.
Speaking of vegetable gardens I now have 5. The one that shows in that picture. The original garden just back behind those trees with the hammock in it. Off to the rear left, in the next lot over, I have permission to plant a 10X10 corn patch. Then there is a garden plot down at my mother-in-law’s house that I plan to plant with potatoes (Yukon Gold, Kenebec, Pontiac Red, Blue) and onions (red & white). Finally, I’ve started a garden over at the house my brother is renting & will be moving into on July-but by then he’ll be way behind garden wise-so Yankee Bill tilled it, we covered it with landscape fabric, and we’ll plant it up in a few weeks for a weed free veg garden that Bro can take over when he moves in.
I’ve also got my container herb garden right outside the door up next to the back door of the house. There I grow lovage and chives in the ground, then in those wooden whiskey barrel planters I have 2 kinds of mint, lemon balm, oregano, creeping thyme, parsley, stevia, sage and a bit of lettuce. Yeah, I know lettuce isn’t a herb. Work with me.
So I haven’t been busy or anything. Bless Yankee Bill and his tiller!
The asparagus is in it’s second year. I ate a few stalks raw, but I’m letting the rest go to build up the root system. Next year-at least one meal with home grown asparagus!
Last but not least, I decided to plant my tomatoes in hay bales this year. After two years of my plants being decimated by early tomato blight I decided enough was enough. We bought 12 bales from a local farmer, set them on their side along our fence line, wet them down well then covered them with plastic so they could start composting. (Here are some articles on that in Straw Bale Gardening, Hay Bale Gardening Becomes Popular Pastime, and Straw Bale Gardens)
I’ve sort of peeled back the plastic a couple of times and added more water.
I really want to make sure the main “composting” action is done before I get the tomato plants in there-otherwise it will kill them. Composting produces heat you know and it will bake the roots.
To finish off the hay bale planters I will “frost” them with a couple of inches of organic potting soil and then put the plants down into them! Don’t worry, I’ll write more about the process later.
So, that’s my garden update. I’d love it if next week you’d join in! Trust me-after this first one mine will be a bit shorter and to the point-I had a lot to catch you all up on!
I’m going to start running a weekly “How’s it Growin?” linky on Saturday each week-and you’ll have all the next week to link up to it. Don’t have a blog but want to participate? I’ll also post over on the Frugal Upstate Facebook page and you can leave a comment under it there with your latest update!