Beginner Gardening Series: September Edition

September is the month where you can look at your garden and take stock of what worked and what didn’t, harvest the remaining produce growing in the garden (except for a few frost loving plants, will talk about that later) and put your garden to bed for the winter.   If you live in some of the warmer climates, you can now restart your garden!   For the plants that like the heat (like tomatoes and peppers), start the seeds indoors or buy starter plants. I, however, live in zone 5-6, so no replanting of the garden here.  I will be taking the steps to put my garden to bed and do what I can to get it ready for next Spring.

T A K E  N O T E

Get yourself a cute little notebook (don’t we all buy one everytime we go into Target?!) and take note of your garden.  What grew well in the garden this season?  Did your tomatoes get enough sun?  Did your squash plant succumb to mildew?  These are observations that will help you in planning your garden for next year!  Your placement of plants may change based on your observations.  For me, I need to move where I planted my squash because it was affected by mildew.  So…I need to find a place that gets more sunshine to prevent this from happening again.


W H E N  T O   H A R V E S T

Are you daily looking at your peppers wondering if they are ever going to turn red??  While it is ideal to let peppers, like tomatoes, ripen on the vine, there does come a time when all the peppers and tomatoes need to be harvested from the garden and left to ripen indoors, out of direct sunlight.  So yep, harvest your tomatoes and peppers, even if they aren’t perfectly ripe and let chemistry do it’s thing indoors. Now with this said, if you have planted some “cool crops” you can leave them in the garden until after the first frost.  Some cool crops are Kale, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Spouts, Spinach, Collard, Asparagus. A quick Google search of “cool crops” will provide a great resource if you are wondering if any crops you have planted are considered a “cool crop”.

 

 

 

TIP: you can leave carrots in the ground through the Winter (they may actually get sweeter as the carrot holds on to it’s sugar to combat the cold), however, you will need to harvest them before Spring as they will go to seed and not be edible.

P U T T I N G  the  G A R D E N  to  B E D

One thing I always need when going to bed is a blanket, your garden likes one too!   There are a couple of ways you can create a “blanket” for your garden.  You can grow a cover crop.  Stay with me here, this sounds much more complicated than it really is.  A cover crop is as simple as tossing some seeds on your cleaned out garden bed.  This helps create a barrier between the Winter elements and your garden soil.  Cover crops also give back vital nutrients that were taken from the soil to produce all your yummy veggies!  A seed that I recommend is Cereal Rye.  Sprinkle the seed ideally 4 weeks before the first hard frost, or as soon as you can after cleaning your beds.  Literally let nature do the work and watch it grow.  If planting another crop has you rubbing your temples, then a nice layer of straw or some other type of mulch will also provide a sufficient barrier for your garden soil against the harsh winter elements.

Categories

5 Things To Do In The Yard & Garden During Quarantine

We have come up with a list of 5 simple things you can be doing in your yard and garden right now, during the quarantine.  With all the health benefits gained from yard work & gardening, really all of us would benefit from time spent outside.  Check out some of things you can being doing, no matter your level of gardening experience and how you can enjoy the benefits now and later.

 

1. Clean Up

Even if you don’t have a beautifully landscaped yard, a prolific vegetable or flower garden, you can still keep your outdoor space nice and tidy.  This may seem like a daunting task, but set a timer for 20 min and tell yourself that you are going work outside until the timer is done.  You will likely find that you have a clearer head than when you started and may even restart the timer for another 20 minutes.

Things You Can Do:

  • Rake flower beds
  • Weed
  • Clean out weeds along your sidewalk
  • Prune bushes

 

2. Plant Seeds

If you find that you have more time on your hands (🙋) now might be the time to build that raised bed you have been thinking about or cultivate an area of your yard and plant some seeds.  There are so many health benefits to enjoy when gardening becomes part of your routine; increased confidence, heart health, reduced stress, mental health, better sleep, increased hand strength to name a few.

Once you have created a space to grow either by building a raised bed or creating a space in your yard, plant some seeds.  Knowing what garden zone you live in is important to know what to plant when, so check out this link from Urban Farmer to find your garden zone and get to planting.

 

3. Order Product From Your Local Garden Center

This is hard time for so many small business owners, and supporting them is more important than ever.  You may not know, but your local garden center might be offering curbside pickup!  Checkout out your favorite garden center’s website or give them a call and see if they are offering this service.  

I have made several trips to Ritters, one of my favorite local garden centers, and they have been great to provide me with potting soil, seeds, trellises for my raised beds and more!  I have all I need to get outside and get to gardening.

 

4. Plant Some Herbs

If getting outside and enjoying the benefits of gardening sounds appealing to you, but you are not quite ready to commit to a vegetable garden, give herbs a try.  Pick out some cute ceramic pots, make sure they have a drainage whole, and pick out 2-3 herbs that you enjoy.  I would recommend buying herb starts rather than growing from seed.  Next grab some some basic well draining potting soil and begin to enjoy the benefits of garden to table right away!

 

5. Plant Some Flower Pots

Are you someone who likes to have fresh flowers in the house?  Then maybe you would also enjoy fresh flowers while sitting out on your deck or front porch!  If your weather permits, planting fresh flowers outside might be just what you need right now.  Pick out a pot (again, with a drainage hole is ideal) and measure the diameter.  Determine where you would like to place your pot, sun or shade works, there are gorgeous blooms for both.  Then give your local garden center a call, tell them the diameter of your pot, how many hours of sunlight you expect it to receive, your budget, then let them pick out some beauties for you to plant at home!

 

15 Gift Ideas for the Mom Who Likes To Garden

We have put together a collection of 15 great gift ideas for the mom on your list who likes to garden.  From candles with plantable packaging, to personalized gardening tools, to Roo and Joey aprons, we have you covered.  Click on the item number for the link to shop the product.

Charmingly crafted and painted by hand, these colorful planters are a whimsical gift for gardeners of all levels.

Handmade and handpainted stoneware / Wipe clean with a damp cloth / These pots do not have drainage holes / Imported

The Joey Apron is perfect in assisting you with harvesting your vegetables, weeding and deadheading your garden or collecting anything that needs to be put away. Simply release the ropes and everything you have collected funnels out the bottom.  Machine washable

Wear your love for gardening with this unisex tri blend t shirt.  Triblend fabric makes it wear-all-day soft to the touch. Available in xs-xl

Handmade in San Francisco, CA using organic cotton, this flower tote bag is a farmers’ market essential for getting your fresh bouquets home safely and responsibly. Aplat’s origami-inspired designs use geometry, eliminating negative spaces, achieving virtually zero fabric remnants for a more sustainable manufacturing process.

With unique Poppy design printed on luxe paper and a complimentary gift box, personal stationery is a chic way to stay in touch.

Wrapped in real moss, our decorative letters bring lively style to spring decorating.

Wire frame wrapped in moss and planted with Ivy / Letters A–Z are each backed with a burlap ribbon for hanging / Choose multiple letters to spell out a word or name / For both indoor and outdoor use.

The Roo is perfect in assisting you with harvesting your vegetables, weeding and deadheading your garden or collecting anything that needs to be put away. Simply release the ropes and everything you have collected funnels out the bottom.  O/S fits all.  Machine washable.

Wear your love for gardening with this women’s tri blend t ank.  Triblend fabric makes it wear-all-day soft to the touch. Available in xs-xl

Label herbs and vegetables in style with our glazed porcelain plant markers. Each one is hand painted with floral designs inspired by Ming vases in indigo and white. The reverse is solid white for labeling with permanent marker (not included). Base is pointed for easy insertion.

Decorative hand-painted design / Use with permanent markers / Set of four.

What’s better than a bouquet of cheerful spring flowers chasing away a cold, dark winter? A batch of chocolate flowers, of course! Made fresh in Vermont and delivered straight to your door, our gourmet chocolate flowers are individually wrapped in colorful spring foils, packaged in a gift bag tied with green ribbon. A delicious gift for any occasion, these chocolates are also right at home in your candy dish!

The Roo is perfect in assisting you with harvesting your vegetables, weeding and deadheading your garden or collecting anything that needs to be put away. Simply release the ropes and everything you have collected funnels out the bottom.  O/S fits all.  Machine washable.

Enjoy all the benefits of the Roo apron with the Joey waist apron. ideal for warmer climates and urban gardeners!

12. Plant The Packaging Floral Candles $28.00

Close your eyes, breathe deep, and be transported to a garden blushing with ruby-toned poppies and cheerful sunflowers with these botanical soy candles. Redolent with the rich scents of popular blooms, these lovely candles pack a powerful punch of aroma since they’re made from 100% domestically-grown soy, a biodegradable and renewable resource that burns longer and cleaner than paraffin. After these luscious scents have filled your home with their floral fragrances for 60 hours, the elegant packaging carries with it another treat: the boxes and petite paper discs that protect the candles’ surfaces are infused with seeds. After soaking the packaging and burying it beneath a layer of soil, a patch of sunny wildflowers and crimson flanders poppies will sprout in just a few weeks. Made in New York.

Personalized garden tool set makes a great gift for any gardener or flower enthusiast. Nice heavy duty steel set includes a trowel and raking/weeding tool. Each tool measures approximately 12″ in length. Also comes with a nice drawstring canvas bag to store the tools when not in use. Tools will be engraved on the wood handles with your choice of fonts, and include the name or short phrase you provide.

Get soft skin with our rich, hydrating formula made with shea butter, coconut oil, algae extracts and other soothing ingredients to moisturize from head to toe, with our lightweight and iconic Lemon & Sage scent that energizes and refreshes

100% FREE OF HARSH CHEMICALS including parabens, phthalates, SLS, SLES and more, as well as PETA-certified and cruelty-free

 

15. The Roo Apron – Leaf Green $34.00

The Roo is perfect in assisting you with harvesting your vegetables, weeding and deadheading your garden or collecting anything that needs to be put away. Simply release the ropes and everything you have collected funnels out the bottom.  O/S fits all.  Machine washable.

Enjoy all the benefits of the Roo apron with the Joey waist apron. ideal for warmer climates and urban gardeners!

 

How To Take Your Love Of Indoor Plants Outdoors

Are you falling in love with your new role as a plant parent and wondering how you can grow this role and possibly take it outdoors? It can be intimidating to think about starting to grow plants and maybe even vegetables outdoors, but you can do this! You are a proud parent of gorgeous indoor plants, and now its time to make your outdoor space just as lovely and maybe even enjoy a fresh fruit or veggie or two.

When starting to expand your love of caring for plants baby steps are ideal. Think pots, as many or as little as you like. You can grow just about any variety of flower in pots and most vegetables, herbs and some fruits will thrive in pots as well.

Let’s say you decide to go more “garden to table” and decide to grow herbs, vegetables or fruit. First step is pick something to grow that you actually like to eat! Do you cringe at the thought of eating a tomato, then don’t’ grow them! If you love tomatoes, good news; they are pretty easy to grow in a pot! Research your fav veggies to eat, and you might be surprised by how most can be grown in a pot.

Herbs also grow very well in a pot, actually this is where they thrive! The only thing to keep in mind is what herbs like to be planted together. Click here to learn what herbs grow well together. Strawberries are a fruit that love to be grown in a pot. Lemon and lime trees can also be grown in a pot, but are a little more unforgiving with temperature and sunlight.

Once you have decided what to grow, I recommend buying plant starts rather than planting from seed. Plant starts are more forgiving, which is a good thing for new plants parents. Most plant starts have been nurtured by garden experts and are off to a good start by the time they get planted in your space. They can be a little more expensive but the percentage of actually seeing a harvest or gorgeous blooms greatly increases when planting form starts verses seed.

So make this the year that you expand your plant parenting skills and make your outdoor space just as beautiful as your indoor space and start to enjoy all the joys and benefits of what the outdoor garden can bring.

How To Care For Your Houseplants While You Are Away.

Are you a new plant parent and have plans that will take you out of town? Here are some simple tips that will keep your plants happy while you are away.

Gather your house plants (if possible) and make sure they are in a place that gives them plenty of sunshine throughout the day, especially if you plan on closing blinds or shades while you are away. It is ideal if you dedicate one window, away from vents with the blinds open, to provide the needed sunlight for your plants. As mentioned before, gather your house plants together if possible as they like to hang out together every once in a while, a plant play date if you will. As the plants aren’t likely going to receive water each day, having them live close together while you are away promotes a healthy atmosphere and the leaves can actually trap whatever humidity might be in the air.

Before you leave, make sure to give your plants a drink of water, not too much as over watering is never a good thing, but just a tad bit more than what you would normally do. Next get out your spray bottle and spray your plants generously, almost like they have been caught in a bit of a rain storm. Grab a paper towel and wipe up any excess water that may have spread to the ground or table top from spraying the plants. As mentioned before, arranging the plants close together helps trap some of the humidity generated by spraying the plants with water.

Following these few simple steps will give your houseplants the care they need while you are away and you will return to happy and healthy plants!

5 Things To Know Before Planting Ranunculus

Ranunculus have to be one of my favorite flowers. I don’t know if its the tissue like appearance of the petals or the variety of colors that all seem to be in the shade of sherbet, I just can’t get enough. So this year I am going to try and grow my own and hope to enjoy these beauties all summer long!

Here are 5 things to know before planting these gorgeous blooms:

1. Ranunculus tend to thrive in cooler temps. So when do we plant them? If you live in growing zones 8-10, you can plant the corms ( we will go over these in a bit) in late Fall for a Spring bloom. If you live in zones 4-7 (which is where I reside) you will need to plant the corms in early Spring for a Summer bloom.

2. The next logical question would be where is the best place to plant ranunculus? The ranunculus like a lot of sunshine but don’t love the heat. This is ok for those in zones 8-10 who can plant in Fall for a Spring flower, but what about those of us in zones 4-7 who need to plant in the Spring for a Summer flower, the hottest growing season? This is why planting the ranunculus in a container is my choice, especially the first few growing seasons. Being able to place the container in a spot that receives plenty of sunshine, but having the mobility to move the container and avoid the intense heat that these blooms just don’t enjoy makes the container and ideal option.

3. What will you need to get your ranunculus started? Get online or head to your local garden center and purchase corms. Now, if you haven’t grown ranunculus before you may be thinking that auto correct just took over. But really, you need corms. These “bulbs” may look like one of your favorite appetizers; calamari. Now before you we sow these corms into the ground we are going to take a moment to pre-soak corm to optimize growth.

photo credit Floret Flower

4. Why pre-soak the corms? This gives the corms a little warm up before heading into the ground.
The best and most consistent methods I have found are soaking the corms in room temperature water. An even greater benefit is to soak the corms in a container with running water to promote oxygen flow. Soak the corms in water for 2-3 hours. Remove the corms and allow them to drip dry and then place them in, what some call, soil lasagna; a layer of soil, place corm leg side down, then cover with another layer of soil. Store in a cool space and allow to sit (away from potential rodents) for 10-14 days.

5. After you have waited the 10-14 days for the corms to presprout, it is time to plant them in the ground. Plant the sprouted corms about 2-3″ deep in the soil. If there is still a threat of frost, cover with frost cloth. Ranunculus typically bloom around 90 days after planting, and they are so worth the wait!

Growing Herbs Indoors: 6 Herbs You Can Start Growing Today

Looking for something green to enjoy during these cold Winter months? Indoor herbs are such a great way to scratch that gardening itch when we can’t outside, or be the confidence boost you need to start gardening.

So, if you have two pots, and a sunny spot in your home, there are 6 herbs you can enjoy now that will not only look pretty but add amazing flavor to any recipe on the menu.

First you will need two medium sized pots. The only requirement for these pots is that they have a drainage hole on the bottom. This will prevent the soil from getting water logged, causing your herbs to rot at the root.

The next step, which might be the most important, is choosing the soil. For the “Mediterranean Pot” a cactus or succulent blend is ideal as this blend is optimized for drainage, which is exactly what this herb group needs.

For the “Green Leafy Pot” choosing a general organic potting soil mix will work great, as these blends are optimized to help retain moisture, which is what this herb group needs.

the Mediterranean pot

the Green Leafy pot

Once you have your pots and soil, head to your local garden center and pick up your basil, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, sage & thyme. Plant the herbs and give the soil a good drink of water.

Both of these pots needs at least 4-6 hours of sunlight each day, so place in a spot in your home where they will get the required amount of sun. Depending on the maturity of the herbs you purchase, you may be able to start enjoying them from day one!

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