Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thrifty Thursday-Garden Laundry Rack

Around here, Earth Day is every day.
We try to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as we can.
Today we'll show you how we repurposed this little item.

Being a scrapper, this drying rack was found in a neighbor's recycle bin
(the other end isn't shown).
It wouldn't stay together, so it got recycled into a garden project.
We have a smaller one that we sometimes use indoors in the summer,
when it's too humid to dry on our clothesline.

The rack was taken apart easily, 
as it was already on its way there.
We'll save this part and perhaps add pegs to it
to turn it into a wall-mounted hat rack.
Or maybe some future piece of yard art.

The spindles were removed.

These tomato plants needed transplanting.
As our house is going back on the market next week,
I didn't want to buy tomato cages and have one more thing to pack and move.
Besides, it's fun finding other purposes for what's already around.

The tomatoes were planted,

snug as a bug.
A well is dug around the seedling,
to ensure that water stays put near its roots.

Three spindles were added near each plant
and as they grow, baling twine will be wound around them
to add support for growing limbs.

What have you repurposed lately?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Maple Hill Hop 27

Maple Hill Hop

It's Earth Day on 
The Maple Hill Hop!

We're celebrating by joining a garden tour later today.

Do something great for Mother Earth!

C'mon and share what's happening outside
on your piece of the planet!

Remember the deal I got on all of these French marigolds last weekend?
They were installed recently.

Some were added as a border along one of the curves in the back bed.

Some were happy to join the beautyberry.
I love the pop of color.

The beautyberry will soon be loaded with deep magenta buds.

Elsewhere in the garden,
I decided to add a bit of whimsy.
The blooms were used to form an "H", for our last name.

Another bunch was used to fashion a "C" especially for Lil' Guy.
It gave me the idea of  creating an alphabet garden
when we move to our property up north.
Wouldn't that be fun to have kids go to find 
their initials in the garden?
Or to take it farther, spell inspiring words like
"LOVE", "FAITH", or "SMILE" with blooms.
It would be a great addition to our therapeutic farm.

let's HOP!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Farm School Spring Series Week Five

Welcome back to 
Farm School.
With overcast skies above,
we had an easy time completing a few critical tasks.

I sure wish you could visit us 
to experience the serenity that emanates here.

Tomato Town is bustin' at the seams.
Lynn is surprised at the short stature of these crops,

but does it really matter when you're loaded down with goodies like this?
It won't be long until we are sampling
and enjoying the juice dripping down our chins.

Last weekend we took out a few rows of sugar snaps,
but successive plantings will allow us to savor these sweet morsels
for a good while longer.

The black-eyed peas are looking strong and vibrant.
It'll be fun to see the growing habit of this initial planting.

For now, the leeks are in full sun,
but should they fail to thrive,
a nice, shady spot is ready for them.

The last of the collards are hanging in there.
They will be harvested for a few more market days.

Most of this part of the garden contains cold-hardy crops.
The kale, Swiss chard, even the beets are pretty well spent.
This area will be filled in with okra, more black-eyed peas, 
and possibly edamame to join the tomatoes and scallions
already content in their pots.

Broccoli has gone to seed, 
although we are still harvesting tips.
Isn't it amazing how a crop that is so densely filled with nutrients, 
can display such a lovely bloom when its purpose is complete?
God just keeps on giving...

The Brussels sprouts were harvested, 
as they did not reach their full potential.
When I brought them home,
they were roasted with just olive oil and salt
and were such a treat.
Lynn suggested adding them raw to a salad, 
in lieu of croutons.

Alas, my beloved Red Salad Bowl lettuce has turned in for the season.
We cleaned up the pots so that we could do some transplanting.

Although temperatures are steadily in the 80's now,
Lynn wants to attempt to grow some lettuce in the shade.
It's worth a shot.
If we don't try,
our salad bowls will sit idle for a good, long time.

We worked on transplanting two varieties:
Red Salad Bowl and Simpson Elite.

So far, in the cell packs, they look just fine.
Lynn grows everything from seed.
Lettuce is planted using a tweezer
and when the seedlings are large enough,
they are planted into their final growing pot.

Shade cloth as well as overhead tree branches
may give these cuties a fair chance.

These Surinam cherries were a new experience for me.
The trick is to find the reddest on the bunch.
Yum, sweet and juicy.
They are often used to make jams and jellies.

These were snagged for munching on the job.

Lynn is perplexed by this specimen.
We've featured it before, but still don't know the name of this unique plant.

This amazing datura is simply stunning.
Lynn has some seedlings started to keep the beauty coming.

It's so satisfying getting a few things done on The Hill.
It's been over a year since we began this endeavor,
and the learning has just begun.
Farm School is a blessing indeed.

The Farm School adventure began here.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Plant Profile-Society Garlic

We're continuing our
 Plant Profile Series
with another Florida-friendly plant.

Society Garlic

This Florida-friendly plant does best in full sun,
but will tolerate some shade.
The loose, sandy soil here in Florida is ideal for growing,
but if your medium is different, 
containers might be the answer.

As with most Florida-friendly choices,
this bloomer is drought-tolerant once established.
We water 2-3 times per week during the hottest days,
and these have never been hand watered.
It does bloom more during the rainiest times of year,
but will withstand the fierce humidity of our summer season.

This dazzler sports lovely star-shaped flowers
in a stunning lilac shade.
The muted hue adds a gentle touch of color to surrounding greenery.
This delicate member of the onion family is easily divided, 
so it's a great candidate for plant swaps.
Division is obtained during dormancy by splitting the rhizomes.

The name on this beauty rings true-
it really does smell like garlic.
In fact, the leaves are edible and can be added to salads, sauces and dressings.
Be well advised so that it can be placed in the garden accordingly.
The aroma is enjoyed here,
but may be too strong for those who prefer a sweeter smelling bloom.

There are so many plants that take very little care
but give us so much in return.
This one's a keeper.

 Read more about this maintenance-free plant here.

Week One-Bulbine
Week Two-Native Milkweed
Week Three-African Iris


Backyard Farming Connection