Mother of Pearls & an Emerald

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Starting Seeds Indoors March 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 5:00 pm

Indoor Seed Starting

We started a big flat of seeds on Friday, March 25th. Mostly warm weather veggies like tomatoes and peppers, things with long DTM, with some herbs and flowers to fill in the 50 spots. Next, we’ll sow a flat of impatiens in hopes of saving some money by not having to buy any flats of flowers this summer and hopefully have copious amouts of them {fingers crossed}.

We started:
2-Isis Candy Tomatoes
3-Brandwine Tomatoes
2-Amish Paste Tomatoes
2-Cherokee Purple Tomatoes
2-Monster Tomatoes
4-Sweet 100 Tomatoes
3-San Marzano Tomatoes
4-Pepper Mixed
2-Orange Eggplant
2-Jalepeno Pepper Mild
4-Sweet Basil
4-Jack Be Little Pumpkins
6-Dwarf Zinnias

On Tuesday, March 29, we noticed sprouts on 2 Zinnias and the Chamomille! I went ahead and took off the clear top and put them under the makeshift grow lights we rigged up in the basement. Wondering if I should figure out some bottom heat to help the rest sprout, but I didn’t want to spend any money on that. I was thinking maybe the microwaveable warm packets from my Pyrex Portables may be a good option to try.


A Little More Winter Sowing and More Sprouts Update March 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 3:18 pm

51 Containers Sown

I got a little behind in updating our progress. We sowed the following on 3-17-11:
#44 Purple Wave Petunias
#45 ”
#46 Verbena, Mixed
#47 ”
See 3-31-11 update for #48-#50. I had seeded this cheap impatien mix in these, but decided to not waste all that “space” and order better impatien seeds instead, so we reseeded these.
#51 Alyssum Royal Carpet

And we noticed so many more sprouts this weekend!
#15 Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
#16 Baby Spinach-there were not alot of sprouts in here, so I sowed more in there.

Baby Spinach Sprouts

#30 Grand Rapids Leaf Lettuce
#21 & #22 Bachelor Buttons
#3 & #4 Alyssum Royal Carpet

Alyssum Sprouts


SPROUTS! We have winter sown SPROUTS! March 17, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 1:37 pm

I figured with the two days of warm temps we’ve had, that we would at least see SOMETHING in our winter sown jugs. Container #1 which we sowed Green Ice Lettuce has a bunch of cute little sprouts today!

FIRST SPROUTS! Green Ice Lettuce


More Winter Sowing Updates 03-09-11 March 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 12:33 pm

This week we winter sowed the following:

#34 Salvia-Purple
#35 Obedient Plant-White
#36 Lupine Mix
#37 Butterfly Weed-White
#38 Dianthus-White & Purple
#39 Mammoth Sunflower
#40 ”
#41 Vanilla Ice Sunflower
#42 Jade Hybrid Sunflower
#43 Autumn Beauty Mix Sunflower

Notes: #34 through #39 were more seeds from Amy’s own gardens!
#41 through #43 were the seeds we won from Amy’s contest!
We are out of our saved milk jugs and only generating a few a week, but thankfully we’ve neared the end of our winter sowing for the season! Of course we went to Lowe’s yesterday and found a few more packets we had to have-some Purple Wave Petunias and Verbena.

In other garden updates, we got our compost bin loaded up. Several bags of yard waste and leaves from the spring clean up layered with bags of Starbuck’s coffee grounds and kitchen scraps should hopefully get the compost cookin’. We also bought what we needed for the Mel’s mix, so we need to get that combined and spread over the beds. We’re still hoping to get the peas in for St. Patty’s day. That and we desperately need mulch this year. Lowe’s had some of the nice dark brown hardwood in bags, so I think I’ll pick up some and work my way through all the beds. I should have taken some befoer pictures, the cleaned out beds look so nice, all ready for new growth.


Winter Sowing 3-5-11 March 7, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 8:26 pm

On Saturday, we sowed 5 more containers, so our season total is at 33 so far.

#29 Zinnia Dwarf Sprite Mixed Colors-Annual 18-24 inches

Zinnia Dwarf Sprite

#30 Grand Rapids Leaf Lettuce-Salad Garden
#31 Strawberry Pink Foxglove-Perennial
#32 Liatris Purple-Perennial

Purple Liatris

#33 Dianthus-Hot Pink-Perennial



Winter Sowing 03-04-11 March 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 11:21 am

Get Busy Gardening Contest

So, with a one day warm snap, we sowed a few more containers yesterday.  Thanks to the very generous, Amy, from Get Busy Gardening, we have many more seeds to sow. We won her first round of Winter Sowing contests and received a huge packet of Sunflower Cutting Mix seeds as well as countless perennial seeds collected from Amy’s own beautiful gardens! Get over there to see what all the excitement is about!

#23  Sweet William Mix-Dianthus Barbatus -in perennial garden

#24  Lamb’s Ear-perennial-definitely going in the Children’s Garden area. Can’t wait to get my hands on the fluffy soft leaves! And I love that I read somewhere that it’s a medicinal plant that is good to put on kids’ boo-boos! A soft, healing band-aid if you will. Good info link

Lovely close up of Lamb's Ears

#25  Obedient Plant-Purple-interesting perennial plant, named because it’s said you can twist the flowers around on the stems to where you want them which makes it a fun Children’s garden plant too. I love garden blog hopping and the search for an image to link for this plant brought me to Colors of The Garden blog Amazing, beautiful gardens!

Obedient Plant

#26  Hardy Hibiscus-Pink

#27 Hardy Hibiscus-White

#28  Columbine Mix

Only six containers completed, but it started to rain and it quickly became time to pick up Miss Pearl. We’ve been doing our winter sowing outside on the deck for ease of clean up (brrrrrrr!), but I think if we want to step up production, we may have to move our operations inside and deal with the mess.  Blasted cold, wet weather. You’d think it was Spring or something!


2011 Garden Goals-Vegetable Garden

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 7:43 am

We’re back to winter weather here, but the desire to be out in the yard gardening is still strong! I wanted to make a list of all our garden goals here in hopes that we can cross off some of them! I need to do these by section, since there are so many ideas flying around my head for our yard!

1. Kitchen Herb Planter-This raised bed began with a few random herbs, but now the sage, oregano, and dill have become insane reseeders and have taken over most of the bed.

Herbs Gone Wild

Although the bees sure love this spot and the oregano is really a lovely ornamental with purple flowers, I’d like to reclaim this huge space for more veggies. I was thinking of doing something like this tipsy pot nearer the back door for kitchen herbs.  I figure I can try some new herbs and can easily bring a pot of say, rosemary, inside for the winter. 

Stacked Pots

2.  Square Foot Gardening in one of the beds. We’ve always gardened in rows in these beds, but even before reading of Mel’s ideas, I felt like we could plant more in there than just two rows of veggies. So this is the perfect way for us to try alot of new and different kinds of veggies we’ve never grown or eaten before. I also love the idea of planting fun things the kids will get a kick out of like purple carrots or cauliflower! Father of Pearls will need to build us the grid to lay down. Honey-do list item number #1,234,567!!

3. Composting We really wanted to begin composting in our yard this year. Since we live in an urban neighborhood, we couldn’t easily have a large more open bin with nosy neighbors reporting us ;(, so we just bought this basic composter at Sam’s Club. I think it will be a good compromise and start for us.

SoilSaver Classic Composter

4. Amend existing soil– Since we won’t have our own compost until probably Fall, we are going to add “Mel’s mix” which is 1/3 Peat Moss, 1/3 Coarse Vermiculite, and 1/3 blend of various composts to top off/build up our raised beds. 

5. Raised Bed Plan from West to East, First Bed-The herb bed in #1 mostly cleaned out and used for tomato/pepper overflow and lots of annual basil.  Second Bed–  The A-frame Trellis will be moved here (Honey-do list item) and this bed will be Green Arrow Peas planted on St. Patrick’s Day to hopefully yield peas by the end of May. Then we’ll plant Pole Green Beans on both sides. I bought Kentucky Wonder to try and saved some Burpee Blue Lake. I’m wondering if we can do some chard or cooler weather lettuces in the middle ends under the trellis for leafy protection from the heat.

Trellis Built to Last by Father of Pearls

Third  Bed will now be the Tomato Bed. Hopefully the beans left lots of good nutrients in the soil and we’ll have a good year. I usually plant 6 varieties, stake and cage them and then largely let them go to town. This year I’d like to squeeze in 8 varieties and be more vigilant about pruning.
Fourth Bed This will become the Square Foot Garden Bed. It’s the closest to the big tree in the yard and the miscellaneous things we’ve planted there have done just OK past, so I’m hoping this will work. We’ve added “Trimming lower branches” to the Honey-Do list, so maybe it was a shade issue. Hopefully not a tree root issue. In that case, we may have to add an extra level of wood to raise it up some and maybe even line the bed floor with plywood.

6. Seed Starting-Although we are winter sowing a majority of our seeds, we’re going to try again at growing a few plants inside, at the Pearls request. We will try some warm, annual veggies-tomatoes/peppers/basil inside. We bought a $9 shop light at Walmart to hang above the wire shelving in the basement. Hopefully that will thwart any bad kitties from eating our little sprouts again!

7. Irrigation Lastly, we are going to try to run a system of soaker hoses through the raised beds to be able to water more efficiently and properly. I found some good resources for reasonable parts on I also like Mel’s idea of hand watering from a bucket of sun-warmed water as needed. The kids will love this. We also wanted to install a DIY rain barrel for watering and filling wading pools!

Whew, it looks like a long list, but see it organized like this makes it seem pretty do-able! Wish us luck.