Monday, February 10, 2020

Midwest Gardening February 2020

Ad-Free Blog

February 2020

Well, gardening in the upper Midwest is still just a dream. 

Here is our pond. Sunlight doesn't even touch this area yet, this photo was taken at 12 Noon today, a sunny day. The sun is still so low, it never creeps over the pitch of the garage. The light you see is the reflection off our huge kitchen windows--bouncing sunlight down on the ground.


And, still we dream of Spring. 

So far we have had little snow and mildish temps. 
Lots of freezing and thawing, rain mixed with snow, then rain again. This week we have a 0 degrees in the forecast and snow---hard to have both, but we will see.


I had to send my two herb planters outside. 
All that was alive was the rosemary and that also began to give up. I will have to totally replace the soil in these, I think all the nutrients were washed out or used up by the exuberance of the plantings, and our constant rain last year.

Planters that have excessive water, literally wash their nutrients out. Think how many times you dumped saucers last year, or gave up on saucers. 


One week ago, Hubby started seeds in the south window of our kitchen. Tomatoes, Chinese Eggplant,  Mixed Peppers all take forever to germinate. But, we had quite a few days of sun this week. Hubby currently uses pellets which I'm not fond of---but they do wick up the moisture and keep the seedlings started.

TIP: I'm not fond of pellets because if you follow directions and transplant them straight into the ground, the roots never break through--and that casing is forever around a root bound plant. We now cut them and totally remove the fabric with a scissors when we transplant into large cups. Usually when the plants are 2-4" high.


Here is our East window. Which gets about 2 hours of sun in the morning--but this increases every day. Eventually we will fill the top of the credenza with more plants and some shelves. 


Yellow Jubilee Tomatoes left and Red Cherry Large.  Then we did a container of broccoli to the right.


It will be another long month before we can plant the different types of squash, chard, and some summer squash, zucchini, pumpkins, and pickles. I'll directly plant lettuces, and onions in planters on the front porch as soon as it begins to warm up in April. Sunflowers will begin in deep cups when we move out to the greenhouse.
You can see we buy seeds from everywhere! 
We have given up on the plastic small greenhouses---it is just too windy here. Last year we draped heavy plastic around two portable scaffolding units, added a couple of shelves and even a heater, as we had planted in the house so early.  

Our spring was so slow in coming, and it was so cold and wet---the new greenhouse just wasn't completed in time to use!

Observation Note: 
We moved here in 1984. The first few years we tilled the garden in March, and had cold plants in the ground (beets, carrots, cabbage, onions) the first weeks of April. 
 The last four years---we have been lucky if we haven't hard-frosted after June 1. I lost all my pumpkin, sunflower, and zucchini mounds to frost that went deep enough they didn't make it up. We had planted the week of the 20th May.

How much has your planting schedule been effected by our changing climate? 


We keep the pellets/pods covered 
until the seedlings, push them off, LOL. 
Hubby checks the moisture each day, and a small amount of water is added when needed.


Crazy, but in one week, broccoli was up! Actually they came up Sunday morning! Cruciferous veggies, like cold temps so the East window should be fine for them.


It's hard to imagine all our vegetables coming from seeds. Any extra plants we have get passed on to family and friends. But it isn't just about vegetables, is it? It was too wet here for large onions, 
so I had to purchase those to make pickle relish! But we had a huge crop of pickles last year.

We plant more than one type of everything. Each variety wants different conditions, so something should be successful.



Soon, I will  start coleus again, only much earlier than last year. I will do a whole tray of these directly into a pan of soil. Then they will be transplanted into large cups, later. 


This is what they grew to, last year, before I found homes for all of them. The tiny pink pots were Icelandic poppies, that really did much. I will see if they managed to survive over the winter, but with the freezing and thawing, I don't have a lot of hope.


2019 Homegrown Coleus, and Hostas (left) started from a package of roots. ($5.97 for 12 starts and they were slow, but if they made the winter, it will be a great savings). I also start Caladiums. Our entire backyard is shady so having those plants really helps the budget.

I also plant trays of marigolds---which go very well with our gold/burgundy home. Besides the BEES love marigolds and they are hearty and last far into the Fall. 



These are my 10-12" high marigolds that spread two feet wide and almost two feet high You are looking at no more than 3 homegrown seed plants. These I will plant in trays of dirt the beginning of April, and they will be ready to transplant into the ground in late May, early June.


2019-Here are transplanted plants in the NEW greenhouse! We really didn't finish the greenhouse early enough to use except at the tail end of 2019 Spring. We will try and move plants out there by April 1st this year, with a quartz heater on in the evenings and a temperature gauge we can watch from inside. 


It's not unusual for a 45 degree day to send the greenhouse to 80-90 degrees or more. We added a  fan and vents in the peaks, screened windows and door, for adjusting the temperature. We will see how it goes, before moving the plants in. Hubby worked very hard wedging all sorts of insulating foam in all the crevices last Fall, we hope it will be tight and work for our Spring season!





I think we will have to go to the Botanic Gardens next week to smell warm earth!!!

What are your gardening plans? 
Are you going to try anything NEW this YEAR?



Thank you for any and all comments.
Finally I am able to reply to comments by using Chrome. So all you Mac users who have upgraded to Catalina---this might help the glitches on Safari Blogger!

 Please do not use photos without linking back to this blog without my permission. I am not reimbursed or given product for any of my opinions, or for use of a product in this blog. 

Thank you for your cooperation, 
Sandi 



24 comments:

  1. Hi Sandi,
    That green house is awsome. You guys are so great to be starting your garden now. I hope we see any early Spring and a great summer. Ohhhhh I cannot wait. We have had mild temps and below normal snow which is great but I hate the long periods of no sunshine. That is what gets to me.
    Have a great start to the new week.
    Hugs,
    Kris

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kris...we are hoping the greenhouse is really functional. We have the temperature gauge coming and then we will see the temperature inside our house. Yes, the no sun---is a bummer! But the light woke me up at 6:15 today---so it won't be long now! Smiles!

      Delete
  2. Talking about visiting the Botanical Gardens next week, why I believe you have better than the Botanical Gardens in all your little pots. I am amazed as to the variety and amount of little seeds that are waiting to be planted out. You have a good head start for Spring. Your greenhouse is amazing. When you said "it's not all about the veggies".....I smiled because as you know, down here it is all about the flowers. Gosh, I am impressed with your bounty of veggies each year. Oh, before I forget, I love the sweet little girl and boy near your pond. Such a perfect spot to sit and while away many a moment. I have so enjoyed reading this post. So much information and joy sprinkled here and there...thank you, Sandi!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Kim, Your blog is a joy with all the flowers, and gorgeous vintage linens you incorporate in your work. I have bins and bins of lace and fabrics, yet I never manage to sew. I hope to have more flowers this year. But, I love in our winter I get to see all your flowers from, down under! Oh, and we mix the flowers and veggies together, some are very happy about it. Thanks so much for your visit and comments! And, we have a few happy frogs that enjoy our pond each year, I always wonder if they are new---or the same ones. Last year they were very small, we will see....!

      Delete
  3. I love the first photo with those adorable figurines and lot of snow!However,not exactly what you want for your garden!I also love the green house,the coleus( my Mom has lot of them in her garden) and the veggies which remind me your delicious recipes in previous posts...Here is Summer...Much rain and very hot.It isn't good for the plants and gardens too. Neither for anyone...People lost their houses,cars,streets,sometimes their lives...God bless!Sorry for my English and bad news.Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Maristella. I know the European weather has been messed up for the last few years. So sorry to hear it is so bad. A friend in England had a huge tree blow over on her car this week. Crazy weather. I hope you and your family are safe! Thanks for your visit! I hope the weather calms down!

      Delete
  4. It's so nice to see seeds germinating. It's still too early here. We have a lot of snow. You have a nice selection of vegetables, and a lovely greenhouse. Thanks for the inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Thelma. We are courageous in starting early. Some years our kitchen looks like a greenhouse. Years ago we used lights---and had huge shelving units up---I will post as this progresses. Hopefully the greenhouse will be really functional. Thanks for your visit! I so enjoy all your posts! Sandi

      Delete
  5. Spotted you on a mutual blog friends blog and thought I stop over for a visit. Looks like you've been very busy with all those plant starts. It's been years since I've tried to start anything indoors, just never had good luck with it. Did better to just buy the plants when it was warm enough to plant. Then I gave up on doing a veggie garden period. Seemed right when everything started coming we were always traveling so it got wasted. Good luck with your green house, think having one would be fun. Swing by for a visit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Sandy. Thanks for stopping by. We have always had a garden, even when we first moved to Illinois from Wisconsin, we had a community plot. Our kids grew up eating beans off the plant, pulling up carrots, and being amazed at 12 foot sunflowers. We will be able to travel as my son will park his family here for a week or two---and enjoy the countryside of living, and we have a boat on a little lake two blocks away for fishing. I will have to peruse your Appalachian trail posts...as that is on our bucket list. Just a few small pieces of it, lol. Thanks for coming!

      Delete
  6. Wow, Sandi, you are so ambitious. What a wonderful garden you will have when you set out all your plants. I wish we did have some snow now to hide all the dry and dead stuff that always looks so ugly this time of year. It is hard to believe that it all comes back so beautifully..xxoJudy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, it's below 0...now and maybe we should have waited...grins, thanks for stopping by! Sandi

      Delete
  7. What a pretty greenhouse! My husband helped our daughter-in-law build one at our old house this fall but hers is used mostly to overwinter tall potted plants right now. I am amazed by all the plants you start from seed! You must really appreciate them even more than if you'd just bought the plants. Those nice big sunny windows are perfect for seed starting. How is your knee feeling now?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Dewena, thanks so much fo your visit...I might have emailed you a reply---my knee is coming along. I've always said I bought windows...not a house, as every room has a super large window! Thanks again! PS, everything budded and is up now!!!

      Delete
  8. I'm using Chrome too now and it has sure made a difference! WHEW! Love seeing all your tiny plants coming up. It's fun to check on their progress every day. We don't garden any more but we work in our flower beds some. I snipped some roses to put in a vase yesterday. We have flowers year round here in Florida which is nice. Happy Valentine's day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it amazing we can comment without jumping from hoops, now. Thanks, for your visit! Sandi

      Delete
  9. Hi Sandi, such an informative garden post. The green house is awesome and I admire all of your hard work in planting seed indoors. Coleus is one of my favorites. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. May God cause your gardening efforts to be very fruitful.
    Is coleus a pretty plant or an eating plant?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laura---Coleus is an annual and not edible. But, they flourish in shade and are a low maintenance plant with lots of color variations. My favorites are the burgundy and also a briliant lime green! They also can be propagated through cuttings, just place a stem in water and in couple of weeks, you have a plant growing. Thanks for your visit!

      Delete
  11. I so admire all your gardening efforts! I plant a couple things but could never be called a gardener. I love to see a garden grow and change everyday though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jacqueline. My mom wasn't a gardener, but she planted flowers anyway, then let me do it...which was way better than ironing...LOL. Sandi

      Delete
  12. I'm so impressed! I never had much luck growing things from seed. The seeds germinate, but then always rot at the base. I love your greenhouse. It's so cute!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Amy. There is a very fine balance of wet/dry---you are better off sprinkling water or misting with a sprayer if you have high humidity. We also keep our ceiling fan on which circulates the air, which makes the stems stronger and discourages mold/rot. Thanks for stopping by, Sandi

      Delete

Thank you for any and all comments. I will be happy to answer any questions or comments in replies or email! HUGS!