Thurs. March 10, 2022: Watching Seedlings Grow

imaage courtesy of Jesus Leal via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Gemini

Celtic Tree Month of Ash

Sunny and snowy

They told us we’d have 2-3 inches of accumulation yesterday, but it snowed all day, and I think it’s between 6 and 8 inches. I have some shoveling to do in the parking lot to get my car out!

The little seedlings are doing well. When the sun warms the front porch enough, I bring out the seedlings for a few hours in the afternoon, and then take them back in when the sun angle changes.

Last Sunday, I planted the Black-Eyed Susan vine and the lemon balm. They should sprout by the end of the month.

I ordered tansy seeds from one company, and mallow and sweet peas from another. The tansy seeds should be here Saturday, so maybe I’ll plant them this weekend. I want a pot of tansy in for the front porch and one for the back balcony, to keep away pests.

I bought some more pots. I have to get the lighter ones, because I don’t want too much weight on the porch or the balcony. I could have the large, ceramic planters on Cape because they were on the deck, and that was sturdy enough to hold the weight. The porch and balcony can probably take a good deal of weight here, but I don’t want to push my luck.

I have to get some more potting soil, too, which I will pick up tomorrow. I want to get the tomatoes and the cucumbers started. I’m going to seed them directly, rather than do starter pots and then replant.

I will need to replant the lemon that I grew from organic seed into a bigger pot. It’s doing well. I have some organic pear and clementine saved seeds that I want to try.

It feels weird to focus on planting when there’s still so much snow happening, but it’s necessary. We probably can’t put anything out on the back balcony until late April or early May. The front porch, since it’s enclosed and south-facing, will be able to hold plants earlier, as long as the nights don’t get too cold.

I miss my lilacs terribly. I’ll probably spend way too much money this spring buying cut lilacs.

The cat grass grew like crazy. Willa and Charlotte love it, and have almost chomped down the first pot. I’ll order more seeds, and probably grow two pots to alternate, so they always have some cat grass. Tessa thinks it’s awful, and won’t go near it.

The snow is pretty, but it was a heavy, wet snow that’s clinging to branches and power lines. It won’t be fun to shovel. But it will all get done.

The birds are very busy, and they’re negotiating who lives in which bird house and nest out back (there were two bird houses and one covered platform with a nest up on the back balcony when we moved here). The cats love to sit on the chairs in the kitchen near the window and watch the birds. I have a Sibley’s Audubon Guide to the birds I recently unpacked, and I bet we use that a lot this year.

How are things in your neck of the woods?

Thurs. March 3, 2022: Tiny Shoots

image courtesy of u_79qqozws via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Waxing Moon First Quarter in Pisces

Celtic Tree Month of Ash

Snowy and cold

It’s snowing, off and on, every few days, then changes to slush, then freezes over and snows some more again. We had about eight or ten inches of snow over last weekend, so there was shoveling involved.

The marine heliotrope seeds are growing steadily. Still tiny, thin shoots, but quite a few of them. The echinacea is slowly adding more shoots to its pot. These are sturdier and wider. The columbine has a few wispy shoots coming up.

This past week, on a planting day, I planted some cat grass. I’m going to see if the cats will go for it, and leave the maiden hair fern alone.

Some of the Christmas cacti are blooming again. And they’re dropping some stems, which means we’re rooting them. The geranium, which came from a cutting from the huge geraniums we gave our neighbors when we moved, is doing well, although I’ll probably buy a couple more this spring.

I miss my lilacs so much that it physically hurts.

I’m in the process of getting more pots and more earth, so I can stagger the starts of the rest of the seeds over the next few weeks. Some of them are seeds that don’t like to be moved, so I have to plant them in their permanent pot from the beginning. I don’t want to do that until we can put plants out on the screened-in porch in front. It will be a couple of months until we can put things out on the back balcony again.

How are your plants doing?

Thurs. Feb. 10, 2022: First Seed Packets

photo by Devon Ellington

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Gemini

No Retrogrades

Celtic Tree Month of Rowan

Snowy and cold

Yesterday, it was in the forties and slushy, on top of all the layers of ice. It was supposed to be the same today, but it snowed overnight. So that changes the schedule. Well, when we moved here, we were warned that we couldn’t expect to go anywhere from November 1 to the end of March!

The first of the seeds arrived, as you can see from the photo above.

I need to get the heliotrope into pots on the next planting day, which is Saturday. It’s supposed to be started 10-12 weeks before the last frost. And it can take up to a month to sprout.

I chose these particular cherry tomatoes because they can be grown in containers and/or hanging baskets, and I thought that would be fun. I’m not planting them until the end of the month.

The cucumbers are minis, just right to grow in pots on the deck and porch. They can’t be started until after the frosts are finished; I’m thinking the end of March.

I’m still waiting for my other seeds, and will see when/how to schedule planting them. I have a feeling I’ll need a few more pots.

I’m debating whether or not to order a night-blooming jasmine from Territorial Seed to put on the front, screened-in porch. I bet it will smell gorgeous at night.

The only vegetables I’m planning to grow from seed this year are the tomatoes and cucumbers listed above. I will buy some lettuce plants, rather than growing them from seed. I need to learn how the vegetables do in this location.

I have ordered seeds for flowers, and I will buy pots of herbs, so there will be variety. But the growing conditions are very different here than they were on Cape Cod, and I need to learn. It will be trial, and, no doubt, plenty of error!

I’m excited for the farmers’ markets to start up again. There’s one in walking distance.

Hope you’re having a good February. I usually get a bad case of the blues, the “Februaries” I call them, but I’m hoping the planting will assuage some of that.

See you next week!

Thurs. Jan. 13, 2022: Back to Seasonable Weather

image courtesy of Robert_C via pixabay.com

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Second Quarter Waxing Moon in Gemini

Uranus & Venus Retrograde

Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow

Celtic Tree Month of Birch

Cloudy and cold

We’re finally into seasonal weather here in the Berkshires, which means snowy and cold. With the windchill, this weekend, it’s supposed to go down to -31F. Reminds me of living in Chicago when I was a little, little kid! But the plants need it. They need rest time (if only people could rest, too).

We are snuggled down in the house; the thermostat is set a little lower than we had it in the Cape house, but it’s warmer (heat works better, insulation is better). We haven’t even needed the hot water bottles yet, although I suspect that will change this weekend.

The minimal errands I have to do are on foot. We are pretty well stocked up, although I try to get to the grocery store to replenish things like milk, eggs, butter.

I’m reading (and re-reading) books on container gardening, trying to figure out where I have the seeds packed, and what seeds I need to order.

We won’t grow many vegetables this year – maybe some small tomatoes and mini-cucumbers and some lettuce. The focus will be more on herbs, and maybe a few pollinator flowers. It’s very different here, so we need to see what does well, and how different types of plants do on the porch and balcony.

The planning and dreaming are fun, but, eventually, we will have to get down to practicalities.

What are your garden dreams for this year?

Thurs. Dec. 30, 2021: Birch, the Month of Regeneration & Creativity

image courtesy of Alain Audet via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Fourth Quarter Waning Moon in Scorpio

Uranus and Venus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Birch

Rainy and cold

It’s rainy and raw over here in the mountains. We had some light snow, intermittently, over the past few days. We had snow on Christmas Eve, which was quite lovely, but it switched over to freezing rain by Christmas Day, and everything washed away. Then, the other night, we had just a bit of overnight snow, which the rain has, again, washed away.

The seed catalogs are coming in. After the holidays, I will sit down with books like ALL YOU CAN EAT IN THREE SQUARE FEET to figure out what we can and want to grow next year. I never got to use the seeds I ordered last year, before the move. In fact, I can’t even find them, although I hope to uncover them as I finish the unpacking.

Planning next year’s garden is always fun. I can dream as wildly as I want, before getting more practical, in terms of space available. It will be very different this year, because we can’t do any in-ground planting.

I miss my lilac bushes terribly.

The Celtic Tree Month of Birch is about regeneration and creativity. I could use some of that!

Happy New Year! I wish you health, peace, abundance, and joy.

Thurs. Dec. 9, 2021: Just Enough Snow to Be Pretty

Small tree on the front porch. Photo by Devon Ellington.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

First Quarter Moon in Aquarius

Chiron and Uranus Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Elder

Snowy and cold

It snowed twice yesterday, once in the morning, then a break, then again in the evening and into the night. It wasn’t a lot of snow, either time, just two or three inches. It looks pretty, it needs to be brushed off the cars.

They’re good about plowing here. Unlike on Cape Cod, where it could be days before one saw a plow, and there were times when I could see the cleared street at the end of the block, but couldn’t actually get to it, the plows are out regularly. They’re strict about the “no parking on the street” regulations from November 1 to April 30, so that they can plow, and people actually respect it. With everyone working together, it works.

Because we are on the second floor, and have these magnificent windows, I love to sit or lie on the couch and watch the snow fall. It’s becoming one of my favorite mountain pastimes! And it’s wonderful to look out of either the front or back windows and see the mountains.

I love the way snow puts a quieting blanket on it all. Our neighborhood is reasonably quiet anyway, even with the college right here. For some reason, the clock isn’t chiming anymore, or right now. I don’t know if they turned it off because there was a film crew here, or for maintenance, or if it’s off for the winter. I miss it terribly. I loved keeping track of my day with it.

We have the small tree up on the porch, with the blue and silver ornaments. It’s the tree that used to be in my office. It’s got the painted shells and starfish and sand dollars that we accumulated and painted through the Cape years, and I also strung colored lights along the windows. It’s very pretty.

detail of small tree. Photo by Devon Ellington.

The stair bannisters are wrapped in lights and garlands, and look pretty, too.

This weekend, we put up the big tree. We finally decided to put it in the doorway between the living room and the sewing room, because I can tie it off to the door hinges for security.

It will be a big job. And there are still other decorations to unpack and put up. Since this space is new to us, there’s a lot of rearranging involved! But it’s fun.

After the holidays, I will have to sit down with the seed catalogs, and we will have to decide what we can, realistically, plant on the front porch and on the back balcony in containers. The garden will be very different this year, but it will exist.

What is it like where you live?

Thurs. April 8, 2021: A Hint of Spring

image courtesy of Capri23autho via pixabay.com

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Fourth Quarter Waning Moon in Pisces

Celtic Tree Month of Alder

Cloudy and mild

There are finally signs of spring. The potted forsythia in the garage is blooming, and I’ll move it out on the deck soon. But even the in-ground forsythia are shyly starting to show yellow buds.

I love forsythia. They’re such a cheerful plant, and to me, mean spring. It makes me feel cheerful and hopeful, something I desperately need right now.

I have some daffodils in vases – not ones from the house, ones I bought. They’re lovely.

The hyacinths I planted out front about eight years ago bloomed. Another spring favorite.

We had a smattering of snow into Saturday morning. Woke up with it on the roof and the roof of the deck. Barely saw it on the ground; if I hadn’t looked out of the window early enough, I wouldn’t have seen it.

The bunnies survived the winter, living under the deck. We saw them last night, coming out for their supper. We love our bunnies. We’ve lost so much wildlife in the neighborhood, due to people cutting down their trees and overbuilding. Fewer birds, too, although a fresh robin watched me pull out of the driveway yesterday, and I can hear the mourning doves when I wake up.

We still don’t know where we will move, and I haven’t done any planting. I will be so sad if I don’t have any garden this year. The stress of not knowing where we will end up is taking a bad toll.

But I am trying to enjoy each moment still here, and I’m trying to stay optimistic that we will end up in the right place.

Thurs. March 18, 2021: Celtic Tree Month of Alder Begins

image courtesy of Petra Geistler via pixabay,com

Thursday, March 18, 2021

First Quarter Waxing Moon in Taurus

Celtic Tree Month of Alder Begins

Windy and cloudy

Alder is about release and determination. It’s a good time for hopes and dreams. Time to sow the seeds of success.

I could use that right now.

Nothing to report on the garden front. The weather’s been wacky. We’re supposed to get another snowstorm tonight. Lots of winds until tomorrow.

No planting; just taking care of the houseplants we have.

I have to start cleaning out and packing our pots soon. That will be a big task. But I’m going to wait until it’s a little warmer.

How’s your garden doing?

Thurs. Feb. 11, 2021: Real Winter Weather

image courtesy of moonzigg via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 11, 2021

New Moon in Aquarius

Mercury Retrograde

Celtic Tree Month of Rowan

Snowy and cold

I’m grateful that we have a good, solid cold snap. It will benefit the yard.

It was frustrating to try to dig out, because the plow pushed ice boulders into the bottom of my driveway that then froze down. And the Dig Safe guy showed up to mark the lines during the storm, and spray paint info on the snow. Does he not realize that it must melt before any digging can happen?

Not my problem.

I still haven’t planted either the strawberries or poppies. Tomorrow’s another planting day, and it’s waxing moon, which is good for planting that which will be above ground. So maybe I can make up for it tomorrow.

We’re having some more flurries this morning, and possibly another storm over the weekend. That’s what winter’s for, right?

I have every intention of enjoying as much of it as I can!

What’s new in your garden?

Thurs. Dec. 10, 2020: The Increase In Grime & Pollution

Image courtesy of azyrit via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 10, 2020

4th Quarter Moon in Libra

Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Before last weekend’s storm, we cleared most of the remaining post off the deck – the pansies were still blooming, can you believe it? They’ve bloomed since May.  For the moment, we left the hanging pots, but put everything else in the garage. They’re organized into the section nearest the light for the plants overwintering that need to be watered every week or two, and the pots that are just stacked.

The decorations were cleaned and put away; most of the furniture was cleaned and put away. The big bench is still out – it will have to come up in a week or two. And the big, round table stays out all winter.

We got it done before the storm started, and it was a relief. Less to worry about.

What was disturbing was how absolutely filthy all the pieces were. Usually, once we clean off the pine pollan, there’s a little dust over the course of the summer, a smidge of dirt, but we wipe things down and it’s fine.

This year, we had to scrub. There were layers of genuine grime.

All those leaf blowers, running daily for hours and hours. All that tree cutting. All that heavy machinery the new shady neighbors run late at night after deliveries from unmarked trucks – they’re adding to pollution.

The branches used to have a lot of lichen – which indicates good air quality. No more. We even had warnings about poor air quality over the summer.

With all the construction – or, I should say DE-struction, tree cutting, pollution – our wildlife population has seriously declined. We don’t have as many squirrels. The owl hasn’t lived here for years. I don’t see Che Guevara Chipmunk and his family that often. There are no racoons, deer, skunk, coyotes. If you’ve followed my stories here and on Ink in My Coffee since we moved here, my yard was like something out of a Disney cartoon with all the wildlife, because I have the organic yard in the neighborhood.

Gone.

Even with all the pollinators I planted this year, we had very few bees. Plenty of wasps, but few bees.

I’m so disappointed. I mean, I’m disappointed in my fellow humans anyway this year, because too many of them are Covidiots, and too selfish to do something as simple as wear a mask. But the destruction of habitat is appalling.

Earthwhile reports the decline of water quality around Cape Cod. I’m sure. We’ve had numerous alerts of contaminants all year, and have had to boil water. When we moved here, this area was proud of high quality, and we didn’t even put on the Brita filter on the taps.

The Cape and Islands were earning low marks for air quality as far back as 2012, according to this article, but it’s grown exponentially worse in the last three years or so, in my personal experience.

And no one gives a damn. Oh, there are plenty who talk a good game, but when it comes to action, they allow new construction and plenty of destruction of habitat in order to turn a profit.

I have grown disappointed and disillusioned with this area. The people here would rather destroy it to make $5 today than look long term for the good of life for everyone. But then, they demonstrate that character trait daily be refusing to wear masks. It should not be a surprise at all.

It’s been bothering me for years, but this year, seeing the evidence as I put away the furniture for the season, was just crushing.

On a happier note, we’ve had two slight brushings of snow, just enough to look like someone dumped a little powdered sugar on us, not enough to shovel. Since I have surgery tomorrow, I won’t be in any shape to shovel for the next stretch.

The tree is up, and most of the decorations in the living room and the back room. I still have to decorate my office, but that won’t happen until after tomorrow’s surgery.

Solstice is coming up, a week from Monday. I’m ready to increase the light in my life, aren’t you?

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