Gardening

I was born to have dirt under my fingernails and my bare feet on the ground. It is what makes me happy. Living in the city on one third of an acre had not been conducive to farming but in the summer of 2010 I decided to start a couple of rows of veggies on my front lawn. The results were amazing and the produce so delicious that in 2011, I added three more rows and planted around my mailbox and lamppost. No tiller…no digging…delicious food??? Sign me up!

Seed – Starting Chart

Seed – Starting Chart

Download Organic Gardening’s Seed-Starting Plan for a great tool to guide you on when to start your plants inside and when it is safe to transplant them outside!

 

Thank you, Organic Gardening, for this helpful gardening tool!

 

February’s Best Days in the Garden (2013)

February’s Best Days in the Garden (2013)

Gardening by the signs has always proven to be beneficial for our family.  I would imagine my grandfather mastered the Blum’s Farmer’s and Planter’s Almanac (located and published in Winston-Salem, NC) and all it had to offer.  Me?  Well…I am still learning but would not dream of gardening without it.

As promised here is what Mr. Almanac, as I fondly refer to ‘him’, says about gardening and the month of February:

  • Plant above ground crops:  12, 13, 16-18, 21, 22
  • Plant root crops:  1-4, 7, 8, 27, 28
  • Plant flowers:  1, 21, 22, 27, 28
  • Transplant:  2, 3, 4
  • Prune:  To encourage growth:  2, 3, 4  To discourage growth:  10, 11, 14, 15
  • Apply organic fertilizer:  2, 3, 4
  • Destroy weeds:  9, 25, 26
  • Harvest crops:  5, 6, 9

Mr. Almanac also forecasts the weather for the month of February and it looks like this current weather pattern of wind and wet will continue throughout much of February for the Atlantic Coast so batten down the hatches.IMG_3190

I am thinking I will be doing a lot inside this month…planning….crocheting scarves and toboggans…cooking…cleaning out…and praying for SPRING and warmer days so I can get outside and get some dirt under these fingernails!  Yep, I am just that weird…I think they call it being a ‘tomboy’ in the south~ 😉  But, hey, I can dress up with the best of ’em…it just isn’t my preference!

 

February Garden Plans in the Piedmont

February Garden Plans in the Piedmont

 Always wanted to try your hand growing a ‘crazy good’ vegetable garden?Edible Landscape 8 1 2011It is easier than you think and February is the time to start your plans and preparations here in the Piedmont.  Let me help you get started~

  • Prepare your beds for late February and early March planting, as well as spring planting.  Don’t freak…there is no need to do extra work like tilling, weeding or removing layers of grass.  If this is your first year trying “Tess’ Till-less Method” here are the instructions.
  • Plan where you will put your beds and what you will grow in them.  This post might help with that.
  • Take inventory of last years seeds and make a list of what you will need for spring/summer.
  • Prune fruit trees and bushes when temperatures are above freezing.
  • Start seeds indoors.  Aerogarden with Cilantro and Dill 4 2011I use an Aerogarden as my starter; however, you can certainly use a starting tray and seed starting potting mix.  A lid will help keep humidity in and the seeds moist when they sprout.  Spinach, cabbage, kale, lettuce,  broccoli and cauliflower all grow well when started as transplants inside.  When you see the first crocus open, consider it time to set out transplants of lettuce, cabbages, and onions; cover them on cold nights.
  • I also start my basil, parsley and other herbs indoors at this time as well.  My sweet marjoram, oregano and thyme are all planted in the ground on my front lawn and come back every year.  The rosemary flourishes all year long, as does bay leaf (thus far anyhow – see the rosemary in the lefthand corner of the picture below – swiss chard doesn’t look so hot 😉 but, believe it or not, that is from LAST WINTER so it certainly performed well – bless it’s heart).IMG_3194
  • This is the time to start your annual flower seeds like petunias, marigolds and zinnias inside.
  • Later on in the month, start warm-season veggies such as tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, squash and peppers indoors.
  • In late February or when daffodils ‘pop’, plant peas directly in the garden.  So yummy and super simple to grow!  You may want to cover with clear plastic until you see sprouts popping through the ground.  Use a trellis so they will have a structure to grow up immediately.  This allows for a bigger yield.
  • You can also plant radishes and cold hardy lettuces directly in the garden at this time.
  • Clean up!  This means cutting back ornamental grasses like lirope, raking up debris and composting when possible.
  • Check out and sharpen/repair your garden tools so you will be ready to ‘go’ on those warm, sunny days in the coming months.
  • Clean our your tool shed and make a list of what you will need for the coming growing season.  Do you need twine?  plant labels?  watering wand?  gardening gloves?  hat?

One more helpful tip…work your garden according to the signs.  This means that I use an almanac to plant, to prune and to harvest.  Watch for a post this weekend on when the ‘signs’ tell you to do these things during the month of February!  May sound weird but my grandfather gardened this way and, believe me, it makes a difference!!!

And there you have it!  Your February ‘To-Do’ list!!!  Now all you need is the desire to feed your family foods that you KNOW is as organic as it can be and a desire to get your hands in the dirt!  It does not take much space at all and  you can make it visually attractive by adding annuals, bird-feeders  bird-baths, pavers.

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Worked in among my ‘regular’ landscape are tomato plants, rosemary, basil and asparagus.  It is beautiful…so much so that my neighbors are on board and are planning their Tess’ Till-less Edibles on their front lawn this year as well!  It really is contagious – especially after you share some of your fresh, organic bounty with them!!!

Happy Planning and PLANTING everyone!!!