May 19, 2017

A Tour of My Backyard Nursery

If you have read my blog for any length of time you know that I have a little seasonal backyard nursery (Mimi's Greenhouse). It is open on Friday's and Saturday's for about 6 weeks in the spring. I sell herbs, flowers, small shrubs and trees as well as vegetable plants for your veggie garden.  I thought it would be fun to post a little picture tour of that space. When the gate is closed there is no clue that there is a little business in my backyard. For more about my little nursery visit Mimi's Greenhouse.

the gate to my backyard nursery 

Some of the plants for sale and the greenhouses

Just inside the gate & view of our art studio
path to the shrubs for sale

A place to sit and enjoy the plants

view of sale from the lower garden

May 12, 2017

Great Gardening Advice

Sometimes I stumble upon some really good gardening blogs and websites. This one actually found me but I do want to share the link with you all.

Kevin the author of Epic Gardening. I especially liked this post about Christmas Cactus. You all know I grow and sell Christmas and Easter Cactus at my plant sales each year. Here is Kevin's advice on Christmas Cactus.

Here is my favorite Easter Cactus "Gemini" It blooms in mid-April.

May 5, 2017

Gardening with Seeds and Transplants

Tomato Seedlings
I get some great advice in my email box. This one came from True Leaf Market. It's about starting seeds, when and how to transplant them too. Check out the links for some cool products and advice. No, I don't have any connection with them whatsoever!

May: Easy-Going Transplanting & Sowing

Now is the time of year that folks are sowing seeds outdoors and transplanting indoor plant starts. Many beginner or inexperienced gardeners would like a clear-cut date and time that is best to sow and transplant. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work like that. But no worries—you don’t have to break your brain trying to be the “perfect” gardener. Just understanding a few basics and taking it easy will keep gardening an easy-going and fun practice that will pay off!
  1. Knowing the estimated frost date and being aware of the weather patterns of your area will help you know when the weather conditions are right for planting. Keep in mind the frost date is an estimate based on historic averages and not intended to be a firm date. A general rule of thumb is to wait until nighttime temperatures are at or above 50° F for two weeks. Then it’s good time to start your sowing and transplanting. Keep in mind to TAKE YOUR TIME; you don’t have to plant everything in one day. It’s even recommended that you plant sporadically over the course of a few weeks. In addition to spacing out your harvests, spacing out your planting increases your odds of growing successful crops or minimizing your losses—depending on if you are a glass half full or half empty kind of person!

  2. Soil should be light and fluffy, still holding moisture but not wet and clumpy. Checking your soil moisture is actually a fun activity. Roll your soil into a ball and drop it on the ground. If the ball crumbles evenly, your soil is ready. If it breaks into clumps or in halves, your soil is still too wet. Kids tend to like doing this, and they learn something while doing it. Tilling wet soil can disrupt the soil structure so wait until soil passes the ball test.

  3. Garden vegetables like Eggplants, Tomatoes, and Peppers are almost always sown indoors and are transplanted after the “hardening off” period, whereas Cucumbers and Summer Squash are generally sown outdoors. “Hardening off” is the period of time when you slowly introduce your plants to the outside elements. It should last roughly two weeks. Start in the shade and move into the sun. Keep your soil moist but not soaking while “hardening off”, and saturate soil immediately after planting. Transplant in the morning or on an overcast day as to not shock the plant with too much sun and heat.
If you think you may have planted too early or if the weather in your area is becoming unruly, try using plant protectors to ensure plant survival. It acts like a mini greenhouse, protecting your transplant or early-sown seed against the unpredictable cold nights.
Check out more from True Leaf Market here.

April 28, 2017

My favorite Ferns

Kimberly Fern
Boston Fern
Annual ferns are happy in the house or outside in the summer. I've seen Boston ferns get huge if they are happy inside. A sunny window and some misting is about all it takes to keep them growing.The wrens invariably build a nest in at least one of the Boston ferns that I hang on the front porch. We enjoy watching the babies hatch and hop all around the porch. They don't harm the ferns either.  Another "house" fern is the Kimberly Fern. This one grows tall, not "weepy" like the Boston. It's one of America's favorite porch plants. Be prepared for a big container with this one or divide it yearly to keep it happy.

Living in the woods has some advantages. I can have all the ferns I want without worrying that they might get too much sun. Below are a couple of my favorites.

Two of the ones that are native to Tennessee and have come up volunteer in my backyard are Christmas fern and Cinnamon fern. Christmas ferns look a lot like the Boston ferns that are houseplants but Christmas ferns will not be happy in the house. They need the cold winter and the humidity outside to thrive. Cinnamon ferns  are the ones that unfurl in the spring and grow tall  fronds that will turn orange in the fall if they get a little sun.

I don't fuss over any of my ferns. I apply a 14-14-14 timed release fertilizer in the spring, water when they are dry and pretty much forget them after that.

Cinnamon Fern fall color

Cinnamon Fern in spring