May 212013
 

file9121307018171We have had a late Spring here, which means that some activities that should have been done last month are finding themselves being done now.  One of these activities is collecting seeds to be used next year or to share with others.

The picture above is of a poppy.  The previous owners planted this beautiful flower, which was a surprise to me the first year.  I have come to love seeing the brightly colored poppies every spring.  At first I knew nothing about poppy flowers but decided it was time to learn, especially after a few years when they seemed to decline in numbers.

One of the things I learned was that these flowers are self seeding.  This means that the seeds they drop this year are what creates next year’s flowers.  Last year I missed collecting seeds, so I have made a point to do just that this year.  The middle of the poppy, the black part, is actually a bunch of seeds around a seed head.  Collecting these seeds is pretty easy, just make sure the wind isn’t blowing too hard or else they will all blow out of your hand.

While reading a book on collecting seeds, I was directed to use paper bags or other breathable material so seeds don’t mold.  Makes sense.   Seeds have moisture and when moist things are wrapped in plastic bad things tend to happen.  When I first gathered poppy flower seeds this year I put them in a plastic sandwich bag, left unzipped, on the kitchen counter.  My intent was to add some more seeds relatively quickly, place them in a paper envelope and wait for next winter to plant them.  Yes, I was tempting fate.  When I gathered more yesterday and picked up the bag to add them I saw that it was almost too late – the moisture from the seeds was already creating the beginning stages of mold on a group of seeds.  Since it wasn’t too bad, I decided to keep what I had gathered previously, transfer them to a paper envelope and add the new seeds.  My hope is that the extra air circulation and the dry conditions of the paper will dry out any moisture/mold on the seeds.

I made sure to label the envelope with the seeds that were inside, the date and where I gathered them from.

While learning about how to propagate poppy seeds I also came across a recommendation for easy sowing – spread them over the snow in winter.  What happens then is the snow melts and the seeds come into direct contact with the soil.  This is an important steps for them to sprout in the Spring when the weather is at the right conditions.

I love having flowers in the garden.  I really love it when having flowers in the garden is so easy.  Why make such fun work harder than it needs to be?

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May 032012
 

The previous owners of our house planted some wonderful flowers and plants around the yard.  It is unfortunate, then, that they did not leave us information as to what they planted where and how they took care of it. This meant that we “discovered” many suprises when Spring came that first year.

One of the wonderful surprises we had was in a small flower bed beside the shed.  At first I thought it was a weed, but not one found in the rest of the yard, so I left it alone.  Soon thereafter the bed was filled with orange poppies.  I had never actually seen these in a garden before, only in pictures.  Well, they lived up to those pictures.  They were gorgeous.  The second year, there were a fewer.  Every year there after there were fewer and fewer.  I had no idea why.  They also started to appear in the grass just outside the flower bed.  My guess was that I had disturbed them withing the bed, so they were no longer growing there but had spread via roots or bulbs into the grass.  Oh how wrong I was.

I came across this post on the Mr. Brown Thumb blog.  My hope has been renewed in these flowers.  If it is as easy as this Mr. Brown Thumb states, then I hope to have a full bed of poppies next year.  Even perhaps spreading them to a larger bed in my front yard.  I love easy flowers.

When the flowers ripen at the appropriate time this year, I will be saving as many seeds as possible.  Too bad I did not know this before, or else I would be sowing the seeds now.  It seems that one of the easiest ways to propigate these is to spread the seeds on top of the snow.  When the snow melts, they will come in contact with the soil as soon as possible.  This would allow them to reach that soil without weeds and bird interfering.

Update: I wrote this post some time back, planning to publish it at that time.  However, for some unremembered reason, I didn’t.  When I saw my flowers blooming this week, I remembered what I had planned to do and came to find this post.  I hope others will find it useful as well.

Apr 092012
 

Previous Goals:

Gardening:

  1. Start some seeds given by a local gardener.  Try to divide them out into similar seeds (they were given all mixed up in a baggie.)
  2. Start cucumber seeds
  3. Purchase tray and lids to place newly started seeds and pellets in.  (This will help with the wasted space by randomly shaped or round containers.)
  4. Mix up dirt and compost in my garden.  (My compost did not get hot enough, so after I added it to the garden little pumpkin or squash plants appeared.  I think I have found a home for them, but it is unknown as to what will actually appear from these plants as I couldn’t tell you exactly what they came from or crossed with previously.  Don’t you just love surprises?  Anyway, these will need to be relocated before said mixing of soil and compost.)
  5. Start some lettuce seeds.

Home:

  1. Finish all of Zone 1 work
  2. Finish making the scones/biscotti for the upcoming bridal shower

Personal:

  1. Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night (ongoing)
  2. Do my daily Bible reading at least 5 days this week (ongoing)

Blog:

  1. 2 posts beyond my weekly goals (ongoing)

Well, let’s just say I didn’t do so well last week.  I seem to be saying that a lot lately.  Makes me wonder if I am setting too many goals,  if my goals are too high, or if I’m just not being motivated to do what I need to. Perhaps it is a bit of that last one with a little bit of “setting the wrong goals” mixed in.

So with a few days of Spring Break at the beginning of the week, a bridal shower at the end and another commitment immediately after the bridal shower ends, I feel like this week is a bit compressed.  Being as this week is a bit odd I think I am going to try something different with my goals’ list. I am going to do it by days rather than by areas of my life.

I’m also glad this is an easy zone this week. We just don’t have a lot of things in our living room, so that makes it easy.

New Goals:

Monday – 15 min zone work, make Cranberry-Orange Scones and Heavenly Scones, go to the park

Tuesday– 15 min zone work, make Raisin Scones and Almond Biscotti, shop for bridal shower gift and birthday gifts, get updated insurance quotes

Wednesday – 15 min zone work, make spreads for sandwiches, grocery shop

Thursday – 15 min zone work, prepare for additional commitment

Friday – 15 min zone work, finish whatever needs to be done around the house before the weekend, gather items for bridal shower, move seedlings to kitchen counter for natural sunlight

Daily – quiet time and shower, load of laundry

This list acatually makes me feel more at ease as I can see that it is all doable.

Garden update:

My seedlings are growing great.  They are doing so much better than I thought.  Not sure what I have done differently this year but it seems to be working.

I always worry about my tomato seedlings being too leggy, but then remind myself that I can always bury them further in the ground.  They are one of the few plants that I always do this practice with and which I recommend others do also.  The tomato will grow roots from the stem, so this provides a potentially larger root system for the plant.   Just to make clear, this is not meant to say that you bury the whole plant.  That would kill it.  You just lay down part of it, leaving the majority of the leaves above the ground.  Let me know if you are wanting something more specific.

Apr 012012
 

This past week was definitely not one of my best weeks in getting goals done.  I think I enjoyed the lack of chaos on our calendar too much.  Good thing I get to try again this week.

Previous Goals:

Gardening:

  1. Start some seeds given by a local gardener.  Try to divide them out into similar seeds (they were given all mixed up in a baggie.)
  2. Start cucumber seeds

Home:

  1. Laundry, one load a day
  2. Finish all of Zone 5 work – I did more than I had previously completed, but didn’t finish it all.  Clutter is not an issue in this zone, so it is definitely presentable.  I didn’t get to the windows or cleaning the ceiling fan.  Oh, and dust moping under the TV cabinet.  Otherwise, it was all done.  Those are not major items on the to-do list.

Personal:

  1. Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night – this didn’t happen every night.  Okay not most nights, though Saturday night I got about 9 hours and it felt great!
  2. Do my daily Bible reading at least 5 days this week

Blog:

  1. 2 posts beyond my weekly goals (ongoing) – I got on the ball with this one.  Once I stop being a SHE and focus, even for just 15 minutes, it is amazing how much gets done.


New Goals:

Gardening:

  1. Start some seeds given by a local gardener.  Try to divide them out into similar seeds (they were given all mixed up in a baggie.)
  2. Start cucumber seeds
  3. Purchase tray and lids to place newly started seeds and pellets in.  (This will help with the wasted space by randomly shaped or round containers.)
  4. Mix up dirt and compost in my garden.  (My compost did not get hot enough, so after I added it to the garden little pumpkin or squash plants appeared.  I think I have found a home for them, but it is unknown as to what will actually appear from these plants as I couldn’t tell you exactly what they came from or crossed with previously.  Don’t you just love surprises?  Anyway, these will need to be relocated before said mixing of soil and compost.)
  5. Start some lettuce seeds.

Home:

  1. Finish all of Zone 1 work
  2. Finish making the scones/biscotti for the upcoming bridal shower

Personal:

  1. Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night (ongoing)
  2. Do my daily Bible reading at least 5 days this week (ongoing)

Blog:

  1. 2 posts beyond my weekly goals (ongoing)