Italian Seeds

Spring has sprung, folks! I'm looking forward to tilling up my garden and mapping out a new bed of spring yummies! I missed the cool spring season last year because I created my garden in May. Here, I have a few seed packets that I purchased in Italy several years ago. Not knowing if the seeds are too old to germinate, I thought I'd give them a trial run.

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I scattered a pinch of each lettuce variety onto a wet paper towel. I then rolled up the individual paper towels and placed them in a ziploc bag near a sunny window (not direct sunlight). If the seeds don't germinate within a few days - or only a few have sprouted by next week - chances are the seeds are no good.

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As much as I would love to have my Italian varieties in full bloom this spring, I do have a backup plan just in case.

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I'm looking forward to getting out in the dirt, once again, to start a new menu of spring offerings!

No. 5 & 6

A little has come a long way! My rosemary bush is looking heartier than ever! Too bad it won't last through the winter though, here, in Missouri. My little Greek Oregano is short and stout. Was hoping this little fella could have bulked up more than it has. Ironically, I planted a small bunch in a container and it has grown like nobody's business! I get it now. The soil I used in the pot was some leftover Miracle-Grow from last year. I'm not sure I'll be eating that oregano anytime soon. It's beautiful, but I think it's on steroids. 55pic

No. 2 Tickseed

Meet the little Tickseed. This guy gets all the attention right now in my garden. That's because he's bright and sunny and catches your eye as you look across the cool colors in the flower beds. I suppose the Rhododendron is the granddaddy at the moment, but his time is limited. Love the Tickseed! These guys should stick around all summer and provide instant color in my garden! Will post more pictures of their progress as the spring rolls into the feverish summer! Tickseed2 Tickseed2

No.1 Rhododendron

1 Rhododendron1 Here is my first garden journal entry - the Rhododendron. This is a new shrub for me to nurture. I love it's oversized blooms and promise to do my best to keep this spring beauty coming back for many years! We had a few in our front yard when we moved into our home 3-1/2 years ago. They were facing the west and didn't take well to the heat. I have mine planted on the east side. Hopefully it will see a little reprieve. Always an experiment though...this gardening thing!

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My Backyard Garden

So excited to plant my new garden! A big hug to my brother who encouraged me to do so! I've been wanting to do this for years and kept putting it off because of the deer gatherings in my backyard. I hopefully discovered a little sneaky trick to shoo them away. So now, it's full throttle ahead! I am truly tickled pink to plant herbs, sow seeds, and inhale the intoxicating blooms that dance in my backyard - not to mention the scrumptious veggies and fruits! I've actually slipped away from any work duties for about 1-1/2 weeks straight to plant my garden. Shh, don't tell anyone, especially my art clients. Hopefully they'll understand. May 2015

Here are a few pictures of the process:

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I started digging up all of the grass. Not to my surprise, there was an encrusted bed of clay underneath the sod. Missouri is known for clay soil and, boy, we have it! Below, you can see my bucket of large rocks I dug up. There were quite a few more buckets than that, but you get the idea.

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Next, I started to dig up the clay with a pitchfork. That was a workout, but it needed to be done. No plant would love to shoot it's roots through that clay, believe me!

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Now, I get out my brother's tiller. Thank goodness he had that! I know he planted the seed for me to start a garden...but without this tiller, I would have been toast. I broke up all of the clay as best as I could. I had to make sure the soil was dry first, otherwise no "breaking up" would have been possible. Did you notice the large bags of compost in the corner? My other good friend, and master gardener, told me to skip the top soil or garden soil and go straight for the cow manure and compost. So, that's what I did. She said you never know what you get in those bagged top and garden soils. I took her advice and bought a total of  75 bags!

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Next up, you can see the compost that I started unloading in back. Here's a sneak peak at some of my other garden tools at rest. There was one more patch of grass to carve out under those many bags of compost. *sigh* This was a workout, indeed!

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Ok, soil is amended and I planted some herbs.

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The garden is growing (because I'm adding more plants). Here, you can see a Rhododendron that I planted, along with some coreopsis (yellow flowers), irises, and purple catmint. Oh! Don't overlook the skinny row of radish sprouts that are emerging in the soil up front! So happy to see these tender little leaves pop up through the soil! Remember, the deer are a huge problem in my backyard. Planting a garden is a lofty goal in my neck o' the woods! I've been feeling very insecure about the whole ordeal, but, if you look up close you will see a few dark green stakes that stick up from the ground. These are the infamous deer stakes, proven to train the deer to not eat your plants. I will write more on those deer stakes in another post.

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And lastly, here is a picture of some of the plant tags for my garden. Couldn't help but to add some fun handlettering. And yes, that's me! I needed to snap a quick pic with my lovely Rhododendron before it blew it's petals off with the warming spring winds.

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