29 February 2020


There was scrap wood left over after building my greenhouse, so I threw together some shelves for the seedlings. So they can be in vertical tiers and have more light, when in the house.
Keeps them from sprawling across the floor space, too. View from window side. Just happened the main shelf turned out exactly the same height as the shelf that's here permanently for my houseplants!
Zebrina has really rich colors right now.
Smaller seedlings still in trays are nearest the window for max light.
Cuban oregano cuttings are out of the way under the main shelf, but that keeps me from overwatering them, as they're not so easy to reach.
My asparagus fern had to move.
Here's the potted bay, in for the night. I've finally used up all my store-bought bay leaves, so thinking of trimming the two stems that sprawl outwards, to hang and dry. 
It's quite a crowd, but will be manageable if next week I can plant  the lettuces, kale, chard and collards out into the garden. Then will have space to move the next batch of seedlings from their trays into pots.

finishing touches

Little greenhouse seen from my kitchen window.
I hung the thermometer in it, visible from both kitchen and living room. Temps never got above 35° today outside, but at midday my greenhouse warmed to almost seventy, and I was able to put the youngest, more tender seedlings out for a few hours. The cold-hardy ones- lettuce, arugula, chard, collards and kale- were out for most of the day.
Added a makeshift carpet of old cloths, to block drafts coming up between the decking planks, and put a latch on top and bottom.
The wood piece that's the leading edge of the door was warped, letting in a draft either top or bottom if the other end is pushed in. So I put a latch on top to hold that edge out,
and one on base to slightly force that edge in. Makes it straight. Yeah, one of the things that's not perfect here.
Kept the hook and eye for quick temporary latch when I'm moving plants in or out. Also fastened a strip of folded plastic (double thickness) from inside the frame for the door to shut against, to block slight draft where there's still a tiny gap when it's closed. In lieu of weather stripping. Which I could always add instead.

28 February 2020

mini greenhouse

More seedlings up! Tomatoes, nicotiana and celosia. I didn't take pictures of them though, because I was more excited about this. Finished my mini greenhouse! I'm proud enough of it, feel that it actually deserves the name.
Moved up onto the deck- you can see it's twice the size of the old one. (This photo before I wrapped -or skinned- it in plastic).
Here's the regular coldframe in the picture, too- which got spiffed up with wood glue in the cracks to block draft, and a new coat of paint.
All my current seedlings are in the little greenhouse, and I've only used half its capacity!
Now I'm off to build a bench, so I don't run out of room for the seedlings when they need to come into the house at night.

mourning doves

I saw a chickadee in our yard the other day, the flock of robins came through and stripped the big holly of berries, and there have been starlings and sparrows here and there. And the doves! Every spring I hear mourning doves coo, this year it seems they might set up housekeeping. Two have been hanging out in one large tree, and I saw them mating several days ago. Then they were checking out the squirrel drey (which I guess was abandoned- maybe that individual squirrel is gone). Look close, you can see one dove perched on a branch in front of the trunk to left of the nest (and slightly above it):
Here I caught it out on the lawn-
near my northern bayberry:
Meanwhile the other bird was tucked into the nest, after poking around quite a bit. When it's settled, can barely see movement of the head just above the rim. The dove's head is in this photo-
just visible as a curve and circular dark eye just above the rim:
Unfortunately, I think I frightened them? When I walked out into the garden they flew away with whistling wings. The next afternoon they were back, one sugging down in the nest again while the other sat in a different tree. But today I haven't seen them at all. I do hope they keep coming and settle in- I didn't think they would startle away so easily.

27 February 2020


As there is very little in the garden- though my coldhouse is quickly becoming crowded with young plants- I'm still eager to eat the sorrel- but will probably leave it be later on unless it matches a dish perfectly.
Cut it with some baby kale (also overwintered in the garden) to lunch on in a wrap.

more spring green

Looked into the tangle of old stems and found my lemon balm is reviving!
I'm glad to see it, but covered the crown up again with heap of dry leaves, as we have several nights of cold this week- in the low twenties.
There are tons of these small seedlings flanking my older hellebores. I think it's more hellebore seedlings; the ones I dug must have already been a year old I bet these are newer.
Rudbeckia is emerging too:

rumex move

Dug and relocated my rumex to the mailbox spot.
I noticed it appeared to have multiple crowns, and sure enough it divided easily into half a dozen clumps.
Put in two small rows up against the stone edge
from the other side-
when rumex starts to die back in summer heat. my borage and then celosia will fill the space
Right now I want just something green showing in early spring, so it doesn't look such an empty space.
Meanwhile, I learned from a bit of reading that my rumex and sorrel are related- they're both kinds of dock, sorrel is Rumex acetosa and the red decorative one I have is Rumex sanguineus commonly known as bloody dock. I've been calling it rumex 'cause that's all it said on the tag.

26 February 2020

seedlings up!

from my second sowing- Marigolds:
some of the asian greens, Tokyo Bekana:
and Mizuna:
I've found an advantage to pressing the seedling mix down firmly when I sow. I can just glance in the tray and tell which are emerging and ready to be uncovered, as the soil heaves from seedlings pushing up is obvious against the pressed flat surface surrounding (see above)

zebrina pot

I pinched off long stems on my zebrina plant in the bedroom, and they quickly grew new rootlets in a jar-
so a few days later moved the original plant into a larger pot, and added all the cuttings with it

green, alive

Some moments, I just really admire the light from sun, on a green leaf. Coleus ('exhibition limelight')
Chicago fig:

25 February 2020


before a day of rain, perfect to do some transplanting. I went and dug up the hellebore seedlings. This time put them in a prominent spot, where (hopefully) I won't forget to tend to them.
They're along my front bed, under the shade of euonymus and boxwood.
Very small now and hardly noticeable, but the idea is when they grow up, will drape nicely over the stone edging, and the flowers will be visible on the slightly raised level, before the peonies reach their height for the season.
While I was out there noticed the little sprig of ivy has grown a lot since last year. And that tiny bit of green on the center upper edge of the photo, that's one of the hellebore seedlings. That's how small they are!
Three smallest hellebores went into a pot on the deck. As backup. Maybe they'll do better if I raise them in pots a year or two before planting elsewhere in the yard.
Found the columbine emerging! I wanted to dig up and move this one to the front bed also, but ran out of time (had to go in and make dinner)
Wait for another cloudy day