Posts tagged ‘windowsill garden’

March 20, 2013

16 Things to Do Now to Make it Feel Like Spring

It’s here!  It’s here!  Spring is here!

Yes, I know, you wouldn’t know it if you were to walk out your front door in Minnesota today.  In fact, you might think it were the middle of January.  I awoke this morning to the weather update of wah-wah, wah-wah, wah, wah with an -18 degree windchill.  Yikes!

If you look at Facebook at all today you’ll see a lot of whining, particularly here in Minnesota.  Unfortunately all of the meteorologists have been touting the weather we had this week last year at 70 and 80 degrees above zero making all of the complaining even worse.  The problem is, last year was NOT THE NORM.  The norm this time of the year in Minnesota is 35 to 40 degrees, which while a high of 18 today isn’t exactly tropical, if you compare it to being 20 degrees off the norm instead of 60 degrees off a record, it’s a little easier to chew.

Weather aside, or maybe because of the weather, I thought it was about time we all got excited for spring so I came up with a few things you can do to get by until the weather catches up with our eagerness.  Some of these things are specific to the Twin Cities area, but similar events are happening across the country.

  1. Force branches. Cut branches off of spring blooming trees and shrubs that need pruning, bring them in and put them in water.  In a few days you’ll have spring inside regardless of the weather outside. Learn more about which kinds of trees and shrubs and how-to here.
  2. Plant an indoor bulb garden.  Many nurseries and garden centers are now carrying bulb gardens that you can watch grow, or better yet, buy bulbs and make your own.
  3. Plan your garden.  Grab plans, pictures and notes from your garden journal and plot out your plan for this season.
  4. Build a plant stand with grow lights and start seeds indoors.
  5. Plant edible spring planters.
  6. Buy yourself some cut flowers.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, even $5 can bring a nice burst of color and a smile to your face.
  7. Go to a flower show.  Macy’s Flower Show is traveling the country.  Check here to see when they’ll be in a city near you.
  8. Make a fairy garden. Need inspiration?  The MN Landscape Arboretum is hosting Tiny Treasures: Fairies and Gnomes through March 31st.
  9. Visit a Farmer’s Market!  This Saturday, March 23, 2013, the Bachman’s on Lyndale will be hosting Fresh From the Freeze the Kingfield and Fulton Farmers Markets in the Greenhouse from 9am – 2pm.  There will be music, entertainment, beer, wine and hard cider too.  A vendor list is posted on their site.
  10. Looking to add some spring to your home?  Check out the Bachman’s Spring Ideas House 2013 from April 4th – April 28th.
  11. Visit the Como Park Conservatory. Can’t get there?  Check out the 360 degree view of The Sunken Gardens and The Palm Dome.
  12. Get baby chicks! Our chickens have brought so much sunshine and joy to some of the coldest days.  Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply has chicks arriving on a weekly basis.  Order yours now. (I also know of a possible source if you’re local, contact me and I’ll connect you.) You can build your coop while they grow!  Not ready for your own?  Stop by and visit them.
  13. Start a windowsill garden.
  14. Plant grass in egg shells or a basket.  You’ll be ready for Easter.
  15. Take a trip down South.  No, actually I don’t mean on a plane or in a car.  Grab your jacket, don your hat, slip on those boots and head to the South side of your house, apartment building, what have you.  The South side of buildings gets the best sun and typically retains heat making that area a little micro-climate where the ground thaws early and plants emerge first.  A friend told me just yesterday that her tulips are “up” (poking through the ground) on the South side of her house.  Take a trip and report back on what you find!
  16. Feed the birds!  According to the birds spring is definitely here.  Don’t believe me?  Shut everything off, radio, TV, your kids 😉 and listen.  The birds a singing their sweet little heads off.  Want to hear them more clearly?  Hang a feeder in your yard (or fill-up that empty one), they’ll be singing songs of glory for you!

If all else fails, call me!  I’d be happy to chat about and help you plan your yard and garden for the upcoming season!

Happy Spring everyone!

Kate

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February 23, 2012

Play with Your Food! (Part Deuce)

Warning: Images and content may not be suitable for all viewers.  Recommended for mature gardening audiences only.

The game got off to a slow start.  Day by day it seems things were hardly changing.  Then, almost out of nowhere, the Green Onion Experiment took off! By Day 10, it was clear the Green Onions decided to show up for the game and were ready to compete, while the Leek Experiment showed little interest in standing up to the challenge.  Today there’s no contest.  The Leek Experiment got swept 6 – 0. (And quite frankly, they stink!)

Day 1

Day 1 - Top View

What went wrong?  Maybe the easier question is what went right?  For the Leek Experiment this proves to be a grim season, at least on the windowsill.  They complained about getting cut, they said they didn’t have their space, didn’t have room to breathe, they said they didn’t want to get their feet wet.  Okay, okay… I guess the coach should listen and when playing with rookies, not push them so hard and go back to the basics.  For a while they even showed signs of life, or at least a couple of them did, but they went sour like their team mates.  You know what they say… one bad leek can spoil the whole bunch… or something like that.

Day 2

Day 2 - Top View

So what did we learn from this experiment?  Next time, I’ll start slow.  I won’t cut/divide them, although I don’t think that was the root of the problem (pardon the pun).  I’ll give them more space in the glass so they aren’t touching each other and make sure the water level stays low enough to just cover the roots (I think I gave them a little too much water a couple of times causing them to begin rotting). Yummy!  So the Leek Experiment is complete, for now.  (At least until I cook with leeks again.)

Day 8 - Guys in the back starting to show up

Day 16 - Eww...

Day 16 - Gross...

Day 16 - Game over!

The Green Onion Experiment continues to go strong.  A few are showing up better than others, but all of them are still in the game at this point.  I’ll continue to post on the progress.

Day 18

Day 18 - Opposite View

Any other experiments out there?  Any progress reports?

Kate

February 15, 2012

Play with Your Food! (Windowsill Gardens)

I know, I know, most of us have memories of our mothers telling us to stop playing with our food.  Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s time to throw that out the window, or actually, stop just short of out the window at the windowsill.

Although we have a serious shortage in the snow department this year, the temperatures, although tropical for a Minnesota winter, are hardly “growing season” temps.  That, however, should not stop you from growing plants, herbs and veggies!  No, I’m not crazy.  Okay, well, maybe a little, but that’s beside the point.   Anyway,  during the winter months when I can’t be outside in the garden I tend to focus on what I can grow inside.  Typically my kitchen windowsill is loaded with any glass, bottle or jar I can get my hands on, and inside them I’m growing whatever strikes my fancy.

Windowsill Garden 1

Windowsill Garden 1

Windowsill Garden 2

Windowsill Garden 2

In addition to the Garlic Experiment, my current windowsill experiments include: green onions/scallions, basil, a Christmas cactus, spearmint, leeks, a maple tree, aloe vera and an avocado pit.  I also have herbs growing in the bathroom, but since that’s technically not on the windowsill, I’ll save that for later.

Pinterest Inspiration

Pinterest Inspiration

Let’s start with the green onions or scallions, whatever you’d like to call them.  A couple of weeks ago I was perusing Pinterest and ran across an image of scallions growing in a glass of water.  Ha!  Why didn’t I think of that? I thought.  I need to try this!  It makes perfect sense that it would work… onions are a bulb and you can force/grow most flowering bulbs in water, so why not onions?!?  So I set out to do it.  That night I just happened to need green onions in a recipe I was making for dinner… 🙂

feb 5

The beginning of the Green Onion Experiment

As I was prepping the onions, instead of discarding the ends, I set them aside to prepare for the Green Onion Experiment.  After finishing my dinner prep, I grabbed a glass and set my onions in the bottom.   Ha, I make it sound so easy.  Actually I fought with the little buggers quite a bit to get them to stand upright.  They already have little roots attached when you buy the onions in the store and since they aren’t all the same length it made them a little tippy (next time I’ll trim the trouble makers).  Anyway, once upright, I added a tiny bit of water, just enough to cover the roots, but not so much as to cover the onion itself or I would end up with a glass of foul-smelling rotting plant material, which is not my goal.

I was a little concerned that this experiment might not work so well because after I started this experiment I checked into the source of the Pinterest photo.  Turns out, they only used the greens for their cooking and had the entire base of the onion left over so they had really fast results.  Since I cook with nearly everything but the roots it made me a little nervous, because I really didn’t have a lot of plant material to work with, but I trusted in my plant biology knowledge, sent good sprouting vibes to the little guys and set them on my kitchen windowsill.  I should mention that my windowsill experiments only receive part-sun exposure because it’s an East facing window, but it’s where I do a lot of my propagating because I can watch it every day.  They tend to do fine, at least until they get a little larger and need more light in which case I’ll either transfer them to a window with better exposure (South or West facing) or under plant lights.

Day 4 - Shoots forming & root growth

Day 5

Amazingly, it didn’t take too long for the roots to start growing and shoots to form.  By the first day, I could see little green specs on the top of one onion.  And by Day 2, 3 and 4 it became more and more visible (but not so much with the camera.) By Day 5, however, shoots can be seen on more than one onion.

Day 10 - Growth on all onions

Day 10 - Top View

And now, about 10 days out, it looks like the experiment is a success.  In a few weeks we’ll have a nice crop of green onions.  As a side note, I change the water every couple of days to everything fresh.

I’ll continue to post on the Green Onion Experiment as it progresses.  In the mean time, stay tuned for leeks, basil, avocado, Christmas cactus, Maple tree, aloe vera and spearmint and… whatever else might strike my fancy along the way!

Now, go play with your food, would you?!

Kate