Monday, March 31, 2008

Almost April!

Have you noticed all the signs of life in your garden?

I'm surprised as I walk around the yard at how much is showing already. Although we had lots of ice, overall, temperatures this winter were not too bad. "We didn't have extended periods of cold weather. I guess that's the reason all my rosemary plants survived. Most have die-back at the tips, but the plants survived.

I had fresh parsley and cutting celery throughout the winter. There was always fresh, green foliage underneath the old. I see tiny, curled leaves of sorrel waiting to unfurl. I've had fresh, young chives for several weeks.

I've spotted tiny tips of tarragon poking through the soil. Burnet and Clary sage are fresh and green, and the chamomile foliage never died off this winter. Stepping on it releases that delicious apple fragrance.

The knot garden looks good already. The plants in it - germander, lavender and santolina do not die back in fall, but often suffer die-back or freeze-out in very bad winters. Even the thyme walk is perking up early, although a lot of the green is weeds which never died out.

If you didn't clean up dead foliage last fall, there's a good job to start on some of these nice days. I know there's new foliage underneath the old on my catmint. Even cutting back the old is a fragrant job. Also, cut back butterfly bushes hard between mid-March and mid-April. They will push out new foliage which is sturdy, avoiding the top-heavy, lanky branches which are found on untrimmed bushes.

Early March...

Early March (Sorry we're late in getting this posted!)

The march toward spring continues. The basement has been filled with an assortment of seedlings, and small, starter plants have arrived, so in early March, we reopened the greenhouse. It's great to see it fill up with plants and to enjoy all the familiar herbal smells. There are other chores, but most of my time in is spent potting plants. It's hard to believe, but the greenhouse reopens April 1! That keeps me on track.

John and I pulled all our stock plants which are buried in the garden for the winter, and put them in the greenhouse. In a short time, they'll be ready to divide into new plants.

Lucy was a great help with this project. We had rows of holes where we pulled out plants, so she had a great time digging in the dirt. Mostly, she liked running back and forth between the garden and greenhouse over and over. She was good and tired the next day.

Many of you know we've had a toad living in the greenhouse since we opened. He (or she, I don't know) digs into the dirt and hibernates for the winter. Once we turn the heat on, he digs out during the day and reburies at night. Right on schedule, he appeared last week. Luckily, Lucy hasn't seen him yet. I've blocked access to him for now. He never moves too fast, but I'm sure he's really lethargic till things heat up. Figure I better keep dog and toad separated for now.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring 2008 Class Schedule

DRIED FLOWER WREATH: Thursday, April 17, 7 p.m. $20.00
Design and craft your own dried flower wreath. Starting with a 10" grapevine base, participants will create a wreath, using a wide variety of dried herbs and flowers, including many grown on our farm. Bring a glue gun and plant scissors / shears.

EDIBLE FLOWERS: Thursday, May 15, 7 p.m. $15.00
Bring the beauty of flowers into the kitchen. Learn what flowers to use and ideas for adding them to various dishes. We'll learn to candy flowers and participants will take home several examples.

MAINTAINING YOUR GARDEN: Thursday, June 5, 7 p.m. $15.00
This class will give you step-by-step instructions for maintenance tasks throughout your garden. When to harvest herbs, deadheading flowers and cutting back perennials will be covered. Specific instructions and a timetable for accomplishing your tasks. Free plant to add to your garden.

SWEET ENDINGS — DESSERT HERBS: Thursday, June 19, 7 p.m. $15.00
Many people say they don't know how to use herbs in the kitchen. This class will give you lots of ideas. In addition to main dishes, herbs can enhance many desserts. Learn which herbs to use, culinary tips and lots of recipes.

Classes are limited in size, so please register early. Your payment is your reservation and is due in full when registering. If you're unable to attend, you may send a substitute in your place. Complete the attached registration form. Make checks payable and mail to:

1532 Cloverleaf Road, Mount Joy, PA 17552

Spring is on the way

Spring is on the way.

Our Greenhouse opens April 1.
See our Classes above and
Download our Plant List for 2008

It stays light later, there's an occasional spring-like day and there are bits of green in the garden.

To me, spring arriving means a shipment of soil and pots. So, Lucy is learning to amuse herself in the greenhouse while I fill pots. On a sunny day, it's deliciously warm in the greenhouse. And there's the damp, earthy smell of warm soil.

Lots of seedlings growing under lights. They go from tiny little stalks to filled-out, recognizable little plants in a couple of weeks.

I like plants like swamp milkweed with big seeds. After germinating, the seed sits on top of the little stalk for awhile before dropping off. So you can see the seed and plant stage together. Swamp milkweed is a host plant for monarch butterfly caterpillars (and a moth too) so it's worth growing. We've had monarchs every year since we planted it in the garden.

Easter's early this year, daylight savings time is already here - spring will be here soon.