Friday, July 7, 2023

Oh goodness....let's try this again! April 2023

 I have resisted even the MEAGEREST of garden journaling, even ignoring the pretty book I bought. Until this year when a friend at work suggested we journal stuff, and we would talk about it on Sundays when we worked. So... she started and I did not. Then... I just started.

So I've got handwritten journal entries.  Those have been somewhat easier as I keep the journal on the patio (a new edition, but that's another story) and write down things as they happen...INCLUDING wildlife sights and sounds.  Thus far we can count cats, several birds, raccoons, skunks, and as of a couple of nights ago, a toad sighting on the front porch where the bugs congregate around the light.  

I am not going to get distracted right now with pictures. I just want to get caught up. So we'll start with my entries for April.


  • Birds I have heard, but yet seen (thanks to Merlin app) -- Northern Flicker, Bluebird
  • New sunroom (the aforementioned patio) final walk through is Monday
  • Getting late start but...
  • Testing seed packs for viability. It says to check in 3 weeks but I may not wait that long
    • Sugar snap peas
    • Cilantro
    • Orach
    • Anna-something lettuce (my handwriting remains horrendous)
    • Jericho lettuce
    • Romaine lettuce
    • Swiss Chard
    • Buttercrunch lettuce
    • Broccoli
    • Spinach
    • Danvers carrots
  • Soil temperature is 47 degrees so still too early.
  • Filled main bird feeder, ground feeder, meal worm cups and last suet cake

  • More clearing of future perennial vegetable plot - I had planted winter rye over the winter (duh); clearing it out was not quite as easy as advertised, at least in my beds
  • Discovered the hand sickle is REALLY SHARP.
  • Captured Goldfinch song on Merlin -- they are back!! filled and hung seed socks.
  • Heard Bluebird again
  • Other newbies heard:
    • Worm-eating Warbler
    • Tufted titmous
  • Saw red head or downy woodpecker (couldn't get good look)

  • Planted 2 asparagus crowns from Jennifer. Tried to move the third one I have established into that bed, but it's pretty well in there; may need Jim's help, or just wait until after the season.

  • Replanted asparagus right side up (oops). I think I will make that whole bed asparagus so I will need 2-3 more (if I can't move the other one).
  • Weeded front of new patio door -- lots of stuff from before popping up, so pulled roots too.
  • FOUND A POTATO from last year! Yay, seed potato!

  • New humming bird feeder and bluebird feeder.  ALL feeders up and filled, or will be once I wash the bluebird ones.  I discovered I put the yellow bird feeder back together wrong so I will fix that when it gets half empty again.
  • Got a bag-garden bed for the surprise potato

  • Planted potatoes in the new bed-planter.  
  • Jim is doing the platform on the side door of the patio
  • LOVING the new rain barrel!!
  • Lots of bees loving the flowers on the apple tree.
Next up ... MAY!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

What a year...

 Has it really been over a year? 

I had grand designs like always to update more. I thought 'with the pandemic, clearly I'll have time do this stuff."  And yet...

I did do a garden and it was okay. I didn't go anywhere so I was able to pay more attention to it.  Still, some things didn't work quite right.  I tried starting seeds and got MORE successful with it this year, but some stuff just died. I may be the ONLY person who can kill zucchini/summer squash plants.  

I did get lettuce and spinach.  The tomatoes didn't come full on until after classes started so my plans for those were scuttled and we just tried to keep up.  I was able to freeze spinach (I have pictures..maybe I'll post those); I made pickles, canned tomatoes eventually. I even canned some corn from when we bought 6 ears but only ate three.

So far, I've ordered seeds and am awaiting them. The greenhouse is ready to receive them. I need to buy more seed pods (those little things to start them).  

I found a crop rotation 'map' in a book so that will help that.  

Right now I hear birds singing in our 'fake spring' that comes between first and second winter in Ohio. The geese are moving, and I smelled evidence of one of our skunks that is now out of hibernation (or whatever they do).  My irises are starting to poke up too. 

It's been a long, dark year.  I don't know if we're out of that particular tunnel yet, but at least Mother Earth is proceeding accordingly.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

When is Imbolc Not Imbolc

Photo by Christopher Rodgers on Unsplash

No, no, this is not Yet Another Post about how I'm so sorry I forgot this and I promise I'll do better. I think we both know that's not happening.

Instead I shall just plow straight through as if I've been diligently updating all along.

Today (or tomorrow) is the cross-quarter day of Imbolc. It's not linked to any astronomical events like the solstices or equinoxes, so for convenience-sake, once we invented calendars, it got placed halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.  This is my thumbnail understanding of such things.

But, as I may or may not have opined before, the pre-calendar humans would have relied upon other things to let the know what was happening.  The quickening of lambs, calves, and kids in utero, the lactation of their mothers in preparation for their birth, would have been signs to all of coming events. Like spring and lambing/calfing/kidding, and all that entails.

I know the lengthening of days would be a sign, but in pre-timepiece humanity, I contend that perhaps this is the time when you'd notice that thing. I know even with a clock it's around this time that "'s lighter out when I wake up...." happens, which I then verify with my timepiece.

Where I live, there is a thaw around this time.  The snow/ice melts significantly and occasionally I'm able to push some bulbs or seeds into the partially thawed soil.

Or at least there use to be.  This winter has been decidedly NON winter like.  We've had some days in the 20s, but little to no snow/ice precipitation. Most days are a high 30s with a cold wind, and we'll be heading back into the 40s the next few days.

I'm concerned. Terrified really. This is becoming more common, even as some years (last year) are decidedly more 'winter like.'  And this isn't some "I LOVE WINTER" thing. I don't.  I get SAD, I have to scrape my windows and shovel my walk, neither of which are as easy as they used to be.  If it was just about me, I'd be delirious.

But it isn't just about me.  Snow is ESSENTIALLY. It can refill water reserves, and if melts slowly, it's safe in terms of flooding (if it goes faster though, or with rain too, that's a different thing).  Super cold controls all sorts of bug populations (insect and viral/bacterial). 

In a word, this is just wrong. It stabs at my heart, as I worry about how climate change is going to all play out.

Some of my colleagues at Job #2 like to joke about how, here in Ohio, we'll have beach front property and how great it will be. Never mind the land that won't exist that might have been used to raise our food.  Never mind the climate refugees, both citizen and foreign, who will also be looking for their own beachfront homes.  Never mind all that.

Well, this is a downer. I blame SAD. And that I'm missing a favorite annual event tomorrow.  So, back to the topic. 

ANYWAY...what's a suburban gardener to do when her usual sign to 'start the lettuce seeds' is not going to happen?  Well, nature finds a way. Just last week, I saw two Canada geese flying over head. And then a few other gaggles in their usual gathering spots. They're coming back for the year.  At first I said "Y'all are early!" but then I, they are right on time. Whatever the climate is doing, the geese know when it's time to come back to wherever their "North" is.

So...just like that...Nature gives me another sign. One that doesn't depend upon snow or thaw, but one that says "Hey, Leesa, plant those seeds."  So thanks, Geese!!  Can't wait to see your little honklings!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

What I planted

This was formerly called "Planting done" but I never got back to making the video that would go with it.  So here is what I had planted...

Front garden:

Easy Wave White Petunia
Easy Wave Red Petunia
Black Petunia


Coral rose zinnia
Dreamland mix zinnia
Zahara starlight rose zinnia
Double zahara cherry zinnia
Cardinal climber vine

Deck bed

Bufferfly something...

Moon Garden

Moonflower (discovered these are annuals :( )

Bridget garden

Britt marie Crawford Big Leave Ligularia

Food beds

German grape tomato
Yellow pear tomato
Black cherry tomato -- These are the ONLY ones that were productive. The rest of all the tomatoes either did not grow, did not bear very many fruit, or bore fruit that appeared to be super susceptible to the very wet-then-very hot conditions of the summer, so that they burst easily on the vine, allowing bugs, etc. to come in :(
Berkeley tie die
Cherokee purple
some other red

Patio planters
Lanais blue verbana
3 California wonder sweet bell
lemon grass


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Beltainne is coming! (Also Flora and Fauna update)

I know, it says May 3 on the calendar, but you'll recall from my ridiculously infrequent postings, that I don't celebrate Beltainne until the frost-free date, when planting can happen, so we're at least two weeks away.

"Spring" as defined by warm weather has not official sprung in Central Ohio until this week, and has basically bounced right into the 80s.  "Spring"  as defined astronomically (which, let's face it, is what it anyway) has of course been here and even through snow and sub-freezing temperatures, the birds and plants have been doing their thing, although annual ant-migration inward was delayed a bit, starting a few days ago.  While I try to ignore them, if they get on ME they may get squished. Except last night we watched the Marvel movie Ant-Man, so now I'll probably feel bad about it.

Official pre-Beltainne has begun.  It has moved from the mere "musing about what to do" to getting down to the brass tacks of what to do.  The current to-do list:

  • Begin the round of weeding. Somewhere, some botanist probably knows why weed tend to sprout forth before the things you actually planted did (please answer in the comments), but either way weeding must start.
  • Clean out beds and planters of last years' stuff.  I did clean out the vegetable garden beds last year, and two got torn out. The planters I just left in place, mostly to attempt to hold the soil over winter.  I'm hoping to score a few more from a colleague who's elderly neighbors keep dumping them on her.
  • Fix rototiller. Seamus has everything we need to fix it, so hopefully I can get him to do it, or better yet show me how to do it.
  • Survey raised beds for repairs. Some of the planks are coming apart, so we may need to just re-attach them somehow.
  • Re-establish new beds to replace the ones ripped out.
  • Make list of herbs and plants.  It's in my head, but if I don't have it in writing before I go to various sales, I'll come home with NOTHING I actually need.
  • Order dirt/mulch.
This year, I am switching it up. Because I like to can, this year is going to be tomatoes in all four beds.  Two beds of "slicers" and two beds of paste tomatoes.  Hopefully that can get us a nice stockpile, including sauces and salsas, in addition to just plain ol' canned. Next year I'm thinking all string beans, all the time, for the same reason, and then the year after that is back to adding zucchini, squash, peppers, etc.  Maybe I'll try corn again.

I have however done some spring harvesting.  Last night, with the help of a neighborhood girl, we sat in my front yard and picked dandelions, some of which are hopefully fermenting in my kitchen for dandelion wine, the rest of which will get made into dandelion bread.  I thought we had picked the front yard clean, but when I walked out this morning, it was like we hadn't even done a thing! 

That's all to update for now. The birds and squirrels are back.  The blue jays come for their morning peanuts when we whistle for them, and the squirrels don't automatically run when they hear the back door open.  I'm not sure when the juncos left, but they've been replaced by goldfinches it seems.  I haven't seen the hawks yet, so I'm not sure if they returned, but as I think about it, it might be an every other year thing.  Mr. Cardinal and Mrs. Cardinal II are back also, and still waiting to see if Waddles the Skunk is around. Stay  tuned!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


 Nearly all the things got planted the week of May 15-16.   So here's what they looked like then (I am so bad at updating this...)

This first bed is dedicated specifically to the spirits of the land.  You can see the milkweed growing on the left, and I planted goldenrod as well.  The third thing that was going in there I accidentally didn't buy and now I don't know what it was. So stay tuned. There's also a hummingbird feeder in this one but I'm about done with this design.  The humming birds don't seem to see it and it's hard to clean, so now it's all gross and mildewy inside.

Nature Spirits
 This next bed is in the other corner of the house and just by default is dedicated to the ancestors. I'm not sure what else to put in there.  That is a crap ton of sage that is blooming beautifully. There's room for something else behind it (besides the weeds I dug out) and I'm still thinking of what that might be. It gets the fullest sun of all but one bed in the garden.
 This is a bit of the moongarden.  If I remember right, those are some kind of primrose? They come on like gangbusters.  I think we're going to get some fairy houses to put in there, knowing full well the controversy over the nature of the Good People.  I don't think it could to give them some nice houses though, right?
Moon Garden
 First of the food beds, and it's somewhat sparsely planted right now.   One of those is the Lazy Wife beans (no strings) and the other is some sort of dwarf melon.  I have plans to add more beans (good for the soil and the peeps, too!)  but I'm also not sure how much room the melon is going to end up needing.  Up in the top left-ish corner you can see the volunteer chives from last year.

Next bed is all tomatoes all the time.  And I think one of the peppers.  Right now, something is munching on the leaves, so I applied so Neem in the hopes I wasn't too late.

(TBC...I have more pictures but I they won't post for some reason..)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Weekend? More like GREENKend....

Okay, not funny.

This is, however THE weekend of gardening. If Spring/Beltane/Summer had a "Black Friday" weekend, this would be it.

Today, I went to Chadwick Arboretum's Plant Sale and Auction.  I had heard about this, but last year was the first year I went, with the Lovely and Talented Misty. Misty is so lovely and talented, she now as a job, so I went by myself.  I arrived at OSU, kicking myself for not making a List to Be Adhered To (as to avoid overspending), and resolved to be Sensible and not get more than the cart would allow.

The carts hold quite a lot.

I meandered around. I'm never sure what to get, even if I know what I'm looking for.  I mean, I want a 'tomato' but there's 87 million varieties, and each booth has overlapping types and they're organic and stuff and....*sigh*  I let intuition guide me, usually.  They have lots of good stuff, so if you're available Saturday you should check it out.

I probably got there at 8:30 and was home by 10, with:

Flowers:  Nasturtium, Brutus Hosta ("created" there at OSU, hence the name), blue salvia, pink salvia, and goldenrod for the butterfly garden. I got something else for that garden, but it didn't have a tag, and I couldn't remember where I got it.  Sadly, that did not mean I got it for free and since at the time I didn't know what it was or where it belonged, back it went.

Herbs:  Marjoram, oregano, lavendar, basil, parsley, lemon grass, and rosemary

Vegetables:  2 zucchini, 2 pickling cucumbers, lunchbox peppers, 2 yankee bell peppers, 2 amish paste tomatoes, 2 some other slicing tomato (heirloom!), 1 black cherry tomato.

You'd think I'd be done, but tomorrow is the Gahanna Herb Show.  I'll be meeting Beth, Misty, maybe Julie and Teresa for breakfast before we descend upon it.  I really don't have much to get after today, but I liked their pole beans from last year (although I have seeds I got last year too), and I'm sure I can find something.

The seeds I sprouted are doing okay. I forgot to bring them in one night, so I'm not sure how they're going to do.  I might want to replace them with actual plantlings, but we'll see.  I do need to replace some strawberry plants. I wish I had seen that before this morning; they had some there.

I came home and had second breakfast, and then after cleaning up from that, I pulled weeds in the raised beds to get them ready.  Almost every bed has had it's spring weeding, except the moon garden, and that's almost done.  I just don't know what belongs there and what doesn't.  Seamus will have to do that, and then roto-till the beds.  I may want to turn the compost and see if I get some good stuff to roto-till in there.

Pictures forthcoming.

As I look at my big box of green-kins, I remember last year how excited I was for the summer growing season to come, and the plans I had...and then how that was completely kicked to the curb by random mystery's hard to raise that level of hope again, but such is the lingering emotional challenge of the past year.  I almost didn't do any gardening at all this year, but that would be to admit defeat and while I don't always feel like it, I follow the maxim sometimes of "Fake it, 'til you make it." So much doesn't seem real, like it happened to someone else....but not all.

So I plant.  The Earth heals.