A few weeks ago, I began to sow herbs and vegetables for this Spring/Summer garden season. So far, we have dill, snap peas, snow peas, and tomatoes. The peppers seem to take a little bit longer. Yesterday, I have sown more vegetables: beef steak tomatoes, borage, fennel, spinach, etc. When it becomes warmer, and the plants are stable enough, I can plant them in the greenhouse.
It was so nice today: warm temperatures and lots of sunshine. The Harbinger-of-Winter, Crocus, and Periwinkle are blooming. The snowdrops should be done blooming, soon. Birds chase each other and sing the songs of reproduction. That sounds better and more kid-appropriate than calling it the “Screams of Sex”. Soon, we will have birds building nests and tenting for their offspring. The bears come out of their Winter dens after a long Winter of hibernation. Nature begins to wake up. I’m still waiting for my little chipmunks to appear in our yard. I haven’t seen them, yet. They might snooze for another couple of weeks.
Finally, the two pieces I had to reorder were arriving. And I could finish building the greenhouse. Once the frame was up, I slid the panels on the bottom, and installed the window, before I could slide the roof panels in place. The ground was already straightened, when I put the base together. Kevin had to help me to lift the greenhouse across the fence. The kit was light, so it was easy for us to get it from the porch to the garden, where I could fasten it to the base. The following morning, I built the door and installed it, before a Spring storm came through. The greenhouse made it successful through the storm.
I started my garden in the early Spring of 2013 by sowing beans, bell peppers, corn, pumpkins, sunflowers, tomatoes, and other goodies. I also worked on some herbs. At least, I had something ready to grow in the greenhouse, once the parts arrived and I could finish building it. Joshua made sure, that I watered the seedlings every day. And Sara enjoyed the milder days on the back porch.
March Racing clouds and whistling winds, Coats flapping in the breeze, Bright kites circling in the skies, The dance of swaying trees, The cheerful sight of crocuses, The first sweet breath of spring – Just part of all the many moods The month of March can bring.
My greenhouse arrived toward the end of February 2013. It was a Thursday. And on the following weekend, I began to build the greenhouse kit. To my dismay, I noticed two frame pieces were broken. I had to call the company the following Monday and wait for the pieces to arrive. UGH! That sucked.
In the meantime, Kevin fixed the chainlink fence and gate poles for the garden space. It’s an area to prevent the dogs from pooping in our garden. Katelynn and I cut a bush down and pulled its roots out as well as we could. Once she found a worm, she was too busy playing with it. So much about helping me with digging roots out of the ground, LOL.
National Cabbage Day on February 17th recognizes a delightful garden staple that provides some of the best recipes for the Celtic holidays coming up next month. It’s an excellent day to test your corned beef and cabbage skills alongside other delicious seasonal dishes.
In February 2013, I purchased a 8 x 6 ft. greenhouse kit. While I was waiting for the kit to arrive at our house, I started some seeds with Katelynn and Sara. We also prepared some avocado pits and let a pineapple grow roots in a jar filled with water. The girls had a miniature greenhouse with colorful salad tomatoes.
Dutch iris (Iris × hollandica) is a hybrid bulbous iris. Its name does not reflect its place of origin but rather the Dutch people who hybridized it. Iris xiphium, the parent species associated with the Dutch iris comes from Spain and Portugal. The 3- to 4-inch flowers are usually multi-colored. Blue, bluish-purple, white, bronze, rose, gold and yellow are the most common colors.
The garden pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana) is a hybrid, one of whose parents is V. tricolor, which is a weed of European grainfields, the other parents being V. lutea and V. altaica. The tufted pansy, or horned viola (V. cornuta), is the parent of numerous forms of bedding pansies. The wild pansy (V. tricolor), also known as Johnny-jump-up, heartsease, and love-in-idleness, has been widely naturalized in North America. The flowers of this form are usually purple and yellow and less than 2 cm (0.8 inches) across.
The temperatures seem to be perfect for the greenhouse garden, this October. We still have quite a few snacker tomatoes. The beef-steak tomatoes are still green. And the flowers seem to do well. I also could harvest a banana pepper, a bell pepper, two eggplants, and half a bowl of cherry tomatoes and golden sun tomatoes. This Summer I started late because I waited for the greenhouse to be built. Therefore I will have a late harvest in Autumn.
This morning we had cool temperatures in the low 50s (11℃). The greenhouse door and windows are open. But the plants are still protected from the cooler wind. Everything begins to produce after the warm summer temperatures in August. It’s nice to visit the greenhouse and snack on some cherry tomatoes, while we wait for the beefsteak tomatoes to grow and ripen. This morning, I snacked on a bush bean as well. Hmmm! Homegrown food fresh from the vines is so tasty.
Last week, I fertilized my greenhouse garden with fish emulsion. And the garden shows, it gets some TLC. The banana peppers, bush beans, squashes, and zucchini grow fruits. Our Foxtail grass and “Red Fox” coleus plants grew big and bloom nicely. We had several blossoms on our eggplant. But they fell off too early to form a fruit. Now that it is cooling down, I hope I have more luck with the plant. I also made another friend. Harvey, the Harvestman spider, moved into our greenhouse. However, since Harvey moved in, Button is MIA. Hmmm?! 🤔🤨
Yesterday morning, I checked the plants in the greenhouse. After I added some fish emulsion to the watering can a couple of weeks ago, everything looked great and green, yesterday. The tomato, basil, and zucchini plants grew much bigger. My eggplant fruit didn’t grow much. But it has two more blossoms. Hopefully, our sunflowers will take off soon. They would provide some shade for me to sit in the greenhouse in the afternoons.
Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas, is the festival of the First Harvest. It’s held from the 1st to the 2nd of August, halfway between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox. This festival is named after the Celtic God Lugh It focus on the First Harvest of crops and offering them to the Deities.
The vine tomatoes and peppers begin to ripen in the greenhouse. And the seedlings emerge from the soil. So far, I have borage, bush beans, cucumbers, and sunflowers as seedlings. I believe that once it is a little bit cooler, some more plants will pop out of the raised beds. Due to last night’s rain, it was cooler today. This might help with seed germination. I also have a greenhouse helper: Button, the spider. She makes sure our plants stay bug-free. I haven’t seen Karmo (toad) in a while. He’s probably camouflaged or hiding in the soil.
This evening, Kevin and I worked on the other two raised beds in the greenhouse. After I positioned the cinder blocks in place, we filled in the beds with wood branches and dirt. Now, we let the soil set for a couple of days, before I begin to plant and sow more vegetables and some flowers in these raised beds. There is still so much Summer left in Connecticut. Time to make use of it.
Last week, I ordered more seeds from Botanical Interests for my greenhouse garden. And today, the package has arrived. The company always puts so much L.O.V.E. in its packages. Since it is only mid-July, there can still be so much done in a New England garden. Some of these plants can handle low temperatures, once they have established their roots in the ground. In the meantime, I want to enjoy some yellow, orange, and red colors inside the greenhouse in Autumn.
We have some growth in the greenhouse. The sun-gold tomatoes begin to ripen, the celery has recovered from the Black Swallowtail caterpillars, there are more bell peppers, and the bush beans sprouted in the raised bed soil. My Buddha statue was weathered and cracked. The top piece fractured just the right way so that I could place the face and portion of the upper body in the soil.
In these photos are some of my plants: eggplant, Golden Sun tomatoes, McIntosh apple, and Mandevilla blossom. Today I’ve also been sowing borage, Bush beans, Italian Flat parsley, marigolds, Mesclun lettuce, Purple Hull Peas, and sunflowers for companion planting; Common Buckwheat and Crimson Clover for improving the soil with nitrogen and attracting beneficial insects.
IT’S DONE! We finally finished building the greenhouse. Kevin had only to install the brackets, the doors, and some small pieces to keep the greenhouse sturdy and protect it from future storms. It looks great. Now, I can work on the rest of the raised beds and do some planting for the Summer/Autumn Season. There is still so much time left and the growing season can be extended before it will get really cold again. YAY! I’m so excited!
Sara and I are so excited, we are raising our first set of Black Swallowtail caterpillars in the greenhouse. First, we had the dill in small pots outside. Then we saw five caterpillars on the plants and decided to plant the dill, where the birds have it harder to get to them. Right now, the Black Swallowtails are still small. But when they are nice, big and juicy, they are fair game for cardinals, jays, robins, … etc. to feed their offspring. Soon, we have to get some netting for the caterpillars. Once they become chrysalis, we can relax again. When they emerge from the chrysalis, Sara and I will name and release them with best wishes into the wild.
Our banana peppers, bell peppers, basil, celery, eggplant, lavender and tomato plants are doing very well. Our eggplant has shown a lot of growth in the last few days. Sara found Karmo, the toad, in the greenhouse again. He loves his daily intake of bugs. I mentioned to Sara, we need to build him a toad house where he can hide from the warm sun during the day. Right now, he stays cool by burring himself into the moist soil and comes back out in the evening hours. I’m glad we have finally built the greenhouse. It grows amazing food and attracts beautiful wildlife.
My neighbor, Lisa, always gives me these beautiful plants for my garden. Lisa works for a garden nursery. And once the season is over, she gets all the plants she chooses for free. They usually still last throughout the whole Summer into early Autumn. Who knows? I might be able to extend the season all the way until the first freeze, in the greenhouse. So far, our tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, herbs and flowers do well. It’s not too hot for them. Sara can’t wait for me getting more raised beds and plants into the greenhouse. She enjoys hanging out there. Especially, when it rains, she still can sit in the greenhouse and watch the raindrops hitting the roof while she plays with toads. And our cats would be in ‘heaven’.
This week, Kevin and Christian (Katelynn’s boyfriend) worked on the greenhouse. The roof still needed to be done. And it was a perfect time to have a man-to-man talk with each other. Both also installed my windows. Now, all that is left are more reinforcement beams and the door. The door I properly can build and install it myself. And when Kevin is back from Dallas, he can help me with those beams. The tomatoes and peppers are very happy so far.
This morning I planted my bell peppers, banana peppers, beef steak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, sun gold tomatoes, basil, and eggplant in the greenhouse raised bed. Some peppers and eggplant show some fruit on their vines. With the rest, we still have to wait a little bit longer. I’m so excited, I’m growing my first garden in New England.
While Kevin and I are still working on the roof frame, I began to build one raised bed in the greenhouse this afternoon. I built the cinderblock wall, so I could fill it with soil and start planting. First, I made sure we had barriers against the wooden frame, so the soil cannot seep out when it is wet. Next, I used fire wood, small branches, our old Christmas tree needles and some leaves, I still found in the yard from last Autumn. And then I filled the bed with
5 bags of raised bed soil
5 bags of all-purpose sand
2 bags of cow manure
20 bags of topsoil
Now, I let it saddle overnight. And tomorrow, I’ll begin to plant some peppers and tomatoes in the morning. We are supposed to have a rain storm tomorrow evening. This will be a good time to get those plants nicely watered.
Today, Kevin and I worked on the upper level a little bit on the roof frame of the greenhouse. While Kevin installed the frames, I got all the smaller and more detailed work done to prepare the framework to go up in its place. Tons of screws and bolds had to be untightened in the framework and crossbeams had to be connected on the ground first to make it easier for installment.
While Kevin and I spent most of the day outside, we had the chance to see three Lockheed C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft flying over our property. If you are familiar with the Navy Blue Angels airplanes, the “Fat Albert” is also in the C-130 family. It was very cool to see this flyby.
Today, Kevin and I got some work done with the greenhouse. Now, the lower frame is installed and the panels are slid in place. There were so many screws for putting the frame together. Our backs began to hurt and we had to call it a day. But I’m glad we’ve got it this far. The next level had to be done with a ladder. The greenhouse is very tall.
Since the early morning hours, we have had rainstorms passing through Connecticut. Due to the rain, the air feels so refreshing. It is cleaner from all these pollens flying around, which are causing us to have seasonal allergies. Here in New England our allergies are not as bad as in Texas. But we still get them. Mostly our throats are itching. Today, we can walk outside without any symptoms. It is nice having a break. I used this opportunity to capture photos of the rain on our back porch. And I filled a couple of milk containers with rain water from the gutter. At some point, we need to get one of those rain water barrels. we had in Texas. Fresh rain water for the garden and greenhouse is still the best.
Kevin and I reinforced the wood frame because the outer frame was too big. And I didn’t want to chop the original frame up. Once the wood frame was done, I built the aluminum bottom frame. We secured it by screwing it into the wood frame. Hopefully, this will prevent the greenhouse from falling over in high winds. Now, all the little detailed work has to be done, before I can build the outer upward frames, so I can slide the polycarbonate panels into place. Yep, this will take some time to get all done.
Every day, there is more color in our yard. Over the last weekend, the pink Rhododendron’s buds began to open up and started to blossom. Once the whole bushes are in full bloom their green leaves can barely be seen anymore. There will be pink half globes all over the shrubs.
Amaryllis ‘Clown’ is the other plant my neighbor gave me several weeks ago. Today, the Amaryllis is finally in bloom. It took almost three weeks longer than the ‘Apple Blossom’. The heat in the sunroom seems to help. We’ve reached triple-digits there. As long as I keep the plants out of extreme sunlight, they are thriving.
This morning we went to Home Depot early to get our materials before it would get too warm to work on the greenhouse. After I worked on paving the floor this whole last week, I filled the space with sand. Kevin helped me screw the wooden frame together. The frame will be great for higher raised beds and it keeps the aluminum frame of the greenhouse sturdier. Later, we will add stairs by the front doors to have easier access inside the greenhouse. Now, we just have to wait for the temperatures to cool off before I can get more work done.
It began to rain in the early morning. And the rain lasted until the late morning hours. While I captured photos of droplets, a Northern Cardinal fledgling got confused and almost landed on me. Once it figured out, I wasn’t mommy or daddy it made a sharp turn and sat on the porch railing.
Today, it was a cool day. However, this weekend we are supposed to get temperatures in the mid-90s (35℃). It will feel just like Texas, before the weather cools down to the 70s on Monday.
The greenhouse was ordered and picked up, and the materials for the greenhouse floor were ordered and delivered. And I have my vision put on paper. All I need is to focus and some elbow grease to turn this idea into a nice little garden oasis. The first mission will be the base to build that floor. This will be a backbreaking project. Let’s see how everything will turn out. I’ll keep y’all updated on this project.
I’ve got some work done with the flooring for the greenhouse. After I measured everything out, I put the stakes in place and span a rope around the perimeter. Once I had the edging installed, Kevin and I dumped a gravel mix on the ground. Then we covered it with landscape fabric. Now, we have bricks on the fabric temporarily.
Since the weather is beautiful, and I recovered from the surgeries I had last Winter, it is time to work on my project where I left off last Autumn. Last weekend, I spread out the leveling sand and started to work on the brick floor. While Kevin transported the bricks from the pallet to the spot where I wanted the greenhouse to be, I laid them out on the ground. Every other day, I work on the greenhouse floor, so I can get to the next step: Building a frame on the bottom of the greenhouse to get more raised bed space and prevent it from flying away in the high wind gusts. The bricks are not set perfectly. But in most areas, I’ll have raised beds anyway.
Several weeks ago, my neighbor gave us two amaryllis plants. A couple of days ago, our first plant started to bloom. Four of the six blossoms are open. The second plant needs a little bit longer. But it shouldn’t take too long. The weather is getting warmer. The amaryllis really seem to love the sunroom, as long as they are not in intense sunlight.
Now, at the end of April our yard has changed quite a bit. More ground cover blossoms have emerged from the ground; the shrubs begin to bloom; and our maple trees start to turn green. Spring becomes more colorful. The last couple of days, I’ve seen an American Robin picking nesting material on our property. A Mourning Cloak butterfly flew across our yard as well.
While I captured photos of fresh Spring blooms I asked our neighbor, if it was okay to capture some photos of the Saucer Magnolia blossoms on his property. After I’ve got permission, I shot some images of these beautiful blooms. They always remind me of my childhood in Germany. We’ve got a lot of Saucer Magnolia trees in the Court Garden of the Residence and in the Royal Garden (Kaisergärtchen) close to the train station in Würzburg. As a little girl, my grandma dressed me up, when we took a walk through the Court Garden of the Residence. When grandma sat on a bench to take a break near the Saucer Magnolias, I was collecting the blossom leaves from the ground and counted them, how many I could hold in my hand. That kept me busy for quite some time.