The daffodils, forsythias & magnolias are all in full bloom~ it is absolutely magnificent! It is about 9Pm right now and the rain just started coming down~ it sounds like a calm and steady straight down rain. Evan, Ryan & I got several things planted in the raised beds & the kitchen garden today and this rain is such a blessing for all those little seeds and soon to be us :-) ! Ryan wanted to pick his teacher a bouquet with the daffodils for tomorrow, he is so sweet. He loves to make bouquets and plant things. We were planting beets in a few of the raised beds after school today and all of a sudden he was gone. I called after him and he was getting ready to till up the spot he had worked in last summer. "Too wet yet" I told him. Raised beds are different then regular gardens, they dry out quite a bit quicker and you can get lots more stuff in them faster. One more reason why I am all about raised beds! We all love those first spring bouquets and they never seem to last long enough. You can add some vase life to them with a really simple homemade 'Flower Fresh' fresh recipe~ all ingredients you are sure to have right in your own home!
*Homemade "Flower Fresh"
Put 1/2 tsp. of regular household bleach and 1 tsp. sugar to every 1 cup of room temperature water. Change water every 5-7 days.
If you snip just a 1/4 inch off the bottom of the stems each day, this will also help.
You will be able to keep your bouquets looking nice for about 2-3 weeks.
*More Garden Tips
There are so many things that I have read & picked up over the years that it seems I could write on & on about this stuff forever... so here are a few more tried & true tips! Have fun...
*If you have trouble with flies coming in the house, try putting a potted Basil on the step or porch by each of your doors and if you have a window ledge outside you kitchen window or any other put a few there. Not are they only helpful here, just think how easy it will be to make Brushetta or Pesto now.... oh now that is sooo yummy!
*If you have shrubs or trees that need pruned in the spring, lay a tarp under the area to be pruned; then when you are done, simply fold up the tarp and dispose of in your compost or burn pile... easy as pie!
*It is seed planting time and some of those seeds are soo tiny! Lettuce & carrot to mention just a couple. Try using a large holed salt or sugar shaker~ simply put your seed in it and then shake them out in your prepared row! So easy!
*Weeding can be a trying experience even for the gardener who loves to garden. If at all possible, weed after a rain, everything comes out easier.
*Mulching is a time & back saver! If you know a farmer that has cows, horses or sheep they will have hay & straw. Bales often pop open and there is always loose straw around. Ask if you clean up the loose straw & hay if you can have it. I lay newspaper down my isles in the garden and even in the raised beds between the rows, and then cover with straw. Some people will say then you will be planting the seeds~ it's green manure! Plus I rather deal with the very minimal seeding as opposed to the hours of hoeing, tilling and hand weeding! I will be touching more on mulching & it's importance in coming posts!
*Simple Cuttings are very easy to do. Here are instructions on how to start your own Rose & Forsythia.
~ For a new rose bush all you need to do is cut a stem with a full bloom rose on it. Stick the stem into the ground. Leave a few of the leaves at the top with the bloom. Water the ground thoroughly and put a clear glass jar over it- like a mason jar- if you have a 2 quart jar that would be best, but a 1 quart works well too- and anchor it into the ground by twisting it until the jar is in the ground up to its shoulder; place a rock on it. Keep the soil watered around jar every day until frost. don't remove the jar until next spring. You will then have a new rose bush growing! I have tried this and it worked~ I got 2 out of 6 new roses.
~ Forsythia is super easy too! If you have a friend with a bush you are all set~ I am sure she/he will let you have a start. Forsythia branches will tend to 'bend' down and when the tips meet the ground they root on their own! Go to the shrub and you will see gobs of branches that appear to be separate bushes, but in actuality they are branches rooted down. All you need to do is cut the branch from the actual mother plant and carefully dig up the 'rooted branch'. Put in a bucket of water with the flower fresh in it and transplant into the location you have for it at home! Presto~ your own forsythia!
Mini Farmers Market Pizza's
These nifty little pizza's are so much fun for the children because you can let each one of them create their very own masterpiece! Not to mention they can put whatever toppings they like best. Here is one way, but be creative and have a yummy fun time!
6 Pita Rounds
1 1/2 cups pizza sauce
1 cup fresh Spinach from Garden Gate Farm, washed & snipped into bite size pieces
1 medium Red Onion from Garden Gate Farm, chopped
2 Roma Tomatoes from Willowridge farm, sliced thinly with seeds removed
2 cups mixed shredded cheese from Grassfields Organic cheese- choose two types for a more interesting flavor
Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 cup fresh Parsley from Garden Gate Farm, snipped
1. Place pita rounds on an ungreased baking sheet and spread each with 1/4 cup of pizza sauce.
2. Top with cheese; put tomato, spinach & onions on top.
3. Drizzle 1/2 tsp. oil over each pizza; sprinkle 1 tsp. parsley over each;
4. Sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese over each.
5. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly!