My Life is really in the Garden

Enjoying and sharing the daily discoveries of the beautiful nature that surrounds me in my lovely garden and everywhere else!


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some winnowing, some winter sowing summer seeds, some blue skies .. all is well

So I’m just posting the final photos from last Saturday’s Seedy Saturday!  Remember this winnowing machine?  First one I’ve ever seen and it was fun to see it operating!

28So I participated in the hands-on seed cleaning session.  And here are 2 of the framed screens that will be used to screen out chaff and any material that is not seeds.

40The instructor used leek seed-heads for demonstration purposes .. I think that there were about a dozen of these used.   She rubbed these vigorously against the screens.  btw, these screens are made with stainless steel metal cloth and are at least 10 years old (maybe more!) They are well made and look new.  Here is a link that shows a variety of the metal cloth:  http://www.twpinc.com/wire-mesh-material/stainless-steel

41The seeds are very sturdy and the resulting seedless flower heads look very brush-like and I believe that they could be used for making paper or something equally as useful and decorative.

42Many hands reached in to separate the seeds from their husks.

43Soon, there was a pile of the seeds and chaff ready to be sorted!  Someone operated the crank handle, which in turned, started the rotation of belts and the seeds fell through this opening and exited the winnower, sending the lighter, weaker seeds out one side and the heavier, more robust seeds out another!  This was repeated a few times ..until …

44ta da ..the cleaner seeds remained!  I gained a lot of respect for all the organic seed producers who must go through this process to prepare the seeds that we buy from them.  Quite a difference from saving seed at home!

45Back at home, a few days ago, we had the most beautiful skies!  Haven’t seen them for a few days, but I understand that they will return this weekend.  Yea!

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Oh, I am so happy that I have this Sea Buckthorn ….. it will grow to 25 feet and how I would love to plant it now .. hmmm. .. perhaps I will !!!!

54I understand that there is a male and a female plant.  The label doesn’t say so I don’t know which one I have.  The buds are quite strong.  I’d had this plant grouped in the shade last year and now that it is in the sun .. it seems much stronger.  We all need the sun, plants, animals, birds, humans!

55Here are 3 types of willow cuttings starting to grow in this pot.  If I planted them, which I might, then they will grow to 10 feet tall in one season.  Perhaps I will plant them also!  And I have a lovely story to share about where I obtained them.  But that is for another day.

53I have the most lovely coffee burlap bags to use in the garden.  They really are too beautiful to use .. each one has a history.   They are perfect for putting on the ground and on pathways.  They are organic and will break down, adding to the soil material.  I’ve also read that they are good for red wiggler composters, so I’ll cut up some sections and put them in my rw composter.

51I am also going to use some of them for growing containers .. for potatoes, beans, peas …they will stay in one place for the whole growing season.  Perfect.  Although I was tempted to try to make shopping bags out of the burlap – after searching for information online, I decided to not go down that path.  I have enough with my glass totems and my soaps.  More about those two passions on another day.

50And here is my little hard covered notebook where I have diligently scribbled when and what I have planted in my milk jug and salad containers for my “winter sown – summer seeds”   .. and here is a UK website about that:  http://theseedsite.co.uk/wintersowing.html

Also, I just had to take a photo of the latest batch of seeds that I recently purchased.  The Planting Project seeds are from the same business that held the winnowing session.49Well, it has been an overcast past few days here .. and I’ve wanted to go outside, but it looks so gloomy that I’m not inspired  However, when I do go outside,then I realize that the weather isn’t that bad and I do some type of chore .. whether it is holding up gigantic stalks of bamboo, visualizing giant red runner beans growing aloft (and hiding ugly nearby buildings) or peeking into my containers of seeds to see what is growing .. there is always something to do.  Or just stand and gaze at the sky, stand motionless and watch the antics of the birds.

Retirement has given me the luxury of doing what I want when I want.  sigh.  I’ve spent, oh so many.. years .. rushing around 24/7 and it’s kinda nice to get off that merry-go-round and relax.

 


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Sunny .. sort of .. Sunday .. my “winter sowing of summer seeds” is progressing very well.

I started my “winter sowing summer seeds” at the end of January.    Guidelines thanks to Kevin:  http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2012/11/winter-sowing-101-6/

This year I carefully labelled everything, writing the type of seed neatly, with permanent ink, on garden markers.  And I wrote the dates and details of each seed that I sowed into a hard covered notebook.  How veddy veddy mature, wouldn’t you say!   Last year I emptied the full packets of seeds into the containers.  And the seeds grew so well that I had way too many seedlings. So this year, I only sowed partial envelopes.  Except for some wild flower seeds and nodding onions (which my pal D, gave to me).   I can be constrained for so long and then just throw caution to the wind, as it were.  Here are some of my containers.  I ran out of milk jugs and decided to use the clear containers from lettuce and berries .. they worked out just as well.  Many of the seeds that I started at the end of January have sprouted already!!

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Here is a container of glass chunks that I uncovered when I was digging and sifting the ground, a few years ago.  There used to be a glass factory in the neighbourhood and our property sits on a portion of it.  I’ve uncovered a few cement foundations that I was going to use for a garden feature, but decided that it wouldn’t work out well so I covered them up.  The greenish glass is rather pretty and I’ve been thinking how best to show them off to their best advantage.  Still working on that.

301I use a fair bit of coconut coir in the garden, buying blocks of the compressed material and I leave them outside to crumble in the rain.  Far better than using peat moss, which is a non-renewable product, compared to the readiness of coir.  The plant cell flat is just waiting for the seedlings to grow a bit bigger so I can prick them out of the milk jugs and plant them in these cells.

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Ah .. garlic.  This was the year when I was only going to grow garlic in just 2 areas of the yard.  I’d created 2 temporary garlic beds, creating circles with 2 levels of brick.  Wonderful new soil, mixed with glacial rock powder, coir, compost.   I’d placed way too much organic straw on the bulbs and had to remove most of it to allow the greens to welcome the rays of the sun.  So, here are my two garlic beds.

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However, as I still had lots of garlic left, I thought, why not plant a few more cloves?  So I did just that.  I created forms with bits of wood that my DH had in his workshop.  Fastened them together with screws, filled with the above mentioned soil and planted the garlic.  Ok, thus far.

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But, wait, I had a few more garlic cloves, sprouting greens, and I thought, what’s the harm in planting these.  So, this is part of the side of the yard.  Garlic happily growing there.  Lots of seaweed tucked around them.

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Then I noticed more cloves sprouting, so I planted a few more on the other side of the yard.  After this, I planted some more by the garden gate, but haven’t yet taken a photo.  I’m hopelessly in love with garlic.  And dream of growing much more than this.

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Last fall I wasn’t able to “tidy up” the yard and thus there is still lots of things to do.  I found a container into which I had tossed a pile of bulbs and had forgotten about them.  I discovered some interesting things.  One was that this tulip bulb, thrown upside down in the pot, was still determined to grow roots and see how they have grown!

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Another thing I discovered was the magic of bulbs.  Determinedly flowering away despite the lack of soil.  No care whatsoever.  So what’s a gardener to do?

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Well, I potted them up, that is what!  I think these are Muscari bulbs, quite pretty. Grow on, bulbs!

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I took time to walk around the yard.  And I stopped by one of my two dwarf weeping willows.  One is quite strong (this one) and the second is needing a bit more love and care, which I happily supply.

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How sweet are these diminutive little willow buds.

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There are a couple of Flickers who visit the yard.  They really seem to prefer one of the plum trees for some reason.  And at this time, one was hunkered down by a suet block.  He did spend some time wrapped around the suet container, plucking out lots of the suet and now he was taking a break.

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Later on, he perched onto the trunk of the wild and crazy tree.  He stayed there for quite a long time.  Whether resting, or hiding from a raptor .. I didn’t know … I just was happy that he had a place to rest.

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A short time later, I was unloading things from my car when I noticed this eagle flying overhead, so I quickly got out my camera and clicked away.

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And he landed atop a tree way down the road.

317I just stood there for awhile, leaning against my car, clicking away, while this majestic raptor looked around, patiently, for the next meal.

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When the eagle left .. the Coopers Hawk took up residence.

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It’s been an interesting time in the garden again …


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Music has great power if only we can listen

Much has been written about the power of music to help plants grow.  Studies have been done to prove the energy levels.  I know that constant heavy noise has a negative effect. Why do you think the birds will fly away to a quieter place?

I feed the birds and they flock around (excuse the pun!).

And I play music.  Not live, cause my fiddle playing would make the construction noise sound beautiful.

I charge up my little iPods with all sorts of world music, including music for plants. 

Here is a good site for more information on music & plants:  www.musicforyourplants.com

I’ve been busy with my plants, enjoying the “winter sowing summer seeds” in my little milk jug terrariums .. even the lavender has been sprouting!  I planted them on February 14/14 .. I’d tried growing them in previous years, but no joy .. look at this!

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Enjoy ..

I’m away to the garden and will add photos later.

Smile