A personal record of what's going on in my Northern Michigan zone 4 gardens. I use raised beds and grow organically. Nothing fancy--just trying to garden with nature in mind.

Monday, May 2, 2016

End of the Month Round Up--April 2016


An Overview May 2, 2016 
 April is when my seed starting starts in earnest and this year was especially busy.
     
I "invested" $6 on a half dozen clear plastic shoeboxes (with CLEAR lids!) to put the seeded cells in .
I put it on the top shelf--it's the warmest--and labeled the outside of the box with the name and sow dates. It kept the soil nice and moist......and kept it extra warm as well. I had the best germination ever--most of the time 100% germination.  No more messing with plastic wrap or those FLIMSY plastic trays with the domes.
Seed Packs staying moist and toasty in Plastic Shoeboxes
Seedlings moved to trays on lower shelves to  grow on in cooler conditions

April 1-7  Snow everyday.  Totall for the week-almost 18 inches. Sanity---Short Supply.
                Temps ranged from 10 to 20 degrees BELOW normal.  Several nights we
                hit lows of just 6 and 10 degrees.

April 9-- Sunny--HIGH of 27 degrees. Fahrenheit. Not Celsius. Good Grief. Happy Spring. Ha.

April 10  Abandoned House on local Tree Farm


April 10 More snow

April 11-12  Flurries

April 14  BOOM--Spring Arrives. SUNNY!!!!!!!!  58 degrees.  Hooray.  Sanity found!

April 15--Michigan is a terrible state to live in--our governor does his damndest to make sure
              it's citizens bear the brunt of costs, allowing businesses to not pay, but one thing that
              it does do for us is leave cut trees lay for firewood and chip up branches and leave in piles.
              Hubby scored TWENTY YARDS of mulch......for FREE, off the state.  Hooray.
              So, the next 2 weeks will be spent shoveling mulch all over my various planting beds.

April 16-18 Sowed a flat each  day of alyssum .  I edge EVERYTHING with alyssum.                                         Hubby surprised I don't serve alyssum with supper!

April 19  Edged perennial beds around garage, sidewalk border and scummy pond bed.

April 20  Edged flower beds around south and west side of house.  Crisp! Beautiful!
                The only thing that would make this better is NO DEER and some spring blooms!
                                                       



April 21-24  Buckets of Dahlias planted. I move them in and out of the house every day. Tiring!
                   NOTE TO SELF---win lottery. Buy greenhouse.

April 24-26  Daytime highs only in the upper 30's for most of the day. Heats up around 5 pm--when
                    I am DONE for the day.  Not much accomplished. Hard to get motivated with a
                      bitter cold wind blowing.

Apil 27-28  Cloudy, cold, nighttime temps in the 20's and 30's.  Doesn't warm up until FIVE PM
               
                 NOTE TO SELF-Trying a heater in the garage on a timer set at 2 hour intervals.
                                           Has kept plants nice during lows in the 20's.  Will do from now
                                           on to spare me from running plants in and out of the house.

Mobile Table of Seedlings

April 29--58 degrees and SUNNY---Hooray.  Shovelled 10 more yards mulch
               Set up water tank behind little garden shed
             

April 30 --Sowed : Sugar Snap Peas
                            Lettuce-Valentine Blend
                            Spinach-Space
                            Mache
                            Radish
                            Planted Shallots

Last Years "Finds"--a water cart on wheels and double washtubs for planting up in the garden!


I'm so happy May has arrived. Though I am still 5 weeks away from planting the garden, it's nice
to be able to have the cold frames going and just enjoy a lot of time outside.
Hope you all have a great month.  I'll post again  after planting (June 4-June 10)
Date Day-April--RV/Motorhome Hall of Fame, Indiana


54 comments:

  1. I love your flower beds and garden, it looks so pretty! Great idea with the clear containers, I may need to borrow that one. ;-) Hope it warms up for you soon so you'll get to enjoy more time outside.

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    1. Hi Anke--I think Spring has forgotten us up here! Send sun. And warmth!!
      But keep your crazy storms!!
      :D

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  2. Hello Sue, your month of April was very busy! The plastic shoebox idea was great. Your gardens are looking awesome. I like your pretty house. Hooray for the free mulch. I will keep my fingers crossed for you to win the lottery or for me to win, lol. The last photo is cute! Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

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    1. Hi Eileen--guess we can "Split" one of the BIG pots on the lottery, huh?
      Good Luck!

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  3. I loved your monthly review!
    Only $6 for six shoeboxes? geez here you can't even buy one with $6 :/
    Your mobile seedling table is so cool. Gave me an idea to make one, only I don't know where I'd leave it during the night.
    BTW that note "win the lottery and buy a greenhouse" is what I think every single April :D

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    1. Hi Leanan--That rolling table is probably my favorite thing in the spring. And the worst part is---when hubby originally made it for me I was kind of thinking UGH. I'm eating my words on that now-LOL!

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  4. Rthe weather here has put our gardening well behind where we should be.

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    1. Your weather may be behind, but your tulips are certainly putting on a grand show this year!!!

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  5. My goodness Sue I am exhausted....you do so much work for your garden. And I love your house. I am looking forward to following along to seeing how everything goes. Your weather was similar to ours but worse, definitely. I am zone 5b here, but more like 4 or 5 some years. We do suffer for our gardens and their short growing seasons. Good luck with the garden!

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    1. Hi Donna. I laughed when I saw they raised my zone to 5. No No. We spend the majority of our Februarys WELL below zero--often pushing Minus 35.
      But, the summers are cool and delightful, so I keep pushing on.....
      Have a great day

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  6. *sob* You've put me to shame. Shame! I say. So organized. So well planned. So...so...so OCD! Even the deer fence is tight and trim and much envied on my part. (Don't ask which part ... TMI. *heh* You are really ready to take off just as soon as better weather lands at your airport. Now, about that last pic. Is that a guy wearing a skirt? Or a woman in a man's hat. I also have a question about the statue.... *snark* Hang in there.

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    1. Kris--HA! You make me laugh. I think that was a guy statue, but yea, what is up with the dress????????
      Fight the good fight with those deer, my dear!

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  7. Wow - 20 yards of free mulch! I wish our municipality did that - we are sometimes able to score a pile from the hydro guys, but only if you are able to come across a truck with a full load and ask if they would mind dumping it on your driveway. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen all too often. And what a great idea with the plastic shoe boxes, esp. with the handy lids - hurray for 100% (most of the time) germination!

    Your edging job is gorgeous, btw! That's one task I don't particularly like, but the results are more than worth it. Unfortunately for us, it's still on our to-do list this year...this cold weather is really putting a crimp on getting all our outdoor work done.

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    1. Hi Margaret--yep, I was impressed with my germination rates this year.
      I never have to try to water the seedlings until they are really going well--then I take the lid off and work on toughening them up.
      I hate edging too, but that durn grass will get in those beds and tangle through everything. I do it once really good in the spring, then a real quick touch-up every 4-6 weeks after that. I wish I could find GOOD LOOKING edging that was affordable!!
      Have a great day

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  8. I loved your garden diary entries! It is always so interesting to see what other people do. You have such good ideas. I'm a newbie to garden edging...I got an edger (manual tool) at a garage sale last year and I really want/need to edge my beds so I need to figure out how to do it. Yours look great!

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    1. Hi Elizabeth--Thank you so much. I agree--these blogs are a wonderful resource and one can learn so much. Just a shame we can't find a way to get those edges to do themselves-ha ha. Now THAT would make life perfect!
      Thanks for the visit
      :)

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  9. Oh, dear Sue, you really do have it all down to an art and a science! The way you log everything and keep such good records is very impressive indeed. And most of all, you inspire others with your knowledge and sharing - thank you!

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    1. 2 Tramps-you are too kind. I guess it's just that the garden is now at an age that both it AND I are hitting a rhythm. The INSIDE of the house, on the other hand.............well, let's just ignore that for now-LOL!
      Have a terrific week

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  10. Okay, I'm drooling again just looking at the state your garden is in even without all the lusciousness you plant and grow. Question: In the top pic, what is the light colored stuff on the ground in the back third area of raised beds?

    What a good idea those shoe boxes were! Perfect for starting those little seedlings. The big plastic dome-like covers are not user friendly!

    Loved the last picture! And always enjoy your posts. More, please.

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    1. Hi Mama Pea--that's some of the FREE mulch from the state foresters. I regret starting to mulch that back area of the garden as it always needs fresh mulch applied--but I do admit it looks good when it's done.
      The rest of the garden walkways are just the sand I was blessed with. I just run an iron rake through it once a month. I love it!
      And Thanks SO VERY much for the past post on your coldframes. Loved it!!!

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  11. Love the photo of the garden beds from 'above.' Ready to grow!
    Great success on the seeds with those shoe boxes. I have those for most of my shoes.
    Glad for the free mulch. Sounds like your govenor and ours have a lot in common. :-p
    Funny about your husband and the alyssum. I used to have a lot of alyssum until we got so dry. Maybe I should try again this year.
    Good luck on winning the lottery so you can buy a green house. You have space for one.
    I like your double washtubs. I just love metal pieces in the garden. Here because they won't blow away, but in general they just look cool with plants.
    Cute photo with your friend on the bench. You sure have a lot ready to go.
    Nice to get your report. Hang in there. Spring is coming!

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    1. Hi GonSS-I've always adored your metal planters--It keeps me inspired when we're out on the road to keep an eye out for more.
      Thanks for visiting and I'm so happy you've gotten some good rains. Your garden is looking fantastic!

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  12. What a great idea the clear shoeboxes are. And all those seedlings!!! Wow... you do garden on a large scale.
    Your house is delightful. I know yours is a garden blog but just maybe one day you will feel like doing a blog about your house!

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    1. Hi Granny-Thanks--I might do a post once on the inside this fall. Can't this time of year because the outside gets all my attention. Come Spring, the dust bunnies rule the house--teehee
      :D

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  13. Shoeboxes next year! And I am green with envy over your beautiful laid out garden. Though that climate, not so much. We are a month AHEAD. It is crazy.

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    1. Hi len!
      Yea, sometimes I wish I could be out there earlier, but I guess this is teaching me patience. Thank goodness for LONG days when it does warm up--the garden catches up quickly. Take care

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  14. I love the shoebox idea! It looks like the cell packs fit in there perfectly!
    With your garden, it's hard for me to choose which I like most-the veggies or the flowers. I think you have more than a green thumb, maybe a green hand? ;0D

    Looking forward to seeing the magic happen at your place. I hope the temps level out. Sending you sunshine!

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    1. Hi Daisy! Just this morning, I sowed your beautiful Yellow Zinnia seeds!!
      I also sowed some beach flowers in 6 paks-didn't know if they need to be direct sowed???? I saved some for outdoor sowing in case I goofed. Thanks again!

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  15. Watching the seeds grow is such a joy. I remember those days well when we couldn't plant until May 24th. But how the garden came on in such a short time. I am sure you are looking forward to those times and I'm looking forward to seeing your wonderful vegetable and flower garden. Take care of those babies.

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    1. Rock Rose--thank you so so much. It's hard sometimes to stay encouraged--but yes, things up here progress so rapidly! Have a wonderful day
      :)

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  16. Kinda looks like here ( zone 5) I use the same kind of racks and lights indoors. That array of raised beds is impressive

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    1. Hi John-where would we be without our seed starting supplies!!
      Thanks so much for visiting

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    2. Nowhere in, to use John Prine's term, " the land of the wind chill factor"

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    3. Excellent quote--so apt!

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  17. I love your garden, Sue! You have been busy! :)

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    1. Thanks Linda. Hope you have a great weekend

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  18. Love your shoe box idea and your gemination rate…way better than plastic wrap. :) If there is a girl that deserves a green house, it you. I'll keep my fingers crossed you win the lottery.

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    1. Hi Karen--you are too kind. And thank you! You always make me smile.
      Hope you're having a great Mother's Day

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  19. Wow! Yet another person who is well ahead of me in the garden work. It look really great! I love to see a garden coming together, even if its someone elses. I'll get going on mine this week if the weather holds. I suspect I'll be doing something even if it doesn't :)

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    1. Hey Mark--You've had a LOT going on this spring. Me?-well, there's nothing to do but wait out the weather, and so all the grunt work gets done.
      Now get that Chicken crew WORKING!! Hahhahhaha

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  20. Hi Sue, Drooling over all your garden beds! Neat idea for the clear shoe boxes. Did you put holes in the bottom or isn't that necessary? Is it okay to plant alyssum before the last frost? Love your find of the double wash tubs! I would like a small greenhouse too. Need to figure out those plastic ones so it wouldn't blow away! We have driven by the RV Motorhome Hall of Fame different times on our way to Shipshewana but have never stopped. Your picture makes me want to. Happy Gardening and hoping for lovely weather! Nancy

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    1. Hi Nancy--no holes in the bottom of the shoeboxes. You never water those seeds until they are up--just make sure you start out with damp (not wet)
      potting mix.
      As for the alyssum, I'm debating that myself. It's cold hardy, and yet--they're babies, so I don't know. I'm holding off for a bit. Let me know if you plant yours early and if it works. I'd be interested in finding out.
      Happy Spring

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  21. Oh my! What a brutal April. April Snow showers bring the flowers...Not. Still you kept on going. Way to go...:)

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    1. Hi TB---gotta keep going--no one is taking me to warmer climes--haha
      Hope you two are doing well. Happy Spring.........sort of!

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  22. Looks like you have been busy busy!! I won't tell you what our temperatures have been in April :-) Can't wait to see what you get planted soon! You are down to a couple more weeks!!

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    1. Hi Melanie Smarty Pants. Ok-don't tell me about your lovely weather. BUT---in JULY---I won't tell you about my 70 degrees either-so there! Ha! LOL!
      So glad you stopped. Hope we get an update from you soon. Happy Spring

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  23. I am in love with your garden beds and beautiful house!

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    1. Hello oneandahalfacres! Thank you so much and I appreciate the visit
      :)

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  24. Your "NOTE to self--win lottery, buy greenhouse" made me smile. If I ever win the lottery a greenhouse is high on my list of things I'll buy too.

    I'm looking forward to reading about your planting.

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    1. Bill-I think a greenhouse probably tops the wish list of EVERY gardener. What heaven that would be when the drabs of March have finally driven me to the brink. Ah well--a girl can dream. Have a great week

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  25. Both your house and your garden look so nice!

    I'm soooo behind on garden stuff this year. I either got it all started early, or I stalled out and haven't done any more - so I have decent sized tomato plants, asian green, etc still ready to go in the ground, but nothing later started - annuals, veggies, etc. I blame it on the weird weather this spring. ;-)

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    1. Hey Jeph--I know all about the weird weather. It's crazy. I'm still 3 weeks from the big "plant-out", but cold weather crops aren't even in the ground yet. My broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts are still sitting there, getting leggier by the minute. Sigh.

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  26. After seeing all of the hard work you are doing, I am hard pressed to call myself a gardener. It was so interesting to read your journal and I look forward to watching everything grow as the season moves forward.
    I was talking to my brother-in-law in Michigan today and he told me they had a little snow 2 weeks ago and this week it's been in the 80s. Ha! That kind of weather makes gardening interesting.

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    1. Yep-the snow was.....interesting. I try to go with it and look at the bright side, but after such a LONG winter,---bah!
      Have a terrific weekend

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