GBBD May 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day May 15, 2015
Never waste a single day of May. It is perfection. May is the only time I think I might become a poet.

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I have hundreds of peonies about to bust forth for Memorial Day. The added bonus was early bloomers for Mothers Day.

I have hundreds of this bright pink peony.

I have hundreds of this bright pink peony.

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Iris are just finishing up for the season.

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May is perfect and there are flowers every day. These are just a few of my favorites. And, in May, they are all my favorites.

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Proven Winners – Color Spires® ‘Crystal Blue’ – Perennial Salvia

This Perennial Salvia was a trial plant last year. It is available now at garden centers. Color Spires® ‘Crystal Blue’

GBBD: http://www.maydreamsgardens.com

New blue perennial salvia Color Spires® ‘Crystal Blue’

Look for this plant

Color Spires® ‘Crystal Blue’ Perennial Salvia

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The dense clumps make for good cut flowers.

Color Spires® is a perennial Salvia. You may have to rethink what you know about the annual salvias that must be planted every summer. There’s room for this new Proven Winners introduction in the garden or, it is beautiful and lush in containers.1_gal_color_spires_crystal_blue

‘Crystal Blue’ produces a full mass of light blue flowers in late spring/early summer. The humming birds and butterflies are attracted to this rounded clump of spiky blue blooms. Thick flower stems rise above the dense, rounded clump of textured green foliage and remains attractive all season.

This second year in the garden has moved up Color Spires® ‘Crystal Blue’ on the list of favorite salvias in the garden. I love Salvia and now that there are such hardy and beautiful perennial varieties, I plan to include Color Spires® Perennial Salvia in several garden spots.

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Color Spires® ‘Violet Riot’ Perennial Salvia

Color Spires® ‘Crystal Blue’ Perennial Salvia is the asset you have been looking in your blue flower garden. True blue flowers are hard to find and this one will be around for years to come. Color Spires® ‘Violet Riot’ Perennial Salvia will also blend into the blue garden beautifully.

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Color Spires® ‘Pink Dawn’ – Perennial Salvia

 

There are three colors:

  • Color Spires® ‘Crystal Blue’ Perennial Salvia
  • Color Spires® ‘Pink Dawn’ – Perennial Salvia
  • Color Spires® ‘Violet Riot’ Perennial Salvia

Since my back yard is the neighborhood bunny park (Like a dog park but for bunny rabbits.) All the Color Spires® are rabbit and deer resistant. These Salvia are drought tolerant and heat tolerant.

Is in the garden centers now. It is exploding with lavender blooms. Lush and full with textured medium green leaves. I’d have to say they thrive with neglect in my garden.

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Color Spires® Chrystal Blue Perennial Salvia

‘Crystal Blue’ Salvia is the first of its kind, most perennial Salvias are darker purple, so this is incredibly unique to have a light sky blue Salvia.

At 18-24 high and about the same width, it is a neat, orderly plant. A pretty focal point in a perennial cutting garden, a butterfly garden, or all blue perennial bed.

This is a reminder of what every gardener knows. Be Patient. Don’t give up on plants, especially those perennials. That first year, your newly planted perennial is busy establishing roots.

It just keeps getting bigger and more beautiful every year.

 

More new blue

Lo & Behold® ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ – Butterfly bush – Buddleia

lo_behold_blue_chip_jr_buddleia-2093A small version of a butterfly bush that blooms all summer. Attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds and bees, but deer resistant.

Growing only about two feet tall with silver-green leaves, this butterfly bush is small enough for container planting or in a perennial garden. The Blue Chip in my sidewalk border has not had any insect or disease problems. No need for deadheading or pruning.

MPG The best dwarf tomato plants

MPG Best dwarf tomatoes

My Garden Post

Dwarf tomato plants are ideal for small garden spaces and container gardens on the deck or patio.

MGP tomatoes. Dwarf tomatoes for My Garden Post. Tiny plants bursting with classic home-grown fruit and flavor.

Bush 506 Container Tomato produces 9 ounce fruit-growing 18 -24 inches tall.

New Big Dwarf tomato. Photo: http://www.tastefulgarden.com

  • This dwarf bush tomato plant will only reach 18-24″ tall and has a medium-large sized red juicy fruits. They are great for container growing as the plants stay compact and have thick, upright stems and they produce loads of 9 oz. fruit. One of the few full-sized tomatoes designed for container growing. 62 days Plant from The Tasteful Garden

 

New Big Dwarf Heirloom Tomato (This heirloom was “new” in 1915.)

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The plants are “Dwarf” but the tomatoes are 8-12 oz. beefsteak. 60 days! (Plant from The Tasteful Garden The thick, sturdy stem of this small plant is strong enough to handle the weight of regular sized tomatoes.

 

“Litt’l Bites” Cherry Container Tomato

tomato-cherry_bites-02A sweet, cascading bite size tomato Early and compact, just 20 inches wide and 12 inches tall. (Seed from Renee’s Garden Exclusive.)

Dwarf tomato plants grow 24" tall.

Dwarf tomato plants grow 24″ tall.

Tomato success tips:

  • Keep tomatoes picked to encourage continuous production.
  • Watering schedule will need to be adjusted as the days get longer and hotter.
  • With little root space available in the planter, plants must be supported with good potting soil, once or twice daily water and regular diluted fertilizer or extended release fertilizer as recommended.

You might also want to try BushSteak Hybrid Tomato a Burpee Exclusive with compact (20-24″) plant. compact (20-24″) plant.

Get the best price here:

MGP_Logo_2Color_356K

  • You can buy My Garden Post from this Oh! Grow Up Blog. We both benefit. You save money and I get credit for your order. Use this code: 50offMGP at checkout to get $50 worth of savings for My Garden Post with Drip Irrigation.

My Garden Post sent the original post to me free of charge so I could demonstrate how easy it is to assemble, install the irrigation, and grow lots of food in a tiny space.

My Garden Post  $50. Off. Use the coupon code: 50offMGP 

MPG Diary May 6, 2015. Tomatoes. III PBH

Grow a salad in a hanging basket

Less weeds and insect damage

Hanging Baskets for 3 seasons

  1.    Spring salad greens
  2.    Wave petunias, giant leafy ferns, tumbling begonias, cascading coleus.
  3.   Dwarf green beans and radishes, baby carrots or turnips.

Merlot lettuce. This rich dark Merlot colored lettuce holds a color all season.

Mix it up.

Brune D'Hiver Lettuce is tender, mild little lettuce that works best with other mixed lettuces. It's tender leaves and mild taste can not carry the salad by it's self.

Brune D’Hiver Lettuce is tender, mild little lettuce that works best with other mixed lettuces. It’s tender leaves and mild taste can not carry the salad by its self.

Mixed lettuces make the most colorful baskets.

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Mixed salad greens are simple. As radishes grow and are harvested, giving more room for the lettuces to grow. Slim and tender young green onions can be pulled at any time.

 

Lettuce and flowers.

Pansies and lettuce

Pansies and lettuce.

Pansy flowers are edible and a colorful addition to your salad bowl.

You might like Wilted Lettuce

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MGP Advantages of vertical gardening

Cool season crops

My Garden Post is Easy Gardening

MGP is off to a good start. Look at this lovely lettuce and the other bug-free salad greens.

The top three planters in the My Garden Post are growing salad greens.

The top three planters in the My Garden Post are growing salad greens.

I am loving my new My Garden Post (MGP).

Vertical gardening doesn’t get easier than My Garden Post. I planted a salad bowl garden in the top three planters.

The post and planters are mounted on five casters that makes it easy to move in for cool nights and out on the deck in the morning to find best sun exposure. MGP is solid and sturdy, no chance of tipping or spilling.

Lettuce, radish, green onions.

Lettuce, radish, green onions.

The planters are positioned at a comfortable height for planting, maintenance and harvesting. The dwarf tomato plants are sturdy and green. I removed the first tomato blooms to encourage plant and root growth.

An assortment of colorful lettuces are thriving in the smaller pots. It will soon be time to thin the lettuce for a first spring salad. Consistent watering and extended release fertilizer will allow more plants and herbs to fit in each pot.

Merlot lettuce.

Merlot lettuce.

Tending MGP is the easiest of all container gardening. No stretching, bending or reaching, I’m happy for no dirty hands or knees. Planters are positioned for easy access when it’s time to replace the cool season lettuces.

All the plants have better air circulation, which makes them less susceptible to mildew and other fungi. There is far less exposure to soil born insects and diseases with container gardening.

Flashy trout back lettuce.

Flashy trout’s back.

You still have plenty of time to order a My Garden Post. The MGP Drip Irrigation System guarantees no worries about the drought and watering even in August.

 

 

The draft tomato plants in the bottom two planters are are green and healthy, just waiting for warmer weather.

The dwarf tomato plants in the bottom two planters are green and healthy, just waiting for warmer weather.

The First Thing

in the planter is, Better Than Rocks.

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Cut BTR to fit the planter and reuse it every year. For My Garden Post planters it will keep the soil from running out of the drainage holes and create lighter containers.

  • Use less soil,
  • prevent over watering,
  • buy it once and use it for a lifetime.

I have some Better Than Rocks product that I’ve been using every year for 10 years. BTR is eco-friendly, 100% recycled plastic. See their cool site. Order online at Better Than Rocks.

Get the best My Garden Post price here:

MGP_Logo_2Color_356K

  • You can buy My Garden Post from this Oh! Grow Up Blog. We both benefit. You save money and I get credit for your order. Use this code: 50offMGP at checkout to get $50 worth of savings for My Garden Post with Drip Irrigation.

My Garden Post sent the original post to me free of charge so I could demonstrate how easy it is to assemble, install the irrigation, and grow lots of food in a tiny space.

My Garden Post  $50. Off. Use the coupon code: 50offMGP 

 

MPG Diary April 30, 2015. Lettuce, radish onion.II PBH

It’s Asparagus time!

Freeze It

Buy all you can, here’s how to freeze it for later.

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Big fat purple asparagus spears turn green when cooked.

 

 

 

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The best way to preserve asparagus is by freezing.

Take advantage of local farmers markets and market gardeners for fresh local asparagus. The best flavor, availability and prices will be in April and May.

How To Freeze

Wash thoroughly and break spears where they easily snap. Compost or reserve the woody stems for vegetable soup stock.

Sort spears into similar sizes. Cut spears into even lengths to fit freezer bags or freezer containers.

Prepare a large pot of boiling water and a container of ice water. Blanch no more than 1 pound of similar sized spears at a time.

  • small spears for 2 minutes,
  • medium spears for 3 minutes and,
  • large spears for 4 minutes.

Lift asparagus from the boiling blanching water and plunge them in ice water for 5 minutes to quickly cool. Drain on cotton towels.

Package, seal, label, date and quickly freeze.

Properly blanched and packaged asparagus will hold the flavor, color and nutritional content in the freezer for up to 10 – 12 months.

Wordless Wednesday

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MGP Vertical Gardens

Grow, flowers, herbs or vegetables vertically.

Grow, flowers, herbs or vegetables vertically. Photo: My Garden Post.

How my garden grows

First Look at My Garden Post

 

I’m growing a whole vegetable garden on the deck in just 4 square feet. It’s a new vertical garden project for the summer. My Garden Post is set up in full sun with drip irrigation.

My goal is to grow a whole vegetable garden on the  5 ‘4″ tall post. There are 2  large, 15″ pots and 3 smaller, 10″ pots.

Imagine a 2 ft. x 2 ft vegetable garden. That is a whole new definition of small space gardens.

If you think you don’t have room for homegrown tomatoes, try My Garden Post.

The instructions that come with the kit are clear and easy to follow. There’s even a video online for the post assembly and the irrigation system. Watch the video and assembly is a snap.

Starter plants in My Garden Post.

Starter plants in My Garden Post.

Build this well constructed and solid post with No Tools.

I suggest you get the irrigation kit when you order My Garden Post. You will need a pair of scissors and a tape measure to complete the irrigation system.

It’s been Too Cold for growing sensitive plants outside. So I started seedlings indoors. Here’s what My Garden Post looks like with the starter plants.

MGP_Logo_2Color_356KYou can buy My Garden Post from this Oh! Grow Up Blog we both benefit. You save money and I get credit for your order using this code: 50offMGP at checkout to get $50 worth of savings for My Garden Post with Drip Irrigation.

My Garden Post sent the original post to me free of charge so I could demonstrate how easy it is to assemble, install the irrigation, and grow lots of food in a tiny space.

My Garden Post  Use the coupon code: 50offMGP 

MPG Diary April 1, 2015 First Look.I PBH

Canning Cents: The Money-saving Whole-foods Canning Handbook

Canning Cents: The Money-saving Whole-foods Canning Handbook Paperback

By Stephanie Peterson

Canning Cents: The Money-saving Whole-foods Canning Handbook Paperback  – By Chef Stephanie Peterson

Canning Cents: The Money-saving Whole-foods Canning Handbook Paperback – By Chef Stephanie Peterson

If you read cookbooks like some folks read novels, Canning Cents will be to your taste.

The book opens with home canning basics, written clearly and simply. Home Canning Basics is uncomplicated and important information for beginners. Experienced canners can use this brush up because food safety is important.

Many people grow who a garden and preserve their harvest do so because they like to know where their food comes from, like eating chemical free foods, and want to save money.

I like growing and making gourmet foods that I would never spend the money on. Delis and fancy food stores sell Red Bell Pepper Relish for a whopping $6 a jar. With Chef Stephanie Peterson’s recipes, you literally make pickles and relishes for a few cents a jar.

Release any air bubbles before canning. Photo PBH

Release any air bubbles before canning. Photo PBH

The chef has blended herbs and spices that will turn a local apple harvest into of Apples in Cinnamon Syrup. Her unique recipe creates a generous 6 pints that just might send you back to the orchard or farmers market for more apples.
Those Apples in Cinnamon Syrup, Tomatoes with French Herbs, Sweet and Hot Corn Relish, are perfect gifts from the garden. Once your friends taste Black Forrest Jam, expect hints and requests for a jar every year.

The collection of canned tomatoes with either Italian, Mexican or, French herbs, will open the door to limitless recipes next winter. This cookbook gives first time canners the confidence to get started and offers a welcome recipe change-up for long time gardeners and veteran  canners.

IMG_1832Stephanie Peterson’s chatty comments above each recipe make you think you’re using the recipes of an old friend. Some, she’s even updated from her grandmother’s recipes.

Canning Cents will help you gather everything you need to preserve money-saving whole foods before the garden explodes. You will be ready to transform cucumbers to pickles with Peterson’s pickling tips and recipes.

Budget conscious cooks will appreciate the canned meat, stews and soup stocks. Whether you grow your food or shop at the farmers market, these recipes will save you money. This book is one to add to your collection.

ISBN-10: 1462115233

Powerful Perennials by Nedra Secrist

Powerful Perennials: Enduring Flower Gardens That Thrive in Any Climate

By Nedra Secrist

Powerful Perennials: Enduring Flower Gardens that Thrive in Any Climate by Nedra Secrist

Powerful Perennials allows you to focus on your gardening goals, whether that’s fragrance, attracting butterflies, or creating a color-splashed river of the earliest blooms. This book takes into account short growing seasons, elevation and snow pack.

Powerful Perennials: Enduring Flower Gardens that Thrive in Any Climate by Nedra Secrist, has all the information you need to master cold climate gardening. Learning how to invest in the right perennial for the right location will save you time, money and backbreaking work. You will not be one of the suckers impulse buying on the first warm spring day.

More than just dealing with cold climates, Powerful Perennials is a plant-life saving reference for gardeners dealing with dry climates, poor soil quality and ill-mannered wildlife. Plant propagation and division is one of the best money-saving reasons to buy perennials.

Each chapter will help you select the best plants for your garden. For example, start with a handful of Bearded Iris and you will eventually end up with a river of colorful iris. Divide them every few years for healthier, more frequent blooms. Learn how to hybridise and create your own iris variety.

Selecting a variety may be the most difficult decisionwhengrowing Iris.

Selecting a variety may be the most difficult decision when growing Iris. Photo: PBH

Each plant recommendation includes simple and clear information about how well it tolerates droughts, cold seasons, wildlife, and native soils. Choosing the perfect plant doesn’t guarantee success. Powerful Perennials guides you through proper planting, care, and a bit of history.

While this book is written with the most challenging environments in mind, it is not limited to the Rocky Mountain states. Remember the Rocky Mountains stretch through Wyoming’s Zones 3 and 4, Idaho and Colorado’s Zones 4 and 5 and Utah’s wildly varying Zones 4 through 8. When choosing perennials in the Rockies, snow pack, elevation and freeze-thaw fluctuations must be considered.

Living in the South or Midwest, perennials much less complicated. Still, this book is very helpful in making the long-term investment in perennial additions to your home landscape wherever you live. Chapters on choosing the right tools, metal garden art accents, and container gardening are helpful and inspiring.

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DooDads Iris, photographed in Dave Niswonger’s home garden. Photo: PBH

About the Author: Nedra Secrist teaches gardening seminars and uses hands-on training courses to help gardeners succeed. Nedra and her husband own Secrist Gardens , a perennial nursery with locations in Brigham City, Utah, and St. Charles, Idaho.

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