The Potager

The Potager

Monday, April 11, 2016

Look what I dragged home

Last week I drove down our street and saw a "brass bed" head board that had fallen out of someone's truck on a dump trip, lying on the side of the road. When it was still there two days later, I pulled over and picked it up. It didn't fit in my car so I drove home with the tailgate open in my small SUV. And it was quite heavy. I'm thinking it is cast iron, perhaps? Twin sized, I think.
Isn't it pretty? (I need to think what my background looks like before I shoot pictures. Ugh.)
I want to use it in my garden without being too corny.  I am not thinking Flower "bed" like this:While it is cute, it's not what I want.

Funky Junk Jennifer - an old iron bed head board... such a neat idea:  
Here's one used as a garden gate. That could work. (from funkyjunkjennifer blog



Or how about turned into a garden bench? (from  Southern )

Old iron bed frames and metal gates with character look wonderful in gardens with blooming vine to climb on them.....Love this!!: Vining flowers? But I don't know any that are short enough to use with the headboard.

It was a happy find. I'll let you know what I come up with. 

Keep your eyes open, you never know what you will find on the side of the road!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Another bad weekend - weather wise

I keep saying "Next weekend it will be warmer, it can wait one more week." And then again we get a freeze warning for our area.
Last week I covered the seedlings with straw and they survived well. Some of my other plants did not fare so well -
Last week
Still good things are happening in the Potager. My son gave me an early Mother's Day gift yesterday by giving me a day of manual labor. He and his Dad built boxes, hauled dirt and just about finished the garden for me to plant in. I left work early and my son and I planted one of the beds. It was so cold outside. My son said, "It might snow tomorrow. Will the seeds be okay if it snows?"
I told him, "I think so. I don't really know." He said "I thought you know these things."
 I smiled and replied, "What I lack in knowledge, I make up in joy."
It is true. I may never be a master gardener, but I am all smiles when I am in the garden.
My early Mother's Day Gift

Today is cold and rainy, no snow yet - although occasionally I see large white frozen rain mixed in.
I put the straw back on my beds to protect the young plants. Even without snow, the temperature is supposed to drop to 26 tonight.

I love the smell of straw. It's so ... earthy. I also put straw over the emerging asparagus. I didn't do that last week and lost them all.

Last week when it was too cold to work in the garden, I transplanted the bell peppers that were failing to thrive into bigger containers and used potting soil. What a difference!
 They doubled in size and their true leaves finally came out. I planted these on Valentine's day. Peppers can be so slow growing! I'm sure they would be better in a warmer environment under grow lights, but I have what I have at this time. Hopefully they will continue to do well and be ready for transplant at the right time.
I also transplanted my tomatoes, which were getting leggy and they look happy now.
I had to put some pots upstairs in my sewing room because I ran out of windowsill space in my dining room. The dinosaur kale and spaghetti squash I planted last week just came up through the soil today.
I took advantage of the rainy day today to sew a bit. I would like to show you my sewing room - non garden related, but lovely nonetheless.
We just redid it this winter. I am thrilled with how it turned out.  
It is so organized and easy to work in.
I painted an old frame, had hubby secure some pegboard and added pegs for my threads. 
We hung my embroidery hoops on an old coat hook.
All my scissors are hanging right above my cutting board. And bulletin boards for ideas. 
Um, I guess I'm idea-less at this moment.
This was a Ballard Design rip-off. Hubby cut out the arrows and I wood-burned them.
The other side of the room has the old antique rope bed my daughter slept in while growing up. 
It's tall and only 3/4 size.  
Above the bed hangs a ladder I took from my Dad's shop when he retired. It's old and worn and splattered in paint. I love it. I bought two different styles of picture frames from IKEA which fit in each rung perfectly. I still haven't printed out pictures for them yet.

And over the bed I painted a definition of Selah I saw on An Oregon Cottage
in another IKEA frame. (Don't you just love IKEA? My sewing chair is from there also.)

There's plenty of room for the ironing board when sewing. I also do yoga in this room in the morning. All my fabric and supplies are neatly stored in the closet.
But my favorite part of this room is the view I have when I am sewing.


Monday, April 4, 2016

Tundra Swans

Where we live we are visited by Tundra Swans each winter. Hubby and I go out into the woods in our jeep to see them in the bogs that are hidden from all those without four wheel drive, or scoot down the road to Whitesbog Village, where anyone can view them.
So beautiful. Tundra swans mate for life. They carefully choose a mate and will not mate with another. It may take eight years for a tundra swan to choose another mate if theirs dies, some never mating again. True love? Probably not, but it is romantic to me.
Also romantic is my hubby. He carved a pair of tundra swans with their beaks making a heart shape for our gate. He said it represents us - mated for life. Isn't he sweet? (And talented)
The tundra swans are most likely headed back to the tundra by April, but if you are in the area in next winter, you should stop by Whitesbog Village and see them. Magnificent.
The two on my gate will be here year round!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Hello April!

Gardening season has begun and there are changes being made, all for the better. Hubby noticed last year that it was hard to move a loaded wheelbarrow around the potager because the aisles were so narrow and shaped with odd corners. He felt that since we were now in our sixties (sixties!! how did that happen?) that we should have wider aisles that are easier to maneuver. He told me to think outside the box, so I came up with a plan and now we are redoing the whole garden. I will have more places to plant, but right now, it is not really blog worthy.
However, three beds have been planted in the hopes that the fence will be completed before the plants get big enough to attract the attention of the rabbits and deer.
My arugula is up. But only half the bed. I used two different left-over packs, and I fear one may have been too old. I'll give it another week and then go buy more arugula seed.
The english peas are poking up out of the ground. I planted two varieties, Little Marvel and Green Arrow. Both are up.
 I planed carrots and radishes in a bed which will also hold my leeks. One radish pack was from 2011 and did not come up. These Salad Rose radishes are from a package marked 2014, and they are all up. Hubby is always telling me to buy fresh seed, but I hate the thought of wasting seeds if they can be used again. Maybe 5 years was pushing it with the radishes. You don't know unless you try.
Inside, my bay window has tomato, bell pepper, leek and onion seedlings which are being protected from the cats with a messy array. My cats love to lay in this window and catch the sun, but that doesn't go well with seedlings growing.

opalka paste tomatoes
king of the north peppers - planted around valentine's day, just not thriving
jalapenos, in a different window and getting too leggy from lack of light

This weekend I am starting some flowers and my squashes inside from seed. I was going to plant two more outside beds but the northeast is getting a cold spell and I don't want to worry about too many plants outside. The beds can wait one more week.

There will be more to see in the coming weeks. I hope you are as happy as I am that Spring has finally come!

"O Day after day we can't help growing older.
Year after year spring can't help seeming younger."
-Wang Wei

Monday, February 15, 2016

A Cold Three Day Weekend

Three Day Weekends - you have to love them. I just wish they would come during the spring when I could use the extra time in the garden, rather than during a record breaking cold spell in the Northeast.
I've been pouring over seed catalogs, bought my tickets to the Philadelphia Flower Show and the ladies at church are already planning the garden tour for this coming June. I've ordered seeds and am annoyed they couldn't arrive in time for this long weekend. I long to feel soil on my hands.
I pulled a bag of frozen cherry tomatoes and a cube of frozen pesto preserved in the abundance of last summer and turned them into a fragrant sauce.

A warming bowl of spaghetti and meatballs served with homemade bread slathered in butter - calories will be worked off in the garden this spring.On a weekend like this I need comfort food.
I had wanted to go to Whites Bog on this last day of my three day weekend to see the Tundra Swans there. But my husband had to work today. So I busy myself with household chores while planning my future garden in my head.
Finally I can contain it no longer. I go out through the lightly falling snow to see if anything is growing . I first check my hellebores, andromeda and my winter-blooming jasmine

The hellbores have lots of buds!
The buds on the andromeda are almost flower like.
The winter-blooming jasmine is almost there - hopefully I'll see the blooms before the deer chomp them all away. This plant is supposed to be deer resistant. It is not.

My potager is in a state of deconstruction. It will be beautiful again, but it is particularly harsh looking on such a cold, gray day.

Yet, the saffron crocuses look great. Growing cheery green all winter before going to sleep in the spring. Silly off season plants.
That reminds me that I wanted to make a saffron based dish for dinner tonight and I mentally prepare a grocery list of the items I will need.
There are still two herbs that can be harvested: sage and thyme. The sage, while harvest-able, looks likes it's struggling and I will use the sage I dried last summer instead.
But the thyme is always a joy - I just brush away the pine needles and any snow covering it  and it is always there for me to grab some fresh for a meal. I have heard it is easy to dry, but I haven't tried yet. Another mental note for the summer. Try to dry thyme.
The snow is falling in little frozen balls, looking nothing like snowflakes.
It stings my face, and yet I stay. Dreaming of rows of lettuce and peas, green beans and basil and the amazing fresh taste of a cherry tomato right off the vine. Eventually the cold wins and I retreat to the warmth of my home with only a small branch of thyme in my hand.
"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home." 
-  Edith Sitwell