I am doing fabulous, (fabulously?) thank you very much, and it won't be long before I can no longer use my recovery as an excuse to get me out of various and assorted unsavory tasks.
Like getting dressed.
Basically, I've been doing a whole lotta nothing the last couple weeks, which results in a whole lotta nothing to blog about. Since a bunch of us seem to have spring fever, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to answer some of the gardening questions that I get on a fairly consistent basis.
BTW, it's snowing here. I'm trying really hard to be happy for all of you in the Midwest and East, but it's hard.
Weather jealousy is not pretty.
I am green with weather envy.
First up, the greenhouse.
Y'all love the greenhouse and many of you have asked about plans, etc.
There are no plans.
I know that's not the answer you were looking for and I am very sorry about that. We have a contractor who is able to build pretty much anything from nothing. I don't think we even gave him a sketch. We just kind of tell him what we want and he builds it.
As far as winter and the greenhouse, we have a propane heater and we keep the thermostat set a little above freezing. This is the first year our impatiens have made it through the winter, and it's so fun to have them blooming right now. It usually takes the strawberry pots a couple months to really fill in, so I love the fact that they'll be full and pretty right away in June when I set them out.
We also overwinter our geraniums and petunias and many herbs. I even managed to keep a parsley plant alive this year. Now that the days are getting longer, things are really starting to grow. I'll give almost everything one more good cutting back, and then let them go crazy between now and the first of June, which is when it's usually safe to set things outside.
We do struggle with a major aphid problem in the greenhouse, but we order ladybugs to keep it under control and they really do a great job. Plus, they're cute, and who doesn't like cute!
We also have an issue with slugs, but I'm working hard to rid the greenhouse of the slimy dudes that are straight from the pit of hell.
Slugs are the Spawn of Satan.
Moving out to the gardens. Some of you have asked for gardening advice, tips and tricks, what to plant, etc.
I don't think I can really help you out with what to plant, as that depends so much on where you live and your garden zone, your weather conditions, your soil and a million other factors, such as whether you live in the country and have the other garden Spawn of Satan known as deer that come into your garden and eat every single gorgeous rose and snarf every single delphinium bud right before they bloom.
I used to like deer. I used to think they were pretty and wonderful.
I'd better move on before I say anything more to encourage the onslaught of deer loving hate mail I feel coming my way.
Don't hate the hater.
There are, however, two things that are major factors in how my gardens look.
First, I over plant.
I usually ignore spacing guidelines and never, ever thin things out. Our growing season is so short that I try to pack as much punch in as possible.
We use a drip irrigation system and the water emitters are spaced every six inches, and I plant an annual by almost every emitter.
I do have a small amount of reason when it comes to perennials though, and give them plenty of space to grow and fill in over the years.
Fertilizer is the second weapon in my gardening arsenal.
For the perennial beds, I usually sprinkle a slow release, granular fertilzer around the plants one time early in the growing season, and then we also use a compost rich mulch to dress the beds and keep the weeds under control.
I take care of my annuals in a different way.
I fertilize my annuals (herb garden, greenhouse garden, vegetable garden, pots and hanging baskets) weekly with a water soluble fertilizer. At least until about the end of August, when I start to run out of fertilizer steam.
I use Miracle Grow, which I get at Costco, and I alternate that with a bloom booster. Years ago, Costco sold its own Kirkland brand of fertilizer which had a 20-20-20 formula. I would mix that into the rotation as well. I think K-mart sells a 20-20-20, and sometimes I'll buy that and rotate it in.
Some years, I just use Miracle Grow. It all depends on just how obsessed I am with having my garden look its best.
Last year, leading up to my son's wedding, I was fertilizing things about every five days.
This year, we are taking it easy and have no big events here at the farm, so it's going to be a much more low key gardening year.
And by that I mean that I'll probably only plant 800 zinnias, instead of 1110.
Oh, one more fertilizer fact. I use a watering can, not a hose sprayer. I have never found a sprayer that evenly distributes the fertilizer, and as I'm a control freak, I like to mix my own. It's a lot more work, (last year, it took more than three hours to fertilize everything) but that's how I like to do it.
Also, petunias L.O.V.E fertilizer, so sometimes I'll add an extra between feedings feeding just for them.
I've lived in Montana for eleven years now, and it's taken years of trial and error to discover what works best for me here.
There are many, many basic plants that I just cannot get to grow well.
Cilantro and basil are two of my most wanted herbs, but I can't grow either to save my life.
Many different annuals that are gorgeous in the nursery, look like death warmed over after just a couple weeks at my house, and I have no clue why.
If you're just starting out, it might be fun to buy a wide variety of whatever catches your eye at the nursery, and see what does well in your garden.
I highly recommend a good potting soil, and make sure you take note of the sun/shade requirements for the plants you choose.
Most of my gardening know how has come from simply flying by the seat of my pants.
I am not an expert.
I am not a master gardener.
I don't know the latin name for anything.
I am not an Organic Olivia.
I have no doubt there are many other ways to get the job done, but this is what works for me.
So, there you have it! If you have any other gardening questions, feel free to ask and I'll go ahead and answer them right here in the comments.
Have a wonderful Wednesday, and if it's gorgeous and sunny where you are, please wear some flip flops just for me.