So – greenhouse shopping.

So, I am looking for a very simple greenhouse.  More of a hoop-house / cold frame or whatever you want to call it.  I’m going to call it a greenhouse.

I don’t have much experience with greenhouse growing.  A few years ago I constructed a make-shift greenhouse out of an old metal swing-set and some plastic sheeting.  It served it’s purpose at the time to transition plants to the outdoors from indoors, under lights.  Now, I would like to start plants in a greenhouse but honestly do not want to invest thousands of dollars until I gain a little more experience.

Greenhouse shopping online, I found a “deal” at a big-box store.  It’s probably not the best construction but I’m hoping it would be a good learning tool.  If anyone has had any experience with similar greenhouses, please share your thoughts.

Greenhouse

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TGIF – for some

TGIF – for some people.  Since I work in retail, eh, not so much.

Decisions are in progress, I guess.  I believe that I will be continuing with my education and I will be going on to get a Masters Degree in Business with a concentration in Entrepreurship.  Exciting and very scary but I’ve had some great support in making the decision to keep going and considering I may never have another opportunity like this I’m going for it.

Decision number two – for now, we are not moving anywhere.  We are planning a trip to Arizona in the near future.  Our family is in WI, the kids like it here and honestly… so do we.  An idea we have is to possibly spend time there in the lovely winter months.  That will be somewhere in the future though.  For now, school, kids, work, building my business, life, love and all that good stuff.

Plant and seed catalogs have starting arriving and I have been dreaming and drooling over all the pretties.  I may do a bit of winter sowing to start with but I also have about 3 other projects around the house to finish.  A woman’s work is never done.  🙂

For now… a look back at previous gardens to give us something to look forward to.

New Year

I will have no resolutions for the new year.  Instead, I have intentions.  I intend to do more and procrastinate less.  I would like to have more experiences without the clutter so I am hoping to whittle down my belongings and concentrate on creating more time to do what I love, rather than just collecting things I like.  I have been thinking on how to narrow down my physical objects.  Honestly, just because I really like sewing machines does not mean that I need to have 20 of them.  Admiration of an object does not necessarily constitute possession of said object.

I have the intention to spend a little time on my business each day.  Since I started my new job at the beginning of last year, I’ve made very little time for anything besides work and school.  I have not sewn, crafted, crocheted, painted, sculpted or done much of anything.  This also has to do with my intention to whittle down possessions.  You cannot see through the window if blocked by collectibles and “things”.

What are my priorities?  I am still trying to decide.  Gardening, my business, school, and a few kinds of crafts are really all I need.  Today, obviously, I decided to blog about my first day of the new year.  Not bad for a first day.  I don’t promise to keep it up faithfully and many days will be rather boring notes of simple things I’ve done.

Today, to spend a little time on my business, I walked in the yard and collected some perennial seeds.   One of those simple things that I have been putting off for weeks and weeks… took me about 10 minutes of my time.  I was able to collect Hibiscus, Primrose, Aster and Solidago.

Mid January

We’ve settled into mid-January.  The craziness of the holidays is over at home and at work and I can jump into some new ideas and projects.  Since the last time I visited (wrote, blogged, chatted etc), we’ve adopted a couple Muscovy ducks and 5 bunnies.  All are getting along just fine here and I am really happy  for the additions to our little fur family.

I’ve also purchased a small parcel of land that is situated about 2 miles from the house.  This will be the future growing site of Rustic Path Gardens (previously “Bramble Oak”) and I am really looking forward to getting started on cultivating the land over there.

Yesterday and today, I’m not only finishing up some homework for a couple classes, I’m also working on a dilapidated, old quilt that I picked up at a thrift shop.  Very simple and almost primitive in style, it was just sitting on the shelf, begging for a new home.  And, at .90 cents, I couldn’t pass it up.  So, to repair it, I am going to rough edge applique some random squares and shapes onto it.  This is not a process I’ve done before so hopefully, I will not take away (too much) from it’s original character and simply enhance it instead.

A slow and steady process.  I’m a sucker for a good challenge.

 

Drying the Chive Harvest

Today I finished up drying and getting the chives into jars. Everything in the house smells oniony and delicious. I have read that some people do not like to dry their chives because they feel it loses a lot of the flavor but I have to say that has not been my experience. I think it retains the flavor just fine. Anyway – here’s what I did….

Picked a nice bunch of the chives.  Yes… they’ve already bloomed so I also saved the seeds for my Etsy shop.  The plants will just keep on going and send up new growth.  Gave them a nice, stern buzzcut so to speak.

chives1

.Then I rinsed them and laid them out in the dehydrator.  These don’t take very long in my machine…. maybe 6 hours in total.  You know they’re done when they’re crispy-sounding, like straw.

chives2  

I purchased a coffee grinder from a 2nd hand store specifically for herbs this year.  I had a mini food processor but it didn’t get the herbs as fine as I liked.  chives3

Here they are all ground up and in a glass jar.  They will keep in my cupboard for a very, very long time.  Some pieces are like fine powder and some are a little bigger.  A little variety is a good thing.  🙂  

chives4

A little extra chives here that I mixed with natural sea-salt.  I supposed I should have just put the salt and the chive bits into the jar and shook it up but I put it all into the coffee grinder and it turned everything (even the salt) into a very fine powder.  Lesson learned…. didn’t exactly want powdered salt but it’ll still work.

chives5

Seed Collecting

Today I started collecting seeds from my gardens.  There’s not a lot ready yet but the Spring blooming flowers are going dormant so it’s time for me to get busy.  This year (due to a couple of questions I got on Facebook) I’m going to try and photograph and record the  look of the dried seed pods and the seeds themselves as I collect them.  I’ll also include a photo of the plant’s flower in full bloom for reference.   So far I’ve collected 4 different types of seeds.  In general, try to wait to collect your own seeds until your flower / seed pod is almost completely brown.  In most instances, the seeds will release quickly from the seed head at that time.  There are a few stubborn exceptions to the rule of course.  You can click on the pictures below to get a larger view.

 

Columbine “Bordeaux Barlow”.  Blooms are about 1.5″ across and seed pods are about the same size in length.  They have tiny, black seeds that are only about 1 or 2 mm long.

Bordeaux Barlow Columbine
Bordeaux Barlow Columbine

Bordeaux Barlow Bloom
Bordeaux Barlow Bloom

 

Giant Purple Allium.  Seed heads are pretty large – about 3-4 inches across. They look kind of like a firework and the seeds are usually ready when the heads start turning yellowish / brown.   The seeds are black and only about 2-3 mm in size.

Allium Giant Purple Seed Head
Allium Giant Purple Seed Head
Allium Giant Purple Seed
Allium Giant Purple Seed
Tiny Giant Allium Seed
Tiny Giant Allium Seed
Giant Purple Allium in Bloom
Giant Purple Allium in Bloom

 

Onion Chives.  Seed heads look like ratty, little, round mops.  They measure about 1 inch across.  The seeds are black, small and kind of oval in shape.  Measure about 2mm.

Onion Chives Blooms
Onion Chives Blooms
OnionChives2
Onion Chives Seeds
ChivesBlooms
Onion Chives Blooms

 

Easter Wild Red Columbine.  These are a wildflower here and I have plenty growing in my yard also.  The seed head is slightly different than the ‘Bordeaux Barlow’ columbine pictured above… opening up a bit more at the top to release the tiny 1-2 mm seeds.    The seed head is about 1 – 1.5 inches in length.

Columbine Eastern Wild Red Seed Head and Seeds
Columbine Eastern Wild Red Seed Head and Seeds
Columbine Eastern Wild Red Bloom
Columbine Eastern Wild Red Bloom

That’s all I’ve collected so far.  Soon, I will be grabbing up some Foxglove and Sweet William seed and they’ve just started developing their seed heads.

A rule that I follow when I’m collecting seeds from the garden is to leave some seeds on the plant.  Not so much with tender annuals or vegetables.  But  I do leave some seeds to drop naturally from perennials, biennials and annuals that tend to reseed.  I also like to leave some seeds for the birds.  Primrose, mullion, coneflower, rudbeckia and sunflowers are a tasty treat for our birds in the fall.

Thanks for reading!

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