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Seed Starting Workshop

Please join us on Saturday, February 26th at the West Bloomington Revitaliztion Project office at 800 W Washington St in Bloomington for a seed starting workshop.

The workshop will start at 10:30am, and will be led by McLean County Master Gardener Charlotte Talkington. Charlotte will show participants how to make paper pots from recycled newspapers, and will provide coleus cuttings and seeds to take home.

Come join us and get ready for spring!

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We spent some time at the garden over the weekend – I can only turn so much soil in one session, so our garden is being prepared as we plant. And we have planted!

To be honest, I don’t remember what we planted, but most likely kale, black eyed peas, lima beans, lettuce (which is up already!) and some assorted seeds that the girls picked out. Our garden will certainly be no masterpiece, there was no planning involved, it’ll just happen as it happens!

I did take some photos. Of course they are still on the camera, but I’ll post them as soon as I can. Wasn’t the weather just perfect for gardening this weekend? We’ve had some rain, which made the weeds easier to pull, and there are so many weeds that the compost piles really do need to be turned!

I’d like to invite all gardeners to become authors on the blog, just sign up for wordpress, send me your email address, and I’ll send you an invitation. We’d all love to see your garden growing online!

I met Katie at the garden this weekend. She has a beautiful set up with a big bean pole tent in the center and some great bamboo trellises. She also has a terribly cute little daughter with the biggest blue eyes you’ve ever seen!

So, what are you planting now?

Kate Jerome, of http://www.garden.org, says you can grow greens all year round by making a crude greenhouse. She recommends using woodchips to a depth of 6″, covered with 6″ of compost (worm castings are best). Lettuce, chard and any variety of greens can be grown in this medium, and as fall approaches, you can cover it with hoops of pvc pipe covered with plastic sheeting. This should extend your growing season through the winter!

Ref: National Gardening Association

Paris is planting her sweetcorn inside – we are making the pots from newspaper, and she has been busy collecting the kernels from her last year’s crop to plant.

Will keep you upated!

Welcome to March, and hopefully some warmer weather!

Here, “Garden Girl” Patti Moreno, and the pioneer of square foot gardening, Mel Bartholomew, share tips on what needs to be done in March.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1837495&dest=-1]

When to start planting.

I’ve done the calculations, and according to The Farmers Almanac, we can start planting our seeds indoors around March 2nd.

You can start your seeds inside SIX weeks before the last frost. And the last frost for us is around April 13 (the chart said April 13 for Springfield, IL and April 20 for Chicago, IL – so I’m going with Springfield!)

My girls were at Peace Camp in December/January, and Charlotte Talkington came to show the group how to make paper pots for starting seeds or cuttings in. The nice thing about making your own newspaper pots is that the whole thing can be planted in the ground. And, of course, they are MUCH cheaper than anything you can buy in the store!

I found a tutorial that shows how to fold your own pots. Charlotte’s pots were stapled, but these ones are pure origami and require no staples!

Have you started buying your seeds yet? Don’t forget to post your progress here on the blog!

Thinking of spring?

I know I am thinking of spring! Yes, it’s snowing outside today, but it can’t go on for much longer, right? After all, we have spring planting to consider!

There is something you can do right now. Have you received a hoarde of seed catalogs in the mail? Now is the time to plan your garden and order your seeds. One of my favorite sites, The Cooks Garden is packed full of beautiful vegetables to grow. And this morning they sent me an email showing some of the seeds you can plant as soon as the soil is workable – plants that like the cooler weather. You can see that email here. The Kaleidosope mixed carrots look really fun! And I just love peas fresh from the garden – they rarely make it to the kitchen at my house, we just love to eat them right from the shell!

If you’re itching to get out in the garden, grab some seed catalogs and start planning!

The girls and I are hoping to make raised beds in our plots this year. The plots are 15′ x 15′, and we’re thinking of making four 4’x4′ beds with a tiered bed in the middle for strawberries and herbs.

If you’re also interested in square foot gardening, visit Mel Bartholomew’s site. If you like the idea of raised beds, but don’t want to be confined to 1′ increments, you could take a look at Patti Moreno’s site. Known as “The Garden Girl”, Patti is at the forefront of the urban gardening movement, with her back yard “urban farm” in Roxbury, MA. Her site is very informative, with many, many videos explaining her techniques. Patti also raises chickens and rabbits in her backyard farm, and has a very unique way of doing it!

You can see more about Patti here:

Patti Moreno – Garden Girl