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I start back to work next week and I’m wondering what I did with my summer. Yes, I had a book (fantasy anthology) published. Yes, I planted a vegetable garden and I’ve been harvesting vegetables all summer. Yes, I’ve made advances on the mural I’m painted up the staircase and I’ve made progress in my writing, but not as much as I wanted to. I do have my class plans ready to go. And I’ve kept the registration for the Tri-Refresher for MGC, Inc. up to date. Still, things didn’t go quite how I planned. They never seem to do so.

There are still great days left to summer and early autumn, so I’m not complaining, but boy, how the last hundred days have flown by! The plants I wanted to move in August were not transplanted and remain on the to-do list. The weeds got away from me in certain parts of the garden (started sorting that problem out yesterday), and I didn’t get some of the things accomplished that I wanted. It was way too hot here during almost all of late July and early August for me to want to be outside.

Today I planted some perennial seeds in planters that hopefully will sprout and grow a little before the first frost. Even then I can move the containers holding them into the green house and they’ll be able to grow some more before winter claims them. Maybe this will work better for me than planting indoors in late winter. That hasn’t been spectacularly successful.

Had a wonderful August garden club meeting in a member’s beautiful yard. Take a look.

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I never kept a garden journal until about fifteen years ago when I kept losing track of what was a plant and what was a weed. (Time flies, it took me a moment to realize what year I started. What a surprise to realize how many years had passed.) Journaling came about after I’d ‘weeded’ several expensive perennials from their growing spots. I decided I needed a method. My memory wasn’t good enough.

Labels don’t work. Kids, dogs, cats, deer and gardeners trip over them, pull them up to look at them, break them putting them back or place them on the wrong plant. They just don’t work for me.

So my first journal experience began when I started drawing maps. When I planted something, I noted its name and location on my garden map. It worked! Then I became a flower show judge and needed to keep track of botanical names for entries into horticulture classes. So I created a list to add to the map.

When I move to Michigan I started a new garden. I wanted more information! So now I keep a diary of what, when and where — what I buy, when I bought it, where it came from, where I plant it and all the particulars about the plant’s growing needs. Then I started keeping track of when plants bloomed, when they finished blooming, what grew successfully and what didn’t. This extended into winter when I started keeping track of snowstorms and conditions in the garden.

After eight years I don’t know how I ever gardened without a journal. Now I know what cultivar is where (if I remember to put it in the journal — consistency is important!), when I planted it, a photo of the plant, and notes about where I’d like to move it, how often it needs division, etc. I can even cheer myself by checking in my journal to know when something is due to bloom! In the winter months I like to pour over my journal to see what I’d like to add and plan ahead for the coming garden season.

So here’s my method. On my computer I have a garden diary broken down by month/week of the year. Under each week I make yearly entries about what I planted and where, what is blooming or finished blooming, what needs to be done. I have a notebook with maps. I name my gardens (orange ledge, yellow ledge, fruit-herb garden, vegetable garden, heart garden, white garden, window garden, circle garden and the green garden. You might notice I’ve divided my gardens by color and use type. That doesn’t mean other colored or type plants don’t end up in each garden, it’s just a guideline for what predominates. I have a map of each garden and where each plant is placed. Often photos of the plants are taped onto the margins of the map. This lets me see how other colors and plants will fit into the garden as a whole.

That’s it! Fairly easy, but you might find a better method for your needs.

Last day in tubes.

Last day in tubes.


Well, here they are several weeks from the start and one cat attack yesterday. Nothing malicious on Bert’s part, just crawling through looking to find anything edible. Not pretty, but there are healthy seedlings. I’m about to put them in larger more stable pots. I don’t think the paper tubes will last until planting time. They are falling apart now. So my verdict, good idea, and in a pinch I might to it again, but I prefer yogurt cups or commercial seedling containers.

tube experiement 2

tube experiement 2


Here is a second photo of the seed started in paper tubes as a recycling project two weeks ago. As you can see the tubes are holding together and there are seedlings sprouted. What worries me is the mold on the paper tubes both on the outside and inside. Will this affect the seedlings? Waiting to see.

waste cardboard tube seed starters

wast cardboard tube seed starters


I’ve seen seeds started in cardboard tubes and decided to try the process for myself. Since it snowed yesterday, this might be as close as I get to gardening for several more weeks — although the weekend is supposed to be in the forty’s.
I’ve already seen other gardeners posting photos of their garden, crocus, daffodils and tulips. We lag so far behind Southern springs; and like the sap rising in the Maples, my gardening drive is going into full gear.
So here’s my experiment. Cardboard tubes cut in 3 or 4 inch sections. I saw a video where they folded it in half and then in half again to make four corners which might make it easier to place the tubes tightly together, but I just packed them with potting soil.
Planted Scabosia seeds, ‘Oxford Blue’ from Thompson and Morgan.
What I like: reuse trash materials that eventually are composted back into the soil when seedlings are planted, sides are porous so more air gets to the roots.
What I don’t like: Unlike my plastic yogurt containers, there is no lid to hold moisture until seeds sprout, containers are soft, squishy. Will this characteristic harm roots? Don’t know. I wait and see.

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