Garden

Flower of the Week-Crocus

Crocus

 

And all the woods are alive

With the murmur and sound of Spring.

And the rose-bud breaks

Into pink on the climbing briar,

And the crocus-bed

Is a quivering moon of fire,

Girdled round

With the belt of an amethyst ring.

by Oscar Wilde

The first flowers of the the year are blooming.  Crocus bloom in late winter and early to mid spring, with many of the blooms popping up even while the snow is still on the ground.  They open their flowers on those sunny, early Spring days, shining up at us, as if to tell us to not despair,  spring really is on its way.

Crocus are known for their cheerfulness, especially needed right about now, when everything in the garden is still dead and asleep.  Soon, soon.

How to Grow Crocus

Crocus are very easy to grow; they grow from corms, planted in the fall when the weather cools but before the ground freezes, usually in September and October.  You will find bags of bulbs in the stores about then, and they can be ordered from many seed companies.

They like a sunny location, with the flowers opening on sunny days and staying closed on cloudy days.

Crocus adapt most anywhere, but prefer a well-drained soil.  Dig some sharp sand into the planting hole along with a handful of good compost when planting if growing in heavy clay soil.

Crocus should be planted 3-4 inches deep, with the pointed end up.

Crocus is very carefree, and will naturalize anywhere, multiplying each year to make a nice clump of spring blooming flowers.  If planting in a flower bed, take care when planting your annuals later in the spring-it is easy to dig up the corms.

Crocus are good to plant right in the lawn-they will come up and bloom before it is time to begin the years mowing. The foliage, which is grass-like, can then be mowed off with the lawn.

They should be planted in groups of at least ten to be effective-1 little crocus would be too lonely!  They are good in mixed flower beds, and are a lovely start to the flower year.

Crocus are not bothered much by deer, rabbits and squirrels.  Bees love it for their early pollen.

Crocus come in a variety of colors-mainly lilac, mauve, white and yellow, and also many striped varieties.  They range in size from the small, early snow crocus to giant crocus.  There are also summer crocus varieties and, even more well-known, fall crocus.  The famous ‘saffron’ crocus is a fall blooming flower, with the saffron being harvested from the orange stamens.

Every Spring, as I am enjoying the blooming crocus, I vow to myself to plant many more the next autumn. Have never done it yet-maybe this fall?

Do you grow crocus and are your crocus blooming ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garden

12 Reasons to Grow a Vegetable Garden This Year

Spring will soon be arriving, and with Spring comes the thoughts of gardening.  Here are 12 reasons why you should be growing a vegetable garden this year.  Maybe you have gardened for years and these thoughts are not new to you, or maybe you have never grown a vegetable garden and are thinking about starting one. This year is a good time to start!

1.Healthy Food

photo credit-thehappygardeninglife

When growing your own vegetables, you can have complete control of how it is grown. What type of soil and amendments are being used,  or chemicals, if any, that are used.  How it is watered and cared for.  Good vegetables, grown in your own yard are wonderful, and wonderfully healthy for you.  You might even find yourself eating vegetables that you are not used to eating.

2. Exercise

photo credit-homesteading_in_oregon

Gardening can give you a nice exercise work-out.  Gardening is not work free, it does involve some physical labor.  Bending, stretching, lifting, all activities that get you moving if you choose to garden.  You can soak up lots of Vitamin D from the sun as you garden.

3. Save Money

There is an initial investment in growing a garden-garden tools, soil that might need to be  brought in, soil amendments, compost-if you don’t make your own, maybe lumber and supplies for some raised beds, maybe some seed starting supplies.  But once the initial investment is made, you can save money by growing many of the vegetables that you eat.

4. Prepare for Winter

Maria’s canning results from her 2017 garden.

Besides the fresh eating through the summer months, if you have grown enough produce, the excess can be ‘put up’, by canning, freezing, drying or root cellaring.  How nice to just grab a jar of canned green beans from your shelf or a bag of frozen corn from the freezer and have part of the making of a meal.

5. Sharing with Others

Meadow’s Farm Stand.

How nice to grow enough vegetables to share with others.  We have all heard the stories of the monster zucchini plants that won’t stop producing and overgrown zucchinis being left on neighbors door steps at night just to get rid of them, but it is so nice to have enough for your family, and to be able to share with those around you.  I’m sure there are many elderly that have grown gardens in their younger years and now are no longer able to garden, that would love some fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and yes, maybe even zucchini!

Share with others!

6. Taste

Some of Esther’s harvest from her 5×5  garden.

There is just no comparison of the taste of fresh-from-the-garden vegetables to store bought veggies!  The ripe, sun warmed tomatoes, fresh peas, green beans…you might even find yourself eating the vegetables before they make it into the house they are so good!

7. Beauty

A well-kept garden is a thing of beauty.  But vegetable gardening does take a commitment of time to look good and produce well.

8. Training Children

Bethany, with her harvest of cabbages from 2017.

Growing a vegetable garden together as a family is a wonderful way to teach children responsibility and working together as a family with a common goal.  Children can take pride in the help that they do.

9. Learn New Things

photo credit-Homespun Friends

Gardening is like any activity-there is a lot to learn.  But learning, and trying  new things is fun, isn’t it?

10. Sense of Achievement

There is a nice sense of accomplishment in the growing of a successful garden.

 

11. Time Alone

photo credit-Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

How nice to go out into the garden to spend some time alone and clear the mind.

12. Stress Relief

Gardening is cheaper than therapy….and you get tomatoes!  If you have a bad day at work, go out into the garden and hack away at the weeds!  Relieve your stress, and have a tomato when you are done.

Have you grown a vegetable garden before?

Are you planning on growing one this year?

Leave a comment and let me know what your gardening plans are for this summer!

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1 Corinthians 3:7

So then neither is he that planteth any thing,

neither is he that  watereth;

but God that giveth the increase.