Thursday, February 7, 2013

Spring Jobs 'To Do List', Plan a Plant Exchange, Successful Plant Division and Yummy Chicken Paprika!

I took this photo last spring of the front garden. You can see the rows of
Aspragus well into it's late stage. The bottom left corner is a part of
one of my Rhubarb rows.
For me and I believe many others, Spring holds a promise for newness of life! It's when I look out and dream of new flower beds, anticipate the coming springs first crops of asparagus and rhubarb...savoring the memory of their here today, gone tomorrow presence. I scan the yard and think of all the jobs that I will have to get done as soon as nicer weather affords me time in my personal Eden. I anxiously await the first buds to pop on the lilacs... those small, brave tulips and daffodils, reaching up out of a cold, hard ground to the warming sunshine ready to burst forth into simple beauty! I love to meander out to my potting shed and start cleaning out and reorganizing...strolling through The Potager scanning for baby lettuces sprouting from scattered seeds... imagining the bounty and longing for my quiet time that I am able only to have in my gardens. If you are an avid If this is your first year or the beginning of one more of many, lets look to those promises and plan on a great new gardening year!  Enjoy friends!

This was my 'new' garden last year! It is our farms "Sausage Garden". This
is where we grow the herbs for our sasuage blends.  Like I said... I dream of
new gardens!
Be sure to check out my new Facebook page for extra recipes, links, photo's and more.

Most of my readers know that I love anything to do with organization and List Making. I could never do without lists... grocery, housework, to-do, seed inventories or packing for trips (not that I take many, LOL). Lists make our lives easier, especially for forgetful folks like me! Today we'll focus on Spring Garden Jobs. Here is my personal list for you to save and print out if/when you would like. You have my permission to use and share it with friends for personal use. LIST IS LOCATED AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST.

Keep a journal!  A journal can be your best friend if you let it. Document all the changes you make, take photographs of major projects, renovations and specific growth of particular plants that you want to watch mature over years, like trees.  I stand my children beside a newly planted tree and take a photo every year. It is amazing to see how much they both grow and change!
I also go over to see what plants will need to be split, pitched and replaced if died over the winter and what spots need to be filled in.  Keeping these detailed notes also allows me to remember who may have given a particular plant along with the who, what and when; no more guessing on age or variety. It also gives you the ability to see what worked and didn't. I know as a busy wife, mother, farmer, market vendor and manger, I could never remember everything that I change, plant or didn't like/work. 

Here are a couple really good site's to check out for gardening info!
Gardening Tips and Tricks
Weekend Gardener at
Seeds Of The Month Club

Be sure to keep posted, coming up in my next post I will touch on DRAWING UP YOUR GARDEN PLAN!
Planning a Plant Exchange is a great way to share all those 'splits' you will end up with this Spring after cleaning up your beds. I know for myself, I can hardly pitch a plant, it just seems mean! A plant exchange is not only rewarding and fun, it's a great money saver in the long run As most of you know I also love to entertain... I don't get to do it as often as I would like, but when I do I try to make it special for my guests! I gave all the How-To's last year on hosting a Plant Exchange (XXXXX), so today I thought I'd focus on some info on types of plants that transplant well.  I have also added tips on division and transplanting. 

Helpful tips to prepare for the Plant Exchange:
  (Taken and adapted from Country Gardens Magazine, Spring 2006, pg. 55-57).
How to divide, care for and prepare your transplants for the exchange:
*The best time to divide a plant is shortly after it emerges in spring.
*Try to divide the plants as close to the plant exchange date/time as possible.
*Loosen the soil around the plants perimeter and then use a sharp spade or knife to cut through the roots to divide.  Be sure to keep a large root clump with the plant to ensure successful transplanting.
*Put your divisions in practical, temporary containers: paper cups, disposable aluminum muffin cups, tin cans, plastic containers, plastic plant pots/ terra-cotta pots or any other container you have handy. Just be sure to add drainage holes to water tight containers. 
*Give a tag/label with each division including: name/variety of plant, sun/shade requirements, mature plant size- height and diameter, water/soil requirements, zone hardiness, perennial or annual. A nice description for 'new' gardeners will be so appreciated.
*Make sure to plant/water as soon as possible once you have the plants in their new location.
How to harvest seedlings:
*Be sure that the seedlings are at least 3-5 inches tall with at least 2 sets of true leaves.
*Get all the plants roots.
*Replant the seedling into a small container with appropriate drainage holes and gently water immediately.

Red Oak Leaf lettuce seedling in one of the raised beds along side spinach.


Plants that divide easily and transplant well include:
*Day Lilies
*Bleeding Heart
*Bee's Balm (Monarda)
*Black Eye Susan, Shasta Daisy's and any Coneflowers
*perennial Geraniums
*Purple Bellflower
*any early blooming bulbs that have bloomed and died back at least half way- Snow Drops, Crocus, Daffodils, Tulips
~I always say, if in doubt, do without... so if you are not sure about one of your plants, ASK! Or look up in a good garden guild any special tricks that certain plants may have before you divide if you are not sure.
I took this photo of my Bistro Garden two years ago in mid Spring when all the hosta's were fully open. In the back you can see my front arbor, which is now completely covered by a Sweet Autumn Clematis... see photo of it on my Dragonfly Facebook
Here is the same location but taken last year in early summer. Notice the arbor now covered in Clematis... she is stunning when in full bloom... and oh the aroma she gives off. This is an example of  taking shots of the same location but at different times and years can give you. 

Last summer I bought a yellow climbing rose bush to give to my son as a token of 'our friendship" He planted it and then I took the phot of him and it... in a few years it will cascade and cover this side of the picket beside the front arbor.

This is a very favorite recipe in our home. It was Neil's mothers recipe that she had made and over the years I have adjusted it a bit to serve our large family. It is super yummy and worth the efforts in making!

Chicken Paprika

1 Whole Chicken, cut into pieces with or without skin/bones
1/2 cup Safflower Oil
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 large onion, diced
8 cups water
2 Tbsp. Paprika
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 cup sour cream
1 bag Spaetzel dumpling noodles

1. Put flour in a large bowl; coat each piece of chicken and place in a large skillet with hot oil, reserve left over flour; fry chicken pieces in hot oil until browned all all sides; remove chicken to plate.  Put remaining flour and diced onions in pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
2. Add to skillet and onions: water, paprika, salt and pepper and cooked chicken; cover and simmer for 1 hour.  The water will thicken as it cooks. Stir occasionally.
3. While chicken is simmering, cook Spaetzel dumpling noodles according to package directions so they will be ready when chicken/gravy are done; about 1/2 hour before.
4. When chicken is done, remove from gravy into a bowl; cover to keep warm; add sour cream to gravy and blend in until dissolved.
5. When dumplings are done put them in a bowl and ladle 1/2 of the gravy over top and the rest over the chicken. 
Serve immediately.

Happy Day,

Spring Garden Job To Do List, by Jean Smith        
May be copied and used for personal use only.
Date Task     Comleted Y N Notes    
  Front Porch/Patio Areas          
sweep/ blow/ rake
put out furniture
repot planters/ window boxes
repairs if any- make note is so
touch up painting- pots
correct any patio stones
new project
new project
new project
  Flower Bed Clean/Prep          
clean any debres left over
check for dead plants
remove and replace
make note of what
amend soil/add fertilizer
make note of what
Divide plants
make note of what
Plant  trees
list what & when
Direct seed any spring flowering annuals
Forget me not
English daisy
sweet William
Transplant  before leaf buds open
ornamental trees
Fertilize Peonies when 2-3 inches tall
Divide and transfer any flowering bulbs after they have died back and divide flowering bulbs after they have died back
Clean ponds/fountains/water featues
repairs- make notes
Date Task     Comleted Y N Notes    
  Vegetable Garden/ Raised Beds          
amend soil
make note of what
make note of when
clean any debris 
plant spring crops when soil is ready
EARLY peas greens spinach chard
radishes lettuce kale parsley
LATE potatoes carrots
onions beets
check trelises/ posts/ fences
repair raised beds if loose
add soil if needed
  Potting Shed/ Storage Shed           
General Tidy after winter
sweep out
re-organize pots/ labels
repair any tools that need
oil/ sharpen tools
inventory items:
check hoses/sprinklers
make a list of what you need as you go
check mower- plugs
sharpen blades/replc.
check tiller(s)
have supply of gas/oil for machines
  Pruning/ Propogation            
evergreen shrubs before growthj re growth
spring flowering shrubs after flowering
propagate deciduous shrubs
winter jasmine
Date Task     Comleted Y N Notes    
  Weed/Pest Control            
make sure debris is cleaned up to avoid snails and slugs
as soon as roses start to leaf out, dust with an organic powder
repeat once a month all summer!
watch for Tent Worms in your trees, webs in trees
as soon as visiable, spray with organic spray
****use burn technique*** please research this before you do it.
on sidewalks



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