Saturday, October 26, 2013


It seems funny this week that I didn't have a market to go to. No routine of loading and unloading the van. No set up in the dark hours of the morning. No socializing with the other vendors at the market. And I will say I'm glad - no more new produce for me to can and put up!

Did five half-pints of ketchup last night and the last jam I'll be making for a while will be the garden huckleberry that still needs to be picked at Vicki's. Jet-black berries, very tangy and will need to be sweetened if they are to be made into anything. First year for these, so we'll give it a go.

Regrouping. Been looking at lots of websites for more ideas on products I can offer at my little booth. Browsing herbs, spices, grains, nuts and thinking of doing vinegars. I did go down to the Eastern Market area in Detroit a week ago and looked at some produce houses. Interesting world, there are no prices on anything so you have to walk the floor and look at samples, take your list back to the guy at the desk and get prices, do some fast ciphering and decide what to buy. They'll go back to the cooler and get it for you. Takes some real savvy buying knowledge that I only hope to develop. Still plan on offering produce at the winter market.

The gardens look tired. Amazingly the flowering tobacco or nicotiana is still blooming. Glad I stuck it in as a late season, last thought. I'm surprised the 28F temperatures didn't do it in yet. Vicki's greenhouse needs some care and attention but did cut a couple of bouquets of mums for both of us this last week. Kind of fun, not to have to worry about blooms on the plants to sell, but just to cut them for my own enjoyment.

Paul came in last week and cut the apricot down. Don't miss it a bit as there is lots of plants along that fenceline.The blueberries, apples and the back bench of the nursery will get a lot more sun now.

Was supposed to go to Lapeer Flea Market tomorrow but am holding off. Buddy Pam can't go and I didn't want to make the long drive without a bit of company. It also helps to have another set of eyes on the market to get an opinion of it. Will go in November when the market master says they fill up with vendors from Armada.

Fall colors are getting near their prime. Think this year was a bit muddier than usual with a lot of trees staying green late and not coloring up to their full potential. We've had the sunny days and cold nights this past week so the last trees should color up fast. Went on a color tour with my brother this past week. Unfortunately the day we had scheduled, it rained, but we did get to stroll around the village of Milford and have a good time anyway.

The mums, finally!, are in full bloom. Too late for the markets. Only hoping that some may overwinter. Last year mum losses were 100 percent.

Lots of small plants left in the nursery. Can't leave them on benches for the winter, too cold. So these will all have to be moved. Lots of schlepping in my future.

My greenhouse is pretty much packed. Have just stuffed tender children in there before the frost gets them. Got to do a lot of cutting back and root cuttings.

Pineapple Sage with it's brilliant scarlet blooms. Too bad they're too late for hummingbird season.

Non-stop begonia is, as advertised, a non-stop bloomer. Loved this color so much want to see if it will overwinter.

The last thought Nicotiana. Grows to 3' or more in a better soil and keeps putting out tons of pure, white blooms fragrant in the evening. Nice accent along a path or near a patio.

The space where the apricot was... Now that big blueberry bush in the center of the photo will be able to get a better fruit set and I'll be able to get at it to pick fruit.

The morning glories are definitely done for the season. Never did what I really wanted them to but it was worth a try. Will put more of the "heavenly blue" variety on the arch next year.

One of the longest bloomers in the nursery, china pinks. Not a long-lived perennial but makes up for it by blooming its heart out all season long.

That's the news from the nursery this week. Linking to Tootsie Time this week for her "fertilizer Friday" roundup of gardens and blooms from around the world. Check it out!

Friday, October 18, 2013

First Harvest

The perennials in the nursery are being put to bed, while the indoor garden season is just starting. Got my first harvest of tender salad greens and radishes yesterday and made a fresh salad as soon as I got home. I am notorious for not thinning my beds, so I am taking these first harvests to try and thin out the greens - Arugula, Broccoli Raab, several different kinds of Lettuce and some mixed greens that are mostly mustards and a "frisee" with a very frilly and deeply cut leaf. Some of the radishes were ready too - having bulbs just about an inch in diameter. All this after only 30 days from sowing.

The beans are 3-4' high too. Pinched out the tops of some of them, hoping they will branch a bit and make a bushier plant.

This was the bed two days earlier - the stuff grows by leaps and bounds!
Here it is on the 17th, filled in

Small radishes, some just right for eating

Box of tender greens
Some of the radishes were just thinnings, but the tops are still good in a sautee. I must make a note to keep sowing the radishes for a continuous harvest. 
Variegated leaves of Nasturtium 'Alaska'

The box of greens, colorful, very tender and flavorful. Even some dill leaves were ready to be picked - to add just that right touch of "herbiness" to a salad. Now that I've got so much coming up, have been calling friends telling them they need to go over and harvest some salads.

Not all of the bed is devoted to veggies - although you can eat the nasturtium flowers and leaves. Sowed "Alaska" this year and I love the look of its variegated leaves. Later they will have a mix of bright orange, yellow and red blooms that have a peppery tang.

Did my last Oakland County market with the perennials for this year. Still lots of late fall color there with tables of pansies and mums from Graystone Gardens.

The markets are winding up this week.I think the Armada Flea market this Sunday will be the last of the season unless the weather holds and I can get to Walled Lake next week. Cold temps and frost are predicted for the coming week and I need to start working in the nursery to get everything buttoned up for the winter. Need to lay some weed mat on the area I will try to overwinter the small pots. Going to give this a go, as I decided it just wasn't worth the money for pots, soil and labor to pot up all the 3 and 4 and a half inch sizes into one gallons. I'll just take my chances with the flats on the ground, under frostcloth and white plastic after they have a hard freeze - sometime in November.

Paul is coming down today to remove an apricot tree in the back bed. Hate to sacrifice a tree, but this one just didn't pull its own weight in the yard. Lovely trunk and bark but it would bloom and leaf out each year, only to die back, never produce fruit and the branches are all broom-like. It shades a good portion of the back of the yard and prevents a blueberry and a couple of apples from doing well, so it's so long apricot - been nice growing and knowing you.

Now the indoor season has started and I'll be starting a new venture taking fresh produce to market. Have just talked to the market manager for The Old Winery Market in Farmington and she is eager for me to bring fruits and veg and will get me a choice front spot at the market. The last Sunday of the month,  am going to scope out the Lapeer Flea Market to see if I think I can make a buck there. This Saturday I plan on going down to Eastern Market in Detroit to look at some of the produce houses to scan the products and plan what I can get and re-sell.

So fall seems even busier than the summertime, sowing and transplanting still goes on in Vicki's big greenhouse and I am juggling chores without much additional help. All this marketing takes away from the gardens which definitely need a good weeding and a helping hand - only so many hours in the day and so many priorities!

Hope you are enjoying the crisp, fall weather and the colors of the season...take some pictures, soon it will only be black, brown, gray and white!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

End of the season Moaning

As I read back upon the latest posts, all it seems I can talk about is the end of the season. Well that's not quite correct. Most of the nursery will be buttoning up in November - all the garden perennials, but I am still going to grow herbs, potted plants, houseplants and I'll try some tomatoes in the greenhouse. I also am gardening at the Oakland County Greenhouse that will keep us in salad all winter. So I am not about to retire to the couch.

November also brings me to a new winter market - the Lapeer Flea Market - where I will be offering my homemade jams, baked good and produce, plus a smattering of items from my mom's estate. Lapeer is an open market - a vendor can sell practically anything as long as it doesn't explode, so my first market will be November 3rd. It's an indoor market, in a hall in downtown Lapeer, so I'll be warm and dry. I'll soon be going down to Detroit's Eastern market and scoping out the produce to see what kind of buys I can get. Then, I'll divvy up the crates and sell them in smaller portions. I'm excited - I really have become a fresh produce fan - it tickles me to no end to see the heaping piles of veggies the farmers bring to market. I only hope I can rival their displays.

Today, I am going back to one of my tried and true markets again - the Oakland County Farmers market in Waterford. I only hope I can find homes for my dollar perennials. That's right - all the small stock is reduced to a buck (with the exception of the Hellebores) so I can just get a little money out of them and have less to overwinter. It kind of is like trying to find free kittens a good home - just as tough.

Wednesdays, I go to the Walled Lake Market - on Maple, right next to the municipal offices and Sundays I'll still be going to Armada provided it doesn't rain. I did go out and invest in a good pop-up canopy to keep the weather off, but at those big open markets - if it's raining - nobody comes. I think the canopy will come in handy next year when I start selling more of Paul's Produce.

So October may bring an end to the outdoor garden, but a number of irons are in the fire to keep the budget up to snuff. I hope you are enjoying this beautiful fall weather as much as I am. May you be dreaming of the 2014 garden to come.