My Bee & Butterfly Garden Weekend + New Tomato Plants

Hi Friends!

Oh my goodness, can we please get excited about this weather?! Here in Southeast Missouri it has, at long last, hit 80 degrees outside and the sunshine is abundant. The overnight lows have stopped dipping below 50, and that means one very important thing – seed germination!

I have green thumbs galore when it comes to plants. I don’t even know how it happens, I just seem to have great luck with them. An example – this winter was bitterly cold here in January and February. Anything not planted in the ground should’ve died, and even some perennials that just saw their first season last Spring/Summer were up for debate. And yet, somehow, one of my mums that sat outside in a container all winter managed to come back to life, as did the chives that were in a skinny plastic planter, and one of the two $5 butterfly bushes that I planted during a heat wave last July, that were “dead” before September, survived. But seeds, on the other hand…

I have never had much luck starting anything from seed, aside from the garden vegetables that are supposed to be started from seed. I can’t grow grass to save my life, so I just let the clover, dandelions and violets have my yard. Whatevs weeds, you can have it, I’m not a “lawn” person anyway. I can’t use grass to prepare meals or feed my family, so it just isn’t a priority. One thing I so desperately want, though, is a bee and butterfly garden!

Maybe I can’t eat butterfly bushes or purple coneflowers or tiger lilies, but honey bees are in decline and need lots of encouragement to repopulate. And, bees and butterflies are a key component to gardening because they pollinate all of those blooming garden vegetables! I have a nice, wide area above my retaining wall that is in full sun most of the day, and I don’t particularly enjoy dragging the mower up there to keep the grass cut short, so it’s the perfect location for lots of pretty flowers that bloom all summer long, look amazing against the white fence behind it, and keep the bees and butterflies happy.

The downfall is…buying enough plants to fill it in will get expensive in a hurry! That is why I decided…..drumroll please…..to start them from seed! Seed packets are a couple dollars each, versus $5 per plant times five zillion plants. So, friends…I need your prayers, good vibes, crossed fingers, shout-outs to the universe, whatever you have to give me…that these darn seeds actually sprout and turn into a gorgeous bee and butterfly garden!

In order to help the germination process along, I tilled up the area around my one surviving butterfly bush, added peat moss and bone meal, then tilled it under again. Then I sowed my seeds — Purple Coneflower in the back, Black-eyed Susans in the middle, and Zinnia’s in front. I added string to my trellises for my peas to climb, then I dug a trench out to the sides of the trellises, directly in front of the fence, and filled it with potting soil and sowed some sunflower seeds.

My last seed-sowing feat was a hill of watermelons in front of the sunflowers on one side, and a hill of pumpkins in front of the sunflowers on the other side. I think this weekend I may go and buy another packet of each of the flower seeds to add to what I already put out, just for good measure. The ground should be staying warm enough to germinate them now, but heaven only knows how many seeds were gobbled up by the birds. Wish me luck!

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Perhaps the best news of the weekend, besides my kiddo having an amazing time at his birthday party, is that Lowe’s finally put out all of their tomato plants! I’ve been waiting patiently to add a Brandywine plant and a Roma plant to the Early Girl I already have out, and my wish came true on Sunday after the party! My 18-year-old sister took my boys to get ice cream, so my mom and I hit the garden department to check out the plant situation. I brought home both tomato plants, plus a rosemary plant…and that means my veggies are officially all planted, so now I get to help them grow and wait for harvest!

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In the meantime, our local Farmer’s Market starts here this coming weekend and my Spring greens have all sprouted, so I’m off to start scouring the internet–and my imagination–for some wonderful garden-to-table recipes!

Love,
Loren

 

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