Here are just a few things blooming today on “the farm!”
The photos below are by me.
The photos below here are from a good friend who is a photographer.
Spring is my favorite season. Everything gradually wakes up from the winter nap and pops of color fill the world. Around this time in South Carolina, some early flowers start to bloom – giving a peek as to what is ahead.
Right now, in my yard, I have calendula, petunias and daffodils.
Soon, there will be tulips, irises and Hyacinth. I can’t wait for them to pop.
I’ve also got some seeds started for late spring/summer flowers including multiple kinds of sunflowers, a variety of zinnias, marigolds, cosmos and strawflowers. This will be my first year with strawflowers and I can’t wait to see how they’ll do. I also have an abundance of lilies and dahlias that I am looking forward to this year.
So, I ask, what are your favorite flowers? Have you had success in growing them? Let me know.
Good Sunday morning!!! I’ve been busy already today potting up tomatoes and eggplant.
But what exactly does potting up mean?
When you start seeds in a smaller seed tray, the plants can only get so big and stay happy for a short time. Just as kids grow and need bigger shoes, plants grow and need a bigger space for their roots.
That’s why gardeners have so many plastic or biodegradable pots around. As the seedlings grow out of their first home, we “pot them up” to the next size.
For tomatoes, this also helps strengthen the stem. If you’ve ever noticed, there are what look like tiny hairs all over the tomato stem/stalk. When put in the dirt, those “hairs” create roots and help make the plant stronger. That’s why when you pot up or plant out tomatoes, you bury them deep, so those hairs help the plant grow strong.
There are some plants, like squash, however that you don’t want to start in a small seed cell. You want to keep the roots in tact until you plant them in the ground. Many people don’t pre-start squash plants because their roots are so finicky but I’m trying to out run the squash vine borer this year, so I started them early and am hoping for the best.
Some plants, you don’t want to start early in cells at all. Those include carrots and, for me, nasturtium. Both like to be direct sown and left alone to flourish.
Got any questions about starting seeds and potting them up? Drop me a note or comment below.
There are only 30 days until the last frost here in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
30 days!!! That’s exciting.
I am ready for some warmer weather, growing tomatoes, blooming flowers and bees. I miss the bees. Today, I planted some sunflowers, cabbage and peanuts so they can sprout and be ready to put in the ground when it warms.
Even with all the seedlings on the porch, there are still many things growing, happily, in the garden right now. Here is a short video of just a few of the better-looking winter items.
Today in Myrtle Beach, S.C. it is 39 degrees F and raining.
A typical winter day for us on the coast. It has been a bit rainier than normal, but not by much.
Even with the cold and rain, it doesn’t mean that gardening has stopped here. In our zone 8b, gardening is year-round.
Right now, I have lettuces, onions, peas, broccoli, mustard greens, 3 types of kale, cilantro, kohlrabi, pak choy, calendula, swiss chard, carrots, parsley, oregano, fennel, dill, collard greens, and garlic.
Under a cover, I have started radishes and spinach. In the seed starting area, I have tomatoes, peppers, marigolds, zinnias, eggplant, cabbage, broccoli and mustard greens. These, as they grow with heat mats and are moved in and out of the sun, will be ready for spring when the ground has warmed.
It was just last year that I bought the heat mats to start seeds earlier than March. It has helped get a jump start on the season. It also extended my season because the plants are ready to go and then new ones can be put in their place when they’re finished.
Winter garden crops also need less attention. There aren’t as many bugs, it rains so you don’t have to water as much and the plants are hardier than delicate square or tomatoes.
However, that doesn’t mean they don’t need to be checked and fertilized. Because of the extra rain, nutrients in the soil can be washed away faster – so you’ve got to feed your plants. As Martha Stewart says, you have to eat and your plants have to eat.
So what can you do if you don’t live on the coast like me? Well, you can have a green house. You can have a cold frame or you can plant some herbs or smaller items on a sunny window sill. You can also enjoy a break from digging in the frozen, cold dirt and dream of spring and summer.
Winter is a great time to plan and many gardeners also order their seeds during this time of year. If you’re craving winter vegetables and you’re not growing them – contact your local farmer. See what they’ve got in the fields right now. Because there are not many farmers markets in the fall and winter, buying some of their produce will likely help them out a lot.
Got questions about winter gardening? Send me a note or comment below.
Also, stay tuned this week for some exciting news!
Let me set the scene for you for most gardeners in the northern hemisphere in January.
If you live anywhere not in zone 9 or 10, January is quiet time in the garden. You, of course, can plant kale, collards, cabbage, carrots and other crops under a cover that don’t mind the cold weather, frost and snow, but most gardeners take the winter to regroup and plan.
That planning process, for me, consists of as many seed catalogues as I can get my hands on, a comfy robe and blanket on the couch, my garden notebook and a pencil with a good eraser.
I try to keep good notes every season on where I plant things so that I can practice crop rotation. This practice helps keep the soil healthy by not using all of one type of nutrient. It also helps keep plants healthy as diseases can build up in the soil if you plant the same thing in the same spot all the time.
Because of this, and the excitement of trying new varieties, planning out where things will go is quite a process. I consider the date of the last frost, seed germination time, when to start the seeds indoors or when the soil will be warm enough to direct sow, the time it takes the plant to reach maturity and soil nutrition.
These things are all very important because the last thing you want to do is buy heirloom seeds, plant them and the seed never germinates. That is a waste of time, space and money. I have done that before and it is quite disappointing.
Once I’ve read every page of the catalogues, drawn out what space I have available and referenced what I grew last season, I try to set goals for the season and create a wish list. This helps me fix problems I had before and plan the space, if I want to get a trellis or plant a specific vegetable, herb or flower.
Now, I’ve been gardening since 2009 – as referenced in the post. But, I only started making a detailed plan for the garden in the last few years, not only because I want to garden to succeed, but I really love the planning process.
So, what can you do as a beginner or someone who has a year or two under your belt? Here is my list of things to do:
So what questions do you have? Let me know in the comments below or email me at email@example.com. I’m here for ya!
When I started this blog, the Facebook page and the @pigdogfarm Instagram account, I knew I’d be sharing with people I know. My mom, sister, best friend, husband and mother-in-law are my biggest fans and I love that.
I also hoped to find some new friends along the way.
But, I never expected to walk into such a beautiful gardening community on social media – and here in Myrtle Beach.
People who love to dig around in the dirt, cultivate seedlings and watch things grow just have this way about them. They’re innately caring – and that care shows in how they treat others along with their plants.
In just the last few weeks, I’ve turned to that gardening community for support, for help and for praise.
It is so wonderful to post a picture of an evil monster (bug) eating my plants and immediately getting comments from people all over the world on how to defeat them. And, because of their advice, my potatoes that were ravaged by army worms are growing back nicely.
Another new friend told me to check inside my grow bag, even though I’d covered it, because a different bug eating my plants might still be there. Sure enough! It was still there and it had eaten my kale seedlings.
It is also wonderful to post a picture of your harvest or of a beautiful flower you grew and then hear from others who have had the same success.
People think social media posting is just about getting “likes” or “new followers,” but, for me, it is a way to connect with people who love things that I love like books, dogs (especially English Bulldogs), gardening, dirt, flowers, being outside, learning new growing tips, and funny, wholesome memes or dad jokes.
I have found that community on social media – and I’m thankful for it. It is nice to know you’re not the only one in the world who likes the things you like.
So connect with me! Send me your photos. Send me your garden victories or fails. I can’t wait to see them.
To read more about how Pig Dog Farm came to be, check out this post.
Fall is coming!!! Spread the word. The summer heat is almost over for us here in South Carolina – or it will be in about a month in a half…hopefully.
Since I usually start planning the Spring and Summer garden when January and February roll around – it is only natural for me to plan the fall garden when it is still 90+ degrees every day. (right??)
For the fall, I have quite a few plant babies starting on the porch (my own little protective spot to start seeds) and some broccoli, kale, cabbage and brussel sprouts already out under covers. Unfortunately, while my spring cabbages were beautiful and grew well, I think it is just a bit too hot for the fall ones. Two or three have also already been munched on by the cabbage worm – even though they’re under a cover… sneaky buggers.
I have started a fall crop of tomatoes outside in a garden bed and have more seedlings growing nicely on the porch. This time, I plan on properly staking the tomatoes and fertilizing in the hopes of a great harvest.
I also plan to grow: peas, pumpkins, arugula, mustard greens, dill, lettuce, parsnips, turnips, marigolds, carrots, spinach, endive, swiss chard, garlic, leeks, cilantro and try again for zucchini.
As I said in the summer garden post, I’ve decided not to be so cheap – I mean frugal – in buying plant food. As Martha Stewart says, “you eat, so your plants have to eat!”
I’d love to hear any tips or tricks that you have for growing any of the items I’ve listed – just leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring and Summer 2020 has been a whirlwind – not only for me, but for the world. Coronavirus left all of us with more time at home and for me – that means a ton more time in the garden.
I started the spring with high hopes. I started tomatoes, swiss chard, zucchini, peppers, tomatillos, okra, marigolds, watermelon, beans (pole and bush), cucumbers, zinnia, cosmos and many other things from seed.
The transplants grew well to start – and then I made a fatal decision for a lot of my plants…the wrong mulch. Instead of a mulch that helped feed the plants and keep the moisture in, I chose one that sucked the nutrients out of the soil and stunted growth.
Thankfully, there are so many farmers who are willing to share their knowledge and help a gal out. I reached out to Nat Bradford of Bradford Watermelons for help. He is the one who opened my eyes about the mulch – and helped me fix it.
He, other great farmers I know and Martha Stewart (yes, that Martha) also helped me realize that…plants need food. You eat, so the plants need to eat, as Martha said. So! I realized I needed to stop being cheap and thinking that nature will do all the work to produce a large harvest. I need to buy organic fertilizer, other soil amendments and make compost that the plants will use as food and then thrive.
After coming to those realizations – and deciding not to be cheap anymore – things started to grow bigger than I could have ever imagined. I am still waiting for the edible parts to be ready, but the plants themselves are bigger, stronger and happier.
Another issue I’ve had this year is SQUASH VINE BORERS!!! They are horrible, horrible creatures. I hate them. They ate ALL of my zucchini, all of my yellow squash and then moved on to the pumpkins I planted… I have noticed a lot of my gardener friends have dealt with them a lot this year, too, so I don’t feel so bad. They just suck – literally…they suck the life out of your plant.
I’ve also had to deal with grubs, roots, roots and more roots in four of my raised beds (which I have since moved to a new location and prepared them properly) and some kind of fungus or mold that caused an entire section of plants to wilt. (still working to figure that one out… see photo below)
I have had some successes this year. I successfully grew multiple ears of corn, 6 watermelons (others still growing), jalapenos, tomatoes, potatoes, a few cucumbers, radishes, eggplant, marigolds, zinnias, okra, tomatillo, cabbages, greens, lettuces, oregano, thyme, basil, poblano, key limes, meyer lemons, sunflowers, green peppers and…probably some I am forgetting.
There once was a dog named Pig. He was what is known as a Valley Bulldog, which is an English Bulldog/Boxer mix.
He was a very happy boy, who went on many adventures during his 11 and a half years.
But, he also had many obstacles to overcome. You see, he had hemophilia – a blood disorder that made him very delicate.
HOWEVER, none of that stopped him from loving life and loving adventures.
He loved walks, hikes, breweries, car rides, couches, grass, towels, Milk-Bones, cheese, chips, snacks, gravy and cuddles (sometimes.) He was very loved by everyone and, especially, his mama and daddy. Everything they did included him and that’s why he got to go on so many adventures.
Piggy was born in April 2008 in North Charleston, S.C. He came to live with his mommy and daddy in June 2008. They drove down to Charleston to get him. On the way home, he sat in his daddy’s lap and bit his fingers the entire way home.
Piggy was a special boy right from the beginning – even before his parents knew of his health issues. He loved to sleep under the bed and under tables and run around outside while chewing a stick. He was a very happy boy who loved to be comfortable…no matter what.
Piggy also had about a million names. They included: “Pig Dog Gole,” “monkey-monster- dog-Pig-bear-goat-camel-cow -hippopotamus,” “Bertha,” “Marge,” “Margorie,” “Bubbles,” “Bubbie,” and “Baby.” The name “Pig Dog Gole” came after a pharmacy got our last name wrong on a prescription for him, and it stuck. We called him that for years.
During the first few years of his life, he went on many walks, ate lots of sticks, saw his grandma, who lived in Forestbrook, and went to “camp” to see his other grandma in Anderson. Everyone loved to see him because of his smile and his beautiful personality.
In 2011, Piggy got his own yard! His mommy and daddy moved into a house with a big yard that was all his. There is even a video that shows just how happy he is to have his own space. From then on, Piggy was the king of his domain. He would explore, sniff and snaff, pee, eat dirt, lay in the sun, and roll in the grass.
For many years, most of Piggy’s adventures were just around town. But after Pig’s mom got a new job, there was more time to explore and to go on adventures further away from home.
Piggy’s first trip was to Banner Elk, N.C. His daddy found a pet-friendly hotel and planned things for him to do. Piggy went hiking on many trails, walking on many greenways and to more breweries and wineries than most people. He loved every minute because he was on an adventure and he was with his mom and dad. Once he was tuckered out, his mom and dad put him to bed in the hotel. He was such a good boy – they never once got a call that he was causing a ruckus. He just slept and slept.
That first trip was an eye-opener. Piggy was such a good boy that his mom and dad started planning more fun places to go. He went to many places including: Charleston (multiple times), Banner Elk (multiple times), Asheville (multiple times), Charlottesville, Pittsburgh, Richmond (multiple times), Williamsburg (multiple times), Norfolk, Alexandria, Charlotte (multiple times) and many other small towns along the way. As long as he had his crate to sleep in and food, he was a happy boy.
In his life, Piggy did have many health problems because of the hemophilia. He underwent multiple fresh frozen plasma transfusions to stop the bleeding if he hurt himself. His mom was always ready to go and get him any help he needed. After he got help, everything went back to normal. One day, however, the doctors couldn’t help him and he went on to heaven. He died on Oct. 19, 2019. His mom and dad were devastated, but know that he will continue to live on in their memories and hearts.
Piglet Bully Gale, his official full name, was so very loved by everyone he met and led such a fun life – in spite of his medical problems. He could be a beacon of hope for anyone facing obstacles because he never let anything get him down. Even at the very end, when he couldn’t walk anymore because of the blood clot stuck in his leg, he didn’t let what was happening get him down.
There is not one moment going forward that his mom and dad won’t miss him, think about him or wonder what he is doing. He will always be missed and will always be loved.