Getting Ready for Spring at Longlips Farm

To quote the Christmas song, the weather outside is frightful. We’ve had cold temps and high winds for most of March – when it isn’t snowing! I’ve been out in the garden getting ready for spring and since spring has yet to arrive, I took a detour to visit Longlips Farm to check on how my friend, Lenora Larson gets ready. Gardening for Lenora never seems to stop and by the time I was done with my tour, I had 30 photographs! So here are some highlights.


MULCH is the first sign of spring at Longlips. With Lenora standing in front, you can see the height of her mulch pile – and this is her second! You can also tell how windy it is – we had gusts over 40 MPH today!


Lenora makes most of her own garden art. Here is this year’s project – old tractor seats painted to look like flowers in the Longlips “official” color purple.


Past projects include my personal favorite. Lenora spent several years making these concrete blocks with mosaic tiles and used them as part of her walking path.


Tropical plants like this Lantana overwinter in the basement.


And cuttings in gel are being prepared for planting.


And down by the lake, a goose is laying eggs.


Plenty to do and maybe the weather will cooperate. Soon?



Today is the first day the weather has tempted me outside, in the 60’s and minus the strong south wind that’s been blowing for the past week. I walked out to the garden to see what was waiting for me.

My husband outdid himself with this first of his retirement gifts. I have five raised beds fenced in against rabbit and deer, with water close by.


I checked the asparagus. Nothing has changed since the winter clean-up.


And everything looks like it could use the snow that’s been predicted for Saturday.


In older, more established areas, the garden is starting to green up. Ground cover is popping up here and there.


And the daffodils I planted last fall have started to push through the ground.


So we’re not quite set, but ready. My ten kale and romaine live and thrive, ready for hardening. I’m ready to get down the box of seeds and finalize what will go where. I bought a fifth packet of broccoli seeds, and I feel ready to see if I can get something to germinate.


Will I Ever Try Starting From Seeds Again?

Tuesday, we had our first day of 70 degree weather and it was gorgeous! I put my ten plants – five kale and five romaine – outdoors to begin the hardening process. A little sun, a light breeze, and when I brought them indoors, all was good. I checked the pots and found the soil still damp.

Wednesday morning, my husband greeted me with a long face – the face he uses when he has some bad news to tell me – and he said, “You better go out and look at your plants.” And this is what I saw:


The finger test proved that the soil was bone dry, so I watered them. In about three hours they mostly perked up. Maybe I’ve lost one – I’m still not sure.


They are outside again today and tonight when I bring them in, I’ll give them a drink of chamomile tea. But it got me thinking. These ten baby plants that I could probably pick up at the nursery for about $20 or $30 have taken an enormous effort on my part. Could I have bought this much romaine and kale at the farmer’s market for $30? I’m sure of it.

And this realization got me thinking about starting plants from seeds. I already know that my gardening mentor, Lenora from Longlips Farm, considers this a time-consuming and fussy process that she just doesn’t have time for! The other two gardeners in my life – my mom and my grandma – didn’t start plants from seeds.

So will I try starting from seeds again? Today, the answer is no. But I’m prepared to be convinced otherwise!

March 5 and It’s Still Snowing

And it’s still cold, although we’re expecting a warm-up into the 50’s later this week. I’m gearing up for a last try at starting broccoli seeds but haven’t quite gotten there yet. My guess is that while success breeds success, failure breeds immobility!

Meanwhile, my son who is a wonderful photographer shot my begonia with a macro lens. The results are pretty amazing when compared with my little point-and-shoot. So, does a gardener need a new camera?