at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Welcoming Spring into the Home and Garden!

My dad just told me today that my grandmother used to
look for the crocuses each spring and announce their
arrival -- I wasn't sure I had any anymore, but I found this
little guy in the front yard today!
Spring is my favorite season. Summer is my favorite, too. In fact, so is fall. But, I think the reason I love spring so much is precisely because it directly follows the one season (which shall remain nameless) which is not my favorite. After months of snow and cold and gloom, there is something almost magical about the sunshine and the revival of life come spring. That first crocus peeking through the snow. The birds beginning to chirp again. Bunnies and chipmunks playing in the backyard (they are cute until they start ravaging my garden later in the season...). Daylight that extends late into the evening. And, of course, Easter -- the ultimate celebration of new life. What can I say? Spring makes me happy!

Last weekend we had our first peek of spring, and I could barely contain myself. I spent all day Sunday working inside and out to help usher in the season. Today was not nearly so warm, but it was sunny. Although I had planned today as an indoor cleaning and project day, I could not resist the chance to get into my garden and start tilling -- since the ground had already thawed! Here's a look at how spring is making its way into my home and garden.

I started my seeds for my garden a couple of weeks ago. I realized that I had not taken good inventory the past couple of years and had a lot of extras on hand. So, I decided this year I would try not to buy many seeds, but to instead use what I already have. In the tray below, I am growing Brussels Sprouts, Pumpkins on a stick, Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes, Heirloom Delicious Tomatoes, Hot Peppers, Lavender and Sage. 

Almost all of them are starting to sprout now, and the tomatoes are a couple inches tall! I've learned to start the seeds in the main part of our house where it's warmer, and then put them out by the sliding glass door in the sun room once they've sprouted. Also, after playing with different seed starting media, I'm trying something else new: worm castings (yes, that's a nice term for worm poo). I've used 3 parts commercial organic seed starting mix to 1 part commercial pure worm castings. I've heard great things...this will be the test.

With all of my extra seeds I've accumulated, I decided that I needed a better storage system! I found this cute little box at JoAnn Fabrics and decided it would be perfect!

I cut some file folders to size and used them as dividers based upon growing/planting season and type of seed.

I actually started a few seeds in some larger planters, too. In one, I have leaf lettuces so hopefully we'll have some early season salads!  In the other, I did cilantro in the center, surrounded by marigolds and radishes along the perimeter.

Tom had also gotten me a large planter pot for the front porch for Christmas. I decided it was time to get rid of the wintery decor and add in some springy components. As the weather warms, I hope to add some bulbs / real flowers, too!

And, of course, I had to bring a little bit of spring indoors, too! I've been meaning to change up this little ledge for a while now, and wanted a new place for my little birdie...

I also took a moment to re-do my window box in the kitchen, with some herb transplants I'd been meaning to do for a while, and with some new spring plants I just picked up from the nursery.

Purple Oxalis - I can't resist anything that looks like a shamrock, and I thought they would look fun in this pitcher/vase!

Irish Moss -- apparently also used as a clarifying agent in beer. We may be harvesting some of this for Tom's home brew.

Happy plants in a sunny window! Happy Dana in a sunny kitchen with bright and growing plants!

And...this weekend I was able to get into my garden and start some spring cleaning! I was most definitely not able to till any earth last year in March since the whole ground was covered in a couple feet of snow. It felt great to get out there today, shovel in hand, and turn over some soil! This was the first year that I felt like most of my soil had a good, rich color. I started out with pure sand, so it has been a process to make the soil suitable for a garden, and I still have more I'd like to do (including the addition of worm castings!). I suppose I ought to be grateful, though, because if I had clay, I'm not sure my "LAWs" would be able to handle digging!

I really think somewhere in me I must be part Hobbit. There truly is something about good tilled earth...

I found a nice little surprise as I was tilling the garden today. As tends to happen, I had accidentally over wintered some potatoes that I didn't find while harvesting last fall. Two potatoes--one large and one medium/small--turned up as I was tilling. Yay! I love surprises! Especially whey they involve potatoes (or popcorn...or flowers...for those who are taking notes).

Yes, I'm wearing my The Cheat sweatshirt...

The potatoes ended up making a great addition to tonight's dinner, as well!

More on this later -- Crock Pot Chicken, Arugula Salad with Blueberry Balsamic Dressing, Homemade Bread and Garden Potatoes!!
I'm hoping we get a true spring this year -- especially after last year's long and brutal winter. I hope to be back in the garden in a couple of weeks direct sowing my first spring seeds! Raise your hand if you're excited for spring, too!!

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!