Pleasant Home Farm

Preserving old traditions, making new ones, and building family and community


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Planning a new flower bed: now with “junque.”

Wow! Time has sure gotten away from me. It’s been way too long since my last post. I could make all kinds of excuses: my job search, my sadness because I haven’t gotten into grad school yet, the awesome tea party birthday party we threw for our granddaughter

The set up before the party. When the girls saw it, they were just giddy.

The set up before the party. When the girls saw it, they were just giddy.

… but everyone has a life and I don’t want to bore you.

So instead, let’s move on to what’s been obsessing me lately: the planning for my new flower bed that will surround our old pump house. I confess that aside from the terraced beds in the front of the house, most of my gardening energy has been focused on veggies, much to my mom’s chagrin. (She has been trying for years to get me to pretty up the place.) My friend, Jean Smith has changed all that. She is a wonder! She gardens and blogs and has a passion for turning junk into garden art that she calls “junque”. Recently, she has begun blogging for the Detroit News Lifestyle section, too! I’m so excited for her (in case you can’t tell). Anyway, she has inspired me to look around the farm for stuff we can use to make our gardens more exciting. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

It may not look like much yet, but trust me. It's gonna be great!

It may not look like much yet, but trust me. It’s gonna be great!

The things on the left are old hay forks. They used to be used for grabbing loose hay off of wagons and pulling it up into the hay mow to be stored for the winter. These two are rusted so badly that they don’t work anymore. I’m thinking they might make good trellises for miniature roses or other small vines. I just love the architectural look of them, don’t you?

Rusty hay forks.

Rusty hay forks.

There is also an old kids’ wagon. I keep picturing it full of trailing petunias, parked in front of our huge mock orange bush.

Of course, any old galvanized container like this coal scuttle or the broken watering can or mop bucket makes a good planter, too.

Of course, any old galvanized container like this coal scuttle or the broken watering can or mop bucket makes a good planter, too.

Another exciting find is the chassis for a Victorian baby buggy. I may or may not use it with the crate that’s sitting on it in the photo:

What great cursive lines!

What great cursive lines!

But the best thing of all is this upcycled planter that Gene cobbled together for me yesterday from an old sewing machine base and a copper wash tub. I think it’s quite grand. Don’t you agree?

We will put some empty milk jugs in the bottom to help keep the weight down.

We will put some empty milk jugs in the bottom to help keep the weight down.

I can hardly wait to fill it with annuals.

I’ve been looking at garden plans, and have come to the conclusion that I need to make sure all of my in-ground plants are perennials. That will leave me plenty of time to play with planting annuals in my new “junque” planters. I can’t thank my friend Jean enough for inspiring me to look around for what I have and recycle it to make my environment more beautiful. I bet you can do the same in your garden.

Next week, I’ll share my plan for the pump house garden. See you then!

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In the greenhouse

It was warm today. I know you don’t believe me because it’s March, and I live in Michigan. But it’s true. The temperature got past 40 degrees, which meant that inside our crummy little aluminum-framed greenhouse it was warm enough to plant stuff.

When we go to market in May we like to have fresh greens available. That means we need to plant things like spinach, arugula, and Swiss chard in the ground inside our greenhouse as soon as we get a warm day. Today was that day. Gene filled the water barrel with warm water from the barn while I sowed blocks of yummy greens and short rows of purple plum and French breakfast radishes. Then I dipped the old galvanized watering can into the water barrel to fill it, and watered the seeds in. I can hardly wait for them to germinate and pop through the soil. As oppressive as every Winter feels, every Spring feels miraculous to me.

    February
    C. Goetze

    Dry dark grips hours
    summer days will steal.

    Soil like snarled concrete
    beneath my boots, frost heaved

    the earth awaits the sun
    awaits its resurrection

    in my glass house, sweating streams
    streak clouded panes like tears.

    I prepare the altar, worship
    my own faith in futures.

    Mellow soil dots my fingers.
    I make wombs for germs of miracles.

Someday we will have a big beautiful heated greenhouse like this one. Of course, we will build ours ourselves, not buy it.

I would change it so that the north side is less glass and more rock for better passive solar use.

I would change it so that the north side is less glass and more rock for better passive solar use.

In the meantime, I’m thankful to be planting in any greenhouse at all, and happy to be thinking ahead to when it will be green outside again instead of grey and white.