Questions? Write Me at

Questions? Write me at fullcirclegardener @ cableone . net.

Planting begins soon!

The average last spring frost for me is May 12 according to the NDSU extension service.  With that in mind, I have been counting out weeks and Thursday, February 17 is my first planting day this year!  WOO HOO!

Oh yes, I hear the startled cries everywhere... "What!!!  There is 3+ feet of snow on the ground and it is frozen solid for at least two more months! (not to mention the sub-zero temps!)"  This is true, but do you want to plant geraniums and petunias along your front porch, or broccoli, cauliflower and/or onions in the garden this spring?  Well, then indoor planting time can begin 12 weeks prior to outdoor planting if you are up for the adventure, joy and admittedly, sometimes sorrow, of starting your own plants.  For those of us itching to get our figures deep into some beautiful black soil, there is nothing more exciting!

I eagerly await my first planting day each year, but there is much for me to do in preparation for that day.

1) review notes from previous years
2) inventory seeds and make a planting list
3) inventory, clean & prepare my supplies & tools
4) purchase needed seeds and supplies
5) find out what should be started early and when (check out my post about the Weekend Gardener)
6) Feb 17 - START PLANTING!!! :D

I have completed the first two steps in this process already, so now it is time to start digging out my supplies.  If all goes well this weekend, I will gather up my supplies and create a list of "bare essentials" and a list of "nice to have" for the beginner and/or frugalist who wants to try their hand at starting their own plants. 

It really doesn't take much equipment or money to start your own seeds and it is very rewarding to place those flowers and vegetables into your garden and pots knowing you did it yourself!  Besides, what is the worst that can happen... you go to your local garden center and buy plants because it just didn't work out! (Ok, you might have to vac up some spilled dirt from the carpet when little fingers think they've found something fun to play with!  Experience. :-})

Now GO, get started on steps 1 and 2, and I'll be back in a few days to help you gather up your supplies. :-)

Kids Gardening website plus Free Catalog

Here is an awesome FREE on-line resource for anyone who has kids and wants to include them in the gardening experience!

The National Gardening Association has a website designed entirely around educating kids using the garden.  They have tons of resources that could be a great resource for home schoolers, teachers or parents wanting to include gardening in education.  I'm looking forward to checking out some of the "Classroom Projects" to see there is something I can use in our home this summer! :)

Also sign up for their free catalog and newsletters.

Inventory time!

I've been tied to the couch/bed or bathroom the last couple of days with an stomach/intestinal bug.  This morning I took advantage of my relative inactivity to inventory what seeds I already have and what I need for the upcoming season.

I started by looking at my 'planted' list from last season, eliminated a few and added a few.  So here is what I'm thinking will go into my garden and planters this year (this is certainly not set in stone until everything is actually planted!!). 

peas (snap & shell)
beans (wax & green)
peppers (hot & bell)
tomatoes (paste/slicer/cherry)
zucchini/summer squash
buttercup squash
mini pumpkin
*salad greens/spinach
brussel sprouts?

Those marked with a * are the ones that I will HAVE to purchase seed for this year, but I am looking at trying some different tomatoes than I have in my seed stash...  Hmmm, I'm noticing there is not much to purchase, maybe this year I could splurge on those tomato seeds that caught my eye in the Harris Seed catalog I posted about yesterday. ;)  I'll keep you posted as I ponder my budget and see what I can find locally.

The last three items I'm unsure if I will plant.  The watermelon I actually got to grow last year, after 3 previous tries, but I lost the fruit to squirrels!  I have to decide if it worth trying again!  Brussel sprouts I tried for the first time last year and in the end I got about 1 cup of pea size brussel sprouts.  Are they worth the space?  Now, parsnips I enjoy & like to stretch my family with each fall.  The last two falls I have been given some and wouldn't mind trying it myself if I have space this year.

So there you have it... my tentative planting list and my purchase list (short as it is!)

What are you planning to plant this year?  Do you like to stretch your family to try new things from your garden or do you have a list that does not change?

Who has come in your mail box?

Over the last month or so I've been pulling my free gardening mail order catalogs out of the mailbox.  I love these for their inspiration and, at this time of year, the DEALS I can get with some of them! ;)  Out of curiosity I did a quick internet search of "garden catalogs".  Did you know that has a THREE PAGE list of gardening mail order catalogs?!?!  There is absolutely no shortage available to someone looking for gardening inspiration!

I've gotten four catalogs this year.  When I first started looking for free gardening catalogs I tried to select companies that I thought would have similar zoning and planting.  There wasn't much available!  I've since decided that I also need to look for those companies that are well known and offer a wide variety for all areas and zones to give myself a little more variety.

Here are the four I received this year....
Henery Fields (discovered this year that they have the same parent company as Gurney's)
Garden's Alive!
Harris Seed
(I forgot to add that I am a costumer of these companies like any other gardener and am not being paid to advertise for them!)

I like the first three because they come with purchasing incentives.   Gurney's & Henry Fields offer $25 off a $50 purchase and my Garden's Alive arrived with a $25 off $25 (including shipping!! My kind of incentive: potentially FREE) this year. I like the Harris Seed because they offer seed varieties that I have been unable to find anywhere else!  Unfortunately, they do not offer any nice incentives & they are not necessarily cheap, BUT if I'm really set on a certain item it may be worth it (there are a couple of variety tomatoes that I'm tempted by this year).

Before I close I do need to state one more thing.  I have absolutely no problem going to my local farm supply store, hardware store, grocery store, or whatever store to purchase seed!  I also have no problem using a packet of seed multiple years!  I frequently purchase my seeds at the end of the season when they are on clearance and save them for the next year.  Please, if you feel you need new seed every year, send you half empty packets to me. I'll use them! :)  Seriously, I don't want this post to come across as saying you need to go to the mail order catalogs every year to get your seed.  For me, the catalogs are a source of inspiration and they give me my January/February gardening fix! 

So tell me, who has shown up in your mailbox over the last month?  I'd love to hear which catalogs you get and why!

Happy browsing! :D

Favorite Gardening Websites!

I have some favorite gardening websites that I have spent a lot of time visiting over the last week.  Here are a few of them...

Weekend Gardener - they have a great "grow guide"; a weekly planner that shows what can be started indoors or planted outdoors based on the dates you input.

NDSU Extension Service- there is no better local resource, no matter where you live, than the local extension service!!!

Average Last Date of Spring Frost & First Fall Frost in North Dakota- great resource for planning!!! (unfortunately, I have not found similar information for Minnesota yet)

National Gardening Association - I love the free newsletters they provide; especially the Regional Gardening Report that comes to my e-mail box bi-weekly!  I also follow them on Facebook and love the gardening tidbits they share daily.  A couple of summers ago I posted a question on their wall.  They were quick to respond and very helpful! :)

Do you have any favorite gardening websites?  Please share!  I'd love to check it out too!

FREE Gardeners Idea Book!

Gardener's Idea Book

Proven Winners
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Time to start planning...

Gardening catalogs have started arriving in my mailbox.  I can almost taste my fresh garden produce as I turn each page!

It is the time of year to start planning for spring and summer gardening so it's time to pull out my notes from last year and think about what changes I want to make, what went well and what did not go well.

Several years ago I started keeping gardening notes to keep my memory fresh.  I record what I planned to plant, what I did plant; what I planned to start and what I did start.  I also record problems I had along the way so that I can hopefully make adjustments for the next season.  For example, last year I tried to start my seedlings in the basement where the only light they received were from grow lights... not my best idea!  This year I'll be using the grow light along with natural light for hopefully better results!

Today's task:  find my notes and review the last several years before I begin planning my new season