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Kerry Michaels

Container Gardening

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Infusing Vodka with Container Garden Herbs

Friday April 18, 2014

Infusing Vodka

Photograph © Nicky Fabbrini

It's never too early to think about summer drinks. The wonderful and talented Nicky Fabbrini, of the aptly named website, Dirt and Martinis, has done a great guest post on how to infuse vodka with herbs.

Make sure you read all the way to the end because she has included a fabulous summer drink recipe for Rosemary Infused Vodka and Tonic.

How To Infuse Vodka with Herbs

You have got to love a woman whose motto is: "Eat. Drink. Play in the Dirt."

Egg Container Gardens

Monday April 14, 2014

eggs

Egg Gardens

Photo © Kerry Michaels

It is not too late to get some egg planters ready for Easter and if you hurry. The violas in eggshells, you can do right up until the day. The grass planters take a little more time.

Here are the links for how tos:

How to Make Grass Eggs

How to Make Flowering Eggs

Egg Idea Photos

 

eggs

 

eggs

Photograph © Kerry Michaels

Sometimes It's the Little Things

Friday April 11, 2014

Photo of garden twine

Nutscene Garden Twine

Photo © Kerry Michaels

I am a chronic loser of things, especially tools and gardening gear. I put stuff down and poof, it's gone. It doesn't help that I'm completely destractible and tend to flit around, rather than buckling down to any one thing, leaving a trail of tools in my wake. I have discovered that if I nail something to the wall, so that I can't remove it, I don't lose it as easily.

I took my can of twine, an essential in the garden and nailed it up in my garage and now I always know where it is.

I saw one of my favorite local stores, k. colette in Portland, Maine, is having a sale on Nutscene.

I also love where the name Nutscene came from.  According to their website...

"The name 'Nutscene' is derived from our renowned Greentwist™ twine, which when tied around a plant cannot be seen, thus 'not seen'."

Nutscene Website

You can also buy Nutscene without the can from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

10 Things Every Container Gardener Should Know

Wednesday April 9, 2014

Dahlia_Gallery_Leonardo.jpg

Dahlias

Photograph © Kerry Michaels

Recently a friend asked me what I thought were the 10 things every container gardener should know. Well, of course I thought of about 100, but here are ten of my top picks.

Please add yours in the comments section.

10 Things Every Container Gardener Should Know

Lime Love

Monday April 7, 2014

Homegrown Limes

Limes

Photo © Kerry Michaels

I once had an editor say to me, "Why would anyone want to grow food in a container? It's a waste of time because you get so little to eat." This handful of limes is the reason. I picked five limes this weekend off the little shrub that I have overwintered in my bathroom and those few pieces of fruit gave me more joy and happiness than any store bought food ever would. The limes gave me the sense of amazement and wonder for the months I watched them go from beautiful, fragrant blossom to swelling nub to lovely, juicy fruit. Another thing about the limes is that I will remember them, probably for a very long time and you would never say that about a piece of fruit from a super market.

Besides, there was just enough for margaritas, and they were memorable as well.

 

Moss Rocks

Thursday April 3, 2014

moss rocks

Moss Rocks

Photograph © Kerry Michaels

Moss may be having it's 15 minutes of fame. Martha Stuart is big on moss and now the New York Times has done a big article featuring two of the giants of this diminutive species, Annie Martin a moss hunter and purveyor, and David Spain, moss guru and author of the comprehensive and awesome website, Moss and Stone Gardens.

I am a huge fan of using moss in terrariums and as a topdressing in container gardens. Also, I love my Moss Rocks, which was sent to me by David Spain. It's beautifully modern and is so tactile, that I find I have to stroke it almost every time I walk by. Easy to care for, it lives up to the name of pet rock.

Full Review of Moss Rocks

Planting Potatoes in Containers

Wednesday April 2, 2014

potato flowers

Potato Flowers

Photograph © Kerry Michaels

Every year I grow more potatoes. I've grown them in Smart Pots also in huge flower pots. They are my kids' favorite things to grow. They taste amazing and they are really fun to harvest.

Potatoes need lots of water and a big container. For the first part of the summer they look great. Potato flowers are beautiful and the plants are lush and pretty. However, they get really scraggly at the end of the season, so you might want to plant them in an out of the way spot or move them when they get ugly.

I grow them on my driveway and on top of a picnic table (see painful woodchuck stories), and don't really mind how they look

How To Grow Potatoes in Containers

Teresa Loe and Tee Ridlle have both done great posts on how to build a potato tower.

Teresa Loe's Potato Condo How To

Tee Riddle's Potato Tower How To

Thriving on Neglect

Monday March 31, 2014

Easter Cactus

Easter Cactus in a Coffee Can

Photograph © Kerry Michaels

This little plant seems to love neglect. Though it's hard to tell, because it seems to bloom twice a year, I think this is an Easter cactus. I bought it at a super market a couple of years ago--I just couldn't resist (though admittedly, most of my plant purchases fall into the 'I just couldn't resist' category)--and despite almost complete neglect, I throw some water at it every once in a rare while, it has bloomed consistently once or twice a year.

It sits in its small original nursery pot, which just happened to fit perfectly in this old coffee can. I never fertilize it, and haven't re-potted it either.

I'm a big fan of cheating by keeping plants in their original pots and then placing them in other, more attractive pots (also called cachepots).

Here's some advice on how to cheat.

Make an Instant Container Garden

Dressing Up Your Plants Cachepots

I'm a

Get Plants Ready For Their Summer Vacation

Thursday March 27, 2014

photo of limes growing indoors

Photo © Kerry Michaels

 

I have about 20 ripe limes right now and it makes me ridiculously happy. This lime tree has been a trooper suffering through a long winter without much direct sun, an intractable infestation of spider mites and probably a severe calcium deficiency (the leaves were mottled). Despite the trials I've put it through, the small shrub burst into fragrant flowers and then produced amazingly tasty fruit.

I've started to feed it, and all my houseplants, a diluted liquid fertilizer to get it ready them for the growing season and life outdoors. The other thing you'll want to do before liberating your houseplants is to make sure to harden them off to acclimate them.

How to Harden Off Plants

If you're looking for a way to use your limes remember, there's always margaritas!

Strawberry Rhubarb Margarita

Amaryllis for Spring Happiness

Monday March 24, 2014

Red Lion Amaryllis photo

Monaco Amaryllis

Photo © Kerry Michaels

One of my favorite online plant resources, Longfield Gardens, sent me a Minerva amaryllis kit to try out. While I think of amaryllis as a winter bulb, I have been thrilled to watch its beauty unfurl this "spring." I put that word in quotes because it is 12 °F, and windy in the middle of the day, as I write this.

Anyhow, the kit is fantastic. It came with a small birch bark pot and the perfect amount of soil for planting the bulb and some moss to cover the soil. I'm completely smitten with the Monaco. It's a gorgeous red with a citron green and white throat and the bulb is already putting up two stems.

It's sold out on the website now, but keep it in mind for next winter (or spring for that matter).

Tips for Growing Amaryllis

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