My Hardy Geraniums

My favorite geraniums are these raspberry-colored ones. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

My favorite geraniums are these raspberry-colored ones. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

My Hardy Geraniums

As you think about what plants you want to have in pots this year, make sure you include geraniums. I have had a variety of different geranium colors in pots for many years, giving me wonderful color in the dead of a dreary winter.

Most geraniums offered on the market are annuals, and it is assumed they will be planted one year and allowed to die when cold weather sets in. Even if you have them planted in your garden, you should be able to dig them up and move them inside in pots to continue growing, and blooming, through winter.

The raspberry-colored geranium in the top photo is my favorite. The plant is now 4 foot tall and lives in my business office, keeping my printer and desk company through the year. It tends to bloom most of the year taking a short break around fall.

I do give them watered down fertilizer, 1/2 tsp per gallon of water every other month, and worm castings a couple of times a year mixed into the soil. I remove the top soil, mix in the worm castings, then replace it all back into the pot. Every three years or so I remove as much soil as I can and replace it with new soil.

This next geranium is blooming in living room pot. Its red color pops nicely against the purple leaves, a beacon among the sea of plants wintering over in the bay window. The red color compliments the red in the amaryllis blooms currently in bloom.

These red geraniums are pretty among the purple leaves. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

These red geraniums are pretty among the purple leaves. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

One more reason why you should save at least one geranium for winter. This is a tomato red geranium blooming in another pot in my dining room, brightening up the area on cloudy, gray days.

Tomato red geraniums in bloom in my living room. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Tomato red geraniums in bloom in my living room. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Now these geraniums are different than the native, hardy geraniums. Even though they are only annuals with a little care they can bloom year after year if you keep them inside over winter.

Here’s another way to bring in these colors to your room, our Ribbon Flowers Lap Quilt will add the same colors to the back of a chair or sofa and be ready for that unplanned nap!

Charlotte

Tomato Starts

One of my tomato starts in their own pot near my kitchen. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

One of my tomato starts in their own pot near my kitchen. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Tomato Starts

It’s about time to start planting seeds indoors for outside growing after the danger of frost. Where I live, that is usually Mother’s Day, around May 10. But before you start, check your potted plants for any volunteers that have hitchhiked in that soil. If you replanted in previously-used soil or had plants sitting close together, you may already have plant starts growing.

Although I love having fresh, homegrown tomatoes, I don’t grow tomatoes from seed. They tend to take matters into their own seeds and sprout all by themselves and, this year ,they are right on schedule.

Over the years, I grow tomatoes in pots on my deck. The seeds end up in neighboring pots and tend to start growing on their own late winter. This year, I found the tomato starts in a potted banana tree.

Tomato starts popping up all by themselves in a banana plant. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Tomato starts popping up all by themselves in a banana plant. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The tomato seedlings don’t show up all at once. The first one is now sitting in its own pot, crushed eggshells in the bottom and coffee grounds mixed up in the plain potting soil, no added fertilizer. This way I can control how much fertilizer is going into the soil.

After noting the first tomato plant, I started to check the soil for any other arrivals. Sure enough, more tomato plants are showing up so I will be potting those as well.

See the little seed on the tomato start bottom left? (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

See the little seed on the tomato start bottom left? (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

I let the little seedling get established before I move it and I take a whole glob of soil around the roots so that it has the least amount of trauma making the move.

When I see these seedlings, I can’t help but think of my Vegetables Baby Quilt with talking tomatoes.

This is gardening at it’s easiest. How many of us overlook those seedlings by pulling them out or piling rocks on top of them?

Charlotte

First Lettuce

There are a number of ways people mark the arrival of spring. Purple crocus; yellow daffodils in bloom; maybe a favorite tree blooming. In my world, it's lettuce.

In addition to a dedicated vegetable garden spot, I keep a series of pots on my back deck where I can easily access herbs and greens. Sometimes the potted garden grows faster. It's on the equivalent of a second deck surrounded on three sides by glass. It also faces west so the soil warms up faster than the vegetable garden.

To get an early start on vegetables and herbs, I usually have a pot share lettuce seeds on one side and an herb on the other. I use shards from broken pots to set up growing guides. This year, lettuce is sharing space with sweet basil.

When I harvest my first greens for a salad marks the official beginning of spring for me.

It's a healthy, delicious and easy way to start!

Charlotte