Spring is here! It is a fresh beginning… a symbol of NEW LIFE THAT IS POSSIBLE! “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 Today we are discussing that it is time to plant!
Previous Episodes Referenced:
- Southern Gardening: https://steelmagnoliaspodcast.com/episode/outdoor-entertaining-and-southern-gardens
- Heirloom Seeds: https://steelmagnoliaspodcast.com/episode/heirloom-seeds
- Plantin App: https://myplantin.com
Best Soil (courtesy of The Square Foot Gardener):
- 1/3 Pete Moss
- 1/3 Course Vermiculite
- 1/3 Good, Blended Compost
- “A Time to Plant: Southern Style Garden-Living” by James T. Farmer: https://amzn.to/3qiUjAh
Places to Connect:
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There's a rhythm to life that we see in all things, the ebb and flow of waves, the sun and moon rising. In fact, Scripture says to everything, there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven, a time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck what is planted. Today, we are talking about that time to plant. So, I'll meet you at the table.
I'm Lainie. And I'm Laura Beth. And we are Steel Magnolias,
the strength of steel with the grace of a magnolia. We are here to have uplifting conversations about life in the south.
And we've got plenty of room at our table. So pull up a chair.
Well, we are in the sweet spot that Lainie loves to be in- in the springtime because she's a good planter.
Well, I do enjoy getting my hands in the dirt a little bit. And you know, I was thinking as you were doing that intro, yes, we can all go to the grocery store and buy food that's already been grown. But somebody had to plant that at some point. Right?
Yes, it's very easy to forget that today we're reaping what somebody sown a long time ago. And thank goodness for our farmers out there that are growing our food. And we are all feeling the price increase at the grocery store right now. So maybe growing a few things on your own might help at on the grocery bill too.
Yeah. I'll link to some prior episodes as well. In our show notes. We did a Southern gardens episode in our first season. We did an heirloom seeds episode. So, link to those…we may have a little overlap today. But those are two good ones.
But it does feel just like the fresh beginning that we all need. Winter has passed and springtime has come and I think that resonates with everybody.
Yeah, you're looking out on things that look dead, but they're not dead. They're just hibernating. Yeah, they're just gonna getting ready to bud.
Yeah. So we're talking both flowers and food in terms of planting today. But the temptation is real on a sunny Saturday, no matter where you're living, to go over to the gardening section of your local nursery and just start putting plants and flowers in your cart. Is it not? Oh, yeah, we're just all itching to do that for sure. Whether you thought you were doing that on that Saturday or not, the weather's nice and but gosh, the height of plants and the width of plants, the root systems, trees, shrubs, flowers, annuals, perennials, this kind of stuff, affects everything and it needs a plan.
You’ve got to have a plan. And I get picked on by our mom sometimes about always saying, “what's the plan?” That is our joke? Yes. But, there has to be a plan. And I'm not gonna apologize for needing the plan, because I think it's the key to success with so many things. In fact, I'm dealing with a few problems at the moment due to lack of planning. Yes, and it is not your fault. Maybe not even the true fault of whoever planted these things. They just didn't do their research. Well, that's what I'm thinking though, is part of planning is researching. That's right, you’ve got to inform people that don’t know. It's okay not to know, but just ask the people that do know.
Well, those little tags they put on all of the things we're talking about in the gardening Center are there for a reason.
When when we bought this house, there were two trees planted literally right by the front door. Yes. And they were really small. When my dad saw the house, he said, the first thing you're gonna have to do is move these two trees and I just thought like, what's the big deal? Yeah, I think they look cute there. Well, he was right. In fact, you may want to put a picture up for our listeners to see how huge these trees are 20 years later. But I did move them because he told me too, not because I thought they needed to be moved. Boy, did they need to be moved! Well, in the backyard, there was a tree. I don't remember how big that tree was. I mean, it was significant already. That is what would you say, 8 to10 feet from my Deck? It's called a sweet gum maple. And it is massive now. So, that’s those little brown spiky things that fall on the ground, right? Yes. So now that the tree is so massive, those brown things are all over the yard. Mom said the other day, “I feel like there's more of those balls in the yard.” I said, “because there is because the tree is bigger!” Like hello. Anyway. The guy that has helped us in the yard some is so wonderful and he just let me know the other day; and I know he didn't want to break this news to me; but that this tree is going to have to come down in the next couple of years. Because the root system he said it never should have been planted there. This tree's roots don't go down, they go out and it's coming to your house. Yes, it is like literally in the root system is literally encroaching and pushing on the house.
And so I said yeah, how much do you think that's gonna be to take this tree down? And I had a number that like came in my mind. And he said that exact number, $4000. I'm like, for nothing, basically. And I'm a bit of a tree hugger. So I don't even like to hear a tree needs to come down. Yeah, you know, because if I feel like that's adding to the air purification, right? But he said, it's, it's going to fall on your house or your car. There's already been some limbs that have been gone in that direction. But how much could we possibly make back if we cut it up and sell firewood? Need to do that every Saturday. Yeah, right for lots of Saturdays. Those trees that you mentioned in the front. Did you say that they were evergreens? I did not. And I do have that visual of Chevy Chase in Christmas vacation when he cuts the ropes that had been previously holding the Christmas tree together. He cuts the ropes to let the branches fall and I mean, glass is shattering because the windows are punctured. That's right. That would have happened if I would have left them near the front door. Yeah, it would have busted through the window.
Those trees are big enough now, they could be at Rockefeller Plaza. It'd be fun if you had the means of height with a ladder or a boom truck. Oh, to decorate at Christmas? It would be so fun, so pretty. Who's got a bucket truck?
Well, I have actually already seen lots of patches of yellow daffodils. Aren't they happy? They're already out. You can not look at a daffodil and not smile. They are already out in droves. And they are in a good patch that I've seen. Yeah, they must multiply really well. But, I just really feel like whether you are a gardener or not; and y’all know I lean on the side of succulents and a couple of house plants; that once you see Joanna Gaines in her overalls, and her shovel in her little green house, you want to plant something. She is so cute! And so she's so stinking cute, and I know she loves spring like that's a big place in her heart. I know she's a big planter, but I have followed her Instagram for years and she's starting to get little dirt under the nails.
Man, wouldn't it be fun to have a greenhouse? That's like dreamy to me! Yeah, that's a dream- a greenhouse and a potting shed!
She has a shed, a “she shed” is what she calls it.
I really do feel like that's something I would use a lot.
I think you would too, because I've seen your little table makeshift table out here where you do your potting.
It's kind of pitiful. You're making a face like it's kind of pitiful.
It perfectly suits your needs for now. Well, do you think people are thinking like where do I even begin?
Well, probably, okay. There is a lot to consider and I think we should debunk the heaviness of it. You can just start small. Have one little herb garden this this spring if you've never done anything; which can grow inside or out like you could put it in a window right? True. I've never done that. But I've seen that. It would probably prefer to be outside. But, even though I have some raised beds, I have a little herb pot, it’s kind of an oval shape, that I keep on the deck because that way I don't have to go all the way out in the yard, if I just need a little bit of basil or a little bit of rosemary.
Yes, because they can be in a pot. They don't have to be in the ground. In fact, they love pots. Okay. Yeah, so don't get overwhelmed if you don't you know where to start, or if you're in an apartment or just have a little tiny patch for a garden.
And do you think it's a fair statement to say your local garden center is going to be selling things that make sense for your climate zone? First of all I would say, and I'm I am not like anti big box store, Lowe's and Home Depot. I buy lots of things there. But I will say their garden help is not necessarily going to be as knowledgeable as someone who's working at a little local nursery. Yeah, if you have a lot of questions, I would go somewhere where there's more knowledgeable help. Does that make sense? The teenager that's working at Home Depot and nothing against that. But yeah, if you have questions, I'd go somewhere where people know what they're talking about. Okay. Another thing I wanted to talk about was, you mentioned like little tags on plants and things like that. Not merely suggestions. Those are your directions.
They are, but also our USDA has a zone system that they use where they put you in a zone by where you live. Those zones are based on cold hardiness. Okay, so it's basically saying, for you in Tennessee, you're in zone seven. Yes. Most of the South is zones 6,7,8 and 9. Mostly in zones 7,8 and 9. But maybe a little in six, but that is looking at how cold it's gonna get. That's all they're looking at is How cold is it going to be. And so that is a factor to take into. But that is not the only factor. So just because something is not going to, like zone seven, you know, is not going to get 50 degrees below zero, right? It's not taking into effect, how many days are going to be close to 100 degrees. Ah, do you see what I'm saying? So just because something is cold hardy doesn't mean that it will tolerate a lot of heat or a lot of humidity. Great point. I did not know that.
And so that is when you need to know a little bit more than just your zone. Okay, your nursery help that's been doing this for a while is going to know. Yeah. And I think one of the best ways to know what would do well around you is to see what is planted in gardens around you. What is doing well near you?
So I think that's true. I think this might be a good time to mention an app that I heard about.
Of course, she has an app!
Well, some times you might be out for a walk and loving something you're seeing, but you don’t know what it is.
There's an app called PLANTIN. I can link to it in the show notes. We're not an affiliate, we don't get any money from saying that. But it's your gardening companion, you can take pictures to find out what kind of plant you're looking at. I love that! I believe there's some different tiers of a subscription. So I don't think all of this is free. But if you're starting out, it's probably very minimal charges. And if you do get into it, and you even have some diseased plants, it's going to help you with that, too. They do disease diagnosis, where you take a picture of the sick part of your plant. You upload it and you get a diagnosis with treatment plan.
Oh, my- is this for inside in? Like indoor plants and outdoors? Yeah, yeah. Oh, that's cool.
Yeah. So I mean, if you're cruising by your neighbor's mailbox, I don't think you should be maybe up near their front door taking pictures. I don't know, maybe y'all are close and you can do that. But it would be helpful to just be able to scan and be like, what is that? I love that flower. I think that's a good thing to look at what's around you because I've fallen in love with plants before that would never make it here. Yes. You know, so why spend the money?
Well, I was gonna say I think when you do start to plan don't look through a magazine. Yeah, it gets go to your gardening center and see what some options are, that are good for you
that are good for your area. And the other thing you need to think about is light. Some people keep up with where the sun is in the morning and in the evening. I'm not always great at all of that. But all of that matters. Like how much sun is it going to get? How many hours of sun is it going to get? I have some plants that do so well on the side of my house that gets no direct sun and they just thrive over there but it's all plants that are more tropical. You know, like like rain forest where it's going to get the humidity of Tennessee, but yet not a lot of direct sun. So true. They are tropical over there.
Think about what it's gonna do well where you're putting them like how much sun, how much humidity and if you're growing a lot of vegetables you want there to be a lot of sun. Yes. So I don't have a lot of full sun because I have a lot of huge trees. I don't have much yard that gets full sun. Yeah. So I've got one little patch that's right next to the fence. And that's where I have my raised beds. Well, another thing I didn't know early on is soil matters. Yeah. Particularly if you're doing raised beds. If you're growing from seed or really small seedlings, the soil really matters. If it's something mature, you know, you're buying that comes in with a root ball. Yeah, that's different.
What kind of soil do you like to put in your raised beds? So the best I've ever done was when I really took to mind the Square Foot Gardner’s soil mix. Oh, yeah, I think you mentioned him before, and he has a particular plan for your soil. And it is the best really. Okay, so you do what he recommends? Yes, get a tarp and a shovel. This is not the easiest. The easiest is just go buy some soil in a bag and throw it in there. This could be an activity for the kids, get them involved. That is true. So basically, you do 1/3 peat moss, okay. 1/3 course vermiculite, okay. And 1/3 Good blended compost. So either your own compost, if you're doing a compost yourself, you use that. Or you can buy compost, at a Co Op, or any place like that. And there's different ones. So there's like, mushroom compost or there's all different ones. Okay, so to make a good blended one, if you're not doing your own compost, you're going to get two or three different kinds and mix it all together. Okay, that makes sense. So I like that there's just 1/3, 1/3, 1/3. So you can figure out how big your beds are, and how much you're going to need total and then figure out how much a third, but that mix is so rich, okay, I need to do this. And it is wonderful. Okay, like things will thrive in that mix. Okay, so if you're willing to do that, I think it's the very best, okay. And if you start Googling some of these things, now, you'll just continue to get served ads to point you in the direction.
Because as you were talking about that, I was like, Yes, I got served an ad because I'd been doing this research this week for a Nashville compost company. That's hilarious.
So. Okay, soil matters. Yes, there's easy ways, but that's the very best stuff I've ever had is when I followed that plan.
Okay, that's really good to know. And I'm going to do that.
I also am a big fan of that Miracle Gro liquid feed. Oh, okay. So I had a friend tell me about this, who's very good with her plants. You know, I knew her plants were thriving. So I said, What are you feeding these things? Yeah. And she said, I get that liquid feed. So there is a powder you can make yourself but this liquid, you can just hook up to your hose. Nice. And I love to do that. Just, you know, maybe for about three or four weeks. I can't afford to do it all summer. I don't think you need to do it all summer, but just to really get them going. Yes. When the weather's milder to get them get those roots really growing nicely. And then once they're going, they'll do fine. Yeah, yeah. But I like to kind of feed them a little bit. That's so good. I've never done that on my vegetable garden. I'm just talking about some of my newly planted flower, my Hostas my into my indoor plants that I stick out on the deck. All of those kind of things is what I feed
Well, so just sticking on flowers and non food planting items just for a second. I will say what I saw at the gardening center here this week was saw some magnolia trees that were so pretty. And there's so many different varieties of magnolia trees and quite expensive. So, plan again because if you are working within a budget, you know, but in 10 years it's gonna be a beauty. Dogwoods. Those are beautiful around here. Ranunculus. Oh, my second favorite flower. Behind peonies? Yes, Okay, because they had peonies. They had some really pretty hanging plants. Oh, yeah. So just throwing it out there. If you are not a planter, but still want some color, just hang some up around the house and the front porch or the back deck. This is a great idea. And let me tell you, I am on a budget and here's something I've done. Sometimes the hanging plants look so full, don't they? Yes, they just look so full. Let's say that they're $14.99. I've taken one and split it and then, you know, it looks still kind of nice and healthy. But yet now I've got three plants out of it. I like that.
What else did I see? Snapdragon. Oh, those
are pretty. I love bulbs. That's one thing. I am a real perennial lover. I feel like it's a wiser investment. Maybe I'm just again, I'm on a budget. So bulbs that you put in the ground and they're gonna keep coming back; be that the daffodils, iris, hostas, peonies. Yes. Anything that is a bulb. Dahlias. I love dahlias. Yeah, I only have one little Dahlia planted, but those are going to come back every year. You know, I know a lot of people like to add in annuals because they have more of the brighter color. The petunias and pansies. Yes, all of that kind of thing. But I'm just putting some perennials around that are always going to come back and then you've got that to build around. Yeah, is really nice. I have a hard time keeping annual and perennial straight. It's so weird, because to me, I hear annual used in many contexts, and it means that happens every year. It's the annual sale. It's but Oh, yeah. But that means it's a little different. Yeah. In planting annual means you get it once that year. Yes. And it won't be back next annual. So that is correct.
Okay, well, let's talk a little bit about some food, some veggies, okay, you would probably see in the south and that would be good to be thinking about or planning for.
Well, now's the time if you're wanting to start from seed for a lot of things. And there's different ways you can do that. A lot of people like to keep their carrier for your eggs. Oh, yeah. The carton. Yeah, just keep that carton fill that with good soil and put the seed in there because you’ve really got to tend it at first. Okay, get it going. Okay. And that way you can water it regularly and everything. It's not out in the harsh elements. You've just got it sitting in a window. Okay, where it's getting light. Because again, you know, the frailty? Yeah. In the early stages. Yeah. And then once it's getting stronger, you can move it now I'm not one that's going to move it, move it, move it a lot like some people will do from the egg carton to a little bit bigger pot, to a little bit bigger pot, to their garden. Okay. I ain't got time for that. So, I just go from carton to the garden spot you're putting it in. It depends on what it is. But yes, or I've even just stuck them in the garden bed. If it's lettuce or something that's gonna make it okay, but some things are more frail than others.
Yeah. I saw a lot of lettuce this morning when I was at the garden center. So lettuce, kale, collards, onions, cabbage, radishes. That's what it's time for now. Swiss chard, turnips. Yes. Yes, time for all hard and it's going to quickly be time for beans and broccoli. Cantaloupe, corn, spinach squashes summer squash.
Yeah. And dependent on your amount of space. That's another thing. If you've never done this to think about it doesn't take a whole lot of space to do certain things. And it takes a lot of space to do others. So corn, you need a good bit of it's gonna get real tall. Yep. You can do it in raised beds. Yep. But keep in mind it's gonna shade everything. So true next to it. Yeah, so that might mess up if you don't have it in the right spot. Yeah, I've made that don't put it right in the middle. I learned that yeah, the hard way. I have never had good luck growing broccoli. So I'm never doing it again. I'll just get that at the grocery store. It maybe it's just I don't know what I'm doing but I didn't get enough yield to what neither It's not worth it to me last year, but I think cucumbers are easy. Tomatoes are easy. Peppers are easy. Herbs are easy. Those are the ones I always like to do.
We had good luck with our strawberries last year as well fun. That was a fun activity for our little toddler to get to go pick. It was easy for him to understand where to pull it from, you know, because he's seeing it.
So I think it's great for them to see how we get our food.
Sure. It's yeah, yeah. In fact, when you said egg cartons with seeds in it, I actually imagined like a preschool classroom because I feel like they do that sort of experimenting a lot to watch. Like, here's a seed, we're gonna put it in here and you're gonna see a sprout that's pretty amazing. Listen to our heirloom seeds episode if you want more on seeds, because I thought that was very enlightening. Yeah, good stuff.
I came across a really good book I want to mention too. A time to Plant, southern style garden living. Ah, so this guide, James T. Farmer is his name. He's trying to teach a new generation of Southerners to love gardening and to make it a focal point of their lifestyle. So he's teaching age old rules, but he's trying to sort of put it in modern day language. Okay, make it accessible and in a way that resonates with today's younger generations. Awesome. And yeah, it's just a fresh voice. So I thought it sounds like a really good book. It's got some recipes for seasonal meals in it, which we've talked about before. Yes, I think it's so good to eat what is in season. I think our bodies crave what's in season. Personally, I do too. Like I love cucumber and watermelon in the summer. And I'm like, that just makes sense. Because it's got a lot of water in it. And we need a lot of hydration in the Summer. Yes, exactly. Yeah. The one thing I know that you are a lover of Asian food. This just came to my mind that I was surprised to see here locally was bok choy. Oh, I didn't know we could have grown that. But I showed you like it was a baby bok choy. Well. Can you see that picture? I'm showing up to you. Right? Well, I love the baby bok choy the best. Yeah. And I only find it in the organic section typically at our local grocery stores, which is fine. But yeah, I would love to grow that. I would use it even more than I already do.
Well, one thing I wanted to mention about gardening is just the beauty of sharing what you grow. Yeah. And just the legacy that that can yeah, like I think about, you know, a lot of the bulbs that I mentioned, you can split and share with friends and neighbors. And even just, I wish that I had, you know, some of our grandparents, flowers and plants just because I think what a sweet thing when people have, you know, these peonies that are 50 years old. Yeah. Then yeah, people will those I have one, they are literally putting people's will sometimes these crazy plants, you know, that's pretty awesome.
The fight is on to right. There's they're doing that because they know there's there's gonna be a big discussion. Yeah, I have our great aunt Betty's peony. And hopefully it's coming back this year. It’s gonna come back and if it thrives, I want a piece. The legacy that continues.
Well, I love that Lady Bird Johnson, who was a former first lady. She was a Texas native. She left a lasting legacy of wildflowers. And I just think this is a neat little story. So in 1965, she spearheaded the Highway Beautification Act. And they began like better regulation of billboards along the highways junkyard that were making it kind of ugly to drive by Yeah. And then also, there was a planting of indigenous wildflowers along the highways of theTexas Hill Country. So that continues, that is cool. And she also founded in 1982, the Wildflower Research Center in Austin. Okay. And in 1997, they changed the name of that center to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. So they work to protect and preserve North America's native plants and landscapes. And so I just think that's pretty awesome. That is super cool. That's a true lasting legacy. I was gonna say I really never thought of doing that. You went to a funeral one time where they gave out seed packets and I think that's sweet. Where you can plant the seeds and think of that person. I've heard of people, you know, with the passing of a person buying somebody a tree. Yes,I've done that before. You know, you were mentioning like a magnolia or something. And you could plant that in someone’s honor. Yes, or a few of us went in on a tree, so you can do it as a group, because they can be expensive.
Well, Laura Beth I hope your Rosemary grows tall, your strawberries are sweet and Peace be with you.
And also with y’all!