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Spring showers bring May flowers!

Spring has sprung here in Maine but today it's raining, and I’m actually glad. I needed a break. With spring comes lots of outside cleanup, and we've been busy doing exactly that. Sadly, we lost one tree and a good size branch off the old white lilac. But my herbs have started to emerge from their winter slumber, and we’ve already enjoyed some fresh chives.

I spent the winter months making a lot of soap and other products, trying to stock up for spring craft shows. Plus, I knew I would be eager, once the weather improved, to get outside and I wanted to get ahead of things. Spring soap scents that made a comeback this year include Sun Salutations, Cactus Blossom, and Red Berries & Rhubarb. Each one is unique to itself. Sun Salutations is a fruity mix, while Red Berries & Rhubarb is both fruity and tart. I think my favorite has to be Cactus Blossom with its combination of cactus blossom, lily, and citrus accented by rich notes of coconut, golden amber, earthy musk, and sandalwood.

Speaking of fruit, I tried my hand at tree grafting recently. We have an old heirloom apple tree called a Red Astrachan; they were brought over from Russia in the early 1800’s. The poor old tree has about had it and I don’t expect it to stand much longer as the inside is completely rotted. It's the only one around that I know of, and I really wanted to keep the variety going. So, I watched a bunch of how to videos on grafting and gave it a try. Fingers crossed, but the grafts look like they have taken.

With spring comes the anticipation of planting my garden. The windowsill in the kitchen is full of small pots containing seedlings I have started. Melons, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, and several varieties of heirloom tomatoes will soon be moved out to the greenhouse to harden off. Other veggies, such as radish, lettuce, beets, kale, chard (and much more!) will be started from seed next month.

We plant in raised beds and large containers now instead of plowing the ground. After having traditional type gardens for years, we decided to downsize and make life a little easier. We no longer sell produce at the farmer's market, so we didn't need such large gardens. Raised beds are great, so much less weeding, and I still grow enough to put some food up for us. Below is a photo from one of my beds last year. I have one dedicated to just asparagus, a perennial herb bed, and then the rest are used for veggies which I rotate each year. I have my gardens all planned out for this summer, and I can't wait to get planting.

All these beautiful shades of green make me want to experiment more with plant extracts for coloring my soaps. Are any of you gardeners? Do you grow veggies, flowers or both? I'd love to hear about your green thumbs. What are some things you look forward to in the spring? Until next time, take care and keep healthy.


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