Spring Jobs 'To Do List', Planning A Plant Exchange, Successful Plant Division and Yummy Chicken Paprika!


For me and I believe many others, spring holds a promise for newness of life! It's when I look out and dream of new flower beds, anticipate the coming springs first crops of asparagus and rhubarb...savoring the memory of their here today, gone tomorrow presence. I scan the yard and think of all the jobs that I will have to get done as soon as nicer weather affords me time in my personal Eden. I anxiously await the first buds to pop on the lilacs... those small, brave tulips and daffodils, reaching up out of a cold, hard ground to the warming sunshine ready to burst forth into simple beauty! I love that first trip out to my potting shed after the winter... the smell and then the challenge of tidying up and reorganizing.  An early morning stroll through The Potager scanning for baby lettuces sprouting from scattered seeds... imagining the bounty and longing for my quiet time that I am able only to have in my gardens. If you are an avid gardener or if this is your first season in the dirt, lets look to those promises and plan on a great new gardening year!  Enjoy friends!

Be sure to go to my blog spot to see all the great photo's that go along with this post at www.fordragonfliesandme.blogspot.com and "Like" my new Facebook page for Dragonflies. 

Most of my readers know that I love anything to do with organization and List Making. I could never do without lists... grocery, housework, to-do, seed inventories or packing for trips (not that I take many, LOL). Lists make our lives easier, especially for forgetful folks like me! Today we'll focus on Spring Garden Jobs. I am attaching a file with my personal list rather than typing it for you to save and print out if/when you would like. You have my permission to use and share it with friends for personal use. (SEE ATTACHMENT).  Feel free to add to this list items that I have not included or delete things that don't pertain to you.

Keep a journal!  A journal can be your best friend if you let it. Document all the changes you make, take photographs of major projects, renovations and specific growth of particular plants that you want to watch mature over years, like trees.  I stand my children beside a newly planted tree and take a photo every year. It is amazing to see how much they both grow and change! 

I also go over to see what plants will need to be split, pitched and replaced if died over the winter and what spots need to be filled in.  Keeping these detailed notes also allows me to remember who may have given a special plant. Along with the who, what and when there is no more guessing on age or variety. It also gives you the ability to see what worked and didn't. I know as a busy wife, mother, farmer, market vendor and manger, I could never remember everything that I change, plant or didn't like/work. 

Here are a couple really good site's to check out for gardening info!
Gardening Tips and Tricks  http://www.facebook.com/GardeningTipsAndTricks?ref=stream
Weekend Gardener at   http://www.weekendgardener.net/do-list.htm
Seeds Of The Month Club  http://www.facebook.com/SeedsOfTheMonthClub?ref=stream

Be sure to keep posted, coming up in my next post I will touch on DRAWING UP YOUR GARDEN PLAN!
Planning a Plant Exchange is a great way to share all those 'splits' you will end up with this Spring after cleaning up your beds. I know for myself, I can hardly pitch a plant, it just seems mean! A plant exchange is not only rewarding and fun, it's a great money saver in the long run.  As most of you know I also love to entertain... I don't get to do it as often as I would like, but when I do I try to make it special for my guests! I gave all the How-To's last year on hosting a Plant Exchange (XXXXX), so today I thought I'd focus on some info on types of plants that transplant well.  I have also added tips on division and transplanting.

Helpful tips to prepare for the Plant Exchange:
  (Taken and adapted from Country Gardens Magazine, Spring 2006, pg. 55-57).
How to divide, care for and prepare your transplants for the exchange:
*The best time to divide a plant is shortly after it emerges in spring.
*Try to divide the plants as close to the plant exchange date/time as possible.
*Loosen the soil around the plants perimeter and then use a sharp spade or knife to cut through the roots to divide.  Be sure to keep a large root clump with the plant to ensure successful transplanting.
*Put your divisions in practical, temporary containers: paper cups, disposable aluminum muffin cups, tin cans, plastic containers, plastic plant pots/ terra-cotta pots or any other container you have handy. Just be sure to add drainage holes to water tight containers. 
*Give a tag/label with each division including: name/variety of plant, sun/shade requirements, mature plant size- height and diameter, water/soil requirements, zone hardiness, perennial or annual. A nice description for 'new' gardeners will be so appreciated.
*Make sure to plant/water as soon as possible once you have the plants in their new location.
How to harvest seedlings:*Be sure that the seedlings are at least 3-5 inches tall with at least 2 sets of true leaves.
*Get all the plants roots.
*Replant the seedling into a small container with appropriate drainage holes and gently water immediately.

Plants that divide easily and transplant well include:
*Day Lilies
*Bleeding Heart
*Bee's Balm (Monarda)
*Black Eye Susan, Shasta Daisy's and any Coneflowers
*perennial Geraniums
*Purple Bellflower
*any early blooming bulbs that have bloomed and died back at least half way- Snow Drops, Crocus, Daffodils, Tulips
~I always say, if in doubt, do without... so if you are not sure about one of your plants, ASK! Or look up in a good garden guild any special tricks that certain plants may have before you divide if you are not sure.

This is a very favorite recipe in our home. It was Neil's mothers recipe that she had made and over the years I have adjusted it a bit to serve our large family. It is super yummy and worth the efforts in making!

Chicken Paprika

1 Whole Chicken, cut into pieces with or without skin/bones
1/2 cup Safflower Oil
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 large onion, diced
8 cups water
2 Tbsp. Paprika
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 cup sour cream
1 bag Spaetzel dumpling noodles

1. Put flour in a large bowl; coat each piece of chicken and place in a large skillet with hot oil, reserve left over flour; fry chicken pieces in hot oil until browned all all sides; remove chicken to plate.  Put remaining flour and diced onions in pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
2. Add to skillet and onions: water, paprika, salt and pepper and cooked chicken; cover and simmer for 1 hour.  The water will thicken as it cooks. Stir occasionally.
3. While chicken is simmering, cook Spaetzel dumpling noodles according to package directions so they will be ready when chicken/gravy are done; about 1/2 hour before.
4. When chicken is done, remove from gravy into a bowl; cover to keep warm; add sour cream to gravy and blend in until dissolved.
5. When dumplings are done put them in a bowl and ladle 1/2 of the gravy over top and the rest over the chicken. 
Serve immediately. 

Spring Garden Job To Do List, by Jean Smith        
May be copied and used for personal use only.        
Date Task     Comleted Y N Notes    
  Front Porch/Patio Areas          
  sweep/ blow/ rake            
  put out furniture            
  repot planters/ window boxes          
  repairs if any- make note is so          
  touch up painting- pots          
  correct any patio stones          
  new project            
  new project            
  new project            
  Flower Bed Clean/Prep          
  clean any debres left over          
  check for dead plants          
    remove and replace          
    make note of what          
  amend soil/add fertilizer          
    make note of what          
  Divide plants            
    make note of what          
  Plant   trees            
    list what & when          
  Direct seed any spring flowering annuals        
    Forget me not          
    English daisy          
    sweet William          
  Transplant   before leaf buds open          
    ornamental trees          
  Fertilize Peonies when 2-3 inches tall        
  Divide and transfer any flowering bulbs after they have died back and divide flowering bulbs after they have died back    
  Clean ponds/fountains/water featues        
    repairs- make notes          
Date Task     Comleted Y N Notes    
  Vegetable Garden/ Raised Beds          
  amend soil            
    make note of what          
    make note of when          
  clean any debris              
  plant spring crops when soil is ready        
  EARLY peas   greens   spinach   chard
    radishes   lettuce   kale   parsley
  LATE potatoes   carrots        
    onions   beets        
  check trelises/ posts/ fences          
  repair raised beds if loose          
    add soil if needed          
  Potting Shed/ Storage Shed            
  General Tidy after winter          
  sweep out              
  re-organize pots/ labels          
  repair any tools that need          
  oil/ sharpen tools            
  inventory items:            
  check hoses/sprinklers          
  make a list of what you need as you go        
  check mower- plugs            
    sharpen blades/replc.        
  check tiller(s)            
  have supply of gas/oil for machines        
  Pruning/ Propogation            
  evergreen shrubs before growthj re growth          
  spring flowering shrubs after flowering        
  propagate deciduous shrubs          
    winter jasmine          
Date Task     Comleted Y N Notes    
  Weed/Pest Control            
  make sure debris is cleaned up to avoid snails and slugs    
  as soon as roses start to leaf out, dust with an organic powder    
    repeat once a month all summer!      
  watch for Tent Worms in your trees, webs in trees      
    as soon as visiable, spray with organic spray    
  ****use burn technique*** please research this before you do it.    
    on sidewalks          

Happy Day,

Sheryl Normandeau
2/12/2013 3:26:14 AM

Great post! I agree with you that keeping a garden journal is one of the best things you can do...it definitely assists with planning and keeping track of what works and what doesn't (and where).

2/12/2013 12:50:40 AM

Jean, wow, you sure are ambitious. My spring todo list is not nearly as long as yours. However, when I make it out, I can never remember everything that needs to be done so it grows as the Spring comes closer. My two major spring projects is to build 90 feet of fence from free pallets and to develop a spring to water my garden. Both will most likely not be completed by the end of Spring. I'm hoping to get them completed by the end of the year. Planting time starts here in April for the early plants and May for the warm weather plants. The season ends in October with the first frost happening about the middle of the month. Have a great planning todo list day.

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