Seeds are Available Today!

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Hi everyone,

Pop on over to www.WORKSHOPSCT.com to see my latest post on the seeds I have available today.

If interested, fill out the contact form there. Remember, mid-March is when we start “some” seeds to prepare for the upcoming spring (if it will EVER get here).

I’ve been dabbling in seeds more these days, did a bunch of research the past couple months, and have a nice stock of new unique seeds available. I hope you will be interested.

In the meantime, stay warm – I hear we may have yet another nor’easter next week, really? Ugh.

But what is nice during these cold spills is that I have some nice salad mix growing right now – from seed, and I even pushed the limits and have some basil and oregano started from seeds as well, along with beats and radishes. All I need is some SUN.

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Also, I’m attending the Boston Flower Show this weekend – it is kind of a date weekend with the hubby. I always discover something new at the show – and we also enjoy the local restaurants (motivation even more because it will be a cold weekend in Boston this year, some years it has been more spring-like).

The info gained at the show will be shared on my Instagram feed.

More to follow!

Cathy Testa
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com
Planting Zone 6a
Broad Brook, CT
A container gardener with a passion for art, plants, and now, seeds!

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Seeds and Such – In Container Gardens

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Good morning friends,

As noted in my prior blog post – I will be offering a Facebook Live on growing edible plants from seeds in container gardens and patio pots.

The date of the Facebook Live broadcast is March 21st, Wednesday, 10:30 am EST. Just check into Container Crazy CT on my Facebook page to locate the feed.

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Edamame Soybeans in Pots – YES!!! You will be amazed at how many you get.

Couple Updates – I will have SEEDS available!

I will have a limited supply of seeds by a company which I find offers excellent quality (will review the seed company at the live session).

By this I mean, they germinate very well, have a very interesting mix of varieties which I find are unique and flavorful (and often you can’t find these varieties in stores), and also, many are selected because they are perfect for container gardens and patio pots.

Some examples are: Kale, Radishes, Spinach, Cherry Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Basil, Oregano, Lettuces, Hot Peppers, Carrots, Edamame Soybeans, Cucumbers, and a few flowers too.

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Tomatoes in Containers – they were amazing last year – can’t wait to taste them again

RESERVING A SEED PACKET

If you think you would like to reserve a pack before or after my Facebook Live, please fill out the contact form below for a list and prices. (Note: For pickup’s only from me in Broad Brook, CT; no mailings).

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All Grown From Seeds – Container Gardens Filled with Edibles

Free Handouts

Also, if you wish to obtain the free handouts prior to view as I talk “Seeds and Such” at the Facebook Live, please fill out the contact form on www.WORKSHOPSCT.com.

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Yummy! Basil in Window Boxes.

Other Quickies – BERT’S BIRD HOUSES

I, once again, have many birdhouses available, made by my father, an old avid farmer (sorry, Dad, you are not old). He is healthier than me – not kidding – he never stops moving.

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Soon, he will be busy in the garden, but in winter, he makes these adorable hand-painted bird houses. They are made with reclaimed wood. He has MANY colors available.

If interested, contact me (see below). (Note: For pickup’s only from me in Broad Brook, CT; no mailings). Prices range from $18-$25.

Remember, the birds are looking right now for their nesting homes.

Cathy Testa
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com
Broad Brook, CT
Zone 6a

CONTACT FORM – SEEDS OR BIRD HOUSES

 

Seeds and Such

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It is mid-February, we are expecting temperatures in the 50’s tomorrow and Friday, and I heard of potential snowfall on Sunday.

Yes, that is Connecticut (or New England) weather for ya! There will be days where it feels like spring is coming, and days where we are reminded winter is still here.

I just saw my first live and crawling woolly bear caterpillar yesterday on the driveway – a sign, I hope that we are all getting ready to receive spring while we wait out winter.

While we contemplate the approaching spring, now in February is a good time to “get organized and started” with planning out what you want to grow from seed (if you plan to do seeds this year).

Last year, I was behind with my tomato seedlings, yet, I still had a very nice harvest of cherry tomatoes, but I remember thinking that I needed to plan ahead for year 2018.

Believe or not, we are at the “13 weeks mark” before our last (spring) frost date – if you use the May 10th date as an estimate (which I am) of when we can expect our last spring frost here in Broad Brook, CT.

Some charts of our average frost dates in the northeast may indicate an earlier “last frost” date – towards the end of April, but I like to play it safe and go with a May date, and work back from there. It is also based on my own records and playing around with seeds which I grow in my hobby greenhouse from time to time.

Various micro-climates, your own gardening experience, where you eventually put your seedlings (for me many are put in container gardens outdoors and indoors), and how much you wish to risk it – all play into what, when, and how you start your own seeds and seedlings.

TRIAL AND ERROR

Trial and error is one way to experiment with seeds. After all, if you place a seed in soil – there is a great chance it will sprout for you. It can be fun to experiment that way, but we don’t want to waste our time or seeds for that matter either.

Sometimes I will put a seed in a starter pot just to see what happens – like I did recently with seeds from a slice of jackfruit, which I tasted for the first time in my life last week. I, did, however, look up the seed online, and didn’t see any special preparation requirements for this type of seed (such as scarification), so I plopped the big seeds in pots with soil mix, watered it and will watch and see (an experiment).

By the way, the fruit of jackfruit was very yummy. I found a big slice of it at Whole Foods and when I told the woman at the register that I was getting it just to see how it tastes, she replied with, “Well, then – it is on the house. I’m not charging you for it.”

Experimenting and playing with seeds is fun but they must be cared for or you will result with unhealthy, stretching, or badly rooted plants.

The more I started to think about seeds and reviewed my various reference books on growing from seeds, the more information piled into my head. So you have to start somewhere, and I think one of the best places to do so is …

FIGURING OUT WHAT YOU LIKE TO EAT

I think probably the best place to start is figuring out what you like to eat. Decide what you want to grow and where. For me, I love herbs like basil, mint, thyme, parsley. I enjoy fresh lettuces, kale, spinach, etc. I love cherry tomatoes and all kinds of peppers. Oops-there goes that long list again. Maybe narrow it down if you are a beginner.

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In my case, I plant vegetables in containers around the house and in the house. Some are started with seeds and others are seedlings I grew in advance. Thus, the timing. Looking at the “days to germination, days to maturity, days to harvest, days to transplant, etc.” on the seed packets come to play as well. That is probably step two in my book, get familiar with the seed packet.

Last year, I obtained seeds from a company I really like called Hudson Valley Seed Co. and sold them at a pop up shop last year, and I gave some as gifts to my attendees at my last workshop of the 2017 season at Holiday time.

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I hope you (if you are an attendee reading this) kept the packet in a safe place since December. And, if you did – NOW IS THE TIME to get familiar with the instructions and timings noted on the seed packet and look at your calendar if you want to sow the seeds in time for the gardening season. And note my next Facebook Live on your calendar too – see below on that.

FEBRUARY IS TIME TO PLAN AND WAIT

February is the time to look up your last frost date, mark it on the calendar, and starting counting back the number of weeks for the seed packet you have on hand.

Also, note — if you start seeds too early (getting anxious–as we all do this time of year), beware, this can lead to problems if you keep the plant (seedling) in a starter pot too long – it may get root bound, stretch for light, etc.

And remember, the more stressed a plant gets, the more likely they can get a problem. Consider the plant type before you begin, as some like cooler temps and others require warmer temps and soil. A good example is tomatoes. I always wait til Memorial Day to plant them outdoors. You don’t want to start them this early in the season.

Although I think much can be accomplished whether you do things exactly or not – it is a good idea to think it over before you begin. Next is where, if you are new, should you get your seed packets?

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Seed Starter Kits I sold at a Pop-up Shop last Season

WHERE TO GET SEEDS

Another good thing to consider, now we are at the mid-February point, is where would you grow your seeds? Do you have the right type of windows at home with light and warmth, do you have a hobby greenhouse, etc. Do you need to get grow lights, a heating mat, or other supplies? Before you begin, consider all of these things before you buy your seed packets.

Many nurseries and stores are offering seeds now. I even saw a seed rack display at Rite Aid last week. And don’t forget garden shows, which Hartford’s starts up next week on Thursday, February 22nd (CT Flower and Garden Show) – there will be seeds there. Every year, Hudson Valley offers them – check them out. I find their seeds are reliable, well packaged, and great instructions both inside the seed envelope and outside. It is a good time to get supplies from them too – or you can go to your favorite online seed sources.

seed sowing kits

Did you happen to save any seeds from your own plants last year? I did, and will be reviewing those to get started too. There is such a nice reward when you grow plants from seeds you collected the year prior. And it saves you a bit of money.

Another item you may want to pick up when you get your seed packets is a small pocket size calendar for your records to track all, count back the weeks required, etc. The small sized calendars are handy cause you can easily file them and refer to them the following season.

You should start to organize your supplies, think about what you need for materials, such as seed starting mix, potting mix, peat pots, seed trays, watering can, etc. during this month. And since we are having warmer temps this week, why not wash some containers. I like using hanging baskets to direct sow seeds (for lettuces) and smaller window boxes (for herbs).

I will be doing some materials preparation myself this week because I want to start some seeds in hanging baskets and pots to show at my next Facebook Live session, which is scheduled on Wednesday, March 21st.

The March Facebook live will show some of the basic seed starting I’ve done (and I haven’t really done tons with seeds because almost all the time I get plants from growers for my workshops), but I will show what I know, and will focus on seed starting inside the home too.

Many seeds may be grown directly in decorative pots and kept in the home if you have the right spot. Each plant has different needs, but you may be surprised at what you can grow inside in a cool room in your home or on a partially sun lit table in a warmer spot.

As I keep reading and researching more about seeds, I feel like the list grows on what to know, but then I think also, it is a seed, just plant it.

I think the bottom line to my message here today is “plan it.” Because if you don’t, you will either be behind or too early.

OTHER SIDE HIGHLIGHTS – WEBINARS

Aside from focusing on seeds in February, I’ve been taking the time to attend plant related webinars. Today, I’m signing into one on Perennial Plantings and it will be held with a Trial Manager (meaning they trial plants as growers). They will be going over cultural requirements, water management, and fertility. I’m sure I’ll learn something new.

I’ve also attended a few other webinars, by calling in and watching the presentations, on new products out by Scotts and one webinar was focused on Neptune Harvest (which is an organic fertilizer) and plant food (which I use in my micro-green’s growing (from seed). I plan to share what I learned with my attendees at FB Lives and this year’s workshops.

I received a review of soil mixes of which some are new coming out in 2018 at another webinar this month. I take notes and plan to share the information at my first spring garden talk on April 23rd at the East Hartford Garden Club. We know there are so many soil choices out there so everything learned is something to share with you.

Keeping up with plant knowledge can be tricky as a solo-entrepreneur but I wanted my followers and attendees to know I work on it by attending these webinars now and by researching, reading, and experimenting. It’s an investment for me and you.

PAST FB LIVES

If you tuned into my last two Facebook live sessions – thank you. This idea just kind of organically started in my mind – I thought why not share now in the middle of winter some topics each month. It is a great way to keep in touch with you all too.

The first session was on how to remove the succulents from the pumpkins we decorated last October in 2017, and the 2nd was on how to make a Moss Mardi Gras mask, which to me, is so much fun. I hope you felt inspired by it and you can see all the photos on my Instagram feed.

2018 WORKSHOPS

Because I am not offering my May Container Gardening workshops this season – I wanted to give something free to my attendees to soften the blow of this news – cause I know many of you enjoy it so much – which is part of the reason why I started the FB Lives. Hopefully you are enjoying them and find them useful.

However, don’t worry, more workshops will be planned in May of 2019, and some are already scheduled for the fall and holiday workshops of 2018. The latest schedule is on the WORKSHOPS tab in my website, www.WORKSHOPSCT.com. I’m sure I will keep adding to it as we get closer to spring.

Well, guess that is all for today.

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Valentine’s Box Filled with Succulents – Created by me!

Happy Valentine’s Day – Hope you receive something sweet from whomever you share this day with.

Cathy Testa
WORKSHOPSCT.com
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com

Offering Workshops, Plant Gifts, and Container Gardens

 

 

 

FB Lives and 2018 Calendar

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Hi everyone,

I just posted the first version of my workshops schedule on www.WORKSHOPSCT.com, so hop on over there if you wish to start jotting key dates on your 2018 calendar.

One new item being offered this year are my Facebook LIVES. Because I am not offering my typical May container gardening workshops this year, I thought a nice bonus to make up for it is to offer you some free mini-talks on various plant and plant decor topics.

The next FB Live from my Container Crazy CT Facebook page is scheduled on Tuesday, Feb 6, 2018 at 10:30 am EST. The topic will be revealed the day before, and the post of the feed will remain for about one month before being deleted. One hint: It is related to an event in the month of February but may be one you wouldn’t guess!

To find the feed, just visit my FB page that day or be sure to “like” my page and then you should see it pop up as it goes live on your Facebook wall. Feel free to add your questions in the comments field as it is live. If I can’t answer right then, I will following the feed.

In July, I am offering a demo day on hobby greenhouse growing based on my experience with my own environment. It will be mid-summer, but this can be a great time to learn about all before you walk down the road of getting your own hobby greenhouse. Maybe we will have a nice lunch after the demonstrations. This session is for beginners, and will be a way to share so much I’ve learned about things you should know about the structures, key elements needed in the structures, and about winter or summer care in a greenhouse which are special in regards to weather, etc. The list goes on. We will talk about plant care, plant problems, and more. This will be a demonstration day, not a workshop.

In the fall and winter, we are offering our usual annual workshop programs, such as Succulent Topped Pumpkins and the Holiday KB workshops. See the link just posted under the WORKSHOPS menu from WorkshopsCT.com for the dates. As we proceed into 2018, more locations and topics will be added, some perhaps new!

If questions, please let me know! Cathy T

2018 FB Live Feb

Removing Succulents from Pumpkin

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You may notice a couple minor changes on this blog: Font, color (which is the 2018 color of the year: Purple), and no more ads (which, sadly, I have to pay to remove the ads generated automatically). There will be a text message feature added too – just have to figure out how to do that.

2018 Activity

Additionally, on the right side bar, I’ve started to list upcoming activity for 2018. Dates will be noted soon for each activity.

For this week, I am planning to do a Facebook live at 10:30 am Eastern time tomorrow (Jan 24, 2018, Wed.) to show how I will remove the live succulents from my succulent topped pumpkin. Care to view? Be sure to like my Container Crazy CT Facebook page so the feed shows up on your page when it is live.

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Photo story of above:

This pumpkin was assembled with live succulents in Sept. 2017 by me to show as a prototype for my October workshops. The pumpkin is still in decent shape and the plants are living well, however, it is time for me to remove them and I will show a couple techniques tomorrow.

On the day I took this photo, we had a snow fall so I placed it on a table on my outdoor deck covered with snow. It really brightened the background with pure white.

I’ve kept this prototype pumpkin on a table by my kitchen slider indoors since September. Every time I had a holiday gathering, I moved it to my bedroom cause it didn’t work with our Christmas theme – and I thought, “Hmmm, maybe I should paint the pumpkin red to extend it for a new decorating season.”

I had great fun offering the Succulent Pumpkin Workshops in 2017. I know my attendees loved it and this FB live will help them to know how to care for their succulents going forward. There is nothing wrong with keeping the plants on there if they want to for a while longer however.

Have you made any succulent pumpkins where you are? Do tell us about it!

Working on Upcoming Stuff:

I am only beginning to organize my 2018 calendar and will be adding updates to the WORKSHOPSCT. com sister site as I go. I had an extremely busy year last year, and sometimes I wonder, how did I do all that as I go thru all my files and reorganize my home office during this month.

My home office is such a mess, that as I did some cleaning of it, I said to my husband, “Doesn’t it look better in here?!” His reply was, “Yes, it is not an obstacle course anymore.” But, I still have lots to organize – and dusting to do, and of course, tax time is coming up (oh joy).

I never thought in a million years I would be this sloppy of a desk person because I was a professional Secretary years ago before taking hort courses. I was “the” person that kept CEO’s offices organized and tidy.

One time, I packed up boxes of my bosses’ papers which were all over his messy office and had them mailed to his home because it was lots of personal stuff. Boy, was he ever mad – he said, don’t ever do that again. I guess his wife didn’t like it. LOL. I was a bit younger and clueless. I just wanted it to be organized for him. It was not a good surprise!

Today, my desk is a bit like his was – a mishmash of personal stuff with gardening stuff, with my small business stuff, and calendars, books, tons of books, and boxes and decor and clip boards – it is a mess, but getting tidier as I clean here and there. Winter is my spring cleaning time because spring is a busy time for plant addicts.

Anyhow, that was a side bar there – I got off track – but back to today. It is raining, however, tomorrow is predicted to be partly sunny – that is why I thought a good day to do a FB live. I am not doing it outside, but the sun will feel good while I work on this little project. I hope the WiFi will work with no problems. If not, the video will be posted right after on my Container Crazy CT Facebook page.

What kinds of January things are you working on? Are you cleaning up shop or your office too?

Cathy Testa
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com

See also http://www.WORKSHOPSCT.com

2018 is Here!

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Hi Everyone,

A very quick post to say, hello and I hope your January 2018 month is going well so far.

This is a month of regrouping for me, planning for the calendar year ahead, and recovering from a very busy year and December holiday month.

I will be writing new posts very soon and wanted to say, “I’m still here!”

What is on your January list?

Are you regrouping too?

Have you jumped right back into your normal routine?

Are you dreaming of plants and creating with them yet? If yes, what is on your mind so far?

Let me know… Cathy Testa

Winter

One More Week till Xmas!

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Hi Everyone,

I just posted an update on my http://www.WORKSHOPSCT.com site to show the custom kissing balls and wreaths I make this time of year based on requests and orders.

It is only one more week till our Holiday Festivities kick in with family!

If you need any greenery items made, be sure to look me up soon, as each is made fresh so it takes a while to make them if you want a holiday kissing ball or wreath soon.

In the meantime, just want to say Happy Holiday to Everyone!

I hope all is going well with your shopping, decorations, cooking, planning, and events.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Thank you – Cathy T
860-977-9473

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Ho! Ho! Ho! Here We Go!

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Here We Go Again!

It is the day before my 8th Annual Holiday Workshop where we make Kissing Balls, Wreaths, Candy Cane Wreaths, Candle Centerpieces, Horse Profile Wreaths, and more!

This year, for some reason, it seems the “getting ready” list was a longer process than ever.

How can this be after 8 years doing this workshop?

I should have this down pat but there are always alterations and things which come up that are unexpected.

For example, one of the mechanics I use for this workshop was in short supply this year – rather unusual because this never happened before.

It is a long story – but I got them specially delivered from Rudolph just in time – they are all set.

And my truck had a problem right when I needed it – it got fixed though. Thankfully.

Then my iPhone died. Yup – which I rely on for texting of custom orders for holiday wreaths and kissing balls, and notifying my attendees of all.

Thus, those little nuisances happened and were dealt with, one at a time. No worries in the end.

I guess another thing which may have made it felt longer to get ready was that I had my first pop up shop from spring to fall at a bookstore, then I also sold out workshops on making Succulent Topped Pumpkins and Terrarium Bowls at another venue this year. It seemed I was still cleaning up supplies from those events just yesterday and I needed to be focused on this workshop! Time moves quickly, as I always say.

Or maybe it feels longer to setup because, ah, I’m getting older. The gray hairs are showing today – but you know what? That is partly because I literally start turning into Mrs. KB Claus. That includes the weight gain, yup, I blame it on that!

But, I am, almost, yes, almost done setting up.

There is a tremendous amount of steps to get this big workshop happening, followed by a 2nd workshop group a few days later, and custom orders in between for hand-made kissing balls and wreaths by me by order.

But let me be clear – it is ALL worth it – every minute. This is MY Christmas treat. I love being surrounded by the smell of freshly cut greens, festive attendees, and decorations.

As I set up my holiday workshop space, I can hear the laughs, giggles, and festive cheer from the years prior – I’m not kidding. Can a space maintain that magical spirit? I think it can.

But, you know what?

This day isn’t just for the jolly – To be honest, some people go thru hard times this time of year, whether it is a loss of a relative, a personal struggle from life’s general unexpected happenings, or feeling a little of the holiday blues – it happens to some of us – however, we push thru it – and events, like tomorrow’s big holiday workshop is a way to escape, make your own beautiful holiday and meaningful creations, and boost the start up of the month. It can make the holiday blues completely go away – at least for one day.

Mrs. Santa KB Clause

 

Shop Small Saturday – November 25th

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Hi ya’all!

Just a quick heads-up, if you wish to participate in my online FACEBOOK raffle to be held on my business Facebook page, Container Crazy CT, in honor of Shop Small Day, be sure to swing by there on Saturday, November 25, 2017 between 8 am and 5 pm to enter.

The rules are posted there. A photo of the Holiday Prize with entry instructions will be posted early Saturday morning. Note also, the lucky winner must pick up the prize by appointment; no deliveries. We are located in the Broad Brook section of East Windsor, CT.

This is being offered a a special thank you for all the local support of my local small business. I appreciate each and every one of you.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, wherever you may be with friends, family, and loved ones.

Thank you and Good Luck,

Cathy TestaCC Logo black Wkshp
860-977-9473
containercathy@gmail.com

 

Looking for Workshops?

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Hi everyone!

In reviewing my stats this morning for this blog site, there are two key items people are searching for:

How to Overwinter Plants AND Holiday Workshops

OVERWINTERING

I’ll start with the “overwintering” topic. I’ve shared a few video’s on my process on how to overwinter specific tropical plants on my Container Crazy CT Facebook page. If you visit there, scroll down to find several. This should be helpful to you. There are also various posts on this blog showing the process – use the search bar to find them, which I see some of you have!

HOLIDAY WORKSHOPS

On the Holiday Workshops, please visit my sister site called WorkshopsCT – that is Workshops (with an “s”) – sometimes missed is that s, and CT for me, Cathy Testa or Connecticut!

As of today, my first holiday workshop in early December is completely sold out – and all attendees have been contacted (emailed) just yesterday to ask which item they plan to make.

I will be contacting workshop no. 2 attendees for the weeknight workshop soon as well.

I’m also offering a mini workshop at a senior center right after that – then comes my custom orders!

All current information about my holiday workshops are on www.WORKSHOPSCT.com.

Gift Card in PPT

HOLIDAY GIFT CARDS

Additionally, don’t forget, this is a GREAT time to get a gift card for anyone you wish to provide a gift to this upcoming season. They are applicable to workshops registration fees based on the amount you desire.

SHOP SMALL DAY RAFFLE

And, I will be raffling off a decorative item on Shop Small Day, November 25th – so stay tuned to my Facebook page under Container Crazy CT to learn more about that.

To enter the raffle, there will be some guidelines, such as like the page, share the post, tag a friend, and you must pick up the prize if you win!

TODAY’S FROST

It was definitely frosty this morning – I know, because after a very early brisk morning walk, I walked over to my greenhouse to check if the heat was working properly – and it is!

The glistening sparkles on my hydrangea, along the path to the greenhouse, was as shiny as a Christmas tree as the morning sun was hitting the frost upon the leaves.

If you didn’t move, dig out, or protect your tropical plants by now – I suspect they are damaged by the frost.

We had a good season of being able to wait – because we had the warmest October on record here in Connecticut, and my plants, like my Mandevilla and Cannas were still blooming yesterday.

We got a few extra weeks of time to get our gardening chores done. Most weather reporters on t.v. were saying the “growing season” was over as they gave everyone the heads up of the frost coming this week, and they continued with saying that most people wouldn’t have plants out this time anyways – but NOT TRUE. Plant people like to save the enjoyment as long as possible. You may have been pushing the limits of the outdoor plants.

Fortunately, I had taken down my last big red banana plant on Monday – and glad I did – Even though, it did not get hit by frost yet, I noticed the root base had a portion which got mushy – which meant it was starting to rot a little – so, although we did not have frost yet, and the days were warm, the soil was cold and wet – always something to consider, so it was good I got it out and stored before that rotting situation got worse – and got other tropical plants dug out earlier in the month.

Hope you did too!

Cathy Testa