docmom_mn_zone_5

I’m buying a house!

docmom_gw
11 months ago

I have been an avid GardenWeb member for many years, but moved to an apartment in St Paul, MN for a job almost three years ago. So, I haven’t been able to garden at all. Not even a balcony. Well, my job didn’t work out as hoped, so I am headed back to Michigan, where I have lived my whole life and where my grown kids and family are close. I made an offer on a remodeled farmhouse circa 1855 and my offer was accepted! It’s on 2.3 acres, with huge expanses of lawn just begging to be converted to pollinator habitat. I am crossing fingers that inspections and appraisals go smoothly. If all goes according to plan, closing will be December 23rd. I will definitely record and share the transformation as it occurs. Wish me luck!


Martha

Comments (67)

  • beesneeds
    10 months ago

    docmom, you might want to check with the road commission about your ditch situation. Might be in their right of way or otherwise something they should clean up. They are on Niles Ave across the road from the college.

    If you like to use straw bale for smother mulch, Red and White Feed in MIllberg has had good stuff at better prices for a few years. Don't know what they might have at this time of year. And your friendly local Farm and Family is in the mall area right there at the highway... your closest local Secretary of State to update your license and vehicle is right in that area as well.

    And there's a nice handful of farmers produce stands right around there too :)

  • four (9B near 9A)
    10 months ago

    > road commission.... something they should clean up.

    With that in mind, she should plant something that would recover after mowing /chopping. (Impressive, those mowers mounted on end of long articulated arms.) Even if county is not required to do her side, some driver might do it some day.

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  • docmom_gw
    Original Author
    10 months ago

    BeesNeeds,

    Thank you for the helpful information! I will be using all of it very soon.

    Re the ditch and the road commission, I am very aware of the legal situation. I have also observed the highly variable quality of ditch maintenance across the country. So, I will be investigating/observing once I have moved in.

    Martha

  • docmom_gw
    Original Author
    9 months ago

    Our closing was delayed for more than a week, so we spent the Holidays in a hotel. But, as of 10:30 this morning, it’s ours!! We just have to wait for the moving truck to bring our stuff. That won’t be for another few days, so we are camping out on an air mattress. This will be a memorable New Year’s Eve! Hope everyone else’s is wonderful.

    Martha

  • four (9B near 9A)
    9 months ago
    last modified: 9 months ago

    Great!
    Was it a boring time during the delay? And now, do you have TV? Computer? Tools?
    I imagine that the daytimes could include much exploration unless snow is blocking your view of ground.

    Even if snow, you could go collecting your planned grass-smothering materials to lay down in a snowless opportunity (taking advantage of seed and root dormancy).

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    9 months ago

    Congratulations on closing on your new home! Hope you will have a happy, healthy new year there!

  • docmom_gw
    Original Author
    9 months ago

    We spent New Year’s Eve scheduling installation of utilities and internet, etc. for tomorrow. I also had to shovel a huge snow drift off the driveway. We’ll need to find plow service or a snowblower quickly. This morning we purchased plastic sheeting to put up on the many huge windows. The sunshine is beautiful, but the house is chilly. I have been scouting out the property via satellite images from Google Earth, and have a few options for the initial gardening sites. I want to keep my beds concentrated to allow for some sort of surrounding fencing to thwart deer damage, if possible. Everything is moving forward satisfactorily.


    Martha

  • beesneeds
    9 months ago

    I feel for ya docmom- so dang exciting to close on the house, but whew winter moving in!! When we got the Michigan house, it was in February. Camped out on an air mattress in the living room the day we got the keys, lol. Was able to have electric kicked on quick- getting the gas tank and de-winterizing the plumbing took a bit longer.

    Check around at some of the more local hardware, grocery, and gas/convenience stores. Often there's a pin-up board and you can find some good plowing for a decent price. If you aren't already familiar, plowing comes in a couple forms- either a more contracted sort of pay for a season that a lot of bigger companies do... and "pay per push" which is what a lot of smaller scale folks do.

  • sandyslopes z5b n. UT
    9 months ago

    How exciting to get a new home. It sounds like a wonderful property! I see wintersowing in your future. If not this year, then next. :-)

  • docmom_gw
    Original Author
    9 months ago

    I’m back! I’ve been busy with orientation to my new job and unpacking boxes. I did winter sow 50+ containers of pollinator plants over the weekend. I also identified a nearby horse farm with a huge pile of manure. I knocked on their door and was offered as much manure as I can haul away. Snow, ice, and wind are a daily presence. A lovely neighbor plowed us out from under a recent ice storm that brought dense, heavy snow.


    We already ran into plumbing frustrations. I woke to water dripping from a bathroom ceiling light fixture. There was a leak from the upstairs shower that we hadn’t even used, yet. We were able to get it corrected, but now have a hole in the bathroom ceiling while we allow the drywall to dry out. Adventures to provide memories that we will chuckle over in years to come.


    I’ve been researching deer fencing, and wonder if anyone has found fish line to be effective.


    I took a brief video of the yard. I will try to include it.

  • docmom_gw
    Original Author
    9 months ago

    I tried to include a video, but no luck, so far. I will try again later.

  • Skip1909
    9 months ago
    last modified: 9 months ago

    I would not add any horse manure or ammend your soil for wildflowers. If you are starting a veggie garden, growing fruit, or working with parched clay in california, then sure add manure and compost, but if you already see grass and plants growing, dont add anything. The extra fertility is going to strengthen and promote weeds. Incorporate somes native legumes in your planting and let them add any needed nitrogen over the years. Just host the video somewhere else like youtube or vimeo and paste a link here, I don't think houzz is going to work for that.

    I was going to go the fishing line route but have had some success with liquid fence deer repellent and planting things the deer dont like so much. One recommendation I found was to fence off little 3x3 areas with chicken wire within larger plantings, the deer don't like to jump into closed spaces.

  • docmom_gw
    Original Author
    9 months ago

    Skip,

    Thanks for the excellent suggestions. The horse manure is primarily for the vegetable portion of the garden, and an edible hedge of fruit-bearing bushes. I will look into the YouTube process for the video.

    Martha

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    9 months ago

    Sorry about your plumbing issue. I would love to see a video. 50 different kinds of plants sown already. That‘s great! Probably too long of a list to type out, but I can’t wait to see the results.

  • four (9B near 9A)
    9 months ago

    What is the file size of the video?

  • docmom_gw
    Original Author
    9 months ago

    https://youtu.be/jyOmYvG8Nm0


    This should be the video of the yard. It’s far from professional, but you get the gist, if it works.


    Martha

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    9 months ago

    It worked! Looking great, you have a lot of room to play with. Love your dog, too!

  • docmom_gw
    Original Author
    9 months ago

    Here is a list of what I’ve shown so far, in no particular order.

    Cimicifuga racemosa

    New Jersey Tea

    White Snakeroot

    Verbena stricta

    Verbena hastata

    Monarda punctata

    Monarda fistulosa

    echinacea purpura

    Iron Weed

    Cow Parsnip

    Asclepias syriaca

    Asclepias tuberosa

    Asclepias incarnata

    Poke milkweed

    Rudbeckia hirta

    Wild Lupine

    Joe Pye Weed

    Button Bush

    Virginia Creeper

    Dotted Mountain Mint

    Wild Senna

    various penstemons

    perennial sunflower

    Nodding Onion

    New England Aster


    There were a few unidentified seeds donated by fellow native pollinator gardeners, as well. Others I had saved from the garden I left behind three years ago, when I moved to St Paul. So, they are from 2016. I showed them heavily, hoping for at least some germination. Crossing fingers.


    Let me know if you guys get bored of me and my project!


    Martha


  • four (9B near 9A)
    9 months ago

    In video you requested suggestions. I vote for apples. It's Michigan, gotta do some apples.

  • docmom_gw
    Original Author
    9 months ago

    Four,

    I would love an old fashioned McIntosh apple tree! I make the world’s best apple pie and only use McIntosh.

  • Patti ~ Chicago Zone 5b/6a
    9 months ago

    Congrats on your new home and job. I hope they are everything and more than you expected. Great job getting winter sowing done with all the work that comes with a new place. I can’t seem to find the time to get any sowing done with work all day and caring for my husband. I will keep my fingers crossed for many flowers to spring up in your containers.

  • docmom_gw
    Original Author
    9 months ago

    Patti,

    I am only 90 minutes north of Chicago. We could share some seedlings. Is there anything you would like me to plant for you? My husband is able to care for himself, at least for now. Lol. I still have plans to sow a bunch of annuals to fill in while the perennials get established.

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    9 months ago

    Martha, I am not going to be bored! It’s so much fun watching it come together. Hopefully there will be lots of picture updates. An apple tree sounds great! I have had one for 25 years, but there is a lot of cedar apple rust going on. So the only ones eating the few it still produces are the deer and birds.

  • Patti ~ Chicago Zone 5b/6a
    9 months ago

    Martha, how kind of you but I am determined to get some flowers sown this winter. I do not think any of the members will be bored with the progress of your new gardens.

  • docmom_gw
    Original Author
    9 months ago

    Here is a picture of my winter sowing containers. When I a have shoes on I will move them farther out into the yard. I still have many seeds to plant, but I need to decide how many beds I can realistically maintain. I am sure I will over do it. We’re gardeners, after all, right?

    Martha

  • mxk3
    9 months ago

    You definitely are ambitious! I can't imagine tending all those seedlings after just moving in -- it was a bit overwhelming tending to all the potted plants I took with me from other house the first season I was here, and those were all mature plants, not as touchy as seedlings. My issue at that time was no clear idea where to plant them...

  • beesneeds
    9 months ago

    Dang docmom, hands down goodness! And ambitious.

    I've done that too :) if you think you got a bigger bite than you thought... put in the annuals this year first, and start busting up perennials to fill the annual pots for a bit. There are a lot of perennials that can actually benefit from potting up to a bigger pot this growing year and planting them in next spring.


    And plan for some composting bin space. :)


    There's a couple of good plant vendors out your way too. Out at 140 and Hagar Shore Road is a great perennial place that sells gallon pots with a few annuals. Blueberries in season and a bead shop too. Nice walking garden.

    Down Hagar Shore to the lake is another one that has a big mix of kind of everything. A lot of ways unmarked stuff, you kind of need to know what your are looking for. Wonderful big greenhouse of succulents and other things. Make sure you wear waterproof footgear.

    Cross over 94 on 140 going south and you will hit Silverstone Gardens, a pro greenhouse and area distributor.

    Shilkes on Napier @ Park has good plants too. And good produce in season.


    I would say shop cautious if you go to the fruit exchange in Watervliet. It was really good a few years back. But then there was a change in managers and the gardening aspect of the place really went downhill.

    But they did rent out their basement to a fruit tree distributor, so they regularly had a bunch of good different trees from that.

    docmom_gw thanked beesneeds
  • docmom_gw
    Original Author
    9 months ago

    I am ambitious, but this is my life dream and goal.


    Mxk3,

    Since I moved from an apartment, I don’t have any transplants to care for. I’m starting completely from scratch, and primarily from seed. My sister lives just south of Lansing, and has a large native garden, so I will certainly get some divisions and starts from her. But, I will definitely be using annuals this summer. I have tons of seeds collected from neighborhood walks (with permission) and some purchased seed. Mostly zinnias, cosmos, allysum, rudbeckia, and tithonia. All known to be well-loved by pollinators and not invasive in my zone.


    Beesneeds,

    I already have a perfect compost spot just the other side of the back door from my winter sown pots. Very convenient. Thank you for the comments on local nurseries.


    I received my shipment of 100 32 oz deli containers a few days ago. I put drainage holes in them, bought a bale of potting mix, and now need to fill them and toss in seeds. Happy Sunday to all!


    Martha

  • getgreenbewell
    8 months ago

    Congratulations!!!!!!

  • junco East Georgia zone 8a
    8 months ago

    Loved the video! thanks for sharing. We will certainly not get bored. I love that you have Mt. Mint on your list. I just got my first one a few years ago and wouldn't be without it now.

  • docmom_gw
    Original Author
    8 months ago

    Is anyone else having trouble finding the gardenweb forums? I had several links to gardenweb forums in my favorites on my iPad, but they aren’t working anymore. I was only able to find my way back here very indirectly and in a roundabout way.

  • Iris S (SC, Zone 7b)
    8 months ago

    I had an old one saved as favorite on my iPad (the butterfly host plant thread). That doesn’t work anymore. The only other forum I have saved as favorite is the butterfly garden. From there I have the list of forums I am following on the left side of the screen. Works fine for me.

  • four (9B near 9A)
    8 months ago

    Yes. Houzz mucked it up again.

    gardenweb.com bears : "GardenWeb has been updated!"

    I too did a roundabout.

  • flordemaynj6b
    8 months ago

    How exciting having a new place and a large space to garden, congratulations!!!

  • four (9B near 9A)
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    I thought of your project when I read this new thread about Verbena bonariensis https://www.houzz.com/discussions/5960477/ot-verbena-bonariensis#n=18

    Perhaps no better than the two Verbena that you listed above. Or a species to try if those do not perform well.

  • docmom_gw
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Four,

    I have grown VB in the past and love it for the pollinators. It would be ideal as a ditch “weed.”

    Unfortunately, I am facing professional and financial difficulties that might mean loss of my wonderful home. The job I took turned out to be a fiasco, so I felt I had to quit to protect my license. Then COVID-19 struck, and healthcare systems stopped hiring. So, I am frantically searching for a job. As a matter of fact, I am in South Dakota as we speak, for an interview. No, I do not want to move to SD, but I have exhausted my savings and haven’t found a job within commuting distance. I am still holding out hope, but it’s fading. But, I am lucky to have an excellent opportunity, even if it’s not in an ideal location. Many folks are in far worse shape than me. Everyone hang in there.

    Martha

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    3 months ago

    i'll pray for you

  • four (9B near 9A)
    3 months ago

    Thank you for telling us. We care about you, so, future updates will be received as gifts.

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    3 months ago

    Martha, I just saw this thread and was so excited for you as I read through it, and then I read the last few posts and my heart just broke for you! I wish you the best. truly, and I'm sure there are many people here pulling for you. God bless.

    Dee

  • docmom_gw
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Thank you all, for your thoughts and prayers. To keep you up to date, I have had job interviews with three organizations in the past week. All seemed to go well, so I expect/hope for offers soon. Only one is close enough to commute from my current location. Unfortunately, hiring a doc requires credentialing, which takes a minimum of 60-90 days once an offer has been accepted. But, I did get my tax return, which we can scrape by with for a bit. Again, I have been blessed my entire life. So many have and are struggling in far worse circumstances. We all will get through this, but better together. Your support is so comforting.

    Martha

  • mxk3
    3 months ago

    Oh Martha, I'm so sorry to hear about your unfortunate circumstance. Hope you will hear about the offers soon. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. {HUGS}

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    3 months ago

    Martha, good luck with the job. I'm hoping you get the one where you can commute so you can stay in your home. Either way, I wish you the best!

    <3
    Dee

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    3 months ago

    First time seeing this thread. I did the same thing Dee did, started reading the thread and was so excited for you. This Covid19 pandemic has made such a sudden unexpected change in the lives of so many people. Such bad timing for you. You are doing well to keep such a good attitude! Really hoping for good news for you soon. Hang in there!

  • docmom_gw
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Again, thank you to everyone for the words of encouragement.

    Martha

  • docmom_gw
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    I got a job!! And it’s close to home, so I can stay in my house!! All your prayers and positive energy must have helped. Maybe, in a year or so, I will host a garden party/plant exchange for anyone within driving range. I would love to meet folks and share this amazing place. Thanks again.

    Martha

  • Patti ~ Chicago Zone 5b/6a
    2 months ago

    @docmom. So happy to hear you can stay in your home and continue to work on your garden beds. Good luck to you at your new job. I hope this job is just what you were looking for.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    2 months ago

    Wow!! What great news! New beginnings. 😃 Pretty soon it will be cooler weather, just right for getting a garden ready for next year. Then winter, time to winter sow little seedlings for next spring. As stressful as it can be to make this change and a new job, at least you have building a garden and a new house, to ease the stress. Very very happy for you! Congratulations and good luck with the job and the new house. I'm looking forward to lots of photos. 😃

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    2 months ago

    Martha, I am SO happy to hear this! Gotta admit I've actually been watching this thread to see if you would post some good news, and so glad my hope came true. Congratulations! While it's great that this job enables you to stay in your home, I also home the job itself is fulfilling and enjoyable for you. Congratulations!!!!!

    :)
    Dee

  • mxk3
    2 months ago

    That is wonderful news -- WOOHOO!!


    (and sign me up for the garden party!)