1349 Gunbarrel Road, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37421

Sunday, March 12, 2017


Although winter 2016-17 has been extremely mild in Southeastern Tennessee due to global warming (that doesn’t exist, but really does), we’re seeing the gardens awaken from winter rest.  The daytime temperatures have ranged from the 30’s to high 70’s during February and March, and the plants faithfully roll with the punches.

Our Tulip Magnolia, Flowering Almond, Forsythia, Crocus and Daffodils are the first to bloom, putting smiles on our faces as we walk back-and-forth to St Francis Cottage.  We re-seeded the grass in the event space last fall due to the summer drought, and we’re relieved to see a carpet of green grass welcoming springtime in Chattanooga.

Since we plan to use many organically-grown tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, etc. in our summer breakfasts at St Francis Cottage, I’m starting several varieties the traditional in-door way in egg cartons and will later transplant them in the gardens.  A few organic tomato varieties I’ve started are Cherokee Purple, Mortgage Lifter, Red Cherry, Brandywine and Beefeater, and I’ve just ordered more of the sweet White Cherry Tomato seeds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds that we enjoyed last year, and will get them going.

 John Cantrell, from Ames Excavating, graciously offered river rock for the taking from his property in Georgetown, Tennessee.  So, this afternoon we took a field trip in our faithful farm truck and trailer and loaded them up to full capacity with these gorgeous rocks.  You will see them strategically placed throughout the property at St Francis Cottage, and I can’t wait to get out there tomorrow afternoon and begin setting them in place.  I’m saving some to border the water fountain that Wallace will build from leaf castings that I did last fall, based on this model I found on Pinterest.

Thanks to Kevin Lee Jacobs’ posts on his wonderful blog, A Garden for The House, I decided to try winter sowing several varieties of herbs and perennials, although I started the seeds rather late for our 7b planting zone.  The Butterfly Plant, Lamb’s Ear and Bee’s Friend seeds have sprouted and are thriving, and several others are germinating and peeking through the soil.  I used every plastic container I could find to create these mini-greenhouses, and all work quite nicely.  The seeds I purchased from Seed Savers Exchange and Eden Brothers are great quality, and I can’t wait to see them in bloom this summer.  There are many online sources available to advise which seeds can be winter-sown in your planting zone, so check it out if you’re interested in giving it a try.

We’re working day-and-night to prepare the grounds for our first guests next month, and we hope that our gardens will help you rest, relax and restore at St Francis Cottage.


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