Welcome to the Authors in Bloom Blog Hop!
Gardening is one of my favorite things. In fact, it even inspired my tagline.
Blooming Hot Romance.
Life can be harsh. <- There is some honesty. It’s definitely my truth. Over the years, I’ve looked to my garden for tranquility. But it can be such a big undertaking, so overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. Below you’ll find links to my posts filled with tips from my first two years from the Authors in Bloom hop, including new tips for this year, and details on my giveaway and the grand prize. I hope you find something that makes your gardening life easier, less harsh, and enjoyable.
Keep reading for my gardening tips, my giveaway, AND how to enter for your chance to win the fab GRAND PRIZE!
S.J.’s Tips for Starting Seeds Indoors!
I’ve started seeds before, but over the years I’ve gotten a bit more committed. 🙂 Here’s a look at a few of the things I’ve collected, heating pad, mini and larger seed trays, mini and larger lids for those trays, peat moss plugs, and adjustable lighting.
Before I get started, I spend time reading about my seeds. I take notes on the blooming or harvesting stats. After subtracting from the day I want them to bloom, I determine the day I start my seeds. Just this past week, I started several sunflower seeds. I’ll be starting several more over the next couple months. This year, I’m attempting to have sunflowers blooming in my garden all summer long.
There are several seeds that I don’t start indoors. Carrots, peas, and cucumbers sprout quickly. After I prepare my garden in the spring, I place the seeds directly into the ground.
To start seeds indoors you’ll need to control a few things.
- Heat : Seeds need warmth to sprout. Most homes are warm enough for the seeds, but this time of year, our home is a little cooler. A seed heating pad will lift the temp by about ten degrees.
- Dirt : Most soil is a bit too heavy and, well, dirty. Lol. Yes, I did call most soil dirty. Seeds need a clean environment, free of disease and no competition for the attention of the important stuff like moisture, heat, and light. Sterile starting soil is the way to go. Peat moss also creates a lovely environment for seeds. It holds onto moisture, but not too much. It’s light and won’t stop the delicate roots from growing.
- Container : The container is another area with lots of options. You certainly could put the soil in any small container. I’ve found peat moss plugs that fit perfectly into a seed starter tray. I have the smaller trays you see in the picture above, since I’m only starting a few seeds at the moment. Depending on how much growth you get, you may need to re-pot your seedlings before transitioning them outdoors. Here’s an extra tip: When transplanting, pull tiny plants up by the leaf, not the stem. The stem is delicate at this stage and easily damaged.
- Moisture : Your seeds need water, but not too much. Your soil starter should be wet, but not dripping the day you put your seeds in place. Each day there after, you’ll want to ensure the soil is moist and the air has humidity. If you have a tray with a plastic lid, be sure to set this on your tray to hold in the moisture. You can be creative here, lots of lids will do, as long as light can get through. If your container has holes in the bottom and you have it sitting on a tray of some kind, put some water, not a lot, in that bottom tray. The starter soil can suck up the water as needed through the hole in the bottom of the container. The last thing you want is the seeds to dry out! Dry seeds do not sprout. Each day, check on the water in the tray as well as the soil. Add water as needed.
- Light : Seeds don’t need light before they sprout, but as soon as they do, they’ll need light. Get ready! To ensure you don’t have leggy, bendy stems, you’ll want to supplement sunlight. A simple sunny windowsill is not sufficient for young plants. Don’t make your tender plants bend to find the light. If you want straight plants, get that light directly overhead. Florescent lights are perfect for this task, even better if you can position that light a few inches from your plant. As your plants grow, you’ll need to raise the light. I actually have a lid for the larger tray you see in the pictures that will accommodate my young plants once they’ve outgrown the shorter lid. By raising the roof and raising the light, you’ll be directly the plants straight up.
- Notes: It will be some time until you can tell what’s what. Be sure to document what seeds you have where. I have popsicle sticks ready to stick in as soon as the lids come off. Also, take notes on your process, based on your results, you can get ideas of what to change for next year and what to do the same.
- Hardening : Once your seedlings are growing strong, and the risk of frost has past, it will be time to transition them to growing outside. To start, take your plants outside for a few hours each day, in a protected (not windy) area, and bring them back inside at night. If you have a cold frame, that would be a perfect place to harden your plants. Each day, lengthen the amount of time you leave them outside and then at the end of a 7-day period, you can plant them in their final spot in your yard.
Hope these tips help!
General Gardening Tips – Authors in Bloom 2017
General Gardening Tips – Authors in Bloom 2016
Be sure to subscribe to my >> New Release Newsletter << One subscriber wins a $5 gift card in every issue.
Here’s a look inside the newest release in my Assassins and Sweethearts Series:
Elizabeth Martin thought she already had her happily ever after, that is until her husband mysteriously disappeared. Aidan Clery is a skilled assassin for hire who wants nothing more than to find the love of his life. Fate throws Liz in his path and everything is perfect, except Aidan just won the contract on her life.
The truth surrounding Liz’s estranged husband takes the pair on a dangerous journey. Nothing in their lives will ever be the same. Destiny may be unexpected but it will be up to Aidan and Liz to discover the truth and claim their real happily ever after.
Aidan turned off the faucet and caught the reflection of those gorgeous brown eyes in the mirror.
“Oops. Wrong door,” said his girl as she turned around.
“I can share.” He could handle the surveillance later. This woman deserved his attention.
She stopped and turned around. “Okay then.” She took a step toward him. “You know what? I should have asked for confirmation earlier.” Her gaze was full of mischief.
“You’re right. You should have asked.” He took a hold of her hand and pulled her close. “I sure would like to see that tiny scrap of lace.” And just like that his night got infinitely better.
She stopped her forward movement when their chests were a mere inch apart. A nice rosy blush heated her cheeks. He kept hold of her hand while her other played with the lapel of his dark leather jacket. “I can’t believe I’m doing this.”
“You need to get back to your friends?”
“Yes, but…” She licked her bottom lip. “Maybe I could stay here for a few minutes.”
“At least a few.” He tapped the bottom of her chin. “How about you start by telling me your name?”
“Liz.” Her gaze met his and he wanted time to stop. Something about the lonely look in her eyes called to him to not let her get away. She shifted closer. “Who are you?”
He pushed his finger over her waistband, rubbing her hipbone. “I’m Aidan.” He squeezed the hand he still held. Her soft body relaxed against his.
“I should probably go. I need to get my friends home.”
“I don’t think you should go anywhere.” He brushed his nose against hers.
A delicious moan slipped from her lips. “I don’t want to leave but I need to make sure they get home safely.”
“It’s nice of you to look out for them.” Damn, she smelled good. It was lilacs or roses or something.
“I’d rather stay here with you.” She leaned in and their lips almost met. “My friends are always right. I should have gone out with them months ago.”
“Stay a few more minutes.” He caressed over her hips to her round ass. Hot tension filled his thoughts. Forget a few more minutes, he’d take all night and then some to explore this beautiful woman.
“More.” She scraped her teeth over her bottom lip.
A second later, the door opened. “Lizzy, we got to go. Emily isn’t feeling well.”
She dropped her head to his shoulder and he wrapped his arms around her.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, Lizzy.” The woman held the door open. “You’re right. He is cute. Bring him with you. Emily won’t mind.”
“She’ll be right out,” he said. Once the friend left the bathroom, he brushed her hair behind her shoulders and stroked her back.
“I feel like I’m cursed.”
“You and me both, sweetheart.” He didn’t let her go.
“Well.” She looked up at him from under her long, dark lashes. “It’s not what I had in mind but would you help me with my friends?” The soft tone of her voice had him imagining how she’d purr if he made her come. “I think I might be the only one sober and they can be a bit much to wrangle into a cab. They live north in Edgewater and then we could do something, maybe go back to my place.” She worried her poor bottom lip once more.
“I’d like that.” He squeezed her ass. “Sure. I’ll help, Lizzy.” He tugged on her hair. Then he’d help himself to more of her.
WHERE YOU CAN FIND BOOKS BY S.J. MAYLEE:
Evernight Publishing | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
BookStrand | Smashwords | iTunes
S.J. Maylee’s International Giveaway:
I’m giving away ALL the ebooks currently published in my Assassins and Sweethearts Series to one lucky commenter. To enter, leave a comment below with your favorite gardening tip and then click my >> Rafflecopter << for more chances to win.
GRAND PRIZE: We are giving away a Kindle Fire or Nook (winner’s choice) along with a 2nd prize of $25 gift card! Only those visitors who visit EACH and EVERY stop are eligible for the grand prize. So, keep hopping and comment at every stop. 😀
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Click here to view the list of links to the authors in the hop….
Winners will be posted on both Dianne Venetta’s blog and the BloominThyme websites.
Giveaway ends April 27th at 11:59pm EST.
Remember to take the time to smell the roses.
I have a huge veggie garden and one tip I’ve used for years is to use eggshells! Eggshells are useful in the garden. If you spread them around the bases of your plants, you can nourish the soil with calcium. On top of that, eggshells actually repel certain insects, so they protect your plants from pests. It really does work:) Carole Burant
This is my favorite tip so far, thanks
Mary McCoy emmasmom69 AT gmail DOT com
Brilliant. This is a great tip. Thank you!
I like the tip to not prune fruit trees too late. After flowering is a good rule of thumb for many plants.
Yes, after flowering. I’ve heard that too. It also applies to flowering trees. It’s the ONLY time I let me hubs neaten up our lilac trees. Thank you, Ellie!
My best gardening tip (as I sit here and watch the snowstorm outside on April 18th!)is to always make sure that the plants you put in are suited to that location. Sun loving plants do not do their best in the shade and vice versa.
Mary McCoy emmasmom69 AT gmail DOT com
Oh yes, so true. It certainly can be tempting to put a sun lover in a shady flowerbed, if its color and form is what that spot is calling for, but we must resist. 🙂 When we moved into our current home, that first summer, I spotted several plants with sad burn spots all over them. It was like they were screaming at me to move them to the shady spots. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Mary.
Had to comment again and let you know we’re getting snow now too. When will it end?!
by Memorial Day, I think
Oh my. I’m used to no frost by Memorial Day, here in MI. What if we’re changing to no snow by Memorial Day! Oh my.
I have always wanted to try gardening and it wasn’t until recently that I have the room and the time. So if course I love and appreciate all your tips. Especially the one concerning dirt. I really enjoyed the excerpt. This series is going on my TRL.
Lucky4750 at aol for com
Hi Carol, good luck with the gardening! Hope you enjoy it. ❤ Thank you for stopping by.
I unfortunately am not much of a gardener but I love shrubs and blooming flowers.
Shrubs and blooms definitely soften up the landscape. ❤ Thanks for participating in the hop.
Im not a gardener at all😟. I can barely keep house plants alive.
Oh, Josephine. I hear you. Some house plants can be down right difficult. Thanks for stopping by.
I have slugs in Oregon so I get slug killer out there right away. That takes care of the snails too! I like getting the weeks out first before I put new plants in. This is a good time to divide the perennials too! Rita Spratlen
My mom has trouble with slugs in her garden too. So important to figure out the problem and attack it. Well done, Rita! Dividing perennials. This. I so need to get this check off my to do list. Thanks for stopping.
Read about plants,need sun, or dry soil, and good garden book information.
Lots of information! Hope it’s been helpful. Thanks for stopping by.
They’re all great tips since my green thumb isn’t working lol
Lol. Love the honesty. Thanks for stopping by, Katrina.
I would like to plant some flowers these year but it depends on these crazy weather we keep having. Thank you for the tips. Added you story to my tbr list. Thank you for the giveaway and the chance.
I know what you mean! We’re in MI. So, the outdoor planting often has to wait until Memorial weekend. Certainly hope that never gets pushed back to July 4th! Thank you for the tbr and good luck with the flowers this summer.
Thank you for the tips on how to start one’s seeds inside. I don’t really have a lot of space for gardening – comes from renting and living in a more urban area – so it’s great to learn how to really maximize what I can do to start one. Especially since winter seems unwilling to leave. 🙂
vipersweb (at) gmail (dot) com
So unwilling to leave. I hear you, Rhianona. Container gardens are some of the most beautiful gardens. You could definitely explore growing flowers and veggies. My uncle used to have a fabulous tomato garden. He downsized and now exclusively grows his tomatoes in pots. He still gets so many. Thanks for stopping by!
I am a city dweller so no garden for me but I have windowsill plants. Every morning I give each pot 1/4 turn which help my plants grow straight.
Brilliant! I was forgetting to do this with one of my kitchen window plants and then wondered why it was bending toward the light. 🙂
helpful tips to share
I tend to do a lot of container gardening, so I sometimes have pots sitting on the dirt in the flowerbeds. If I have watered heavily, when I move the pots there are usually earthworms partially exposed, and I rehome them to the large pots (e.g. where I have the tomato plants growing). I toss eggshells and banana peels into the dirt and work them in once a week or so. Thanks for the great hop!
Great tips! Thanks for sharing and thanks for stopping by. 😀
This is a FANTASTIC idea on how to start seeds/gardens early ~ especially since Mother Nature has been so finicky this year! I am definitely gonna have to use this seeding idea myself.
Excellent! My seeds have been growing like crazy. I’ve already had to transplant one. 😀 Good luck to you.
Everything I know I feel like it would be common knowledge…hmm…all I can think of that hasn’t already been mentioned is creating a tall circle of chicken wire and dumping your fall leaves into it, leaving it all winter, and using it to mulch. thanks for the great post!
That’s a great idea! Thanks for sharing it. You’re so right too. Once those leaves start to break down and let more water through, they are a wonderful insulator. Thanks so much for stopping by, Lacey.
I don’t have much of a green thumb but I enjoy the blog hop since it introduces me to authors I haven’t read before. The assassins and sweetheart books have caught my eye so I’m going to stroll to amazon to download to my kindle.
So glad they caught your eye. That just made my day. Thanks, Samantha. 😀 ❤
Congratulations, Samantha! You’re my random winner. I’ll be emailing you. 😀
I have no gardening techniques. I love flowers but I don’t know how to keep them healthy. firstname.lastname@example.org
😀 Love your honesty! 😀 I love flowers too. Hope you enjoy them this summer and thanks for stopping by.
I loved the tips on starting seedlings. I plan on planting a small garden this year and the tips you gave will help. Thanks!
Excellent! All these tips are so helpful. Good luck on your garden. 😀
I live in Arizona and my best gardening tip is to be sure your irrigation is working.
I bet! Even up here in Michigan, once that summer sun starts, we need to keep on the watering too. Our sprinklers and drip lines save my sanity in the summer time. Thanks for stopping in, Jeanna.
It is hard to pick a favorite!! They are all awesome!!
Wonderful! Hope they’re helpful and hope you are enjoying the hop. 🙂
Love gardening too my favorite trick is to save the last pieces of soap and put them in my watering can so when I water the plants it keeps aphids away
This is a new one for me. Thank you!! So glad you stopped by today. 🙂
Thanks again to everyone who stopped by my site during the hop. It means a lot to me. I’ve just done the random thing and the winner of my giveaway is Samantha L! Congratulations! I’ll be emailing you about your new ebooks. 😀 Love and Hugs, SJ