Sunday, December 2, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
So what to write about now that gardening season is officially over? Actually, it was officially over not long after my last post. As you may recall (especially if you read over my last entry to refresh your memories), the last time we saw the tomatoes was when we were in the middle of a huge heat wave and drought. The mighty 10-foot tower had toppled over, and the tomato plants were languishing, draped not so gracefully over the hedges. To my chagrin, they still are. Only now they're brown and crispy. As is every single last plant in my containers. We went on water restrictions quite a while ago, and I misunderstood what I could water and what I could not. I found out today that I could have watered the plants because I was not sprinkling, I would be holding the hose to water. Who knew? Obviously not me.
I keep reminding myself that I need to get out there and clean everything out, but other things keep getting in the way. End of season garden clean-up has never been one of my favorite things. This year, though, it shouldn't be too bad if I ever get around to it. The roots of the plants are so huge, I just need to dump out the dirt and carry everything to the dumpster. When I replant in the spring, I'll order new dirt to fill the containers and start over from scratch. I can't wait!
I haven't received any garden catalogs yet for the spring season, but I know they aren't far away. This year, I'll get a new Bio Dome from Park Seed and start my own tomato plants -- that way I'll be able to have exactly the kind I want instead of buying the only plants I could find. They did amazingly well, but I would rather have an heirloom variety instead of what grew. I also won't plant beans again -- that was a waste of a container for what I harvested. The local farmers' markets have great beans, so I'll just buy them there. I am going to plant loads of zinnias so that I have lots for my vases, and I'll be buying another Crazy Daisy to replace the one that died in the drought.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I'm so excited that I have family driving down to join me for the long weekend. I'm looking forward to cooking a huge dinner and spending lots of time with people I love!
Sunday, August 12, 2007
My little patio garden has been thriving, but really all that's left are the three tomato plants in one pot, a container of blueberry plants (which don't look very good right now -- most of the leaves are turning brown; I never did add anything to acidify the soil), a container with two marigold plants and a container of zinnias (which also contained my daisies, but they died back after I cut the flowers). The last container is growing lettuce seeds that finally saw the light of day after the bean plants were pulled out. There's one lonely beet plant in that container, too.
It's been ungodly hot here. I think the temps broke records on several days last week -- over 100 degrees with a heat index in the 110s. Incredible, blast-furnace heat. I can't take the dogs for walks, because they're heat-absorbing black and they're low to the ground, so all the heat reflected off the sidewalks hits them in the bellies. We get about 10 feet from the door and they're both panting and ready to come back in. Doodlebug's vet has told me to keep him out of the heat as much as possible -- he's really lost quite a bit of fur due to the Cushings disease, and he has no protection from the sun. I had to take Chelsea to the vet for a very scary faux-death experience on Monday, and the vet we saw then said the same thing about her, but because she's old, not because she's losing fur.
I came home on Wednesday to find this: [NOTE--I just realized I don't have a photo to put here, and it's very dark outside now. I'll add the photo of the toppled tower tomorrow.)
I'm amazed at how much these tomato plants grew in this container, and I'm surprised the supports held up as long as they did. Right now the plants are still sprawling all over the short hedges in front of my patio, and short of pulling up the plants, I really can't do anything about it. They're all over 10-feet tall, and they're too heavy to lift by myself. The supports on these containers really are too flimsy for indeterminate tomato plants, and I should have known that -- I've grown tomatoes for years, for pete's sake. Next summer I'll try something else to keep the plants upright. For now, I'm just going to let them go. One of the main vines broke about halfway through the stalk, but the top of the vine doesn't show any signs of wilting. I have dozens of green tomatoes on the plants, so I'll just let everything ripen and see what happens. Because it's been so hot at night, they aren't setting new fruit. If the plants survive the topple, they should start producing again when nighttime temps are below 70. If this fall is anything like last fall, these plants should produce almost until November.
A huge downside to all this is that I've lost the wonderful privacy screen that was formed by this container of plants. I have tall hedges on one side of my patio that block the view from the street, and this plant blocked most of the view of the "active" side of my patio -- where my glider sits and where the table and chairs are. I enjoyed sitting outside much more when I didn't feel on display to the main street. I guess it isn't too early to start planning for next year ...
Monday, July 9, 2007
Remember the tree people in Lord of the Rings? Well, this gentle tomato folken reminded me of them. I wish he'd hurry things along and ripen all his kindred spirits -- I counted at least two dozen that are a great size, and I can hardly wait for them to turn red. None of them show any sign of blossom end rot, and I'm thankful for that. The credit goes to these wonderful pots! They don't dry out, so there's no lack of nutrient uptake.
We're having a much needed rain-shower right now. I took out the dogs at 5:30, and it was just starting to rain. The air smelled all ozoney, and the raindrops were huge. They did a fast potty, but they still have more to do, and I can't take them out now because of the deluge. And the thunder -- Chelsea is quaking at my feet as I type this. Silly Chelsea. We aren't having lightening, so I'm not too worried about turning off the computer just yet.
I know it's been over a week since I last posted, but there's really not much going on. The tomatoes are growing -- the plant is at the ceiling of my balcony now. I may trim off the top -- it's only going to bend and break anyway. I spent two days in New York, and had a blast (along with discovering all the color trends for Fall/Winter 2008-09). It was a very quick trip. I took off Monday and Tuesday last week, and with the holiday, I had a grand long weekend. I didn't do anything -- I parked the car after work on Friday and didn't leave again until I went to a photo shoot Thursday morning. And I was just as bad this past weekend -- I stopped at the store on Friday and didn't go out again until Monday morning. I love my apartment, and I love staying inside when it's too hot to breathe outside.
Tomorrow afternoon I'm leaving for New Hampshire for the Knit & Crochet Show. I'll be meeting with designers and hopefully will find another technical editor or two to help out with editing patterns. That's my goal, anyway.
TTFN -- Hopefully I'll have ripening tomatoes when I get back. I'll keep you posted!
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Sunday, June 10, 2007
However you may say it, I'm going to have some! In just four short weeks, give or take a few days, these little marble-size beauties will be red, ripe, sliced and slathered with mayo (fat-free, of course) on whole wheat bread. And possibly bacon. Too bad my lettuce didn't last longer ...
It's blasted hot out there today. I'm glad I got all the garden chores done early yesterday morning. Such that they were -- I'm so used to spending hours weeding, planting and watering that the hour I spent outside yesterday morning tending to my pots seems almost a cheat. Can I really call this gardening?
Why yes, I can!
This morning I congratulated myself on the fact that I went to Wally-World and only spent $80 -- a minor miracle. Then I stopped at the grocery store to pick up the things I couldn't get at WW and spent another $80. Sigh.
Other weekend news -- well, there's none. I spent an hour or so gardening yesterday, came in and took a nap, cooked the beans and some corn on the cob for a light, vegetarian dinner, cut out and mounted some rubber stamps and called it a night. Today I shopped in the morning, put groceries away, took a nap and just looked at the clock and realized it's almost 6:00! No wonder the pups are pestering me to go out!
Hasta la vista, baby! (remember Terminator?)
Saturday, June 9, 2007
Here they are -- 2-1/2 pounds of beautiful yellow and green beans, destined to become part of my dinner tonight and tomorrow night, and then bean salad for lunch the next few days after that. Aren't they pretty?
This particular type of yellow bean is called Soleil. They all mature at the same time, and it doesn't look like I'll get a second harvest because there were no further flowers on the plants. Many of the plants were finished, so I cut them off to allow more air and sun for the other plants. I didn't pull them out because I didn't want to disturb the roots of the plants that are left. The green beans have more flowers, so I'll get a second smaller harvest from them in a few weeks. In the meantime, I have another container of yellow beans with many flowers that will turn into ready-to-pick beans in about two weeks.
Here's another drawback to this type of garden. In my earth gardens, I had produce all summer -- enough to freeze so that I could have beans of all sorts, squash and fresh tomato salsa and sauces into the winter. I could never freeze enough for the entire winter -- my freezer wasn't that large. That certainly won't be the case with what I'm growing now.
While I was picking beans this morning, I was looking over the other plants and finally discovered what's been eating at the crazy-daisy buffet. Two Japanese beetles were snuggled cozily among the petals. Not for long! I used to think Japanese beetles were beautiful when I was a child. I still do, only now I know how destructive they can be. I knocked them off and stepped on them, only cringing slightly at the rather loud crunch they made under the heel of my shoe. So there Daisy-Eating-Beetles! And I dare all your friends to munch on my flowers!
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Good organic fertilizer and a constant water supply -- and look what happens! Scott, you really need to buy some of this fertilizer!
I didn't downsize the photo, so you'll be able to click on it to enlarge and see the actual beans! I'd like to put text on the photo to direct you to what I'd like you to see, but my photo program doesn't do that.
I pulled out the wilty lettuce and planted the snapdragons, parsley and chives I brought back from PA. I cut off all the blooms and placed them behind the tall zinnias so that they'll get some relief from the afternoon sun. I'm sure the snaps will bloom again in a few weeks. I really like the way snapdragons smell, but these smelled different than any others I've ever grown before. Their scent reminded me of black licorice. I'll let them reseed at the end of the season, and between them, the daisy, the herbs and the ruffled coneflower I plan to buy next year for this container, this pot will take care of itself. I'll just have to keep it watered and add fertilizer during the growing season. You have to love perennials!
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Isn't she pretty? She isn't even fully open yet. I love Shasta Daisies -- especially the Crazy Daisy variety. The others shastas are a bit more reliable bloomers, but they don't have the personality of Miss Crazy. The petals go this way and that -- some are thin and some are wide. Too bad they don't have a scent.
The dogs are recuperating nicely from their trip (as am I). We napped most of the weekend away, and I went to work refreshed and ready for new challenges. I have another group of pattern books to get started on, but only three instead of ten. I'm actually looking forward to working on them! Planning the designs is my favorite part of putting pattern books together. I love it when the plan comes together and the book looks like I think it will. Sometimes when working with multiple designers that can be a bit risky. I have a 2-day photo shoot scheduled this week, and a 2-day trip next week and the week after -- this month will be busy!
In other garden news, the beans are getting beans! Some are ready to pick now, but I'll probably wait another few days until I can pick enough for dinner. These varieties aren't supposed to get stringy, so it's fine to wait a bit. The anticipation of eating them is almost as good as actually eating them! The lettuce is just about ready to pull out. It's been hot here, and while it hasn't bolted, it stays wilted most of the time. I brought a flat of snapdragons back with me from PA, and I'll plant them there. If I cut off all the blooms, they'll bloom again when the weather cools off a bit. The tomatoes doubled in size while I was gone. Each plant has a flower bract, and one of the flowers has a tiny tomato inside. I'll probably be able to pick them in early to mid July. All of the herbs are growing nicely (despite being planted in self-watering containers -- so there, self-watering-container-book author whose name I can't remember who said they wouldn't do well with a constant water source), and I brought back parsley and chives to plant. The lavender is still a no-show. I'm pretty sure I did plant the seeds -- the packet is empty. Lavender is just difficult to start from seed.
The only thing I have left to plant is the trombocino squash, which I'll try to do one evening this week. It's getting ready to storm and my pizza was just delivered (thank you Papa Johns), so I won't do it tonight. Squash is a summer plant, and we still have a long summer left, so I'm not worried about planting it late.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
I think D-Bug had a good time! My granddaughters were very gentle with him (and with Chelsea). They ended up staying with me at the hotel, and we had three sleepovers, including tattoos! I love having them around, and I miss them already! Doobie got to be the man -- he put a jumping silky terrier in his place (although the poor guy is named Daisy -- I think he has to jump pretty much nonstop in order to prove his manhood), he ate people food like crazy, he got petted almost nonstop, and he got to see Scott -- his second favorite person in the whole world. On the down-side, he completely lost his hearing a few days ago. I need to do some Internet research to see what's up with that, and then possibly take him to see his vet. He has Cushing's Disease, which is caused by either a tumor on the adrenal glands, or a tumor on the pituitary gland. I'm thinking possibly his is a pituitary tumor and maybe it's large enough to be pressing on nerves that control hearing? I may be grasping at straws here. At any rate, being 16+, the vet and I have decided not to treat whatever diseases he has (he probably has cancer, too), and will just let him live out his life until he isn't happy any more. Since we aren't going to treat him, there's no point in doing any diagnostic work, so we may never know what is really wrong with him beyond the vet's best guesses.
Anyway, that's it for tonight. I'm going to try to read a little and unwind. Hopefully the buzzing will stop soon ...
Friday, May 25, 2007
The books are finally at the printer and out of my hands -- woohoo -- and they'll be in the distribution center on time. How cool is that! It was touch and go there for a while, but it's all done now and I can go on vacation with a head devoid of knitting and crochet abbreviations. What a relief!
The pups and I are heading out in a few hours for Doodlebug's Last Roadtrip and Big Adventure, Chelsea Too. I haven't really told them yet that they get to go with me, but they know something's up. I keep asking Chelsea if she wants to see her Scott-Boy, and she get all waggy-tailed and happy. Usually I avoid mentioning the name of anyone she loves, because she gets sad and just looks out the window and sighs. I haven't mentioned the D-word (for Daddy) in a very long time -- I think she thinks he lives in the phone, since that's the only place she ever hears his voice. Come to think of it, maybe he does! I haven't actually seen him in 7 years, so maybe he is just a voice in the phone!
I still have a few last-minute things to do (like pack and clean up the kitchen, and clean the birdcage, and possibly clean the aquarium, although what's the point because I can't seem to get rid of the green water no matter what I do, and oh yeah, color my hair and shower -- we may not make it by 6:00, and I'm still here updating my blog. Hi Drew -- I'm practicing avoidance!). But you know what, it's my vacation and I'm driving this time, so I don't have to worry about getting to the airport in the nick of time. If I want to leave at 7:00, I can! If I leave any later, though, I'll have massive Charlotte traffic to contend with, both on 485 and 77. I'd better get in gear and get going!
Scott, by the time you read this, I'll be on my way (hopefully -- you know how I am about being on time ...)
Bye y'all! CUL8R! Peace, out!
PS -- I had a garden emergency last night! I went out to check the plants when I got home, and they were drooping! The weather here has been warm, and the beans had used all the water in the reservoir. It hasn't been a week since the last time I watered them, so I guess I'll need to call the apartment people to water them while I'm gone. It's a chore -- I hate to ask them. Drag the hose outside, hook it up inside, fill, fill, fill -- it takes about a half hour, and I haven't prearranged it with them. I know it will be fine. This apartment complex rocks for tenant service -- that's their main selling point (besides gorgeous apartments in a great location). They feed the fish and the bird while I'm gone, and they'll get my mail, water the plants, take my laundry to the dry cleaner if I want them to, they even pick up the trash outside my door once a week. It's so worth the rent to live here!
Monday, May 21, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Saturday, May 5, 2007
So much is happening you can't even see it all in this photo! Closest is the Crazy Daisy. She likes this container environment very much -- this is one strong plant! Behind her container is the first container of beans I planted. Some of the plants are putting out bud stalks already -- I'll probably have flowers within a week, and then beans a few weeks after that. In the third container are tomato plants I just received. I'm not at all pleased with their condition, and won't be ordering tomato plants online again. They arrived within two days of shipping, and they weren't dried out at all all, but they were tall and spindly with yellowing leaves -- which obviously means they weren't grown in the best of conditions. Hopefully they'll recuperate and get strong -- I planted them deep so that they can develop good root systems. In the fourth container are the blueberry plants, which are still doing well in spite of the fact that I haven't added peat to the soil yet. And last but not least is the second container of beans, which has started sprouting. The lavender, alas, is still a no-show. I've almost given up on it. I did plant some beans in the same area as the lavender seeds. If they ever decide to grow, they can grow around the beans until it's time for them to come out, and then they can have that space.
We had almost record-setting heat the beginning of this week, but yesterday and today are cloudy, drizzly and very chilly, which makes the lettuce happy.
This photo is from Tuesday, and it's grown even more since then. I really need to start thinning it out, so I'll probably start picking it today and have a baby lettuce salad with dinner. I have a nice light raspberry vinaigrette, fresh mushrooms and some feta cheese just waiting ...
I bought some trombocino summer squash seeds last week (http://www.reneesgarden.com/seeds/packpg/veg/squash-trombetta-p.htm). I had planned to plant them in the strip of soil between the hedge row and my patio, but after talking with my son last week (Hi Scott!) we came up with a better idea. See my baker's rack in the first photo? I'm going to remove the bottom two shelves (Scott, they do unscrew) and put in another self-watering container. This type of summer squash vines profusely, so it can grow up and around the bars and shelves on the baker's rack. Having summer squash in my little garden makes me happy!
And speaking of happy, my friend Margot had this wonderful idea on her blog (http://margotpotter.blogspot.com/). She's adding photos of things that make her happy, complete with a cute little happy sign in each of them. I'm going to stamp a fun happy sign and do the same! I think we all should, and create this viral Happy Things campaign that just sweeps the Internet and spreads happiness. Let's do it! And be sure to stop in and say hello to Margot -- she rocks!
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Does anyone else think John Ratzenberger is totally hot? I don't think I liked him on Cheers, but I don't remember since I've slept quite a few times since the last time I saw it, and I was never a big fan of the show anyway. Imagine my surprise the first night when this sophisticated yet down to earth, handsome and, well, hot, man walks out onto the stage. The goatee? Yummy. In an odd way he reminds me of Anthony Hopkins (but NOT in the Hannibal Lecter sort of way), who is also a very attractive man.
So I don't have TV here. Well, I have TV, in fact I have two of them, but I get lousy reception and I can't watch either one. I refuse to pay for cable to watch two or three shows a week, and neither antenna works, so I get to watch everything a day late on the internet via my computer. Thank you, Internet, for ABC.com, and thank you ABC.com for playing all of your shows the day after. And thank you, work, for giving me a laptop to use that I can take home at night so that I don't have to buy my own computer and can instead spend my money on garden stuff. And rubber stamps.
I just finished watching last night's epi of DWTS. And Oh. My. God. It was sensational! The dancers were really good (except for Billy Ray, but he knows he isn't good and he's just having as much fun as he can, and that makes him the best to watch). Ian finally opened up his personal space and looked at Cheryl like he could just devour her. Joey did some bendy moves during the jive that were phenomenal. I didn't like Apolo's waltz, but his other dance deserved the 9s it received. Billy Ray sat out most of his waltz, instead showcasing his partner's dancing talent (and I just cannot remember her name right now), but came back and was more involved in the Mambo. Layla is my favorite to win, though -- but so is Joey. It's going to get tough!
And who will go? Sadly, because IMO he's a hottie, I think John will be the one to leave. Billy Ray is a bad dancer, but he has a huge fan base, and that's what's keeping him. The loser is being decided right now as I type this, but I won't get to see it until tomorrow, so please don't tell me!
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
I have to face the facts -- my heart, my muse, my furry soulmate, the love of my life is getting old. Chelsea turned 13 last September, and while little dogs live long lives, she's still considered geriatric and she can't do the things she thinks she should be able to do.
Chelsea is as close to a cat as a dog can get, without all the aloofness that a dog could never pull off. She stalks prey, she isn't afraid of heights, she sleeps on the windowsill in the dining room, she's nimble-footed. I love watching her jump from the sofa to the chair to the ottoman to the other chair. She can just about make a circuit of my living room without setting foot on the floor. She jumps from my bed to the side chair and back again, and hardly shakes the bed. Until last night.
When we go to bed, Doodlebug hops up his little doggy steps and settles right in beside me. Chelsea comes to bed until she thinks I'm asleep, and then she hops into the chair to sleep alone until about a half hour until the alarm goes off, then she comes back to bed and stays there until I get up.
Last night, she missed the chair and landed in a heap on the floor. She sat there a bit dazed for a minute, then literally shook herself off, jumped into the chair and settled down for the night. She moved a little slowly this morning, but she does that from time to time -- we're all getting older. When I got home from work tonight and let them out of the bedroom, she made a mad dash for the chair in the living room -- she likes to be as close to my level as she can get, probably in a ploy for the alpha position. She tried to jump to the ottoman, but misjudged the distance and fell again. She sat hunched over for a few minutes, and I felt everything to make sure she hadn't broken or dislocated anything. She seems ok now, but she's still moving slowly. A visit to the vet may be in order ...
I'm not worried about losing her -- she promised me the day I picked her up from the shelter that she's immortal. But, damn, it sure is hard watching her get old.
And on the garden front, the beans are growing, the lettuce is starting to look like lettuce, the zinnias are working on their second set of leaves, it looks like the blueberries will survive (even though I haven't put peat in the container yet to acidify the soil), the daisies are getting taller and the lavender is still a no-show.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Lots happening in my happy little garden today (anyone else miss Bob Ross?) -- the tall plants in the planter on the left are the blueberries (there are two in the planter -- you can't see them both in this photo). I didn't get the soil amended with peat to make it more acidic, but unbeknownst to me the box was sitting in the apartment office for a week, and I thought it maybe was better to plant them and get them rehydrated than it was to have acidic soil. I'll go to the garden center tomorrow morning and amend the soil around the plants. Fingers crossed all will be well with them. They weren't totally dried out, but they were close.
In the center planter, making their sunshine debut, are the beans! I can see two of them that have broken the soil in this photo, but unless you know what you're looking for, you might not be able to spot them (and I haven't figured out yet how to put text on photos). See the greenish clump in the center? That's a bean spout breaking the soil. There's also one right above the white watering tube. There are also several others that are thisclose to breaking through. The green seedlings in the bottom right corner are marigolds. The other green sprouts you can see throughout are lettuce.
And in the right planter, the row on the left is thickly sown lettuce. The thin line in the center contains white zinnias. The daisy plant is in the upper right corner and the lavender (lower right corner) is still a no-show.
I'm still expecting tomato plants and herbs. I almost bought a beautiful rosemary plant last night (along with parsley plants), but I'm pretty sure I have one coming, so I didn't. I can pick it up later if I still want it.
I watered these containers thoroughly last Saturday and filled the reservoirs. The soil has been nicely damp all week (not too wet, though), and this morning's check of the reservoirs shows them about half full. Of course, our weather this week has been coolish and overcast most days, with high wind the beginning of the week.
In other news, I spent too much money at Wally World this morning. I stopped in specifically for dog food, light bulbs, batteries and hair color and came out with all that plus ribbon, snacks, rechargeable batteries and a charger, the latest People magazine and Joe Hill's novel -- Heart-Shaped Box. Joe is Stephen King's son, and it's interesting to see that he has chosen to write in the same genre as his father. I can't wait to start this one! And what is it with Wal-Mart? I seriously cannot go in that store without dropping at least $100, and here lately, it's been closer to $200. Every time! I think stuff just jumps in my cart when I'm not looking, because I totally don't remember buying Crunch & Munch, but there was a box in the bag when I got home. And it's the good toffee kind, too, with peanuts and almonds. Yum!
It's in the 70s here today, and sunny, so I think I'm going to annoy the dogs and go sit out on the patio and read for a bit. With the Crunch & Munch, of course, and a glass of pomegranate juice. And I'll wave to the dogs through the window ...
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Ok, I've started this blog entry twice, and I've deleted what I wrote both times. I'm not going to try to comment on current events, because it just makes me sad. I'm also not going to comment on my job, because I didn't like it today. And I suspect I won't like it for the next month, but it's my job and I have to go to work to pay for all the dog, bird and fish food (because Ryukin goldfish get constipated easily and have to eat the really expensive goldfish food to prevent Swim Bladder Disorder. constipated fish -- who knew?). Anyway. Stupid job.
Since the point of this blog is my patio garden, let's see what little surprises were waiting in store for us today, shall we? And look -- here they are! Lettuce seedlings! They're almost microscopic in and among all the rich, dark potting soil, but they're there all the same. Right now, the only thing sprouting is the lettuce mix. I also planted marigolds, lavender and green beans, but none of them have broken ground yet. I'm sorely tempted to dig around a little to see if the beans are sprouting, and if this were an earth garden I would, but since I planted containers and the number of seeds is very limited, I won't disturb what's there just because I'm sometimes very impatient and I can't stand to not know what's going on under the soil. Since this blog is supposed to my record-keeping attempt, I'll just note here that the lettuce seeds sprouted in 4 days (temps were cool -- in the 60s, and weather conditions varied from sun to high wind to rain to overcast).
I think I'll just zen out a little and watch the lettuce grow and pet the dogs and listen to the bird chirp and watch the fish swim and forget about my stupid job for a bit. And maybe in the morning, I'll sit out there again while I drink a cup of tea -- just so I have enough calmness banked to get through another day at my stupid job. You know, the one that won't be any fun for another month and then will be a total blast again for a while.
(Disclaimer: If anyone from work is reading this, I really do like my job! Just not this week. And not until all of these books get to the printer.)
PS -- I do have to share something I read today: "God bless everyone. No exceptions." I won't comment on this any further except to say it was in the back of my mind all day. To go any further would be getting into current events, and I'm just not going to do that.
Monday, April 16, 2007
I hope they rescued the mice. Seriously!
This is a really interesting article and doesn't take too long to read. Check it out -- you might need to copy and paste the link. (and thank-you, Angie, for sending it to me -- big hugs to you)
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Saturday, April 14, 2007
... the seeds are germinating.
I planted two of the planters today -- the one with plant already growing contains a Crazy Daisy (the green stuff you see), lavender from seed (which may not grow -- lavender can be weird that way) and lettuce of all sorts but mostly red. And green. And frizzy. And mixed in with other yummy lettuce-y things like bull's blood beets and mustard greens (which were both in the mesclun mix I bought).
The second seemingly naked planter contains green and yellow (my fave) beans -- why did I plant green beans which I like when I LOVE the yellow ones -- marigolds in the corners and lettuce broadcast thinly over top everything. Yes, I know the lettuce is going to grow where the beans are, but by the time the beans are getting big enough to do anything, the lettuce will be bolting and I'll pull it out to give the beans more room. And I did warn you -- I push the limits of what can grow in a finite amount of space. I'll fertilize and thin. Don't worry -- it's all good.
The other three planters are still empty. In two weeks, I'll sow more yellow bean seeds in one (with more lettuce and marigolds) for a continuous harvest. My blueberry plants are on the way, so I'll plant them in one when they arrive, along with whatever else I can find that will grow in acid soil. And hopefully my tomato plants will be shipped soon and I'll plant the last one with them. And basil. Lots and lots of basil. I grew Summerlong two years ago and absolutely loved it -- the flavor was superb. I kept the flower heads cut off, and they just branched out into gorgeous mounds of green deliciousness that smelled wonderful whenever I walked past.
I bought Summerlong again this year, because I just think its the best. I'm not into lemon or chocolate or cinnamon or other unusually scented/flavored basils. While they probably smell wonderful, I really think basil should taste like basil and not cinnamon. Or lemon. Does it taste cinnamony enough to put on my oatmeal? Will my green tea taste better with the addition of lemon basil? And how about a nice glass of milk with lots of -- you guessed it -- chocolate basil. I think not, so what's the point in growing them? My basil will go into summer salads or be layered with mozzarella cheese and tomatoes and dressed lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I can hardly wait!
For now, I'll just be quiet so I don't disturb those little seeds from getting on with what they do best.
And come to think of it, I don't think there's a chocolate basil plant. Maybe I'm thinking of Chocolate Cosmos ...
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Saturday, April 7, 2007
Or else after being here over a year, all of our blood is getting thinner ...
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Take a tomato seed, for example. One little seed, if watered and given sunlight, can grow up to be a plant over 10' tall that willingly provides a bushel of luscious, juicy red fruits that are perfect for adding to a slice of bread slathered with mayonnaise and garnished with lettuce. And bacon. And sprinkled with generous amounts of salt and pepper. One tiny, seemingly lifeless seed is where it all starts.
I've had tomato seeds survive the worst of winters in my garden (I was never very good about cleaning out the beds at the end of the growing season). At the first thaw, those little seeds crack open and out comes this amazing plant that can grow inches in just one day. Multiply that by the dozens of tomatoes that got left in the beds in the fall, and you can just imagine what I had growing in the spring! And nothing smells more like spring than a tomato plant.
You know, God sure knew what He was doing with all the seed business. And I am so humbled by it all.
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Saturday, March 31, 2007
I guess a first post should be all about introductions. Let's see. I'm 39 (well, not really, but did you think I was really going to say how old I am?). I'm all about doing stuff with my hands -- playing in the dirt, crafting, cooking, petting the dogs, etc. I have wonderful friends, but most of them live in other areas that aren't within driving distance, so I tend to spend lots of time e-mailing them and sending photos of my dogs or the traffic on the way to work or the dogs ...
Did I mention my dogs? I have two. Doodlebug is old -- around 16. He came to live with me about 11 years ago, so he probably doesn't remember any other home. I sure don't remember a time when I didn't have him. He's having age issues, and I'm trying to work out a good way to keep him from pottying all over the floor. We're exploring doggy diapers. Fortunately he doesn't seem to embarrass easily. Chelsea is my other dog, and she's my heart. That's her in the photo, which was taken about a year ago. I've had her since she was a baby, and she'll be 13 this year. She's a spunky terrier who saved my life when she was about 6 months old, and I promised her a place in my bed for the rest of her life. Both dogs are black and little, and people tend to think they related because they think they look alike. They really don't -- they're both just black. And little. They've been with me through two major moves -- one from South Carolina to Indiana, and then from Indiana to North Carolina. As long as we're together, they seem to take it in stride. My lovebird, Sailor, is also old -- he just turned 11.
The whole point of this blog (besides getting back in the habit of writing something interesting) is to describe my garden adventures. When I lived in Indiana, I had five very large raised beds that I had so much fun with. One year I planted a purple garden in one of them. Everything was purple. Purple beans. Purple eggplants. Purple radishes. Purple zinnias. Purple Brussels sprouts. I like to combine flowers with vegetables and herbs, and I tend to push the limit of how much you're supposed to plant in a finite space.
After spending last summer in produce Hell (how can the grocery stores around here not have good tomatoes in the summer, and where in the world is the farmer's market I hear everyone talk about?), I decided this year I was going to do something about it and spent some time perusing catalogs and reading about container gardening on Garden Web. That's a terrific site, by the way. Most people are very helpful, and very willing to share what works for them.
My apartment has a great patio, and it faces south, so it gets sunlight all day. Just right for tomatoes! I ordered five Tomato Success Kits from Gardener Supply, and I'm waiting for them to get here -- they're supposed to arrive on Tuesday. After I ordered them, I realized I didn't need to get five tomato kits -- I could have just bought one tomato kit and ordered plain planters for everything else, but oh well. I'll just have extra tomato fertilizer and red mulch for next year.
I also ordered a bunch of seeds for green beans and lettuce, as well as zinnias and marigolds. I ordered herb plants and two blueberry plants that are supposed to do well in containers. And I bought a Shasta Daisy plant because, well ... Daisies. I shouldn't have to say anything else about that!
Oh, and I bought a book on container gardening. Because I've never done this before! Everything should be here the beginning of the week, and I'm anxious to get started!