Archive for the 'gardening' Category

Jun 16 2006

garden planning — in early summer?

Published by under daily,gardening,photos

Yes, it’s only mid june, and I’m already thinking about what I want to do next year.

Mostly, I wish I had planted more vegetables. Flowers are always nice, but there’s just nothing like getting to EAT the fruit of your labors. Plus, I have been loving Christa’s blog, Calendula and Concrete – she and her husband have a plot in a community garden in DC and she posts such beautiful photos of what they’re growing, and how they cook it up to eat. Makes me hungry every time. Today’s post was about chard and anticipating the garlic that will soon be harvested. I don’t have chard, but I think I will make some pasta sometime this weekend.

I WORK HARD FOR THE GREEN BEANS:

So, here are some much awaited VEGGIE PHOTOS!

itty bitty ones.

and as Jocelyn would say, “That’s a BIG ONE!”

It’s no longer there, because as SOON as I took this picture, I picked it. And ate it. It was good. I have to keep myself from eating them on the spot.

THE FRUIT OF MY LABORS:

STRAWBERRIES! Can’t wait.

The raspberries however, are still having issues.

Here’s what they looked like when I first planted them (April 15):

raspberry.jpg

And now:

Not a whole lot of growth going on. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be getting any raspberries this year. At least there have been a few new leaves springing up.

OTHER VEGGIES AND HERBS:

My rosemary died. James needed fresh rosemary for a marinade for the chicken he grilled last week, so we bought some at the store. It was the “Living Herbs” type, with the roots and dirt still attached… so, I planted it. Don’t know if it will survive, but I guess we’ll see!

I also bought another tomato plant. The two I grew from seeds are cherry tomotoes, and I got to thinking that I would like to have some nice big round tomatoes too, so into the ground that went:

I still need to get a cage for it.

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Jun 14 2006

Good-Bye South Central LA Farm

Published by under daily,gardening,likes & irks

I’ve been following this story. The 13 acre community garden in South Central LA got plowed today. Very sad.

I wish it had turned out differently. The garden was located in an area with the highest concentration of impoverished residents county wide and served as both a source for food and a safe place for families and people to spend time in an area surrounded by warehouses and factories. A food bank sits across the street and coordinates food distribution to local charities.

The land’s ownership has been disputed and only recently (it was arranged in 2003) been sold back from the city to Horowitz, the previous owner. CNN reports quotes from the owner that makes it sound as if he has generously let them farm there for the past decade, but in actuality he got his land back and is turning right around and selling it. They were there by permit from the city, not from any boon from him.

The Trust for Public Land, with help from The Annenberg Foundation tried to raise the money to buy the land. When they offered Horowitz the price he was asking, he refused to sell to them.

This just makes me want to cry.

There are other garden sites offered by the city to the farmers. I can fully understand wanting to keep what you’ve worked so hard on for over a decade, however. When they first started, they hauled away barrels and barrels of concrete, glass and metal. Several celebrities joined in the protest and they, along with the farmers had to be bodily removed.

I would have climbed a tree too.

Read more:

April 5 – L.A. Urban Farmers Fight for Community Garden, The New Standard
June 13 – We Shall Over Mulch!
June 13 – Daryl Hannah Removed from Tree, CNN
today, constantly updated – Sheriffs Deputies Evict South Central Farmers, LA Voice

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Jun 14 2006

HOW TO HARVEST SEEDS!

Published by under daily,gardening,likes & irks,photos

ust in case you’re not keeping track, I have something of a fetish with seeds. I’m very good at collecting. Even germinating! After that though, I’m only good about going about my business and forgetting to water until they are ALL DEAD except for 2 tomato plants, and 1 impatiens plant, which is displayed HERE:lone_seedling.jpg

Sad isn’t it. Couple normal impatiens plants next to it so you can see how pathetic it is. I’m curious to see what color the flowers will be though. So, all in all, me and seeds = kind of a love hate thing. I love them, I forget them, they hate me.

So I don’t know why I got all giddy with excitement when I realized that my columbine bushes have gone to SEED! Just for reference, here is a picture of one of the bushes (I have 2) from May:

These pretty bushes have actually bloomed a few times and I thought that the little bulbs were actually buds waiting to spring forth into beautiful color, but as I was out puttering around, noticed that some of them were drying out, and showing the seeds within. SEEDPODS! Not flower buds! A-DUH! I felt silly. But only for a minute. I just love collecting seeds.
seedpods1.jpg

So of course, I snipped all of the seedpods off the two bushes and carried them in to extract the precious seed booty!

seedpods2.jpg

Yes. I snipped them all. Why? No reason, I knew I wasn’t going to harvest all of them, but I figured why not. Honestly, I should have waited longer for most of these pods to try out completely, and it would have made getting the seeds a bit easier. But the seeds were done, and I didn’t actually want to get ALL the seeds, just some of them, so I didn’t mind the fact that most of them were still pretty green. Just makes my fingers stickier.

seedpod.dry1.jpg

Basically, I could see the seeds inside each little “straw” that makes up the seedpod.

seedpod.dry2.jpg

All I had to do with the pods that were sufficiently dry, was hold it over my outstretched palm and shake the seeds out.

seeds.palm.dry.jpg
Some of the greener “straws” I just sliced open with my thumbnail and then dumped the seeds out.

seeds.straw.jpg

seeds.straw2.jpg

After about 8 seedpods, I had a little over a teaspoon of seeds.

seeds.tupperware.jpg

I’ve now read a bit about columbine seeds, and they require a moist/cold period to bring them out of dormancy called “stratification.” Not sure what exactly I’ll do with my new seeds for next year, but … now I have some :)

Next project – fancy seed envelopes :)

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Jun 05 2006

flooooowers!

Published by under daily,gardening,photos

Betcha thought I’d spew about 2,000 words at you. It’s Monday, right? That’s the day that Amy tries to kill everyone with words, right?

Wrong!

Here are some flowers instead.

These are lilies that I bought in pots from Costco a few years ago, and after they died, I planted them by our front tree.

March 11 2006: This picture is showing my spring bulbs coming up (tulips and paperwhites) but look down there at the end? See the marker with a lily on it? See how there’s nothing down there? We’ll call this the “before” picture.

March 18, 2006: Another “before” picture of nothing where the lilies will one day be.

April 15, 2006: Look! Now there’s something growing! Right there, above the “Happy Father’s Day” stone, behold my glorious lilies!

May 4, 2006: They are really going now.

This past weekend: Finally, they explode into a burst of gorgeous orange color. I had forgotten what color they were. For some reason, I don’t really fancy yellow flowers, so I was very happy to see this sunburst of orange instead of the yellow I feared.

My clematis vines also decided they were done primping, and exposed themselves for the world to see:

It’s almost obscene, isn’t it? Aren’t they GORGEOUS?? I really need to get some proper trellises for them so they can really take off.
I am a happy gardener this week. I was feeling those mopey mopes when all the spring bulbs are done and are in that “Hi, I’ve bloomed and now I’m just waiting for the foliage to die down so I can disappear until next year, but until then I’m going to be all not really green but almost brown and dead but DONT TOUCH ME because then maybe I won’t bloom next year, haha!” phase, and my summer annuals are all in, but really need a month or two for their roots to develop before they will really get huge and take off late june/july but are now kind of puny and ho-hum..

So I was happy seeing these new developments :)

– amy has plans. Big plans.

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May 22 2006

Weekend Wrap Up – Now with POOP!

Published by under daily,gardening,kids

Weekend

I had a lovely evening out with my friend Tamara on Friday night. And learned that THERE IS A BAR! WITH ALCOHOL! in the MOVIE THEATRE! We were both starving so we grabbed hot dogs before the movie started and then as we headed in, she said, “Want to stop in there to eat? We could get apple martini’s” and that is when my head exploded with joy. After the week I had had, it was like the gods had smiled down at me, and gave me the gift of booze, IN A MOVIE THEATRE!

We had to down them pretty fast because the movie was starting soon, and Tamara won the FASTEST EATING OF A HOT DOG EVER! lifetime acheivement award. I would have beaten her, but the sneaky chica asked me how all the work stuff turned out RIGHT after we sat down, so I was busy talking while she inhaled food. Smooth tactic, Tamara. I’ve got my eye on you. *peer*

We watched the latest Lindsay Lohan movie, which was exactly what you would think the latest Lindsay Lohan movie would be, cute, entertaining, and doesn’t make you think in any way whatsoever. After the movie we checked out the few other restaurants and discovered their bars were full to bursting, so returned to the movie theatre bar and ordered some food. (I did good in asking for no bacon or mayo on the sandwich. Yay me! I probably ate too many fries though.) It was nice to get out with a girlfriend and discuss kids and our men and work and life.

Saturday

Saturday morning SOUNDED like all others, starting with the bleary wakeful consciousness of Jocelyn calling out, “MOOOOOOMMMY…. DAAAAAAADDY……” which we ignored as it turned into vibrant top-of-the-lungs versions of ‘twinkle twinkle’ and the alphabet song for probably another 20 minutes, before I poked James and said, “go get her.” During the week, lately I have been getting up and bringing her and Ethan into our bed before I hop in the shower. It gives them some transition time from waking up and getting up (this happens at about 6:15am, so some transition time is a good thing), and also it’s fun snuggly bed time with Daddy, but I always miss it, because I’m in the shower. So I was looking forward to my OWN snuggly bed time with the kids, but the conversation from James and Jocelyn I heard floating back to me deemed otherwise.

“Hi Daddy!”

“Hi Jocelyn! Would you like your bear?”

“Yes! Bear Daddy! Jocelyn’s bear!”

“Oh. …. Oh dear. Uh oh.” (this is probably where he takes the bear away)

“NO DADDY MINE BEAR! MINE BEAR!”

“Uh oh.” (I’m starting to get worried now.) “You are a mess, Jocelyn.”

“(more screaming about said bear)”

“What did you DO?”

“Poop, Daddy. Poop!” (said in the cheeriest tone ever.)

“Yes. Poop.”

By now I am out of bed and running water in the kids bathtub. Until I see her, and then I realise that a BATH is stupid because the poop will come off her smeared hands, arms, legs and turn the bath into a non-joyous stinky cesspit in which I don’t want my daughter splashing in. We go to our bathroom instead and I shower her off with me.

Granted, we are old pros at this, given that Ethan regularly discovered his own poop at this age, and being in his own bed at that time instead of a crib gave him the opportunity to not only paint his OWN body with shit, but paint the walls, the dresser, the carpet, the doors and even deposit some into his dresser drawers. The major incident of poop smearing is still refered to in our household as, “E cubed” which stands for, “Ethan’s Excrement Extravaganza!” This was also when we realized that the paint that the builder painted with is crap, as a lot of it came off in all the scrubbing. (It’s got purple satin finish paint in there now. Hopefully we won’t be required to test it.)

Ahhhh, what a way to start a Saturday morning! With poop smeared child, crib, blankies, my little pony, pillow, etc! Yay! Thank god for modern inventions, like the washing machine!

The day held other non-fun things, the second being, Ethan’s 4 year old shots. Decidedly NOT FUN. The last shot he had was his flu shot last fall. I wasn’t holding him properly, and he actually GRABBED the syringe and pulled it out before teh shot was over and the doctor had to get another one. This time, he had to get FOUR shots, and I had to physically hold every limb while the doctor took her time to administer the shots, insisting on putting on little band-aids to each one RIGHT after it was given. I asked her to just do them all, BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM! and we could do the band-aids after, but she said something about then they would bleed. I WILL TAKE A LITTLE BLOOD, JUST GET THIS HELL OVER SO I CAN RELEASE THE DEMON WRIGGLING AND STRUGGLING ON MY LAP!

It really was awful, and Ethan was pissed at me afterward. I think he is still pissed at me. He told me several times throughout the weekend, “I don’t like you anymore, Mommy.” He also doesn’t like his doctor anymore. I have one dreaded thought, and that is the doctor wasn’t sure if he needed ONE of the shots required, and she was going to go through his records carefully and check to see. If he is required to get one more, then it is going to be BAD, as I’ve already told him that he is done with shots until he is 11. There had better not be anymore.

Of course, we went to McDonald’s after and got icecream and he played in the playland tunnel world of toddlers, which he loved, but then he reverted back to being really mad at me on the way home. On the one hand, who can blame him? I held down my own flesh and blood while he was injected, not once, but FOUR TIMES, 2 in each arm. That’s right, he got two, and then I had to TURN HIM AROUND and HOLD HIM AGAIN while he got two more. OF COURSE he’s goign to be pissed. But I can’t go around letting him talk to me and act to me the way he was talking and acting, so it was a tricky relationship between comforting and disciplining, all weekend.

Saturday night our sitter arrived at 5pm and we escaped to childless freedom! Oh the possibilities!! We could drink ourselves silly! Dance the night away (until midnight which is when we said we’d be back)! Movies! Dinner! Dancing! Peeing without company or interuption! The world was our! What did we choose to do with our precious hours away from our offspring? We went and looked at new cars. That’s right, internet, we are SO DEVIL MAY CARE!

Seriously though, looking at cars is not a very child friendly experience, the child wants to sit in the driver’s seat and steer, they leave sticky fingerprints over every surface imaginable so that the sales rep starts to get that tight-lipped “when are you leaving again?” attitude, and you can’t really take the time to check out everything you want. Plus, the sales rep does this weird climbing the walls thing, when you go for a 30 minute test drive and leave the kids with them. Something about poop and smearing and new leather and automatic locks.. I didn’t make it all out last time. So it was nice to check out the new Suburus alone, and do a little test driving, although the ones we wanted to test had dead batteries. Apparently when people sit in the cars, they leave the lights on. You’d think that’d be one of the things they’d check before leaving the lot each night. Just drive by and make sure no lights are on, not that hard, but anyway. So yes, we’re looking at new cars for James. We’re not ready to buy yet, so I personally thought it would be fun to sit down and haggle the price as low as we possibly could, and then when they won’t go any lower, GET UP AND LEAVE and see what they do. James wasn’t that interested though, something about how the thought of haggling for a new car makes him want to vomit. THAT’S WHAT MAKES IT FUN!

Then we had dinner, and spent a nice half hour in Barnes and Noble (another experience totally ruined by the presence of children) before heading back home, picking up milk on the way and surprising the sitter by being home by 11. That’s us! We are CRAZY! CRAZY I TELL YOU! We booked her again for next Saturday, so we can go see X-Men. And we will be visiting that bar again, because what doesn’t go better with Wolverine then booze? NOTHING! THAT’S WHAT! WHEEEEEE!!!

Sunday we loaded everyone up and headed to Lowe’s and Target. Picked up 15 bags of mulch at Lowe’s and a couple bags of Miracle Gro garden soil. I was happy that the mulch I wanted was only $2.50 a bag, which seemed like a pretty good price. I was dreading a $3 to $4 price tag. I have bought in bulk the last few times, some with good results, some with bad. The last batch I bought was in the beginning of April from the local Recycling and Composting Facility. I got the double shredded stuff, and it is pretty disappointing. A lot of very fine particles in it that blow away in the wind. Good mulch is warm and the water soaks right into it, but this stuff the water just runs right off of it, and it doesn’t have that wonderful mulchy smell. (I would wear a perfume that was mulch scented. Mmmmm. Anyone know of a woodsy perfume?) So I’m glad I went with the bagged mulch, seems SO GOOD, practically steaming, and the water soaks into it. I had a couple flats of impatiens (annuals) to plant, but still had pansies in the ground where I wanted them to go, so I agonized over them for a while. I knew the pansies were going to die once the brutal summer heat hits, but they were still good for another couple of weeks. On the other side, I don’t want to have to leave my plants out until the pansies finally kick it and then do more plantings in only a few weeks, so I pulled them up. Wah! I felt so bad doing it, but there you go. I saved some of my favorites and planted them on the side of the house with our hydrangea bush. It gets a lot of shade over there, so maybe they’ll be ok for a while.

So I planted white and orange impatiens in the front, white and red impatiens on the side with the deck (full full full sun) and still had a few left, so planted them right in front of our air conditioner units on the other side of the house (the side with the hydrangea). I have no idea if they will hinder the unites later, whey they get big, but I didn’t have any other place to put them, so there they went. Then I spread the mulch, and it looks sooooo nice. The annuals look so small and piddly right now, but by June and really in July, they’ll have taken off beautifully. It is going to be an all impatiens summer, let me tell you! (aside from the beans and tomaters and perrineals I have. I sooo totally almost spelled that “perineum.” I don’t think I got the spelling right either way.)

I spent a lot of time working the soil, trying to get through the Virginia red clay, getting it mixed with previous years additions and mulch, getting the rocks out as well. The soil is really doing well in some places, and in other places it is still very much clay-bound. I kept our wheelbarrow behind me to toss rocks into, and by the time I was finished it was full. I’ve stopped being amazed at the amount of rocks in the ground, because otherwise, my head would explode, it’s insane.

Some of the plans I laid out over the winter have gone by the wayside. For example, there’s a butterfly bush I was going to move over to the deck, which I’m still planning on doing, but for now, I want to keep those beds more temporary so I can work the soil each year and improve it. That is hard to do with permanent plantings. Plus, I didn’t want to dig a hole that big. (Once again, I hate our clay soil. Big holes the first year is just not going to happen.)

So yesterday was Gardening Day! and while it was hard, it was nice. I love working with the earth and seeing things grow. It was Sunday, and being outside with nature was like my own little religious service. Interupted from time to time with my helper Ethan, who used his new lego Scoop to help with the digging. I didn’t take any pictures, but will soon. I am actually sore today, which feels good.

CUTE KID STORIES OTHERWISE KNOWN AS IT’S NOT A PAPER TOWEL:

– Jocelyn grabbed one of those mesh rubber pad/sheets that you line drawers with (and I use to keep my cutting board from sliding around) and for some reason James informed her that “It’s not a paper towel.” Which she then informed us again for the next half hour as she skipped merrily along swinging it to and fro. She’d skip up to me, skid to a stop and say, “It’s not a paper towel, mommy!” waited for me to acknowledge this fact, and then skip off in search of daddy to inform him of the same thing. For some reason it just really cracked me up and a few times after they were in bed, I was forced to turn to James and say, “It’s not a paper towel.”

– Cute but in an ‘uh oh’ sort of way. Ethan has many little cars and trucks, I guess they are of the match box variety though not necesarily that brand name. One of them is a little fire truck that our friend Selena got him (along with others) last year for his birthday, with a little plastic ladder which actually goes up and down. He has been enamored of this particular truck this past week. James told me that Friday morning, Ethan wanted to take it in to school to show to his teacher. I picked them up that afternoon and halfway home, he cried out with sadness, “WE FORGOT MY FIRE TRUCK MOMMY!” He wanted to turn around, go back and get it, and was sad when I told him we couldn’t, and we would have to get it Monday morning.

I kind of thought to myself, he will forget about it once we get home, and true, it’s not like it consumed his every waking moment. But he did bring it up several times, when school come up, he would add, “And we will also get my fire engine, right mommy?” and even mentioned once out of the blue, with no mention of school to prompt him.
Well, James has informed me that this morning when he dropped him off, he ran and checked his cubby, and was pretty sad when said fire engine WAS NOT THERE. I was kind of worried about this all day, but when I picked him up this afternoon, he RAN to his classroom and grabbed the fire engine and RAN back to me, hollering, “I got my fire engine mommy!!!” I asked him where it was, and apparently it was on a shelf with the other fire-fighter toys. He was so happy to have it back in his grimy little hands.

THAT IS ALL! (and oh my, it was definitely enough. Sometimes when the brain vomits, it just can’t control the spew.)
-amy drove a lot this evening, but she’ll tell you about that tomorrow. With pictures!

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Apr 08 2006

blargh

Published by under amy's head,daily,gardening

I was sitting around Friday evening thinking, “Gatehouse Networks, you will RUE THE DAY you decided to stop delivering Fresh, Crispy (New and Improved!) Internet to my house. Usually, when our internet goes out, I just connect to the neighbors and use THEIR internet (oh how I love wireless stuff). However, the internet was out forever.

But that’s when my neighbor who’s internet I was going to steal without even asking first knocked on my door and saved me from an evening of boredom and subconscious rankledness at World of Warcraft for grabbing my husband, dragging him down the stairs bodily and keeping him from me.

So I went to my neighbor Selena’s and hung out with her and Angie and Selena’s friend Jerry, drinking our body weight in margarita’s. Oh my god. I love margaritas. Selena and Angie had run out, so I popped back to my place to grab MY bottle, and Angie, I love you because without you, I would never have realized the goodness, that is the margarita. I think the salt on the glass always put me off them whenever I tried them before. Just ditch the salt people, they’re good w/ no salt.

So there was drunken poker at Selena’s house yesterday. And rototiller renting as well. As soon as I rented that rototiller, the gods looked down from the heavens, saw me witha rototiller and the intent in my heart to till something, smirked, and started raining. Those rototillering gods, they suck. James ended up doing all the tilling, because I’m just a tiny little woman who can’t manage those sorts of machines, you know, the sort that take off with you in tow, bouncing over the compacted sod without making a dent while you cling desparately because a lone rototiller bouncing over a neighborhood in the suburbs would surely make the homeowner’s association frown. So James, my hero, tilled. there are many many rocks in our clay earth. And the earth is pretty much all clay. Lots of water retention. I had read up on what sort of additives to … well, add to the soil, and so there were many bags of perlite and humus waiting to be added, you know, in that additive way, to the soil. So after James had cussed out the grass and the rocks and the clay, I trudged out there and froze my ass off picking up rocks and pieces of sod and tossing them under our deck. then I spread down some perlite, humus, and the miracle grow garden soil I had intended to put in the front, but changed my mind, and James tilled that all in as well.

It’s still not a pretty site. I think we’re just basically going to have to build a bed UP, because it’s only like the top 3-4 inches that are improved.

Oh, and did I tell you I made a compost bin?

I made a compost bin. It was very easy. I did it last weekend, after I found a multitude of gardening blogs that are guarenteed to suck my time away from me and found an article on urban composting. I’m not that urban, but it’s not like I have room for a compost heap, so a bin it is! I’m having a hard time finding the “greens” that are supposed to go in on top of the browns. I keep forgetting to take stuff out there that can go, like egg shells. James however, cut his hair and dutifully swept up all the clippings and carried out to the bin and dumped it in. My contributions have been the rough inedible parts of the 3 pineapples I’ve carved up in the last 2 weeks. I love me some pineapple. Oh, and 2.. count em, TWO tea bags. I’m sure that will make the difference between compost and just a bin full of kitchen and garden junk.

Oh, in all the excursions to the bin and to the tilled sites, I have to tread carefully, because our dog is put on a chain out there and so the area is literally, scattered with shit. So you have to carefully step your way around, and you have to keep your eyes on the ground…. which was how I managed to catch site of some MULTICOLORED DOG SHIT.

That’s right. it was blue, and vibrant pink, and neon green… because our dog eats EVERYTHING it can, including PLAYDOH. Obviously, it’s non-toxic, and it came through just fine, because there it lal was, in a big turd of many colors. Joseph would have been proud. (You know, the one with the coat. the coat of many colors? Didn’t you go to sunday school, sheesh! Ok, I’ll put it in terms you can better understand, Joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat! THAT GUY! HE would have been proud of the technicolor poop… “Oh, it’s red and yellow and ..” ok i’ll stop now. too much drama club for me in highschool, evidently.)

I’m a little happy on margarita goodness right now, because I went out and purchased some fun STRAWBERRY flavored kind and have been administering it to myself liberally all evening. I should get going to bed though, but tomorrow, I promise, PICTURES. Pictures of the multicolored poop, because YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO SEE IT, even though if someone asked, you will wrinkle your nose in disdain, pictures of the rototilling, pictures of the compost bin, AND pictures of the 2 new flats of flowers I planted, which are putting in an appearance. Also, pictures of my NEW herbs, because, that’s right, I killed the last ones because I forgot about them and they died of boredom. I mean thirst. The new set is coming along nicely, probably someone warned them that rationing of the water is a must in this household.

– amy put the bop in the bippity boopety bop!

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Mar 20 2006

Day 10: SEEDLINGS!

Published by under daily,gardening,photos

day 10 for planted seed

LOOK! DO YOU SEE? ARE YOU AS EXCITED AS ME? If so, go calm down, jeez, it’s only seeds. THAT ARE GROWING!!! Well, I’m allowed to be excited, THEY’RE MY SEEDS THAT I PLANTED THAT ARE GROWING! You, well, YOU being that excited.. it’s a little weird. Get a grip, yo.
But let’s take a closer look. Just FYI, each little section goes like this: first 2, left to right, is salvia: red in back, purple in front. Next FOUR sections, front and back are pink impatiens. that leaves the last 2 sections, which are day lilies.

So do you see what I’m seeing? The red salvia are coming up nicely. The front however, looks like nothing is coming up. This sucks. Since we can see the red salvia coming up, and the seeds are nearly identical, I can only assume that the purple salvia seeds I collected weren’t viable. Darn. Obviously, they’ll still be there for the next few weeks, so there’s still time, but it’s not looking good.

Next, the middle sections of impatiens. When I was planting them I got all concerned that the seeds wouldn’t grow, so I was tossing a ton into each well, and .. well, they’re all coming up, baby! I hope I like these plants, cause it looks like I’ll have a ton! Why might I not like them, you wonder?

Think back to your biology days when they talked about genetics and heredity and the blue eyed mom and the brown eyed dad might still have the green eyed child. The plants that I planted in my garden last year were from a local nursery (ok, it was Lowes) and were likely hybrid, meaning, that they were the careful offspring of 2 different plants to create a carefully controlled outcome, like the pink flowers they had. Or, they weren’t hybrids, they were a carefully controlled “true” plant, that is a direct descendent and their parents had the same characteristics as far as the eye can see. Either way, they weren’t anymore! Now they were in my yard! Out of a controlled environment! Where any old pollen could come floating along on the legs of any old butterfly and WHO KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN! they could have been pollenated by some impatiens 3 blocks away! So basically, these offspring may or may not look like the plants that I saw last year. Honestly, they were pink, and I’m not so hot on the pink, so I’ll be all up for some new mixed up color zaniness. they could all get together and be zany and I could film it for a new hit sitcom. It’ll be just my luck that they’ll all turn up.. pink.

So, back to my flat. Impatiens. CHECK.

The last two sections are day lilies. Looking these two sections over, I grew all sad and mopey and thought about how they don’t seem to be growing… Until I thought about the seeds themselves. Compared to impatiens and salvia, they are huge, first of all. They are also have a very hard, shiny shell. So… in a very non-professional gardener way, I dug one up to see if it had done anything. (I’m sure that’s highly recommended. Dig up your seeds! Don’t let them alone to grow in peace, dig ‘em up and check ‘em out!) And it had! It had a teeny teeny TEENY tiny shoot sticking out of it. I stuck it back in to finish sprouting. (This is a highly professional gardening act, and should not be performed without the aid of a bioagribotonist. Oh how I kill myself.) These suckers are definitely doing something, they are just taking longer.

I took a picture of the teeny shoot, but unfortunately I’m always taking these day to day pictures at the end of the day when it’s dark and the light is non existent, and well, it didn’t turn out.

So there you go. My update on the seeds.

I ordered my raspberry plants last week also, did I tell you? They are shipping this week, along with some strawberry plants too. I’m so ready for all the lovely warm spring. Definitely need to do the rototillering stuff next weekend. I’m going to have raspberry bushes planted next to my deck, with I think some impatiens next, and then day lilies. I need something that will be dead (an annual, I mean, aren’t I wonderful with the techno gardening terms? “need to be dead.” good lord.) at the end of the year next to the raspberry bushes so I can just rototill right down the row of them, otherwise they will throw out shoots and spread like the weeds that they are, so impatiens sounds nice.

So did I tell you? IT MIGHT SNOW TOMORROW. HAHA! It’s like nature is being all sarcastic to us. Silly nature. Just makes me glad I have started some seeds inside — I really should start some others, but I still am all kerflummoxed on WHAT to grow. I really do love how my impatiens looked last year, so I think I may buy some seeds of white, or maybe purple, and start those. I could easily use up another flat, maybe two, of impatiens, and if I don’t, I could probably give them away, or sell them at the spring yard sale (ooh, i wonder when that is).

On other non-gardening news, I have so much to do, and so much that I WANT to do, that it is tough to actually do anything. what I really need to do is clean out my pantry, it is positively abysmal. there is also tons of laundry to fold, dirty dishes in the kitchen to take care of, and the happy birthday banner for Jocelyn’s party is still hanging up in the entryway.

So instead of doing any of that, I sat down and browsed and researched and lusted over the Canon EOS 20D and 30D (which is *this close* to shipping), browsed around again for the zillionth time looking for a photography class and wrote all this gardening blather here instead :) And now, I think I’m going to head to bed early to fight back against this scratchy sand-papery feeling in my throat.

– amy whispers in a low throaty voice, “Check out my… sprouts.”

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Mar 18 2006

what a lovely weekend. and it’s not even over!

Published by under amy's head,daily,gardening,kids

I’m in such a great mood. I’m sure it will be wiped out when I have to go to work on Monday. I think the “honeymoon” phase when everything is bright and wonderful and carefree at work (don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been carefree, I’m just talking about my outlook on my job) is over, and the drudgery sets in. I’m exagerrating, it’s not drudgery. I really do like my job. Still! It’s amazing, really. I do however, wish I didn’t have to dress up all the time. That IS drudgery.

But I digress. I didn’t want to talk about work, I wanted to talk about the weekend, and being happy and carefree! I was in such a great mood when I picked up my kids on Friday. I have been reading all these crafty home-makery blogs lately (loobylu and wee wonderfuls in particular, see my side list) and have been really WANTING to be crafty and MAKE something! MAYBE WITH TOOTHPICKS, or my SEWING MACHINE! I have a baby quilt I started before Jocelyn was born that I could finish, or a little blankey I was crocheting that I could also finish, but all this requires time, and I’m kind of short on that, so I was kind of tickled when I ran across these easy paper toys that take no time at all. Just cut them out and glue, and you’re good to go, on most of them. I made this sun box, and this bug box for Ethan, and next I’m going to make this little fuschia box for Jocelyn. Since they only take about 5 minutes, it won’t bother me *too* much when they get ruined, as I’m sure they will. I’m going to make myself a little box too to put paperclips in on my desk.

So anyway, on the way home, I was telling the kids all the fun things we were going to do this weekend. Make paper boxes! Go on bike rides! Make cookies! Maybe dig in the dirt! We got home and I — OH! I forgot to tell you. I got my BIKE! Yay! So, we got home and some neighbor kids were out playing, so while Ethan and Jocelyn joined in, I tried to hook up the bike trailer to my bike so I could take the kiddos for a spin, and I thought I had it all worked out. Loaded them in, but the wheels were flat, so not even making it out of our driveway, we came back with promises of “daddy will fix it” and we’d go out again tomorrow. So, today, James filled the tires, and I took them out around the block, but I obviously hadn’t hooked it up correctly, because it kept hitting the spokes of my back wheel (bad! bad! bad!) and it turned out when I got back, the gripper thingee had rubbed some of the paint off my bike frame (sad! sad! sad!) but oh well, and I have touch up paint and James figured out the correct way (i love that man. He can figure things out, AND reach things on the top shelf!) to hook up the trailer, so we have another outing in our future, this time, I’m going to make James pump up his tires too and come with! And it will be LENGTHY!

The short jaunt we took around the block was a big hit. I stopped to talk to my friend and after about 10 seconds, Ethan voiced his frustration with a sturdy holler of, “LET’S GET GOING!” and as I rounded the next corner, he urged me to go “FASTER FASTER!” This bike thing was a great idea.

So after bike adventures this morning, we hpoped in the car and drive over to a furniture city said friend had told me she’d gotten some furniture at, and damn, they had some nice things at good prices. We bought a coffee table. I’m so excited at the thought of having adult furniture again. We banished our coffee table out of the family room when Ethan was a baby and while it does make the room a lot bigger, it will be nice to have a coffee table to .. you know, put stuff on!

So bike, check. Craftiness, check. Furniture, check. that just leaves the spring which is sprunging all over the place, and bunko. i may not get to bunko today. I’ve been checking my little seeds and growing somewhat saddened each day as nothing is showing yet. Every day I think, “why did I think these seeds would be any good, anyway? SILLY AMY! SEEDS ARE FOR .. GARDENERS!”

And at first look today, I was still sad.

picture of my flat of newly planted seeds

But then I looked CLOSER!!

seedling just poking up


I’m not completely useless as a garden type person! Yay!

I have more to write, but Ethan is talking my ear off about trains and diesel trains and diesel gas and my “Mmm hmmm”s and “yes dear”s are wearing thin and Jocelyn needs to be gotten up! So more later.

Take a look at this, in the meantime.

– amy listens to Ethan: “Some trains have snow plows. We need new batteries in our train. Mommy, this is a tape measure. Am I 4 yet? Mommy, I’m going to measure your computer.”

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Mar 15 2006

gardening

Published by under daily,gardening

Ahhhh..

Spring is in the air. It has been so beautiful the last couple of days. It was really a kick in the pants to get my indoor plantings underway so they’ll be ready when it’s time to set them outside.

So, Saturday night, I got out the flat I had bought last fall along with my peat moss pellet disk thingees and set about some planting.

Just so you know, I really have no clue what I’m doing. Last year, after spending over a hundred bucks on plants for our yard, I decided that seeds were the way to go. I would buy seeds and start them indoors first! Not only is this cheaper, but damn, it sounded like a lot of fun. I have a wee bit of experience growing things indoors from seeds, I started my tomato plant that way last year, and also all my herbs. The tomato plant did fantastically, but I kept it in a pot where it quickly outgrew the pot and so stagnated it’s growth. This year, I’m going to plant them straight into the ground after they’re started.

The herbs did well, but same problem. I used fairly small, plastic pots that prevented them from getting very big. I also set themoutside, where they got knocked off the porch and then I would not miss them until a month went by, and then I’d wonder, “Where did my basil go?” and have to fish it out of the bushes. (Shhh. I think the basil is still there.) I did use the herbs quite a bit though, and having them fresh was very nice. Last fall I bought some heavy earthen (but still pretty) pots to move my herbs into after they’ve gotten a good start. I’m also going to try to remember to move them indoors before fall so I can keep them alive all winter.

So, back to seeds. Fun, right? Then I got the bright idea, why buy them? Why not just harvest them? So I started collecting seeds from my garden – it was a lot of fun, actually. I gathered a lot of impatiens seeds, which are fun, and yet tricky. After the flower falls off, a small green pod forms and it starts to swell bigger and bigger, and turns a lighter green color while the seeds inside ripen. Soon, the pod is so close to bursting, that if anything brushes up against it, it will go SPROING!!! and break open in such a way that the seeds inside are scattered everywhere. Nature. Cool, huh! Tricky for actually COLLECTING the seeds though. If you grab it before it’s ready you can actually GET the seeds, but then the seeds aren’t ready. If you wait until they’re ready, the process of grabbing the pod can make it bust open and thus, you lose all the seeds. I would go out with my scissors and cut the pod off directly into a little cup. Then if it busted when it hit the bottom of the cup, no biggie, I’ve collected the seeds in the process. Often, I would carry in a little cup of pods and Ethan and I would have lots of fun busting them open in the cup and watchign the seeds SPROING! everywhere.

Petunia seeds are pretty neat also. The pod hardens and then opens up a bit when the seeds are ready, until it looks like it’s smiling. then you just pick the pod and try to dump the seeds out. Handy.
Impatiens seeds are very small, and kind of light brown in color. If I tried to collect from a pod that wasn’t ready, they would be super small, in very pale, and I would usually just discard them, as they probably weren’t viable. I took this photo Saturday when I planted, and it was night, so it’s not the best quality.

I did 4 sections (9 little “wells” in a section) of impatiens (yes, that’s a crapload of plants). I started out with just 2 seeds in each “well” (I have no idea what it’s called, the spot for each plant, i now dub thee, “WELL!”), and then started to doubt my seeds as I went along and started thinking about how bummed I am going to be if nothing comes up. So then I just started putting in however many stuck to the chopstick I was using, which was about 4-6 seeds in each well.

The first section I planted red salvia, and the next section, purple salvia. I had a beautiful little plant in my hanging basket that I bought without any labels, so I had no idea what it was. My neighbor across the street had the same thing, except hers were red. Some research later, I decided I it was “salvia.” I collected seeds both from my plant, and from my neighbors. I kept my basket throughout the season, but it was sickly and not doing great in the heat of the summer. It perked up and did much better in the late summer after it had cooled off. We’ll see if any of my collected seeds are viable.

The last 2 sections, I did day lilies. Some I collected from my yellow day lilies, and some from my neighbor Selena, but most of these seeds… Well, there’s no easy way of saying it. I stole them. I am a SEED THIEF!! Last fall, we visited my folks out in utah, and there were several trips to Liberty park in Salt Lake City. Well, they had beds and beds of daylilies that had gone to seed and were literally perfect for collecting from. Collecting seeds from daylilies is such fun, except that the seed itself is a little scary looking. The picture I have is crap, unfortunately, but they are on the large side, with a glossy, shiney black hard coat. They are a little wrinkly, and when you are looking at them in a dried side pod, ready to shake out, well.. they look like ugly little black bugs. They’re a little freaky, let me tell you! The freakiness continues even into planting. I beleive I stuck to 2 seeds per well for the day lilies.

So, one flat is all planted. I need to hop on the ball and get another flat planted, but honestly, I’m not sure waht I want, exactly. I also don’t know where I would put the flat where kids and kitties won’t meddle with it. I have purple petunia seeds that I collected from my petunias, but I’m not sure I really want petunias this year. They were beautiful, but they required a good bit of work in dead-heading and care. The impatiens were definitely a big hit last year, but I am not too keen on the color I had, which was pink. Definitely a big show of color though, mid season, and they lasted all season long, if a little droopy in the super hot periods.

Here is the mini flat I planted about 10 days ago. The three in back are tomato plants (which at least one of them has Tamara’s name on it!), the front left is rosemary, which hasn’t put in an appearance yet – the seeds I have for rosemary I am beginning to suspect aren’t viable. Then we have sage, and parsley (italian flat-leaf) which are looking happy and itty bitty and wee. So cute. After I initially planted them, I stuck the entire thing in a plastic grocery bag and tied teh top and stuck it on top of my refridgerator for a while. After a week I peeked in and lo, they were growing (excpet for the damn rosemary), so I put them on my sunny window, though a bit blocked by my forced bulbs.

As I stated before, these will be going into pots, some possibly sharing a pot – except for the tomaters – those will be going into the ground. I would also like to get a raspberry bush to plant outside – I would love to get my own berries and make jam! Oh yum! I am not sure exactly where it would go though.. They tend to spread, so it would have to be somewhere where I can get in and rototil around it, to prevent spreading. So before I plant more, I need to determine where exactly everything is going, and then plan accordingly. I need to do me some sketching.

I love gardening. I don’t know much, and I’m making it up as I go, but it is lots of fun.

And I need to hurry up, because spring has definitely sprung!!

– amy patiently ignores the fact that snow is a possibility in the forecast for next weekend.

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Mar 13 2006

Word Challenge: Stillness

Published by under amy's head,challenge,gardening

I think that “work” would have also been a good word for this, but I HAD to use the laminate flooring as work, so this seemed the next best fit.

I love spring. The obvious reasons, of course. The cold ebbing and the sun warming everything up and the days getting a bit longer, and it not being so hot that you could cook eggs on the sidewalk yet. The little pale green points poking up out of the ground, and the trees showing new buds. Everything is still, but it’s a pregnant stillness, of activity to come. Neighbors starting to sit outside on their decks, the smell of grills getting fired up and the guy down the street with the BEEYOOTIFUL yard beat everyone to the punch and turned on his hose bibs, laid some mulch and watered his lawn.

Anyway. Stillness:

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