table top jungle

What a difference I couple of weeks makes. I was feeling stressed about not having the garden ready to plant yet so I relived it with some improvised seed starting. Even though we still have stacks of boxes and our living room looks like a storage locker, that all can wait (yes I know I sound a bit nuts), but the summer garden calls the shots in this house. The boxes are not going to sprout in a week when the weather gets sunny, although it does seem like they are multiplying, but my beets and cauliflower will. Before I could get into the garden I started some seeds on a table by the window so I wouldn't be too far behind. Zucchini, winter squash, crookneck squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, tomatillos and basil and dill. It's really easy to start seed on the table, you need to remember squash and cucumbers do not like to have their roots disturbed, so that's why I used the peat pots, you plant the seedling and pot in the ground together. There is no need to spend the money on those pots for other seeds. I use the large trays with small individual seed cells year after year for herbs, cold crops, and anything that isn't too sensitive. A window will start your seeds just fine (assuming your house is warm enough, 65-70 degrees), you may find your plants getting "leggy" long and skinny. Most of the time they grow out of it, if they don't they will not be able to hold up the weight of their own fruit. They best thing for indoor starts is a grow light. Keep the light an inch above the plants, as the plants grow move the light up. The small, standing, shelf green houses are great, inexpensive and for most people plenty of room for all the starts you want. I bought my tomatoes this year, I bought small plants, you usually get three for $2ish, I replanted them into larger pots and put them in the window (it's too early here to put them out). Remember when repotting tomatoes and tomatillos to pull off the bottom leaves and plant as far up the stem as you can, leaving three or four leaves on the top. It will help make strong thick stalks. In two weeks you have a whole garden that cost a lot less then buying all those starts, not to mention family and friends love the left overs! Did you catch the little garden helper in the pics? My boys are excellent garden helper, we will see if I say the same when all the garden goodies disappear before making it to the table.
P.S when using basil off a grown plant snip a whole stalk off, cut the stem right above the bud above the dirt. Your plant will spout many more stalks off this cutting. If you your plant starting to go to seed (flower columns coming off the top) snip these off.


Cotton Tail

These long breaks really put a dent in blogging. I know I'll get a pattern down sooner or later and maybe get some regular readers. For now presenting... yet another oh so cute baby hat from Itty Bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson, who it turns out, while I was writing this blog I discovered, has her own blog on blogspot http://susanbanderson.blogspot.com/, how cool! I totally plan on becoming a faithful reader because if her blogs are half as good as her books then we are in for a treat. For Bunny Hat, as my brother-in-law would say I went shopping in my stash and came up with this soft, multi-color (pink, white and brown) DK yarn and held a strand of white Kid Silk Haze with it to add a soft "halo" effect. It turned out very sweet, I would use white ribbon for the bows next time, but in the move I still have not unpacked that box and have no idea where it might be residing. This was a very belated gift for little Mikalya (spelling?) to wear this coming winter.


Love and Logic

I don't have any fun projects to show you today, none that are done anyway. I am always working on a few here and there, it's just the type "A" in me that won't let myself share them when they're not finished. So I decided to share a parenting gem. Jim Fay and his son Dr. Charles Fay are parenting gurus and use a very simple, loving and logical manner to empower yourself, kids and family to live peacefully. It's called Love and Logic http://www.loveandlogic.com/ and it's used not only in homes but through out the education systems in schools. It is for all age ranges and is easy to pick and choose what works for you and apply it to any situation. They have books on tape and DVDs along with books concerning all age ranges and issues. I grew up on love and logic and now we use it to the best of our ability in our house.


Great Idea

You never know where each day or weekend is going to take you. You make your plans and to do lists, but if you're anything like us, you rarely stick to them. We are always flying by the seat of our pants, where ever the wind blows!
On Friday evening we cut the garden space and berry beds out of the lawn with a sod cutter, which worked great by the way! Anyway, Saturday morning we had a surprise visit from a couple of friends and after feeding them and chatting a bit about what to do with all that sod someone had an epiphany. Who am I kidding, I'm not going to be modest in the least, that incredibly creative idea came from yours truly (only I was half joking when I said it). I was teasing when I said lets make a play house for the boys out of it. Boy, did that get the ball rolling, the ideas just came pouring out (not just mine anymore). After we make a house, let make the three section compost bin I've always wanted (thanks Alan!) and then lets make the goat shelter out of sod and... Now I don't think we have enough sod to cover all those project, but doesn't it all sound cool. As we cut, hauled and stared to build the boys' play house someone said " you know, this is just what the settlers did" minus the gas powered sod cutter, the truck to haul the sod and the rebar to hold it up. We did have lots of sod, dirt and help,which I am sure is the way the settlers did it, thanks guys!
You know I just love the idea more and more, a living structure could be so much more beautiful and inconspicuous in our backyard. By no means are we finished yet so we will have to let you know how it all turns out (keep your fingers crossed). Here's to shelters growing every bit!


Happy May Day!

The sweetest thing happened today! Our door bell rang and by the time we got there to answer it, there lay beautiful flowers on our door step with a note "Happy May Day" and no one around. Well, Happy May Day to you too, anonymous flower leaving neighbor. One more reason I love our new town!

From Grass to Garden

It may not be garden yet, but it is much closer to pouring out fresh lettuce, tasty zucchini and juicy cucumbers this summer. Some might say we have our priorities skewed since we are still living amongst towers of boxes, but it's so exciting to be almost ready to have my own garden at my very own house. I have done lots of gardening, but never in my own garden where I call the shots (or at least I think that's how it's going to work). While speaking with one of our neighbors and talking about gardening, she suggest a sod cutter because the our entire yard is grass. So on Friday night Ty rented a sod cutter and Voila! we have a start to our garden. I know, it's not ready to sow any seeds yet, but at least we can see where it's going to be.
To get the most out of the rental fee we also cut out our blueberry patch and flower beds. We have a whole lot of sod. I wonder what were going to do with it?
The sod cutter makes the activity of sod cutting manageable, don't get me wrong it is still a chore (just look at all the work Ty is going through), but doing it by hand with a shovel would be out of the question, believe me I tried and last about 5 minutes. This cutter cuts about a 12 inch row, you can get up to 18 inches I don't think it makes it any faster. After you cut all you do is roll it up into a roll you can't lift (now what do I do with it?). The trick is cutting straight so you minimize the little slivers of grass that are still attached to the ground, you have to remove these with a shovel. We did find out that you should steer clear of wet areas for sod cutters don't come in 4wheel drive and are darn heavy. The whole thing worked well and made life a little easier, of course easy for me to say you don't see me in any of the pictures do you.

Inspirational Growing Quotes

"Gardening requires lots of water-most of it in the form of perspiration."
~ Lou Erickson, www.quotegarden.com