Thursday, May 28, 2009

These Flying May Days

Replanted the poor Cubanelle peppers. It's not looking good for the little guys. Despite being started upstairs at the heating vent and surviving multiple cat attacks these little seedlings look the same as they did a month ago. Unlike last year, this year I hedged my bets by buying 2 basil plants and 3 bell peppers from someone with a heating mat!

At the end of a long day Dean and I played half of 1960: the Making of the President, a board game. This time I got to be Kennedy. He appears to be clobbering me. Don't worry, next time we play its time for the Debates. I think that will help me realign the board in my favor.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How I'm Getting Spoiled

I've been doing this. Mostly because baking my own bread has meant I won't eat most store-bought bread anymore. It's sad how I turn my nose up at everything, but not as sad as how much of this loaf I consumed in 24 hours. Without help. Most of it in the first hour.

I keep telling myself that baking is cheaper and better for me, but maybe not if I conservatively eat a loaf, loaf and a half a day. And I could easily eat more.

Guess I better keep baking day down to once a week. Roasted Potato bread, I love you. Shh...don't tell Dean. He'll want a piece too.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Memorial Day means remembering the men and women who have given their lives for the United States (although I've often wondered about the difference between today and Veterans Day), and in our neck of the Woods it also means remembering the weather, and all those seedlings you started in frigid March, and how much you're looking forward to that first non-Californian strawberry and tomato of the season.

Here J. and I are preparing the holes for the seedlings. J. likes to volunteer for things. He took over the mix of fertilizer and epsom salts.

I especially like the cute little lettuces around the edge of the box here. We got a mix so we have various colors and shapes.

And here it's done.

The two large plants in the middle are Black Krim and a Aunt Ruby's German Green I bought from Jung's Saturday (along with some lawn seed, a yellow bell pepper, a stars and stripes watermelon, and some strawberry roots).

I saved some seed last year from both plants only to find it had molded because of improper packing on my part, so to Jung's I go.

The rest are Powers Yellow Heirloom (paste), Yellow Pear, Burztyn, and Yellow Lemon (that's a lot of yellow tomatoes!). They were the largest. The rest will be planted in 5gal buckets when they're bigger and the weather is warmer.

I hope you're all enjoying the planting season as much as we are. Later on we were on the deck playing Dominion with friends while the kids got bit up by mosquitoes and whipped each other around until someone finally got hurt.

A happy and peaceful growing season to all of you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Results of Spring to Summer Sowing

Not long ago (or so it seems) I finally got around to our winter sowing. Dean and I spent a fun Friday evening washing and cutting. On the first day of Spring I managed to get them planted and set out on the porch.

Here are resuts:

Thick cranberry juice containers (the same ones that needed a saw to cut them in half) made very good terrariums. The soil stayed wet and the sunflowers are enormous! I'm a little anxious about planting them out this early but the sunflower in this bottle looks like a man crouching in a dog house.

The next best bottles were water jug sized. The outside was smooth. They were drier than the cranberry containers and so light (perhaps they need to be weighted) that they often fell over but 4 out of the 6 containers have some small seedlings.

And that brings us to the bottom of the jug. Milk jugs that is. These were terrible. Eventually I just dumped 3 of them into the flower garden and recycled the plastic. They're dry, with little seal, and the seeds just don't come up.

This is one of the few that did, a few spinach (or weeds).

The jugs are just too oddly shaped with an indentation on at least one of the sides. The tape couldn't create a seal. Too dry for the seeds.

And that's our experiment for this year. I'm pleased, it went much better than last year. I'll be planting out the herbs (dill, cilantro) today and the giant sunflower.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I don't mind being wrong...yet.

This morning our Master Gardener neighbors opened their annual plant sale. Perennials for a $1.

For some reason my oldest, E., who has no interest in gardening generally loves this sale and looks forward to it. This morning he was chanting to himself 'I'm not going to spend my dollar. I'm not going to spend my dollar.'

Over breakfast he was hoping they had some cactus. Cactus being so very handy when you're thirsty. Water being a problem up here in the Great Lakes states.

Being a hope-dasher I told him it was doubtful since the Neighbors fund their habit by dividing their own plants and Wisconsin is not a desert state. Still, he would not be dashed.

Stepping gingerly through lilies and rudbeckia with intense concentration he nearly spiked me with his prize. Hardy cactus. I eat my words. As long as they don't taste like cactus. In the next year or two I may need to taste some when E. harvests his prize. Two years is his harvest goal.

Meanwhile for the rest of the day he kept taking various brothers over to the sale to 'look.' After 4 times and 2 additional sales (another hardy cactus for J. and violet for I.) I asked him to give the neighbors a break. We homeschool and I didn't want them to think they were handy babysitters.

But as E. says, 'I'm not bothering anybody. They're just pretty mom.' And he's 10. I have some hope to convert him yet.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Word Pictures

There is a lot going on, more than enough to blog about, but my lovely husband still has the card for my camera so I've put off writing too long.

I'll try to summarize. See if you can visualize it. Remember the days when we had to do that anyway? Blogging is sorta like having a Pen Pal. One who always writes shorter letters but you know they love you anyway...or at least are amused enough to keep coming back.

Dearest Pen Pal,

The weather is finally warming up and the sun is shining. The tomatoes came up! They're beautiful and leafy with large true leaves. I'm leaving them under the lights in the basement for a few more weeks although I'm so tempted to plant them while the weather is so nice.

The peppers sprouted! Then I held off watering them because the tomatoes pots were molding and I thought I was overdoing it. Then they withered. Then I watered them and almost all of them came back. Then the cats (I'm guessing Daniel Striped Tiger...yes, he's named after the Mr. Rogers puppet) used them as a launchpad while we were gone over the weekend. Those sunspots are all important and no 1/4" pepper is going to get in the way of a full-grown tabby with sleep on his mind.

Last week I dragged up my shelves and plastic covering from the basement and hardened off the lettuce and chard. I planted them out in the garden Friday. It felt good to get my hands dirty.

I finally split the overgrown broccoli and brought them outside. I need to remember that broccoli is a crazy germinater. I swear they are replicating in there.

I planted corn and cucumber seeds and put them in the spot the broccoli vacated downstairs under the lights. That pink poison they put on the corn seeds always makes me nervous. The lady down at the natural foods store is always trying to catch the kids touching it and reminding them of what dire things would happen. Which of course makes them want to go closer. And closer. I wonder if you can breathe it in?

I'm sprouting spinach seeds in a wet paper towel. I bet it will end up behind the cookbooks again.

Blue potato seed came today! I had it on my list but I thought I forgot to order it and it was too late. It's nice to be surprised some days.

Well, my 4 year old is picking his nose and flicking it at the dog again so I better go.

Your crazy friend,