Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Spring

Spring is in full bloom.
It's the first real warm weekend of the year.
I got sunburnt at the track meet yesterday.
We've mowed the grass for the first few times.
Strawberries, Onion, Garlic, Herbs, & Hops are growing so fast, you can actually see the growth daily.
So, are the weeds and dandelions.
The yard needs serious attention.

I'm trying to decide how much time I want to devote to gardening this year.
Lettuces. Yes.
Tomatoes. Of course.
Peas. Yes.
But, rather than variety, I'm thinking about quantity... the things we'll eat everyday.

I've learned so much this past year about blogging, writing code, and blog design... not to mention gardening and cooking. It was the winter of research and writing and writing and writing. We started hatchpress with great success and our daily writing has certainly improved in a short period of time.
I'm looking forward to applying that knowledge here at seed. sow. water. grow.

A new layout and look coming soon.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

naked trees

... that's what's outside my window. Naked trees.
Its's gray and gloomy. But, I love it. My living room is warm, the dark woodwork, over 100 years old gives off it's cozy glow. The walls painted to perfectly complement. It's been a lovely Sunday with sleeping in, down time to write, kids doing homework, reading and hanging out watching t.v.
Those naked trees with their gnarly branches stiff and twisted... it's hard to believe that in a few short weeks, the tiniest buds will arrive. Soon, these branches will be full of life, lush and green.
In fact, the first traces of new life can already be spotted off my back porch where the tiny white flowers appeared overnight to give off their sweet scent, to welcome us home again.
It will be February in 2 days and I'm looking forward to working in the garden again, thinking about what to plant, garden layout & design, and starting much earlier than last year. The blog will get a little overhaul and updated look with my 2012 garden thoughts.

Friday, November 18, 2011


It's cold.
I'm sitting at my desk still in my jammies wrapped up in a scarf,
drinking my third cup of tea, 
writing and writing, 
looking out at the garden. 
I had this visitor in the naked tree yesterday right out my window where I write.

I'm not a die-hard gardener. In fact, I still giggle when I say that I garden at all.
This makes me a fair weather gardener, I guess.
So, until the weather gets fairer,
you can find me writing here: 
 unraveling the mysteries of my not-so-perfect life  
keeping busy with our new catering business
and personal chef services

I may add gardening thoughts here occasionally as I think about next spring. 
But, mostly, I'll be cooking and writing for my family & friends.
I'd love for you to visit me there. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

winter over

I've sorta lost my gardening itch.
I guess it's the right time of year to lose it. We aren't doing winter crops. Crops. That makes me laugh... the fact that I am even using that word in regards to something I'm doing. Anyway. I'm done with the garden for now.

But, I'm not sure how to close up shop for the winter.
We have about 600 million leaves that fall from the beautiful 100 year old trees that line our sidewalk. I'm guessing these should be used as mulch.
The big question is: Do I pull up all the stuff that's still there?
There are still a ton of tomatoes and just when I think they're forever green, they turn. I ate two lovely cherry tomatoes this morning right off the vine. So, I don't feel quite right ripping the tomato plants out of the ground yet.

I think I'll wait a bit to put it all to bed or to rest or ready to winter over.

I've been busy with another kind of seed. We've been nurturing this business idea for quite a while now and I probably already posted about it here. But, we've sewn the seed and are watering the ideas and hoping they will grow into a real life, income producing business.

the catered happy hour


Monday, September 19, 2011

growing wheat

I'm reading 
by William Alexander.

I'm thinking I should till the whole side yard and plant wheat so that 
I, too, can truly make bread from scratch... 
as in from wheat that I have grown myself. 

Crazy? or Inspired?

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I suppose since I did a post called failures, I should also do one called success. 
My first time garden has been such a learning experience. 
Meaning I want to keep gardening, not necessarily because it's been wildly successful but that I can see how I can do it better next time.  

Our lettuces were a HUGE success. 

We ate salad from our garden from May-mid August. I love that the kids would go pick salad fixings. Every time I asked them to run out and grab some lettuce for dinner, I smiled and felt proud. It felt so good that I'm thinking about a fall planting. We seem to have Indian summers here in the great Pacific Northwest, so I am fairly certain, something should work. But, unlike my Spring/Summer garden, I'm not going to go crazy reading every single book I can get my hands on and stressing over companion plantings, being my usual obsessive compulsive self. Instead, I'm gonna till some dirt, plant some seeds, and water until the rain takes over that chore. I'm using Portland Nursery's tip sheet as a guide and that's the extent of my research. 

Cabbage may join the Fall garden line up, too. 

And, after my broccoli experience, I may even try that again. 

Our tomatoes are providing us with continual deliciousness. 

While I'll still buy cucumbers to can pickles, we've had moderate success with cukes for salads. 

The "snappy peas" were a huge success and next time, we'll plant a billion more. 

Our herbs were growing out of control until I forgot to water them and the weather turned on me with a streak of 90+ degree days. They are now "dried" herbs. I snipped them back and already some new green growth is showing, thankfully. Basil WAS the big disappointment... I love Basil. I am happy to report that we have two lovely rows of Basil that are beautiful and delicious. 

So, if the weather could just cooperate with me, that would be super great. I want it to cool off a little... back to our usual 75 for these, my favorite September days. Then, I can get out there and work on some fall beds. 

Friday, September 2, 2011


I love having a garden, picking lettuce for our dinner salads, having a lovely array of herbs outside my kitchen door, tomatoes right off the vine for a snack.

But, I've made mistakes as all gardeners do, particularly first time gardeners.

Zucchini is said to be the easiest veggie to grow. Anyone can grow it. Except for me. The soil where I planted it is the one spot in the garden that didn't get the royal treatment. I tilled and cleaned it all up, removing rocks and weeds. But since it was a month or so after I had done the initial garden, I didn't bother with the amending and compost additions. Big mistake. I fear we'll see no zucchini. We have flowers but nothing more. Well, at least the flowers are pretty.

I dug for a few potatoes last week. I found two. They were the size of a quarter and I'm being generous. They were the ones I did in a big container. I mounded up the dirt as they grew all the way to the top. Then, the greens kept growing and growing taller but not quite filling out. Potatoes aren't for container gardening. I know, big surprise, right. I didn't come up with the idea on my own. I read about it and thought it was worth a try. I guess it's better to use something bigger than a giant pot... something like, say, a garbage can (that's what the book recommended but I didn't have an empty garbage can on hand --- the big pot was sitting there --- so I used it). Lesson learned. The ones in the garden plot might still work. I'm a little nervous to go digging about because those greens also look a little thin and sickly. I'm gonna wait just a little longer.
I'm not looking for a harvest like this...

but just a few like this... 

... would make me really happy!

The tomatoes are growing and it's the one garden staple that I've grown successfully before.
They will be successful.
Sadly, my over researching led to over thinning & trimming. I'd read that if you trim back your tomato plants as the fruit comes on, trimming the branches that don't have fruit, it makes all the plant energy go to the fruit rather than being wasted on branches. Thus, ensuring plumper, healthier fruit. It makes since. As is my nature, I sort of overdid it. Which means I'm left with straggly looking tomato plants full of fruit but the plants don't seem sturdy enough to hold up their own branches. I've had to tie many of them to their cage with yarn. Next time, I'll keep my trimming under control. Not to worry, we are eating lots of tomatoes, I just won't be canning them, which is actually totally fine with me.

Several months ago, this...

 seemed like a great idea. 
At the moment, canning tomatoes isn't such a high priority.

The broccoli and cauliflower never materialized. Apparently, they are favorites of the raccoons and squirrels. So after their initial attack, I decided these veggies would be the sacrificial lambs, so to speak, of the garden. I even tossed in some extra broccoli seeds that were rudely dug up as soon as they sprouted. That entire garden patch was a loss... including the beets. Well, I did get a few little beets but nothing that amounted to a meal or a side dish.

In gardening and in life, there's always next year!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

campin' out

We've been busy with summer and busy with life.
The garden is suffering just a tiny bit.
But, it's well worth it.
Check out what we've been up to:
mother/son campout
gettin' there

Sunday, August 14, 2011

the cucumbers that could

Due to my pickle cravings, cucumbers were at the top of my garden wish list. 
We love cucumbers and we love pickles. 
In Spring, I planted three different kinds of cucumber seeds inside. 
I watched, carefully watered, and applauded their growth. 
I found an old clothes drying rack on and 
thought it'd make the perfect cuke trellis 
so I used that to mark out a cucumber bed in the garden. 
When they had sprouted true leaves, it was time to move 'em out.
My mom was here for a visit and wanted to dig.
So, we tilled the cucumber bed and transplanted the starts.

Then, tragedy struck.
The first night, three of the 28 plants disappeared.
Naughty squirrels.
A few days later, more were missing.

I found myself yelling at the squirrels from my 2nd floor bedroom window.
I even resorted to throwing things out the window to try and distract them.
 I had become the crazy garden lady.

Within a week, only 3 brave plants were left.

I immediately, reseeded directly into bed. 
Nothing happened.
I think the birds ate the seeds. 

Luckily, when I planted the first seeds, I had a handful left.
Too lazy to put them back into their package, 
I tossed them haphazardly into an empty pot sitting on the back porch.
Look what happened!

I cautiously teased apart the roots and transplanted these, 
my last hope for any cucumbers this season.
I used the top of our old bunny cage as a guard against squirrely predators.

I am pleased to report that my dreams of a cucumber harvest are alive and well.

I'm still not quite sure what kind these are,
at least we'll have some cucumbers... for pickling or slicing.
And, my trellis idea worked!

pickle cravings

Last year I canned Pickles with my mom who's a canning pro. 
But, it was my first time.
She got me all the canning stuff for my birthday 
and showed up with some giant bags of pickles and beans. 
We spent hours in the kitchen chatting and canning. 
It was a perfect, lovely afternoon. 
Best of all, my kids LOVED them.
This year, I want to use my home grown stuff.
I'm craving some pickles and an afternoon in the kitchen with my mom!
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