Showing posts with label gardening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gardening. Show all posts

Monday, April 17, 2017

Our Own Mustard "Field"


Wild mustard greens is one of my favorite foods. I like to sauté the greens in garlic and soy sauce. Add a bit of bacon grease, if I feel like being fancy. Yummm.

When I was a kid, it was common for the Daddy to pull our car beside an orchard or field full of wild mustard. The parents got out to collect bunches of greens, while I wandered about, gazing and doing who knows what.

These days I wouldn't gather any wild mustard unless I knew the property owner and was assured that the property is certified organic.

Last year, the Husband and I decided to grow our own mustard "field", not only for food but also to help put nutrients back into the soil. We purchased a pound of mustard seeds online, but sowed about a third of the bag. Toss is more precise. In December, I tossed the seeds willy-nilly into the backyard.

Today it's a mini jungle of green and yellow back there. Some of the mustard plants are nearly five feet tall. I read that these plants can grow between six and 20 feet. Do you think?

With all the mustard plants, we've only eaten greens three times. Domesticated mustard greens are not as flavorable as the wild stuff. But, who knows maybe next year's crop will be closer in taste.

I'm linking up with Our World Tuesday. Click here to join in and/or to read other participants from around the world. Thank you, Our World team.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

A VHS-Tape Planter


The VHS tapes have been staring at me in the living room for more than a month. It could even be two months. I think that was the last time the Husband and I opened a bunch of boxes from storage to determine what to use, keep, throw, donate, recycle, maybe repurpose, or maybe sell. I think these VHS tapes are ones that I thought we might be able to sell online one day.

This morning I finally did something with 12 of the VHS tapes. I bound them together with duct tape to make two walls for a bottomless planter. That's it in the photo. Pretty cool, huh?

The planter would've been made of all VHS tapes, but I didn't have enough tapes. Fortunately, I kept the doors of a small cabinet, which fell apart last year, for the other two walls.

I figure the pretty flowers will take the focus away from the funky taping. Maybe later I'll pretty up the planter with color or simply put something beside the taped VHS-tape side.

It feels good to make something!

Today I'm hooking up with All Seasons, a meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from JeshStG.  Click here to check other participants, or to join in yourself. Thanks, Jesh!


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Mornings with the Supervisor


Molly the Cat leads me out the front door before breakfast most mornings.

"Go see what needs to be done," she telepathically prompts me as she begins her patrol of the perimeter.

"No cats here," she sniffs. "Ooooh, ladybug."

I check out new flower seed sprouts, note what sprouts need to be thinned and where I might replant them, bend over and pull up weeds, and so forth and so on.

Sometimes the Molly's and my morning routine lasts a few minutes, especially when it's cold or rainy. "Forget this," says Molly when she quickly does an about-face several feet from the front door.

Other times, we're out there for an hour or so, weeding, planting, digging, watering and whatever this heart pleases. Now and then Molly circles me to make sure I'm doing a decent job.

What I like the most is looking up from my task and seeing Molly lying near by, eyes closed and body purring in the the sun bubbles. I feel like I'm doing the same.

There are those days when Molly patiently sits by the front door, urging me in her mews, "Come on, Lady, let's go in already. The Husband made coffee."

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Not.


I'm creating a structure at the sidewalk end of our front yard. Not a fence.

Just look at it. What creature could that evolving spiderness-of-a-something keep off our property?

Giggle. Hmmm, maybe that's something I ought not to giggle about.

I'm making this not-a-fence out of skinny branches of the fruit trees we pruned a few months ago, as well as from the second-time-with-The-Mama era. I'm not kidding. You can find all sizes of branches in our yard that I'd say were at last 10 years old. Some lie on the ground waiting for their time to become something helpful, such as the stakes holding up the boards that the Mama put around her flower and vegetable beds.

Have I digressed? Doesn't matter. :-)

That's my story for the letter N, this week's theme of ABC Wednesday. Click here to check out the participants from around the world. How cool is that? Thanks, ABCW team!




Monday, March 27, 2017

Starting Veggie Seeds


I feel like a mad agronomist (as in mad scientist). Also, a mad farmer. This morning I started vegetable seeds indoors. If these seeds take, I guess we're having a vegetable garden.

This is the first time I'm trying this pre-spouting step. Usually, I throw the seeds in the ground. Comme ci, comme ça. (Showing off the little French I recall from one semester of Francais.)

I don't know what got into me this morning. Maybe it was wondering what to do with the several hundred tiny paper cups that are in the closet. You know how that is. You can't find the package of paper cups that you thought you bought so you figured you didn't buy them. So, you go buy a package and a few days later, voilå, there is that first package of paper cups.

What seeds did I plant?

Sitting in that orange container are 16 tiny cups of bean seeds. The seeds are from the Mama's last vegetable garden in 2015. They're quite tiny because of that year's drought. I'm guessing they're long beans, as I didn't bother to label the bag.

I also started 2 cups of sugar pea seeds and four cups of bittermelon seeds, all from the Mama's last garden.

Let me not forget the five cups each of tomato, pepper, and squash seeds from organic vegetables that we ate last year. Yup, whenever I liked how a fruit looked, I'd put a bunch of its seeds into one of three tiny paper cups on the kitchen counter. It'll be one grand surprise to see what kind of tomatoes, peppers, and squashes pop up. 

By the way, did you see Molly the Cat in the above photo? She decided that I needed a supervisor, because, after all, I was using her table. Molly, in fact, interrupted her morning nap to monitor my work. She even watched me clear the table when I was done with my planting. I'm glad she did. I found pepper seeds still stuck to their stem that I couldn't bring myself to throw away.

"What shall I do with these seeds?" I asked Molly the Cat.

She gave me her knowing look.

Of course! Stick them in the nearest pot. If they grow, they grow. If they don't, well nothing lost. The Mama taught me well.

Arrows point to the pepper stems.

I'm linking this post with two lovely weekly memes. I hope you check them out.
  • All Seasons is hosted by Jesh at Artworks from JeshStG. Thanks, Jesh!

  • Our World Tuesday is hosted by a group of bloggers from around the world. Thank you, Our World Tuesday team!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Keeping Out the Birdies and Kitties

Click here if you'd like to see how the former lawn has progressed.
From last Thursday to Monday morning, I've been playing in the front yard, changing more of the looks of the former lawn. You see, the weather predictors said that rain is a coming. (And it has!) So, of course, I needed to take advantage of the rain. I dug, hoed, and pulled patched of turf and sowed wildflower seeds. The Husband also got in the fun and dug holes for the Mama's roses that were getting nowhere anymore in their pots.


One of the dilemmas of creating flower plots in the front yard is trying to keep the birdies from eating the seeds and the kitties (not Molly the Cat) from turning the plots into their personal latrines.

No problem. The Mama taught me a good enough solution.

We took the branches that we pruned from the fruit trees last winter and criss-crossed them across the flower plots. Voici, voilå!


With sun, rain, and good fortune, all will be in bloom by the end of April.

It's ABC Wednesday time. Click here to check out what other participants are posting about the letter K. Thank you, ABCW team!



Monday, March 20, 2017

First Day of Spring 2017

The Mama's purple daisies.
Molly the Cat was right (See yesterday's post).

Primavera. Earrach. Jaro. Molla. Musum semi. Spring!

Our first late afternoon of Spring began with a gentle rain. I got a few plants and a bunch of seeds into the ground just in time. Hurrah!

Here's a little bit of what Spring looks like around our house.

Asian pear blossom.

Volunteer lupine.

Domesticated mustard (not at all tasty like wild mustard).

Check out what's going on with other bloggers around the world at Our World Tuesday. Here's the link. Happy Spring, One and All!




Thursday, February 16, 2017

Flowers Now and To Come


This week has been one of delight when it comes to flowers.

One of the Mama's orchids has a blossom. I only noticed the flower over the past weekend. I truly was going la, la, la when I've been watering the orchid pots. Oh well, makes for a nice surprise. Aren't the orchid's colors gorgeous? The Husband's bicycle has almost the same color of green.  

Sigh. I miss pedaling around on Tilda-Hilda, my sweet pink cruiser.


The ornamental pear tree is in full bloom. This is the second year that the tree's branches are in synch with their flowers. Until last year, it could've been October, December, March, June, or whenever a branch felt like showing off its blooms. I'm happy with whatever it wants to do.


On Valentine's Day, I sowed a large packet full of seeds that when in bloom will attract butterflies and hummingbirds. I threw the seeds in that old drawer (in the photo) and in that space in front of it. I put branches and twigs on top of the ground to keep birds and cats out. A trick I learned from the Mama.

So, if all goes well, 26 days from now, the drawer and ground will be crowded with asters, black-eyed Susans, milkweed, California poppies, echinacea, scarlet sage, wallflower, and a few other flowers.  Knock on wood.


F is the featured letter on ABC Wednesday this week. The meme lets participants link up for several days after Wednesday. Thank you very much, ABCW team.  Click here to go to the ABCW site.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Watching the Grass Grow


We've been having a wonderful winter of rain. The rainfall during the last couple of weeks has been like it used to be with flooding creeks, roads, and streets. It's possible the powers-that-be will say the drought is over in our area. Still, we shall need to continue to conserve water because our local population is growing due to the hundreds of houses being built.

I seem to want to work out in the garden just at it starts raining. All that means is I go outside while it's just a light drizzle to deadhead flowers and snap off jade branches killed by the frost.

Our front lawn has come back. With a vengeance, I think. The Husband says the grass is thick because he hasn't cut it. Not once since it started coming back. I'm fine with that. Actually, I'm curious to see how tall the grass can grow before I pull some out in a month or so when it's best to sprinkle pixie dust and wildflower seeds.

I took the above photo yesterday. Below is how the lawn looked in previous months. Giggle.

November 2016

September 2016

May 2016

I'm linking up with All Seasons today. It's a weekly meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from JeshStG. Click here to check out the other participants and/or to join the fun.



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Banana Quixote


The banana plant reminds me of Don Quixote fighting at the windmills. Don't you think? This Banana Quixote attacks the apple tree branches.

By now, the Mama's banana grove ought to be pruned back. The rain and the muddy ground have kept me from doing the job. When it's not raining, the temperatures have been in the 30s in the early mornings. I was going to say that's cold for us, but that's only because we forget from one winter to the next.

Anyway, this year I've learned that icy temperatures burn the banana fronds dry, just like not watering would. Interesting, huh?

Click here to see what the grove looks like the rest of the year.

 It's the letter B on ABC Wednesday. Click here to join in and/or check out the other participants of the weekly meme.  Thank you, ABCW team!




Thursday, January 5, 2017

Impatient for the Last Frost


Boooooo!

So-and-so website estimates that the last frost in my area will be between March 1 and March 10.

Huff. 

I want to sow the flower seed mixes that when (notice I saw 'when' not 'if') they blossom shall be yummmm nectar for the bees, butterflies, and other buggy guys living or roaming around our house. 

Hmmm.


I could just sow a little bit from each packet mix now and the rest when the seeds are supposed to meet dirt.

Be an experiment: See what works.

Guess what I'm going to do tomorrow if it's not raining?

Monday, October 31, 2016

Little by Little


That's how I do things these days—little by little.

Little by little, I'm clearing out the Mama's belongings, moving furniture around, changing things, and so on and so forth. I work at a task until the sadness surfaces. Some tasks, I'm not ready to do.

The front yard has been easier to tackle. Somewhat. I committed myself in August when I dug out a bit of the lawn and planted some of the Mama's jade plants that outgrew their pots. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the post, to see how the change looked in September.

Progress has been little by little.


A couple weeks ago, I created a geranium corner in the upper part of the yard. At first, I planned to transplant some of the Mama's geraniums into the ground, but then I decided to have the Mama's reading chair grace that corner. (The chair is too flimsy for anyone heavier than the Mama to sit on.) I want to eventually paint the chair yellow and blue, or maybe just blue or just yellow. Maybe later, when the geraniums outgrow their pots, I'll put them in the ground. We shall see.

I still have quite a few geraniums that I need to repot. Also, geraniums to trim and to decide whether to propagate some of their stems. And, then there are the roses and everything else that needs attention. My head spins thinking about it.

Take a deep breath.

Little by little.

Blogger friend Jesh hosts a weekly meme called All Seasons, which is open from Sunday to Wednesday for anyone to link her post.  Click here to join in or to read what other participants are writing about.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Changing Landscape

May 12, 2016

The Mama was quite proud of her lawn. Green. Manicured. Weedless.

When she no longer could take care of the lawn, she hired a lawn guy, which was a great luxury for the Mama. When that got too expensive, she sighed and accepted that the lawn would be cut during my monthly visit. Then, when the Husband and I moved in with the Mama, the lawn became the Husband's job.

As the drought became a real thing, watering the lawn was a luxury, as well as an ongoing skirmish between the Mama and me. The Husband continued watering it, but not as often or as much. The Mama took to watering it when we were gone, if she felt the lawn was fading.

I was very happy when the City finally decreed a water rationing and a $500 fine for using too much water. "You have to decide," I said to the Mama, "water for your vegetable garden or the lawn. You can't have both for now."

The lawn faded. The Mama sighed. The Mama complained. Fortunately, the lawn came back after the winter rains.

We had a steady rainy season this past winter. The lawn was thick with greenness. The Mama was very happy. "I wish the lawn would be green like this all the time," the Mama often said to us, as she looked out the window while we ate lunch.

I'm glad the lawn thrived for the Mama as her body was winding down.

Only nature has watered the lawn since the Mama has left us.

The Husband and I like a green lawn, too, but to have one when our water source is depleting is simply not a good idea. In May we planned to hire someone to pull out the lawn so that we could put in a drought-resistant landscape. This and that, and that and this, put that plan down on the list.

More than two weeks ago, on the Mama's birthday, I dug out a small portion of the lawn and planted three of the Mama's overgrown potted jade plants. Yesterday, I dug out a bit more of the lawn, which is how it will be, a little bit at a time. I've already heard other plants of the Mama's saying they'd like to hang out on her once-upon-a-time lawn.

While I was working yesterday, I saw and heard crows cawing and watching me from across the street. I like to think that the Mama's spirit was saying, "It's your lawn now. Do what you want. It looks good."

September 12, 2016



Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Sunflower Grows


For the past 12 summers, a summer isn't summer without sunflowers growing somewhere in the front, back, or side of the house. I sowed the first sunflower seeds, and until this year, the Mama sowed seeds from the previous year's harvest.

I tossed the seeds about the backyard too late, meaning after the last of the rain. And, me watering sporadically and forgetting where I had tossed the seeds, not a sunflower was to be seen.

Then. Last week, I saw that spindly sunflower smiling at me as I was watering flowers.

I'll do better next year.



I'm linking up with Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by jesh stg. Click here to join in and/or to check out other blogs.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Mama's Apples


Two of Mama's apple trees are producing quite a lot of fruit this year, unlike the past two or three years. Some of you already know about the story of her apple trees. So, please bear with me as I say again that the Mama's apple trees started from seeds of apples that the Mama ate about 28 years ago.

The Mama was told:

"They'll never grow into trees."

 "They'll never bear fruit."

 "You won't be around long enough for the trees to grow and bear fruit."

Ha. Ha. And, Ha!

The Mama tasted many years worth of apples from her trees.


Today begins a new round of the alphabet at ABC Wednesday, a delightful weekly meme started by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and continuing under the administration of Roger Green and his ABCW team.  Click here to join in or to check out what bloggers are writing about the letter A.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Some Are Growing, Summer Eating


This morning I plucked the orange cherry tomatoes in the photo from the limbs of Jo. Yes, those are tiny orange tomatoes. When the first ones ripened, I wondered why they weren't getting red. It's a good thing the short-term memory box of mine kicked in before the fruits dropped off their branches.

Led Zeppelin and Valerie are producing fruit, too. Barely. They're bravely keeping their tiny fruit going. I haven't been very good about remembering to water the trio, especially during the hot days. When I do water them, I don't promise that I'll be better about the task. I hate breaking promises.

The yellow fruit in the photo are Asian pears, which are from our small tree.  It has produced a big crop this year because of the winter rains. I'm picking the fruit as they ripen. I wish the Mama was here to enjoy them.

I'm sharing today's post at Seasons, a fun weekly meme hosted by Jeanette of St Germain's Blog. Please click here to join in and/or check out the other participants.




Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Wagon Full of Rocks


Last week, the Husband and I rediscovered the landscaping supply store outside of town. Our original intent was to merely check out  the ground covering alternatives for a future pull-out-the-front-lawn project. When I came across the pit full of tiny rocks, I had to have some. So, I got about 5 pounds for about two dollars. What a bargain!

I went home and proceeded to quickly use them in cup planters that I was putting together. So, of course, the next day, we went back to the store and I bought 10 pounds. I went home, and, yup, within a couple of hours I was down to a small bowl full of stones. I wasn't close to potting and repotting all the Mama's plants.

To make sure I did something else the rest of the week, I didn't go to the store. Good, girl, me.

Yesterday morning, I broke down and the Husband and I drove to the store and went home with four bags full of stones for a total of 120 pounds. Ha! We'll see how long that lasts.

By the way, that's only two bags full of rocks in the red wagon.

Talk about talking about nothing, huh?


It's the letter W at ABC Wednesday. Click here to join the weekly meme or/and check out more W posts by bloggers around the world.



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Various Varieties


This is what I've been doing with some of the Mama's various varieties of cups. 


This is what I've been doing with some of the Mama's various varieties of plants that need to be put into pots or repotted.

I'm having a lot of fun.



It's the letter V at ABC Wednesday. Click here to check out the other participants or to link up with the weekly meme started by Denise Nesbitt and continued today by the ABCW team headed by Roger Green.
 
.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Three Amigas


Photos for this week's Friday's Hunt, hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills, include:
• Starts with T
• Week's favorite
• Evening 

My favorite photo is of the three different types of tomato plants that are now residing together in my first veggie garden in a long time.  Meet Jo, Led Zeppelin, and Valerie, from left to right.  Jo is already sporting a tiny tomato. Yaay! Led Zeppelin is quite a survivor, having almost dried up. And, Valerie is a volunteer and quite a fuzzy gal.

The three amigas are nightshade plants. Nightshade, evening. Close enough.  

To join in on the fun and/or see what photos other participants are sharing, please click here