Thursday, February 27, 2014

It has begun

It has begun. Pooka and I finally started seeds a week ago. We have started 3 different trays over a few days. I told Pooka if she had her chores and homework done, she could start her seeds. I will say it is the fastest I have ever seen that girl do her work.

We first started with a 20 cell starter that is a bit different then what we are use to using. We filled it with seed starting mix and Pooka put her seeds in it. We called this tray "alpha" since we knew we would need to start more seeds later. This one holds 2 kinds of snap dragons, celery, and two new seeds this year, purple tomatillo and leek. Pooka is hoping for some purple salsa this year.

The big set
Then we started a 72 seed starter tray. These are the ones we have used multiple times and are really comfortable with. I will say Pooka was super happy when I told her we could do these on a snow day.  She was so happy to start her pepper plants (6 kinds in all), tomatoes (4 kinds in this tray), her geometric and regular broccoli, and lemon balm. New this year is also a new eggplant. We tried it last year from the Grow ums, and seemed to really like it so we decided to try it again.
Trying to organize it
I will say we are trying something a bit new this year. Normally when we start seeds, we try to use popsicle sticks to mark which seeds are where, but it was getting confusing. This year, I am retrying the seed starter map. I gave each row a number or a letter. We then drew a very bad chart to coordinate. Once I had all the seeds filled out, I made a nicer computer made chart and filled in the information. That way it would be easier to read later. I also did this for the "Alpha" tray and will do it for any other seeds we start.
A hastily drawn map to be replaced later
The last tray we started just this weekend and it was another 20 cell that we named "Beta", I will say I tried something different with putting water in first then the dirt. I am not sure it made a difference. Beta contains a few more snap dragon seeds, fireball and beefsteak tomatoes, a few more jalapeno seeds from the end of the Grow ums seeds, and some more regular broccoli.  Hopefully we get a good yield out of all of them, but really, it just made Pooka the happiest little girl to be able to get dirty again. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Dino Plant

A while back, I took Pooka and Brother to Toys R Us to get some toys with christmas money. Well, low and behold, Pooka found a plant in there. That girl can sniff out a plant at 200 yards. The weirder thing was it was NOT in the clearance rack I took her to. 
The Dino plant.
Needless to say, Pooka finally asked to open that box a few days ago. Its a really interesting set up and it had a nice little blurb on the back about the plant and how it survives and that it can handle Mom forgetting to water it (They know me so well). It even talked about it use to grow GIANT size for the dinos, but after the ice age, it tended to be smaller. 
Story on the back for Pooka
 Pooka opened her box with a few more directions, this is what she found, two bags and a bowl. I will  be honest when I say I had to tell Pooka to back off for a moment so I could get a picture.
Contents of the box
 The rocks form a circle in the middle of the bowl for the plant to rest on. Pooka was very interested when the directions said these were volcanic rocks, so I explained how that meant they were rocks out of a volcano.
A circle by Pooka
 Then you add the plant which is this weird little root ball and some water and wait. Now, I will say the directions did not say how much water, so we kinda guessed.
Now we wait
 I think I spent an hour trying to keep Pooka from checking it every 30 seconds. I finally convinced her that in 3 hours like the box said, it would look great, and it did. Even if that 3 hours was really the next morning. Pooka loves it and is reminding me to water it. Then we will let it dry out eventually and it will shrivel back up. Once that happens, we will give it some time before doing it again. I am sure this will be on of Pooka's favorite winter plants.
A full dino plant. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Good to know

Well, I think I killed the amaryllis from last year. At the end of last summer I cut them back like I had seen done on the internet. We placed them in the garage to get cold and go dormant.
The amaryllis when I brought them in the house. 
We brought them in a month or more ago. We watered them and set them in a warm sunny spot. Hoping that maybe we would get some color out of them. We waited, and waited and waited and I am finally calling it. We have not seen a bit of change in any of them. Pooka is more then a bit upset, but I knew it was maybe 50-50 if this would work. Well, at least we tried. Next year, we will just have to make sure Pooka gets a new one to replace these.
The amaryllis now. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

White white, Thunder white

Yesterday was another wonderful winter storm, that closed everything. Even Daddy came home early from work. Personally, I am so over winter. I am not a winter lover by any stretch of the imagination. It is nice to a point, it gives a nice break from Pooka's garden, one I am very ready for by the time October comes. I am grateful for different seasons and the occasional snow day when I am tired of going to work. However, after 7 snow days for the kiddos, and an extra one for me from work, I am ready to find a nice balance. I would love to have a routine instead of guessing what tomorrow is.
The garden all winter.
Now, I will admit the thunder snow yesterday was a bit fun even if it came with another 4" of snow. The comment I heard from a friend about it being "Thor beating up on Jack Frost" was a giggle. Honestly, I wish someone would beat up Mr. Frost and Old Man winter.

However, this winter will teach me a few things. Like which plants if any will survive in the herb garden over the winter with no care. I didn't put that bed to sleep before winter hit, so if anything lives, I will know it will take no work in the future. It will teach me where the drafts in my house are so we can insulate them this year. Mostly, I think it will teach myself and Pooka to enjoy the nicer months just a bit longer.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Garden birthday

Pooka asked for another garden party this year, and while we did make it a more hippie tye dye party, it still had to have a garden in it somewhere. Below is a few things Pooka got to help her with the garden this year. I did get quite a few questions on what to get a Pooka, and I told them money to a garden center or garden stuff. Pooka did walk away with 2 gift cards to the local home center, that I am sure she will put to use in her new bed if she doesn't decide to use them for a new berry bush.
Pooka's birthday gifts
Pooka received this book from Daddy and I called the little gardener's guide. She has since read it multiple times and enjoys flipping through it. Next to it are 2 little "mod pots" that connect together and are seed starters for a tomato plant and a cucumber plant. Anyone shocked to see more seeds in a Pooka's birthday haul?
For her birthday, Pooka was also given money to Toys R Us. Leave it to my little scientist gardener to find the one plant in the entire store, especially one that is science related. I am sure this will be pulled out any day to be re-animated and when we do it, I promise to take pictures for all of you.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Christmas for Pooka

So Santa and our families have been very good to Pooka.

Not only did Pooka get her own gift certificate for the local nursery, but she also got some new seeds from Santa. I swear that was her favorite gift from Santa. Santa brought her more of her Chinese 5 color pepper seeds, some red romaine, a type of blue podded peas, a shiny purple striped eggplant and some tomato blueberries that are suppose to turn a pretty purple color. As we all know when your 6, you can't have food be normal colors. Half the fun of growing it is growing blue peas instead of green.
Seeds from Santa

Her aunt and uncle and grandparents both got her a lady bug habitat. Maybe this will help with the aphid problem we had on the milkweed last year. I suppose I should get to ordering the babies for it.
I think we will be raising lady bugs
Maybe while I am at it, I will reorder her praying mantis egg sacks. Hopefully we will have better luck with them this time. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mail call

Pooka has been excitedly checking the mail of late. Twice now, she has checked the mail to find little pick me ups from all the cold weather coming in. I will say Pooka has taken this extend winter the hardest and is quite tired of me asking if she is warm enough. She has asked numerous times how much longer winter is. To her, a little pick me ups come in the form of the "S word" seeds.

First came most of our order from Territorial Seed co. All we are missing is our blue corn, but Pooka's new container watermelons came as well as some jalapenos for Daddy and our families new discovery of leeks. We found out last year we liked them so we decided to grow them ourselves. Pooka is so excited to grow watermelons and I am curious if they will do okay in a pot or not. Daddy has forbidden melons and pumpkins from going in the ground, and I agreed since we just don't have that kind of space.
Seeds galore
 Another order that came in were from Burpee. We only got 2 new kinds of seeds, Daddy's beloved cubanelle peppers which he loves eating in everything. Cubanelles are a sweet pepper, mostly known for frying to put on like steak sandwiches and things. We are also trying a new variety of tomato called Pink Brandywine which is suppose to be a bigger paste tomato good for canning. Pooka was so excited she took the pictures.
Burpee seeds with Pooka's picture
I will say Pooka  was much happier with the Territorial seeds since they came in such a pretty package. What can I say, when your 6, you want colors and pictures to know what they are. Now I need to get ready to start all these seeds and find a place to put them. But that is a problem for another day. For now, we are just going to pretend that spring is coming faster.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Oops and Groundhogs.

Sorry all, I know we disappeared again but Pooka's Aunts and Uncles were in town and family comes first. I promise to have a proper post up in a day or so. Right now, I am going to get a tired Brother, Pooka and Mommy ready for bed.

Oh, and may I just say, the groundhog said what I expected this year. Maybe just maybe he decided to be honest this year after I called him out last year. Either way, get ready for more cold and snow.