Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Signs of life in the garden

We are starting to get a feel of what may come back in the garden. Not everything in the garden seems to have survived our extremely cold winter this year, but strangely, some things I had no nope for coming back are. I am just happy we are not replanting the entire bed. The chives were the first to pop up and say Hi to us.
The chives appeared
I know that this parsley seems to have reseeded itself. I am completely okay with that. In fact, I am looking for a second place to plant some more seeds.
Parsley popping up
 The thyme even started to green up, and has since taken off. Looks like we will have plenty of thyme.
Thyme greening
Our friend tarragon has also appeared and once it broke the mulch has gotten huge. I honestly thought this guy was an annual, but I won't turn him away. He has gotten so big, we have started harvesting him already.
Tarragon pops up
We have had more herbs pop up. The lemon balm that became so important to me has greened up and is looking good. Pooka's black eye susan has finally topped the mulch. I may have one lavender that will regrow, but it is fighting to see if it will. I am hoping if I can run out in between rain storms the next day or so to get a good inventory of what is out there and what I may of replaced already. Sadly our beloved Rosemary has not come back. Which is slighly weird to me since I thought they were perennial. In fact, I have seen them survive the winter in a small pot before. Oh well, I will just have to try harder to find ones that will handle the cold a bit better. I am just happy we will not have to replace the whole bed. Pooka is already out there daily "sampling" her garden and sharing it with her friends and getting them to try new things. That makes it worth it.

Monday, April 28, 2014

First Harvest

We have had our first harvest. It wasn't much, just a quarter oz of tarragon and an eighth of an oz of chives, but it means we are getting things back out of the garden. Both our tarragon and chives came back from last year, so in a way this harvest is all profit. A very tasty profit when we put it in our scrambled eggs.
Hello Harvest

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A good days work

A week ago Friday, Pooka and Brother had the day off school. I was feeling a bit behind with the garden, so we put ourselves to work outside. Well, Pooka and I did, I do believe Brother spent most of the day playing. Pooka helped me transplant most of the tomatoes. 

Transplants getting bigger
We also took care of this poor guy. He didn't make it through this hard hard winter. I had hope he may come back, but I am getting to a point where I am tired of waiting. I am tired of looking at sad plants and ready for new ones to take their places. I want to start harvesting already.
A victim of winter
Instead this new little guy got planted in his place. Hopefully we will have plenty of lavender to use this year.  All this was done in the same day. Now if I can only have a few more days like this and we may finally get caught up. 
New life. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Stupid cold snaps

I will be honest with you all, we have been transplanting and transplanting away here. All our little seedlings are going into pots to get big and strong and ready for the yard. However, I haven't had a chance to tell you all about it. Granted, showing plants going into pots is real exciting. 

Stupid cold
However, this is what happens when you get a cold snap. Everything ends up in your garage hiding from the cold. The table it is sitting on is just an old hollow core door we use as a workbench. The most annoying part is the 15 minutes it takes to move them all inside, then the 15 minutes it takes to move them all back outside daily and it only gets worse as we continue to put more plants into pots. Soon, maybe the weather will give in and things can live outdoors. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Easter Bunny strikes again.

Easter bunny came again this year. He seems to know he is the only time Pooka gets much over the warmer months and wanted to make sure she had some things for her garden. He brought her a hanging humming bird planter and some new flower seeds for her garden. She got Poppy flowers that do produce the poppy seeds for baking, as well as a butterfly flower and a fairy bouquet set of seeds. She is thrilled and is waiting for us to finish a few things in her flower bed so she can get them planted.
Pooka presents from the Easter Bunny
The Easter Bunny also leaves us a note each year to tell us how many eggs the kids need to find. This year his note also told the kids he just had to have a nibble of Pooka's herb garden. He said it was just so tasty looking, he wanted to try it and he hoped Pooka didn't mind. Pooka only comment was to wonder if he had tried the chives or if it was the tarragon he ate off of. At least she is willing to share.  Now to find some flowers for that planter, I guess Pooka gets another trip to the nursery.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Planning for spring

A couple of weeks ago, Daddy and I marked out the last of the new garden beds. This will probably be the last time the garden expands due to lack of space. However, it should give us enough room to rotate the tomatoes for 3 years. 
The last of the veggie beds.
First we marked out the new veggie bed in the back. This is on the far side of the deck and we will need to move the pots. No I don't know where they are going yet. However, it will be a nice new bed once its done. We also plan to clean out under the deck a bit, especially since we promised to rebuild the swing set that has parts under there. The old swing set was no longer safe.
Pooka's new bed
Then Pooka helped mark out the spot for her new pollinator bed. She is so excited and ready to get to work. We are using the fence from the neighbors with their permission since they have a flower bed on the other side. They really loved the idea of not having to weed this side. Before you know it, she will have plants in that bed and ready to roll. This is her little place where I will not make too many faces over the flowers. However, I will not be working on it too much either besides occasional weeding.

Now to get them all dug up and start planting.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Having a Girls shopping trip

The nursery that Pooka loves was having an open house, so Pooka asked if she could take her money from Santa and from her piggy bank to buy some plants. Plus she was planning out what she wants for her new pollinator bed.

Pooka had a wonderful time. Not only did the regular employees welcome her with open arms, a few of the more seasonal help found out not all small kids need talked down to. One such employee was trying to tell Pooka the difference between "plants that live one year vs. plants that live multiple years." I love Pooka, but she came back with "I know what a perennial is, I was wondering which ones were good for humming birds." Now to teach my daughter tact.

Stargazer and Hardy lily bulbs
Pooka eventually found her humming bird and butterfly plants. She even walked away with some money, but I held her back from going full out. I also bought her a few things for her new bed since we did promise to buy some flowers. I can't say I didn't make a face or two. I bought her two types of lilies. A purple lily and a stargazer. Pooka wanted a stargazer for me since mine had died. I told her it was her bed and she could have what she wanted. She came back with "I want you to have a stargazer."
Salvia plant
Pooka also got me to buy her this salvia. It should come back year after year. Hopefully Pooka will still like it next year.
Main haul
This is a picture of the main haul that Pooka paid for. It includes a new lavender (since ours are looking pretty sad), another 4 pack of strawberries, a lilac pepper and the new butterfly bush. The butterfly bush I am wishing I had looked at a bit closer. It was so small and unassuming. Had I read the tag, I would of seen its going to get 4 ft by like 4 ft. Yikes. I knew it was a perennial since Pooka only wanted to look at those (granted that doesn't count the purple pepper). Chalk this up to another learning moment for mom. I guess it goes to show, you can't judge a plant based on the pot they sell it in.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Another reminder of why I do this

Pooka gave me this yesterday. It made my day and my week. As I get overwhelmed or tired or grouchy at all the plants in the house, this was a good reminder that it doesn't go unnoticed. The notes read "Mommy, thnk you for heping me with my plants. I love you gis."
A note from Pooka
Sometimes, just little things like this make it so much more worth it. We love you too Pooka.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This is not what April is suppose to look like

Winter AGAIN?
On Tuesday I woke up to find this on the back deck. While we had brought everything in the night before, I am more then a bit over this whole winter thing. Especially after seeing blooms on our magnolia tree less then 24 hours before. Poor Pooka was even fed up saying "Winter, leave us alone." Let my spring go.

More of this please

Monday, April 14, 2014

Getting anxious

2 weekends ago, Pooka and I were getting a bit anxious for spring to really hit. We have had spring like moments, but nothing that is here to stay. Pooka and I were ready however and decided to get a start on a few things.

Cilantro to be compared
First we started some cilantro. They are only in 2 little pots (which I somehow forgot to get pictures of) but we did one pot of each to see how they compare. These may live in the house for a bit before we take them outside. The upside is we will have cilantro sooner than if we waited for the front bed to be ready.
One of 2 raspberry bushes Pooka bought with her own money
Next we decided to do something with Pooka's raspberry bushes. I will be honest, Daddy and I had no idea where we wanted to put these, especially long term and we didn't have a bed for them to go in. We decided this year they will live in pots where we are figuring out where to put them.
No sign of the stargazer bulbs
We ended up grabbing the pots that held my stargazer bulbs last year. There was no real sign of them yet this year, and seeing at least 4 times over the winter they had water frozen to the top of them, I figured it may be a safe to call them done. So Pooka dug some holes, and I put in her bushes. 
Ready to rock and roll
I am hoping the pots will be big enough and that it allows us to get some bushes but maybe not go to full size this year. We will see. I know nothing about raspberries so I guess it is time for me to break out my gardening books again and see what I can learn. The good news is less then a week later and both have leaves either budding out, or they have started to peak out already. I am taking it as a good sign. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Finding a home for the stars

When we transplanted the rosebush from Great Grandma's house, we took a couple of these little succulents. Now, I have no idea what they are called. I can honestly say I called them "Those little star plants that are everywhere next to Grandma's driveway" most of my life. Well, when Aunt S helped me get the rosebush, she said they were called hens and chicks. Needless to say, I could see Pooka loving them so Aunt S grabbed some

Little star shaped plant
Now, aside from putting one in a pot (that isn't doing so well), I had no idea once we transplanted the rosebush into the ground what to do with them. But I knew that we had this annoying little bed next to the garage that I can't get anything to live in. So we decided to try these and see if maybe, just maybe, it can choke out all the weeds.
A hole where maybe they can take over
Pooka and her friend K spent about 10 minutes one Sunday helping me plant these. They thought they were fun but they didn't need a very deep hole. Hopefully they transplant well there and I can write off that darn bed that does nothing but grow weeds. Plus, I think its definitely cuter than anything else we have tried.
Looks better then it did before

Thursday, April 10, 2014


When my Grandmother died, I knew the kids would not be able to go to the funeral. My family doesn't do "funerals" in a way most people do them, and I didn't want them to have those memories of their Great Grandmother. Especially since we had hidden her cancer from them. I wanted to find another way for them to remember her. Pooka asked for one of Great Grandma's rosebushes.  So Aunt S helped us come and transplant the rosebush.

The rose bush when we took it out of the ground
However, our rose bush did not have a very large root system due to where it was planted so we overwintered it in the garage while it was dormant and hoped we could keep it alive. Finally the time came to try and find a place in the yard for it. I wanted somewhere we could see it, where it would hopefully do well and give the kids a place to remember her. 

This little spot by the garage looked perfect. It was a bit small, but the concrete only goes down 2 inches or so, and eventually we will take the concrete out.  Daddy dug a hole on Sunday to put the rosebush in. I wanted to get it in the ground before the plant tried to wake up.
To Great Grandma From Pooka. 
Pooka wrote a letter to Great Grandma after she died. She wanted to put it in the hole with the rosebush to send her thoughts to Great Grandma. I told her it would be perfect. Brother was given the same option, but he didn't want to
We love you Grandma
Then we placed her rosebush in the ground. I am hoping it will survive, but I don't know for sure. I know the root is very small for that sized plant, but its standing on its own, the plant springs back when bent (doesn't break) so I am hoping maybe Great Grandma is keeping it alive for the kids. We have been using rooting compound on it to hopefully get the roots to grow. We made a special sign for the rosebush, but I am not going to show that here. Now to wait and see if it lives. I am just hoping the kids can find some peace in this little bush.

Monday, April 7, 2014

It has begun

A week ago after school Pooka and I decided to at least get the pea seeds in the ground. Now this year, I didn't start them inside and take them out. We just put the seeds in the dirt. It will be nice in a few weeks when I can send fresh sugar peas and blue peas in the kids lunches for school.

Home of the sugar peas
We started with the regular sugar peas. Those we planted straight into the ground in the front back bed by the deck where we have had peppers and tomatoes the last few years. Upside is that the pea plants will put back some nitrogen for the soil.
Home of the blue peas
Next we planted the new blue podded seeds in the containers. I was trying (maybe ineffectively) to minimize the cross pollination. I know Brother and Pooka really want to try blue peas. The location of the pots will most likely be moved, but at least its started and ready to go. I need to figure out where they will be moved too, and we may plant some watermelon in a blue bin under the peas. I will have to see how things are progressing.
Observing the seeds

Now, to be scientific, I had Pooka stop and observe the difference in the two seeds. I wanted to see if she could find any difference in them and similarities. Pooka ran and got her magnifying glass and got to work. She said the blue peas were "a reddish color, less wrinkley and stayed a bit more round as well a bit bigger." The regular peas were "white and looked squished and wrinkled, and were still a circle." Now we wait to see the begining of the plants.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Garlic everywhere

Spring is finally starting to really show its face. The garlic has just started appearing everywhere in the last few days. We have had wonderful rains that watered our pea seeds and have given the garlic a boost to come out and find the sun. I can finally begin to feel the truth of spring in the air.
Garlic anyone?
Pooka is excited to see real garlic coming up as well. Every day you can see her stopping to admire her herb and garlic areas as she comes home from school. She loves walking it to see what has started to look like it may come back, and what has grown. Daddy is excited since he finally used the last of our homemade garlic powder yesterday and misses it already. He asked if we could please please make more. I told him of course once the garlic is ready but soon we will have other things to get to work preserving and harvesting.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Life finds a way

Pooka and I found a surprise on Monday. We were walking through the garage and I looked over at the very poorly cleaned up garden supplies. Sadly, by the time we tried to put the garden to bed last year, our hearts weren't in it, and things got thrown in our yard waste/old recycle bin.

Anyway, Monday, I looked over at the recycle bin and on top was the big pot of chives from last year. The pot Daddy loved having full of chives for cooking with. It had chives in it and a price tag to something, (this is real life folks). Not just the dead chives from last year, but new chives as well, that were growing and somehow surviving since that pot had not really seen water and more then 20 minutes of sunlight since fall.

I moved the pot out into the front porch so it could get watered/rained on and sunlight. The seedlings look in decent shape for where they were. You can see they had reached for the sunlight outside the garage, and now they should start developing really well since they are outside. This is even better since I decided this year we are not growing our own herbs from seed. I will pay for those, but here is one I don't have to rebuy. Maybe next year I will overwinter it in the house so Daddy gets his fresh chives all year. We will have to wait and see.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spending some birthday money

Oh how hard it is to be 6. Pooka got some money to the local home improvement store for her birthday in January. Everytime we would go to said home improvement store (which I admit was quite often), she would ask oh so nicely if we could go see if the plants were in, or if they had seeds. But sadly, nothing was in until about 2 weeks ago.

That was the day that Pooka, Brother and I went by ourselves and the garden center had a few plants. Not many, but the beginnings.  They had berry bushes. Now imagine a Pooka who has wanted berry bushes and her realizing she had enough money for them. Yes, I am sure you can picture the face of a girl trying to decide between black berries or raspberries. I had veto'd grapes and more blueberries since we didn't have space for the former, and the later we already had 3 of.

Once we got home, Pooka rushed to tell Daddy. Daddy took a bit more convincing that this was a good idea. In fact, I had to convince him with "Would you rather she bring home 2 raspberry bushes, or that same amount of money in small $2-3 plants we would have to find homes for?" He did agree, but asked that we keep it reasonable.

Birthday money well spent by a Pooka
That evening we went out, and Pooka picked 2 raspberry plants. As of right now, Daddy and I are talking about just letting them go through one year in a pot. A bigger pot yes, but a pot where we can contain them until we are sure where we want them. I guess I need to do some research on how to grow raspberries. Pooka has decide to wait and name them once we get them potted which is on the agenda for this week/weekend.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Rosemary oh Rosemary how we missed you

I admit it, I broke down. I was tired of using real conditioner, and really Pooka's hair looks so much better with our homemade stuff. However, I wasn't sure if our rosemary out front was even alive. So I broke down. I bought one of those little herb plants at the grocery store.
Rosemary from the grocery store
It was in fairly good shape, if a bit small. I just was hoping to get something to get us through until we can either figure out if the stuff out front is alive, or it can replace it. The plant itself, aside from being slightly root bound is in good shape. Daddy has already used it more then once for dinner. I think he misses having the fresh herbs to cook with as well. I guess this means spring has begun and plants are invading.

Welcome home rosemary