Sunday, May 24, 2015


Now, I will admit that by this point, this post is rather old, but one day about a month plus ago now, I went to move the ground cherries, tomatillos and eggplants into pots. As you can see the nicely planted seeds had become a mess of plants growing everywhere.  They had started to try and grow over the herbs I had placed in the missing cells spot to contain some water for them. 
Another small jungle
Imagine my surprise when I pulled out the one tomatillo that grew (one out of 6 cells had a plant). The tomatillo was flowering before it ever gets out of the seed starter... I think the grow light was worth it. The plants did seem rather happy under our new addition. We may have to set up a second one next year for a bit better coverage of the plants.
Flowers already?
I left the flowers on as I placed the tomatillo into its pot. The tomatillo and the ground cherries both I used our same method of planting as tomatoes where we buried part of the stem to help increase root production.
into the pot
That day, Pooka and I managed to get all the eggplants, ground cherries, and tomatillo into pots. The plants were all much bigger and sturdier than in previous years, so I do think the grow light has helped. Although it is always nice to be able to say "and at least now they are in dirt." Although, lets be honest, Pooka just loves being able to say "And now I am playing in the dirt."
More pots done

We also managed to get the valerian and the yarrow into pots as well. Due to pot space (and lack of pots) we did have to have them share a space, but it worked out great when we were transplanting later. These 2 ended up living on the front porch to harden off while the rest went out to live in the same jungle as the tomatoes. But at least they are done now. 

Yarrow and valerian

Friday, May 15, 2015

Girls weekend ends up at the nursery

The first girls weekend of the summer came in April and of course it wouldn't be a good girls weekend we didn't end up at the nursery. With the possibility of frost in our future, we were very careful with what we chose.
The haul
We came home with another set of purple chives for Pooka and K to munch on. These will have the pretty purple flowers we can make chive vinegar from. We also bought a new strawberry plant (ours didn't fair so well over the winter) and a purple set of flowers called campanula.
The strawberry went into a pot in the back yard. It seems none of our strawberries from last year survived so it was nice to get a new set. This is one of a few we will be planting this year.
Pooka's picture of her flower
Pooka actually took this is the purple flower campanula. She had to walk in her flower bed and said "Well, I hope nothing was planted here." Pooka loved the color and the shape of it and the fact it was already blooming. She couldn't wait to show K her new flowers.  
In its new home
This was planted in her little pollinator bed since we did read that it was good for butterflies and maybe hummingbirds. Pooka loves having her spot of flowers, but I will admit, I no longer remember what is out there. I meant to draw a map, but well, I forgot so it's now her "random flowers" collection. Sadly, this is one of those jobs I fell behind on and I don't know if I can do it anymore. At least I have the blog which tells me what I planted if I go looking I suppose.
Purple flower chives
Finally her chives ended up in the herb bed Pooka is so excited for these and while Daddy jokes about needing to mow the rest of the chives, I know they won't stand a chance once Pooka and K can play together this summer and eat them all. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Update on purple dragon

I know, I fell behind on updates again, things are slowing down for me at least this week, so I am hoping to play catch up. 

Pooka's purple dragon has done well with where it was. It not only sprouted but Pooka has loved the interesting colors of the leaves. This is what it looked like in it's take out container of a cup. 
Purple dragon plant
 It was doing so well, that Pooka asked if we could put it in a pot for her to care for. This will be a container that she can bring in out and keep for as long as the plant survives. We used her faithful blue container that seems to hold just about anything she really wants.  It is currently living on the front porch for now, but I am sure she will be relocating it every time I turn around. Pooka loves her little dragon plant.
Dragon plant in it's new home. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Starting another batch of herbs

Well, we are still running behind getting these posts done, but one thing we have done is start a few more seeds. I had these left over peat pots from a year ago. They take seed starter soil, but it was what I had and I was trying to not buy too much more. We pulled out the seed starter mix and got to work.
Well, we found pots
Once they were filled, we ended up putting chives (from the chive box), as well as dill, cilantro, and parsley in them.  This allowed us to finish off a few seed packets and again try to use what we have.

I apparently forgot to take an after picture with all the popsicle sticks sticking out, but its the same as every other year. By the time we got these started, we had already started moving the tomatoes out of the seedling containers, so some of the cups got put in that tray to save space.  The rest got put in a  muffin tin at first. Once we finished potting up the tomatoes, the rest got moved into that container as well.
An almost done photo
Since I did this a while ago, I can say they all seemed to have sprouted quite nicely. They are still a bit small to go in the ground, but they are making up time quickly. The entire tray currently lives outside and is getting ready to harden off and be put into the front beds. Maybe I will remember first of the month pictures... Maybe.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

If you give a Pooka Seeds

If you give a Pooka seeds, she will be happy. But those seeds will need a home, so Mommy will try to put them in the seed bucket.
Seeds everywhere
Then the seeds will outgrow the seed container, driving a Mommy to wonder how to keep control while a Pooka smiles at all the seeds.

Seeds overflowing
So Mommy had to buy another bucket for the seeds.  (Okay, I am ruining the story here, but I will admit that we had wondered for awhile if I could just find those buckets again. We really love them and they worked perfectly, so when we found this at target, I paid full price just to have the bucket. The purple chives were a bonus).
Yay continer
Pooka and Mommy empty the new bucket and plant the chive seeds (More on that later) and start wondering how to know which seeds go where. 

Empty bucket
Until Mommy remembers they have a label maker and Pooka loves to use it. She loves getting to type out words, so she was happy.
And one label turned into a label for each binder clip. The flowers and the carrots and peas/beans ended up in one bucket
Chive bucket
And the other bucket got the vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, herbs and lettuces. Now the seeds are all organized and it is so much simpler to send a Pooka out looking for seeds. 
Dill bucket

Until someone buys Pooka more seeds..

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tomatoes learn personal space

Okay, I admit it. In all the end of semester, end of school (since the kids and I are in different schools), spring garden plus the return of garden club for Pooka, and spring birthday world, I have been less than on top of things here. I promise stuff is still getting done, but here is me starting to play catch up and hopefully getting caught up.

A few weeks ago now, Pooka and I went to do our morning check on the tomatoes and realized that well.. they may of gotten a bit big. As in, big enough to start touching the light bulb on the grow light. Somethign needed done.
I think the grow light is working
And while it was a bit cool still outside, Pooka and I took our tomato tray outside to try and deal with this mess. Yes it looked worse once it was out of the light.
Oh dear... its a forest
The tomato plants had gotten rather big, so we started trying to gently pull the plants apart from the mass of vegetation. I will admit I should of done something sooner, but oh well. This is just one of the average size tomato plants. Yes those are regular coffee filters for scale (okay, honestly, they were there, but it gives you a good sense of how big these things got).
Tomato plant
I will admit it took Pooka and I the better part of a day to just sit there and pot the tomatoes. While we were doing that, Daddy and Brother were working on the side bed pulling off rocks and pulling out the old brick. I am not sure if Daddy or I got the worse end of the bargin. However, at least from my work, we will have food one day. The tomatoes no longer look like this, and some may or may not (okay may) of been a bit frost burned in my attempts to harden them off when it was still a tad chilly outside. However, this is why we plant extras. If nothing else, just means less tomatoes I need to find a home for.
Tomato army

Thursday, April 23, 2015


The lilac has grown leaves. I guess we got that little guy in the ground just in time. Now to hope it likes this spot and continues to grow. I doubt I will get a flowers this year, but I will get them next year I hope.

I know lilacs are not known for food, but this lilac came from my grandmother's house before she died. One side of her house had a wall of lilacs, lilacs that my grandfather apparently brought home. The story my grandmother told me was that Grandpa was walking home from work one day and saw these beautiful lilac bushes. Well, apparently he walked the rest of the way home and grabbed a pot and a shovel and walked back to the spot where he saw them and dug one up. Now, Grandma told me she didn't think he asked, but knowing my grandfather, he probably just grabbed a little one (or a couple) and brought it home and their entire wall was grown from those over the 30+ years they had lived there.
It is alive
Either way, I am just happy it is alive and now I have my own grandmothers lilac. I have been trying for probably 10 years to grow one from her yard. Now, I can look at it and think of my grandparents and smile.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


On our short trip to pick up the onions, Pooka saw more blue potatoes. We were not really planning on potatoes this year, but since they were less than a dollar per lb in bulk this time, we decided to give it another shot so long as we bought fewer potatoes to start with.
We can give it a second chance
 So we removed the potatoes from the bag and placed them in this lovely disposable muffin tin and on the bakers rack by the back door. The sunshine will help it get good eyes so we can plant the potatoes in the bags and see if we have better luck this time. Although at this point, I will have to start the potatoes soon.
And now we wait.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Another job done

We bought onions our yearly onions. I was so excited to get them and have them in the ground as soon as possible. We bought a yellow vidalia type onion.  It should grow fairly large and should store well (not that the onions last very long around here). We also bought a red onion called Red Candy apple onion that should be a nice red one.
 I took some time off a few weeks ago to deal with personal matters, and while I was home and trying to wrap my head around life, I planted the onions in the same bed they were planted in last year. Pooka was at school, and she was tad upset that she didn't get to help, but it was good to keep my hands busy for at least a bit and it did help to be able to cross one more thing off the list. Now if only it was that simple to fix so many of the world's problems.
Time to grow. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

The rosemary that talked

The little rosemary that said... please take me home.. I need a good home. 

I need a good home
And while it was still a tad early to be bringing plants home from the store (and it wasn't even the nursery) rosemary is used for so many things in our home, we really needed to get one started so we will have enough rosemary for all the things we do.
And in the ground
Good thing I knew just where to put it. Right in the spot of an old rosemary that was pretty well dead. Now to get it established enough that we can start harvesting.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Work on the new bed progresses

Well, we bit the bullet. We broke down and pulled out the old border blocks and scooped off MOST of the rocks. Some will have to stay, but I am okay with those at this point since they are now "drainage" rocks... They have a function. This is all we got done in a few hours on a Saturday. Correction, this is what Daddy and Brother did while Pooka and I were transplanting the tomatoes. I think it will look good, and the new blocks are here. We just need time to install them. The only question is when will that get done. If there were more hours in the day.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bunny's gifts

That Easter Bunny is a rather goofy critter. He is forever feeding someone's gardening habit. This year he brought a Pooka 2 peace out beans. Supposedly as they grow they will say Peace out on them. Perfect for the little hippy gardener. He also brought some purple dragon carrots and some watermelon radishes. Because who wants to grow orange carrots or red radishes. He also left her a small gift card to her favorite nursery. Who knows what that will get her.
Beans and carrots and radishes
I think the Easter bunny knows a Pooka. She also got purple canning jars with purple and red lids. I think this was one of the things she was most excited about, especially since she has been asking for them ever since she saw a picture of them on the internet. If I know a Pooka, she is already thinking about what she wants to have in there. Maybe Purple basil Jelly?
Jars and lids
The biggest surprise was a rain barrel that arrived via the bunny. He said it was "for the family" but we all know who it was really meant for. Pooka for the garden and Daddy so he doesn't have to water the front beds. Since it is rather plain, Pooka and I have talked briefly about painting some flowers or something on it to brighten it up. Now, if that happens before or after Daddy gets the thing installed, who knows. 
Rain barrel

Monday, April 13, 2015


The multiplier onions have appeared. I always worry when I overwinter something that it will die. We are glad to see these guys made it through the winter. Now to wait and see if their onions get any bigger than the little plants we buy from the nursery.

The first onions poking up
These onions I planted in the fall. They overwinter like garlic and then supposedly make more onions much like a potato. I have no idea how well these work, but the fact that they are even alive is a good start. I would love to get some larger onions. Pooka was rather happy to see more green poking up out of the yard.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Signs of life in the garden

This time of year is a fun one for Pooka. Daily and some times multiple times a day, she walks through her gardens and just loves watching to see what is coming back. Its almost like a second Easter bunny that comes daily. She will walk through the garden always looking for that new sign of green, and with all the rain we have had lately, things are starting to wake up.
Blueberry is waking up
One of Brother's blueberry bushes is looking rather excited to see spring. It was the first to bud and may even leaf in the next few days. The other two are budding out, but no where near this close to showing signs of green.
Just like the blueberries are all starting at separate points so are the two raspberry bushes. This one is green everywhere and showing lots of life. The other one I am not entirely sure it isn't dead, so we are going to focus on the fact that one of the bushes lived. Seeing all that green gave Pooka and I a bit of hope maybe we weren't getting in too far over our heads, maybe.
The chives were one of the first things up. They don't look like this much longer, but rather Daddy has been joking he may need to mow them soon. My response was more along the lines of maybe we need to be making some bake potatoes and eggs to use them up. Well, that and I need to let Pooka and her friend K at them They won't last long after that. Pooka has already gone through the chives and gotten herself a few snacks saying "Oh, how I love the first chive of the season." Seriously, I can't make this stuff up, it is how she is.
In the old reliable department is the tarragon. The "lets' eat the sidewalk and everything on either side" tarragon. I am actually going to have to do something about this guy since this was taken on today, and spring isn't even all that sprung. Imagine how big it would be by the end of the summer. Stay tuned for my first attempt at dividing something.
Rose bush
Gremo's rosebush came back this year. Pooka asked if her letter underneath had been destroyed during the winter. Being a coward, I changed the topic. So far all the growth seems to be at the bottom of the plant, and I am hoping that is a good sign. Never having done much with roses, I am kinda flying blind. Although Daddy asked if we should do something about the big spear.. I mean stem growing up the middle. It has HUGE thorns and no signs of life yet. I told him we wait and if its still dead looking by mid may, I will remove it.

Not all of our stars survived. In fact, this seems to be the only set that did, but they are happy as can be. I am hoping they will eventually take over this area, much like they did at my grandmothers. Right now, we are just waiting to see what it does, since my attempt to bring one inside died horribly.
In the "Wait that's alive?" category is the chamomile. Yeah, I am not sure why it is alive either since again, I heard it was a very temperamental annual. It seems quite happy in its little spot and Pooka actually told Ms. A (The owner of our favorite nursery) that it came back and even she was shocked. Free tea supplies for mommy and Pooka gets to once again prove people wrong.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Starting round 3

We got the last batch of our seeds started. I took 2 different trays since I didn't need 50 more plants. However, we did try a few new plants. Including the flowers that Pooka got for her birthday, Black and white minstrels. She was so excited to see how the flowers themselves come out.

New plants
 The other new thing we started was some pinkeye purple cowpeas. We all know Pooka loves having lots of color in her garden. This may not be something she can just eat straight off the plant, but we talked and if necssary we will look into saving them for our winters soups. As you can see below, they do look rather different from a standard green bean.
Green bean vs Cowpea
I forgot to get a picture of the finished trays (I think I was rushing a bit to get everything on the table for dinner). Pooka was very happy to start even more plants. The call of her garden is getting stronger since we have both started walking the garden daily. I know she can't wait till she can walk out there and just have a snack while playing with her friends.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I just want to soak up the sun

It has been nice enough for the citrus trees to hang out outside. They are much happier this way.
Soaking up sun
Let us hope this a sign of spring really coming.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Look what we found on the garden cart - a sprouting red onion. It was hidden under stuff on the garden cart. Yes, this is proof my house is a mess, so please don't judge. But in reality it will let us test a theory... If we plant the onions a second year in a row, will they get bigger?
The hidden onion
I waited till Pooka came home to show her our little friend. She was all amazed we missed one and asked what I expected "Can we replant it?" So we grabbed a shovel and walked out to the back yard and found a nice little corner of the onion bed where some forgotten onions last year had reemerged. This little guy got placed in the corner of the box so I can remember where he came from.


Pooka has been checking it the last few days to make sure it is continuing to grow. Now to wait and see what happens because it is for science and not just us making sure we don't waste anything...