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...