Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I finally dug out the cord to upload my pictures! Yay!

So, first things first. I guess the most timely thing is the garden. Roger and I have been busy preparing our garden space. I dream of bumper tomato crops (and someday, canning my own tomato sauce, 'cause I miss Mom's so much!)--and peppers and squash. When we bought the house last year, we knew neither of us was interested in keeping the pool, so the plan since we first saw the house has been to turn the fenced-in pool area into fenced-in garden area. Roger disassembled the pool a few months ago and he's been digging the garden beds for me, sifting out the rocks (LOTS of rocks) and adding nutritional stuff to the dirt.

With my gimp leg, I haven't been too useful in the digging. My part is in getting the plants going. I had good luck starting my seeds in coffee filters and baggies a few years ago when I made myself a little container garden, so I decided to try the same method here. Last time, I kept them in glass jars in front of a south-facing window. Unfortunately, there were two problems this year that I didn't have then: 1) a cat that likes to jump into windowsills and 2) one south-facing window, small, no sill. My improvisation was to tape the baggies onto the window. The cat couldn't get them that way, plus they'd get maximum sun exposure.

These pictures are from late March, when many of the seeds that had sprouted radicles (or molded) had already been removed--there were maybe 20 baggies to start with. Mostly, I started tomatoes, but also sunflowers, beets, chard, basil, thyme, watermelon, honeydew melon, carrots and chives. A lot of them were older seeds that I wasn't sure would germinate, but to my great delight, the only seeds that didn't show me any signs of wanting to germinate were the carrots (from 2004). Of the sunflowers seeds I had from our old neighbor's fabulous garden on Willingdon, nine of them gave me radicles and in peat pellets, they've mostly thrived. Wavey did discover my first, precocious sunflower on the kitchen table, however; bad kitty, no treat.

Next year, I'll just use paper towels. They held the moisture better, allowed for more air in the baggies, and overall, the seeds seemed to prefer them.

This is the contraption Roger made to help him sift out the rocks. The black cloth on the ground behind it is my weed-inhibitor and that bed is ready to plant as soon as the seedlings are ready.

And these are my seedlings in (and some graduated out of) the cold frame. When I ran out of room under the cold frame, I improvised and turned a couple of bakery containers from the grocery store (cinnamon rolls) into little cold frames. We cut some vents into the sides of the lids and they've worked pretty well--except that the seedlings are on the brink of needing more space.

And then there are the flowers. The previous owners had made several flower beds and planted them full of perennials, and since I have no idea what's going to bloom before July, it's been a fun treat to go explore the garden beds every few days.

In the bed in front of the pool/garden fence, there are plants that I'm told will be lilies of some kind, plus some lamb's ear, a single tulip (there's also a single tulip in the front of the house), and some kind of little purple bell flowers I don't know the name of.

This is in the pool/garden area. These little purple flowers with ferny leaves are coming up outside of the bed too. (Any idea what these are?) In the back, you can see the spiky beginnings of new hasta growth.

I have a whole bed devoted to star-gazer lilies. (I got to enjoy those last year.)

I'm not sure what this shrub is either. It will maintain the red tip leaves for the rest of the summer. I had no idea what flowers to expect, but I really wasn't expecting these soapy-looking bunches.

There's a little area next to the house where there's evidence of a hot tub having been there several years ago, and around the edge are planted some of my favorite plants that are just starting to regenerate.

This is my echinops plant, which will produce those spiky little flower balls that get used in dried flower arrangements.

Another surprise. I'm not sure what they are, but I'm pretty sure they weren't actually planted there on purpose, which probably makes them weeds. (I've seen more gorgeous weeds here than I ever knew existed. It makes it hard for me to pull them up!)