Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Not-so-winter Garden - Week 3

So much for "winter" around here. We had some torrential downpours here, and the garden seemed to shoot up overnight.

As you can see, the red bucket is filled with water pouring off the roof- it filled up in just a couple hours.

More sprouts popped up all over. These are the habaneros and cayenne peppers.

Whoops, one zucchini too many. Have to either get rid of it or transplant it!

These are sweet peppers from a carnival mix. I guess I won't know what they really look like until they bear fruit!

Eggplant! This interesting plant will always remind me of that episode of Inspector Gadget where he feeds a bunch of Mammoths some red eggplant things.

Tiny fernleaf dill sprouts.

The row of moneymaker tomatos grows as I feel pity for the runts and transplant them instead of getting rid of them completely. I don't know what I'm going to do with everything I have!

The first tomato set fruit. This is why I do this.

Another angle of my tomato runts.

Winter Garden - Week 2

I just wanted to post a quick photo update of the garden two weeks after planting. Not much has changed since the last post, except that a few more seedlings have sprouted up.

These are the transplanted herbs. From the left: Basil sprouts, parsley, another variety of parsley (and much healthier looking), and a small Oregano bush that used to be hanging in a pink pot.

Tomato plants, which are much bigger now.

Not very visible, but there seems to be some chamomile, marjoram, and thyme sprouts there.

Habanero and cayenne peppers.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Winter garden - week one

I should have planted three months ago, but my dear husband was still putting this thing together for me. He is so good to me, I just thought I should say. He's got a lot on his plate (teaching 7 periods!) but he still made the time to help me make my garden. We hauled in over a ton of manure from Home Depot for this project! There were no truck rentals available, so we just made several trips. I was a bit dubious about using only the manure because the HD sales dude told us we should not just buy the $1.75 bags of manure, but buy the $4.97 bags of "garden soil" instead. Let me tell you, I got the idea for using well-rotted cow manure from "experienced" gardeners who teach at Fairchild, and featured an article on the intarwebs somewhere. We actually saw them speak at our local library. They said that it's safer because it's disease-free. Well, the manure we bought looked like it had some mulch and sand mixed in, but at that point we already bought a TON of it- literally. Let me tell you, seven days after planting- I saw sprouts popping up all over! Oh joy! No more doubts now. Chamomile and Thyme which aren't supposed to germinate until about 14 - 28 days were the first! Among the others were Zucchini, Tomato, Marjoram, Onion, Peas, Dill, and Forget-me-nots. Yay! At this point, just about all of them have sprouted, but since I haven't been updating, I'm going to focus on one week each post. Here are some pics from the first week after planting (Jan 29 - Feb 4)

This is what the garden looked like approx. one week after planting the first seeds directly into the soil. I transplanted all my existing plants (the ones in the background will be added later). That includes parsley, oregano, sweet basil, Moneymaker tomatoes, and Yolo wonder bell peppers.

Here are some of the Thyme sprouts. I put stones next to where the seeds were planted so I could remember where to water.

The zucchini was one of the first ones to sprout. 

This is literally one day later.

This is two days after that.

Another two days later.

 You can see the second zucchini sprouted days after the first. I started to get worried after seeing just some of the seeds sprouting, so I planted extras to be safe.  Well, now I have three zucchinis, about 16 eggplants and 20 peppers. Oh well. The peas are an exception, I wanted to plant a bunch there. They were very early sprouters, and 100% of the peas planted sprouted eventually. I'm hoping these will make it worthwhile!

Sadly, one of the first casualties came this first week. A bastard cat used my garden as a colossal litterbox! I found cat scat in there and everything! >=(

I put these Moneymaker tomato plants in the ground, which I had been waiting to do for a while. They didn't look like they were doing well. It turns out it was really good for them to be planted in the ground because they took off from here.

It's pretty amazing. Three days after I transplanted the tomato plants into the ground, flowers opened up! Now I've got tomatoes growing! They weren't doing so well in the tiny pots I had them in. They have made so much progress since then.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Knitting a rainbow

First of all, I've been a busy, busy lady. I may not have documented my hobbies here for posterity, but I have done many things. I've completed a dozen more knitting projects, invented and tried out new recipes, and our queue of home projects are slowly getting completed. Right now I'm drooling over the yarn I have sitting in my stash, I can't wait to make more lovely things.

My current WIP is a shawl I'm making for myself (and another three or so things I'll write about later). I used to think that shawls were something only old ladies wore, just like knitting is supposed to be a pastime for the female members of the retirement community. Since I joined Ravelry over a year ago, well, all that changed. Now I think they are artistic and refined, a means of self expression and a manner of warming oneself in a stylish way.

The first shawl I tried to make was a lovely lacy purple one, but my gauge was too large for the amount of yarn I had in that color. Since I love my Plum Pudding  colored yarn, I bought a little more in the same dye lot, and now I can make more purple things. Anyway, I have this soft fingering weight rainbow yarn, called Serenity Garden by Deborah Norville. The colorway is Gems.

I fell in love with the color but had no idea what I was going to make of it. I've seen other Ravelers make lovely lacy shawls with this, but the sad part is that in the pictures at least, the intricate lace is not as aesthetically appreciated because the Gems outshines the actual pattern. My eye is drawn toward the color changes, not the pattern itself. So, I found a simple shawl that would be the vessel for this beautiful, bright yarn.

I chose a pattern that is worked from side to side so that the stripes are vertical (rather than the typical top-down shawl that has horizontal stripes). I chose this for two reasons. The first reason is that toward the beginning of a top-down pattern, the stripes are visible, but as the stitch count grows, the stripes start melting together in a weird variegated pattern. I guess that the colors are pretty regardless, but I prefer the neat transitions.

Second, I just like the stripes better vertical. I added two pattern repeats because the pattern calls for worsted and a larger needle, but it seems to be plenty large with the way it's coming out. I can't wait to wear it, and be shameless about fashion faux pas in public. I will update again when I'm done!