Monday, August 25, 2008

Plant Markers

Next time you hear "I'm bored, there's nothing to do!", here's some fun:

Madi and Ryan made these plant markers using crayons, white paper, wooden BBQ skewers and, I'm so sorry, but...some plastic. I figure (excuses, excuses), that since we bring our own bags to the market, and even clothes shopping, since we use about 1 bag of Ziplocks every 2-3 YEARS, since Fred rides his bike nearly everywhere instead of using the car, we could slide on this use of petroleum in hopes of the markers lasting more than a week of sun and watering and dare I say rain?

The Recipe:

Cut Pieces Of Paper To Size
Make A List Of Plants
Create Drawings
Break BBQ Skewers In Half (large popsicle sticks could be substituted for this)
Press Sticky Plastic Sheet Onto The Front Of Each Drawing
Hold Skewers Tight Onto The Back Of The Drawing, Leaving about 4" At The Bottom Sticking Out
Press Sticky Plastic Onto The Back Of The Drawing, Including The Skewer
Make Sure That Plastic Is As Tight As Possible, Especially Around The Skewer

Put Into Garden!

We bought the sheets of plastic at Staples. They're sticky on one side, and worked great. I found them in the same section that laminating supplies are sold. All's good so far, and they sure are cute.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tangled Up In Blue

It's time to start ordering fall and winter seeds! Last year, we planted a bunch of sweet peas on a bamboo trellis. We ordered the seeds from The Fragrant Garden, which has the most incredible colors of sweet peas to choose from. They are easy to grow - the seeds should be soaked for 24 hours by floating them in a little dish of water or wrapping in a wet paper towel before planting as they have a tough skin that must be broken through to germinate. Follow the planting instructions on the packets, and you'll be in bouquets all winter. Sweet peas thrive in colder weather, so for us in So Cal, it's a winter flower. For really cold places, it's a fall - spring plant. The flowers should be cut daily, as the plants are quick to start producing seeds and die if they're not picked often. Cutting will inspire tons and tons of flowers to be produced!

Another great favorite to order now are onions and garlic. We get our garlic from The Garlic Store. They have really interesting varieties, as well as "packages" that contain 4-5 different kinds, all with great growing instructions, and excellent customer service for weird questions (I've asked!)!!! Garlic and onions are easy but glacial to grow, so be PATIENT. The garlic and onions we grew last year took about nine months from planting to harvest...

One more blue thing, just cause it's so pretty and getting lots of attention from the bees and hummingbirds as well, our beloved butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii 'Black Knight').


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Endings and Beginnings

So begins the mid summer challenge. As much produce as we are gaining (tons of tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, beans, and peppers mostly), we are losing plants every day. Lettuce is bolting, as is the last of the broccoli. The onions are finished growing and need to be picked and cured. Everything that was vibrant in the spring and early summer is making its seeds for the coming year. There are bald spots in what used to be, just a few weeks ago, filled with life.

Over the weekend we sowed the beginnings of our fall garden: Gourmet Blend Beets, Watermelon Radishes, and Purple Haze and King Midas Carrots. We planted some extra winter squash seeds (Delicata Honey Boat), and some more Sakata's Sweet Melon, which so far has been a failure, but try and try again! This week we will plant some new onions, snap peas, more pole beans, and a round of lettuce, which will get covered from the August heat with a burlap tent. I am going to plant successive rows of lettuce this time around. The method I am going to use is to plant two rows of lettuce at a time (the rows will be about 3' long, and when the seedlings are about 1.5"s tall, it's time to plant two more rows).

Albeit so exciting to plant anything, it is bittersweet. I am already feeling the end of summer. We even have a beautiful orange baby pumpkin already. I am anticipating that chill in the air, leaves falling, saying goodbye to another year...


PS. Thank you to my dear dear friend Suzi Varin for the beautiful photo!!!!!!