Friday, April 29, 2011

One beautiful day sandwiched between days & days of RAIN

Well, at least one day this week was sunny and somewhat warm. It is has been such a gloomy, wet, depressing spring that the only thing that has kept me up and moving was my dreams of a stellar garden this year.

So, of course, I took advantage of this one lovely day to get some work done for the garden.

First, I transplanted all the seedlings into bigger and better homes. The pansies all went into their outside pots and they are in the process of being hardened off this week. I also transplanted tomatoes, zinnias, marigolds, basil, lavender, Queen Anne's Lace and a few pepper plants that survived (some nibbling creature has been eating the leaves off all my pepper plants - grrr) into bigger pots so their root balls can get a little bigger before transplanting them into the garden next month.

I then got to try out my new soil cube tool. I actually won this little gadget recently in a drawing at Highly Uncivilized. Since I so rarely win anything, it was a real joy when they contacted me. And now that I've actually tried it out, I am THRILLED that I won. It is one of those little gadgets that you look at and say, "Cool!" but then don't buy because you are just not quite sure if it is worth the investment.

Well, this thing totally is worth it. It was produced by Deeply Rooted Organics. Look at the nice, orderly blocks I turned out in a quick hurry this afternoon. The beauty of using soil blocks is the roots will air-prune themselves, meaning, when they reach the outside of the block, they send a message back to the stem to put out more roots. The result is a compact, healthy root system that will not suffer from root shock when you transplant them. Plus, there is no plastic pots to wash, store or throw away. So wonderfully green and organic, it makes me swoon.

It even came with a specially made pair of tweezers to move the blocks when it is time to transplant them. And it works, too. I had a few blocks that needed to be shifted around and it held the blocks together nicely as I lifted them into a better position.

I planted more tomatoes and peppers, so I can stagger harvests this year, as well as some sweet alyssum and sweet peas. For kicks, I started a few radish seeds as well. I plan on direct sowing most of them but thought it might be fun to experiment a little. I have room under my grow light for at least 3 more trays, so I'll be blocking up some more soil and starting more seeds soon. I just need to mix up more of the special soil mixture they recommend.

Might as well keep starting seedlings while it rains this weekend.

Come on, Sun. We miss you. Come back soon! And stay awhile next time, please!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011


Well, I've tried to post this a couple of times and Blogger hasn't been too eager to let me. I don't know, maybe it is discrimination against worms. Or maybe it hates my amateur photography. Needless to say, it has been a while since I could get things to work. Perhaps this time it will work (fingers crossed).

We arrived home from our spring break trip to a delightful little surprise on my doorstep - WORMS! Yes, the worms I ordered back in December finally arrived. I had purchased a black file box to house my worms quite awhile ago. I drilled 30+ holes all over it and filled it with damp newspaper shreds, coir and my new babies.

They seem to be adjusting to their new home quite well, although when I open the top to feed them, quite a few of them try to wriggle out. I keep reminding them that they will starve to death outside their new box but I guess you cannot reason with red wigglers.

It will be a few months until I can harvest the castings to use in my garden but I am having fun with my vermiculture experiment anyway.

In garden news, the trellis I made are installed and the garden beds are all weeded and ready for planting. I'll get some photos taken and up soon. The clouds have rolled in and the rain that is in the forecast for the next two days appears to be looming. So, I'll wait for a little sun before snapping progress photos for your enlightenment.

In knitting news, the baby blanket is almost finished. I need to knit 5 more inches or so, then I can bind off. THEN, I promise to take a photo of it and post it. Maybe I should just spend a day taking pictures of all the knitting I've finished in the past 5 months and get everything updated. Well, only if we can get some sun. It's been way too gloomy this month for successful photography anyway.

Disclaimer: All these excuses are merely a smokescreen. Truth: I have been too lazy to get the camera out.

Well, off to take Bubbles to swim practice. Ta-ta!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Gardening - At Last

The weather has been absolutely glorious this week. So, in spite of a sprained ankle and wrenched knee (long story involving skis, Lutsen Mountain and poor judgment), I got out into the garden this week and started a long-delayed, much anticipated project of adding some new flower beds.

I decided to be extra lazy efficient and do a lasagna layering method to get rid of the grass the new bedding area. I had harvested 30+ bags of maple leaves last fall and had them stored in black plastic bags over the winter. So yesterday, I spread the leaves over the grass, covered them with black plastic and spread wood mulch over the black plastic. The photo above shows the three different stages. Fortunately, the wind was not too strong, so I was able to tackle the job largely on my own.

In knitting news, I have started a baby blanket for a dear friend who just had their 5th baby. They had thought they were finished and had donated all of their baby stuff years ago. Then God blessed them with a miracle and they are starting all over again. I can hardly wait to see their newest son. Alas, I do not have a picture of the knitting progress but hopefully I can get one before I give it away this time.

Well, back to the garden. . .