Thursday, January 31, 2008

Snow Day!

Guess what we got? Snow, and a ton of it! We were supposed to get 5-7 inches, and we got that plus some, and it just started snowing again. Oh goodie. The kids were out of school due to the powdery white stuff, so it's been one of those 'I haven't got anything done' days. I guess I did manage to get a little done, I got my seeds ordered from two of the heirloom seed companies I found. I can't wait to get started sowing my tomatoe and pepper seeds. I took inventory of the seedlings yesterday, just to put on paper the number of each kind of plant that I have. I will post the numbers when I move them all to the greenhouse, hopefully later next month.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sweet Potatoes

Yesterday I decided to get my sweet potatoes started. Well, get my starts started. I tried growing sweet potatoe slips before, but I did the cutting them in half lengthwise and pushing them into dirt thing. This time I decided to do the toothpick- water in a jar thing.


Back in November right before Thanksgiving, sweet potatoes were 17 cents a pound, and I bought like four bags full. Luckily, I still have a few, so I didn't have to buy any. One even had a few sprouts already! So this is what I ended up with, I think they look kinda neat in the window. I just hope the gnome doesn't get thirsty and drink all the water. I bought him for $2 back in October at a garage sale. I also bought a shovel and wheelbarrow his size, I just have a find the perfect place for them this year. Maybe I need a fairy garden like Carol has?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

'Farted'

CHEESE!!!!!
Emily Sue passes gas like an almost two year old. She sometimes squats, occasionally grunts loudly, and will definitely do it front of absolutely anybody. Anytime. Anywhere. Her older siblings found this completely hysterical, of course. For some reason they all started telling her 'you farted' after every incident. You guessed it, now my almost two year old thinks that the thing she needs to say after such as occurence, is, of course, 'farted'. She will say it after anyone else in the room does it. Loudly. I tried to reason with the children, by asking, what do you think is going to happen when she does it in church? She is going to tell everyone exactly what happened, even if they didn't hear it!! (But of course it will probably be during prayer.) This picture, posted bright in their heads, did not bring the desired reaction. Instead, it brought huge gales of laughter from my loving children. I can't wait until we're in Wal-Mart, and the old lady next to us passes gas.

Seedlings, seedlings, everywhere!

I am seriously running out of room in my sewing room for seedlings. I have moved the tiny kids' table in here, it's just to the left of the picture. I rotate the trays, the ones that are taken off the lights go under the table, and what was under the table moves taward the windows. I know it don't look like it, but I really do have a system. I actually sit in one of the mini chairs and use the table to replant seedings, and start seeds.
The brown tray on the top left of the bottom picture full os seedlings, too. It's a kitty litter tray, I bought like six of them last year, They are great in the greenhouse. (Not to mention something I can easily pick up at the local dollar store.) My plant markers are plastic spoons, written on with a permanent magic marker. I have to break the rounded end off of the ones that go into the smaller pots, but thats easy enough to do.
On a personal note, I know several others have had colds lately, and I must have forgot to wash my hands after visiting their blogs, because I now have it. I have to be well by the weekend. I HAVE to. But I know that if its going to be that nice, I'll go outside anyway and suffer the consequences later. One station today at lunch said Sat 55 degrees, Sun 60 degrees, Mon 60 degrees. Wow. If I don't post until Tuesday, you all will know why!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Spring is 57 days away!

I love seeing those counters on other peoples blogs that say only so many days till spring. Today they said 57 more days. It won't get here quick enough, February seems like the longest month of the year sometimes. But then again 57 days might not be enough time for me to get everything finished before spring. Saturday is supposed to be 47 degrees, and Sunday is supposed to be 55 degrees. I HAVE to get all those bulbs in the ground. I also hope to finish the arbor. Or arbors as it might be. Oops. I'm telling on myself. I have decide that my pea trellis is either going to be longer, with not just two 'sides' but three or four. Or I'm going to leave the two posts with the branches started, and simply move the other one, and put it further over, with another post, making two free-standing walls, so to speak. Maybe three free-standing walls. HHhhhhhmmm.
Gotta go, have to go get milk before I have to get the kids. Taking five kids to the grocery store is just no fun.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Wisteria and Moving Furniture





Here's the other picture I took on Saturday. You can see the new bed, it's the newly tilled area just past the white post in the middle of the circle. You can see the three posts I put in the ground for the trellis. I have a wisteria I got from a neighbor that I want to plant by the clothesline post. I got it a year ago in fall, and the poor little thing has had to stay content in the pot the entire summer. I simply couldn't come up with the perfect place to plant it, since I have an exact idea of how this particular plant behaves in a garden once it becomes settled. We had one at the last house, it was trained to an arbor that covered the walkway to the driveway. I miss the blooms in spring, it was always so beautiful. And yes, I also recall the number of times per year I trimmed the thing.

Almost all of the Lupines have been replanted into those cheap little styrophome coffee cups. (Yes, with a drainage hole added) They really have taken off, and should be very good size when planting time comes. I love planting more seeds, but I'm running out of room for seedlings. I'm not sure I could stand it if I had to wait another month to start more!

We've been moving furniture around, and perhaps we will have an extra shelf when we're done. Hhhhhhmmm.........

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Pea Trellis Progress















I had a basketball game to go to at eleven this morning, but I did manage to get outside for a little bit this afternoon. I loaded around 12 wheelbarrow loads of mulch and put in three different places. One was by the front door, a spot of heavy traffic that needed help. Tomorrow I'll show you what I did. I had to go to the south side of the pile of mulch to find a spot that wasn't frozen. After that I worked on the trellis I'm making for the sweet peas and morning glories. A couple of weeks ago I got the three large posts in the ground, right before it got so cold and froze the ground solid. This is all I got done today before my fingers got too cold and I had to go in. I have a ways to go, but I like the way it looks so far.
I have another picture, and I want it below here, but I can't seem to get it there. I'm feeling rather stupid right now, so it'll just have to wait til tomorrow. I fought the computer, and the computer won!!!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

More spring bulbs


It's not my fault, really. It started when had to go to a nearby town for one of my oldest son's basketball games last night. In my defense I went to Wal-Mart looking for seeds, you know, the cheap 25 cents a packet kind. I know they usually carry a few things I want, and I'm tring to make sure before I send my next seed order in. Well, they had spring bulbs on sale, usually $7.96, marked down to $2.50. Jerks. I had to buy some. You see, now, don't you?
The four Packages of King Alfred Type daffodils are going out front, I can't plant tulips up front, we have too many squirrels up there. Since the cats hang out by the back door, that's where all my tulips go. I just happen to have a new flower bed ready for the two packages of Purple Flag tulips. The asparagus wasn't on sale, I just don't have any, and want to start a bed. I figured I'd better get them now, because after a month of sitting on the warm shelves at Wal-Mart, they will be growing out of their packages.
Now I just have to plant them all, along with the other two packages I bought back in November that are sitting in the garage. BBBBBbbbbbbrrrrrrrrrr!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Vegetable Garden Plan II


Okay, here is number two. I guess I'll start with the basics. My vegetable garden is 70 by 70 feet, as of this year. It was 50 by 50 feet last year, but in September I moved the grape vines that were on one end to another spot, so I could increase the size of the garden. If you look real close you can just make out the square of the garden in the top of the picture. Sorry, I could have taken a better picture, but I didn't realize what it looked like until I pulled it up on the computer, and frankly, it's just too cold to go outside and get a new one. I have 19 different vegetables and 3 fruits in the garden plan this year, we'll have to see if it all comes together as I hope. I also plan to order some different fruit seeds from rareseeds.com, I have a tendency to plan way more than I can truely accomplish, but I'm ordering kiwi seeds, passionfruit seeds, huckleberry seeds, kiwano and narajilla seed. Yes, all that plus my vegetables, flowers, kids, and maybe a garden on the other side of the block. That is a story for another day, though. Don't let me forget to tell it. It's building up to be a very busy year.
The first year we were here I tilled part of the garden area, but it was already June, so not much got planted that year. I added sawdust from a woodworking place here in town, huge bags that were taller than me, and about two feet wide in both directions. Last year I added more sawdust (about 10-15 bags), and a huge pile of manure from a farmer, which had to be dumped by the road and moved by the wheelbarrow load. Every year I add all the leaves from raking most of the property, which the kids help rake. Improving the soil is so important in vegetable gardening. You don't absolutely have to, but boy, does it help the yields.
One last thing. I have read several places that adding a book of matches in the bottom of the hole when planting peppers helps them grow. Has anyone tried it, and the stick matches are the same thing, aren't they?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Vegetable Garden Plan I

Well at least it's a different garden this time. But to be honest this is the second sketch I made. I'm a visual person, so I have to see it on paper to really be sure it's exactly what I want. The only reason I did it now was because I want to make sure I order enough seeds.


I can't even begin to imagine how much money I have spent on seeds over the years, but I do have a plan this year. I have never been very comfortable saving seeds, but I saved a lot of flower seeds last year, and I'm feeling more confident in that area. So I am ordering as many open-polinated and heirloom seeds as I can, with hopes of saving seeds from as much as possible. The pink highlights are the all-season vegetables, and the yellow highlights indicate the ones I will be sowing in spring and again in fall. I didn't have much of a fall garden last year, and I really regret it. It's sounds so funny to say last year, it was just four monthes ago!!!
I guess I'll have to continue this tomorrow, my oldest is dying to get on the computer, and I'm not sure I could move his 6'1" body if he did. Has anyone else planned their vegetable garden for next year?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The new plan, shut-up, It might too be the last one.


Over at Mr. McGregor's Daughter, she posted about the latin name of a plant changing. I told her I didn't have the desire or room in my memory to even begin down that page. But, I will admit it actually came in very handy today. I started a packet of lavender- ' lady' about a month ago. The packet of Burpee seeds said the height would be 8-10 inches. I bought a packet from T's, and her packet of lavender- 'lady' said 18-24 inches. I was so confused. Then I happen to look at the genus names, and they were different!! Ahhh, mystery solved. But I can't explain why the packet of seeds I bought this year of Burpee seeds, yes, the same lavender- 'lady' said 12 inches. Same genus name and everything. You may ask why I keep buying so many. I plan to plant them completely up and down one pathway. Won't that look spectacular in bloom? One path will have lavender 'lady' and another will have pink lavender. I'm just not sure I'm gong to have enough of the pink to do all I want. I'll just have to get more seeds, and start more. What a shame, heheh. The page above is the new plan. I really like this one a lot better, although I will have to move two paths and find a LOT more brick.
The funny thing is, it took me forever to type this out, I have to keep getting up and checking on Emily. At this moment she is in her sisters' room, won't they be happy when they figure that one out? For some reason they can always tell when baby sister has been in their room, rearranging the Bratz house, go figure. I'd better go and rescue the ugly little dolls. Have a nice day!!!!

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Rest of the Family

This is Nickolas, my oldest, he will be 17 in April. This is my step-son, Matthew, he's 15. I have no idea why, they just decided to be wierd for this picture. This is Abigail, she is 11 and 1/2.
The one above is Tyler, below is Tiffany. They will be 10 in two weeks.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Timothy!!!!

It's Timothy's 8th birthday, so he decided he didn't have to comb his hair today. This is his mischeavous smile, he looks like he's doing something he shouldn't. Isn't he a cuttie?? And yes, that is dirt on his fingernails, he was helping his Dad finish stacking the firewood. Voluntarily. No, you can't have him.

Abby's Petunia



Isn't it pretty? And look at all the little seedlings in the background. I spent all yesterday afternoon moving firewood and burning off brush piles. We took a large round of trees down in the far end of the property, and most of it was cleaned up except for the small brush that needed raking up. So I spent a lot of time raking all that up, too. Boy, I felt it all when I went inside last night.

Today is my youngest son's birthday- Happy Birthday, Timothy!!!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I love Oreo Cookies!

Yesterday afternoon my kids got a rare treat- Oreos. I gave them each a cup of milk and some oreos, including little Emily. I think she left hers in the milk a little long, but boy, did she enjoy herself!
I can't believe I forgot to put a bib on her. That shirt is going to have to soak. My Mother and I made yo-yo's together with her new set of yo-yo makers. This is what I came up with. Do you think I have gardening on the brain or what? The rick rack didn't match perfectly, but somehow it made the picture pop. What do you all think?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

All I wanted was some soil- stupid Wal-Mart people.

I went to Wally World last night for groceries, sometime around seven, I'd say. I went to the garden center for soil. I did, too. I initially went for soil, just because they had one small section of seeds out is not my fault. Anyway, all the soil was outside in the little caged-in area and the door wouldn't open. I had to go to the sporting goods guy to ask for help. Twice. Than a guy came who didn't have the key, radioed to the guy who did and left. Manager with key came, unlocked the door and walked away(I had only been waiting like 45 minutes). I went out into the cold by myself, loaded the largest bag they have after removing the large metal thingy laying on top of it. And he watched me come back in and locked the door behind me again. You have GOT to be kidding me. The check out lady only had this to say- "who goes outside to get soil at this time of night?". It's official, I am crazy, and it is apparently showing. Tell me where and I'll try to wipe some of it off.

Monday, January 7, 2008

After Christmas Cactus

I had to go to Kansas City yesterday to get my son at the airport. He spends two weeks at Christmas and two monthes of the summer with his Dad up there. I only get off at one exit, the only one I feel comfortable at. It has a Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart, Lowes, bookstore, and about a hundred other places. But all I wanted to see was seeds. Shut-up, I do too need more seeds. NO ONE HAD THEM OUT! Can you belive that? But I did check out the clearance rack, since everything on it was an additional 75% off. These little beauties were marked down to 50 cents. So with the additional discount, I got all of them for a whopping 12 cents apiece. I figured I could nurse them all and give part of them as gifts next year when they're blooming.

Here is a picture of my Lupines, boy they are getting big, they grow so fast, don't they? Soon they will be moving out of the house and starting little families of their own. Just kidding. But they will be moving out. I also bought a digital min/max thermometer at Lowes so I can tell when it's okay to start putting all my seedlings out in the greenhouse. I have read a couple places say it has to be at least 55 degrees in there. And since I'm not heating it with a heater, I'm using large containers filled with water to absorb heat, I'm not really sure when the temperature will be high enough at night. I'll see if I can get out there with the camera so I can take a picture to show you.

And last but not least, a quick look at my Mandeilla Vines. One is red, the other fushia pink. They are recovering nicely from their accidental freeze. They both have lots of growth on them, and maybe I can get them to bloom again before spring.


Friday, January 4, 2008

Only 16 Weeks To Go!

Here in zone 6 I am roughly 16 weeks until the average last spring frost. I know we have only just begun winter, but I only added it up so I could plan my seed starting a little bit. I don't mind starting the perennials a little earlier, they can go out to the greenhouse even when it's a little cool yet. (I was thinking maybe the end of February or the beginning of March.) Tomatoes and peppers are an entirely different story. If I start them too early they will be three feet tall before I could plant them outside. My family is pretty understanding when it comes to me and my obsession with plants, but I'm sure not going to push it. Sixty three foot tall tomatoe plants in the house just might send them over the edge.
I have a red and white petunia and a white geramium in bloom right now. And somehow all the rest of the plants seem to recovering well from their brush with death back in November, minus two I think.
I also added up the number of different seeds I have started as of today. Today I went out to the greenhouse and got more propagators to start more seeds, seventeen more to be exact. So I have 47 different perennials, two different kinds of onions, and some alpine strawberry seeds started. Yesterday I got my seeds in from T's (YEAH), so thats what brought on the seed starting today. No, I'm not telling you how many I ordered. But I will tell you that I didn't get them all started today, not even close.
I know I am not alone in my getting breathless at the sight of a package that is known to contain seeds. Oh, the euphoria involved in opening a package and holding in your hands the tiny little seeds that will one day produce the fruits of your labor, wether it be of the flower or vegetable variety.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I Need Ideas!!

A while back I posted about a problem area of mine, and now that I have a digital camera, here it is:
Ugly, huh? The windows on the left go into the dining room, and the ones on the right are to the family room. The stairs also go into the family room, and this is the door we use the most. We have an air conditioner, guttering, and all the utility boxes to contend with. A trellis would have to not block the utility boxes or the windows, and I couldn't grow anything on it, because it would have to be able to be moved. I plan to build some sort of low screen for the air conditioner, any other ideas? The steps and door here face straight north, but it gets some sun in the summer.
This is a picture of the front porch, I have managed to do a little landscaping here. I realize it's hard to see, with everything hibernating. Straight right of this picture would be the dining room windows, with a fireplace in between.
Hopefully we will get around to repainting the shutters and trim next year, I don't really like the dark color. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!!

Guess what I did today? Yes, I replanted seedlings. This is what I did today, the bottom shelf of the grow shelf is what was done within the last week. I have way more plants than grow lights, but I'll just rotate whats under the lights until the greenhouse is warm enough to hold them.

I planted more seeds in the propagators, as of now I have started 36 different kinds of seeds. I counted all that I have replanted into the little cups, and here's the counts:
True Lavender- 12
Lavender, Lady- 81 (old seed, but WOW did it grow)
Pink Lavender- 20 (left after disease wiped out a good part of them)
Yellow Coneflower- 8
Astilbe- 4 (would have had more if I hadn't spilled the packet everywhere)
Lupine, Tutti-Fruity- 25
Evening Primrose- 45
Butterfly Weed, Cinderella- 27
Butterfly Weed, Gay Butterflies- 9
Lupine, Russell Hybrids- 31
Lupine, Lulu- 40
And last I leave you with a petunia. My daughter gave me this last year on May Day. It got nipped at Thankgiving, but it came back. I'm SO happy. Abigail loves the fact that I still have it.
I know you can't believe I'm not outside moving more brick, but I'm a little sore, and its a lot cold. Like 29 degrees cold. I'm terribly sorry, I guess I'm not dedicated enough to freeze my butt off for the sake of the garden. I hope that doesn't change your opinion of me. LOL