Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Slush from the sky

(Edited to add photos.)

As I was standing by the diningroom window, watching the rain/snow/crap fall, I realized a small pond was forming where the storm drain is. The storm drain that was dug up and replaced. The area around the storm drain across the street looks even worse. Hopefully, the grates are just plugged up with loose straw. I called 311 ("one call to city hall") and hopefully someone will look into it. Someone who is paid to be out in this weather.

The other night I made some tomato potato soup (from Love Soup, of course). I used up the last of my Irish potatoes from this year, the last of the frozen paste tomatoes from last year, and 10(!) cloves of homegrown garlic. The soup also called for parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, all of which I have growing indoors.

Re the Meyer lemon, I did a little research and they are fully ripe when orange-yellow, but once they are yellow, they may be used. Maybe tonight, after I shovel the slush off the driveway, I'll celebrate the season with a vodka tonic with a twist of Meyer lemon.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Note to self

Today I planted some spring bulbs and I want to remember what and where.

Winter Aconite (Eranthis cilicica) - 12 bulbs (they look more like corms), nestled in the curve of the front walk, close to the concrete

Golden Bells Carpet Daffodil - 50 bulbs, most along the south side of the north shrub bed in the backyard, some in the middle of the bed by the front walk.

Sunny Twinkles Allium (Allium moly) - 35 bulbs, along the castle block in the bed by the front walk.

Every year, I try to resist buying spring bulbs that must be planted in the fall because I *know* I will not feel like planting them when the time arrives. And usually I am successful in resisting. But not this year. Fortunately, today was lovely and mild, perfect for putting up outdoor xmas decorations (which I don't do) and planting bulbs.

My only concern is, the winter aconite should have been planted in partial shade, and their location is more morning sun/afternoon shade. We'll see how they do.

(All bulbs were purchased from Brecks.)

Friday, November 25, 2011

A green Thanksgiving

And by "green" I am not talking about ecology or recycling or any of that Earth Day stuff. I am talking about the green, green grass. Even the impatiens on the front porch hung on until a week or so ago. If I were more motivated, I would mow the lawn. But I'm not that motivated.

My SO was motivated to help me finish up the raised beds, thank goodness. I made one 2'x8' bed and two 4'x4' beds; he put together five more 4'x4' ones. I like the *idea* of woodworking, but in reality, find it very tedious. Knitting thousands of stitches to create a sweater or a pair of socks is not daunting to me at all, but drilling a few dozen holes and screwing together pieces of cedar did me in.

While contemplating experimenting with square foot gardening, I debated on what materials to use in building the raised beds. Cedar was one choice, obviously, but I also considered cement blocks, primarily because I pictured planting flowers in the holes. Cement blocks have their shortcomings, though, so I am going to give them a small chance to prove they are a good idea.

Meanwhile, in the garden proper (which is mostly weed patch and mint farm) today I positioned some of the beds according to a design I have worked over and over and over again. The ultimate plan calls for more beds, of course, but I did not want to go whole hog yet. (In the background is the 2'x8' bed, upside down, awaiting its final fate.)

The first vegetable to enter the square foot garden experiment is garlic, which I planted today in one of the patio beds - four varieties, 9 cloves of each, one square per variety. This is very different from how I planted it last year, in rows spaced 12" apart. We shall see how this works out.

The Meyer lemon retreated to the indoors quite a while ago, and finally, *finally* one of the fruits is ripe.

I think. It looks ripe, but I hate to pick it prematurely. Must do some research.

More recently, more outdoor plants moved back inside.

The parsley in the foreground is some that just sat there, sharing a pot with a tomato plant that also just sat there, all summer long. I think I created my own potting soil for this particular pot, and apparently did not do a very good job. Once the parsley was repotted with some commercial potting soil dumped out of the sweet potato bags, it began to perk up.

Speaking of sweet potatoes, I roasted some last week and they were delicious.  And yesterday our Thanksgiving table was graced by the Irish potatoes.  The green beans were *not* from the garden, but the onions were.  The climate is changing, which means we need to adjust our gardening methods, so as to continue to grace our tables with backyard bounty.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Must be an election year

The plan was to post this before election day, but per usual, plans are meant to be spoiled.  Anyway, the missing storm sewers have been replaced.  What other work occurred is a mystery, but I am hoping when the winter snows melt and the spring rains fall, my yard will not be under water.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

More power!

Even though I own a circular saw and electric drill, I'm not big on power tools. I usually leave them to my SO, who is very obliging in that area. However, I figured that even I could put together some raised beds for the garden. And I was right.

Here is a 2'x8' bed, fated to hold raspberry plants. My original plan to locate it near the garden proper has been put on hold, as while researching raspberries in raised beds, I learned that raspberries have a tendency to ramble. To prevent this, one needs a root barrier that goes at least 18" deep. I'm not sure how I am going to accomplish that, but I have all winter to think about it.

The other beds are 4'x4', the size recommended for square foot gardening. It is also a good size for someone with my (lack of) upper body strength.  My personal design uses 1"x2" boards at the corners, with one inch protruding below the bed proper, to help anchor it, and about 7 or 8 inches above, in case I want to double the depth of the bed in the future.

These two are for asparagus and strawberries. I am hoping that, by placing them close to the house, I will pay more attention to them. We'll see how that works out.