Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hodge Podge, and Hi to Local People

If you are here because of reading the article in the paper, welcome!  The words in different colors are links to other places in my blogs, and one to Ben's blog.  There are also links in my sidebar to some of the subjects I've posted on, and links by dates so you can see photos from different seasons or read about a particular plant.  Here's a link to the post about the tree coming down.

I went out and bought a paper before ours got here, so I could read the article and get this several days in the making post up.  I wanted to see if there was anything that needed to be corrected, not because of the reporter so much, as the fact that when she asked me questions, I kept starting to answer, then got sidetracked.  I also interrupted her several times.  She did an awesome job writing the article!   (Thanks, Kathy and Erin for your patience.)  The article starts off talking about my international friends.  I am pleased to know people from all over the world, but the people I keep in contact with the most regularly are in the United States.  She quoted me from my profile, which I need to change, since I now have 2 grandsons, not one.  Everything else was spot on accurate.  I also enjoyed reading what she and Ben, from The Deep Middle talked about. 

Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by after reading the article.  If you do not have a blog, you can leave a comment by checking "anonymous".  Starting a blog is not too hard if you know how to export photos to your desktop.   It would be fun to have a larger group of local garden bloggers like there are in other communities.  Blogging makes me more aware of my environment, and helps me notice things I may not have otherwise. I also have a Christian blog, and one for our grandsons.

When the newspaper photographer came, I asked Larry if he wanted to be in some photos.  I should have known to mention it before she came, because he needs time to process things like that.  He graciously allowed me take a photo of him with his weed digger for this post.  It's his yard, too, after all, the place where he grew up.  It was he and his dad who planted the tree when he was a boy, dug from a neighborhood alley.

(To my fellow bloggers, the title of the article was, "Flowery Blogs".  The subtitle was, "The only thing gardeners love more than gardening is talking about gardening."  I like that.)

We have a neighbor who sculpts wood with a chain saw.  One of these days, I want to show some of his work in a post.  A few days ago, he was nice and let me hire him for a small fee to cut some steps out of the tree trunk.  He also cut 3 larger chunks for stools.  He didn't want any of the wood for his work, because silver maple is too soft.

I put some of the pieces in this bed, which is the one that led me to the Cottage Garden Forum at ivillage, which led me to blogging.  The larger one will probably go back into the new planting area once the stump gets removed.  It sounds like it will be soon.  One guy had come, but realized he needed help digging the dirt out of the raised area so the stump grinder could get to the stump.

Yesterday, I was able to do my first thinning of the lettuce and spinach.  I usually start when they are a bit smaller, but it hasn't worked out to get out there, mostly due to the weather.  Here are some before photos, followed by the photos I took at the same time, then the after I thinned the lettuce photos.

 I also found a couple radishes that were barely large enough to pick.  I didn't take photos while I was thinning.  I did last year, though.

I never buy lettuce plants.  I plant seeds, and as I thin, pull the roots off, and put the little thinnings in a bowl to take inside.  My goal is to create some space between the plants, and have some salad to eat later.  As they grow, and start to touch again, I thin some more. 

I harvested some of the violet leaves for the salad mix, too.

To clean the salad greens, I run water into the bowl they are in, and swish them around.  I lift them out, leaving most of the dirt in the bowl, and rinse a bit more in running water.

I usually leave them on the drainer about 10 to 20 minutes, then put them on a clean towel, and close it up and gently blot.  I don't use my salad spinner much, because the lettuce tends to get bruised.

I find it stores well in a plastic bag with a paper towel in it.  I forgot to try the lettuce keeper I got last year.  I'll have to see if I can save some plastic bags by using that.

Back in the garden, the beets are up!

I planted this asparagus last spring.  It didn't grow a lot.  I hope it does this year.  The onions are growing OK.  Usually, I plant them in a bed instead of in a straight row down the length of the garden.

I can't remember whether this kale was planted last year or the year before.  Soon, it will probably blooming.  I'll let it because I like the looks of the blooms, and the insects like them, too.  I picked some of the leaves to add to my lettuce mixture.

We only have chicken wire on 2 sides of the garden.  I'm hoping to finish up tomorrow or next weekend.  The rabbits have nibbled some of the lettuce, and are almost finished with the pea plants.  I wish I would have covered the plants.  Well, next year, this will not happen!

The garlic is doing well.  I'm not sure whose garbage lid that is, but I left it there for the birds to drink from.  It is ready to be dumped now, though.

I can't remember whether I planted the cilantro growing near the spinach, or if it planted itself.  I do get volunteers most years.  The sunflowers were from last year's plants.  I won't let all of them grow.  There isn't room, and the squirrels always tear them up.

 I was excited to  discover the showy milkweed I planted at the edge of the vegetable garden last year survived the winter.  I hope there are lots of monarchs this year.

 The purple milkweed is up in the side yard.  Another one I planted is not up so far.  The wild milkweed and butterfly milkweed are not up yet, either.

I think this is the swamp milkweed, 'Cinderella' starting to peek through.

I had to include a photo of the tulips looking so pretty against the bicycle.  I got the basket planted in the rain Saturday evening.

I was excited to see my first bee for the season.  It was shy, though, and did not stick around long enough for me to get it in focus.  Later in the season, they will let me get quite close and not fly off.

I've been enjoying hearing the birds sing, and watching them on the hunt.  The other day, I saw a blue jay take a worm from a robin.  It flew away before I could get a close enough photo.  This robin kept looking at me, taking a few steps, and looking again.  Maybe we entertain the birds as much as they entertain us.

I keep getting different ideas for where to put the new planting areas, and what shape to have them.  I thought I was going to do something similar to what's on the other side, then, decided to have it go across the front, from sidewalk to sidewalk to create privacy.  That way, the more level area even with and behind where the tree was can be a seating area.  Now, I'm thinking about having a number of differently shaped beds, so they can each have unique things in them, and leaving more paths of grass.  I'd love to surround the whole seating area with plants to enclose it a bit.  We may put a black fence like the one across the way in the front part of the area, and plant on both sides of it.  Maybe we'll do it in stages instead of all this year.  I bought a book today on beds and borders that has some great ideas in it.

Larry and I dug some of the dirt out to make it easier for the guys to get the stump grinder in, and so we can have some dirt to put back into the hole.

Here's the area that I will leave the grass in.

I plan to include a spot for this hollow piece that was home to the squirrels.  It's one of the main reasons the tree had to come down.  I may put some dirt in it, and plant something.

 Happy Easter!


  1. You have been so busy, Sue! This has been such an interesting and enjoyable post and it's great to know the newspaper article you'd mentioned has now been published and that you're pleased with it :) I hope this leads to many pleasant gardening friendships forming in your area!

    I love what you've done so far with all the wooden disks and logs and I'm really rather envious of your beautiful hollowed stump! I'd love to see the sculptural work your neighbour does! Also, nice photo of Larry :)

    Your veggie garden is coming along so well and your freshly picked baby lettuce leaves look deliciously tempting. To me there's nothing to beat freshly grown salad herbs and leaves, with tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers and goat's milk cheese served with crusty bread! Yum!

    I can't wait to see what you finally decide to do with all the new ground you have to play around with. It's clearly giving you a lot of fun planning it all :)

    Hope you and your family are having a wonderful Easter weekend and that the new baby is settling well!

  2. Happy Easter Sue and Larry.

    Congrats on the article. Your place is really starting to burst forth in all its spring glory. Love your greens and radishes freshly picked and ready to eat.

    Have a lovely day ~ FlowerLady

  3. Con grates on your article. I planted 5 swamp milkweed seedlings a week ago. Have seen 3 monarchs this past week and a few swallowtails. There just flying around aimlessly. Where did you get your monarch station icon? The temps are so low everything is in slow motion growth wise and we're missing all the rains. Never enjoyed the early lettuce that much, just not enough body I suppose. Actually my wife doesn't care for it.

  4. Have a wonderful Easter Day........He Has Risen and He is our King and Shepard. Amen..

  5. ( ),,( )
    Happy Easter

  6. Sue,
    Happy Easter! Grads on being in the paper! Just a note on lettuce and salad greens, we NEVER thin them. We grow them in one big mass and it keeps the dirt off the bottom of the leaves. More of our greens are bolting or about to bolt.

  7. What a treat, reading the article in the paper this morning! I first read of your tree coming down on facebook from Larry's post. It made my mind go wild with the possibilities of a new flower bed. Your flowers and veggies are so far ahead of mine...I must be in a cooler zone, being east of 48th St. Like Randy, I never thin my salad greens either. I have them planted in an old wagon on the deck to keep the rabbits from helping themselves. They have sprouted, but not as much as yours. We just need some more sun and not as much rain!

    I'm so glad I found your blog. A local garden to follow!

    A Blessed Easter to you!

  8. Happy Easter Sue! I just read the article on FaceBook that The Deep Middle posted. It's so cool for you to be profiled like that.

    I love all the great ideas you have for your new space. Looking forward to seeing it progress.

    Those pieces of tree trunk that you saved are going to make great planters!!

  9. Good morning Sue and Happy Easter
    I was thrilled to see the article profiling you and your garden in today's paper. They couldn't have found a better gardener to profile, you never cease to amaze me when it comes to your knowledge of flowers, plants, vegetables...etc... You are a great blogger too; your entries are both entertaining and educational. It has been fun watching KJ grow up through your stories and now we get to enjoy CE. Thank you for sharing your knowledge of gardening through your words and photos.

  10. I like the stumpages lending flair - Mrs. Robing scoping it all out .. work coming to fruition sk

  11. Great to see you in the LJS article. Keep an eye on your milkweed plants, you never know when a momma Monarch might stop by to lay eggs. Even if the plants are only a few inches tall.

    Dan The Butterflyman

  12. Congratulations on being in the newspaper Sue. Lots of work going on in your garden now. I love the bit of tree trunk with the hole in it -- lots of character. I'm sure you can do something interesting with that.

  13. Hey Sue, I planted several of the seeds you sent and I have a few teeny tiny little green heads poking through the soil.

    Congrats on the article and happy easter!

  14. How exciting about the newspaper!! I just finished checking my milkweed for eggs. .none yet. .but the monarchs have been flying around!! I am intrigued with the swamp milkweed you mentioned. .will have to check in to that sometime!! Hope you had a great Easter!!


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