May 26, 2010

Slammed

 

Have I mentioned I’m up to my eyeballs in work?  It’s almost over.  A week and a half and then I’ll have a life again and I’ll be able to post about things other than how much the plants have grown from the last time I showed them to you. 

Most of them ARE a growin’…..and I think it’s pretty cool, since I paid for them and all…….

Ok.  I just want to tell you to hang in there!  I have some great projects and ideas…..

  • I just bought a a COOL piece of furniture off Craigslist that is sitting in the garage waiting to be addressed (I’m actually not sure how much work will go into it, since I can’t tell what is dirt and what is paint.) 
  • I have a headboard idea that I think is pretty unique. 
  • I have an entire dusty, weedy backyard that is slowly getting attention and is slowly morphing into something interesting….
  • and I have at least thirteen empty flower pots and a completely bare front porch, all of which will be getting the star treatment just as soon as I have time. 
  • And I have a couple of unfinished Goodwill projects plus I haven’t even BEEN to Goodwill in forever, so a trip there is in order soon too. 
  • Oh yeah, and the pretty major kitchen cabinet transformation is scheduled for this summer too……..

If you watch and wait long enough…..

IMG_1121 Something good is bound to happen :)  (A bug perhaps?)

 

No….better than a bug! The countdown is on…

May 19, 2010

Soaker hoses are for the birds.

 

You know those black soaker hoses?  My mom used to use them ALL the time in her gardens.  They do work fairly well (better than sprinklers at least) and they keep evaporation down in our hot summer climate.

I tried to find some at Kmart a week ago and they didn’t have any.  Good thing, cuz I found something better!

Recently, we were introduced to drip systems.  There’s a whole AISLE at Home Depot dedicated to drip systems!  It’s so cool! 

See, here’s what happened. 

Our raised veggie bed has an irrigation system.  Here it is back in March:

IMG_1523 For some reason, it had been cut and plugged.  So we trotted out to Home Depot and bought a connector to hook it up back up again.

Then we turned on the sprinkler system to see how it worked.  The zone we turned on also contains some areas of the front yard.

Nothin’.

No water was coming out in the front yard areas, but the zone was turned on.  In fact…there was no water pressure at all.

And then…..we stuck our heads around the corner into the backyard.

Holy DOUBLE OLD FAITHFUL Batman!  We had TWO HUGE GEYSERS shooting straight up from….the veggie garden!

I think we were probably the laugh of the block that afternoon as we stood under the plumes of water looking for their source and laughing to ourselves about how nice and green our back neighbor’s grass was going to be.  Seriously, the water went up at least 15 feet and right over the fence into their yard.   It’s a travesty that I didn’t get a picture!

Ok, so now we knew why the irrigation to that raised bed had been plugged.  There were two holes in the hose which needed new sprayer deals.

Back to Home Depot. 

After spending a little more time in the dripper-system aisle, we found some neato stuff!  Bonus - it was nice and cheap.  We ended up buying some skinny little tubing and instead of putting new upright sprayers into the holes (similar to the ones you can see in the picture above) we opted to do this:

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Those are more like drippers.  They spray 360 degrees, but it’s not a fine mist or a high pressured spray.  I’m hoping it will be more effective than the high pressure, fine misted sprayers around the rest of the bed that literally hit the plants from the side with the water.

Well, the back garden (where the raised bed is located and which is mostly devoid of plants right now) is going to need some kind of regular watering system.  The areas on each side of the deck will need some as well, since the sprinklers don’t hit those areas.  And I was going to use soaker hoses.  (Oh, and apparently drip systems can be rigged up for patio pots too….I’m still thinking about that one.)

But soaker hoses?  Not anymore :)  They’ll be my back up plan.

Oh the possibilities with all those drip system components!! 

I haven’t bought the supplies yet, or even mapped out what I want to do or figured out how it all works, but you’ll know when I do! : )

May 18, 2010

Ahh, May.

 

Don’t you love May?  It can be 70 degrees one day and 40 degrees the next.

Remember my tomatoes?  Here they have just been planted and they do look a little worse for wear:

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Well then we had a few days where this was required:

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And now, sadly, my tomatoes look like this:

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I trimmed a bunch of the dead stuff off, so they are pretty spindly at this point.  But, there are new shoots of growth on all four plants (even if one plant only has one tiny little new branch), so I think they are going to make it.

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Other plants seem to be doing well.  Nothing is really taking off yet, but the fact that everything is still alive is heartening!

This weekend I got some irises transplanted out of one of the side areas and into the bare back garden so that we can seed that side area with grass seed.  I also transplanted a mystery plant that I recently figured out (thanks to Google) is a lily! (One of the big tall lilies- I’ve only ever had daylilies.) 

Here they are in the old, weedy location:

IMG_1779 IMG_1778We need to bury that dang cable.  It’s so annoying.

Neither the lily nor the irises bloomed after we moved into our house last summer, so I wasn’t sure what they were.  Apparently, both of these types of plants need separating now and then because their roots start to grow together, and when they need separating, they stop blooming.  After transplanting, I ended up with several clumps of irises and I spread the lily bulbs out too.  Very weird little organisms if you ever have to dig them up!

New locations:

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We’ve also filled several huge yard waste bins with that lovely bark.  Still working on it, but one side bed is completely ready to have its edging taken up to let the grass fill in :)

Now I’ll be working on slowly filling in the back bed with plants, figuring out a watering system, and putting mulch down.  Some more divided plants from the front yard (creeping phlox and yellow daylilies which are both getting so big!), and a visit to the nursery with my mom in June will probably introduce some fun new plants to the yard too.

But before you start thinking that my yard is SOOO gorgeous and TOTALLY unattainable (HAHAHAHAHA!) let me show you some other “success” stories!

IMG_1829 This is a hibiscus we planted last summer/fall.  It died.  Big time.  Luckily the nursery guaranteed it, so hopefully I’ll bring home a new one in June.  Meanwhile….it looks like a skeleton.

IMG_1834 This is the thorn in my side side of our house :)  I sprayed these suckers with Round Up a couple weeks ago and they are looking just a tad wilted.  They’ll be getting it again.  I have a lot of trouble controlling this particular weed, whatever it is.  (The brighter green in there is like…some kind of ivy or something, but it’s the grayish ones that are the real pain.)

I’d like to DO something with this area, since it just seems to collect weeds, but I don’t know what I would do except some kind of raised bed connecting the bed in the lower left corner to the fence.

And my alive but not-really-kicking plants are here:

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Uhh… these are either….a columbine….a cranesbill geranium……or a balloon flower :)  Who knows! (Not til it blooms at least)

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Wow, don’t you love my lame attempt at mulch?  That would be the measly pile of grass clippings that came from mowing one day.  It has a bunch of leaves and sticks in it too.  Looks a little like barf at this point.  Awesome.  Barf on black plastic. (See how the weed mat is sort of fluffy looking?  That would be because of all those grayish weeds growing under it. Gah!)  I *think* my general plan for this area is to let those plants get bigger and then remove the black plastic.  There is already red mulch under it, I just need some “good” plants to get established without really having to look at a ton of weeds….then hopefully….those good plants will shade/crowd out the little weeds.  I’m not sure…it’s a work in progress.

See?  I’m not perfect after all!  (wink, wink, WINK)

May 12, 2010

Snow. Again.

 

Ugh.  Need I say more?

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Clearly, I took this picture from an upstairs window.  Because I’m a wuss and I don’t want to get cold. :)

Are you wondering about that funny pot upside down on the wall of water?  I used a tomato cage inside the wall of water to keep it from blowing over and crushing the pepper in there.  But the tomato cage also prevents the wall of water from forming a “teepee” that would protect the plant (like the other walls of water on the left).  So it needed a hat :)

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Some pots filled with dirt and awaiting annuals.

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I covered the plants that I could with empty flower pots.  No picture, cuz I’d have to go outside for that!

And I covered the tomatoes with that lovely sheet which is probably soaked now (I always wondered just how effective a sheet could possibly be to keep plants warm.  Would you be ok with just a sheet?  Not me!)

My tomatoes actually look half dead under that sheet.  We had a very cold night last week and even though I covered them, it apparently wasn’t enough.  I think I messed up by planting such big plants.  If they’d been smaller and fit completely inside the walls of water, they might’ve been fine.

But the bottoms of the plants look alive, so I’m hoping if I just trim off the brittle upper branches that the plants will come back nice and strong.

I’ll show you …..when it warms up  (supposed to be in the 70s all next week)  :)

 

 

In the meantime, my sweet peas were starting to search for something to lean on.  So I went ahead and brought in one of the designated sweet pea planters and planted them! 

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And the other baby plants will have to wait a little longer:

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May 11, 2010

Reality = Sometimes Failure

I found some cool candle holder dealies at Goodwill a while back.  On the same trip I found a glass dome.  I had the grand idea to make a cloche by painting one of them and combining it with the glass dome.  (The candle holders were painted a really groovy navy blue swirled with orange.)  For some reason, I bought both of the candle holders.
Well,  most items I find at Goodwill seem to need a bath.  So I got home and immediately threw these guys in the dishwasher.

Whoops.   (Good thing it was the old, leaky dishwasher!)
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Clearly, they were NOT dishwasher safe!
They came out of the dishwasher with the paint in stages of meltiness. 
I thought, no problem.  I’ll just paint right over it and it’ll still work.
No dice.
The texture of the melted paint was very obvious under the primer.  (I don’t know what I was expecting…?)
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So I tried sanding.  That got old pretty fast, and didn’t help much.
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And they have been sitting on our kitchen counter ever since, waiting for me to figure out just what exactly I’m going to do to salvage them.  More sanding?  More primer?  Just paint them and see how they look?  Just hide the ugly parts by turning them against the wall?

I think I’ve decided.

They are going back to Goodwill for someone else to tackle.  Sometimes you’ve just got to throw in the towel and admit that your screw-up might need more attention or skills than you are willing or able to give it.
I’m keeping the dome with faith that I’ll find another base to put under it.  It had potential!
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Have I mentioned our forecast is 4-8 inches of snow tonight and tomorrow?

Oh my.  Stay tuned.
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May 6, 2010

Behind the Times

 

Sorry folks.  I’m pretty boring lately.  I’m entrenched in a huge work-related project that won’t be over until June.  Until then, it’s all I can do to schedule in (yes I do actually schedule it in)  some weed-pulling, veggie planting, and mulch-spreading.  It’s just because I have to get certain work things done every day and pulling weeds etc are “fun” things at this point in time. 

So in the evenings and on the weekends,  I alternate fun, work, fun, work.  It looks more like this: 

  1. plant five bulbs,
  2. work for two hours,
  3. spread mulch in the front garden,
  4. work two hours,
  5. go to grocery store,
  6. work for two hours (at this point in the day it usually turns into “work for one hour” = burnout)
  7. watch TV with Hubs for 30 min
  8. Etc.

Hubby doesn’t understand how housework can be fun for me (but the only other option is WORK work!)  “Real” fun is out of the question because it usually takes more than an hour and it often involves leaving home. 

But what this means for blogland is….. things like finishing projects, starting new ones, and getting organized (and clean – our house needs some cleaning attention) have to be on hold to the extent Hubby doesn’t want to take them on himself. 

And he’s been a trooper for the last few months, (he makes me dinner almost every night) so if he doesn’t want to scrub toilets, well that’s fine.  They’ll just be dirty until I get around to them…. uh, in June….(I know….)

So I can’t say I have much to show you these days.  In fact, I’ve been sad because I see all the fun linky parties every week and I have nothing to add :-(

I do have a handful of unfinished (really cool!) projects that I will eventually have to show you.  One of them I can almost guarantee you’ve never seen in blogland!  (It might also be a miserable failure, but I’ll show you either way.)  You and I both just have to wait a little longer and hang in there.

Unless anybody wants to see the pile of pulled weeds I accomplished last night?

You can shake your head no.  I understand :)

May 5, 2010

87 Mph

 

Was the high speed gust of wind in our area yesterday.  I think we got more like 50-70 mph gusts at our house.

Our patio table cover (held with tightly pulled elastic cords and one plastic clip around the bases of six chairs) blew right off.  It has another plastic clip that snaps around the base of a chair on the opposite side, but  I had unhooked it over the weekend to pull a chair out and enjoy the sun while Hubby was grilling.  If I hadn’t unhooked that one side,  I think we might have had a flying patio table.

The brand new grill cover….blew right off.  (Luckily, it didn’t blow away, just off.)

My watering can and a 5 gallon bucket were blown across the yard.  Not surprising.

Our front yard was decorated with a pizza box as I left for work.

But the worst part…..

Two of my wall of waters collapsed on my newly planted veggies.  I saw it this morning and ran out to set them back up (of course now they’re mostly empty so they need refilling – I hope that doesn’t also mean they have holes in them now) and checked on the plants.  It’s supposed to be calm and warm today, so I think I’ll give the plants a few hours to perk up and then I’ll go check them again.  They were pretty smashed.  =(

Hubby was going to take our tree stake supports off our new baby trees last weekend but didn’t get to it.  Those trees are probably grateful!

 

And much worse than that….but not for us….

A local greenhouse had one of their roofs ripped completely off and their plants blown across their parking lot.  Let’s all hope they can salvage most of them.

 

Hope your day was a little calmer :)

May 3, 2010

Veggie Tales

 

I love homegrown tomatoes.  Who doesn’t?  And we’re going to try our hand at growing and roasting green chilis.  And I thought bell peppers, jalapenos, and pole beans would also be nice additions to the homegrown tomato initiative :)

By the way, please forgive our ugly background dirt.  It will be transformed a little at a time.

Here’s the beginning of the veggie garden, after major weed pulling/forking.

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I tried growing tomatoes in pots on our south-facing balcony at our old apartment.  They got scorched from too much heat.  That, and *maybe* Hubby forgot to water them? or water them enough? while I was gone for a few days?  He thinks he might be the culprit, but probably it just got way too hot.

This year, I’m planting cherry tomatoes, and lots of ‘em!  Because I’m impatient and they’re ready sooner.

And hopefully being out in the open yard and not on a 3-sided balcony, they won’t scorch to death.

I finally got my hands on some “wall of waters” so I can get things planted and they’ll be protected from any cold nights still to come. 

image (Image borrowed from Burpee’s website.)

The raised bed is 12 feet by 4 feet.  Since tomatoes need 24 inch spacing, I stuck with one plant every 2 feet or so all the way down the bed, and I’ll plant the marigolds and nasturtiums in between.

 

Here’s the plan:

Red bell pepper     Tomato    Tomato   Pole Beans    Anaheim chili pepper     Jalapeno

Red bell pepper    Tomato    Tomato    Pole Beans     Anaheim chili pepper    Jalapeno

 

And I got it going this weekend :)

I visited a new nursery and got some HUGE tomato plants and my pepper plants.  I think I was quite the sight driving home with a veritable forest in my passenger seat!  I also picked up two huge tomato cages since the three I already had were small and flimsy.  Two of the flimsy ones are still employed, but we’ll see how they do. 

The tomatoes are a little droopy still.  They had to be finagled into those tomato cages, so there was a lot of poking, pulling, and prodding going on.  I’m sure they didn’t like it much.

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Beans (seeds) and the jalapenos (seeded inside) are still to be planted.  I also need to figure out what kind of trellis support I’m going to use for the beans.  Details :)  The jalapenos will go to the right of these wall of waters.

IMG_1774 See the new baby rhubarb planted in the upper right corner?  :)

I know some folks have HUGE veggie gardens.  I’m going to stick with just our raised bed this year.  This is partly because it’s already got nice dirt in it, and it’s partly because the other areas we *could* plant, need a lot of cleaning up, weeding, etc. (as you can see in the pictures – eek)  Plus, it’s my first season growing veggies in a real yard for a while, so I just kind of need to see how they do.

However, I did plant the rhubarb in the “big bed” and I just mixed some compost in with his dirt, so hopefully that will be enough to keep him happy.  He lived outside at the nursery all winter, can you believe that?  Apparently they really like the cold?

 

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This bell pepper plant is pretty happy in there.

 

Now just for the remaining plants/seeds (only one of my jalapenos has come up so far inside), getting the irrigation hose hooked up, throwing some mulch on top of that ugly weed mat, and the veggie garden will be all ready to GROW!

And I think it might get over 60 today for the first time in a week or so!  :) 

Have a great day!

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