Monday, February 26, 2024

Seed Starting

Here's what I am planting. All the info is on the back of the package. 
 And here is the seed starting tray. Recycled egg shells and egg carton. The front row is where I thought ahead and carefully snipped off the top of the shell, whereas the next row was just the remaining shells when I didn't consider planting in them first.  I have another one and a half dozen eggs in the fridge if these turn out to be a good idea. The potting mix inside came from the bulbs and roots of the other plants I bought, so essentially this is a free exercise. I'll keep you posted on how they do.

 I got these white ceramic pots from church, for free, and popped my elephant ears in them with some water, to encourage rooting. I am already seeing tiny tips of green on the 'nipples' of each of these. 
Speaking of green, I bought an expensive large hosta last year from Lowe's and never planted it at my last house. It got ignored pretty much in the move, but I did bring it along to this house and continued to ignore it, not watering or planting it at all. But to my delight, and just at the right time for my planting enthusiasms, it is popping up with 8, count 'em, 8 sprouts. I will be putting the plant in the ground today. It will get to 74 degrees and be warm all week, including warm nights. ( Yay Tennessee!) Rain is coming, so I am so happy to get my trowel out and dig a bit. 

Friday, February 23, 2024

Laundry room greenhouse

 Peat pots filled with hosta roots. And a plastic bin with calla corms which had sprouted, so I quickly potted them up, covering the tiny sprouts. A bag of Stella D'Oro roots sits there waiting to be planted in my porch planter, outside.

 These dried out pink Iris, are now showing signs of life at the root end. I have them sitting in a bit of water, and voila, they woke up. Next to them are some more hosta roots just starting to show green.

 I believe these are day lilies, but are they ditch lilies or something nicer? I dug them out of my front garden-bed-to-be, and just plunke them down on a wet corner of my tray. They're enthusiastic, but I am not replanting yet. Or ever. We'll see.

 Three out of four of these Hosta Olive Bailey Langdon look promising. The one root had a sprout but it got knocked off, so I await the possibility that the root will push another sprout up soon. Gardener's have faith...

 Stella D'Oro needs water and soil. I expect to see leetle green sprouts from those peat pots in a few days, Calla lilies. 

 Two out of five Asiatic lilies have sprouts. Not so sure about the other three. 

Friday, February 16, 2024

Potting and Soaking

 Today I decided to open and inspect the perennials I bought in bags from Walmart. They are available everywhere, like Lowes and Home Depot but I happened to be in WM the day they first went on sale. It is important to get there early before they die in the packages, which has happened when I bought them later in the year.  In the egg carton I have 32 Dutch Iris, Miss Saigon, which all but two look very healthy and some have even shown their first sprouts. They are sitting in a bit of water just to encourage life. In the pots at the top of this tray are four Patriot Hostas and at the bottom are six Stained Glass Hosta. Those all have huge long roots so I am excited to get them going. 


In the middle are five Oriental Mix Lily bulbs.  Only two look really healthy, but you never know. I saved my receipt if they don't make it.  Then in the next picture are three Calla Lily corms, which look fabulous. Lots of buds are visible and no gross fungus on them, Yay! I may buy more of these. No color is listed on the package, so who knows, but I will guess it will be yellow. 

 Then I am again trying Tennessee Ostrich Ferns. Two have lots of curled fronds ready to green up and the other two, meh. People are always telling me that ferns will take over. OK. Let's prove it. 

 If you could recognize these roots, you win the prize. These are Hollyhocks! Giganto roots, so I am excited to try these in my garden. I grew some back in IL but they got some sort of disease, making the leaves gray and dried out. I am hoping they have fixed this in the intervening years. Doubled flowers, no color specified. But healthy lookin', no?

 Then three Bearded Iris, Cherub's Smile, in PINK! Very dried out rhizomes, but I guess that means they didn't get moldy on the way here. I'm soaking them for a day or two to revive them. One of my neighbors iris are up six inches at the moment, so I am hoping to get these in the ground as soon as the bed is prepared. Not jumping the gun, since I assume it will be weeks before that will happen.

 And what can this be? It is four big roots of Bleeding Hearts. Yay! I love these plants and hope they take in my new garden. Two have long sprouts already, in white, and hopefully they will green up now in my sunny laundry room. 
Here's my beauty from 2011. Sigh. I've been trying to get one that rivals this guy ever since. Maybe this year.

Still in the package, 9 Stella Doro roots. I kinda think they will just go straight into the garden, as I  have faith they will do well here.  I am hoping to get some Southern Comfort heucheras and a Celandine Poppy...but I may have to order them. My shade garden will be glorious if it contains plants like these.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Bags on Board

The rectangular bed and the big 100 gallon bed are opened in my living room. The round one looks like a deflated ballon, but it will be upstanding when filled. The rectangular bed is 48"x 24" by 12"deep. 
The round one is 50" in diameter and 12" deep. All the big round beds are already sold out on Temu. But I got three more smaller versions, 3' in diameter. I think this is enough of a garden, but wait, there's more! I also got ten 30gal bags.

I am considering ordering bags of soil from Lowe's or Walmart and having them deliver. We'll see what that entails. 
 Here's the first big project in the front of the house. I want to remove all the sod, which is mainly weeds and Bermuda grass, and then fill it with new weed-free compost and top soil. We had a good two days of constant rain, which makes the hard-as-rock ground much softer and to test it, I got out my spade and began to dig.

 Fifteen minutes of digging and I had my wheelbarrow full. Where to put this stuff? In my back yard are big holes from trees that were removed before we bought the house. I am filling those with this sod. Dave woke up from his nap and I showed him how easy it is to pry up a chunk and he tried and of course it worked. I asked him if he thinks he might be able to do this for me, a little at a time, day by day, and he agreed. We'll see if he remembers this when next I ask for his help. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, so we'll have to wait a couple of days.

 I uprooted a bunch of daffodils and put them in this porch rail planter. They were in the middle of the bed and I needed them out of there. But I couldn't get them all as some have grown right through the edging. They may get sacrificed.  
My sister called and asked me if I was going a little crazy and did I need an intervention? Possibly, but it is all flexible at this stage. She is concerned that I will again get overwhelmed at the end of summer and wanna quit and sell my house. It seems to her that this has happened before, several times. But that isn't exactly the case. 
We had to move for other reasons, and I was overwhelmed for sure, but it had more to do with not being able to properly care for Dave, the house, the dogs and the garden. With this smaller house, which is so much easier to maintain and with this less fancy-schmancy neighborhood, I am not so pressured to have a perfect yard. 
Also she is worried about the chickens who live in the house behind me. They occasionally come into our way-back, but so far haven't ventured into the area I want to plant. If they do, I have plans to protect my plants. Luckily we don't have deer, rabbits or chipmunks, and so far no sign of moles or voles. I am hoping I have finally found the right spot to make this garden work.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Problem and Solution

 This is the 'flower bed' on the left side of my front porch. It has two green plastic covers. One says it's for irrigation, which I don't have and the other says sewer. I can tell that there had been some water issues before, because my front yard had a raised area from here to the curb, where it meets another sewing and storm drain. I didn't know what to do with this spot. I didn't want to plant anything in here that might interfere with the stuff underground, and it is bumpy and hilly and just not conducive for anything other than weeds. 
But then I got this idea out of the blue. 

I went to Lowe's online and ordered some no dig fence panels.
I've had these before in black metal, and we installed them in our back yard for a doggie fence. But I wanted white, and luckily my local Lowe's had 7 in stock. I only needed four. I had to wait to install this fence until the rain stopped, and I got it all finished in less than 30 minutes. It is more obvious in this photo how uneven the ground is at the base of this fencing, so I had to make tiny adjustments to make the crossbeams line up evenly. I got it pretty close.
 I went aroun the side with the last panel and it left me just enough space to squeeze in between the drainpipe and the fence. But if I wanted to, I could just pull the stake out and then that panel swings open easily. I'll need to get in there to turn on the faucet when I need to water. 

Here's how it looks from the street. Neato, right? I'm considering a trio of flower pots behind the fence with plants that will peek through the slats and soften the look, further hiding the stuff behind it. I may add some pots in the left front of the porch too, to hide that uneven concrete base. 
OK, I'm satisfied with this solution and it can be crossed off my to-do list. 

Monday, February 12, 2024


 Since I moved, the seed catalogs haven't yet found me, which is fine, since I rarely order from them. Instead I just see what is available at my local Walmart garden center, and this year I started really early.  I've learned that other gardeners like me are johnny on the spot and grab the good seeds immediately. I mean, the good BASIL seeds, essentially. It's easy to get Genovese and Sweet but I wanted Lettuce Leaf which so far has not shown up, or is already gone. I did snag Mammoth and a new variety, Spicy Saber. It's supposed to be hot. We'll see. 
I also am hoping to find Red Sails Lettuce, so more shopping will happen. The package of seeds for Window Box Mixed Lettuce is new for me. It might have what I want. I'll start seeds in an egg carton and see how that goes.
I may break down and order Haricot Vert green beans from a seed supplier. I like the skinny French version, but Tendergreen is also great. 
Nasturtiums, also need more of those. Half the time they don't germinate so I get several packets. I saw the Black version somewhere online, and may look again as they would be different. Obviously.

But I am particularly happy to have found these beauties, pictured next to an avocado for size comparison.
My sister called these Earth Nipples. Ha! They are not. But they are Elephant Ears bulbs. Really big ones.
Last year I got one from Lowes for $8 and these are the same size for $5.42, from Walmart. They also had bags of smaller ones, but I am thrilled to get these beauties before they get swiped by someone just like me.

Here is the one from my previous garden. Dave is behind it for size comparison. Hmmm, now that I look at this picture, I may have to return most of those bulbs. I don't have that much room. What was I thinking?

Friday, February 9, 2024

NOT thinking ahead, Modular knitting

 I had this idea and just jumped right in, not knowing how much yarn I would need to complete the project. It will be a poncho, if and when I get the rest of the yarn I need. First I sketched it out and then cast on the four triangles that would be the beginning of the piece. Simple. Of course now I have an even better idea. That initial triangle at the top could be a small diamond with side triangles to fill in the space. I know that is hard to imagine but trust me, it will work and look a lot more cohesive. 

Here are the four initial triangles with one border begun. I attached two triangles as I picked up stitches along the bottoms of two of them. Borders will continue on the next edges of two until all are connected.
 Here it is with all four borders knitted. The borders are then joined with diamonds, completing the square. 
 And then folded in half to show how it would be worn. At this point I knew I was onto something new and I could just keep going. The neckline will be smaller than it is here, because I will go back and pick up stitiches around the edge and knit more of a neckline.

Here it is with the second border and four more corner diamonds. I made the second border deeper and the diamonds larger, and will do that again with the third border. 
Now I am faced with not having enough of the contrasting yarn. It is Plymouth Boku colorway 12, aka Jewel Tones or Dusk. I messaged several people on Ravelry who have this yarn to sell, but have yet to hear back from any of them. So it sits on hold. 

I do have other yarns that I could start a second version with, and may just do that adjusting my design as I go. That's what so great about modular knitting. It's like patchwork, and each part is flexible and can be redesigned to make a better product. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Garden Dreaming part deux

 I did it. I ordered grow bags instead of plastic bins. I had grow bags in my last garden and left them in the crawl space when I moved...because I wasn't going to garden again. Yeah, right. But Sunday I noticed that daffodils were sprouting in my front yard, and just like that I was back to wanting a garden. I didn't plant those daffodil bulbs, but the previous gardener did that for me, like a drug pusher, knowing I would get hooked on just a taste of Spring.  So I committed and went online and ordered a bunch of grow bags. One is 100 gallons big. 
 50 inches in diameter and almost a foot deep. (11.8"). This will be my green bean bed. It cost $9.78, but the soil will be a lot more expensive. Is this good economy? Nope, but that's not why I grow green beans. I grow them because I can walk outside, watch them grow, and snap some off and cook them and eat them. I get so happy when I do. You can buy happiness this way. And when those plants are done I can pull them out, toss in some fertilizer and grow a second batch, or even something else, because legumes are nitrogen fixers and actually enrich the soil. 
I only ordered one of these big bags and am already regretting not getting more. I can see strawberries in a bed like this or if I put it in my side yard in front of the house, I can plant flowers in it. Oy. Not too late to order more!

 But I also ordered a bunch of 30 gallon bags. These are great for zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and butternut squash. Last time I grew butternut squash in a bag and I got about ten huge squash from one bag. I'm not lying. I gave a bunch away.  These are 16.5" deep and 24" in diameter. That's a big surface and lots of root room. 
I'll also grow basil and other herbs as well as nasturtiums, for flowers and salads. Maybe one cucumber vine. I always get too many cukes, that is, until vine borer shows up and ruins everything. arrgh. 
There is one thing that worries me. My neighbor has 10 chickens which often fly over the fence into our yard. And there are a bunch of semi-homeless kitties that roam our street. Diggers and peckers can disrupt a garden. But at least I know we have no rabbits or deer. Hopefully these bags will be somewhat of a deterrent to becoming a litter box.

OK I went back and order some more. I can't help myself. The rectangular bed is a foot deep and 2x4" wide. Yay!!!