Garden 2012

The garden has been started. I’m pretty pepper heavy again this year. They seem to be what we use most, grow rather well in the back and give me something to can at the end of the season. After last year’s debacle with mislabeled plants (and ending up with ALL hot peppers instead of the good variety I had planned) I thought it would be best to avoid the large lot garden stores. A weekend in Jersey provided the perfect opportunity to swing by Wellsweep Herb farm. Mom was looking for plants anyway, and it was a beautiful day out. I was only going to get one pepper, but I ended up buying one of each kind they had. Muscato, Jalapeno, Summer Sweet, Garden Salsa and Serano. Should be a good variety this year, and I trust them to be labeled properly. I also got a pineapple sage, with no real plan for it. My rosemary was still alive (!!) despite my lack of care of it, and of course the strawberry and mint won’t die. I pulled all the mint  and half of the strawberries out of the large planter and potted them in smaller pots to clear room for the peppers. I also picked up a thyme plant, lavender, basil and marigolds from the local garden shop, Urban Jungle. That fills out my available pots and planter.


My sempervivums are doing well, too. Wendy flowered last year, so she’s back to her short little self. I don’t remember if I planted regular ones with her. I assume I must have, otherwise half of Wendy lost her fuzz, and I don’t know how that would have happened.

garden strawberries

I’m still struggling with a few garden related things though… like how do I keep strawberries on the plant long enough to ripen, but not too long that bugs get to them? And most importantly, how do I keep the neighborhood cats from pooping in my garden? It is awful. It seems they think it is their own personal litter box. Not good for the plants, and sure stinks up the back yard. Any suggestions? I tried netting to keep them away, but it didn’t really work. I’ve also tried putting sharp sticks in the garden, but that had limited success. Is there something I can plant that would keep them away?


The weather is humid, the sky heavy. The city’s edges looked like they were drawn against a chalkboard today as I drove home. While this might not be great weather for people, it seems to be doing well by my little garden.

Plants all set, waiting to grow

This is the third year of the little boxed space that I traded a hand knit skull and crossbones scarf for. The first year I was ambitious- cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, various other plants. Last year I axed the tomatoes, but kept the cucumber. This year the shift to all peppers was completed. I never ate the tomatoes and the cucumber never bore much fruit anyway, and it was a bully- its large leaves shading and hindering the growth of other plants. The peppers have always survived the best, and been the most useful for cooking. We have so many kinds this time! Cherry red hots (quite robust and very popular last year), jalapenos, sweet gypsy, two other kinds (one spicy, one sweet-ish) I can’t recall right now. More herbs, too, but in separate pots next to the garden. Spicy globe basil, cinnamon basil, thyme. Mint, though its been transplanted from the garden into a pot. I’m going to try hard to get the basil to survive. I don’t have a very good track record with it, unfortunately. And my favorite- the marigolds. Someone told me that marigolds help keep bad bugs away, and I’ve been planting them ever since. Bright puffy African marigolds have joined the herd this year. I love them. They’re so full of joy! Last but not least, my little strawberry plant, which has powered through all three years. Sadly, I never get to eat the berries. The bugs always get to them first, and I can’t bring myself to spray them with any kind of pest control.

I can’t wait for the plants to grow up. I can’t wait for our first BBQ with full foliage. Tucked in the back corner of the garden is a little solar light- you can sort of see it in the photo. It glows so nicely! I also got a strand of colored lights, but they’re not up yet, I’m going to wait till our first event to string them outside, so they don’t sit out in the rain unnecessarily.

So it’s been a while, but looks like this little blog is going to be graced with more green for the upcoming months. I can’t wait till we can start cooking with peppers from my garden. The CSA that we signed up for starts in a week or two, also, so we’re sure to be delightfully swamped with fresh vegetables. This muggy weather might be just awful, and sticky summer around the corner, but the sun and warmth means things can grow again, and for that I am glad.

strawberry blossom

Cherry Trees in Fairmont Park

It’s finally spring! The weather on Saturday was beautiful. I had the windows wide open all day. The beautiful day made me anxious to get working on my garden. I still don’t have a plan for the back garden… I know peppers, but not sure about what else. I tried sprouting my own seeds last year, but I don’t really have a good spot for it. The kitchen gets sun, but only in the beginning of the morning, it moves around too quickly to get the seeds enough light. So I guess I’m going to buy pre-grown ones this year.. which means I need to be patient enough for them to be out at the stores. Gives me some time to plan, I suppose. Anyway, since I couldn’t work on the back garden, I took a stroll over to Urban Jungle, the local garden store, to pick up some flowers for the front pot.  Yay for plants!

This weekend was the Cherry Blossom Festival, in Fairmont Park. Always a little better in theory than in actuality, but still enjoyable. It gets super crowded, but the performances are worth it. The drummers are fantastic. They look like they’re having so much fun when they perform! I love seeing them every year.


finished skirt with shorts

Ah, but the weekend isn’t done yet! Inspired by this skirt, I fudged my way through my own version. I made it with a pillowcase! I bought a king-sized set of jersey sheets, with the intent to make this Alabama Chanin dress. I’ve been drooling over it for ages, and when I saw the sheets at target, I knew they’d be the perfect fabric. Turns out the pillowcase was perfect for this skirt, too. I wish the zig-zag on my machine was a little easier to use, the waistband is a bit dodgy, with some bad hand sewing fixing some gaps… but it’ll be a great summer skirt. Hope it holds up to all the wear I intend to give it!


Nøgne Ø Winter Ale at Belgian

Attempts to get a drink and sit outside relaxing have been foiled by the strikingly beautiful weather. It seems everyone else in the city has the same plan. There were no tables outside at Belgian, but they did have the winter ale by Nøgne Ø…. one of my absolute favorite breweries. They’re from Norway, and I’ve never had one of their brews on draft before… a great start to the weekend.

My main task this weekend was to grade my student’s finals. Its a task I did not look forward to, I find grading very frustrating. A few clever responses here and there, but overall its a difficult balance to be tough, fair and understanding. I wish everything could be multiple choice. Black and white- no room for misunderstanding or slightly off answers. Right or wrong. Ah, to teach a scantron class.

I meant to get a lot of sewing done this weekend, but it didn’t really happen. Although, I did learn quite a lot about my machine, and ordered some attachments that hopefully will fit, and make my life much easier. From what I can tell, I have a Model 99-13 Singer, but with a foot pedal, not the knee control. From the serial, I think it was made between 1928 and 1930, and would have cost around $77 at the time. She’s a solid machine, but for straight, forward stitches only. Or so I thought. While trying to figure out online how to use an attachment Mom and I decided was a button holer (turned out to be an adjustable hemmer) I found a zig zag attachment! I’ve been dying to sew some nice cotton jersey, or other stretch material, for ages. I always felt so limited by my beautiful old singer- a work horse, but not for any of the materials I wanted to use. If the attachment fits, the possibilities are endless! I think I might be getting my hopes too high, but I’m pretty excited, so I can’t help it. Summer skirts, new dance gear…. oh, my imagination is getting carried away.


Though I didn’t get anything substantial done on the crafty end of things, I finally got my garden started. I turned over the soil in the garden box out back, finally pulling out all the old plants. I must have started my garden much later last year, because when I went to Lowes there were none of the plants I was looking for. So I bought seeds instead, and they are now germinating in a nice little box. I’m not sure what to do if they all sprout, since I definitely don’t have room for all of the plants, but perhaps I can find some friends to give them away to. I bought an already started strawberry plant, too, and put it in the garden box. The front plants are now in the pots, too… I can’t wait till they start growing. I got some big crazy Dahlias… I wanted big bold color this year, instead of the boring petunias or whatever they were. I also scattered some “mixed colorful flower” seeds in the larger pot…. I don’t know what they’ll turn out to be, but thats part of the fun. I hope I didn’t jump the gun with the weather. Truth be told, I’m not a very good gardener, I just do what I want to do and hope the plants will play nice. So we’ll see how well it goes.