Archive for April, 2011

Squealing Baby

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Evelyn squealed with delight when she found out she was 5 months old.  5 months!  I can’t believe it.  She is growing so fast.  She is in 6 – 9 month clothes and has almost double her birth weight already.  She loves cooing and squealing and can almost roll over at will. 

Oliver gets a big kick out of her now that she is more interactive. 

Seed Starting

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

This past weekend I finally started my seeds indoors for the summer garden.  I’m about a month late, but I’ll still be able to transplant some seedlings near the end of May.

I have been saving up yogurt containers to plant my seedlings in.  I bought seed trays from Lowes for $1.50 a piece to hold my containers and I’m using Miracle Grow potting mix to fill the containers.  I also have one Jiffy 72 pellet set that I am using for bedding plants (impatiens and coleus).  I bought 1/2 of my seeds at Lowes and the other 1/2 I ordered online at Evergreen Seeds.  Evergreen Seeds specializes in Oriental/Asian herbs, fruits, and veggies.  To round it all off, I have a 4 foot long heat mat that I bought on e-Bay for $32 and 2 borrowed 4-ft long shop lamps that hold 2 flourescent tubes each for a light source. 

After last year’s horrible seed starting venture, I have found the mats to be a necessary expense.  In year’s past, I have never been able to start seeds without a mat.  The mat keeps the soil in the containers consistently between the 75 and 85 degrees needed for germination.  Without it, my results were always spotty and mold/mildew killed most my plants from the cold and wet conditions.

We drafted all sorts of wacky plans to build a structure that would suspend the lights over the seed trays in a single and double stack formation.  We even went so far as to buy $60 worth of PVC pipe and fittings, which we returned after a visit to Costco.  There in Costco, they were selling a 5 wire shelving rack unit for $80.  The shelves are 4.5 feet wide and are adjustable.  We could have several rows of plants growing at different heights if we wanted to and the shelves could be repurposed in the future in my hubby’s dream workshop or garage.

With that said, we drilled drainage holes in all the yogurt cups and filled them to the brim with potting soil.  We thoroughly watered the cups and the pellets in their respective trays, then drained the trays of excess water after 15 minutes or so. 

To plant the seeds I sprinkled some onto a white paper plate.  I then moistened the tip of a chopstick and dabbed at 2 or 3 seeds to stick them to the end of the chopstick.  I then deposited the seeds into the potting mix.  For the superfine seeds, like mint, I used a toothpick to plant the seeds with. 

The paper plate was very handy to use as a funnel to pour the excess seeds back into the seed packets.

For my yogurt cup tray, I wrapped the top tightly with 2 sheets of plastic wrap.  For the pellet tray, I just put the lid on it.  Once some seeds sprout, I will vent the trays until all the seeds have sprouted.  At that point, I will remove the covers entirely and turn on the flourescent lights.  I labeled the outside of the trays to keep track of what I planted.  I will be making some individual plant markers this weekend for each cup.

Here’s what I planted:

6 Thai Holy Basil
6 Thai Chili
3 Purple Eggplant
3 Thai Green Eggplant
3 Siam Queen Basil
2 Oregano
2 Thyme
4 Peppermint
4 Mint
36 Impatiens
36 Coleus

Once the seedlings are a couple weeks old, I will move them to the upper rack under the second light setup, sans heat mat.  I will then start another batch of bedding plants with the heat mat. We should have a constant flow of seedlings being grown and transplanted from now until the fall when I grow Pansies and Mums in September.

Have you ever started seeds before?  Share in the comments any tips and tricks you have for growing platns indoors.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Do you see anything wrong in this picture?  Apparently, the hubby didn’t either.  He looks at her and says, “Is that a new outfit?”

Yes, her onesie is buttoned over her pants.  I thought that’s how all the babies were doing it nowadays.   The hubby said I’m not allowed to dress her anymore…

And yes, she wore this all day long! :-) (this is what you get when momma doesn’t get her sleep)

Planting Holly Bushes

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

After having our weekends derailed by rebuilding the porch for the past 2 weeks, we have finally planted our holly bushes.  These were the bushes that we had on our February “To Do” List.  We faithfully checked our local garden centers all through February and they didn’t get any bushes in until some time in March.  Home Depot had small holly bushes on sale for $2.50 each.  Lowes had the same bushes for $6 each.  We ended up buying 18 bushes from Home Depot to create a hedge along two sides of fencing in our “back 40”.

Evelyn got to charm daddy while mommy checked the placement of the bushes.  She was so excited to be with him she barfed all over and had to go inside!  That’s baby love for you…

We planted the bushes 4 feet away from the fence and 4 feet apart from each other.

Here’s one of the reasons why we need the hedge.  We have dogs on pretty much every side of our house.  Oliver likes to go up and poke his hands through the fence at the animals.  Not a good idea.  Currently, we have a couple pieces of plywood and a shredded tarp tacked to the fence.  We chose holly because 1) they are fast growers, 2) they are nigh indestructable/drought tolerant, and 3) they are prickly and hopefully will be good child deterrents.

Evelyn changed into one of Oliver’s outfits and rejoined the party.  This might be Oliver’s old jumper, but Evelyn is just as cute in it!  It’s for 6 month’s old and is already too small for her.  She’s growing as fast as those holly bushes!

Oliver had a piece of mommy’s pop tart – a rare treat.  He actually carried it around the yard savoring it with tiny nibbles for a good 1/2 hour.  (His hair looks much better, doesn’t it???)

We ran out of hollies faster than I thought.  We did make it to one of our neighbor’s wood panel fence, so that’s not too bad.  Our plan to shut out the world is in motion.  Only one length of fence open to the public is left and then we can potty train Oliver outside bare butt without anyone watching! (just joking … or are we?)

How do you screen out unpleasant views from your home?

Tending to my sweet peas

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

My sweet peas are doing great!  Both the sugar snap and the Evelyn varieties.  I had to leave this sweet pea inside due to the 40mph wind gusts outside while I tended to my spring garden.

The peas have bloomed prolifically and are ready to be thinned out.  If you don’t thin them, they will start to choke each other off and die.  The roots will compete for nutrients and the tendrils will literally grab the plants on either side and choke the stalks.

The arugula and lettuce look great, but will need to be thinned next weekend.

Here’s what a 4 week old pea plant looks like.  You can see a good root is starting to form at the base.  I pulled this one out of curiosity, but the rest I used a pair of scissors to snip the plant at ground level.  When the plants are very close together you risk disturbing the soil by pulling the plants out of the ground.  You can also pinch the plants with your fingers at ground level.

Looks much better doesn’t it?  I may have to come back and thin out a few more plants in a week or so.

While I was weeding the garden, I noticed these sprouts poking out from under the wood beam I was kneeling on.

It looks like there were seeds left in the lettuce packet that I had tucked under the beam to use as a marker!  Experimentally, I broke this bunch up into small chunks and planted them in the ground.  I wonder if they will continue to grow?  With all the rain we’ve had, I haven’t needed to use the soaker hose once this past week.  So far so good!

Did you start a garden yet?  How is it doing with the strange weather we’ve been having?

Related Posts with Thumbnails

 Subscribe in a reader