Thursday, May 30, 2013

Catching up quickly here! 

My blue cardigan is fully knitted, my rag rug is slowly coming together (hand sewing, and hard on the fingers).  Another pajama top for Franklin from a shirt of Partner's in the sewing pile (this one pink and with no sloppy shortcuts). 

I'm doing a mild purge of household stuff at the moment;  first on the list are books:  our bookshelves have gained a little space.  Partner got a Kindle around Christmas and I visit the local library several times a month, so owning books isn't quite a priority as it once was.  However, we've got a lot of books.  I've also gone through my filing cabinet and got rid of a boxful of unnecessary paperwork, and a stack of unwanted sheet music. 

Most of my seedlings and seeds are in the ground now;  the only ones left are melons and a few squash, waiting just a few more days to be sure.  My tomatoes in the garage have doubled in size, but the peppers there are still pretty small;  I ran out of big planters so the peppers are in large pots, though with the same treatment as the tomato planters:  layer of sticks, layer of newspaper, then potting soil.  I also made my first chicken manure tea;  it smells pretty bad--so it must be good, right?

The sprouting broccoli nears its finish, but the salad leaves and cilantro are growing wildly.  My cherry tree is covered in tiny green cherries:  hooray!  And the grass is growing faster than the chickens can eat it, so Partner's had to mow. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Harvesting a little, making a little

After a very late, very snowy start, spring has finally arrived here.  The daffodils have only just finished their show, the tulips bask in the sun, and my garden bounces into action.  For the past two weeks or so, purple sprouting broccoli's on the menu two or three times a week, and fresh herbs (marjoram, mint, and chives) most days.  I think next week we'll start eating (small) fresh salads, and I'm crossing my fingers for my cherry tree;  though still tiny, it's covered in blossoms--if they all become cherries I could make a pie!  Also blooming:  my two new apple trees and my strawberries.

Partner cut down another tree at the back (southern) edge of our garden which was shading part of the veg beds, and the whole area is so light and bright now;  and let's face it, we need all the sun we can get round these parts!  I've planted it up with both veg and flowers, and it has my two baby blackcurrant bushes starting to leaf up.  The wood from the tree is in two piles at the moment:  the big branches and logs are on the patio and the small, trimmed branches and twigs are in a huge pile on the lawn, soon to move onto the site of the old pond.  If you recall, we emptied the pond when the fish all died (for safety reasons--small children and ponds do not mix) and have mostly filled it in with garden trimmings and some topsoil;  in fact, I even have a few seedlings growing in it, but it's not completely filled yet.  Hopefully this'll bring it level with the surrounding area.

Today I planted out some seedling cosmo and kale in the front garden (which I sheet mulched last winter), and moved my small lavender from its planter into the ground near the driveway.  All available planters have been appropriated this year into tomato duty;  now the garage has a transparent roof, it's very like a greenhouse:  light and warm.  Every year I say I'm giving up on tomatoes, as they have always performed terribly outdoors here;  my mother in law, on the other hand, gets fantastic yields in her greenhouse, so I'm begrudgingly giving them another chance this year, in the garage.  To prepare the planters, I first put in a layer of sticks and/or small logs, then a layer of shredded newspaper, and then filled the rest with a mixture of potting compost and topsoil.  I anticipate needing to fertilize over the growing season, and plan on using chicken manure and DIY compost tea. 

My knitting has slowed a bit, now that gardening's in full swing, but I've completed the body and sleeves of the blue alpaca cardigan;  it now only needs a collar--so close!  But I don't think I'll be wearing it until autumn;  it's too warm now.  Once it's finished, however, my next project is a braided rag rug, which I've actually begun already.  And some more sewing.  I sewed another pair of jammies for Franklin out of an old t shirt of Partner's, and I have another five or so t shirts to transform.  I have a Very Large Sewing Pile (VLSP) in the corner of my bedroom, threatening to take over the rest of the house.  Time to turn it into a Reasonably Sized Sewing Pile (RSSP).