Missing in Action

These past few days (or has it been weeks?) I have been missing in action here at TSB, partly because of travel, but mostly because I am feeling a bit overwhelmed in several areas of my life at the moment. In order to forge forward through this mental fog touched with a bit of laziness, I thought I would post a couple of update photos (maybe that will put me in a more positive frame of mind…haha!).

My morning glories are beginning to show some movement, which is a good thing since it seems that I am not going to be able to train my roses to grow over my arbor.

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The walkway in the backyard is beginning to take shape. Moving the rock from the old “patio” area under the tree has proved to be difficult and back-breaking. I think we have enough materials on hand to take the walkway to the alley behind the house. I am very disappointed that I do not have my concrete patio poured yet. This darn weather is making many projects drag out….and I just know that as soon as these storms stop, the temperatures will rise quicklly making the work even more difficult!

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Currently, my tomatoes are back on the side porch with the last threat of golf ball sized hail. Fortunately, we did not get any…but you know that the reason we didn’t is because I DID move those tomatoes. If I had left them in place, the hail would have surely shown its face…haha!

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My beans are beginnging to show some signs of growth, as is my basil…so maybe things will start happening around here. I really need to find some kind of mulch before the heat waves begin. I don’t want to put down grass clippings because we have so many weeds in our yard….and DH doesn’t know where the grass catcher is anyhow. We have had neighbors volunteer their clippings, but all of them use chemicals on their lawns…so that is not an option. I might have to just bite the bullet and purchase some straw.

First Real Harvest

I am happy to report that I am finally able to have my first real harvest of all that I have planted thus far. This spinach is from the container that I started in my basement back in the winter. It sets on the side porch just beside the door, protected from the recent storms we have been having.

First Harvest Spinach
I found this video about harvesting spinach this morning and though I do not use commercial fertilizer on any of my vegetables, I just thought I would share…

There's a Freeze A-Comin'!

Well, ended up not to be a freeze, but I just couldn’t take that chance.  The plants that could be brought inside rested in the kitchen overnight and the others were covered with various buckets and pots.  The temps got down around 33-35 degrees, but neighboring towns were not quite as lucky.

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A few days later, we were running from the threat of hail. Luckily, I could bring my plants up to the side porch for protection.

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Basement Garden Moved to Dining Room

As I mentioned before, we had a business trip and unofficial college visit planned two weeks ago. I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the plant lights on in the basement, nor to set them on a timer. Instead, we moved all the plants upstairs near windows. Just thought I would share a couple of more photos.
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Weeds, Grass, and Lead Paint

Normally, it is the grass in my “garden” that annoys me the most, but this season the weeds have taken over also. Every year DH suggests placing weed barrier down and planting in little holes, but I have refused. This year is different! Last week, I read an article about soil testing and ammendments that suggested if you live in an older house your soil most likely is contaminated with lead from paint chips falling from your house. YIKES!

If you have read any of my other blog entries about the house, you may already know that even our soil has a chemical odor to it….so this is yet another catostrophe for us. If money were no object living in this very old house would be no problem, but we are poor civil servants on moderate wages. Well, DH is on moderate wages….I am purposefully unemployed as you may also remember. Even if I WAS employed the money still would not be there to do what needs to be done to this house. If money grew on trees, I would have someone come in and remove the top several feet of soil around the house…lol…and replace it with totally organic compost. Since Donald Trump is definitely not interested in my small piece of real estate, nor the Rockefellers knocking on my door, I have to continue my cobbled life.

I decided to cover the ground surrounding my one raised bed with weed barrier. Sadly, I had to dig up the few perrenial herbs that I had established , in hopes to replant somehow, somewhere. I am not certain why I am sad…I never used the herbs in cooking for fear of what was in the soil, but they were lovely…well, that is until the grass and weeds were coming up through the clumps of herbs. It wouldn’t be difficult to radicate if the yuk was coming up around the plants, but grass was coming straight up the middle. Anyhow, because of the fear of what the soil my bring, I have decided to plant my tomatoes in buckets on top of the barrier.

Yesterday was a very windy day (Duh!….it IS Kansas….every day is windy), but we finally finished covering the larger portion of the small area. Placing the barrier down is not a difficult task, but we also had to dig a small trench to allow for proper water drainage. Originally, the plan was to construct a type of dry river bed that would allow proper drainage away from the house when the “monsoons” came. In the past, we have had a problem with water standing near the foundation of our home…not good when you have a basement.

I hope to get some photos posted soon, and I am kicking myself that I didn’t take photos prior to adding the weed barrier.  

First Planting Day

I am so very excited that I finally planted something yesterday. We had a beautiful, sunny day with temps in the 70s.  A few days ago, I purchased a  six pack of marigolds, jalapenos and a “striped” tomato plant. My seedlings were so small yet and I wanted some “show” in my new garden, so I thought this small purchase would be acceptable. My jalapeno seeds did not grow and I just could not do without the little peppers in my garden.

Because our yard is in such a state of total disaster, some of my garden will be grown in containers, as well. I planted three peppers in the raised bed, but then planted the other three in individual baskets saved from last year’s frozen mums. We normally would plant several pots with geraniums to be displayed on our wrap around porches, but this year we opted for green and white caladium corms that were on clearance.  We easily spend $100 filling our many pots with colorful choices, but with our search for simplicity and sustainability, we are finding alternative methods of adorning our porches.  I hope to plant squash and zuchinni, along with those caladiums,  in each of those pots.

A few years ago, I found new empty hanging baskets at a liquidation sale. At the time, I am not certain what I was thinking or how I intended to fill each of those baskets, but now I suspect that I will wish that I had purchased more. I planted two hanging pots with green beans in hopes that they would not only crawl up the hand made hangers, but cascade over the edges of the baskets. As many things in my life right now, this will be an experiment.

I did not have time to take photos yesterday and today it was cloudy and rainy, but hopefully tomorrow (in the promise of an 80 degree day) I will get a few snapshots to share.  Speaking of today’s rain, yesterday I told the fam that we would be getting hail soon because I had planted my tomato plants. Well guess what—-we did get a bit of hail today. Not much, but enough that I rushed outside to cover everything.

Sweet Potato

3.14.08

Surfing through the permaculture and PeakOil videos on YouTube, I strayed to videos about planting potatoes….which then took me to sweet potatoes. YUM! We normally plant purchased greenhouse sweet potato vines in large pots on our front porch, but I never looked in the pot at the end of the season to see if I had sweet potatoes. The ones I purchased may have been an ornamental version, but I wished I had thought to look. I usually pay 2.79 per plant, but this year I think I will purchase some sweet potatoes and plant the pieces myself.