About Me

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Montgomery, Alabama, United States
I'm a Zone 8. I'm doing a little gardening to satisfy a curiosity to see whether or not I can do it. People make it look so easy-- what's stopping me from making it work? Contrary to my name ("Hana" means flower in Japanese) I have a history of killing plants. Well, most of them. Let's see how this one goes!

Friday, May 16, 2008

In Brief(s)

(s) because I am in sleep mode and therefore wearing undies as pajama bottoms.

--Tomato plants all have flowers. The next step is for the flowers to become fruits
--Pole beans are growing strong, but the Insuk's Wang Kongs are growing stronger
--The small squash plants keep getting affected by some sort of mold after it rains
--Adapazarı balkabağı plants are obscenely huge. Now I know why people plant pumpkins on hills five feet in diameter
--Something evil nibbled on my prettiest marigold, ruffling the edges of the petals
--I need to dig another plot for a new set of tomatoes (woo-hoo?)
--Rain rain rain rain rain.

Please, God, keep the temperatures at a decent level for at least another month or two. That would be oh so wonderful.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


So like, I just watched season four of Project Runway these past two days and I have to say that I am going to get FIERCE on this garden tomorrow (awww gawd can you tell who my favorite designer was?). I have to move a lot of debris from the area and I am going to sprinkle some flower seeds to sort of fill up the empty space that makes the plot seem sad. I just want it to look not-so-messy yet accomplish it without having to either buy materials or scour Craigslist for people throwing out cement blocks or wood scraps of dubious origin and life history. I also have to fight back some opportunistic pioneers who are starting to encroach upon my space. Bermuda grass is quite persistent!

Ah, another reason to ramp up the volume early on is because I have a date with my oldest sister for dinner, circa 6pm~ish at Chez Nous. I would like the garden to be aesthetically pleasing enough for her that I'm not too embarrassed to show her around it.

Oh! I caught a big fat squash vine borer flying around the other day. Beautiful, beautiful pest, which is a shame that it had to go. They're ever so lovely, and oh-so fashionable as they have these wonderful red velvet pants and furry black boots. I'd love to keep it as a pet, if such a thing were possible.

Anyhow the hour is LAAATE and I need to rest a bit. Lovely pictures to come this weekend!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

Oy, so I discovered the other day that Red Robin will give you a free burger on your birthday completely gratis, so the boyfriend and I went in to gorge ourselves. As a result I am feeling quite ponderous. I probably eat two or three burgers a year, so just half of one hit me quite hard.

But I took pictures today and feel that the blog must go on! I'll start with something horrifying, then progress to the happy from there.

As mentioned a couple days ago, Choccy got attacked by caterpillars. He has new growth now, but you pretty much get the point:


I am not entirely sure what this thing is, but he was sunning himself on one of my Insuk's. I decided to let him be.

Just when I thought that picking off one aphid or leaf hopper at a time was bad, I discovered this guy:

Talk about a trap crop. This is one of three weeds about five feet away from the garden. I'm almost afraid to remove these guys because then the aphids might move along to the garden proper. It's a pretty chilling sight, though. *shudder*

But now for the happy! My pole beans are really climbing along.

A hand of ginger was starting to sprout in my kitchen, so into a pot he went! I hope something nice comes of it.

Two of the tomato plants that I pruned thoroughly:

And two that I did not. It's a race to see which one does better!

Unexpectedly, the first tomato to flower was one that was ravaged by insect damage. It seems to have bounced back, and while it seems a bit too small to be producing I'm going to let it try to set fruit.

Borage! I put two seeds in the ground maybe two months ago and one is finally starting to pop out of the ground.

Marigolds! I'm not entirely sure what kind, but they're bright and happy for sure. The second one is so yellow that my camera had trouble taking a good picture of it.

It's supposed to rain again tomorrow, which is great, but holy cow the temperature is supposed to skyrocket to the mid-90s by Thursday. This does not excite me as that means the mosquitoes will be out in force. Long sleeves for me in the heat, woohoo.

Ah, but something very sweet from fellow blogger, Vanilla Lotus (Priscilla) in sunny San Antonio:

She likes my blog :3 I now feel that, for both you, my dear readers, and for my own benefit, I'll update more often and with better content. In the meantime, be sure to visit her wonderful gardening blog, New Sprout. Cheer her on as she totally rocks her final exams!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Of Thunderstorming and Pruning

Late last night we had a lively downpour enhanced by some spectacular thunder and lightning. The forecast for the next three days predicts more storms, and I couldn't be more excited. I forwent watering the garden from Thursday onward for this very reason, and in any case God can probably do the job better and more thoroughly than I ever can. I hope my plants are happy.

The one thing that concerns me is the health of my tomato plants. I had decided to prune them this weekend, based on the sage advice and clear instructions of gardeners more experienced than I am. I noticed that my cherries and Burpees of uncertain variety have threatened to bloom (I see those little developing buds hanging out there, quivering in anticipation) and according to the illustrations, all branches below the first flowering stem must go. I'm both a skeptic and a chicken, so I only took the plunge with two plants, and at that only removed the lowest stems. On the plant that I attacked the most, I only trimmed him up to the two branches just below the flowering stem. Just in case.

Anyhow, the reason that I am worried is not so much that I may have hacked them to death in a fit of stabby-clippy glee, but rather that all pruning sites sternly warn the reader never to prune or tie a plant when it is wet because, like people, open wounds invite infection and diseases. I only hope that I gave the plants enough time to seal their wounds before the rains came and potentially infected them with something nasty that inhibits their growth and fecundity. I desperately want garden-fresh tomatoes.

Since it will be dreary and moist for the next few days I can only hope that I did not make a horrible error in judgment.

Friday, May 2, 2008

My Monthly Update?

Man, I am no good at documenting progress. Apparently I was nominated for a weird little blog award for having a blog that could elicit mirth both from my knee-slappingly witty writing and from my fruitless foibles. This is a catastrophe, after all, and not everything goes as planned.

I indeed have dirt mounds in the backyard, but next to them (where the dirt used to be but now is replaced by compost, organic matter, and, er, other stuff) are my two little beds, connected in an L-shape (let's not think of too many negative things that start with L quite yet!) with veggie plants in them.

I wasn't totally lying when I said that "Today is planting day!" I should have actually said "Today starts planting week" as the weather kind of hampered progress a bit. I did manage to put in tomatoes with cute little marigolds and basils around them and construct two bean teepees with trellis netting strung between them. Of course, because it was planting week and not planting day I allowed for such catastrophes as the entire teepee/trellis complex getting flattened by strong winds--which they did that very night-- and luckily waited to test the structural integrity of the thing before planting anything around it. I didn't push the poles into the ground far enough the first time, but with the aid of the boyfriend (who is almost a foot taller than I am and therefore taller than the poles) we got them into a nice, steady position and they have survived high winds and thunderstorms with ease so far. I'm strangely happy about the teepees because I went online to search for the proper way to lash together tripods and was able to follow the instructions without a problem. Of course there were straight-forward instructions and illustrations, but I was happy nonetheless at my cleverness.

Oh, you want photographic proof! I didn't take any when I first sunk the things into the ground. After all, it was sort of depressing-looking, what with 5"-tall tomato seedlings, sad-looking squash transplants, and most of the seeds for the trellis and the teepees underground. In all honesty I felt a bit embarrassed because I look at other people's ideas of "seedlings" and they have foot and a half-tall monsters growing fruit already. So in a way, I kind of avoided the blog because it was sort of like illustrating my defeat.

BUUUT. A couple weeks ago I realized that things were starting to look up. A couple rain storms had kept me out of the garden since the only reason I found myself outdoors at the time was to water the thing. Miraculously, after a week or so of neglect, I noticed that my tomatoes were orders of magnitude larger (I have found this was a trend-- as soon as I started ignoring my seedlings in cups they did better. What the heck!). Without my "help" (other than picking off aphids) they were flourishing, and it made me ever so happy.

But, I will emphasize again, this is a catastrophe, and my first real nemeses appeared last week, just when I was reveling in the progress of the garden.

1. Those little green caterpillar-on-a-string things
You all remember my lovely, lush, fragrant chocolate mint plant that I loved so much? Two days, two different caterpillars, and the entire thing is completely stripped of leaves. Completely. Stripped. Of leaves. I really ought to take a picture because it is so amazing, but the carnage is more than even I can handle. I have found them on almost every species of plant I have, including tomatoes, beans, and curcubits. I really hate them, but I'm just thankful that they are easily extracted without stinging me.

2. Aphids
Okay, these guys aren't so bad because they've only appeared in numbers that I can easily pick off by hand, but they have been slowly eroding away the leaves on everything. They're quite satisfying to squish, though.

3. Leaf-hopper nymphs
OKAY it's a little difficult for me to express how incredibly upsetting these little things are without going on a curse-laden tirade. I even have pictures if you do not know what I'm talking about:

A little family of these guys came through and literally devastated my tomato plants. How they work their evil little voodoo is by sticking their hideous little mouthparts into the stem of the plant and kill by sucking out its vital juices. One alone will make a nice hickey-looking bruise that weakens the stem at that point (usually at ground-level). But I found up to 6 of them at a time surrounding the stems of my tomatoes one morning, and they had so weakened the stems that a couple of my plants nearly died and had to be re-buried in order for more roots to form.

This is one such victim. You will notice the drinking straw collar that is now around its base. I had originally put them on when they first went into the ground to protect the skinny, tender stems from cutworm damage. After a couple weeks I removed them because I didn't want the stems to rot, just in case the collars were holding in too much moisture. After the hopper nymph attack, I had to put them right back on. The logic is this: the collar will protect them against cutworm as well as these leaf-hoppers, which prefer to feed next to the ground where they are camouflaged, and if the hoppers do end up feeding, then they will be higher up the stem and easier to spot.

This plant got pretty damaged in the attack and is also in recovery. I should have taken pictures, but there was a gash that went through almost clean to the other side by the time I got to it.

Hardcore collaring. This guy has a pretty beefy stem, so I had to employ a regular straw AND a boba tea straw.

But not everything has been catastrophic. The rest of my tomatoes have taken off, and I think I see some buds beginning to form. I may get some fruit yet! (You can really tell which tomato plants got hacked up, though. Really sad):

A different, more flattering angle:

The squashes I transplanted in don't look too hot, but I have read innumerable times that squash doesn't care to be transplanted. I ignored all warnings, but at least I have a couple making blossoms:

And the whole trellis complex doesn't look terribly bad:

I bought a little pepper plant from HEB called "Paul Grande" (whatever that means) and while nobody has been able to tell me what I should be expecting, I was able to get a neat picture of its blossom:

Of course I had to plant beans around the teepees, and I already have ones that found the poles are are starting to wind around. I find pole beans to be incredibly cute:

I planted some cucumbers and squashes on the opposite end of the net from the transplants. They will probably be crowded at first, but I intend to thin them out as they get bigger:

I recently began corresponding with a kindly older gentleman from the Seattle area who grows an heirloom Chinese runner bean that gardening friends of his have called Insuk's Wang Kong runner bean, in honor of his Korean wife, Insuk. He actually sent these to me after I requested some squash seeds that he had been keen to share on the site, but I'll get to those later. The beans are quite enormous and lovely, but the plant is so fast-growing that I'm amazed. I planted some in the garden, but the ones I am looking forward to seeing are the ones I planted next to trees in the back yard:

Jim (the kindly older gentleman) also sent me some seeds from a squash that originates in Adapazari, Turkey. It's apparently quite large and sweet like a pumpkin, and I couldn't resist the offer to try out some of the seeds. The thing popped out of the ground amazingly fast, and the leaves are astonishingly large. I am not sure what took over my camera when I snapped this picture, but it came out such a wonderfully alien green color and looks quite artsy (compared to everything else I photograph):

So overall, things are going fairly well. Things that got damaged are making a recovery, and things that are new in the ground are coming up strong and fast. I enjoy the serenity that comes with a peaceful day of gardening, and I also enjoy the feeling of triumph when I'm able to bring a seemingly dead plant back to life.

I hope that this blog doesn't turn into something depressing. Right now my garden is a happy place, as it should be.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Today is planting day!

I will continue with normal updating in a bit, but today is planting day! Yay!

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Just a random photo post of cool critters I've seen around the place.

A honeybee of some sort. This particularly made me smile because I had just watched a PBS documentary on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)-- essentially the unexplained disappearance of workers-- in American honeybees, which made me both sad and a bit concerned. It's sort of a big deal. Anyway, here are a couple links about it:
The Wiki article on it

A little brown skink who came skittering out when I was pulling up Bermuda grass. At first I thought it was an insect because it was so tiny. Then I thought it was a snake because I didn't see the tiny, insignificantly sized legs. For scale, I put down a clothespin--

It has to be the smallest lizard I've ever encountered. Cute little thing, yeah?

Now for something not cute. I have no idea what this is-- some sort of bagworm or caddisfly or something, but essentially it's an inchworm who has decided to burden itself with a cone of garbage. I found this one hanging out on a pea plant, probably planning its destruction.

I found this guy out today doing... something. I was hoping that he was eating bugs, but alas from the pictures you can see that he was just collecting root bits for some other insidious purpose.


OHHHHkay so it's been a couple of weeks and I am sure that the wide world out there (that means you, oh gentle readers! hooray!) is wondering what's been going on. Well, honestly, it's probably more disappointing than you may think. After my nice little hand-crippling incident (vastly blown out of proportion, I can assure you) I had trouble doing any heavy-handed work on the bed, so I focused mainly on procuring items for soil amendment and drawing up plans on what the hell was actually going to happen once the time came to throw it all down in the ground. I gave up on the limestone excavation because, well, that's just a silly idea. Instead I went ahead and refilled the bed, alternating layers of raked leaves, native soil, and Garden-Ville™ compost until the giant gaping hole became not so gaping. The idea is that the leaves (which started to compost a bit already because of the recent rains) would compost down throughout the season, amending the soil as it does so. It's heavy and clayey here, so anything to improve texture and provide nutrients is a good thing.

Anyway, here are some before and after pictures~



I'm now debating whether I should do a raised bed on top of this or if I should put just a couple layers of compost and soil and plant directly into those without raising it any higher. Augh, soil is the most difficult part of gardening, it seems.

Things seem to be going well in the seedlings department, and many things are screaming to be put in the ground. The longer I've waited the more it's worried me that transplant shock will kill them all. I did discover an interesting thing-- I was in the habit of lightly watering my plants every day. Just a little blop in the morning, maybe some at teatime if it was particularly sunny, and I thought I was doing a good deed. We left for San Antonio for a weekend, and when I came back about half of my plants had shot up almost to twice the size they were when I had left. It's a miracle what my babies can achieve once I leave them alone as it was then that I realized that I was more or less killing them with attention. I have since amended my ways and have learned to leave them alone. As long as they don't start smoking or stay out past midnight I'm sort of okay with getting off their backs a bit.

Now pictures and more applicable narration--

The older tomatoes are starting to get a little bigger. I think the scorching a few weeks back severely stunted their development, so I am happy to see them finally getting larger.

Here you can see where things have gone well and where they haven't-- two specific mistakes occurred. First, I asked the boyfriend to pick up el cheapo potting soil from HEB for me, and it ended up being disastrous. Instead of being happy and fluffy, it was evil, heavy, and sandy. I went ahead and repotted my tender baby peppers into it, hoping for the best and-- dead. All of them except one, which looks like it is hanging on for dear life. The same happened to all but two of my Burpee random rainbow assortment of tomatoes and all but maybe three of my opal basils. I am not entirely sure what I will do with this soil. The second mistake was to test fertilizer on the basil. Apparently it didn't like that, but luckily I only used it on six plants. One has survived, but only barely the poor thing.

The mint is doing very well and is already exhibiting its invasive tendencies. It keeps trying to branch out and sprawl as far as it can, the naughty thing. I'm so glad I bought it-- every time I touch the thing it fills the air with delicious aroma.

And my squirrels are... quirky, to say the least. I have all these yummy plants for them to enjoy, but instead they go for the cardboard boxes that house them. I am not entirely sure why-- maybe they taste like the cereal they once housed? Anyway, I have seen little footprints in the soil and my boyfriend watched one this morning munching away at the box. I don't get it, but I'm strangely thankful for this.

I'll leave this here now, and start visiting blogs like I should have been doing long ago.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


So a couple weeks ago I ordered some seeds from the eBayer Eco Seeds, an Indian girl living in Toronto. I got an email today from her telling me that some lady somewhere else got my order, and that I should be expecting hers in the mail shortly and if I could please forward her order that would be great. *headdesk* For some reason, I am not the least bit perturbed or annoyed by this, but instead amused. After all, the night all our orders went out she sent us an email saying that they were looking forward to taking the next day off and getting some much needed rest. I guess having a personal touch to this and knowing that these are real people and not mechanized warehouse machines doing the processing makes it okay for me.

Anyway, I don't even remember what I ordered-- maybe 3 or 4 different flowers and herbs? I kind of don't want to look back on my order because it makes it more of a surprise, like Christmas! (haha how sad is that?) Albeit a late Christmas, and I'll first be opening a present meant for, say, my cousin instead of me.

I planned on going out and cracking into limestone today, but the holes where I dug in the ground are very very soggy with a little standing water, and my left hand appears to be broken (at least it feels that way-- I probably just strained something). This means that I will be repotting some things that need more room and pushing the quarry work to tomorrow, which will be an equally (if not more) beautiful day. My basils have been loving the weather recently and all three cartons of basil are growing beautifully. I bought a pack of Burpee mixed tomatoes that are starting to sprout their first true leaves, and they desperately need homes now, as well. All of the mystery plants that I was hoping would be peppers are turning into tomatoes (as far as I can tell), including the mutant one with 3 cotyledons. My zucchinis shot up several inches in less than a week and also demand new homes (but would love nothing more than to be in the ground). Everything is sort of rushing at me now, and almost everything points to me *needing* to get this bed prepared and everything in the ground before the scorching summer slams down on us. Also pressing pretty hard is the fact that the boyfriend will be out of town for two weeks come April, so any manly labor and hauling abilities will be limited once he's gone.

Wow, now that I've written all that out I just feel like AAAAUUUUUGGGGHHGHGHH.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Too much text, not enough pictures

Wow, it's been a little while! No pictures to update this time since I have been busy in the gardening and lazy with the creative stuff.

The truth is that I ache. Pretty badly. The boyfriend tells me that means I must be doing something right because, to him (a string-bean-thin exercise nut), pain is a good thing. All I know is that there are apparently muscles in my fingers that I have never ever used before and that I have discovered them through my toils this week. My left hand is feeling the brunt of the pain because it's the more useless of the two and has never even held a fork, much less a shovel.

To sum it up, I have been busily:

1. Pulling up Bermuda grass to make way for a garden plot, completely ignoring my previous plan for a carefree lasagna garden

2. Again with the abandoning of the lasagna simplicity, digging up the nice tightly-packed clay soil that comprises where the beds will be

3. Cheerlessly pulling out rocks

4. Hoping to God that the roots I am cutting out do not belong to a black walnut tree

Numero 4 is pretty important to me because if there is indeed black walnut in the earth where I am digging, then pretty much all of my toils will be for naught. I am sort of bracing myself for the disappointment of juglone-poisoned tomatoes, beans, okra, basil, oregano-- well, basically everything single thing I want to plant in that spot. I am starting to wonder what sort of maniacs would *want* to plant a walnut tree in their yard, much less two-- possibly more. The two I know for sure are butted up next to my neighbor's fence on the north side of the yard and kills their veggie patch when it decides to drop fruit and lose its leaves. I know there is at least one pecan tree next to the eastern fence which reaches into the other neighbor's yard and I am hoping that the mystery tree next to it is also a pecan. My neighbor tells me that the walnuts are only 4 years old (the house is well over 20, the current owner has been here 3) so obviously in a spurt of madness the former owners thought YES I WANT TO GUARANTEE THAT NO FUTURE TENANTS CAN EVER GARDEN HERE EVER AGAIN. EVER. LET'S BUY BLACK WALNUT TREES. How vindictive and evil.

Back to expending massive amounts of effort that may yield very little gain-- I have spent two days with a little spade digging up about 100~ish square feet of clay and limestone rocks. I want to find a way to smash through the limestone, as I came upon it about 2-3 inches down to my dismay. Since it's pretty brittle and shallow, a hammer and something spiky might work just to crack it enough to extract with the spade, but I am wondering if I am going to have get all Seven Dwarfs on it with like, a pickaxe or sledge hammer (things that I do not own but may have to borrow from the landscapingerly neighbor across the street). I hope it does not come down to that.

As for my plants, they are doing surprisingly well. I spent last Wednesday out and about with my sister, and as the temperatures reached around 80+ degrees, I came home to find that my hasty and careless watering of my tomato plants early in the day had left them yellow and crispy because of the droplets left on the leaves boiling off in the heat. Whoops. But tomatoes are nothing if not resilient, and after a much needed repotting and several days of cooler air and cloud cover, they're doing much much better and have popped out with some new leaves. I have mystery peppers and tomatoes growing-- the former makes me happy, the latter makes me sigh because I will have an overabundance of tomato seedlings that may end up homeless.

But back to consternation-- while digging I have disturbed an alarming array of insects that will want to eat my plants. Earwigs like whoa skitter around the cutworm pupae, which roll lazily out of the dirt mounds like big brown seeds. It's so gross that I cannot even begin to describe it without clenching in revulsion. Everyone says to put collars on the seedlings or to stick straws and toothpicks next to the stems to prevent the cutworms from wrapping their fat, pulsating jellysack bodies around the tender and delicious stems. And then the earwigs-- oh GOD the earwigs-- I hear a pan of cooking oil will finish them off. I wonder how well that works, and for how long. There are pillbugs, grasshoppers, crickets, and all sorts of other fauna that remind me why it is that I never took up gardening in the first place. And then I anticipate the gastropod onslaught. Can I overcome nature? I sure hope so. At least I don't have fire ants in my backyard (knocking persistently on wood with that one).

And then the happy-- there are bags of compost, topsoil, and mulch in the backyard, waiting to be used. I have lots of leaves from the front yard and the prospect of (almost) free hay from a local stables. We'll see how that one goes. But today? Thunderstorms. The rest of the week should be sunny, but today it's heavy heavy rains enthusiastically flooding my clayey soils. Although it will make it orders of magnitude more difficult to shovel the remainder of the garden, I get a day off to do like, real chores. And for that, I (and my crippled hands) are ever so grateful.

Monday, March 10, 2008


This weekend, I bought some garden stuff, like mulch and bonemeal and whatnot. I also bought a chocolate mint plant because they are simply fabulous.

This, of course, made me find one of my favorite stupid repetitive Weebl flash videos~
Who looooves the chocolate? Everyone loves the chocolate! Nobody hates the chocolate 'cos everyone loves the chocolate!

Oh man, people who like juvenile things like Weebl's Toons need help. Anyway, that pot will be the mint's permanent home-- no mints are allowed to be in the ground in the garden because of previous past bad behavior by mints around the world.

But that was Saturday. Today is Monday. I have done nothing between the time I got and repotted the CHOCCYmint and today. SOOoo today I:
-Planted some new seeds that I bought over the weekend
-Repotted some plants that needed repotting
-Killed one of my sunflowers :(

Starting from the top~ I got Lavender Lady lavender because I really really want to grow lavender and one variety seems inadequate, especially since it has not sprouted yet. I also got chervil, four o'clocks, and a couple more kinds of squash and cucumber. I also got a couple mesclun mixes and a mixed lettuce mix. I am very much looking forward to cut and come again salads. Mmm :9 I also planted some of the mystery beans, peppers, and random seeds that my neighbor gave to me.

I repotted the parsley that finally sprouted and repotted some lettuce. The latter was probably a mistake, but that is okay-- I have plenty of lettuce to make up for it. The lemon basil in the egg carton was starting to die, so I moved it into a cup. I should have moved it sooner, but I was sort of waiting for more to sprout before moving it to a bigger container. Whoops?

Aaand the sunflower. I accidentally popped into his stem with my thumbnail. I felt so bad because he was the tallest one of the lot. It honestly feels like I murdered a child.

Oh, but I do have pictures of happier things :D

Parsley in a box and corn babies! The corn is just for kicks-- I sort of don't expect it to survive the transplant into the garden.

Mystery nightshades! I am pretty sure that the 3-cotyledoned guy is a pepper of some sort since all of my tomatoes have 2.

Nasturtiums and marigolds are growing, and you might be able to see tiiiiiny petunias.

Flowers, salad mixes, mystery melons, and okra.

Radish sprouts are beautiful-- I had to take a bunch of pictures of them. I love their slender pinkish stalks and fat green leaves. It makes me happy.

It rained like whoa today and while all the water eventually sunk into the ground I noticed that it tends to pool right next to the patio. Because of this I designed my garden border to avoid the patio, but I am wondering how much distance I really need to put between the garden and the patio so that it won't flood during the rains.

Anyway, I don't have anything else meaningful to add today.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Photo Phriday

Friday. Gorgeous, gorgeous Friday. It's a bit windy, but the sun is shining, the sky has cute little white puffs rolling about, and the temperature is cool but not cold. What a day to be outside and not indoors updating the blog! I never said that I play by the rules.

Today's work will be dedicated to clearing the evil black walnut bits that are strewn about the yard. Luckily they're nowhere near where my garden will be, but they still need to be taken care of. That, and the porch is a mess. My mom had commented on it being sort of kitanai when she saw it. She always says that word with such disdain, clipping the first syllable and dragging out the naaaaai. Japanese hate dirt.

Anyway, my mom also commented that cucumbers, okra, and beans are fun to grow. "Bean plants," she said, "make lots of flowers, and every flower becomes beans." And she said that she loves growing okra because "the more you pick it, the more that comes back." And then cucumbers she just adores, but she told me that she had a bad experience when she first tried to grow them in America. She lived in Panama Beach, Florida and she assumed that since stuff just grows in any old Tokyo soils if dropped on the ground and watered that it would work the same at her trailer in Florida. "The cucumbers grew an inch tall, sprouted flowers, and died. I was so sad." She urged me not to grow things that are cheap at the supermarket but to instead focus on tomatoes, basils, beans, etc. I assured her that I had plenty, although I didn't mention that I currently have some 15 Gardener's Delight, 33 large red cherry, and unknown numbers of beefsteak and random heirlooms that I just seeded last weekend. I did say that I was growing 5 different kinds of basil. She told me that she had tons of basil last year but since my dad is always working or is away on business that she has nobody to cook it for, so she just let it grow, flower, and die in the cold Ohio winter. I told her to get some shiso, which I think is called perilla or beefsteak plant, since that is her favorite Japanese herb. I also told her to freeze her herbs, but I guess that wouldn't solve the problem of nobody eating them.

Even though she is in Florida today, she told me that back home in Dayton there is something like 6 inches of snow on the ground. She's not looking forward to going back.

Anyway, to the photos! I have a little progress evident. The Gardener's Delight tomatoes are starting to grow their first set of real leaves, the large red cherries are starting to bud theirs. Beans are also growing their first set of leaves. I have some marigolds on the way while the nasturtiums and petunias are barely peeking above the soil.

Tomatoes! w00t.

Genovese, sweet, and cinnamon basil on the way. They're doing pretty well-- you can just see their first real leaves starting to bud.

Beans! The cotyledons seem to be drying at the edges and dying, but the real leaves that are sprouting seem fine. I won't worry unless the real leaves look bad, too.

Radishes! Growing like weeds. I may have to thin them out soon.

These are French marigolds of some sort I think-- too lazy to run down and check. They also seem to be doing well and will need thinning out soon.

Dill and mystery plants on a roll still!

Sunflowers grow amazingly fast. I'm surprised. This picture reminds me that I need to move them to a different window.

And now for the outside guys--

Peas! They seem happy. Happy peas. Peas and happiness? Love and peas!

Buckets of basils, spinach, and mustard. I should thin the mustards.

Boxes 'o brassicas. I have cauliflower, broccoli, and turnips there. They probably don't enjoy the small boxes but they will do until I can find something deeper to house them all. I doubt that I will keep this many to grow to full size, but I know that their shoots are good eatin'.

Boxes 'o beets! They are not happy to be there! They didn't do so well on the move, as is evidenced in this next photo.

Mowr. Lying down on the job, poor things. I just hope I can sort of keep them alive-- I love beets. If anything else I'll just eat the shoots.