Thursday, April 29, 2010

End of April veggie update

I'll start with the obligatory group shot:

My grape tomato plant has lots of clusters of blooms, but no little green tomatoes yet:

But my Early Girl plant has a tomato! This first one is about marble sized:

The peonies in the previous post are using the wire cage that I'll put between the snowpeas. They're getting tall enough to where they need it! Maybe I ought to go buy another one. I had to scoot the window boxes apart so the peas wouldn't grab onto each other. ;)

The squash in the wading pool is doing fine too, much healthier looking than last year.

And last, my Better Boy tomato. I'm wondering now if this one or the Early Girl will ripen first. The race is on!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April Flowers

Lots of things blooming in my yard, end of April. These smell so sweet - and I get more and more of them every year:

I'd bring some inside to admire, but the ants like them as much as I do, so they're definitely a flower to keep outside and admire from afar.

I keep thinking about diversifying, and getting some other colors of peonies, then separating these and mixing them together. But my favorite colors are green and cream, like these. I wonder what other varieties they make? I'll have to go hunting next fall.

I have several different colors of iris, too. Plain yellow, plain lavender, and two varieties of purple/white ones.

For some reason, I don't get both varieties of purple/white and white/purple blooming at the same time.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blocks of the Month and Yarn balls

You wouldn't guess it from all my garden posts, but I HAVE still been quilting. You can get a lot of quilting and web page making done while you're waiting (and waiting) for a plumber to call you back... and waiting (and waiting) for a plumber to arrive ... lol

But finally, I have a new not-leaking hot water heater, and dishes and clothes are being washed, etc. Catching up, here's the web page and the six inch star block I did for April:

The web page for May is almost finished, way early, for once. I won't officially put it up until May 1. Here's a sneak preview of the block, though, a six inch Maverick Star:

I've also been finishing up the Cats and Pinwheels quilt, by adding the yarn balls on the two long border edges. I don't really get into applique, even machine applique, so I'd been procrastinating on this, even though I really thought it'd add to the design of the quilt. Here's the left side:

And a slightly different one. I know it would have been easier to use a solid piece of bias tape for the string, but when I laid it out that way, it didn't look like it connected to the ball, it was TOO solid. So I tried a solid ball, and that just looked wrong next to all the scrappiness of the quilt blocks. I went back to the patched ball, and made a patched string, and I think it'll do. Here's the right side border:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Yet another Cat and Garden Update

First, a request from Mom. She liked the picture of Libby from my last post, but demands that Toby get equal time. So here's my other rescued Siamese. He wanted to look out the window undisturbed and chatter at the birds, especially a dove that lives in the ash tree. But I wanted a picture and kept tapping him on his furry little butt, so he'd look at ME instead of the bird. He finally turned around, looked exasperated, and gave me a couple of long meows. So this is him explaining, "The white bird is out there, I'd much rather watch it, if you'd quit thumping my rear end, I could concentrate. Understood?"

So I'll leave the cat alone, and start with the garden headline news ... my first tomato! It's on the Better Boy plant, the one that had blooms when I bought it. This plant has three, but the other two are even smaller-than-green-pea size.

The wading pool squash are going great so far. I'm not going to let myself get too excited, though, because they were going pretty good last year too, till the rabbit got them. Any of you that regularly garden know of a good companion plant that I could grow with the squash? I've heard corn, but... not in a wading pool, of course.

And here's my windowbox snowpeas. I'll have to put them near the cage pretty soon, so they can climb, but the cage is round front by my peony bush. When they start getting the huge golf-ball size buds, the peonies are usually too heavy for the stem and need some support until the blooming is over.

And, I'll close with another group shot. ;) The banana pepper plants aren't growing near as fast as the tomatoes, anyone know why? Any advice?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Garden Update for Mid April

Get used to it, I like to keep a photo-record of my plants. ;)

Here's another version of the group shot I took 9 days earlier - scroll down to see the previous group shot - I like seeing how they've grown, and it's fun to be able to look back on last year and see which ones grew best, and produced earliest. Several of the tomato plants now have buds and blooms, the Better Boy has three teeeeeny little tomatoes, not even the size of an English pea yet.

My squash in the kiddy pool is doing great - I planted 5 seeds per hill, as the directions on the back of the packet showed, but not all of them are up. I wonder if storing these seeds in the freezer (they're the ones that didn't get used last year) impacted their hmm... sprout-ability? Viability, that's the word I was looking for. Most, but not all of the snow peas sprouted, and they were stored in the freezer too.

And finally, a picture of Libby, who hates to go outside, but loves to sit in the window and watch me when I'm outside.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Cat Quilts and Snowpeas Growing!

I'm still working on this quilt - but I did finish piecing my kitty borders. Yes, it's on a fence, and I rotated the pic so you didn't have to tilt your head... lol

Now to put (applique, uggh) the yarn balls on the sides. I've changed my mind and am thinking about only putting them on the long sides, do you agree? With a little scrappy bias tape tail, with one loop in it, I think.

And I've got snowpeas, growing like a weed! These pictures were taken just a little more than 48 hours apart - the top picture was taken Sunday, the one on the bottom, today. I can't wait to crunch into my first raw, fresh off the vine, crisp little pea pod. ;p

Friday, April 02, 2010

Garden Beginnings for April

Ready to meet my new plant family? This is Easter weekend, so that means planting time at my house. I spent three hours this morning, shifting dirt from container to container, repotting, and planting.

The squash in a kiddie wading pool first - last year this didn't work. Not even ONE squash. But I kept the extra seeds in the freezer and I'm trying again. This time, better dirt instead of the topsoil I used before. I also poked some bigger holes in the bottom for drainage. I have five hills of five seeds planted. Last year, I thought I was being smart and tried to stagger the planting times, thinking I'd have squash early, squash late, and even end-of-summer squash. Instead, I think I might have not had enough blooming at one time to fertilize each other. I also had rabbit problems - this year, once they sprout, I'm doing the stinky kitty litter trick around the outside of the pool earlier -- after I did that last summer, I didn't see hide nor 'hare' of the rabbit for the rest of the season. :)

I enjoyed the produce from my sweet banana pepper plant so much last summer, I decided I'd have two this year. I'm planting them in better soil this year too, so I hope I don't get massively over peppered! Meet Banana One and Twin.

And about the CD's -- I'm always tempted to lie and say they're providing some esoteric nutrient to the soil, or they're providing reflected sunlight to the understory of the plants ... nope, they're just there for bird scare. When my tomatoes get 'caged' I use scissors to cut a slice thru the CD and put them on the cages, where the slightest breeze spins them back and forth and sets them flashing.

I haven't yet had a surplus of tomatoes in my little garden, so this year I bought still another container, plus more dirt, and I'm putting out a bunch. First, a Better Boy. Lookie, three little yellow tomato blooms! I had one of these last year, and it did really well:

Then I'm trying grape tomatoes for the first time. I often buy these at the supermarket, and spend $2.50 or so for a little plastic box of them. I'll try to keep some account of how many the plant produces, and see if I save anything.

Next, a Big Boy. I'm hoping this will produce some larger tomatoes I can slice and use on sandwiches. I used one of my big new plastic terracotta containers for this - it's a normal sized tomato plant, not one of the little container 'bushes,' so I'm slightly worried that it may be too much for a container. We'll see.

Here's another I've had in the past, a Husky Cherry Red. This was one of the varities that got me started in container gardening - it was so much fun going out every evening and picking a couple of cherry tomatoes for my salad. Juicy, round, and sweet, they were great. And they weren't prone to splitting either.

I have had this one too, and couldn't resist another. I'm not sure if this Early Girl will have the first ones ripe this summer since the Better Boy already has blooms, I'll have to wait and see.

Now, a group shot of my container garden - and if you look off to the left corner you can see my two window boxes with snowpeas. I planted the seeds for that last week. When I was planting everything else this morning, I was delighted to see that I now have tiny little green leaves poking out of the dirt. I didn't have any mulch on them though, so I re-covered the little shoots with some loose mulch when I was adding mulch to the tops of the tomato containers.

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