Friday, October 24, 2014

More Sowing, Less Reaping

Fall gardening turns out to be heavy on the lettuce sowing, light on the kids helping. They'd rather be making Halloween art than just about anything else. [Sidenote: I cannot believe Halloween is still a week away. I have Spooky Stuff Fatigue!] Today I finally pulled out the Stupid Green Zebra (official new name), and moved my thriving potted mint into its shady spot. The mint has been super-happy ever since I trimmed it back to nubs.
"Can I hold the hose? Can I? Can I? Can I?"

Elsewhere, I squeezed in a new round of seeds between the zucchini and the Sweet 100, both of which I'd intended to remove today but they talked me into a stay of execution for another week. The tomatoes may indeed keep producing; I picked a handful today and there's both orange and green fruit still on the plant. The zucchini has a couple teeny feeble starts, so I caved; I'm a softy.

From bottom: Carrots, cilantro, and assorted seedlings
I planted Salad Bowl lettuce, Detroit Dark Red beets, scallions, and organic cilantro from Burpee. The other recent sowings are coming along nicely, as shown in the photo. We've had a couple mornings of light rain and sunny, warm afternoons; I can only assume they are all loving it. I moved all my other pots into sunnier spots vacated by the green beans. Now that we're getting into what might actually merit the title of a "rainy season", they're going to need all the warmth they can get. My basil in fact still looks great.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Chilly Halloween Fun

The day after planting a slew of new seeds, I invited a bunch of preschoolers over for a Halloween playdate, and of course we ended up in the backyard (NO WALLS CAN CONTAIN US!) and of course some of my seeds got trampled, or - let us say - worked deeper into the earth. We'll see what comes of them.

But it was worth it, because we were doing an awesome Halloween spooky ice activity - frozen hands with surprises inside. Tipped off by Anne from Left Brain Craft Brain to the post at Happy Hooligans, I prepped the latex gloves at noon, dumping a large portion of liquid red food coloring in each. I got them out of the freezer at 4 PM. They were mostly frozen and in fact if they had all been entirely solid it would have taken the kids a lot longer to harvest their toys. The project's mess was all contained in the yard, where the grass was in its death throes anyway. (The red does get all over fingers and clothes - could have used a couple of those gloves for myself!)

The three-year-old kids all loved digging in their icy hands for some period time, varying by attention span, but my big first grader may have enjoyed it the most. He didn't have any parental help (because I was scurrying around distributing supplies to everyone else), and he took the longest, extracting his toys and applying salt with almost surgical precision. He told me later that it was so much fun it made everything else about the day "boring". Um, sorry?

I was too rushed to follow the Happy Hooligans suggestion about removing the gloves carefully, so we did break some fingers and the moms amused ourselves by staging them in some unused dirt a la fresh corpses. Classy. Thanks to Anne for the photos!

I'm both glad and sad nobody got a photo of the "bloody" pile of surgical gloves left at the end. Revolting!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall Planting

As much as I gripe about the weather around here, we do have the potential for four-season growing. Take that, New England and your beautiful fall leaves! Yesterday, we clipped our pumpkin fruits, leaving me free to pull out the pumpkin plants from the ground, along with my potted tomato that produced a grand total of maybe 6 tomatoes over the course of the year, and one of my two remaining potted basils. I planted from seed:
Bibb lettuce
Salad Bowl blend lettuce
Basil (ambitious, I know)
Beets, golden and red
Broccoli raab (last chance for this packet of seeds to impress me after lack of performance last go-round)

I still have four cherry tomatoes, two green beans, and a zucchini in the ground, all of which somehow managed to convince me they justified their dirt for at least another week. I also have a pretty row of leafy carrot greens and just enough cilantro for my own needs. It remains warm in the afternoons and cool overnight, hope my little seeds are cozy!

Normally I would not call myself an optimist, but you can't help it when sowing seeds... definitely part of why I keep at it.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Too Hot

Ridiculous heat wave in the EC this week, but I took the 3 year old outside early (like 8 AM early!) to do some harvesting and garden maintenance. This is four varieties of tomato - finally a couple green zebras deigned to ripen. Woo hoo; I'm over them. All the cherries' production are much decreased. Our carrot greens are looking leafy and pretty; it will be guesswork as to when's the right time to pick. I trimmed my dry as a bone mint back, along with not one but two pots of dead-or-dying basil; I'm okay if they decide to continue their slow march to the grave regardless.

I also stopped by the city to take advantage of Free Compost Week, but unfortunately didn't make it there until 11 AM so I boiled to death while shoveling up my allotment. Then it stunk up the car on the way home, with my poor daughter clutching her pink sparkly t-shirt over her mouth, through her car seat buckles, to breath through.