Archive for April, 2008

I Staked The Peas

staked peas

Thanks for the advice, Heather! I’ve got them on chopsticks right now, but they’ll grow to about 30″ tall, so I need to find some bigger chopsticks.

In the background you can see my new purple hydrangea. I hope that one day it will grow into a bush. For now, it looks lovely in one of the pots the Gentleman Friend’s mother gave me. (I keep wanting to abbreviate him as “the GF”, but I don’t think that sends a clear message. I’ll type it out until a new, more graceful euphemism is found.)

Garden photos update here. It’s been very cold the last few nights, so I moved most of the sprouts inside for the time being. I think the spearmint has invaded my basil. Also, I started soaking cilantro seeds this evening. This summer is shaping up to be pretty tasty.

Here’s something I’ve learned: Next year, I should plant the seeds individually in small containers to sprout next year, so they transplant neatly and painlessly. I need to dig up the ones I’ve got going and replant them with more space. Since they’re germinating together in little planters, their root systems aren’t neatly separated, and I’m afraid the transplanting shock of pulling their roots apart will anger them. I’m especially worried for the kalanchoe- will he be ok if I dig up the morning glories from all around him, then fill in the hole with new potting soil? Or will he become my first victim of the season?  Only Time Will Tell.

I’m It

Katie at GardenPunks tagged me to answer a few questions, so here goes:

What was I doing 10 years ago? What does one do in middle school? I was probably reading.

My To-Do List For Today: Work, taxes.

What I Actually Did: Work, taxes. Living the life!

Snacks I Enjoy: Goldfish (the cheese crackers, not…ew), all cookies that don’t involve marzipan and/or marshmallow

Things I Would Do If I Were a Billionaire: Quit my job like whoa, distribute funds until I was a just a comfy millionaire, get a house in Alexandria with a yard, go back to school full time.

Three of My Bad Habits: Nail biting, going out with wet hair, napping during classes.

Five Places I’ve Lived: Richmond VA, Charlottesville VA (count this a few times since I moved around like 8 times while I was there), Alexandria VA.

Five Jobs I’ve Had: Jiffy Lube Technician, Waitress at Aunt Sarah’s Pancake House, Waitress at a Chinese Restaurant, Research Assistant in Metallurgy lab, Patent Examiner

Five People Who Write Interesting Blogs That I’d Like to Tag (no pressure, dude):

I’ll do one- Lynn at I’d Type A Little Faster. She’s writing a book!

Garden: Third Week

So far, everything except the sweet peas has come up from seed. Those I planted a full inch deep, just like the packet said, so I’ll wait a little while before I start worrying. The shelling pea plants are growing the quickest.

spearmint sproutI’m rather suspicious of my success. All I did was collect dirt, pots, seeds, and water. I didn’t even get drainage in most of the pots right, so they’ve flooded twice with the heavy rains the past couple of weeks. And for this, I am rewarded with perky sprouts? Just get a load of that spearmint sprout. He has no idea what he’s getting into. Clearly unprepared for, and unconcerned with, the ravages of my attention. I want him to grow quickly, so I can make tea of him.

I have discovered an effective method for curing the impatience between planting and finding green things: go away for the weekend. Plant Thursday night, make some plans, come back Sunday, and voila! No chance to spend the weekend avoiding one’s phone and staring at dirt, plus rewards when you return.  This has been keeping me calm, anyway.

Eating these guys is the next step that I’m very excited about, but the next actual step is transplanting. I started my seeds close together, like the package said, so I’ll need to thin the morning glories and climbers especially, and the hidden kalanchoepeas, also- there’s one guy who’s struggling in a small pot with two other thriving pea plants. The kalanchoe is now hidden in the glories, but he appears to be doing well. I assume he’s a bit confused about all the (living) company these days, but soon he’ll be moved to safety.

My Gentleman Friend’s wonderful mother gave me a gigantic stash of planters (with a huge spiky bromeliad bonus) this weekend, which is going to make it possible to separate things the way they should be (and decorate my bathroom). For now, though, more photos of the garden tonight are here. I have romaine lettuce, maybe!

I’m also looking for good homes for a few morning glory sprouts. They’re probably best in pots, since they tend to grow quickly and consume yards and native plants otherwise. Want one? or six?

I Love The World

As long as I’m playing with new media forms here, this ad for the Discovery Channel is pretty sweet, and sums up my feelings quite nicely. Boom-di-ada, Boom-di-ada.

Also, check out the new flickr feed (which is going away once I figure out how to post a photo feed from picasa albums).

Eco-City Alexandria Charter

I was walking through Old Town yesterday, on the way to get my mom a fairly-traded mother’s day gift, when I saw a flyer for the Eco-City Alexandria Summit.  Well, well!  The city is working with the local campus of the Virginia Tech graduate program in Urban Planning to create a plan for future sustainable development, and that’s the grad program I’m interested in attending, so apparently the stars are aligned well lately. Except the fair trade store was closed for the evening already, so one star was AWOL.

The process has already begun the planning stages. Good summaries and some interesting documents are already posted at the website. Community leaders got together to discuss some ideas in March, and the Summit is a chance for local citizens to make commentary and add to the outline. It will be held Saturday, May 10, at TC Williams High School, from 8:30 to 2:30. Breakfast and lunch are involved, and registration is free, though they want an RSVP to by next Friday or Saturday- they’ve asked for “Friday May 3”, but Saturday is May 3rd, so.

I had plans to be in a sewing class the 10th, but this is more important- especially since I fancy myself a local sustainability blogger. I’m going to have to expand “local” to actually include more than my back deck. I’m pretty out of touch with local goings-on. Apparently they’re announcing the Environmental Charter from the March Eco-City meeting at the Earth Day celebration today in Ben Brenman Park (on Duke St, across from the ugly library)? I didn’t know we had an Earth Day celebration, so I should probably pick up a local paper or read the local county website ever.

But I know now, I’m signing up today, and I’ll report back. Thus begins my descent into local activism.

(I am a little afraid of being an “activist”. Why can’t growing my own food be enough? But I know it’s not enough.)

Photo Albums: Garden, Growing

I thought I had plans last night, but I’d gotten the date wrong. Magically, then, a free evening appeared, which I spent playing with my plants on the deck. I put in Spearmint and Romaine Lettuce, and I’m soaking Sweet Pea seeds. So, to date, I have grown from seed:

Edibles: Shelling Peas, Chives, Basil (purple kind), and Lavender

Flowers: Morning Glories, Cardinal Climber, Kalanchoe (by accident)

I also bought a hydrangea bush (which is unhappy, see– the leaves are getting brown and curling up at the edges, and the flowers are drooping- am I over-watering? Or under-watering? Or does it want sun?), and a Rosemary tree.

Oh, and I finally hooked up my composter the night before last. The excellent Biking person gave me a couple jars of good dirt from his yard, so my starting cultures would be good, and so far nothing smells funny. The housemates have all been instructed in the proper use. I still need to weather- proof it better, but it’s happily reducing food scraps as we speak.

Pea PlantAnd now the albums: first, of my garden from the night of it’s inception, so you can trace the sprout progress. Also, my peas are growing in fantastic folds, like the one to the left, and these others. And it is really amazing how tiny mint seeds are– compare that to the others I’ve planted.

So far, I’m getting seeds from the grocery store. It’s Whole Foods, and they have a little gardening section, but any ideas on where else I could look for stuff? Their selection is rather limited, and the only other place nearby that carries seeds is Target. The hardware store is pretty far away. Also, I’d like to branch out into the mysteries of plant cuttings (har!). Advice, and bits of your plants, would be greatly appreciated.

Photo Albums: Coral Reefs

For all the pictures I post here, I have many more I’d like to share- so here we go. First up, the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef display at the World Financial Center. I got to see it over the weekend. It was tucked beside a staircase, and I wish the WFC people had at least finished painting the drywall before they put it on display. Maybe a decent coat of blue paint to get us in the mood? But the crochet/coral forms were really cool, and that’s what I was there for. Some of them were made of yarn, and some of trash- plastic bags, magnetic tape, fancy pop-tab additions, jelly fish with bubble wrap tentacles, and so on.  Also, I get why they were behind glass to discourage this particular urge, but some of them looked so soft and nice to touch, or play with…

Next time: obsessive documentation of my sprouts growing.

crochet reef

PS:  Back story on the HCCF here.

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