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We have 2 flowers on the Zuke plant.  And a baby jalapeno pepper on one of the pepper plants.  And the herbs are looking lovely.

On the negative side, something keeps digging up my lilies in the front yard, which means I will probably need to figure out someplace else to grow them if any of them survive.  And something else keeps nibbling on my echinacea.  So we probably have a bunch of bunnies with very healthy immune systems. 

We also has a new dog, which is why I don't have time to write much these days...more when I can!
--J
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Okay, fine, I get it. It was their house, they could landscape it any way they wanted. We bought the house. No reason, seeing this lovely carpet of evil cypress mulch around everything, that we should have just assumed there was, oh, say, dirt under it.

Apparently the house's previous owners employed Landscaping With Gravel in their past life, and then just covered up the gravel beds with mulch at selling time.  And under the gravel is this horrible landscaping cloth, the stuff designed to prevent weeds from coming through.  In some places the gravel is thicker than others, but it's plenty thick everywhere.  This is pissing me off.  On the one hand, yes, there are very few weeds.  On the other, trying to plant anything is HELL. 

The right thing to do would probably be to hire a landscaper (or take a week off work and do it ourselves) to completely rip all the old stuff out, give us nice planting beds and start from scratch.  But we being we, it's not gonna happen.  We bought the plants, we knew where we wanted them to go, we tried to dig the holes to plant them, and we discovered what lay beneath the lovely but anti-earth mulch (see saveourcypress.org/ ) was anti-plant-life mess, so naturally we just hacked through what we didn't like and planted our plants there anyway, with a bunch of manure and soil and hopefully healthy otherness.  This is probably not a landscaper's best suggestion, and we may live to regret it. 

The yarrow, being yarrow, is thriving like crazy.  Something keeps chewing on my echinacea, so it's not growing at the rate I'd like to see.  And I ordered some basil, carpet thyme, marsh mallow, and St. John's Wort from Richters ( richtersherbs.com --they are awesome!), and the basil and SJW seem to be doing okay so far.  The mallow and thyme aren't planted yet.

We also discovered that as part of last year's landscaping efforts, some lovely peonies and dwarf lilacs had been planted around the property, which has been a nice discovery.  But the gravel thing is driving me nuts.  I'll probably just perennial the hell out of the front yard, punching out most of the landscaping cloth as I go, and give the whole area to things that laugh at barriers.

In back, where the veggies are growing--the peppers  and zukes look good, but one of the tomatoes looks sort of stunted, the canteloupes are dying, and the rest is sort of mediocre.  As much amendment as we tilled into this soil, it's still probably too dense and silty to support really fast-growing life, and we don't want to put nasty chemicals in there to grow our veggies, because then we'd be eating the chemicals...

Sigh...the bucolic dream of happy lovely gardening sweetness is so not happening, except for the lettuce...

More later. New ugly discoveries about the backyard are making my husband curse, so I should probably get out there.
--J
greenmama: (Default)
Okay, some days I think I'm being an idiot and wondering what the hell I'm up to with this whole footprint pseudo-green-suburban-mama thing, feeling very self-consciously chi-chi and precious like I'm trying to be something I'm not.

And then today, when I had 2 or 3 minutes to make lunch before running in for a noon staff meeting (which doesn't actually start until 12:30, I now discover, which is why I have time to blog), I am able with incredible ease and efficiency to do the following:
1. get a piece of whole wheat naan, the stuff from Trader Joe's we subsist on instead of regular bread, since it takes much longer to mold and is palatable to our kids,
2. place on half of it a few slices of lunchmeat (okay, it was roast beef, which is the most EVIL un-green meat one can consume, requiring immense resources to produce, but that's a rant for another day and we haven't eliminated beef entirely from our diets yet because my husband is of the Beef It's What's For Dinner mindset despite the fact that we've had beef for dinner maybe a total of, oh, a dozen times in the past 7 years of marriage, not counting when he stops at Scatchell's and buys Italian Beef sandwiches on the way home from his folks...)
3. on the other half, spread some of the yogurt cheese I made a couple of weeks ago, still perfectly good and fresh. (I don't do mayo; too fatty and the jarred stuff is too processed.  Yogurt or yogurt cheese gives the creaminess and tang without the fat content.)
4. grab the kitchen shears and head out to the patio, where I snip off 4 small lettuce leaves and a sprig of fresh tarragon, all of which I give a quick rinse and dry-pat to
5. put the lettuce on the meat side, quickly use the shears to chop-trim the tarragon over the yogurt cheese.
6. put the halves together and start munching

And realized it was quicker to cut and rinse the herb and lettuce than it would have been to open the tarragon jar and/or get a thing of lettuce out of the fridge.  And this is just May, less than 2 weeks after everything's planted--it'll grow and grow, and there'll be more all spring and summer.  And if I can keep the tarragon from flowering, it'll just keep bushing out and I can dry the herb for the winter, since I use it all the time...

This was an AMAZING sandwich.  Truly yummy.  Could only have been better if I'd cut the tarragon into the yogurt cheese several days ago and let it sit and steep (which I might to tonight with some of it; need to eat that yogurt cheese before it goes off!).  And if I had veggies, I'd've skipped the meat all together and just done tomato and zuke slices, maybe the yogurt cheese on one side and hummus on the other or something.  But it was GOOD.

Good fresh food, quick and easy, cheap (aside from initial startup costs, which admittedly this first year in a new home are considerable), gourmet-ish even, that I made/grew myself, and from which I didn't generate any more stupid plastic containers. 

A good day.
--J
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The peas are germinating.

They are incredibly cute. I didn't know peas could be so cute.

The basil I planted in a pot a week ago is not germinating. I'm wondering what I did wrong.

 

peas,

J

p.s. the subject line is the title of a particularly delightful children's book my kids both loved. It encourages small children to play with their food and hurl their peas out the kitchen window.  It was a gift from their grandparents, with whom, believe it or not, we are still speaking.

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Greengrade for the 2-day period:
Bad: bought gogurt for the kids' special snack, ate off disposable plates and out of disposable bottle at lunch
Good: brought the drink bottle back home to recycle, since the place I got it from doesn't. And planted LOTS of veggies!

I think it's almost all in place now.

This morning I planted a row of lettuce plants along the fairly shady side of my house, so hopefully they won't get completely shredded in the summer heat.  It's sort of weird landscaping, I guess, but I know myself well enough to know that if I have to put on shoes and walk out to the garden in back in order to get salad, I won't eat salad.  This way, I can wander out onto the patio barefoot and grab a handful of leaves, and there you go.

And the backyard veggie bed is nearly full. (Still worried about the distance factor--reference previous paragraph!--but it's what we've got.) I planted snap peas along one side, which I'll train up a cage thing, then my 2 tomatoes and 3 peppers, then 3 cukes and 2 zukes.  At the other end, on a whim, I put in a couple of cantelope plants--never tried growing them before, but I thought, what the hell?

I also planted sweet fennel in and around the squash and cukes and melons, because it is supposed to be abhorrent to the nasty little worms that get into your squash and cukes and are able to winter over so you can pretty much never plant squash in that spot again.  And I'm planting marigolds all around the bed, because they are also supposed to keep bugs away.  I got a whole flat of nice "french vanilla" marigolds--they don't have that sort of mustardy color I dislike about the general species, and they are sort of scattered around the bed.  I like it.

I need to research other kinds of "companion gardening," other plants that grow symbiotically well with each other...
 

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December 2012

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