Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sprouts growing up

I actually have been gardening, believe it or not, but I've been really busy doing something else.

We have our first high school graduate -- top row, second from right.

Because she was homeschooled all the way through, it was a DIY (or DIG, because it was a group effort) graduation. A few meetings, a lot of alpha moms trying to figure out whose vision would triumph, and a long evening's service. Good food, some tears, and aren't they lovely?

Now she's off to Oregon in the fall to play Ultimate. And, you know, attend some classes!

I'll post gardening pictures as soon as I really catch my breath.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Good Eats

Mark Bittman talked on the radio today about his new book, and he mentioned chopped salad. I'd been wondering what to have for lunch, and though I realized I didn't have everything I needed at home or in the garden, a couple of additions would make a tasty treat for me.

I had to stop for cream cheese for the bagel-heads at home, so I got an organic red pepper, cucumber, and zucchini on the way.

Right beside the driveway, I pulled two Italian Yellow carrots out of the front, "neighbor" bed, since no one is taking carrots out of it, which drives me crazy, but is beside the point. Added to that were three leaves of ruby chard from the same bed, and two sprigs of mint, well-washed, from the curbside bed. A lime from the tree ended the front yard harvest.

Then I wandered out back, got a few sprigs of the parseley which is busy bolting, and some leaves from an old onion plant. Too late, I realized that chives would have worked, also, but I already had my onion component.

Some tricolor quinoa, well-rinsed, went into a pot with some water and I got busy chopping. I figure that no matter if I don't love a vegetable (zucchini squash, I'm looking at you), if it's a small enough piece, surrounded by lovely bits of Things I Enjoy Eating, the less-admired things will slip right on by. So I carefully chiffonaded the green things, trying to simultaneously dilute the chard and spread the mint around, chopped the harder veggies up into less than bite sized pieces -- the absoloute largest are about 1/2" -- and squeezed the lime over them.

Quinoa done, I added it to the bowl, and topped everything with some salt and a few grinds of pepper. The bulk of the salad will be improved for waiting, but it's lunchtime, so I served myself up a bowl. Full of flavor, and with enough crunchy things to signal to my mouth that I'm really eating, I'm going to try to remember this sort of approach all summer, and keep things like it in the fridge for the kids to grab as snacks.

After they eat all the bagels.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pest Control Help

After using dish soap as a homemade aphid spray, the population of aphids hasn't gone away. It has, however, diminished, and just in time for the natural upswing in ladybugs. I'd noticed some beetles and some eggs, but yesterday, everywhere I looked, I saw eggs, mating adults, adults rambling around, and many many larvae hoovering up aphids. Hooray!

This tree isn't out of the woods either insectally or fungally, but it's a bright moment at least. And fewer aphids fall on my arms when I walk past it, too.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Garden bits and bobs

 Of course, I bought two Principe Borghese drying tomato plants online, my peppers and tomatoes finally sprouted. . . fortunately, our growing season is long enough that layers of planting should work out fine. At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

Have you seen this plant? They're sprouting all over one of my beds, and I've been ripping them out, but they smell. . . interesting, and I'm wondering if I am having some kind of self-seeding event. So, anybody?

Direct-seeding zucchini is such a thrill. They just pop right up like nobody's business. Hopefully the cucumbers and popcorn will follow suit. All bathwater has been slated for seed moistening.

Vigorous, regular spraying of soap on the Katy apricot has seemed to slightly discourage the aphids and whiteflies, but it's only the start of the battle. I think where the soap is directly hitting, we're getting some action, but as you can see in the center of those new leaves, spraying the underside of each leaf is a challenge.

And in one of those "What were they thinking?" moments:

Can't see it? Here:

When I asked Ellie to fix the fallen-down trellis, she used the pitchfork to do so. Unfortunately, she also created a different issue. We've had the "What do you do when there is another problem?" talk, and I foresee a bit of time on ladders upcoming for that child.