24 February 2011


A few days ago my cat knocked over one of the Dumb Cane pots and broke a bunch of stems.
So I cut off the broken pieces, leaving this
and trimmed the busted stems into cuttings.
They didn't do well, though. I've read that sticking them in moist soil will make new roots emerge, but they also rot easily. My cuttings all collapsed. I've put them under plastic-bottle covers to see if it will revive, but don't have much hope. O well. At least what's left in the original pot will keep growing.

23 February 2011

wintered carrots

Cleared off the leaves and other debris that drifted onto my Carrot patch overwinter, and found that quite a few plants are regrowing.
I though bleh, they're just going to be rotted like last year's winter survivors, but no. Pulled up one small root that looked okay and Isa was brave enough to taste it (just big enough for one bite). She said it was yum!
So I'm going to let these keep growing and maybe we'll have some early spring carrots (if the heavy march rains don't rot them).

winter survivors

Spent the last sunny day weeding out the Lettuce that overwintered. The Simpson patch looks so nice now!
The Romaine didn't do as well, which surprised me. I guess because the Simpson leaves look more fragile, I expected them to succumb more to cold.
Discovered when I pulled a few rotted stumps out that the cardboard tubes I pot the young plants in hadn't all decomposed. I wonder if it restricts the roots and keeps them from growing well? Maybe I shouldn't put the cardpots straight in the ground anymore...

22 February 2011

more new leaves

The Goldmoss is emerging all over the front flower beds. Indoors, the three pots I still have of it are growing new foliage too. It's pretty lanky, so I really don't think these plants do well indoors!
My big pot of Spider plants is growing a new baby!


The Crocus are starting to come up!
Blue on one side of the driveway, and yellow on the other.

21 February 2011

first seedlings!

Discovered quite a few of my seeds sprouting today! Has it really only been three days? Most of them are too teensy to get a photo of, but here's the Tithonia!
Also have sprouting Simpson Lettuce, Cosmos, and one Cherry Tomato seedling. Now is the time of lamps, when they all go under lights until I can get them outside in plastic and eventually under glass.


My poor Oregano! The plant I overwintered, and probably foolhardily chopped? All the leaves except the newest nubbins are collapsing. I don't know what's wrong. Went to water this morning (only once a week) and the nicest shoot got bumped and broke off!
I failed at starting cuttings of it before, but couldn't help myself so stuck the shoot in the teeniest pot I have (can't find the plastic greenhouse they came with).
Hopefully, I might grow more. I've started some from seed, but never been successful with that yet.

20 February 2011


The brightest thing in my yard right now is vivid green of these Simpson Lettuce. I took the glass off their makeshift coldframe a few days ago. They look pretty good for having come through the winter! We actually only ate from them a few times, but maybe I'll have fresh lettuce earlier this spring. Not too sure about how the flavor will be, so I'm going to start some new plants as well...

19 February 2011

leafing out

Some of the Chard is growing back already, from the ugly stumps of winter stems. I'm probably just going to compost it, though, as I know from last year it will just make seed and I've already got plenty of that.
I'd rather the Beets that overwintered make seed for me this year. A few seem to have survived, even though I didn't get any fall crop (can't seem to time that right).

18 February 2011

happiness is a cat

I am so glad of the rhubarb. Because of it, I found my cat again!

Our indoor kitty Numa went missing on the 3rd; she escaped out the door on a very cold snowy day and ran off. She was gone for fifteen days. We put up signs in the neighborhood, filed a lost report with local shelters, asked everyone we saw, posted on craigslist. Nothing.

But last night I remembered my new rhubarb was exposed to the cold, and went outside in the dark with a flashlight, to cover them up.
I saw something dark on the lawn. Thought it was my indoor-outdoor cat, Irwin. But when I approached it bolted, heading out of the yard. I crouched down and called "kitty-kitty-kitty" and the cat turned and came to me, meowing. Didn't sound like Irwin, but I wasn't sure until she got close it was our missing Numa! She purred like a motor right into my arms. She's thin and hungry and very affectionate (not usually a lap cat) and we are so glad to have her home again.
Thanks to the rhubarb!

I keep wondering where she was. I'd searched and called all over the yard, many times. Was she hiding the entire time under the shed, afraid to come out except at night? Was she wandering and just found her way home? why didn't she follow Irwin back to the house? I'm sure she was hungry, and I have a feeling he saw her out and about, as he didn't act surprised or affectionate at all to see her home again, just gave her a cursory sniff. Where was she all this time? How I wish she could talk...


Ready for spring! I bought a few packets of seed to supplement what's already in the fridge. Two kinds of Beets- one good for fresh eating, the other a canning variety. Carrots, and some flowers- happy to have pink and red Cosmos varieties, and I've been wanting to try and grow Coneflowers for some time. They're pretty, grow back every year, and are great for attracting butterflies and other insects!
Mind, I wasn't actually planning on doing anything with seed for a few weeks yet, but the sunny weather and new packages were too tempting so daughter and I spent the afternoon starting seed trays. We planted tons of stuff! Cherry Tomatoes, Heirloom tomatoes, Bell peppers, a Hot pepper mix, Romaine and Simpson lettuce and Broccoli. Flowers: Marigold, Cosmos (both new pink mix and saved seed of the orange variety), Tithonia and the new Echinacea or purple coneflower. Herbs: Cilantro, Basil, Chives, Oregano, Sage, Parsley and Rosemary (those last three of seed from my mother's garden!). And for fun, we've planted some seeds of an orange in a pot, just to see what happens. Oh, and a month ago (forgot to mention) I stuck the Plum seeds into a pot outside on the patio, where it got some weathering in the freeze-and-thaw of late winter.

So now the top of my fridge is crowded with seed trays! I'm very happy about that. Most of the plants I've started about the same time as last year, which worked out well. The Tomatoes a little earlier. Next effort will be the struggle to find enough windowsill space with good light or spread the seedlings out under all the lamps in the house (which annoys my husband somewhat). I'm already planning to shift the two coldframes off the lettuce bed to the porch, as soon as it looks like they can do without protection, so they'll be ready to receive new baby plants...

And I haven't even mapped out my garden yet. Already the plans are quite a bit different from last year. Because of the coming baby, I don't want any plants that take a lot of nitpicky care (picking bugs off every early morning?) or are new-to-me and thus difficult to grow (like the corn). So I'm sticking with what's been simple and hardy in the past: tomatoes, peppers, leafy greens, peas, beets, carrots, etc. Not much bothered by bugs. Basically it means I'm not doing all the cucurbits this time, which is kinda sad- the Cantaloupes were so delicious last year! But I'm hoping that maybe a season with nothing tempting for them in my garden will help get with the cucumber beetle problem, too!


I was so happy to see that my Strawberries have survived the winter. Green foliage is peeking out from under their blanket of leaves and shredded paper. I'm leaving it on a bit longer in case of later frost.

Even more exciting was to find the Rhubarb alive! It took a bit of digging around in the leaf mulch to find the crowns, but once I located one I knew where the others were. And all of them have little rosy nubbins emerging from the soil.
I'm not sure if I should leave them covered longer or not. Get conflicting info from what I read.
Some say to uncover them in early spring to let sun warm the ground and encourage growth. Others say keep them tucked in until all frost danger is past.
I think I'll play it safe and cover them lightly again for a little longer.

I showed my husband when he came home, the peeking green Strawberry leaves and rosy Rhubarb nubbins. For once he was excited about the gardening: he can't wait for some homemade strawberry rhubarb pie!

17 February 2011

new life!

The weather so nice and warm today couldn't resist doing a bit of gardening. I cleared out all the leaf litter from my "daylily corner". There are definitely Daffodils coming up!
 And not far behind them these little green shoots that will be the Daylilies.
Now I can look out my corner window and feel cheered by their progress.

oregano leaves

Some of the little leaves in my chopped-down Oregano plant are getting bigger!
Quite a few of the others have blackened and shriveled. But every day there are more itty bitty sprouts bursting from the dry branches, so I'm not too discouraged.

16 February 2011

jade branch!

I thought this little Jade I grew from cutting was never going to branch by itself and about ready to cut its top off in encouragement. It just kept getting taller and taller!
But finally it's made a second pair of new leaves, off to one side.
So now I'm letting it grow more, to see what shape it takes on its own. (Another angle, here)

05 February 2011

signs of spring!

Little green shoots are emerging from under the mud, melting snow and fallen leaves in the corner near the house and driveway.

I think they're either the Daffodils or Tulips, heralds of spring. (My Crocus bed is still under several inches of snow). They make me feel so cheerful, these little green shoots!

04 February 2011


Found growing in one of my Avocado plant pots. Kinda cute, isn't it? I wonder what kind it is.

01 February 2011

taking stock

The other day I got excited at the store saw seed packets on sale! I was so tempted to get some veggie seeds and start them in the windowsills, even though we still have six inches of ice and snow on the ground. But then reminded myself I have jars of seed in the fridge at home, so I pulled them out today to check what I've got, before I go shopping.

Turns out that was a very good idea.

I usually plant about twenty-five varieties of vegetables and herbs, plus a few flowers. Last year I only had to buy half of that as new seed, because I had enough saved.
This year, I only need to buy two kinds of seed: beets and carrots. I also want to get another variety of Cosmos, pink if I can find it, all my seed are orange and yellow ones. But I'm very happy that I have saved seed of everything else! About two-thirds are just what's leftover in last year and the year before's packets; the rest are from my own plants, and I've also got a handful of seed from my mom's herbs (which I'm very excited to see if I can grow!)
This means now I can spend more money on potting soil, which I really need to rejuvenate the houseplants and start stuff early enough indoors. Also I could try some new veggie varieties and flowers, but I don't think I will. We'll have a new baby in the house by spring and I don't know if I'll have the energy to try and learn how to grow new plants. As is, I'm not going to do corn or celery again (even though I have the seed) because they pretty much failed me last year. Just sticking with what I know and what grows easily, this time around.