Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lily's Garden Pals

Lily has lots of pals in the garden, but one I've forgotten to mention is her stuffed bear, Victoria, made especially for Lily by her GramS in Michigan. Lily loves Victoria and takes her everywhere! She's just started calling her "Toria".

These pictures are from July, holy cow, July! It's already fall; I can't keep up. We've definitely been absent from the garden and the main reason is because I'm ten weeks pregnant and feeling mostly like Death warmed over. Lily's going to have another gardening pal come April and we're really excited but dang I hate this first trimester. I've let everything go, gardening, writing, cooking because I'M SO TIRED I COULD FALL ASLEEP STANDING UP. It's about all I can do to take care of Miss Lily and you can bet that when she naps, I nap.

And now we're going on vacation for a week, but we'll be back with more gardening adventures in a few days. For now, happy fall everyone!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Park(ing) Day 2009

Sorry Lily and I have been completely absent from this post lately. (More on that later.) Today, September 18th, was Park(ing) Day.

Transition Everett had one parking spot and we made our spot into a bit of a garden just to show how much could be grown in such a tiny space. We didn't even fill up the space, but we did have planter boxes overflowing with two kinds of lettuce, broccoli, strawberries, carrots and herbs. It was a beautiful day in downtown Everett and lots of people stopped by. Hopefully next year we will have more spots!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Lily helped me pick potatoes this past weekend. It was pretty easy seeing as there weren't that many. Sometimes I feel like in gardening I learn a thing or two, then take a few steps backwards, then try again and learn a few more things and then again I take a few steps backwards. Is this how it is for you other gardeners? I guess it's kind of like writing, awesome and really frustrating at the same time. I can't even compare it to parenting, because in that realm I'm pretty much walking backwards the entire time while Lily leaps ahead of me.

The first potato I planted on St. Patty's Day didn't do a thing. I tried again almost two months later. I planted the potato in the large garbage can in just a few inches of soil mixed with compost. As it grew I mounded up over it. It grew some more; I mounded more; it grew; I mounded...you get the picture. And all this time I had such high hopes, dreams of being buried under the enormous piles of potatoes we were going to harvest.

Pipe dreams, baby, pipe dreams. I can count the spuds on two hands, 8. Yep, that's right 8 potatoes. Hardly enough for even a teensy tiny pile. Two of them are barely the size of a quarter so I'm not even sure I can count those. Honestly I had more luck doing nothing, and I mean nothing. The potatoes that spontaneously grew out of our compost pit this year grew like they were on acid; we had meal after meal of delicious, sugary-sweet, fresh picked potatoes without me doing a thing.

Oh well, at least Lily had fun chucking them around the garden. She's learning to throw which right now is her holding the potato/ball up over her head and tossing it off behind her. Pretty cute. It sure is hard to stay mad at my potatoes when she's around.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Success with Kale

I was looking at my raised beds last night and thinking, I'm not really a gardener, but rather a dabbler. I dabble in the garden. Every year my beds are a big mish-mosh of random plantings. This is the first year I've taken notes and drawn good illustrations so that next year I can plant much more efficiently and rotate my crops, but that's a long way away. Right now, thanks to my childlike enthusiasm to just plant a few seeds here and a few seeds there, everything is still mish-moshy. I do follow many of the rules about companion planting and what to plant to attract beneficial insects, but really my beds end up looking more like a wacky finger-painting.

My most successful crop this year has been the kale, Black Tuscan Kale from Uprising Seeds in Bellingham, WA. Oddly enough I didn't even like kale when I planted it. Why then did I plant it, you ask? Good question. If I can see clearly enough through the fog of my brain, back to May, I think I was trying to plant things that grow better in our mild and rainy climate. Well, we all know it was anything but mild and rainy this year, but the kale didn't seem to mind. It grew and grew; we picked a bunch and it grew and grew, and so we picked some more. And still the rows of kale are pretty and lush. It also didn't get bothered by bugs or disease, YEAH! (Maybe that had to do with the rows of scallions I planted in-between the rows of kale to ward off pests.)

And I discovered a way to cook it that makes it taste delicious. Cut out the hard, bitter, middle stem. Saute it with lots of chopped garlic and olive oil on medium for a few minutes and then on high for a minute or two to kind of caramelize it. Turn off the heat and squeeze a slice of lemon over it. Fabulous!

Lily doesn't so much share my enthusiasm for kale, eating it or harvesting it. She likes to run her hands across the leaves, but that's about it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Little Harvester

As far as gardening tasks go, I think Lily definitely prefers harvesting to everything else, (except maybe digging.) I can hardly keep her from picking fruit and vegetables when we go outside. She knows where the plum tree is, where the tomatoes are, the zucchini, strawberries, even the chives, which she will put in her mouth and suck on if nothing else is available in the garden. And of course she still has memories of snap peas from the spring.

We've been trying to teach her colors which is a lot of fun, or rather, funny in the garden. It's starting to work for the Sun Gold tomatoes, but not so much in strawberry land.

Now when we pick the Sun Golds she says, "lello" for yellow which is actually her word for yellow and orange, but hey, I'm not going to argue with her. The fact that she can now tell the yellow/orange ones from the unripe green ones is pretty awesome.

Unfortunately she thinks strawberries should be picked when the color is anywhere from white to red. But then of course when she picks the white ones and eats them, she spits them out and wipes the remains all over me.