Rainy Day Blues

It is one of those rainy days here, as I am sure it is in many other parts of the world. When you look outside and see cloudy skies, wet weather, and it is a little chilly, how does it affect your day?

Creativity is sparked in some.

Others enjoy a warm cup to drink and a quiet book.

Many curl up and hide… really.

I like to do stuff. I drive to places I keep meaning to go, and check them out. I hit my to-do list, and actually accomplish some of the items (like write on my blog.. hey hey double whammy… keep on reading and you will see what I mean!)

Refreshing as it is, getting things in your life and home ready for the winter takes extra effort. The enticement is certainly not the actions necessary, even though the completed projects are rewarding.

Today~ I repotted a sad plant. It was on clearance for $3 from a nearby home improvement store. I was worried about this plant. It wasn’t doing horribly, but didn’t look happy enough for an aesthetically motivated house plant buyer to want. I thought to myself, “I sure don’t have any dying house plants right now, maybe I should get one.”

The fate of this very pretty green and yellow leaved plant was not advancing well into the future, unless I did something about it. Whining kids in tow, I searched the soil for bugs, none seemed evident. None of the leaves have been chewed on or spotted, only yellowing and only from the center of clusters, making me think it was either over or under watered, and was outgrowing its current conditions.  I checked the roots, and sure enough, bound in a twist, thick, and suffocating.

So I did what any ordinary garden/plant geek would do, I bought it. The whole way home I thought about two things- it would be great if my 3 year old stopped kicking the seats, I’m trying to freakin drive; and my track record with house plants is terrible, why did I just get one that needed extra help? Balancing this questionable line of reasoning, I sucked it up to the facts- at a mere $3 it would be a great next victim.

This struggling plant sat on my porch for a day or two, just in case those bugs showed up, didn’t want a population to fester without consent. It did eventually come inside and sit on a shelf, with just enough light (according to the little tag). That was 3 weeks ago… Took a little longer to make room in the schedule I guess. It got threatened with being banished to the porch by my other half, if I didn’t repot the silly thing already.

Today I actually did it. I made a crock pot recipe (red beans and rice) for dinner, and after cleaning the kitchen from breakfast and the prep… I looked out side and said to the audience, “I’m finally ready to repot this plant, come on 3 year old, lets get our hands dirty!”

It took a whopping 10 minutes.

Once we repotted it, I did what every ordinary person does, I looked up the plant variety. Wait… I think I did it backward-  turns out it’s going to be OK. Apparently, it’s not toxic for dogs and kids so that’s a relief… that was my first investigation. If they eat the stem of the leaves it offers a significant burning sensation in their mouth, but other than that it is safe. Knowing that I decided to keep it above reach, don’t want the new puppy munching on the green stuff in between meals and getting funky, ya know what I mean?

So on this rainy and wet day I helped Mother Earth with similar efforts;  I helped something struggling to stay alive flourish and grow. My cup is full.

What can you do to make Mother Earth smile on a rainy day?

The only down side, I don’t think the plant and pot match very well… Like my mother would advise, use what you got. Hopefully, it will outgrow the pot and I can do this again sometime!

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Raised Garden Beds, yay!

This last weekend the first half of my dream came true! The hubby was finally convinced that building me raised garden beds would make our life much better, and I promise, it will.
The planning and research has been taking place since we purchased our home, and I knew I wanted my beds located with full afternoon sun. I found the area of our yard that isn’t shaded by a fence and instructed a landscape company to install the sod and irrigation uncentered so I would have plenty of room. He was a little surprised and it took some explaining on why our yard is over there rather than in the middle, but I think he is fine with it now.
I shopped lumber and found Redwood in 2″x10″x8′ and also 12′ at Lowe’s for a reasonable price. Had them cut the 12′ in half since I can only reach in 3′ or so -halfway from each edge meets in the middle. We joined the edges, and leveled the tops and outside corners so there is less risk for abrasions while I am leaning and working. The wood is slightly warped and each board is within 1/4″ of advertised size so there was a little leveling and balancing to make it neat and perfect. So for under $200 after tax we have two 6’x8′ raised beds. The unexpected cost was the hardware, at a whopping $5 per bracket, and two on each corner, we spent almost half on just securing the beds. I really wanted to used reclaimed wood but he wouldn’t go for it, and these are the kinds of things we compromise on. I get the garden I want, he gets to build it with the materials he wants.
We made sure to space them far enough apart so I could fit a wheelbarrow between, as well as kneel comfortably. I can access the beds from all sides as well, important since they are pretty large.
The next step is fill dirt (since we don’t have extra), topsoil, compost, and peat moss. I need to turn the existing soil beneath the beds and then mix in the above materials, plant some seed and maybe some indoor starts I will buy from either craigslist or a farmer nearby… I am so excited!
I will be planting things that I have had luck with in my mother’s garden growing up, we are the same- temperate zone 5. From seed I will start squashes, cucumbers, beans, greens, onions, chives, oregano, maybe more. I will plant tomatoes, peppers, and basil from indoor starts. I will also try to plant things between rows that attract bees for pollination (just found this gem- http://www.organicgardening.com/tags/honey-bee-menu-for-pollen-and-nectar) and ward off other pests who might be interested in consuming my harvest before it’s time. This is the learning curve, let’s see what I come up with. I am reading magazines checked out from my local library to help me with this process; Country Woman, and HGTV had the most attractive articles this time around.
So, wish me luck and if you have any tips… do share!