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Painting and Priming

workout_before_1

We have a giant spare room upstairs that has been designated the workout room as well as Jefe’s “office”. He NEVER spends time up here anymore…AND he has a gym membership. So, we have decided that it would be a good idea if I moved my sewing room up to this space so he can take over my current sewing room downstairs.

workout_before_2

Ugh! Look at those curtains! I hate them!

workout_before_3

I am super stoked. I love this room as it has great light and I am a sucker for sloped walls. It’s been this horrible lavender color since we’ve moved in and I am FINALLY getting around to repainting it (and getting new blinds!)

All of this painting is mainly prep for when we eventually get new carpet up here. However, I took this opportunity to upgrade my seedling closet. Here’s the before:

closet_before_1

I think this room was originally painted a really bright orange (like the carpet you can see peeking out in the hallway), and the closet was a bright green. Barf. It’s a seventies house FO SHO.

I bought a shelving unit and more lights and got everything installed this weekend:

closet_after

It was pretty shocking when I first plugged all of those lights in. I think I burned my corneas. We had to finish assembling the shelving unit INSIDE the closet, so this thing is pretty much stuck in there now. I don’t care…I LOVE it.

I’ve got the room halfway painted, and I still have to do the doors. My hand/arm is killing me from all of the painting, but I am so happy with the progress so far.

NEW YEAR!

Hello.

How have you been? Things have been well around these parts. I have no complaints. I’ve been thinking about trying to blog again on a more regular basis and told myself that I would start the first week of January!

Obviously THAT didn’t happen, but better late than never, right? Here’s what’s going on at the moment:

Remember the ditch from the front yard project? Here’s a reminder:

Ditch_MARCH2016Here’s where I am now:

DITCH_JAN2017
BOOM. Sorta. My first task this spring is to finish planting and mulching the ditch and the major project for the front yard will be installing a brick patio over in the corner. And I’ve got to clear out all of those blackberries back by the fence. Ugh.

I half-assed it in the vegetable gardens last year so I told myself that this year I would FULL ass it. So, I’ve got my planting plan completed, seeds purchased and I’m currently trying to start onion and leeks in the spare closet/grow room. This weekend I’ll also start some spinach. THIS week, I’ll start some spinach. I also joined a garden club and even though it’s only been a week, it’s been SO HELPFUL ALREADY. I’ve been able to put together a planting calendar and garden maps!CALENDARPLANS

I have a Grand Plan of installing a cutting garden this year, but I am always overly ambitious in the planning department and seem to under perform in the execution stage, so…fair warning to keep your expectations low on this one. I’ve winter sown some flower seeds in some old distilled water bottles like I did last year and have stuck them outside to chill. I’ve got a TON more to do still. Here’s the general area where the cutting garden will go:

CUTTINGGARDEN_JAN2017

Mainly where the black plastic is, on the right-hand side of the photo.

The next order of business is to get my soil tested. We did this when I was a member of the local community garden, but I’ve never actually taken the step and do it for myself. Silly!

 

A Tale of Two Turnips

turnips

 

Let me share with you a dumb-ass rookie gardening mistake I made this past fall. This is something that I should know better by now…but for some reason it just didn’t click in my brain.

Take a look at the two turnips above.

One has an awesome, cialis buy plump root and the other has a small, cialis buy skinny root .

One was sown in a bed that had peas and fava beans grown in it earlier in the season. One was (accidentally sown) outside of the bed in the walkway.

Care to take a guess as to which turnip was grown where? I’ll tell you: The awesome root turnip landed OUTSIDE the garden bed when I planted these seeds, and as a result, the root bulbed out because the soil IN the garden bed had WAAAAAYYYY too much nitrogen.

Why? Because legumes, like the the peas and fav beans are nitrogen fixers. This means they bring in a lot of nitrogen from the air and store it in their roots. This is perfect for plants that are heavy feeders like corn and tomatoes, or for plants that are leafy, like lettuce. Too much nitrogen in your soil is not awesome for fruiting. You will get great greens, but your beets, radishes, turnips…whatever will suck.

This is especially relevant for those who have soil trucked in for raised beds, which I did.  In my case, when I built my garden, I had used a combination of topsoil and mushroom compost. This combo was super high in nitrogen thanks to the compost.

Last year I added bone meal and wood ash before I planted anything to add potassium and phosphorous to help balance things out, and it helped. I actually got some radishes. However, I didn’t even THINK about the fact that I had a high-nitrogen bed when I chose to plant the turnips.

I came across a little mantra a few years ago that I filed away in the “I’ll check that out later” folder in my brain: “beans, fruits, green, roots”. This is a simple little crop rotation reminder. The crops are basically planted in order of their nitrogen use.

So…I’m going to rip out the turnips and use the greens for something, then plant potatoes in this bed, since they are a member of the nightshade family (like tomatoes) they are technically a fruit.

Gardening is a lot harder than I ever thought it would be…but I still love it.

The Front Yard Project

Here’s a little progress update on the the grand Front Yard Project. We (mainly Jefe) have been busy tearing out the chainlink fence that was crushed by a tree that fell during an ice storm a few years ago:

yard_fence

It’s a mess. There was a TON of blackberries and weeds we had to take out. Not to mention trees that actually grew THROUGH the fence:

treeFence

It’s a lot of work! I still don’t know if we are going to build the new fence ourselves, cialis canada sovaldi sale or hire it out. We got a quote and…OUCH! I am of two minds about this: we would save so much money if we did it ourselves, but if we hired it out it would DONE in a week and we wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore.

Aside from the fence, one of the first projects in the Front Yard I am going to tackle is converting the ditch in the front to a bioswale, or rain garden. Here’s the ditch:

bioswaleTo give you some reference it’s about 75 feet long. The first thing I am going to do is solarize the grass and weeds with black plastic. It’s going to look like crap, and I am a little embarrassed, but then I have to remember that our yard has looked trashy for years, so what’s another month or two, right?

The landscape designer I hired last year came up with a list of plants for the bioswale that I am starting to source. In order to save money I am trying to start as many as I can from seed, which so far isn’t going all that well. I decided to try the winter sowing method using old water jugs that are turned into mini greenhouses. I planted these back in January and only one has sprouted so far.
wintersowingjugsHere are the jugs! Not all of them are for the bioswale specifically. Only the Elks Blue and Slough Sedge.

SloughSeedlingsAnd only the Slough Sedge has sprouted. These plants are suited for wetlands and will be planted in the bottom of the swale because…well…they can handle water. Variegated golden sweet flag, which is another pond/bog plant will also be planted. I actually found some of these at my local Lowes but I haven’t purchased them yet. Also on the list and not purchased yet are dayliliies, which will be planted higher up on the slopes. The other plant I am trying to start from seed is Juncus patens ‘Elks Blue’, another grass suited for wet places like rain gardens. I bought more seeds this week and am going to try going the traditional route of starting them under lights since they don’t seem to like the jug.

And…last but not least…a landscaping strawberry will be planted along the top edge on the street side. I actually have some of these in my back yard I think I can just transplant. Every little bit helps!

My Garden Year

South garden in June

South garden in June

Look at that jungle! I know it’s been almost six months since I blogged, tadalafil remedy which is totally lame.

I thought about it a lot! That counts, pharmacy right?

This year was the BEST garden year ever and it’s pretty much because of all of that drip irrigation I installed AND we had an A-MAZ-ING weather year. It’s like I was back in California. There were hits (cucumbers) and misses (beets) and instead of chronicling it in excruciatingly boring detail, I’ll just post some sort of before and after shots so you can see the transformation. Here’s the above garden in its current state:

South garden in November

South garden in November

North garden in June

North garden in June

North garden in November

North garden in November

I got my first seed catalog in the mail this past week and I’ve already highlighted the crap out of it. I’m also going try really HARD-ER to blog more. For reals.

A couple of garden projects

drip irrigation bits

I am FINALLY installing drip irrigation! Holy cow! It’s taken me long enough. I started this project last year and got ONE BED done and then…well…you know. I have that problem with finishing things I start. So…a few months ago I read a blog post by Garden Betty where she described her set up, which uses the same drip kit that I already had, see just configured differently. I liked hers so much that I ordered a few extra bits and elbows and other bits and have been busy assembling said bits. So, good thing I only did one bed, right?

And since I am sort of on the topic of finishing things…

Boom. Cold frame. DONE. I got that window from a coworker over a year ago (at least) and it’s just been taking up space in the garage this whole time. It seriously took Jefe and I maybe an hour to build it. I’ve got some veggie starts under lights that are almost ready to transition into their awesome new home!

I planted sunchoke, or jerusalem artichoke tubers in a spot in the back of the kitchen garden. I’m excited to see what they do this year. Also planted but not shown: potatoes, garbanzo beans, peas and fava beans.

On a whim I decided to start saving egg cartons and toilet paper rolls because I often see people use them for veggie starts. I tried it in the past and it’s never really worked for me, but this year I COMBINED THE TWO and I feel like magic happened. I feel like a recycling genius. Although, I am positive someone has probably done this a million times before.

Look at this little pallet house! My next grand project is going to be a pallet planter for some bamboo, so I am all about pallets right now. I saw this at a local garden center and fell in love with it. It’s not practical in any way, shape of form, but it’s just so clever I can’t get over it. I’m hoping to tackle the planter project a couple of weeks so I’ll let you all know how THAT goes!

Repotting and Preparing

My poor african violets finally got transferred in to some larger, brand-spankin’ new pots. A local store had pots on sale so I was able to give a bunch of my house plants new digs. I am finding that attractive, AFFORDABLE pots are really hard to come by, which seems strange. I guess next time I am IKEA I need to stock up.

I am all about weeding right now. This is the “kitchen garden” and the first bed I am going to be planting into is the long skinny one in between the raised beds and the pathway. It’ll be filled with things like spinach, lettuces and peas.

Here’s the horror that is currently what I am calling “the south garden.” This one used to be beautiful, but I got super lax on mulching, then it got ran over, and now holy cow the weeds. Looking back, I should have planted fruit trees here. We are also sort of, in a fantasy kind of way thinking we could put a tiny house in this space, so…I’m just trying to keep it under control. I am mainly going to be growing potatoes in these beds this year.

It doesn’t’ look so bad from this angle. Well…minus the hoses and crap lying around. I’m thinking a chicken coop would totally fit in this space. I’m like the only person I know that doesn’t have chickens. Urban Gardener fail!

I also got my growing closet sorted out and will be starting some celery, celeriac, leeks, onions and cabbages in the next few days.

And as far as projects go we bought ourselves a fancy compound miter saw for Christmas, and I have a window and extra lumber in the garage that is just screaming COLD FRAME! Yeah!

There and back again

I just got back from spending some quality time with my best friend and her family in Richmond, < Virginia. These photos were taken before a gigantic snow storm descended upon us and kept us locked inside the house for four days with two sick children. They are my people, I love them. But I am GLAD to be home!



I wish I could have spent more time exploring the area. So many beautiful old homes in like, ailment a two block radius.

In other news, as per usual at this time of year, I am totally obsessed with the garden. I got my tree collards in the mail while I was gone, and I just ordered some jerusalem artichokes, and I’ve pretty much got all of my seeds. I’ll get my potato seed from my local urban farm center next month, and I think I’ll be all set.

I told myself this week that I would spend an hour each evening after I get home from work (if it’s not raining) preparing the garden beds by weeding. I ALWAYS forget this step when I am planning my weekend garden activities and what usually happens that I get outside and realized that I need to weed, which takes up most of my energy and time, and I poop out before I can get around to the real work. Tonight will be my first test, so I’ll let you know if I actually weeded or if I sat on my butt with a cocktail.

Gardening


This is my super messy garden plan for this year for part of the yard.

I have gardening on the brain right now. I just watched this awesome show by Alys Fowler I found on YouTube about edible gardening and it’s got me really inspired. Now that the seed catalogs have arrived, generic viagra site I’ve gone through my stash and am starting to figure out what will go where. I am still surprised how hard gardening is. Not only the physical labor, cialis buy buy but the timing, the soil, the pests, the weathe, crop rotation…so much goes into it. My grandparents and great grandparents were able to feed their families with produce from their garden and I would totally starve if I had to depend on what I grow. Each year I get a little better, and I am hoping this year will be the best yet!

I was searching around my computer looking for a planting list from year before last and I found some half-completed graphics I started a few years ago:


I actually like that succession plan, but I don’t know where that info or idea came from. I wish I would have taken better notes. It’s also a tiny bit confusing. I guess that’s the good thing about giving things time…you can come back to them with fresh eyes.

I am going to focus on companion planting this year, which I did year before last, but not so much last year and I noticed a difference in the health and beauty of the garden. I also have a lot more space to fill up that I’ve had in previous years which is another challenge.

The main concept I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around is crop rotation within a growing season. I understand that you don’t want to grow the same thing in the same spot year after year, but I am still new to the idea that lettuces sown in the spring are going to peter out in mid summer, and I need to have something ready to stick in their place, like cucumbers or squash. And whatever that thing I choose in stick in that spot needs to be a companion to the other things that are already there and still growing, like onions. It can get confusing. Add to that the idea of succession planting, which is planting things spaced out over the course of a few months so you don’t end up with a glut of food, but a steady supply. I have NEVER been able to master that. I think I am going to have to bring in the big guns and use a Google Calendar.

I think I have finally got it figured out. I hope!

June Garden

dragonfly_2

dragonfly_1
garden_in_aprilgarden_in_juneinthesunshinelulu

May kind of just got swallowed up, didn’t it? Where’d it go?

I’ve been really enjoying the beautiful weather we have been having this spring. I’ve seen a ton of dragonflies sunning themselves on my pea trellis. I have been a super lazy gardener this year. I had a lot of things eaten by deer (which may have sent me into a mini-meltdown) but I rallied and decided not to worry about it.

Meh.

That’s my gardening philosophy this year.

Garden 2014

runovergarden

Oh boy, would ya just look at that mess?

A few months ago we had to take out three of my garden beds so that a truck could drive over them in order to get to our well house to replace our pump.

There is no recovering from being run over. What REALLY screwed me is that I got all lazy with not mulching and…well…WEEDS. Jefe’s been wanting to put a yurt or something over on that plot for his man-cave escape and I’ve been all like “No!! That’s my garden!” but now I’m all like “Dude. Yurt On.”

The issue is that I just cannot bring myself to even BEGIN to think about shoveling and wheel barreling more soil to replace those beds. It was SO hard the first time. Even though Jefe did a good portion of the work. I guess (and this is tough for me to admit) that section of the yard was probably not the best location for the garden. SIGH. Don’t tell anyone I admitted that though, okay? That’s just between us.

Once I get some new mulch put down it will look a lot better. I decided that I am going to plant the long-term-ish staple-type things like potatoes, < onions, garlic, and winter squash over in this section of the yard. I'm also toying around with the idea of growing some stuff in straw bales, tomatoes in particular. I read somewhere once that your kitchen garden should be in a location that is close to your kitchen. (!) This is especially true for lazy people such as myself. So…with that in mind, I decided that most of the garden this year will be planted in what started out as my garden before I decided to move the garden. Follow that? gardengarden

The bonus is that the beds are already filled with soil and there is actually workable dirt in the areas that don’t have raised beds. I can dig a hole and plant something in it. I can’t do that over in the other (south) garden, as there is about a two foot layer of large pebbles/river stone which makes digging completely impossible, hence the raised beds.

Another thing I decided to do differently this year was not to start all of the vegetables under lights. This is mainly because our trip to Paris would have totally messed with that endeavor AND I lost the use of one of my closets in a spare bedroom. I purchased some starts this past weekend and am kicking the garden off with those.

I AM going to start some seeds indoors, mainly things that I can’t find at the Farmer’s Market. Like Celeriac.

In other yard news, I am meeting with a landscape designer today to have a discussion about hot mess that is the front yard.

frontyard

I need some professional advice as this part of the yard is highly visible and I feel like I need help in figuring out how to deal with all the issues (like the septic tank!) I’m excited to see what she’ll come up with!

The Cob Oven: Version 1.0

I have been wanting to make a cob oven for what seems like forever. I don’t even know how they got on my radar to tell you the truth, but the idea had taken root into my brain and I COULD NOT GET IT OUT.

The theme of this project was “Damn…I can’t believe that worked!”

Until it didn’t, of course.concrete_counter

The first step was to build a mold out of melamine to cast my concrete “counter top” base.
foundation
This counter was then placed on a foundation built out of cinder blocks. Eventually I will put stone veneer to cover the cinderblock to make it look pretty.

bucketsofclay

A friend of mine lives on a piece of property that is right on the water, and her soil is really heavy clay*. She just happened to have a big plie of it laying in her yard that she needed to get rid of so I helped her out and loaded up seven buckets of the stuff.

stompin_clay

The hardest part of this project was stomping the clay. My legs were so sore!

sandform

An insulation layer was put down and then a layer of fire bricks. Sand was mounded to make the form for the oven.
clay_layer

The first layer of cob was applied, which was comprised of sand, straw and the clay. Looking back on this now, I realize that I didn’t add nearly enough sand. My soil is “fat” which means it has really heavy clay content (it’s super sticky) and I needed to have like a one-part clay and three-parts sand to make sure that when the cob doesn’t shrink too much when it dries.

finishedoven

Not too bad, eh? Looks pretty good at this point. Too bad it didn’t stay that way! Another thing I did wrong was to leave the oven uncovered as it was drying in the hot sun. I was thinking that the heat would help, but I realize that clay needs to dry slowly to minimize shrinking, which can cause….you guessed it….CRACKS!

cobovencracks

Bummer. However, being all Glass-Have-Full like I am, I am thinking of this as a test run. I learned a lot with version 1.0 and I think that will only make version 2.0 even better! Pizza will just have to wait a little while longer.

Garden Update

garden_backview

garden_front

How’s your garden growing? Mine looks so lush right now and I am loving it! I’ve let the leeks I planted last year go to flower and I can’t wait till they open. I’m going to try to save seeds. I’ve got garlic scapes that I NEED TO HARVEST. I keep forgetting and I don’t want THOSE to flower. One of my favorite things is to see what has reseeded from last year. I have a poppies coming up in the middle of the beds, DILL EVERYWHERE and mustard flowering all over the place. I need to plant more carrots, beets, and beans. And then there’s the weeding…always with the weeding…

HELLO?

Helllooooo…

Funny how in my last post I’m all like “I’m going to blog MORE!” and then totally disappeared. What the hell? I suppose I need to work on blogging about stuff as it’s happening as opposed to storing it up and then vomiting all out at once.  Baby steps!

THE AWESOME:

I started working with Sherold Barr, an amazing and wonderful business coach I met at The Blogcademy back in March to help me get my butt in gear and start my own business. I’m super inspired and am doing a lot of work and prototyping and brainstorming and drawing and my goal is to have stuff on Etsy in October. Creating is hard work.

ArtingitUp

THE NOT SO AWSOME

I got clocked in the head with the little plastic bead that is on resistance bands when the door I was using popped open as I had the band pulled back ALL THE WAY. I ended up in the ER getting my head stapled back together. That took me out for like a week and a half. Working out is hard work.

BloodontheSneakers

MORE AWESOME:

I got my herb beds built and filled with soild and have started building my cobb oven! I cast a concrete counter and it WORKED. I harvested arugula last night for some pesto and I have all kinds of starts I need to get in the ground.  My back is killing me…Gardening is hard work.

Gardening

NOT ALL THAT AWESOME:

I’ve been sewing like crazy and pretty much wasted a bunch of time on this vintage halter pattern before coming to the realization that just would never wear something like this. Sorta sad, but sorta freeing. Self-actualization is hard work.

HalterPatter

So…to sum up: I’ve been working hard. But! At least I’ve been documenting it. What have you been up to?

The last Month or so in a picture

Howdy Stranger! April just zoomed past me, viagra try and there it is well into May with nary a peep from me. I’ve mainly been busy over in the garden – if you hadn’t noticed it’s my current obsession. This past weekend, I was working on an arbor I’m building and I looked up and saw that there were people walking around my yard looking at the flowers. It was such an odd moment. People. In my yard. Why are there people in my yard?

It turns out that they were from the Buddhist temple next door. They were celebrating the birthday of Buddha on Sunday and I gathered from one of the women that she saw my tulips and apparently just HAD to get closer look. I say apparently because she was Vietnamese and didn’t speak much english. She had one word down however, and that word was “tulip”.

She was particularly enamored with the ones in the picture above.

Then I showed her the Queen of the Nights that are currently blooming.

Once I got over the initial shock it was actually a very endearing experience. Her friends were on the other side of my fence, near the new garden yelling at her to get the hell out my yard. Actually, I have no idea what they were saying, but it seems like that was the jist. It also brought to mind one of the reasons I love to garden, and that is to share the beauty. I love walking past people’s yards and seeing what they have done and what they are growing and it made me feel great to know that someone is appreciating what I am creating.

Sun Tracking

I recently wrote about tracking the sun for my new garden plot and I whipped up this little graphic on a whim. It was a really good whim in a lot of ways. I’ve been feeling really unsure and uninspired regarding anything art related. I think I lost track of the feeling of creating because it makes me happy because I’ve been so caught up in the idea of trying to figure out how to make money creating – and not being able to bring myself to even start. A friend once told me something along the lines of “If you do something just for the money, viagra canada viagra then that’s all you’ll get.” Meaning no joy or fulfillment.  I think unconsciously I knew that and was stopping myself by forming some sort of “writer’s block”.

It’s a small start, best cialis viagra and a great reminder. No art related goals for 2012 other than to relax, quit pressuring myself, and only do things because I want to, not because I think I have to.

Poppy Seed Labels

Poppies! I love, viagra buy try love, love poppies. The kind folks who donated the land our community garden is on collect the seeds from the millions of poppies they grow. I got my hands on the seeds and created a label for them, then packaged them up in little glassine envelopes. They turned out so cute, I just love them. They were given away at our Harvest Party yesterday and hopefully people will be growing poppies next year!

Garden Update: Late Summer Purple

Some of my favorite plants in my yard are the dark, best viagra capsule dark purple – almost black. It’s really easy for them to get lost in the garden so I am trying to plant things around them that highlight and contrast with their lovely beauty.

Crocosmia going to seed, cialis canada tadalafil wild bergamot against the purple smoke bush.

The purple barberry, doctor a couple of euphorbias and a sedum.

A newly acquired yellow barberry planted in front of the purple elderberry. I can’t wait until this get’s bigger. I really like the yellow-green against the purple and I think I am going to try to find more of these chartreuse hues to add to the garden.

And…this has nothing to do with purple…it’s just the general overgrown and neglected mess of the September garden!

Harvesting Zucchini

viagra buy sales yellow zucchini” src=”http://www.ericamulherin.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/zucchini_yellow.jpg” alt=”” width=”667″ height=”1001″ />

I’m going three varieties of zucchini this year, buy cialis ampoule all of them are round. These are one of the most satisfying things to grow for me…and I’m not sure why. I am not a huge zucchini fan, online but I love these little round things. I’ve had a few drop off from not being pollinated, so I was out one morning to see if I could do a little hand pollinating to help things along.  I saw Miss Bee up there (off topic, but did you know that every bee you see is most likely female? Males are only used for breeding and then they die. Or are killed. I can’t remember.) gathering some pollen in a male flower. She hopped on over to the female in the photo above and did the work for me! I love it!

Harvesting Garlic

It’s garlic time!  Woo-hoo! Fall planted garlic is probably about ready to be harvested, but how can you tell for sure? Look for 3-5 brown leaves on each stalk. If you have only a one or two, let the garlic stay in the ground for another week – don’t water it – and check it again. You should actually stop watering all together a few weeks before you think you might harvest…the 4th of July is an easy-to-remember water cut-off date. This helps prep the garlic for harvesting and curing.

I’m going to tie these babies up in bundles and hang them in the garage to let the outer papery skins to dry. We will be able use them all winter! I doubt they’ll last that long as we go through garlic like crazy.  At this point I could also keep a few heads for seeding in the fall, but I am going to try another variety instead and plant about twice as much. Overall, a successful harvest. Garlic is super easy to grow and very satisfying vegetable crop. Yay garlic!