Feb. 21st, 2010 07:48 pm
keryx: (Default)
If I hadn't just been very sick, this morning would've found me clearing out the garden beds for spring. There's snow on the ground, sure, but the weather is delicious. Spring returns! It doesn't surprise me that so many religions have rituals around this time of rebirth; after a snowbound winter, it really does feel miraculous. And like a surprise, too! Spring in the mid-atlantic comes just when you'd forgotten how to expect it, sneaking in these little tendrils - into February, of all months, keeper of winter olympics and Groundhog Day and snow.

Yeah. This is why I live here and commute to the northeast. Well, this, and you local kids. I love everything, but today I particularly love the itch in my brain that wants to run around barefoot and dig in the dirt as it starts to warm.

I have a new roommate coming soon, another gardener and foodie. Probably a more organized one: hon, are you fastidious about gardening as well as the kitchen? Because I? Am not. But I do love growing food, the spring planting and the summer eating. We might need berry bushes. And chard. And zucchini. And probably more tomatoes, if we need to feed two people. Let's grow things! What do you want to grow?

I'm practically thrumming with the anticipation.
keryx: (carnival)
I have pears already falling off the tree this month (which makes sense - they were mostly gone when I moved in last year in late August, so I guess this tree fruits early.

What do I do with them? I would like to make some sorbet with them and the fresh lavender I'm growing, but I don't see a sorbet recipe that doesn't involve an ice cream maker (though I am tempted to get one for just this purpose). What else are they useful for? These are clearly best for cooking/canning/processing in some way, as their skin is very thick.

I continue to dig this food-growing-in-my-yard thing. The cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen - not as fast as I can eat them, but enough that I get a nice snack when I go out in the yard.
keryx: (Default)
It makes me crazy happy to decide I want basil or cilantro in something and just hop right outside to get it. Best gardening idea ever, putting those two so close to the house.

I have something like 20 little squashes growing, and an absurd number of tomatoes, all now on 5' tall plants tied to stakes & the fence. Hurry up! I want to be able to decide that I want cherry tomatoes and just go pluck a handful.

Anyone want squash? Tomatoes? Or massive banana peppers? The squash especially is going to overwhelm me quickly. The peppers are coming in now, and the squash I'm guessing 2 weeks. My parents brought cucumbers and jalapenos to the beach with them; I am jealous, since neither of those is producing tastiness for me yet.
keryx: (Default)
I think that my tomatoes all grew 6 inches yesterday. I planted them a little too close together, and now they look... well, rather ominous for tomatoes. This yard is looking as a whole a bit like a Hawaiian zoo. The early girls are already making baby tomatoes. [There's a bad innuendo in there somewhere.] I should have some yummy veggies to share this summer. Tonight I had basil I grew myself. That was tasty.

Also thriving: the cucumber and squash plants the birds didn't nom as seedlings, the two princess trees (Audrey III and IV) in the back corner of the yard (which I am likely not killing, though they are invasive and monstrous), the pokeberries (aka Moses Myers berries, one of the best smelling things ever and arguably native, which I am definitely not killing - though they are rapidly approaching 8 ft tall, no lie), bananaish peppers, jalapenoish peppers, the eggplants, the basil, cilantro, the lilies and roses, everything on the upstairs porch, the jasmine, and DEAR $DEITY the morning glories and moonflowers and climbupis - anything that can twine around anything else is going mad in the backyard - the pear tree, several young treeshrubs of indeterminate origin, an infestation of english ivy (ARGH), some sort of maniacal wood strawberry that ate my compost pile, and of course... weeds, some quite impressive.

Not thriving but not dead: lavender, both fig trees, grape vines, onions, the hydrangeas, spinach & swiss chard, some soon-to-be weird green zinnias.

Possibly dead, or at least shy: hibiscus (I hope soon to be supplemented with rose of sharon, also a hibiscus), rhubarb, brussels sprouts, chives, grass that isn't technically weeds. I think I may have planted sunflowers and radishes, but I don't recall.

Ghosts: the poor hanging baskets on my front porch. Tragic, really. The flowers were such interesting colors.
keryx: (plumeria)
I do the vast majority of my gardening at night (which is the title of an old REM song, so). It's pretty effective when handling actual plants - dirt is easy to see, plants are fairly tactile.

The mistake I made awhile ago was planting several different varieties of seeds in a fairly confined space. With lilies. And onions. Because I have no idea which seeds got planted where. In fact, I'm a little iffy on what I planted, period. I plant seeds because they're so inexpensive that I won't be sad if they fail, and that first batch I apparently paid almost no attention to. There might be radishes, but that could also be a batch of cilantro at this stage. It's possible that there are cherry tomatoes. The only thing I'm sure about the is the cat grass, which I should dig up and bring inside since the outdoor cats all just followed Richmond around.

I did better last night - I put the seed-based greens in lopsided little rows in front of the tomatoes and peppers.
keryx: (Default)
This is largely a list for [ profile] quietdeath, or anyone else who wants to try out this gardening co-op idea. Keep in mind that I am not at all anal about gardening & until I know what my fence will cost, I'm assuming I'll do most of the work myself. So. Uh, not everything I plant will be successful. I'm pretty sure I can keep tomato and pepper plants alive (plus, most herbs are insanely growy around here), and I know I can grow roses and morning glories.

Stuff that's going in my yard )

My father's lending me a tiller after I visit next weekend. Tiller! But not the kind on a sailboat.

pear tree!

Mar. 9th, 2009 12:41 am
keryx: (taro)
If you were out in the back yard last fall, you may have tried to talk me into hacking off a limb of the pear tree that had partially cracked.

If you did? YOU LOSE. The pear tree is totally healing, and the branch that looked like it was doomed? Is sprouting little bitty green leaf buds.
Garden coach says trees sometimes just heal like that.

Pear tree FTW!

Add "reasonably good summer pears" to my list of stuff I'll have available for garden co-op, local peeps.


Mar. 8th, 2009 10:14 pm
keryx: (tomato)
I got a start on the back garden today!

Well. Technically, this afternoon I interviewed a garden coach. I'd been thinking "gosh, if only I could get someone to start the garden and tell me how to use it"... and? The local garden co-op will do that! You have to, you know, pay them, but it's a lot cheaper than landscaping (though perhaps less conventionally beautiful) and more useful. We're going to start setting up beds and build a cold frame this weekend.

Later we'll do summer vegetables and start some fruit trees. Meanwhile, the figs and grapes I bought thinking they'd stay dormant in my house until planting time are absolutely the opposite of dormant. One of the grapes is plotting to take over the kitchen. I suspect it's recruiting the other plants as comrades, Mme Defarge style.

keryx: (taro)
Kids! My bulbs are coming in! I looked down off the front porch this afternoon to see the very distinct shoots of my crocus, alium & big red tulips. Bulbs are an excellent lesson in patience.

Richmond, please do not freeze my plantlets. I know it's February. I don't ask you for a lot of favors. I'm not saying it needs to be 70 every day, but if we could skip the single digit temperatures, that'd be awesome.

In celebration, I got grass seed close your eyes if you're careful about gardening ), figs, small roses & concord grapes. The roses and grapes will stay inside for awhile (probably till the end of March per this handy data set), and I'm not sure how figs handle cold. Can I plant them now?
keryx: (Default)
Kids, I am all about the advice today.

Advice point #1: I require a privacy fence. One that is not ecologically damaging and is relatively sturdy (as I suspect it will get peed on). I've thought about bamboo or composite. I don't really know much about fences, though. Thanks to the purchase of the house, my tax refund could possibly cover fence costs (well, probably not all, but enough that I feel ok shopping for this now).

Advice point #2: What is the best place in Richmond to get a steak? My definition of "best" involves two things: tastiness, and service that's neither obtrusive nor obsequious.

Advice point #3: Since I wasn't ready to seed the lawn last fall (what with the just moving in), a suggestion for a soft grass that would grow effectively if seeded in the spring. Also, ideally one where I could avoid the massive tilling and aeration thing.
keryx: (taro)
I have 7 months and a couple of days to create a beautiful outdoor space out of my slightly sketchy backyard. This is okay, since it's been a project in my head for this spring pretty much since the week before we picked out this house.

But now! There's a DEADLINE. Specifically, there is OMG SQUEE WEDDING in my backyard during Labor Day weekend (also, last year, the weekend I moved in... someone sing 'Circle of Life' right now).

So. I would like your advice on what things to figure out how to do myself, and which ones I'd be better served paying someone to come do for me. Also, if you're around and feel inclined to help, I will enthusiastically accept your offers.

The list, part 1 (things that must happen):
- Take down old rusty chainlink fence in back
- Put up attractive privacy fence, also creating 2 parking spaces behind the yard
- Groom broken pear tree
- Do something about general lumpiness of grass
- Ensure fence process does not destroy morning glories and Moses Myers berries, or plant more

The list, part 2 (things that'd be awfully nice):
- Disguise homeliness of under-porch and tiny basement area
- Plant something pretty around the stairs
- Create attractive yet functional composting area
- Create walking path from front yard to back (with what?)
- Hang plants & chimes on back porch
- Build beds & plant flowers around center trees
- Plant cuttings from parents' roses and great gramma's rose-of-Sharon
- Create small veggie and herb garden, possibly near or in flower beds

The list, part 3 (things I am torn about the desirability or necessity of):
- Replace less-rusty chainlink fence in front with something cuter
- Create ground-level sun patio with firepit and stuff off the porch (with what?)
- Remove unsightly phone cable that I don't think is used in house at all
- Install rain barrels
- Acquire and install swings
- Or a hot tub
- Or, like, a merry-go-round

Your thoughts? I'm guessing that, even though its expensive, it's a good plan to hire a fence person assuming I can afford it in March.


Jan. 27th, 2009 08:10 am
keryx: (Default)
Saturday I decided to finally find a place for my extra address where I wouldn't keep knocking it off but also didn't have to drill holes in my siding. TADA!

This is me with MAH DREMEL. We fixed it.

Also. Spring approaches! I need a suggestion for a blue flower that will look pretty with red tulips - I'm going to repaint my windows.


Jan. 25th, 2009 07:20 am
keryx: (Default)
In case you weren't there, we had a massive baby shower at my house yesterday. I mean massive. There was a point where my crowd phobia got triggered in my own house. [Which is like. A really. Weird. Feeling.] There were many instances of bizarre intersectionality and a few of people putting the past aside in favor of love and tribe. Everyone seems to have tried their best to be gracious and helpful. There was music. There was dancing. There were kids and parents and soon to be great-grandparents and presents. There was... juggling? That's new.

This is our village.

So. Yeah. I think that was a success.

Those of you who came, especially those of you who set up or were wandering the house tidying up (though most of them aren't on LJ): Thank. You.

After that? I'm serious, [ profile] doktor_jess and [ profile] goodgothgirl - sure, have a wedding at my place. You know, after the backyard gets less homely. Anyone else I love have a life event to celebrate? Cause I was thinking last night that being the custodian of my house as it approaches 100 means more than just protecting the [Gah! 93 year old. Just thinking about it sends me into an anal retentive home owner tizzy.] floor and fixtures. It means the house needs to hold experiences. Even the ones so overwhelming I need to get out of the house to process them.

Also. Apparently I really want to be living here in 2016 for 100th birthday party. That's... a ways off. The deepening of my relationship with Willie is a topic for another post.
keryx: (white xmas)
This whole "holiday season" thing snuck up on me this year. I'd like to get into the solsticey spirit at the house. For me that's all about having a tree-thing.
[Poll #1307509]

Apparently there's also some implicit requirement on my block that people put up exterior lights and stuff. My parents gave me a stash of light-up candy canes, which I think is all I'm going to do on that front. No way in hell am I doing anything on the roof. I don't even own a ladder that tall.
keryx: (roosevelt)
O friendslist, do you contain any gardeners?

Specifically gardeners who might have ideas about things this slacker could plant this fall in Virginia, things that ideally would stick around through spring? Strangely the internet does not seem readily able to answer this question unless I want to read all about gardening.

I want to plant some decorative grass and something floral.
keryx: (blanche)
Egads. I'm turning into house people.

So, last night. I found ROMAN SHADES THAT HANG FROM CURTAIN RODS. I can haz blindz! I can haz privacy without stuffy curtains! I am really excited about these things. They are only in the living room, as even on mad sale, they were pricey. Stuff to cover windows is expensive!

Also, I am grumpy at the lovely rainy weather for making my grass grow yet making it impossible to mow.
keryx: (media kitten)
We haven't watched teevee in awhile, and I've been treated to the fun of watching Sere (the cat) watch the screen all evening. It's been fun all week seeing them reacclimate to stairs and big spaces and doors that go outside. Lots of running and staring. They seem happy.

Now there's a cat asleep on each arm of my sofa. It's quiet and raining outside. I have food in my kitchen and books on my bookshelves, and a dremel story I get to tell people. Despite the half-installed washerdryerthing in my hall, I feel at home for the first time.

The cats don't know four dogs are spending the night tomorrow.

If you are local and I don't have your email address, I'm having a little thing next Saturday (the thirteenth) just to have a first party in my house, which I own. If I do have your email address, you already know about the shindig and have my address.

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