Thursday, February 26

Seed Starting Diary: Day Ten

My first seed is trying it's best to poke through the soil. These are the unknown-pink flower seeds. 

I also got in my seed orders from Vesey's and West Coast Seeds. I'm excited to try all the new varieties I have selected for this year of growing. Picking out your seeds, and dreaming up what you're going to be eating this summer just makes me want to snow to melt that much faster.

I also started some Oregano inside in a larger pot. The seeds are so tiny, I think this will just grow into a clump of herbs that I will place somewhere. You must love my potting system - an old cat-food container for the drain plate ;) 

It's not all dreary though - my Gerber daisies that James got for me about a year ago are still going, and still give us gorgeous blooms - so happy on these winter days!

Wednesday, February 25

In the Art Studio

I've been working evenings this week - a 3pm-11pm shift, getting home usually just after midnight and right into bed. So my mornings have been spent working on various commissions (most of which I cannot share until they're done, and I've asked permission from those who have ordered them). 

I've found time inbetween paintings drying, and waiting for email responses to paint some of my own thoughts as well.  I love painting commissions, but I do love putting down all my ideas on paper. And right now, my brain is focused on the spring in our -30-something degree weather (Celsius folks!).

My super large commission is coming along as well. I'm at a sort of crossroads with it, so I thought I would ponder it for a couple days - make sure it's going in the direction I was hoping. 

I hope everyone is staying toasty warm!

Monday, February 16

Seed Starting Diary: Day One

A handful of my seeds this year are getting an extra early start today. I feel that it might help them along, and I quite honestly just wanted to plant something.

I felt that my parsley had a very, very poor start in my garden last year when I directly seeded it. I failed, at that time, to notice on the back of the package that it could potentially take 3 weeks to germinate - what?! My harvest therefore was quite poor as well. I dried as much as I could, and we have almost used it all up. So this year, it's getting an extra hand for its start. It should be quite on its way this time when I finally plunk it in its garden space.

I've also decided to start my Pansy's earlier. Last year, I started them beginning of April, and they did really well - but they didn't reach their blooming age until almost the end of the summer. So I thought - plant them even earlier, and maybe I'll get blooms earlier?

The last, titled 'pink flowers' are seeds I gathered from some pink flowers I bought last year. I'm not sure if they'll germinate, or even if their plants will get blossoms - with all the hybrid plants out there, and my lack of keeping a tag for this one, it's anyone's guess. But I felt it was worth an experiment - the seeds were pretty much free anyways! If nothing grows, I'll just drop other seeds in that soil.

So, let the growing begin!

Wednesday, February 11

Days off

I've had the past two days off, and I've been working away in the art studio. I have some commissions I have been painting - working on one, while another dries and so on.  Packing orders in between that. Chewy likes to sprawl on the floor while I work, and even sometimes 'squeeze' himself beside me. I've had to take him on long, long walks to tire him out so I can work. :)

The early mornings have been spent planning my garden and dreaming away while I have my coffee. I found a nifty online garden planning program - free - - it allows me to search and build me garden with my exact plant varieties. I love how you can have all those little icons - just makes me way more excited to get started.  I also am enjoying that I can move them around, instead of my old paper method of scratching and redrawing everything a million times.

This is my garden right now - buried under a couple feet of snow. Soon.

Monday, February 9

Happy Half Birthday Chewie!

Chewie is six months old today!!  I can't believe it's been that long already, and how much he has grown! I love him to pieces!

Friday, February 6

Winter Gardening Thoughts

While I was printing out art orders this week, I sat down and ordered my seeds for this upcoming season. A lot of thought when into this - I've been pondering what to order for weeks now, and even though there is snow on the ground, it is crunch time. Plants got added to the list, and then taken off...and sometimes even put back on again.

I believe this is the last picture I have of my garden - on it's 'last days'. Some might be on my old phone, but that has since been replaced, so we will say 'this' is the last day ;) Things are already dying / dead in this picture - the Kale held on until the end. I actually just ended up pulling it out even though it wasn't dead, because we were so sick of eating it.

 I know I cleaned up later when the leaves had turned - as I took this photo of Chewie (maybe only 8-10 weeks old) playing the in leaves as I cleaned up. But we just got a puppy - so camera focus was on him, not all the crunchy, dead garden plants. He's so cute, I feel anyone else would have done the same ;) It was October 25th when I cleaned everything up.

And another, because I just can't resist. I was fortunate to have a tree right beside to attach him to, so I know he wouldn't just run away while I was working away.

Anyways, back to my gardening! :)

Last year I grew the basics, not knowing how things would go and wanting to ensure a successful year. Some things I didn't grow thinking we wouldn't want to eat them, and then really wanted them later when it was too late.

Last year's grow list:
  • Beans
  • Tomatoes - regular, cherry and roma
  • Pickling Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Various lettuce
  • Peppers - green, mini and chili
  • Kale
  • Zucchini
  • Potatoes
  • Herbs
  • Brocoli
  • Sunflower
I was pretty happy with most of the results. I will not be doing potatoes this year (took too much space, for not many potatoes). Also, the mini peppers - although cute - turned out to be a lot of work preserving, so I will be passing on those as well. The herbs got almost a whole half of box to themselves last year and some we barely used - those will only get a plant or two in the garden this round.

New seeds ordered this year:
  • Radishes - normal and 'watermelon'
  • Yellow Wax Hot Pepper
  •  Jalapeno pepper
  • Purple beauty pepper
  • Peas - sugar snap and purple mist (purple pods)
  • Beets - an assorted blend pack (red, yellow, ringed, ect)
  • Rainbow blend carrots - hello purple and red carrots?! :)
  • Spinach - with all the kale, we started to miss spinach, and found ourselves buying it
  • Beans - pole and runner beans
  • Old german tomatoes - I wanted to try a 'special' tomato, alongside the regulars. This red - yellow stripped one looked so pretty. 
  • Ground Cherry - easy to grow fruit? Yes please!
  • Cucumber - regular sized
  • Bok Choi
The runner beans, pole beans and purple mist pea are all climbers, and we have a few areas that they can just take over and make things look so much nicer.  I excited for those.

We (uhm, I) are planning to use some of the flower beds for vegetables this year too -some of the leafy / pretty ones, such as the kale. So, even though it seems like a large list, items will be spread out a lot more this year. 

I ordered most from West Coast Seeds and the remaining from Vesey's seeds. Many of the previous plants I have seeds left, so I will just be using those up. 

I can't wait for them to arrive, but until then there is still more planning. I am trying to work out the location of everything this year in the garden. Optimize the best I can. Trying to utilize some basic crop rotation to best optimize the soil. As well, seeing what flower beds are going to need a 'boost' in soil to accommodate some plants, and which plants won't even care. The square-foot gardening technique worked very well in my garden boxes. Things look super crowded, but everything flourished beautifully.

All this planning requires so much coffee and tea...
 When the seeds arrive, I'll be starting right away (since we will be into March) some of the slower growing plants, and then a few weeks later, starting majority of the remaining seeds that need an indoor start. So excited!!!!

Wednesday, February 4

We're Back!

We are back! :) Now, you may be asking, where did we go? We ran off to Mexico last week to help celebrate a friend's wedding. I'm happy to be home, to be cuddling with kitty and the puppy, but I'd be lying if I said I preferred this cold to the sunshine and warmth over there.

We had a lot of fun, and I have some amazing photos to share with you from our adventures. But for now, you just get this sneak peak of a beautiful sunset. The first night we were back, while the Superbowl was on, I ran most of my pictures through Adobe Lightroom (some are still untouched, but were not as 'important' to share with family / friends as others). It was perfect for my first night back, to just *chill* and look though our new (but freshly made) memories.

 I am still super, super new at this program, so there was a huge learning curve, and I only made minor adjustments to clean up the photos and give them a more finished touch. I did consider working with Elements, but Lightroom seemed to provide more options and creative flexibility in the end.  I'm hoping to go back and really do some 'amazing editing' - ergo: remove random strangers from the backgrounds of some photos, ect. Even looking back on my first round of 'edits', there are some more changes I hope to make - mostly just minor ones, like straightening out a horizon better.

But, this week I will be focusing on catching up on emails and sending out all the orders that came in while I was gone. All those fancy edits will have to wait until I'm all caught up :)