Planting – Square Foot Gardens

Recharging…Resting…Rejuvenating… In the meantime, I’m re-blogging some of my best garden posts. Happy Spring!

My Square Foot Gardens are doing great. Except for a few empty squares in the second garden, most of the space is filled with seeds or plants and growing well. I have harvested many servings of lettuce already. In fact, I can’t eat it fast enough and have been taking handfuls to family whenever I visit. The lettuce comes in a wide array of greens, pinks and reds and pairs perfectly with the arugula and water cress I have growing in the herb garden. A new sowing of mesclun is thriving and will soon be ready to begin harvesting. The bread seed poppies are magnificent and I expect them to send up budding stalks any day now. The peas in the back of the garden are in need of quick staking, they are growing a few inches daily.

Here is a closeup of the earliest sown squares. Last week I sauteed a few pieces of kale with olive oil and garlic powder. Ah, so amazingly good; I wish I had begun this type of gardening years ago. This week I tried several leaves of the swiss chard. I chopped the stems and ribs and kept them separate from the leaves.

I gently boiled the chopped stems, and after about three minutes added the leaves along with a little Adobo spice mix, and gently simmered a few minutes longer.

Wow! The taste was beyond my highest expectations. I sprinkled the swiss chard with a squeeze of fresh lime, and “oohed” and “ahhed” with every mouthful. The best thing about both of these greens is they are still producing. I can’t wait to try my hand at cooking and eating them again.

Planting – Growing Squash Upright

Recharging…Resting…Rejuvenating… In the meantime, I’m re-blogging some of my best garden posts. Happy Spring!

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I find squash and zucchini blossoms beautiful. Even better is the fact that a delicious vegetable will grow after the blossom falls away from the plant. Squash plants take up a large amount of room in the garden. Since I grow my vegetables in the Square Foot Gardening method I don’t want to give up many squares to one plant. I was happy this year to find some good information on Pinterest that led me to good articles on how to grow squash upright. Here are a few of my finds:

Growing Winter Squash and Pumpkins

Growing Squash

 

Happy Gardening!

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Pleasures and Problem-Solving – Bunnies

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Years ago I transplanted some violets to my gardens. They are very prolific…almost becoming weedlike in spots. They are even scattered throughout the lawn. I love them though…they are welcome in my yard.

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Recently, I spotted this little bunny under a pine. I have mixed feelings about bunnies, squirrels and chipmunks. I love them and enjoy watching their antics in the yard, but they also can be invasive and cause quite a bit of damage in the yard and gardens. I guess I will have to develop the same love for their invasiveness as I do for the violets and learn to battle them gently, but also enjoy their presence.

Posies – Dandelions

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My grandson picked these dandelions while walking around the block with his grandfather. He brought them to me and we found the perfect vase…a dixie cup, the best spot for dandelions plucked away from their stem. He was so excited over the flowers he walked around the block again, this time with me to show me where they grew. He stopped and bent down to exclaim over each yellow flower, “They are beautiful Nanny, aren’t they?”

Yes, oh yes, they are beautiful my Derek. I remember loving dandelions as a child and blowing their fluffy tops into the air with a wish. I hope I remember this small dixie cup of sunshine and the walk with my grandson forever.

Peace – A Blessed Easter

Mustcreate Easter Lilies

*Photograph courtesy of MustCreate – WetCanvas Reference Library

Planting – Garlic Bulbs

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I recently bought several bulbs of sprouting garlic off the salvage table in a local fruit stand. I have blogged about growing garlic cloves indoors in the past, but this time, since it is Spring, I am going to try growing them in my Square Foot Gardens. Each clove of the garlic bulb will grow a new bulb, multiplying my initial investment many times over.

I researched planting the cloves and found that in a Square Foot garden there were many varied spacings…between four to nine cloves per square. I opted for the larger number since I have so many of the sprouting cloves.

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Here are the nine placed in a square foot, ready to be covered over with soil. Inside the garlic bulb were several smaller cloves that had not sprouted. I decided to use these as a rodent repellent and smashed and smeared several on the edges of my square foot borders.

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I also placed a few smashed cloves within some squares planted with spinach and kale. So far they have not been nibbled or dug up by hungry critters.

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I’m not sure what kind of results I will have, but even if the resulting bulbs aren’t good for cooking, it will still be worth growing the garlic to use as organic repellents and insecticides.

Peace – Good Friday

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Paths – The Path/Winter Video

Here is a quick minute video of the path in winter. The still version photographs of “The Path” can be found by clicking the tab at the top of the page. Thanks for looking!

Plantings – Garden Growings-On

Seedlings, Seedlings, Seedlings! They are EVERYWHERE! Last night I had to bring them into the house instead of overnighting in the garage…it is going to be very cold during the next twelve hours or so. I also covered the spinach and the kale I planted Sunday with overturned terracotta pots. They would probably be fine without the protection, but why risk it?

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My dining room table

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Coleus galore! I have more in other rooms, and I started another batch a few weeks later for those bare spots left by poppies, bleeding heart, spring bulbs and other plants that die away near the end of June.

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Gorgeous tomato seedlings…I tried many varieties this year.

Peace – Two on Tuesday/Starting Today

Pressed Flower – Tissue Paper Easter Egg Card

I blogged on February 24th of this year about pressing an early season crocus. This week I created an Easter greeting card with the flower and leaves, and also created a few cards with buttercups and a four leaf clover. The cards were quick and easy and turned out very pretty.

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* Tip for finding four leaf clovers at bottom of post.

To begin, I found an egg-shape on the web in Google Images and traced it with tracing paper. An egg-shape seems easy to draw free-hand until you attempt to have both sides perfectly even…not easy! After I found and traced an egg-shape, I cut it out and then traced the shape onto cardboard. I traced the shape onto a piece of Coverseal, a very clear type of contact paper, made four outlines on plain white computer paper, and then traced yet again onto robin’s egg blue tissue paper. I cut the tissue paper eggs out around the outline.

I removed the backing from the Coverseal and placed it, tacky side up over the computer paper outline. I placed each of these onto a cork bulletin board and tacked the outer edges down with push pins to hold it steady.

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Now you can wing it and compose your card without a pattern, or you can sketch out a quick little design to follow. Be aware, your finished design will reverse itself when you place the Coverseal onto the card.

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Place the flowers  onto the Coverseal within the egg shape. BE VERY CAREFUL TO PLACE THEM FRONT SIDE DOWN. Start with the flowers first, the foliage second, unless your foliage takes center stage as the four leaf clover does in one of the card designs.

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When you are finished designing, place the tissue paper egg over the design, and cut out the excess Coverseal directly around the outer edges of the tissue paper. You will now have a beautiful pressed flower egg in your hand.

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Turn the egg over and cover most of it, especially the edges, with glue stick. I use a glue stick that goes on purple and turns clear. The purple makes it very easy to make sure you have all the edges covered. Place egg on waiting greeting card and let dry. Voila`…a beautiful handcrafted Easter greeting card.

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I was very happy with my finished eggs. Happy crafting!

*Pressed Flower Tip – Finding four leaf clovers. It is easier to find a four leaf clover if you stand and scan a patch of clover with your eyes. The human eye will spot differences in patterns. If you see something that looks different in the patch, take a closer look and perhaps you will spot a four leaf clover. If you find one four leaf clover look for more. The mutation that caused one will most likely have created a whole patch of four leaf clovers. Here’s a terrific article on how to find four leaf clovers: How to find a Four Leaf Clover

Planting – The Scraggly Ones Reborn

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Every year, at summer’s end, I take cuttings from outdoor plants I hope to save over the winter. They usually root for me, but never seem to thrive. They stay alive, but only put out minimal new growth. I do realize that winter is the dormant season for many plants. Combine that with how cold we keep our home at night, and my cuttings don’t have much of a chance to really take hold and grow quickly. A week or so ago I gathered all these “scraggly ones” together on my kitchen table. Along with several pots of houseplants I had rooted from cuttings, I had about eighteen plants in total. I decided that it was going to come down to “Survival of the Fittest,” and put six each of the plants/cuttings into hanging basket pots. I was pretty pleased with the resulting mix of shapes, sizes and textures. I think they will be rather unique as they grow on outdoors. For now I’ll put them outside on their hooks when the days are warm, and in a few weeks post an update.

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It will be interesting to watch how they develop over the next few months.

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Photograph & Quote – Ranunculus/John 8:12

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People – Sisters

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I don’t know if I was aware of it in past years, but April 10th was National Siblings Day. I am blessed with two sisters…here is an old photograph of us together on the front lawn of our home in 1972 or ’73. I am the one on the left. I might be a couple days late, but anyway…”Happy Siblings Day…Sisters.”

You can read more about National Siblings Day here: National Siblings Day

Phlowers & A Quote – Phlowery Friday

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“Behold, how independent of outward circumstances the Holy Ghost can make the Christian! What a bright light may shine within us when it is all dark without! How firm, how happy, how calm, how peaceful we may be, when the world shakes to and fro, and the pillars of the earth are removed!” C.H. Spurgeon

Peculiarities – Verbing Anyone?

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Does the photograph above have anything to do with the title of this post. Well, yes, it does. The next photograph might be explanation enough of my moment of “Verbing.

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“I just “smithereened” that plastic egg,” I mumbled as my shoe encountered and “smithereened” yet another Easter Egg. The grandchildren and I have had a good time with plastic Easter Eggs. Usually they are scattered all over the floor. The little ones like to open and shut them. The older boys enjoy using them for an egg toss game. Next week I will gather up every Easter Egg, take them outdoors, and with the grandchildren “bomb” the front yard with a rainbow of eggs. Flinging the eggs and letting them stay where they land creates a random and dare I say, “natural” look to the arrangement of eggs on the lawn. In the meantime I will try to tread softly and not “smithereen” anymore eggs to bits.

Here is a terrific explanation on the ins and outs of verbing: What is Verbing?

Plants – Crocus

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Crocus are still blooming in my gardens. This larger variety blooms later in the season, but is well worth the wait. I love the way the blooms glow when the sunlight touches the petals.

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Photograph – Mourning Dove

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Today was gorgeous here in New Jersey. I took a long walk around the park at Alcyon Lake. As I strolled, a shiny gleam caught my attention. A beautiful dove was intently watching me. She was still…not moving at all, blending into the drab foliage and bark around her. Only her beautiful eyes gave her away. I was thrilled to see her, but also sad, she has built her nest too close to the walking path. Many people pass by every day, many of them with their dogs on a leash. When her babies hatch and begin to peep, she won’t find it easy to blend in and keep her nest a secret. Below is the same birdie with the zoom lens in place.

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Stay safe Mama Bird.

Praise – Matthew 10:29

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This sweet little vignette composed itself in my side garden. God provided the sunlight and flowers, my mother bought me the statue years ago. All I had to do was take the photograph, add the perfect verse and publish as today’s post. Please feel free to copy and use on Social Media, Desktops, Wallpaper, or as a reference for painting. Please “share” the message of God’s love. Have a Blessed Sabbath Day!

Painting – WetCanvas April Challenges

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I am hoping to take part in two WetCanvas Challenges this month.  Sharron, in the Floral and Botanical Forum has chosen Anemones (Windflowers) as the subject this month. There are several lovely reference photographs to choose from in the forum along with many others in the WetCanvas Reference Library.

Any artist may participate, any medium, any approach…….2D, 3D, mixed and collaged if you wish.

I’m hoping to paint at least one anemone, maybe even two this time. I think it would be fun to try a technique completely new to me that would stretch my creativity a bit.

You can find the thread and several reference photographs here: April 2014 Plant Parade

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Yorky (Doug) has chosen a floral border from his own garden as the subject for this month’s Watercolor Studio Challenge.

You can find the thread here: Watercolor Studio April Challenge – Floral Border

I definitely see a cat appearing somewhere in my painting. I am hoping to have the time to take part in both of these challenges. Give either or both a try if the thought of capturing the essence of the photos in artwork wraps your brain in a state of creative euphoria. Happy Creating!

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