Better Luck This Year?

The other night, my dear husband and I hopped off to the hardware store to get supplies for starting out seedlings indoors. Last year was so dreadful. Cold, wet, windy, nothing grew. We had to BUY seedlings. After PLANTING seeds. It was horrible. All that work. ILLINOIS HATED ME LAST YEAR. We had a terrible crop, I got, maybe 5 tomatoes, about 3 peppers and my body weight in zucchini, because ya can’t upset those apparently. Ridiculous. We didn’t even recoup our loss in paying for everything. Well, we were awful busy last year as well. But STILL. I refuse defeat!

This year, A BEAUTIFUL GARDEN WILL BE MINE! Starting with grow lights!

We already had a bench and light fixtures, we just needed the bulbs and to redneck rig something up. Okay, fine, it wasn’t a true redneck rig job as we did PURCHASE a few things.

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a little of this

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a little of that

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LET THERE BE LIGHT!

Crisis 1 averted, now I took my afternoon off to plant the little seedlings. Funny story. I am excellent at hiding things from myself. Could not, for the life of me, find them. Where are they? Probably the last place I look. Obviously. That, I am not even kidding, took me an hour. I’m really good at Easter Egg hiding. *bang head here*

I scooped out some great compost from my worm bin and made mud pies. Because who doesn’t like making mud pies? Packed that into pots and planted three tiny seeds in each. In alphabetical order. Labeling them proved to be useless. I used masking tape and it just bled right off. So I’ll be singing the alphabet.

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this is for my future referrance

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found a worm egg, the brown spot towards the center

Lastly, lest you dream of me living in a winter wonderland, for those of you who maybe do not have to deal with 16″ of snow, enjoy how not pretty it is:

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pictured: not pretty.

It’s not all bad. Have some pretty pictures too:

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outside of cortland, il

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outside of where I work.

 wpid-20150202_075739.jpgTHIS IS WHAT IT IS LIKE TO DRIVE THROUGH. I was (obviously) the passenger. 

Is it spring yet? And, who’s starting a garden!?!

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Yard Plastic and Rock Hoarding.

On this episode of what BMary Hoards, rocks.

Yep. I hoard rocks. Well, I have my reasons:

  • You can’t just go out and buy large rocks
  • When I was a kid, we had big rocks that were my imaginary kitchen outside. Makes excellent mud pies.
  • Rocks are always interesting.
  • They are free and useful for decorating outside.

To the point, the house that I live in had a beautiful yard at one time. The person before the person before us was a serious landscaper. There’s a million flowers, beautiful flowering trees, plenty of plant-scaping. There’s also a big berm that at one point must have been breath taking. Fast forward:

The people that owned the house before us did not make any attempt to take care of the outside. It’s gone wild, which is fine by me, but I find all sorts of lovely treasures. And some not so lovely ones. So we are trying to rein it all in without losing some of the nice flowers and shrubs. The berm has to go. It’s turned into a pile of mud with a stick tree and like 2 tulips. Very depressing. We called up our neighbor who has a bobcat to dig it up. While we were out there messing around and consuming adult beverages, I noticed there were some rocks buried in the berm. Hmmmmm…

After he left, with a promise to return soon to flatten the berm, I finally had enough adult beverages to balance out the this-is-probably-a-bad-idea-but-i’m-doing-it-right-now and tore out all the plastic barriers that were around the various former garden areas.

wpid-20140428_121458.jpgthis stuff…lo, how i despise this stuff

I’ve literally hated that feature of the yard ever since I spied my eyes on it. Why would you try to trap a garden like that? Why would you use hideous black plastic? And it was EVERYWHERE. Even around a stone pathway! I’m sure there is a reason, but who cares! I tore it all out in a frenzy.

wpid-20140428_121434.jpgewww, just look at it.

Then I got started on the rocks. We dug out all of the big rocks around the berm. How fantastic! Now, using the rocks as a barrier around the pathway (the idiot also put gravel around it, so we can’t have that in the mower) it looks 100% better.

wpid-20140428_121419.jpgI should “weed” but frankly, I’d rather dig all that stupid gravel out, replace the pathway and let it sink naturally.

wpid-20140428_121305.jpgwe had more than enough, apparently, so we put some by the tree.

I wouldn’t say I am a good landscaper, frankly, I like my grass long and my weeds high. Sure, I like a food garden and a small flower garden, but I love the look of natural wild plants. So I am kind of at a loss. One flower bed we are going to dig up and make an herb bed. The others I am going to attempt to clean up and preserve. If we ever get some real spring around here, maybe I can get to that!

Starting the Garden…(PLUS A SUPER COOL AWESOME THING!)

Hurray! Time to start the garden! I couldn’t take much more of this non-dirt eating winter. We got some seeds and some jiffy pots this weekend and I got them started on my lovely work bench, built by my fiance, just for me:

wpid-20140216_142959.jpgi straight up argued that he has THREE work benches and i had precisely zero. HOW CAN I HOARD PLANTS WITHOUT A PLACE TO MANEUVER THEM?!?

On to the potting. I made a few mistakes in years before, I wrote the names of the seeds directly on the jiffy pots in sharpie and, um, well that washed off. I’m not always clever. Also last year I didn’t soak my soil really well so that was a major pain in the rear end trying to get the soil to soak in a fragile jiffy pot. My final mistake was I used a TON of seeds in each little pot. Again, I have the more is more attitude that doesn’t always pay off. Last year we had to buy seedlings because we didn’t get ours started on time. WAY TOO EXPENSIVE! So this year my goal was to be way more organized about the whole procedure. Success will happen!!

wpid-20140216_143107.jpghere’s our haul, roma and heirloom tomatoes, hot wax peppers, jalapenos, red and green peppers and a secret BONUS OF AWESOME which I will reveal later!

I decided to soak the soil really good in a clay pot that I was going to plant SOMETHING AWESOME THAT I WILL TELL YOU LATER ABOUT in. I also prepared some roasting pans to keep my little children in so they can be hauled around easily. A notebook, for recording the seeds, seeds per pot and other related bits of interest which I will update as I go. A sharpie and masking tape to label everybody. Jiffy pots, obviously and dirt, obviously.

wpid-20140216_150538.jpgmise en place

wpid-20140216_151143.jpgload em up. don’t mind my terrible handwriting. i’m a leftie. if you want to die a little inside, watch me use a can opener.

wpid-20140216_154800.jpgmove em out!

Now that I am all done with that, I get to tell you about my SUPER AWESOME THING. Watch this video, it’s a whole minute:

WHAT LUCKY GIRL HAS TWO THUMBS AND A WONDERFUL GUY THAT BOUGHT HER SOME MIMOSA PUDICA AKA SENSITIVE PLANT SEEDS FOR HER BIRTHDAY LAST YEAR?!?!?!

wpid-20140216_164458.jpgHINT: crazy eyes and the complete inability to not take a stupid picture of herself

How exciting! I have literally wanted a sensitive plant since I was like 4 and saw them at the botanical gardens, I think we were in Colorado. I don’t remember. I just remember being smitten. Just smitten. Before my birthday, for giggles I googled what type of plant it was and turns out, it’s a weed! And it costs like a whole dollar for a pack of seeds! Add it to the list! I am pretty easy to please. I also got a bonus pack of Rose of Sharon bushes seeds. Those will be a later story. On to my sensitive plant!!!

wpid-20140216_154202.jpgi am literally humming with excitement over a pot full of wet dirt and five seeds that as of yet have done nothing…

I can’t wait until that starts sprouting! I promise to keep you updated because I am very confident that I won’t be able to shut up about it.

Next, some updates on my other friends in the plant world:

wpid-20140216_160558.jpgwe’re things!

The regrow romaine and celery project continues to do stuff and be things.

wpid-20140216_160713.jpgnot ready yet, still baking

And the amaryllis is cranking away!

So hopefully this year’s garden will be a major success! I’ve learned a thing or two about the lighting in our garden area, what to plant and how many. Here’s to a big crop of home grown food! Cheers!