Projects Underway, So I Will Show You My “Gardens”

I honestly have no idea how this happens! I just finished five fantastic pieces and I turn around and the garage is filled to capacity with new ones!

Lately, I have been trying to work as early in the day as I can, as the weather has been hot and humid. I don’t have to be in the garage long for me to be soaked with sweat. I keep hoping that it will help me lose weight, but, alas, it isn’t working. 😦

So, the first thing on the ‘To Do’ list this morning, was to mount the circulating fan that has plagued me by constantly being in the way, to the ceiling. A fairly easy proposition and with The Kid’s help, we had it done quickly. And what a difference it makes being close to the ceiling and managing to circulate over most of the garage’s space.

DSCN3645So, as to the fact that I really don’t have anything to show because it is all in progress, I thought I would give you a look at how the container gardening is going.

2015-06-05 17.46.33These are how my started-from-seed tomatoes looked when I finally replanted them in the containers (5 gallon buckets acquired for free around my part of town). I hadn’t gotten my version of tomato cages up at this point.

DSCN3659And here is what they look like today. They are growing nicely! I have been collecting coffee grounds which I am going to mix with Miracle-Grow soil and add to each bucket. Hopefully that will give them more of a boost. I do have flowers on most of the plants, but need to check if I should pinch those off or just let them take their course. Seems that the plants are on the smaller side, at least to me. This is the first time I’ve ever grown tomatoes.

I’m also growing something on the other side of the deck. There are three trees in there, one is the tree I want to plant in the yard to memorialize our dog, who we lost a little more than a year ago. We are going to dig the hole and add her ashes and then plant the tree above it. I have been casting concrete stepping stones that have a ‘paw print’, to act as a walkway to the tree.

The other plants are ‘surprises’. I have no idea what they are or how they germinated or what they will ‘grow up’ to be. Time will tell. All I know is that I’ve always had a green thumb, even when I don’t intend to grow something!

DSCN3663And here is The Kid’s little corn patch. I cannot wait to have home grown sweet corn! (I think they should be taller, though.) This is not mine to mess with though and The Kid just wants them to run their course. It has been so wet as of late, and I suspect that is what is preventing the plants from growing “up”.

julie

Paisley and Felt, and Tomatoes on the Vine

Did it again. No matter how determined I am, I simply am unable to finish all previously started projects. Some just seem destined to be hanging around the edges waiting for the inspiration (or sheer boredom) to kick in and I can pick up these unfinished projects. Over in the quilt world, I know that unfinished quilt tops are called ‘UFO’s’ and I suppose that could be related to any creative project.

I can’t even really tell you why, but I have recently jumped on the paisley band wagon. I have always loved paisley, from its simplest form to some of those amazing fabrics you see in upholstery and clothing. I suppose that it has to do with my physical limitations – everyone knows that I’ve been given the okay to have both of my knees replaced – I like to have projects to do while I am applying cold or hot compresses in hopes of helping the swelling and the pain. Sometimes it is all I can do to get to the couch and once there, sometimes have it be almost impossible to stand again.

Okay, that was not a cry for pity. Seriously. I just wanted to explain why I have to have projects that can basically be done from the couch. This paisley project is just such a project.

So, off to the internet to find a paisley leaf (is that what you call it?) that was fairly complex but not too complex. I found this one:

Paisley Starting Point

The whole paisley towards the bottom is what I started with. I am planning on doing some embroidery and beading on this, so it can be too ornate, but I did want to include a lot of color. Here is how far I got last night:

DSCN3582The great thing is that I can add or take away any element I want (or don’t want). Right now, I am not sure I like the center paisley… but while I am beading and embroidering the many layers before I get to it, I have time. I see some of the circles are not very round… will fix those in the process too. When this is done, I am going to sew the whole thing onto a felt book cover. So, this gives me a lot of hand work to do while I am both waiting for surgery and during recovery.

Another thing that The Kid helped me finally get finished is the tomato “cages”. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what to call this thing, so I am going with ‘cages’, although it is so not a cage!

So, you may recall that a couple of weeks ago, I planted tomato seeds in a little starter kit. As they grew, I transferred them to food grade five gallon buckets and they went out on the back deck. They are growing like weeds! 🙂

So, I knew I was going to have to support the branches of the plants, but didn’t want to use the traditional tomato cage. Did you realize that those stupid things are like $6 at Home Depot!? No thank you.

photoHere was my sketched idea of how to support the plants. Well, finally, I made this happen. Now the super great thing is that this cost me nothing. Well, because I had the supplies on hand, I didn’t have to buy anything (that money was already spent a long time ago). It consists of two buckets, 10 gallons of small rock, two 2″x4″s, small “eyes” (the kind from ‘hooks and eyes’) and some rope or twine.

I wasn’t sure whether the twine would last the growing season, so I opted for the plastic rope. Time will tell if this works. So, just eyeballing it, I screwed the eyes into the 2″x4″s about 8 inches apart, repeated on the second board. Then holding them in the bucket, I filled it with small rock. Then I threaded the rope back and forth between the two boards, after I had set them on each end of the row of tomato buckets.

DSCN3576So, here’s the setup. I have already figured out that there needs to be something to keep the two boards even when it starts to get weighed down with tomato vines. Can you believe how big this plants have grown already?

I think I need to figure out better knots as well. Not wild about the neon yellow colored rope either. Whatever I do, its going to have to be done soon, at the rate these are growing. I sure am hoping that I get fruit!

If you look hard enough, you can see The Kid’s corn garden… those, too, are growing quite nicely.

DSCN3580 V2Okay… that concludes the updates today. Over the past couple of days, we picked up three new furniture pieces to work on. The ivory dresser sold, which just leaves the recently completed ‘suitcase dresser’. I guess The Kid is going to be doing most of the physical labor on these.

Okay, gotta go ice the knees!

julie

Corn and Tomatoes: Traditional and Container Gardening

This will be the fourth year that The Kid and I have attempted gardening. The first year was pumpkins in the ground in the backyard. I think we actually got one little pumpkin. The next year, we bolstered the ground with Miracle-Gro and made an attempt at watermelons. We had tons of flowers but not a single melon! The Kid was seriously bummed.

At the same time, I planted my first strawberry plants in the area under the ‘martini deck’ that hangs off the master bedroom… it gets great moisture and gets great morning sun and then is shaded from the afternoon heat. The second year saw more berries but I knew that it was going to take at least two years to get really established plants and fruit. I lost some of the peripheral plants and want to add some starts, but first need to re-plant some from the back to the front and make a pathway to get around the two back sides against the house. The ground has been so wet that stepping in between the plants has caused my feet to sink low enough in the soil to completely cover my feet and shoes!

Last year, The Kid went back to pumpkins and we did keep a lot more of the vines, but still only three pumpkins. And those were about the size of grapefruit! I don’t know what we’re doing wrong, but we’ve opted to switch to sweet corn in the garden this year. We dumped almost 40 gallons of compost into a large hole and then covered it – once again – with Miracle-Gro soil. Its been a wet spring so we started the corn inside. It is about to overtake its current containers, so I hope that things dry out a bit.

2015-05-12 21.10.52So The Kid is growing the corn, so I opted for tomatoes. After spending the better part of two afternoons weeding my strawberry patch, my knees are screaming! So, I have decided to grow my tomatoes on the back deck in containers. This should help the strain on the knees – damn getting old sucks!

I have a great idea on how to do this container growing without laying out a ton of money. The tomatoes will grown in 5 gallon buckets, gotten for free! Yes, FREE!

I stumbled onto a site that talked about getting these buckets free, so I decided to see just how true it actually was. So, I spent a few hours today trying to wrangle buckets.

My first stop was Panera Bread. They were able to give me 3 5-gallon buckets, they were indeed pickle buckets. They are soaking now to help reduce the pickle smell (I personally do not like pickles!). A second Panera later in the day resulted in being told that we could dumpster dive for them. Not sure I want them that badly.

Then on to Burger King – they said they normally just throw them in the dumpster, but would stack them next to the dumpster and I could come by periodically and pick them up. The manager I was talking with said she would love some tomatoes – wink wink. I will definitely bring her some if I am successful and actually do pick up some buckets from her store.

Next was KFC, McDonald’s and Subway. All of them say they no longer get the buckets, either the food is delivered in different containers or no containers at all. HyVee Bakery (food store) said they didn’t have any but a second HyVee bakery turned up a single frosting bucket that was square and maybe 3 gallons in size. Wendy’s manager was no where to be found but the cashier said they had buckets and they go into the dumpster in the morning when prep is done. I may pop back over there at another time and actually track down the manager. I eat at Wendy’s a lot, so hopefully it will be successful in the future.

I figure that I will grow two plants per bucket and line them up, side by side. On either end I will have another bucket, this one filled with either stone or cement with a 2×2 in the middle. And then I will place screws or eye hooks in the posts and run twine or other thick line back and forth between the posts to create a kind of ‘fence’ which I can then use to support the branches of the plants.

 My doodle of the setup:
photo
 This initially stemmed from the fact that I could easily lay out a hundred dollars for pots and tomato cages… and there is no guarantee that I will get any fruit! Plus, this seems like a more challenging path to take.
2015-05-17 12.26.01
I hope we can get everything we need to get the plants into dirt. They seem to grow like crazy in the house!
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