Worms and Flowers

Where Have I Been?

Posted in Blog by Lzyjo on May 31, 2009

Dear Readers, you are due an apology for my prolonged absence and lack of posts this winter. I had a lot of excuses that I told myself. Everything’s dead. Nothing has leaves. Everything looks like crap. But that is not the total truth. Something is always going on in the worm bin and there are other things to talk about in the winter like pouring over catalogs and buying for next year.

The truth is I was most busy with my new venture obsession making quilts. Below is my second quilt, a sampler, which I made for my MIL and her husband.

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I started with traditionals, making more and more complicated ones like this geometric Escher-esque pattern made from half  hexagons.

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As you can see, I quickly got bored with that stuff and ended up with something like this.

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In January I started my Etsy shop. Since then I have added a lot of items, mostly wall hangings and art quilts, to my Etsy shop and my QuiltFinger blog. I also have them for sale on eBay. Sales have been far from predictable, or substantial, but I make quilts because I enjoy it. I hope you can tell how much fun I had making them.

I didn’t forget about you all during my long break and I am very grateful to everyone who continues to subscribe and visit my blog since my long dip off the radar. I’m am going to try harder this time, I promise!

New Toys

Posted in Garden by Lzyjo on May 30, 2009

This week has been like Gardening Christmas for me. At the beginning of the week DH surprised me with new toys for gardening, including Sloggers garden clogs. I love shoes that slip on and off!

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An uber-cool fold-up sun hat. How cool is that?! The wire just kind of coils itself back up!

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And my very favorite the cute garden cart, which has already saved me hundred of trips to the shed for tool after tool. All from the local Target. The cart was actually the display model and the last one they had in stock. Must be a popular item. My favorite feature is the pop-out foam kneeling pad. My muddy-kneed jeans and my knees love it. It even has a tow strap!

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You can also sit on it  and it fits a lot of stuff. It doesn’t fit the big hedge trimmer, but it does fit the loppers, the smaller scissor trimmer, and all the other tools and accessories I used to go back and forth to get.

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I got to try out all of my new toys after the order from Brent and Becky’s arrived. I have a terrible habit of checking the Garden Watchdog, only after I have already placed the order. When I did check Garden Watchdog I was blown-away by the excellent feedback. After receiving my order, I can confirm that Brent and Becky do deserve their Top 30 Rating. They even sent along a culture brochure with detailed planting instructions for all of the bulbs they sell. Check out these fat Star Gazer Lily bulbs for $1 each. Beautiful! Everything was freshly packed and I just love the ingenious tag/plant markers with names printed on! How come no one else thought of that?

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What have you bought, or been gifted, for the garden lately?

Friday Garden Update #2

Posted in Friday Garden Update by Lzyjo on May 29, 2009

I’ll start with the good news. This week we harvested our first salad, somewhat delayed by temperamental seedlings that went and died on me. We ate it before I could take pictures, but the Kentucky Limestone Bibb Lettuce and Merveille de Quatre Saisons were both wonderful. We also had our first substantial harvest of both kinds of peas that were made into delicious peas pulao and aloo tikkis. Both recipes can be found on the same charming blog, Dil Se… We’ve had great success with Divya’s recipes, both Indian and Western.

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All I can say about the Blauschokkers, is WOW! There is nothing puny about these peas, they are monstrous. I can’t wait until autumm for pea soup made with these! Although the Blauschokkers, advertised to grow to 6 ft, are the same height as the Dwarf Grey their yields so far have been very good, the pods are enormous and filled the many large peas. I was surprised to see that my fingers were stained pleasantly purple after shelling a bunch of these.

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After a few nights of rain showers, the zucchinis are really getting big! This one is already taking up part of the path.

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Uh, oh, male and female flower buds ready to go. Let the onslaught begin! I am bracing myself.

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This is the squash that had a snapped stem last week. When I went out to  replant the hill, which I did, I noticed the new growth was still green, so I mouned up some earth around it to support the flimsy broken stem and it seems to be growing. I’ll see what happens.

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The peppers are finally making strides, with the biggest ones starting to bud. I think these were somewhat held back by the flooding and cool weather.

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The tomato plants are also coming along, looking bushier all the time. Note to self, obay rules of crop rotation and companion planting. These toms are planted next to the potatoes and are suffering from infestations of Colorado Potato Beetle larvae.

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On my morning CPB patrol I was so dismayed to see this snapped stalk on my healthy blue ribbon-worthy potato plant. I tried to earth it up, but I think that portion will die. Now I know where to look for new potatoes first!

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Here is the “whole shebang,” so to speak. Some of the corn is 18″ to two feet tall. I had to hill them up because the wind was blowing them sideways. The sunflowers are even bigger this week, about mid chest height, I am predicting shoulder height by next week. Despite my news year resolution to stay ahead of the weeds, they are getting the best of me. I am committing to weeding one block a day until I am caught up, then I will do it again.

I’ve planted string beans at least three times. The beans and the carrots have all been munched to the ground by some hungry critters, leaving me with large patches where the are more weeds than anything else growing. Drat.

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To end on a bright note, the first Asiatic liles opened and they are looking gorgeous. It’s funny, the flowers look so bold and red until you look at them next to roses, then the orange-red cast becomes apparent.

TGIF, everyone! Have a wonderful weekend!

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Debunking the D.G.

Posted in Peas by Lzyjo on May 28, 2009

Dwarf Grey Pea, that is.

Seed descriptions will lead you to believe a lot of things. They are a sales rap printed directly onto the product, or product page in the online store. They extol the virtues of their products to make sales, neglecting to mention any shortcomings, or perhaps inadvertently printing incorrect information.

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Here is a seed description for the Dwarf Grey Sugar Snap Pea from the Seed Savers Exchange. I have bold-faced certain keywords that I disagree with.

Introduced in 1892 by D. M. Ferry & Co. Broad palegreen 3-4″ pods are stringless and fiberfree; well suited for steaming or in stir-fry. Vines grow 24-30″ and do not require staking, beautiful purple blossoms. Edible podded, 60 days.

From my personal experience the second and third sentences are totally inaccurate. I’ll start with the plants. My shortest plants are over 37″ tall. That is almost one meter. They range from 37″ to the tallest one that is 50″ and still growing. In my humble opinion all peas can benefit from growing along a fence or other support. I would not attempt to grow Dwarf Greys without support.Photobucket

And about fiber free, they certainly are not! These peas are best when picked before the peas start swelling in the pod, approximately 2″-3″ long. I have many small pods that already have large peas in them and are very fibrous. The good news is they can be shelled and nothing goes to waste. This toughness may be partly attributed to root rot and/or fusarium wilt from the heavy rains and flooding combined with the compacted clay soil. The problem wasn’t bad enough to effect yields but symptoms were visible, yellowing bottom leaves and brittle stems. Truth be told, the first picture is at least two harvests, one that had been in the fridge.

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About the name Dwarf Grey, the plants are certainly are not dwarf, but like grapes, some fruits, and other peas, they have a white powdery coating on the pods that can easily be  buffed off, but makes it appear as if are slightly grey. This trait is more pronounced on older pods. After flowering the tiny pods are bright green.Photobucket

Enough ranting. There are a few good things about peas in general, Dwarf Greys included. The plants are pretty, the flowers are pretty, and the pods are pretty and delicious. They are fun to pick and eat fresh, enjoying the satisfying snapping explosion and the puff of air as the pods crack under tooth. The smell of the fresh pea pods is unmistakable. Peas are a delightful garden experience.

Next year and I plan on trying Oregon Giant or Oregon Sugar Pod II, which have 5″ long pods and are disease resistant.

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