• Gardening

    a-gardening we go

    I got this quite splendid little 2 story grow house from Ikea for Christmas, mostly because I have a handful of cute tiny little orange trees I started growing at the end of last summer and they were getting too cold and very sad and miserable and I wanted somewhere bright and cosy for them.

    Of course, part of the reason they were becoming sad is that they needed repotting, so this morning I very bravely repotted them. I’m not good at repotting things, so I’m very proud of myself. :)

    Anyway, while I was preparing to do that kind of thing, and thinking about gardening this summer, and how I want to do raised beds because the soil in our little plots is terrible and I, frankly, am not *that* enthusiastic of a gardener. And along the “not that enthusiastic” lines, it suddenly occurred to me that probably there are people out there who provide kits for raised beds, and that that would be a much better use of my time and energy than trying to make them myself.

    So I looked, and lo! There are people out there who provide kits for raised beds! In all sorts of sizes! And they deliver directly to one’s home! So I measured our plots and it turns out they’re not so little, actually, they’re 6×10 each, which if I was to fill it properly would be A LOT of gardening space! I could, in theory, get 4 6×4′ beds and have a couple feet between them to kneel/walk between.

    I could also just get two, which might be more reality based with regards to how much gardening I’m actually interested in doing, but…well, I don’t have to make the decision right away. :) And since I’ve now got this cute little growhouse, I can also start things in it over the next few weeks and see how enthusiastic I am about THAT, before making the raised beds decision. :)

    (We also have what is effectively a greenhouse for our back entryway. It’s not warm at this time of year, but there’s probably something I could use to heat it a bit if I got wildly enthusiastic and needed more starter growing space. :))

    All that lies before us, though. I need to get a couple of trays for the growhouse to start with, and work from there.

    (I have dreams of a large semi-submerged greenhouse that are born from having this house with a long-defunct pool beside it. If It Was My House (and if I had all the money) I would have the whole pool mechanism removed and cleaned up and I would sink a greenhouse into the hole and build it 6-8 feet up above the surface, so there’d be like a 15 foot roof peak, and I’d grow a couple citrus trees and year-round veg and stuff. If I was that dedicated a gardener. Which I have dreams of being, although I don’t know that I’ll ever *be* that dedicated. Still, it’s good to have dreams, right? Right.)

  • Gardening

    a brief panicked spate of gardening


    I’m afraid I’m probably the kind of gardener who is only going to garden if it’s stuff one sows directly. Or, at least at this early stage in my gardening career, that certainly appears to be true. Which is fine, really. The fact that I got potatoes into the ground a month ago is a great triumph!

    In fact, it looks like we have 28 potato plants, and I think we planted 32 or 36, so that’s quite good. Better than I expected! (“Catie,” a friend said, “you live in Ireland.”)

    Anyway, since it’s the LAST MOMENTS OF MAY I went forth and planted PURPLE carrots and (yellow) corn. I have purple broccoli and purple green beans (they apparently turn green when they’re cooked, which is kind of disappointing) and…a whole bunch of other stuff, in fact (most of which is not purple :)), so I should spend some more quality time digging up the other little planting plot in the front garden & see what I can fit in. I bet I should just cut to the chase and get some planting boxes for stuff like lettuce, anyway. And perhaps for my wee crop of purple POTATOES. (I’m in to purple food this year, apparently.)

    I would show you a picture of my little garden, but for some reason I can’t get it to upload. Maybe next time. :)

  • Daily Life,  Gardening


    I woke up feeling really ambitious this morning, between the head cold and 6 hours of sleep:

    I decided Ted should start working out and get in shape like The Rock.

    (honestly, i have no idea where that came from but it’s so hysterical i thought it was worth sharing. i liked how *i* wasn’t gonna do this shit, no way. it was an ambition for TED. a really really extreme one! in retrospect, i thought, y’know, getting in shape like chris pratt would be a sufficiently impressive ambition. :))

    As far as my own ambitions are concerned, well…I got home from bringing Indy to school and I’m still on the couch. I need to get the hell off social media. (I was wondering, somewhat grimly, how much, and what, I would accomplish, if I could manage to limit myself to 2 hours of social media time a day. Since I read like 40 books the 6 weeks we didn’t have internet, I probably have a pretty clear idea, really….)

    A friend told me St Patrick’s Day was the traditional day for early harvest potatoes to go in the ground. Yay! I thought. Great plan! But my ambitions were scuppered by this cold. We spent the holiday watching movies and sleeping. Which was good! But not much like digging up the front garden plots and planting potatoes. My new ambition is to have them in the ground by the 21st, which, somehow, is tomorrow. That, frankly, doesn’t bode well.

    My next ambitions may be to pull the drapes closed so I can’t see the rain, and watch some Farscape…

  • Actual Manor House,  Gardening

    Garden Ambitions

    I have Ambitions about the garden. My Ambitions probably require a wood chipper, a chainsaw, a tiller, whatever one uses to pull (reasonably small, because I wouldn’t try to deal with the big trees) stumps/roots out, and as many willing bodies as is feasible, to accomplish.

    See, half of it garden is gone to wild, and was before we moved in here. I don’t even necessarily mind that it’s wild. It’s that it’s murderous, full of brambles (which at least produce blackberries) and nettles (which don’t). I’d like to reduce it to non-murderousness. I don’t have any PLANS for it beyond non-murderousness, not really

    (except the blackberry bramble patch would probably make a good area for a small vegetable garden)

    it’s just that I want it to not leap out and attack random passers-by. But if that’s going to be done it might as well be done right, and if it’s going to be done right it’d probably be silly to not at least put grass down, or something.

    There’s far too much of it to be done, realistically. It’s…well.


    That’s probably…I don’t know. I mean, from that angle, it’s 60 feet deep, but that’s looking toward the corner from where I was standing. Facing straight back it’s at least 20, maybe 30 feet deep from where I’m standing to the fence blocking the creek. And it’s at least a hundred feet long, so it’s just…a lot of ground. Too much. Except, y’know, if you’re gonna do it at all… #sigh

    Even so, just dealing with the first…15 feet of depth?


    There’s a fence running along the left of this picture, more or less (more or less) where the earth stops. Taking that out and clearing even just the five or so feet in front of it and the ten behind it would get rid of MOST of the brambles and nettles and it’d…just be a lot better. *sigh*

    The whole mess is made worse by the fact that when pieces of the apple tree fell off last year, the gardener just threw them right over the edge of the fence in the clearest patch (which had been my blackberry patch, god damn it):


    so what was bad the year before is much worse now because it’s got an entire extra dead tree lying on top of it. #sigh

    And of course the longer it goes on the worse it’ll get, so I would LIKE to deal with it, but…agh. :/ And it should be done NOW, before spring really kicks into gear, and…agh!

  • crabapple jelly & jam, blackberry jam / apple jam & jelly, strawberry jam, raspberry jam
    Actual Manor House,  Cooking,  Daily Life,  Food,  Gardening

    apples apples everywhere

    We picked apples on Sunday. This warped panorama does not do justice to the numbers of apples currently residing in our entryway:


    The bag in the back corner, and the white box, which is like 2×3′ or something, are also full of apples. There are So Many Apples. There’s a fairly large bag already missing, too, as I sent one home with my sister.

    A friend just dropped by and took away the small box next to the plant pots and the black bag at the foot of the photo, which made a small but visible dent. Ted said, “I can fix that. Want me to go pick more apples?”

    I gave him the look he deserved. :)

    I’ve been making apple jelly and jam almost daily. Now that we have ALL OF THESE off the trees I need to start apple butter, but it requires peeling so many apples I have to get started early or I’ll be doing apple butter at midnight.

    Here are the jams I’ve made so far. Soon they’ll be available on Etsy. Soon!

    crabapple jelly & jam, blackberry jam / apple jam & jelly, strawberry jam, raspberry jam
    crabapple jelly & jam, blackberry jam / apple jam & jelly, strawberry jam, raspberry jam

    This weekend I’m going to be bringing some to Octocon. If you happen to be going and see this post, there’s a poll here to ‘pre-order’ the jams you’d like, just to try to give myself a sense of how many I should bring. (Don’t fill it out if you’re not going to Octocon but want jam. The Etsy store will be up soon!)

    There are still so many apples on the trees, omg. Oh, the crabapples:


    13 pounds picked in half an hour, and that was literally only the low-hanging fruit on the tree. There’s got to be at least twice this again. I’m thinking of making crabapple butter, which I’ve never tried. I bet it’ll be an amazing color.

    Anyway there’s still hundreds of apples on the main tree and we DISCOVERED a random fifth apple tree in the front corner of our garden a couple of weeks ago and there’s the one tree that fell half down and IDK if it’s worth trying to shake the apples out of it because most of them are growing over a hedge, and there’s the other tree that hasn’t fallen down and we haven’t even made a *stab* at it yet.

    I’ve got so many apple recipes, but we can’t EAT this much!

%d bloggers like this: