Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Seattle- Day 4: Dirty & Loving it!

Yay for gardening! I called my sister down and depressed today, but she inspired me to get started with news of her newest post! Presents from Mom?! How lucky :) But I also received a package today. My very own "Bountiful Container" book! And it even came a day early. I, like my sister, super love packages (and yes, I knew this one was coming). But now I have some support in knowing what I'm doing is right...ish. So with a new post from Devon and a new book of knowledge in-hand it began!

First things first. I had to mount those hangy-things on to the wrought iron patio wall (fence?) so I could save some floor space and hang up my long window box. So, I got this thing I thought would work from
Home Depot. And then I opened it and realized I'm crazy it won't work. See?!

But then I realized, I must be really tired, because I just need to move it down! Slight oversight, huh? Haha. I hope that doesn't set the tone for my gardening issues. So I got it mounted. And it looks great!
It's good to be proud of yourself, even over the little things.


I cleaned out all of my pots of the old soil and dead plants (not cause I killed them, but because they died). I tossed the rocks I'd lined the bottom with and kept the soil. I watched this great show (the name escapes me) on HGTV that said you can just mix last years soil with new soil and get some more use out of it. So, I did just that and I ended up with a whole bag of soil!

That's one less bag I have to buy, which is awesome. I filled another bag with yard waste (twigs and roots from last year's dead plants). They were HEAVY. That is why, as an urbanite (I'm an urbanite!!), you should get an old lady cart. As you can see, mine came in SUPER handy because I was able to wheel my yard waste down to the bin the garage. Thank you, Seattle, for requiring a compost/yard waste bin in every residence! And then I was able to bring up the fresh soil and tomato cage from the car.
So, after cleaning out the pots, I set up the pots how I thought they'd look best and began filling. A bit of old
soil, a bit of new and then hand mixed them. But then I started losing daylight, so I couldn't plant any of my seeds. Which actually is ok, I'm going to study up in my new book to make sure I do it right. And just in time, because it just started raining again.

Oh! Sidenote! Matthew (the fiance) is coming home this weekend instead of me going out to Moses Lake so the garden planting (of blueberries to mint) will be done this Sunday!!! I'm so excited! Wish me luck, I'll keep you posted. Get it?! POSTED! Hahaha!

Chicago- Day 4: A Surprise Package

In hearing that my sister and I are beginning a gardening project, my mom got excited. She often gets excited about little crafty/designing/rearranging furniture/major revamp projects like this. Luckily for me, I often benefit from those projects. For example, upon arriving at my parents' house after 7 months of being away, I discovered that my room had been completely redecorated with a new large, squishy bed included. This was the ultimate benefit to my mom's project excitement. Also, one summer I helped my mom redo my bathroom. I'm pretty sure we had plans of submitting before and after photos of the project to Christopher Lowell from HGTV. Though the submission never came to fruition, I still benefited from a new garden-inspired bathroom.

Well, luckily in my mother's excitement for my own home & garden project, she promptly went to Lowe's and bought some "surprise gardening items." Those surprise items came today! Being the type of person that enjoys any packages (including ones that are not a surprise and that I ordered for myself) I was immensely excited to see what was inside. The contents included: a fancy bucket organizer that holds all of the essential gardening tools, gardening shears for cutting herbs and harvesting veggies, two sets of gardening gloves, an x-acto knife, a spade, weeder, and hand rake (the latter two items being tools I have no idea how to use!) So though I may not be an experienced gardener, I am now a well equipped one. Thanks Mom!

Question of the Week:
What is the difference between a trowel and a spade??
Really...I'd like to know...they look the same to me.

In other news, only 10 weeks until I get to visit Dina in Seattle and see her garden! Yes, I already have a weekly countdown in my planner.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Seattle- Day 1: Beginnings

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7B
Last Spring Frost: March 24th
First Fall Frost: November 11th
Length of growing season: 231 days

Well, as I'm sure you can tell from earlier posts my sister is on the ball! I was with her in Chicago when she bought her lovely new pots and seeds and such. So, today I spent the day flying back to my home in Seattle and trying to catch up with her gung-ho attitude. But to my dismay it was pouring down rain, so not great weather for sitting on a porch, especially with a whole day of flying just before. But at the least I gathered myself up for a day (well, an hour or so) of Home Depot shopping!

I knew the pots and tools I would need (due to my obsessive list-making nature, taken advantage of on the plane) and I knew the seeds I could pick up so I decided to go for it. No plants yet, I'm not near ready for planting. The problem with not being ready is that Seattle is already in the growing season!! In fact I'm already late on my spinach! But, I don't think a week will matter. Wait, will it?

So here's what's on the agenda...

Vegetables: Beans, Lettuce mix, Spinach, Tomatoes
Herbs: Basil, Cilantro, Mint, Oregano, Catnip
Fruits: Blueberries, Strawberries

I know that's a little ambitious, Devon's not doing fruits (which sound kinda hard), but she has WAY more veggies than me, but I'm short on a space. Not only that but I'm sure you can tell from the picture here that my patio needs some cleaning up! I have dead plants (from the summer past) that need throwing away, some sweeping done, some organization. So that's on the agenda for the week and hopefully my seed planting! Problem is, my darling fiance is away for work in Moses Lake, WA and I won't be home for the weekend, so maybe I shouldn't start. Regardless, the next few days will be spent cleaning up my tiny patio and hoping I'm not wasting time by not planting yet. Hope I'm right!

Chicago- Day 1: Beginnings

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5b
Last Spring Frost: 04-20
First Fall Frost: 10-24
Length of growing season: 187 days

Today was the day. The first day of my new container garden. Though it is a brisk 46 degrees outside and a good 2.5 weeks before the last frost date, I began what will soon be a glorious vegetable and herb garden right on my porch! Today's agenda: radishes, carrots, leaf lettuce, and baby spinach. As prodigiously planned, I grabbed my brand new trowel and opened up my first bag of potting soil. It took me a while to fill up the long containers for my early spring vegetables, but maybe that's because my trowel was so small. Is there supposed to be a faster way to fill up all these pots? I proceeded to spill a bit of soil and get my sweatshirt dirty, but hey, that's what gardening is about, right?

I'm not going to lie- it was pretty exciting to stand out on the porch and admire my handiwork: two boxes full of dirt. All that was left was to plant the seeds. I mixed my radish and carrot seeds just as Rose and Maggie told me in "The Bountiful Container" so that my radishes will loosen the soil for the carrots that come out later this spring. I dump them in? All of them? Some of them? Ah, what the hell, I'll dump them all. Who knows how many seedlings I'm going to have popping up out here but at least I'm guaranteed a whole lot of veggies, right? So I dumped them all in, covered them up, and gave them a nice watering. This might be a disaster. I'll just thin the seedlings out once they pop up. This is a learning experience after all.

Great. Done. HOW EXCITING! I just planted some seeds! Sure it only took about 20 minutes, with a couple of those minutes spent chasing after the paper seed packet that blew off the porch after I emptied it, but still, exciting nonetheless. My first radish seedlings should show up in 4-6 days and my lettuce and spinach should pop up in a week.

This is the life!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

It's Official, the blog has begun!

Ok, so I guess before we get started we should introduce ourselves. Age before beauty...

Dina- I'm the oldest and on the left. I currently reside in gorgeous Seattle with my fiance, Matthew. I am a craft goddess (self proclaimed) and enjoy knitting and quilting.
A job you ask? Pies, I do product development for a larget company south of the city. My darling sister you see there on the right is my bestest friend but lives 2082 miles away. So, we came up with this crazy idea to start container gardens together, as we both live in little city apartments. This way, we can keep each other accountable and try and create some good grub along the way. Did I mention that we have no gardening experience and I have the opposite of a green thumb?

Devon- Though I am the younger sister I am obviously the most sophisticated and intelligent sister (sarcasm implied). Mainly because I live in Chicago with my boyfriend Joe, and spend my days giving nutrition advice. When I'm not struggling as a dietetic intern, I can often be found knitting or drinking a mug of tea. Being 2082 miles from my sister is the pits and to cure our inevitable depression we had to find a way to connect across thousands of miles. Though the ability to kill plants may run in the family, we are determined to grow something we can be proud of and share together.