Homegrown Potatoes

One of my goals for 2014 was to plant something.  Not an entire garden, just something.  It was our first full summer at the house, so I wanted to see the season develop first before deciding on a garden location.  And there was that whole getting married business that took most of my time.  🙂  So my planting something involved basil and potatoes in containers.  I read all about growing potatoes in a trash can from as many sources as I could.  I bought seed potatoes from a certified source online.  I followed the directions with diligence and made sure to mound the dirt in the trash can when the leaves grew over 12″.  I waited for the bushy leaves to flower…but that did not seem to happen.  And then I decided it just had to be time to see if there were potatoes in there or not, after three months of growing.  And this is what I found:

 

 

Not as many potatoes as one might imagine coming out of a large trash can, but I am pretty used to that with my gardening efforts.  I am glad I did not wait any longer because some were starting to get mushy.  Digging for these little treasures was a lot of fun and worth the wait.  I ended up cutting them up for dinner that night.  Did they taste magical like a home grown tomato?  No.  But they still tasted pretty great!

 

 

I am not sure if I will grow potatoes again in 2015.  I think 2015 is the year to build my second square foot garden.  But there are too many holidays between now and 2015 to think about that right now.  Just grateful I had the opportunity to experiment with potatoes this year!

Peas in the Garden

Time for a garden update!  This is my second year with a garden and I learned a lot from last year’s endeavors.  First, trying to grow seedlings indoors is just not my thing.  Either it is going in the ground as a seed or I buy it as a transplant from my local greenhouse.  Second, the few peas I planted last year did really well.  So I planted several rows of peas this year.  And I planted them three weeks earlier because of the wonderful weather we have been having.

 

Can you see some of the pods hanging?  After the flowers bloom and the pods start growing, it can be tricky to spot them.  But it is such a treat to find them.  I love watching the plants climb up the poles (next year I need a trellis) and toward the sun.  Look at my first harvest!

There is nothing like the taste of fresh peas out of your own garden.  I love it.  I am wondering if I could get a fall harvest out of peas this year, that is how much fun it is to grow them.  Very low maintenance and the bugs leave them alone once they grow tall enough.

Here is a sneak peek at my tomato plants.  Last year I only had one and enjoyed the tomatoes immensely.  I invested in the tomato cages this year and I think it will work out well.  I am all about the low maintenance.  There are lots of varieties this year:

Here is a photo just for fun of our plastic owl.  His eyes glow and his head freely spins.  A little creepy at night!  We originally bought him to keep the birds away from the grass seed in another part of the yard.  But now he watches over my garden.  And probably startles people driving down the road.

And then here is a stargazer lily I bought as a bulb last year that has really taken off.  Multiple blooms this year!  I love the color.

That is it for the garden update this time of year.  I am looking forward to watching the tomatoes grow and replacing the peas with peppers.  I do have some other smaller plants growing, but we will see if those make it.  First time for summer squash.  Hope your gardens are growing well!

Bunny Nugget for Spring

Easter is one of those holidays for me that is nice, but does not send me into a crafting flurry.  It is sort of like Halloween with lots of candy and themed crafting.  I like to see what everyone else is doing related to the holidays, but usually do not do something myself.

Well this year I was inspired to make a Bunny Nugget.  This is a gift for a future little girl that is coming at the end of summer!  Her mother wants to incorporate rabbits and bunnies into the theme of the room, so I thought this was perfect.

 

This project is the extent of toy knitting that I like to do.  Knitting toys is very fiddly.  But stuffing them is fun!  Here is the bunny nugget with a matching pink tulip.  I planted this tulip last fall, so proud that it bloomed successfully.  I think all of the bulbs I planted bloomed successfully.  I would make the entire yard into flower beds if I could!

I hope you all have a lovely Easter, whether you celebrate it or not!

Crafting Goals for 2012

A week into 2012, I think I am ready to commit to my crafting goals for 2012.  I always enjoy hearing other people’s goals before I make my own, so these are very inspired.  And it is time to pick a new word of the year!  Last year the word was “relax.”  That worked well until December when I had a lot of gift knitting to do.  This year the word is going to be “mindful.”  I really want to be mindful during my crafting and enjoy the process.  Besides gift knitting, what is the rush, really?  And yet I always seem to get too deadline oriented with things that are supposed to be fun.  So I will be “mindful” when I am crafting in 2012.

My goals for 2012 are relatively short because it will be a very busy year professionally.  I will be writing my dissertation and getting ready to go on the job market.  So I am going to relax on the goals for 2012.

List of 2012 Crafting Goals:

  • Knit a lace weight sweater for myself without being concerned about the deadline.
  • I have enough yarn for two lace weight sweaters and one fingering weight sweater.  It is about time I start one of these!  For you non-knitters, this is a big goal because I will be knitting something big on tiny needles with thin yarn.  But I am really excited about it and will enjoy the process as I go along.  Now we will have to see when I actually cast it on.

 

  • Become consistent with my spinning.
  • I learned how to spin on my spinning wheel in 2011, so now it is time to actually become good at it.  I want to be able to knit with the yarn I spin in 2012.  I already have lots of fiber to practice with, which relates to the next goal.

 

  • Keep track of my fabric and yarn this year with the obvious goal of using more than buying.
  • Last year I kept track of my fabric and that really worked out well.  This year I want to keep track of my yarn as well.  I will try to do weekly check ins with the yarn since I knit much more than I sew.  But I am already on a “yarn and fiber diet” until Camp KIP, so hopefully I will be able to stick to knitting more than I buy.

 

  • Enjoy my gift crafting!
  • This may seem like an obvious goal, but strangely I like to stress myself out about projects for other people.  Especially where a deadline is concerned.  So this year, with one upcoming wedding and one baby on the way among my friends, I am going to not get stressed out, but enjoy the crafting.  I am looking forward to knitting for a new baby and testing out some new techniques.  And I will not be crafting furiously the night before the wedding – I refuse!  Either it is getting done early or on time.

 

  • Grow something new (successfully) in the garden.
  • Last year was my first attempt at a vegetable garden and I really enjoyed the process.  There were some issues with slugs.  And starting things from seed is difficult.  But I am looking forward to a new year of gardening.  And I would like to try something new this year.  Not sure what yet!

I think that will be plenty for 2012!  Looking forward to another great year!

2011 Resolutions Update

It is that time of year again – time to check in about my resolutions from last year!  I am very proud to say that I completed my resolutions this year, mainly because I made them so obtainable.  The word of the year was relax, remember?  I had my moments of chaos, but I managed to keep it together pretty well.  And there were no big events to plan this year.  So let’s review the resolutions:

 

Make the Christmas stockings for my friend T’s family, as requested, before August.

 

I did finish these Christmas stockings, but in November, not August.  Mailed them to her right before Thanksgiving.

 

Finish all random scrapbook pages that have not been finished by August.

 

I did catch up on my random scrapbook pages and feel good about the progress.  There was a page I completed that should have been done in 2005!  Now I just have a few projects from the past year that need catching up, not all kinds of random pages.

 

Learn how to use my spinning wheel in February.

 

I think I waited until May to work on this resolution, but I did learn how to use my spinning wheel!  Once the holiday gift knitting began, I had to put it away.  But the next step for this resolution will be in 2012.

 

Fill my Project Life binder with the everyday things that I never scrap.

 

Still going strong with Project Life.  I had times where I had to play catch up, but it all worked out.  Because I have only been using one page for one week (instead of two pages), I will keep going with this goal in 2012.  Of course I want to fill the album!

 

Keep track of my quilting supplies with Stash Reports every week.

 

I did keep up with my Stash Reports, even though it was much more infrequent than every week.  I only updated when I bought fabric or sewed with fabric.  My underlying goal was to not bring in more fabric than I started with, but I went over slightly by 5 yards.  Vintage sheet fat quarters sucked me in!  Really glad I kept track, otherwise I would have been feeling more guilt than necessary probably.  I did get a lot of sewing done this year!

 

Make a queen-sized quilt (or duvet cover) for my bed.

 

I am really proud of completing this project.  I just finished it, but I did space the project out over the course of the year.  This was an intense project at the end with all of the bulky pieces.  But I am happy with the results and looking forward to using this on the bed.  And now I never want to make another queen-sized quilt!

 

Use the Basic Grey fabric I have set aside to make a table runner for the front room and the matching paper to make the shadow box.

 

After I experimented with the Basic Grey fabric, I realized it did not match the front room very well.  So I made the table runner out of the same Pure by Moda fabric that I used for the queen-sized quilt.  The table runner actually sits on a dresser, so hopefully the dresser and quilt will be reunited in the same room some day.  Since I steered away from the Basic Grey fabric and paper, I did not make the shadow box.  But maybe I can use some leftover fabric pieces this year to make it match.

 

Those were the resolutions for the year!  Another fun thing to think about is everything else I did throughout the year that did not even make the resolution list:

 

  1. The garden!  I created my first vegetable garden in 2011.
  2. 12 pairs of socks in 2011 – I am shocked this was not one of my resolutions, but I stuck with it.
  3. Participating in Camp Loopy this summer (three projects in three months, one of them being a sweater).
  4. The card swap for Paper Capers – 12 different cards throughout the year.
  5. And the long list of gifty things I created for other people throughout the year, mainly knitting projects.

 

Looking forward to 2012.  Have to pull together my resolution list!

Garden Update

Even though it has a been a month since my last post, I have been doing a lot of crafting.  Just now catching up after a couple of weekends being away.  And we had a major setback when my partner broke his ankle (and we lost the camera), but he is feeling much better now and am I able to balance the household tasks by myself more easily.

So it’s the end of June!  Big garden updates.  First, I was able to harvest the broccoli, cauliflower, and peas over the past few weeks.


And so as a result of those great harvest, I have replaced several of those plants with hot peppers.  Will the hot peppers grow in my semi-shaded garden?   We shall see.  This photo shows how crazy the tomato plant is growing.  There are over ten tomatoes growing on it right now.  Cabbage and brussel sprouts are still growing on the left and right of the peppers.

And to see what my garden looks like from near my front porch, here is a photo.  The tall black pole leads up to a bat house that T. built.  It does not have any bats in it yet, but we hope so eventually to help keep mosquitoes at bay.

I am also excited to show off my flowers.  My yard is full of beautiful flowers from the previous renters, but I wanted to see if I could plant a few this season.  Here is the sterling star lily plant that I planted from the bulb:

And the bellflowers that I planted from a small plant:

Now that I showed you everything that is working out in my garden, what is not?  The radishes did not grow well a second time.  The brussel sprouts and cauliflower that I planted from seed were just too tiny to continue.  My garden definitely does better with the transplants.  And I am still waiting on a few more flowers to appear.  These photos are not my usual quality, but they were all taken with my new iPhone (the other thing that has been taking up all of my time), not too bad for a camera phone, right?  I will be posting again soon with updates on cards and knitting projects!

And the Garden is Almost Full

April has been a pretty busy month around here.  I have been to two conferences since the last time I posted.  It is definitely spring fever – the students are ready to go home even though we still have a few more weeks.

Today I thought I would post about my garden.  I have been planning for my garden since January.  We built raised beds, following the Square Foot Gardening method.  I have also received  a lot of advice from the Growing Your Grub podcast.

Here is my map as of today.  CN = The place where I bought the transplants.  Cabbage are only supposed to be planted one per square, but I bought too many at my local store.  So we’ll see how that goes.  Notice how I have one spot open!


And of course I had to take a photo after my transplanting.  The okra and cucumbers have not been transplanted yet – they just get to hang outside while the weather is nice.

I am most excited about my radishes.  They appear to be doing very well and I started those from seed.  I will keep you updated on how things start to shape up!