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Dear Future Self,

I hope you like the tulips I planted.

Love,
Me

Tom brought me a bag of tulips. I mixed the colors up so they would be random.


Ok, it’s the time of year to plant bulbs and corms! A month ago I had decided not to plant anything until Spring, giving my soil a chance to rest and time for me to bring in a truck-load of compost. Then Tom brought me a bag of tulips and I just had to prep a bed and plant them! He also brought me a bag of compost, remembering my plans. He’s just the most to say the least.

In front of the bench along the outer edge of the meditation circle, where they can be seen from the patio and my bedroom window.


So the compost was worked in and the soil was turned over three times to a depth of, well the depth of my pitchfork blades, about 8″. Plant your tulips in a well drained area so they don’t rot over the winter and put them in about 5″ deep. That should just about do it. Check back in Spring!

Tom's Gnome keeps out the rif-raf, when the cats don't knock him over.

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The past two weeks have been super extra busy and exciting. Learning an extensive science vocabulary and settling into a new semester has eaten up my free time (happily so) and this weekend is a full working weekend. Whenever people get excited about the 4th of July or Labor Day holidays – or most ‘national’ holidays, I tend to cringe inside. These are never great holidays for me since they fall during the busiest time of the month for my business. If I do choose to take the time off completely, things do not go well in the long run. We’ve learned to just bite the bullet and work through, enjoying the holiday as much as we can but keeping our I’s dotted and T’s crossed. Mostly I don’t mind because we take our time off elsewhere and it’s part of being self-employed. Sometimes however, it makes me a little grumpy…like this morning. So, before hitting the office, I went out to water a few plants and readjust my attitude in the garden and soak up a bit of the morning Sun. Then I saw it – the loveliest flower blooming under the bedroom window. I didn’t know it was growing and I hadn’t known it was blooming and I don’t remember planting it. A complete surprise gift from the garden just in time to get my attitude back on track. It’s a Gladiolus callianthus and one of those things I buried and forgot. I’m so glad I did.

Gladiolus callianthus - September 2011


The more I looked at it, the more interesting it was. Like how the topmost petal has no color when the other petals do.

Or the fact that the purple coloring is so dark it looks brown, and the anthers are HUGE.

I hope it cheers you up as much as it did me. Whatever you’re doing this holiday weekend, be safe and have as much fun as you can. Summer is on her way out and, before you know it, we’ll be discussing holidays involving witches and goblins, turkeys and fires in the fireplace. I’m looking forward to Fall, but I always do that right about now.

Ok, time for me to get back to my job before Tom catches on to the fact that he’s over there working hard on our financial reports and I’m over here playing with pictures of flowers….Happy Labor Day!

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When we were little, our mothers sent us outside to play when we were getting on her nerves. We thought she was being sweet and encouraging us to have fun when all she really wanted was a moment alone with her thoughts and perhaps a Highball or two. Well, I’m on my own nerves lately, so the moment I get free from work, rain or no rain, I’m going outside to play and I’m dragging Tom with me.

Carrots get curly if the soil isn't loose enough - be sure to prepare your soil!


In gardening news, it’s an excellent time to plant anything with an underground harvest such as root vegetables, like carrots before it gets too warm, or bulbs. Today I’m planting the garlic that was leftover from an olive oil roasting I did on Monday. When the garlic you use in the kitchen has little green centers, it means the garlic is growing again in your pantry and it will most likely be bitter tasting and it’s past its prime. Bury it and you’ll have fresh garlic later. I know I’ve said it before, but I really really want you to plant garlic! It helps keeps aphids off your roses and vampires will think twice before messing with your garden.

red Dragon Carrot - sweet and adds color to salads or cake - did someone say cake? 🙂


It’s also a good time to plant radishes if you live somewhere with a cool spring. I just harvested mine, so I won’t be planting more, but it’s not too late if you want to get another batch through before summer. I had the “Easter Egg” blend and they were delicious!

Spring Radishes - Easter Egg Blend - April 2011


The Moon is waning so it’s also a good time to prune where needed. My pruning is done for now, so I can take a break on that front. In fact, the garden seems to be doing her own thing quite effectively right now, so I can take a little breather. I have some extremely feral patches around the property, but I’ve put those off until summer when school is over. Thanks to the budget cuts, summer classes have been canceled so I have no opportunity to change my mind about taking the summer off. Tom and I are going to plan a little trip someplace we’ve never been. It’s very exciting.

I didn't really like carrots until I grew my own


This is also a good time to think about feeding your garden. Spring is a time when nature has a voracious appetite and plants need food and mulch and compost-y nourishment to reach their full potential fruit and bloom-wise. I like the pellet kind of food because I can walk around the garden with a bucket of it and toss toss toss. I’ve tried the Miracle Grow liquid with the hose attachment and, although the food itself works well, it’s not a great way to apply it and I think it wastes a lot of water while being inconsistent with the delivered amounts. I did see an ad in Sunday’s paper that they have a fairly new device with premixed solution, but I have not tried it yet. The bucket/toss method seems to work for me, for now. That’s the key with this gardening thing – do whatever works for you and you alone. Gardening is a much easier task than it was even a decade or so ago. When I started gardening seriously about 10-15 years ago, there wasn’t a huge online community of plant enthusiasts, garden blogs were rare, websites that explained how to care for plants were terribly incomplete, tools and products were still old fashioned and not much of it was geared toward those of us who choose the organic way. Now, the world is your oyster, or pea, if you want anything from a tiny pot of herbs on your urban balcony, to a farm in the backyard, and anything and everything in between. Information is instant online and there’s a huge community of people just like me writing about gardens just like mine and sharing information. It’s awesome, easy, rewarding and healthy, and will improve your mood considerably. Even if it’s just one Strawberry plant – the fresh and pristine pesticide-free fruit will have you hooked in no time. So, what are you waiting for? Go outside and play!

Inside a sea of Nasturtiums - March 2011

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“It’s toughest to forgive ourselves. So it’s probably best to start with other people. It’s almost like peeling an onion. Layer by layer, forgiving others, you really do get to the point where you can forgive yourself.” – Patty Duke

Today I got up and out early to plant some little red and white onion bulbs I bought on sale. I wanted to get them in the ground before the full moon tomorrow. It was a cool, crisp morning and I could see my breath in the air as I turned the earth over to get the bed ready and the ground is still moist from the recent rain. With a steamy cup of coffee and my favorite pitchfork in hand, my day started out perfect in every way!

I chose a sunny location, but really I don’t have much choice in my small suburban back yard – unless I want to dig out more lawn, which I promised my husband Tom I wouldn’t do. (even though I sometimes sneak a few inches here and there – he calls it “encroachment”…whatEver!)

So first, I dug down about 2 feet and turned the earth over and over, removing rocks and weeds and crumbling up the big chunks. There aren’t many rocks left after working the California clay soil this way for several years. Now I have soft, crumbly, sweet-smelling dirt full of rich organic mulchy goodness. I met several hideously long and fat earthworms (earthsnakes) – a good sign that my earth is healthy! Onions prefer fairly firm soil so I gently patted the earth back down, leaving some back to cover the bulbs with, and set the onions in the dirt roots facing down. If you accidentally plant them upside down they will still grow, but they’ll be a little stunted from the effort to grow against their nature…as with all of us I guess.

I don’t need a lot of room for these because I will most likely pick and eat them fairly green. If I want larger onions to dry, I just leave some in the earth and they’ll have plenty of space to grow after the green ones are removed – just pick every other onion to keep them evenly spaced.

Then, I covered them with the remaining dirt – an inch or two deep – and patted the soil down a bit. The whole process, including a coffee break, took 35 minutes – plenty of time to get to the home office by 8. Now comes the hard part, waiting for spring!

You can harvest the green onions after the plant part is about 6-8 inches tall. If you want to dry your onions: hold back on watering when they mature, wait until the tops turn brown and fall over, then pull them out, dust them off (being careful to leave the delicate skins in tact) and let em hang out in a cool, dark place – like the potting shed. Make sure they have a LOT of breathing room all the way round. A screen works best, or do it the old way and tie them up in groups of three using the tops. At this point moisture is the onion’s worst enemy so keep an eye on them for soft spots or mold. After 2 to 3 weeks you can cut the tops off and use them, or store them as you would grocery store onions. Remember to remove and immediately use any plants that form a flower since they don’t make good dried onions at that point. Onions are bi-annuals which means they don’t bloom until their second year…mine get eaten way before that!

Nutrition Facts:

(1/2 cup fresh green onions, chopped)

Calories 13
Dietary Fiber 1.2 grams
Protein 0.9 grams
Carbohydrates 2.8 mg
Vitamin A 2,500 IU
Vitamin C 22.5 mg
Iron 0.9 mg

(1/2 cup chopped, mature onions)

Calories 29
Dietary Fiber 2 grams
Protein 1 gram
Carbohydrates 6.6 grams
Vitamin C6 mg
Vitamin B60.2 mg

Isn’t it odd that only green onions have Vitamin A?

For more juicy bits about onions visit the ‘source’

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