Tag Archive for gardening

Summer 2015

This summer, at our new house with its mega-gigantic deck, is going to be a banner year for veggies. I’m growing four kinds of squashes, two kinds of tomatoes, three bags of potatoes, and as many herbs as we can find room for.

Pretty excited about that. Pictures to come.

I LIVE.

More or less.

So, some things that have changed since I last was posting regularly:

1. I finished school! Actually in May of 2011. But whatever! School! Done! Forever! Unless I someday lose my mind entirely and go back for a Masters.

2. I AM EMPLOYED! And I even like my job! And am surrounded by co-workers almost as strange as myself! IT’S A MIRACLE! Or so I am comfortable pronouncing it after seven months of un/under-employment. (Dear Bog, let me never work retail again, Amen.)

3. My mother turned 60, and I got to participate in an actual, successful, real-life, 30-person surprise party (organized by my little sister). Mum doesn’t look 60, so obviously I am going to age well! Huzzah!

But seriously, my mum. She is a bad-ass.

Mum's 60th Birthday

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Sometimes procrastination is delicious

Okay. First: I’m not dead!

Second: Today was gardening day!

Well. Today was largely Reading on the Couch in My Pyjamas Because I’m Still Unemployed Day as well as Eating Ice Cream And Feeling Sorry for Myself Day, but apparently you’re supposed to focus on the positive stuff or something, so instead I will share with you my gardening exploits.

Also, the book I was reading: The Queen of Attolia. I don’t want to spoil anybody, but some pretty bad stuff happens in that book, to the extent that I put it down for five months and didn’t pick it up again until my friend Chantelle assured me it turns out all right. So, y’know. Things could be worse.

Garden in the rain

I went to the garden! It’s been raining for two days, because a) this is Vancouver and b) apparently we’re experiencing some kind of rather worrying climatic buggery right now that might have far-reaching repercussions, BUT WE’RE FOCUSING ON THE POSITIVE, RIGHT. I don’t mind rain. I rather like it. And my garden is mostly under cover of the SkyTrain bridge, so I don’t even get wet while mucking about in it despite the fact that it’s raining.

Anyway. Last month the first crop of spinach had gone to seed, and so it was ripped out and re-planted. Or, okay: I made my roommate re-plant it, because I tricked her into coming to the garden with me and otherwise she would probably just have stood around until I was done weeding. Getting said roommate to garden is roughly 200x more difficult and outlandish than getting my last roommate to garden, which is saying something. I kept trying to sell it to her as a (totally valid) important post-zombie-apocalypse skill, but I’m not sure she was convinced. I suspect she will be convinced when there is spinach and she can eat it, though.

Spinach II: The Re-Sowing (I’m calling the third crop The Reckoning, but we’re not there yet) has yet to sprout in the garden, but the two varieties I planted in containers on my balcony are doing famously despite being shaded rather heavily by the Tomato Jungle. At some point when it is light I will take a picture of the Tomato Jungle, because it is evidently a highly amusing sight to my friends and family. Whatever. It gives me tomatoes, and it hasn’t died yet, and so far the strata hasn’t come and yelled at me over it (they would first have to address Keeps Fake Flowers In Window Boxes on the floor below me – yeah, lady, WE ALL KNOW). As far as I’m concerned the tomatoes can grow as crazy as they want.

I did, however, pick another pot’s worth of gorgeous, ruby-red strawberries, so apparently all you really do have to do is wait a year for strawberry plants to be worthwhile. I have cut them up and sprinkled them with sugar and tomorrow morning they will be going on my breakfast.

The root vegetables are finally making a showing, as today I could see bright orange carrot shoulders (I swear, this is what they are actually called. I had no idea carrots had shoulders. You live, you learn.) peeking up through the dirt. I covered them up, because apparently otherwise they turn green? I don’t know. Same with the potatoes. Tomorrow (maybe) I will return and give the potatoes even more dirt, because the bigger the hill, the more the potatoes.

A peek of carrots!

(Potatoes are my favourite vegetable to garden. Not because they are the most delicious of all vegetables (yes, they are), but because planting potatoes are like a magic trick. You bury this weird-looking, creepy wrinkly brown thing, and a few months later you dig up dozens of beautiful, golden and delicious potatoes. MAGIC.)

Also finally making an appearance: the bloody zucchini. The first batch of seeds I planted didn’t even come up. I don’t know why. Maybe they were sulking about the late summer like the rest of us. But the new seeds are coming up in two of the four spots I planted them. I don’t even know, guys. Zucchini is not typically a problematic vegetable, but this year it’s just… I don’t know.

Also still alive: the pumpkin bush. I’m calling it a bush because only one plant came up and because it is a bushing variety (translation: It will not grow completely out of control and take over the rest of the plot and kill everything). The replacement eggplant plants (the ones I actually grew, painstakingly, from seed, died suddenly a few weeks ago and I had to buy new ones from the garden centre; I am still pissed about that, but next year I have decided to grow all my seeds in paranoid sterile conditions so that no wicked filthy disease can in any way affect them) in the garden are still alive, too, which is nice. The onions: probably will die soon, but I’m not that fussed about the onions. I bought them on a whim when I bought the eggplant so I’m not that attached to them.

And perhaps the most exciting outcome of today’s trip to the garden: Garlic! Apparently it grew properly, after all. I pulled up three bulbs, which are currently drying out on top of the microwave. I may pull up a few more this week, but I kind of want to leave it in the ground as long as possible, since garlic only lasts so long, and even I can only use it up so fast.

Garlic!

Back at home on my balcony, I finally got around to replacing the lightbulb and then picked a couple of cherry tomatoes (alas, not enough to do anything with, and as I don’t like tomatoes raw, I’m not sure what I’ll do with them; perhaps freeze them until I have more?).

Then I picked all the peas that were big enough to bother picking because the last time she was here my mother said I should do that before they became inedible. So I did! And then I shelled them.

Peas!

Peas!

I remember shelling peas being a lot easier when I was little and did it at my grandmother’s house. Like I’ve forgotten some magic trick to opening pea pods? Anyway I managed it in the end, and I have one person-sized serving of peas. Peas = better rate of return than cherry tomatoes. I’m going to have them with dinner tonight, I think.

The bigger tomatoes (Brandywines, which yes, I chose because it was a Lord of the Rings reference) are starting to look like tomatoes, even though there are only three of them so far. But look how pretty they are!

Brandywine tomato: still green.

And the most exciting news: I have an eggplant flower! Or nearly. I have an eggplant bud, which may in the near future blossom, and has thorns on it, apparently. I read that eggplants can have thorns, which is fascinating because they’re related to tomatoes and potatoes and neither one of those things makes you think of thorns.

Possibly an eggplant bud?

Anyway. Tonight’s agenda involves a) dinner (with peas!) and b) more job applications.

Tomorrow will probably involve more couch. But I guess at least I’m getting a lot of reading done?

It’s about bloody time!

Finally slogged out to the garden today after this morning’s rather surprising torrential downpour to make sure nobody had been battered to death. Found several latecomers finally poking their heads up!

The spinach, after I pulled a couple of handfuls of the biggest leaves.
Spinach!

The carrots, finally.
Look who finally showed up!

Proto-strawberries!
Strawberries!

The broccoli, which didn’t mind getting rained on at all.
Perfectly happy broccoli.

I’ve got about a dozen little potato-hillocks, this is just one.
Potatoes peeking their heads up!

The first rhubarb harvest, destined to become pie.
First crop of rhubarb!

The garlic. When will it be time to eat it? I want to eat it NOW.
Garlic!

Also in evidence was one wee pumpkin sprout, which I did not photograph.

After picking rhubarb and spinach I hacked down a metric tonne of dandelions, alien grass and some kind of purply mint relative invasive weed that grows about a foot a week. The pathways between my plot and my neighbours’ are now extremely tidy. (Someone else’s turn next time – my shoulders are all sore!)

An extremely tardy New Year’s resolution

I keep meaning to blog better about knitting, and I keep utterly failing at it. Strangely I have no trouble Tweeting or blogging in fandom. Anyway. KNITTING.

I’ve actually been pretty damned productive since January.

In February, I finished Mum’s Particular Cardigan, based on the Bergen Street Cardigan:
Mum's Cardigan - done!

This was actually the first sweater or actual garment I’ve ever made – and of course I made it for somebody else. But Mum was quite pleased. Pictured above are Mum and Robbie. Pictured below are the super-cool buttons I got for the cardigan at Button Button in Gastown:
Mum's Cardigan - done!

I had planned to start my own cardigan right after, but in the interests of procrastination I instead finished a handful of smaller projects. First my Hedera socks, which I’ve been working on for about two years without actually finishing:
Hedera socks!

Around the same time I finished my first cabled item, a Palindrome Reversible Scarf. Naturally I finished it right as it became too warm to wear thick scarves.
Reversible cable scarf: done!

I also whipped up a pair of rainbow socks from a ball of yarn I’ve had sitting in the to-use basket for about three years, simply because I don’t have any rainbow socks.
Rainbow socks!

I actually started the Arghigan somewhere in the midst of all of that, but I kept getting frustrated and putting it down. This is only partly the Arghigan’s fault – I’ve never made a cabled garment before and this is a pretty tricky one – not because of any one technique involved but because (for me) of the shaping of the front pieces. I kept dropping stitches or losing count or mucking up cables (which was why I did the Palindrome scarf first – I imagine it would have been even worse otherwise). Anyway, I’ve finally finished the Arghigan’s back piece, which barring screw-ups actually didn’t take me nearly as long as I expected. Unemployment does have its benefits, I suppose.
Arghigan back

I call it the Arghigan because I have found it a little aggravating – the pattern is actually based on the Blackberry Cabled Cardigan, and is a lovely, lovely piece. I am, however, making some slight alterations, mostly to the shaping on the front pieces. My poor brain was having enough trouble doing the curved front hems that I decided to knit them at a normal, straight right-angle. That way I don’t have to work out increasing within a cabled panel, and it will give the two front pieces a more traditional look (also, not leave my tummy hanging out when I wear the sweater). I think I will also make the ribbed band in two pieces – one for the neck and front sides and one for the bottom hem – and make the hem an inch or two longer to lengthen the whole sweater… though I’ll figure that out when I get to it, I suppose.

Bog knows I have plenty of time to knit for now, since the only other thing demanding my time is job applications and (hopefully) interviews. *crosses fingers*