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Archive for June, 2009

The First of Many Posts on My Garden

June 7th, 2009

Tomatoes in the big planter in the middle of my driveway (aka - the only place that gets sun)

Tomatoes in the big planter in the middle of my driveway (aka - the only place that gets sun)

Today I will plant my final bunch of annuals.  The perennials are already up (most have blossomed and are now onto whatever they do in the heat of the summer) and I got the tomatoes in last week (more on the tomatoes later - really, see if you can stop me).  Today, I’m putting in vincas, the annual not the vine, begonias, and something called a woolly lavender, which looks like lavender but isn’t and will grow to be a lot taller than I thought it would (so, oops).

I really love to plant things.  When I was growing up, the first thing I would do when coming home from school was to go out to my mother’s garden with a basket and pick whatever was ripe.  It was very country of me.  We had a huge raspberry bush and I would plant zinnias and marigolds and snap dragons.  Mom also planted tomatoes, beans, radishes, beets and zucchini.  And it was great having fresh vegetables and bouquets around the house.

Now, I’ve been trying to grow tomatoes since I moved to Kent almost 10 years ago and then again when I moved into my house in Akron.  It’s ridiculous - you would think I was trying to find a cure for cancer.  I can get the plants to grow and be covered with green tomatoes, but then the squirrels and rabbits and groundhogs step in and I’m lucky to have a handful of cherry tomatoes to eat on my way to work.  My obsession with heirloom varieties is especially grievous.  I want to leave them on the vine to ripen, but the riper they get, the more risk I take with the critters.  It’s like a game of chicken and they’re winning.

Tomatoes in the bed below the driveway. You can also see the shasta daisy at left, which I suspect will be eaten by rabbits when it tries to bloom.

Tomatoes in the bed below the driveway. You can also see the shasta daisy at left, which I suspect will be eaten by rabbits when it tries to bloom.

I said this year that I would only grow tiny varieties, because there are physically more fruit - which increases my chances of success.  I succumbed and ended up putting in a hillbilly and a mortgage lifter, but I also have a hybrid (I can’t remember what, I just kept thinking, “Maybe these will be faster and bigger.” I don’t really think it will make a difference).  I have 3 super grapes, 2 orange cherries, 1 hybrid I bought because the plant looked sturdy and 1 purple cherry that I couldn’t resist.  There is also a red pepper, some herbs and a random tomato plant that self started in the big planter (it will never be big enough in time, but I’m curious about it, so I’m not going to pull it out).  I tried a squash last year and it grew and I had lots of blossoms, but it couldn’t get fertilized, so that was that.

I will say this, last summer, along with eating them alone or in salads, I started cooking with the cherry tomatoes and it was so great, I’m looking forward to trying some new recipe ideas.  I had a big herb garden last year thanks to my mom, and I’m keeping that going as well.  It’s a tradition that I kill one rosemary plant a year.  Something new is some organic fertilizer that already is making my random plots and buckets look more healthy.

Wish me luck!

averwiebe Uncategorized

My Craft Project for May: Lining the Picnic Basket

June 4th, 2009

From the front

From the front

Yeah, I know it’s June, but this project took me a little while longer than I thought it would.  Two years ago, I bought an old picnic basket at the Hartville flea market on Memorial Day weekend (last year, I bought a guitar - this year, I got away with only a chair).  I took it home and cleaned it up, but it was obvious that it had been living in someone’s garage for a very long time.  So, I wanted to make a liner that could be removed for washing.

I started with two contrasting fabrics (because they only had about 3/4 yard of the one I really liked).  I measured the basket - around the inside and around the outside - and I made a pattern out of the lid.  I added around 3″ to the top of both for the drawstring casing and foldover.  I added an elasticised pocket inside for silverware and a tie on the lid for napkins and a tablecloth.  Then I pulled out the napkins and tablecloth that I started last year and finished hemming them for good measure.

Inside. Pocket on left, lid tie with napkins on right.

Inside. Pocket on left, lid tie with napkins on right.

I put velcro tabs in the back around the hinges so that the foldovers would look unbroken (I used narrow bias to bind the edges).  I left the wrap around the handles open because I figured the drawstring would give the illusion of fabric across the bottom, and I was right.  I’m pleased with the final product (and just in time, because summer picnic season is just around the corner).  The new basket is wider across the bottom than my old one, making it easier to stack in plates and cups, and I always thought it was gross that the other liner was glued in and I couldn’t wash it (yuck!).

Next month, I think I’m going to work on bedroom curtains.  I have fabric and a plan, so I’m good to go!

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