Monday, April 20, 2015

Garlic Planting and Puttering Outside

   It is a sunny and surprisingly hot (19 degrees C at noon) Spring day!  I have been outside raking old leaves into the garden and planting garlic bulbs along the edges of the tomato beds.  We planted some a few years ago but it didn't come up the following Spring.  Wrong location, perhaps, or not adequately mulched.  Or maybe just the fact that we live in a part of the country that has obscenely cold winters.  In any case, we're trying again this year with some commercial bulbs R. bought and a few smaller bulbs I received in a trade - a mix of heirloom varieties.

    Our new seedling supervisors, Bea and Loulou, stayed inside while I worked outdoors.  As eager as Bea is to get out the front door and explore, our intention is to keep them inside this summer.  They are still small and curious enough to get themselves into serious trouble if allowed outside.  My neighbour/volunteer supervisors, Butters and Loreal, both showed up to say hello and watch what I was doing.  Unfortunately, they seem to be sworn enemies, so neither stuck around very long.



   We have our seed starting shelving unit set up in the plant room, and R. bought another one (!) to set in up in the living room, after a bit of rearranging.  The windows are south-facing and get a lot of sun and heat during the day.  I have been moving the trays from one room to the other, following the sun.  Unconventional, but it works for us.

Living room - leeks, herbs, tomatoes, jalapenos, marigolds, & zinnias

Plant room - basil, parsley, celery that won't germinate, pansies, cabbage, & broccoli

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

New Seedling Supervisors

     Introducing our new seedling supervisors, adopted from the SPCA two weeks ago.  Bea* (the tortie) and her littermate, Loulou* (orange and white) seem to be settling in well. 

     Bea adjusted quickly and is an outgoing, curious, affectionate charmer.  She purrs and "talks" a lot.  She also enjoys eating.  She is mischievous and inserts herself into any situation that involves cuddles, treats, or person-pet conversation.

     Little Lou is very timid, dainty, and acts like she might have had a hard go of things before being surrendered to the SPCA.  Initially, she hid under our sofa for two days and then ran to hide when we made eye contact with her or moved too quickly.  She is very quiet; there is rarely a peep from her, though we do hear her talking to Bea in their secret language of coo's and mrff's.  She does not seem as inclined to eat, which we are watching.  She is slowly getting used to us (more quickly to R, which is a new and kind of sad experience for me...), and is sticking close to Bea, who behaves more like a protective mom than her sister.

    Despite Loulou's timidness, she and Bea play full-throttle when the mood strikes, racing around the house, chasing after balls and toys, knocking over their food and water dishes, and ambushing each other in the litterbox. 

    The kitties are estimated to be about a year old and they came to us already named. Bea was originally named Brittany (can you imagine?) and Lou/Loulou was named Louanne.  I don't know who came up with these names but suffice to say, we changed them as soon as they were home with us.

     I'm not sure if the "seedling supervisor" designation will stick.  I got home from a house call today and discovered that the tips of several tomato seedlings had been munched off!  I'm quite sure Bea did it, as she has been eager to nibble on my herbs and seedlings for the past week.  Clearly, the two trays of grass we've grown for the cats isn't providing sufficient chlorophyll in her diet!

(Click to enlarge pictures)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Sunday, Starting Seeds

   It is a sunny, mild Easter Sunday.  I decided this morning that today would be a good day to start a few tomato seeds.  I planted:

Jaune Flamme (first time growing)
Bonny Best (first time growing)
Paul Robeson
Patio Princess  (first time growing - hybrid)
Gajo de Melon  (first time growing)
Early Annie  (first time growing)
Yellow Taxi
Eva Purple Ball
Black Plum (first time growing)

   Though I planted more than we can put in our yard, I was still niggled by the lack of a green variety in the bunch!  An hour later, I planted Green Zebra (first time growing).  If all goes well, I will have 50 plants - plenty to share.

   I also started Ping Tung (eggplant), jalapeno, and paprika seeds.  First time trying the paprika peppers.