Tag Archives: Gardening

Not a Sweet Failure After All

Diana Beebe's Blog, Diana Beebe, science fiction, middle grade fantasy, fantasyThis weekend, I was inspecting that garden bed, where the sweet potatoes died and the volunteer celery is thriving. What did I see?

Go to my new website to find out:

Not a Sweet Failure After All

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Weekend Updates…

I promised earlier to report about Armadillo’s comic book cover selection. Are you sitting down? Because my frilly, girlie, pink-loving Armadillo picked this one:

Diana Beebe's BlogYou didn see that one coming, did you? The shocking thing was that she didn’t even hesitate in the store. LOL. There is an evil genius in there somewhere. And I mean that in the nicest, most loving way possible! ūüėÄ

The poll results were split. A few of you (30%) guessed that she picked the dark and sinister cover because it was cool. No one guessed that it was her only option. The other two options about the other cover (cute ponies in snow: 40% and pink: 30%) combined for a whopping 70%. *shakes head* She surprised even me.

In other news…

We don’t watch¬†Saturday Night Live very often, but we recently discovered “The Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Coversation with at a Party” on the “Weekend Update” skit. She is not on often enough, in my opinion.

Click this link to check it out on the official website¬†(or you can search for her on youtube). What I love about this one is that her speech patterns butcher English pronunciation, but she throws in a grammar zinger every once in awile. I think this one is our favorite.¬† Mockingbird has a knack for immidating the girl.¬† It’s also clean enough (so far) for Armadillo to listen to it.

In gardening news…

I’m sad to say that my sweet potato experiment is looking like a complete fail. Sigh. The three slips that I planted are brown and dry. One has one tiny live leaf left–so there is hope.¬†There is good news though. I pulled up some volunteer celery from the garden stones and planted them where the sweet potatoes are dying in the ground.¬†(“Volunteer” plants are ones that grow from the scattered seeds of plants.¬†I let nature do the planting, and I am sure as heck¬†gonna use them.)

Diana Beebe's Blog

So what’s going on for your weekend? Share your news!

Who Needs Flowers Anyway?

Most people create beautiful landscaping in their front yards. Curving flower beds, lined with stones or rocks or edging. We did that, too.

But we live in North Texas. Have you experienced a typical summer in North Texas? It’s HOT.
Year after year, we would buy several flats of flowers and make the flowerbeds all pretty in the spring. Then by the end of June, the flowers start to look haggard. By August, the several days of intense 100+ degree heat will have fried the plants to a crisp.

What did we have to show for all the hard planting work?
Not much. Mostly a bunches of dried up, scraggly plants in the flower beds that have to be cleaned up. Bleh.

What could we do to have pretty flower beds, but not toss a lot of money out in the compost trash when it all died?

Plant a garden!

One of the side gardens with four different kinds of lettuce in front of the broc.

One of the side gardens with four different kinds of lettuce in front of the broc.

Winter vegetables are very pretty and love the cold. If you’re in a climate that doesn’t have frozen ground in the winter and you want to garden, why not plant a garden in the front flower beds?¬† One of the garden experts at our local feed store told me once that he doesn’t plant anything in his front yard unless it’s edible. He doesn’t have much of a backyard, so he takes advantage of what he does have.

This is the second year that we’ve planted broccoli–more than 40 plants across the entire length of the beds. They have lettuce and carrots and spinach to keep them company–although those aren’t growing as I expected. *pouts*

Would you plant your vegetable garden in your front flower beds?¬† What would you plant? I’d love to hear your gardening plans or experiences!

Winter Gardening and Slips

A friend asked me if she could be gardening right now. She’s from a different state that has a climate that allows one growing season. She was surprised to know that we garden year round in North Texas.

I gave her the list. In January, we planted red and white potatoes, spinach, kale, and lettuce. And carrots, too. I planted radishes in the same row with the carrots because the carrots take so dadgum long to sprout. The radishes grow long before the carrots. If I don’t plant the radishes, then I tend to lose the carrots. You don’t want to plant something else and ruin the carrot planting.

We get to pick radishes not long after the carrots sprout. Yum. The great thing about gardening since we started this is that our kids love it. Mockingbird said this week that we need more radishes–and I’d planted them just to be able to see where the carrots would be, which means I didn’t plant enough. They love the broccoli and kale, too. They’re still turning up their noses at the carrots though.

Three tiny sweet potato slips sprouting in party cups.

Three tiny sweet potato slips sprouting in party cups.

I’m trying something new this year. Sweet potatoes! I must be crazy, because no one I talk to in our local gardening stores knows how to grow sweet potatoes. So I googled it.

It’s not like planting regular potatoes where you dig a deep hole and plant the cut up pieces in the ground. Nope. Sweet potatoes want to be coddled and helped along in something called a slip (leaves on the top, roots on the bottom). After buying a few organic sweet potatoes from the grocery store, I waited until there some signs of growth. Turns out, if you try to use a regular sweet potato, the chances are high that the farmer did something to the crop to keep them from sprouting so they keep longer in the store.

I cut up four sweet potatoes and put the ends in water. And waited. After two months, I ended up with three sprouting sweet potato slips. Three.  One of those has hardly any root system at all.

They went into the ground on Sunday.  Now we wait some more.

Do you garden in the winter? Do you wish you could garden in the winter? What do you or would you plant?

Happy Groundhog Day

Looks like an early spring this year. That’s what the Groundhog predicts, because he didn’t see his shadow, which means he didn’t feel the need to hide in his burrow for a long winter.

By EIC via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons

By EIC via Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons

I never understood that.¬† Wouldn’t he be warmer if the sun was out?¬† Check out the history of Groundhog Day.¬† It’s quite interesting.

Instead, the little predictor of weather says, “Hey, look!¬† It’s sunny.¬† I’m going back to bed.”

It seems counterintuitive to me.¬† If it’s a sunny day, I’d like to be out working in the garden.¬† If it’s a cloudy, yucky day, I’d rather¬†crawl back into bed.

It’s a good thing, Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t live near me, because it’s a gorgeous sunny day.¬† I’m going to go work in my garden and get ready for early spring.

What do you think about Groundhog Day?  Is it just a fun tradition or a true predictor of the seasons?  Do you know of other odd holidays that should get more or less attention?

You Had Me at “Lighted Keyboard”

One day my husband asked me if I wanted a MacBook. ¬†I hesitated. ¬†I’m a computer girl. ¬† I use three different versions of Windows at work. ¬†I understand how the operating systems work. ¬†He was asking me if I wanted to learn yet another operating system, and I didn’t like it. ¬†His Mac baffled me even more than his iPhone did.

Honey: “You need to upgrade from that tiny netbook.”

Me: “But I like my netbook. ¬†It fits in my purse¬†bottomless pit.”

My netbook with its custom skin.

Honey: “You’ll like the size of the screen better.”

Me: “I don’t use the netbook for that much stuff. ¬†I don’t need bigger.”

Honey: “You’re blogging now.”

Me: “I’ll think about it.”¬† What I was thinking: “I don’t want to think about it.¬† Mac scares me.”

Later that afternoon, I was typing away at our home computer in the study.  It got dark in the room as the sun went down.  I had to turn the light on so I could continue working.

You can stop laughing.

I’d like to think I’m a fairly decent typist, er, keyboarder. ¬†I took typing in high school on a electric typewriter and was good enough to earn the privilege to type on one of the fancy advanced ones that had correction tape.

I’m not saying I was great and error free. Being able to type came in handy in college when I had to write ten page papers. ¬†(I didn’t feel sorry for my friends when they complained about three pages.)

By the time I graduated from grad school, typing class was called keyboarding.¬† Students learned on computers–disabled backspace key, no correction tape. ¬†I still call it typing.

Here’s the thing. ¬†I can type without looking at the keyboard. ¬†I can type with my eyes closed. ¬†I cannot type in the dark.

Seriously, you can stop laughing now.

What is it that makes my fingers completely misbehave when the sun goes down and darkens my home office? ¬†It’s not as if my fingers can see what they are typing.

My husband walked by and said, “The Mac has a lighted keyboard.”

Sold!

He could have lead with that feature.

Since then, I’ve been learning how to navigate my updated MacBook Pro.¬† Switching desktops, deleting files, finding files–it was enough to overwhelm me at first.¬† I told a friend (an avid Mac user) and he welcomed me to the Dark Side.

The double-finger and triple-finger swiping are getting comfortable.¬† So much so that I tried double-finger scrolling on my work laptop this week.¬† Just so you know, it didn’t work, and I was disappointed.¬† How did that happen so fast, my acclimating to the Dark Side that is Apple?

My little netbook with its custom made skin sits quietly in a corner waiting for me to use it. Sorry, it’s not going to happen. It doesn’t have¬†a lighted keyboard.

Now, I can type in the dark. *happy dance*

Are you still laughing?  What kind of computer do you use?

If you’re checking, here are my ROW80 goals for the week:

  • Finish the minutes for the PTA meeting and send them for approval.
  • The back garden beds are ready, so now I need to plant kale, spinach, and carrot seeds.
  • Write as if I’m not a NaNoWriMo rebel this week.¬† ūüėÄ
  • Make chicken soup and venison stew for the week.
  • Get back to 3 or more blogging posts a week.

Eating Green Bean Blossoms

I completely spaced for my Tuesday post this week.¬† I’ll have something crazy for next week. ūüôā

Last weekend was beautiful.  It was perfect for gardening.  My husband and I conscripted Daughter 1 to help clean up the summer garden beds in the backyard.  Daughter 2 cared only about whether we were going to plant the seeds.  She went inside when she got the news that the beds had to be cleaned up and prepared first.  Deserter!

Out came the eight-feet-tall okra plants.¬† I salvaged the last of the edibles, and Daughter 1 picked a few large ones¬†for seeds.¬† The cuccuzza (Italian squash) vines were taken down from the fence they’d taken over.¬† I found one small squash that will be yummy in something.¬† The last of the green beans yielded a small handful of beans and blossoms.

What?! Eat flowers?

The blossoms are edible and wonderful.  They taste surprisingly like green beans.  The ones I picked ended up on my lunch salad the next day. Yum!

Before you start eating flowers, make sure the blossoms are edible.¬† This article about edible flowers by Linda Stradley at whatscookingamerica.net explains how to choose edibles.¬† Don’t use blossoms from a garden with pesticides.

Recently, I learned that squash blooms are also¬†edible.¬† I wish I’d known that when we had squash growing this summer.¬†¬†The Seasonal Chef’s squash blossom recipes are now on my list for next summer.¬† You can eat these without affecting a plant’s squash production. That’s not the case with green beans because the blossom is the bean eventually.

I’ve grown and eaten nasturtiums.¬† The leaves and flowers add a little something to a salad.¬† Dandelion flowers aren’t something I’ll add to a meal, even though they are abundant in my yard (LOL).

What do you think?  Would you consider eating edible blossoms?  Have you done so before?  If so, what did you eat and how did it taste?

Finally, #ROW80 update:

  • The back garden beds are ready for planting prep.¬†¬† Need to turn the soil and add some compost.
  • Work out and eat better. Food does not define me.¬† Yep, working on this.
  • I’m a NaNoWriMo Rebel–finish the WIP and start editing. 15-20K is the goal.¬† Got 50 pages edited for structure and found plot holes to fill in.¬† I’ve written only 1 K and Daughter 1 banished all fiction reading (unless I’m reading out loud to the girls) until I finish the draft.
  • Blogging class is in full swing (WANA International).¬† I have a list of topics to finish for homework.¬† Still working on this.