Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

And spring rolls on..

Thursday, March 28...

So, even though it's pretty darn chilly out.. spring is rolling on. None of the wintersown pots are popping yet, understandably. But the bulbs are all doing right fine, nicely enough. The grape hyacinths are all springing forth- some of them have redder bases than what I'm used to, I'm assuming this is because those are the not- purple grapes I'm used to. That's why I picked up a mixed variety this time past- something different to put in between the grapes I planted out a couple years ago.
The narcissus that I picked up on clearance recently is doing just fine in their pots too- still need to figure out their final resting place. And nicely enough, the blue irises and white irises I picked up last fall to plant down by Moons grave are growing up right fine. I'll soon be able to clear out the area around her grave and plant those in.

I got seedlings popping up like crazy indoors. I've finally had to wrap the back of the mini-greenhouses on one level with plastic wrap to prevent Ocelot from chomping down my plants, darn princess. She likes to chomp. I've started the process of repotting the peppers- right now I'm 60 solo cups in, and still have another 15-25 or so to go. Since I'm only planting in 30 or so of them here, I'm hoping I will be able to sell off the rest of them in a month or so. Kind of neat considering I started out with 18 3 inch pots full of seeds, and they grow so nicely! I still have to start thinking about how to handle all the tomato seeds too, sheesh. I just picked up a few more solid trays the other day from Menards, and I'm thinking I might have to pick a few more up before the season is done. I'm also seriously considering starting up a few trays worth of herbs, mostly parsley, dill, and basils. Can't hurt to offer those up too along with the pepper and tomato plants. And after all, if they don't sell, I can always plant them in my garden :)
I'm excited that it looks like my redring milkweed is starting to pop up- the ones I started indoors. I don't know about the ones I wintersowed yet. That's why I decided to do it both ways, try to hedge my bets and hopefully get at least a pair of plants I can put out into the sanctuary. Why am I so excited about milkweed? This one is a particularly beautiful pincushion globe of white, and is pretty damn rare around here- and of course, the butterflies love it.
Also pleased that several pots of the boldegold German chamomile are sprouting up. I seriously want to get trouble hill more filled in this year. Little by little, it's happening. I'm considering growing in toothache plant on the bottom of trouble hill because it get's better sun than where I planted it in the mint border area last year. It did do rather well there last year- but after my seriously sickness a couple weeks ago, I want a bigger crop of it this year.
Bummed that all 6 pots of apple mint were a total failure. Looks like I will have to keep my eyes out at the local nurseries and actually have to buy some :( I seriously want apple mint for my third mint in the mint border.
Bummed that a couple of my peppers and tomatoes were nulls too- but I guess that's ok, gives me a chance to re-arrange my plans for some things. Like now I'm going to be putting more of my experimental "container" varieties of tomatoes in the ground- the bigger ones of course- and see how well or not they grow.
I transplanted the Patio tomatoes today too- they were getting kind of big and floppy in the decorative tub I originally planted them in, and I happened to have three last 12 inch pots I could transplant them to. Hopefully they will be happier and grow better in those pots, especially since I made sure to stake them when I transplanted them. I might have screwed a bit with the tiny buds about to bloom- cuz now the plant is going to be putting more energy into root formation since I planted them deep. But ah well, I'm still thinking I will have tomatoes earlier rather than later, yay! 

Out in the yard I have a lot more Siberian irises popping up- I really should look into how to divide those and spread them out more, lol. And yay, more of the snowdrops have bloomed. I got a handful of other bulbs I planted in last year that haven't started showing yet, but I'm pretty sure they too will make an appearance. And of course, all around the solarium is popping up a whole bunch of bulbs- I seriously need to get out there and do some spring cleanup of the beds, it's just been too darn chilly to do so. And I've been working too much to want to. Good for working, boo for not feeling like gardening. But next week we are supposed to be hitting a great warm streak on days that I'm off, so I will kick some ass and take names then. I'm actually kind of itching to get outside and get stuff done. I walked the yard today to check stuff out, and by the time I was done fussing around I was totally cold and needed to get inside again. I know, I'm a cold wussy.

I still have plans to build another lasagne bed so I can plant in yellow beans this year. Been hell trying to figure out how to plant in everything I want to plant in, lol. And I am seriously thinking of picking up a few extra straw bales to do some straw bale planting this year of squashes, cukes, and melons. I just don't want to and don't have the extras to build extra beds at the moment, and it's easy enough to jump start a few bales. I tried this many years ago while still living in Wisconsin- but the garden area was all shade, I didn't know any better to prep the bales right- and it just wasn't a good thing. I'm pretty confidant I can do a better job of it now.

But I better be off- got to get ready to go to a meeting for work shortly.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy Spring!!!!!

Happy Spring!!!!! To catch us up on the last week or so...

After the gloriously warm Monday we had where I was able to open windows and stroll around the property... It's been standard chilly early spring weather.

But Monday was great! Hardings had shank in ham on sale for 99 cents a pound, so I picked up two 11 dollar hams, and we smoked them all day long. Tossed in a few neck bones too for the stock pot. Then Tuesday I broke down the hams and set up the huge crockpot to make stock, and a smaller one to render out ham fat. And we had scalloped potatoes and ham for dinner Tuesday night too!

Ended up with 13 pounds of ham- a pound for dinner, 5 1 pound packs for the freezer, 3 2 pound packs for the freezer, and a pounds worth of snacking while everything was getting broken down.
2 1/2 gallons of fine pork stock. It's a nice liquid stock instead of the usual gelatin stock I get from when I make stock from hocks.
2 1/2 pints of rendered ham fat. This stuff is the shit, kicks butt all over bacon grease. It's a gourmet smokey porky treat.

And while out and about on Monday, noticed that signs of life are popping up!

The garlic beds needed clearing off-

The earliest of spring blooms are popping up, mini siberian iris and snowdrops-

The magnolia is going into bud-
The pond is well on it's way to being melted-
And the hyacinths, daffodils, and irises around the solarium are starting to pop up-

So now today is Spring!! The weather is nice and clear, a bit chill. But that's normal for spring. Best of all, we have swans back again! Yep, one swan has splashed down on the pond, and sis and mom saw the swan with another one on one of the ponds further down the road. So it looks entirely likely that we have a mated pair on the pond again! Which is extra nice, because after having a super ton of geese on the pond the other day it's a relief to have swans to chase them off- geese are messy things, lol.

We have tons of seedlings popping up all over the place- or at least all over in the trays that are in the kitchen, not so much for the ones I just started the other day out in the solarium. It's still pretty cool out there overnight, so I'm not too surprised about that. But warm weather is coming, and I couldn't be happier about it.

In some other news, work has me scheduled on every day for the whole next week- a couple days are just an hour or two of meetings, but still, it's nice to get the hours in, we seriously need the money. And also cool, I've been asked to chair as an election official in the elections coming up! It was ver nice to be an inspector last November, and the election guy happened to be eating at my work the other day, and asked me if I still wanted to chair. I said yes sir! So now at the end of next month I get to go in for my training.

And knock on wood, looks like dosing the shit out of myself with home cures and vitamins might have possibly knocked my sinus sickness out. Or at least I'm desperately hoping so- and not that it's sucked back into the backend of my sinus.  Cant afford to get me to a doctor or get me proper antibiotics so my nose blowing almost clear this morning is a really good thing.

But now I'm back off again, got some stuff to take care of before heading into work this afternoon :)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Been out sick...

Well, stuff has been going on around here... I've just been too sick to talk about it. How sick? Well, last week started off puking sick.. that settled down quickly into malaise and general head cold... by this weekend past, that settled into could hardly get through my 4 hour shift on Sunday, and pretty much just slept, coughed, and used up a couple of TP rolls of snotting up from Monday through Wednesday. Started feeling better Thursday, started working again Friday. Good thing I was scheduled off for most of the week. Today I started taking a tea of toothache plant, ginger, and zen tea with a healthy dose of honey to try to get rid of my upper jaw pain that is from my sinuses being fucked- can't afford to go to the doctor for antibiotics, can't afford antibiotics- thanking all the garden fairies that I grew enough toothache plant last year to dose myself now.
Toothache plant has natural antibiotic properties among other things... and is good for sinus infections.

Funny looking plant, but great to have in the home grown medicine cabinet. I really hope I have enough of it to knock out the infection.


Winter has broken, really broken. We are now seeing overnight temps in the 30's and daytime temps between 40's and breaking 60. Most of the snow has melted off the property, and there is a huge hole in the ice crust over the pond.
The solarium has had temps running in the 60's during the day, down to 50's overnight for a few days now.
Hyacinths and daffodils are starting to bud up out in the solarium garden.The kale looks like it might have survived the winter enough to give us a spring round of greens.

Indoors... most of the peppers have sprouted. The asparagus is looking great. The tomatoes that I just started last week, some are already popping up today. The grape hyacinths I held overwinter and potted up a couple weeks ago were ready for watering and are springing up now in the warm weather of the solarium. It's been warm enough out there that I moved the spinach, lettuce, and garden cress out there.Some of the strawberries have started sprouting, but not as many as I had hoped to see by now.

I also picked up a couple of watch faces from work pretty cheap on clearance, and have been working on beading up some watchbands for them. These faces come with loops so the bands have lobster claw clasps so I can swap them out at will. Kind of nice. Rather wear a watch at work than keep using my phone since it's a no-no to use my phone at work. That was before I started getting really sick, and I still need to do the finishing touches on them.. will have to take some pics and post them up.
And now it's a game to see if I can't get some wedding stuff made up and onto the etsy site in time for wedding buying... I'm so behind, and have limited materials for wedding (most of my stuff is other)... but I will see what I can do.

I gotta work tomorrow, but the next couple of days after that I will be busy sowing in the next round of seeds, getting the solarium really cleaned up for all those seeds... and just seeds, seeds, seeds! I need to start keeping my eyes on the wintersown jugs too now, because it's getting about time for them to be starting to pop too. Hard to believe after how cold and slagging last month was that this month is seeing spring popping out all over the place!