Welcome to Growbox Hill

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Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Beautiful Sunday

Over the last few days we have been getting in nice weather, April showers... and a day of helleuvia rainstorms.
The rainstorm blew all the dirt out of my outdoor planted lavender tray... good thing I have an inside one going.

But right now, it's lovely out. The hyacinths and daffodils outisde the solarium are blooming like mad, as are the daffodils and hyacinths down by the garlic beds... I must have missed the crocuses down there somehow this year, and I'm not sure when, hehehehe.
All the garlic is looking healthy as hell... It does look like we are missing a couple of them, but I still have hope since there were a couple I thought were missing but are just now sending up little tender green shoots. I guess that only goes to show how one clove can be different from another in the greater scheme of things.

Since it was such a nice day, and for once I have off on a Sunday... you bet your sweet petunias I got out there and got some stuff done today :)

First order of business was cleaning up Moon's grave a bit and planting in her irises. They were beyond ready in their pots. The beautiful blue Victoria Falls ended up being two rhizomes and already had a couple baby ones to plant.. And the brilliant white Immortal was able to be split in half. Once I got the cleanup done and the irises planted in, I edged the area a wee big with some larger chunks of bark. I'm still debating on what other flowers are going to go in down there, it will likely depend a lot on how the irises do. Probably more blue and white, whatever it is. Lol, gonna make it a bit difficult once Pooks passes and it's time to put him in beside her- black and green flowers are much more difficult.

Then on to the next chore- getting the Pixwell gooseberry bushes into the ground. I had picked them up last spring and just potted them up in kitty litter buckets for the season, to help them get bigger and because I wasn't positive on where I wanted them to grow in yet. Well today they got planted in down in the milkweed area of the Sanctuary. Easy enough to get to, they can grow to their hearts delight there, and if the milkweeds are any indication, they should have the soil and water requirements they need. I read a lot of conflicting information about sun, them liking full sun but can tolerate shade vs them liking part shade but getting too crispy in full sun. So I figured screw it, full sun it is, they will see some morning and evening shade because they are in a full on sunny space between trees, lol.

I checked in on the peas and spinach.. got peas popping up, but the spinach isn't doing anything yet. Got a nice section of that area forked up, smoothed out, and planted in several seed tapes of Atomic Red carrot, Rainbow carrot, and Colorful Mix beets. It's right smack dab where one of the squash plants will be going later on, but that won't be for a while- and I really needed to get those tapes used, I made them last year, lol.

Hauled last years remnants of potato bags over to the newest lasagne bed, and dumped them out. The straw is nice and spoiled, the compost well rotted- and heck, didn't see a single potato sprout in the bags, so I figure I'm good to go there. And the bed could use some topping off.

The other day I planted in my little kale starts and used up the rest of the seed I had in the kitchen garden. The plants are doing so-so, because they got rained on pretty hard, and the seeds aren't doing anything else yet. I planted in the brussels sprouts today in the kitchen garden, so I'm hoping they will do ok. I started un-mulching the herbs, and some are doing right fine, some not so much, like my corsican mint. That pretty much crapped out, I think I only have one plant that survived the winter. Ah well.. good thing I started a ton of creeping thyme this year. Or maybe I will plant some lavender in that area instead so I can get some goodly smelling flowers going on there.

Last but not least... I got the front edges of the lasagne beds hoed up pretty well and I sprinkled in a bunch of marigold seeds. I'm hoping that direct seeding will work there, I'm just tired of trying to get a lot of marigold plants going every spring, ehehehe. I do have some French dwarfs that I seeded in a week or two ago, so we shall see if I need to put those in, and if so, where.

Coming up this week is my four week seeding starts. Time is kind of starting to fly in a bit more as spring is coming on... felt like forever and a day between 12 and 10 week, now it just feels like two days ago that I did the 6 week seeding.

Of course, with all this nice weather, I've been having the solarium open a lot.. and the cats are thrilled about that.... I'm betting the chipmunks are not nearly as excited about that. Yes, of course, the chippies are back again, grrrrrr. But they do seem a bit less populous than last year, so that's a nice thing.

But tonight we are going out for dinner with the boys, and for once in a long time I'm not too wiped out from working or playing catch up here to just stay home and go to bed early.. so I'm off to get ready for dinner :)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

Ok, so... we don't actually celebrate Easter around here, lol. No egg hunts and baskets full of sugar.

But we do celebrate spring. Spring bulbs are popping up everywhere- and today I saw my first clump of roadside daffodils in full bloom. It was a wonderful and heartening sight.

Yesterday I called in a ditch fire that was encroaching on a neighbors property- I'm guessing it was likely a cigarette flicked out the window that started dry grass and leaves on fire. There was a goodly swath of blackened roadside this morning- including the edge of those folks large wood cutting area. Whew, glad I called it in before it got any worse than it was.

So... a few days ago when it was all super nice out, I turned under and cleaned up one of the beds- and got a couple rows each of peas and spinach seeded in. It was kind of a PITA, but hopefully it will be well worth it. And I got the lasagne bed built for the yellow beans- hooray! One full bale of flaked straw made for a nice bed that I used the very last of the horse manure on. That makes three beds now at the top of veggie row. The three garlic beds look wonderful and springing up right nicely. Sometime during the week I'm hoping to get out and pick up a few more straw bales for mulching. I also built one straw bale bed- I'm hoping to grow some squash in it. If I'm lucky, and am able to pick up a few more bales, I will dress those up to grow up some melons and cukes this year.

I'm really hoping the neighbors offer to dump all their horse manure for us again this year.

I'm starting to seriously think I should skip the Queensland blue squash in favor of buttercup so we have more "personal" kind of sized squashes for the winter. Having big ass squashes is great, but we really do tend to utilize the more personal sized ones instead. I make a lot of stuffed squash.

Speaking of which.. tonights Easter dinner is stuffed squash. Stuffed acorn squash, filled with quinoa, corn, rehydrated mushrooms and sweet peppers, and onions.. all sauteed in rendered smoked ham fat and seasoned with plenty of garlic. I'm doing smashed potatoes with them. Smashed potatoes have all the delish crispy outside with all the smooth creamy inside. I think everyone on the planet with access to potatoes should have this item in their recipe list.

And nicely enough with the spring weather... and butter being on sale... Soon it will be time to make up a few pounds of chive butter, frigging yummy! Fall chive butter is good... but spring chive butter is for sure better. We drank up the bottle of chive and peppercorn vodka over the course of a year- so I will be making another bottle of that too. And we are running low on chive oil, so guess what? I will be making chive oil too. Only thing we haven't run out on yet is dried chives- and I really do need to use those up soon.

I got a lot of sweet potatoes on sale recently- so of course I dehydrated up a quart of those. 6 full trays on the dehydrator packs down to 1 quart jar- and that's from 3-4 pounds worth of fresh taters. Still have a bunch of fresh ones on the counter, so it will be a decision to either dry those too or eat them fresh, hmmmm.... I do still have a lot of celery I need to do something with, so maybe I will dry up a batch of that instead.
While I was at it, I picked up a couple of organic sweet potatoes to try to grow out my own slips from. We were really bummed last year when the local nursery had crappy slips and decided not to sell them. Good for them for not selling inferior product- but boo for us who wanted sweet taters, lol. So starting slips seems easy enough. Just get a small tater, slice in half, and put the halves cut side down in a container of water- seems kind of like growing out avocado pits. Why use organic taters? Because regular commercial ones are usually sprayed with a growth inhibitor to prevent them from sprouting while in storage- while organic ones usually are not sprayed, and so actually will grow slips.

So... lots more seed been started, and lots sprouted... need to finish potting up the tomatoes. Got tons to do in the garden... and darn it all, work keeps scheduling me with stupid ass hour long meetings on what would normally be my days off. These meetings are often not actually an hour long, and I end up blowing an hour and a half with getting ready for and traveling to and from them.. and ugh. Right in the middle of the day too, so it extra fucks the day up. But after next week that should stop, so hopefully I will be back onto a more normal kind of schedule again so I can crank up getting stuff done outside.

But now it's time to smash some potatoes and get them ready for the oven... Happy Easter everyone!!