At last I am alive – An afternoon with dirt under my nails.

April 10, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Posted in dirt, gardening, spring, vegetable | Leave a comment
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This winter was just too long, too grey, and too cold. Some people love autumn and the changing leaves, but it’s not for me. I’m a Spring-time girl. I love watching new buds grow on trees, waiting with anticipation for the tulips to bloom, and most lovingly planting the first seeds of my spring garden.

Well here I am in DC and it’s skipped spring all together actually and is feeling a bit like summer as the temperature is 90 degrees. But I’m not complaining. I gathered my bucket full of gardening supplies and headed out to the old raised bed that we hammered together many years ago. Since then we’ve moved it to a sunnier spot and it’s beginning to fall apart, which is fine as it’s only adding history and experience to my joys of digging in my messy city backyard.

As expected, I planted a bunch of greens including collards, some carrots, rainbow swiss chard (which I cannot get enough of), and peas of course. This summer I’m keeping it simple because the plan, which has been in motion since last summer, is to completely landscape the backyard so it’s actually a place we want to hang out. The hill will be terraced with a nice spot of grass for Jack to play in at the base. I’ll have two raised beds made of stone (yay!), and we’ll have a brand new wooden fence as well. All of a whopping price tag too. Eeps. We are just waiting on the District of Columbia to approve all of the permits — for the love of god…! But yes, I’m perfectly calm about that.

So here I am, feeling alive again, and more like myself. I’m breathing deeper and soaking up the rays of the sun. I feel relaxed and just happy to be in this very moment. I live for this time of year and want to meditate life through the feeling of euphoria I get when the weather is like this. Oh sun, you powerful one.

From the Archives:

Vegetable gardening lessons I’ve learned.

Spring Garden and a secretly pregnant me…! (circ. 2011)

Spring Garden and a little baby boy! (circ. 2012)

Spring Greens and Tiny Things

Adventures in Louisville, Part II – Marker’s Mark Edition

September 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Posted in architecture, design, gardening, life, travel | Leave a comment
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We found ourselves hanging out mostly on East Market Street which has the most terrific mom and pop shops. Tons of funky original restaurants and really cool shops. Our favorite was Please and Thank You, a coffee shop that sells records too. Can you think of a better combination?

The street is complete with an urban community garden too.

Say cheese!

We stopped at Toast for brunch with local eggs, coffee, peach basil sweet tea, and toast of course. Jack was so grabby we had to move every single thing on the table away from him.

“Who me?”

Then off to the Maker’s Mark Distillery!

We saw barrels with fermenting bourbon.

I wear my sunglasses at night. Just kidding. We were super classy and brought a baby to view the plant.

On our tour, we saw the big vats of corn and and wheat soaking.

AND we were allowed to dip our fingers in to taste! Whose fingers have been in your bottle of bourbon? The Guide assured us that all germs are completely disinfected through the fermenting process, so don’t worry!

At last, we were shown to the tasting room!

Which gave me rosy cheeks! Jack liked it too (just kidding!!).

The Greatest [Vegetable] Crop of All

June 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Posted in DC, food, gardening, vegetable, Washington | Leave a comment
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Every year my garden has proven to be an experiment, I wouldn’t call myself an expert in anything green-thumb related, though I love watching what pops up. I’ve typically stuck with standby veggies like tomatoes and greens. My eyes tend to be larger than my stomach and I will plant a ton of seeds in my limited city-yard; rather haphazardly too close together. Toward the end of the day that I’m sowing seeds, I sometimes get really lazy and just throw the seeds in fertile-ish soil, dust my hands off, and go back inside. This was the first year I attempted to grow carrots. For some reason I thought they were a tricky thing to nurture. Carrots seeds are microscopic and they were the seed that I indeed tossed in one of the few sunny spots in the yard. I’m amazed at how they’ve grown. I pulled a bunch from the ground and they — look like carrots — and even better, they taste like carrots too! All I did was water the seeds (sometimes not even that!) and they came up without so much as a touch of fertilizer. So in my notes of the most easy vegetables to grow in an urban garden, I’m adding two items: Carrots and Arugula. Both of which are Katie-tested as a crop that will come up if you fling the seeds in soil and water sporadically.

Remember when my garden started like this, and then grew to this?

Backyard Urban Gardening Book: Grow Cook Eat

June 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Posted in $hit I want, dirt, diy, gardening, vegetable | Leave a comment

I find it fascinating how many bloggers have been able to make a living writing about their passions and then go on to get a book deal. A favorite blog of mine has remained Diggin Food, written by Willi Galloway who details her backyard kitchen gardening adventures from favorite-city-of-mine, Portland, Oregon. She started her career at Organic Gardening magazine which is the reason I’ve been a subscriber for the last few years. Now Willi has a book out called Grow Cook Eat. The book explores the point of planting a seed, to nurturing the plant, to yummy recipes to try, to parts of the plant that are edible beyond the most obvious parts like certain roots, stems and flower buds. I’m just so happy that Willi’s book is getting so much publicity, it’s even being sold in Anthropologie shops (and also at Amazon of course)! Talk about really getting your name out there!

Spring Garden Grows!

May 3, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Posted in gardening, homeownership, life, spring, vegetable, Washington | 1 Comment
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Collards, Swiss chard, beets, spinach, arugula and lettuce
This is how we dooz it.
Carrots (hard to see) and weeds.
Tomatoes — the red is an early bloomer “magenta” variety.
Peas are flowering and climbing!

It’s been about 50 days and like clockwork, the greens have filled in the raised bed. Arugula is such a quick crop that it is already beginning to bolt. Time to eat them up to make room for the tomatoes, beans, peppers and things to go in the bed next. The carrots are such an experiment this year. I eat carrots just about everyday and would love if they actually grow with my limited sunlight. I’ll report back soon!

Just yesterday the garden looked like this.

Spring Garden 2012

March 12, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Posted in gardening | 2 Comments
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Let the gardening begin!

If there was a medal for the person who could sow seeds the fastest, I think I’d win it. As soon as Jack went down for a nap, I whipped out my seeds, soil and trays, and quickly put together three batches of tomatoes, peppers, peas, beans, pumpkin, squash, and a ton of herbs. I had an efficient system: fill all cups with dirt, divvy out how many plants of each I wanted, write labels and place in cups, add seeds to each and sprinkle dirt on top, and finally — take a picture. :)

Water and move trays to my new (gently used) greenhouse! Yippee! I’m stepping it up this year with a greenhouse. Something that I just learned is when using a greenhouse, you cannot forget to unzip the door to allow air in during the day. When the sun is beating down, even on a 50 degree afternoon, it can get up to 100+ degrees in there and scorch your plants (which would be a bummer). If the evenings are still getting below freezing, you probably want to bring in your plants for protection.

A couple weekends ago, Daryle and my step-dad Steve took the task of moving the raised garden bed from the shady spot it was originally built, to closer to my house, which is the sunniest part of the yard. The tree’s canopy really does shade a lot, but I think veggies will do better its new spot. I’m so thankful to Daryle and Steve for shoveling all of the dirt and unscrewing the bed and bringing it down. It was a pretty big job and thought it would never happen. So now I’m set up for success! I already direct sowed carrots — which I’ve never grown before and beets; and my greens: collards, spinach, arugula, swiss chard, red and green lettuce. I’m looking forward to documenting this as well as making some homegrown, organic baby food!

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