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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katie-in-her-garden-2013

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

Spring salad, worms and bugs

June 8, 2010 at 7:51 am | Posted in gardening | Leave a comment
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Hello and Happy Tuesday! I took Monday off from work and spent the day in the yard gardening. Boy, what a day to choose; we had a high of 79 degrees; absolutely glorious.

Lot’s of goodies are producing! The strawberries are scrumptious!

The peas are fat and sweet. I don’t think I’ve ever seen more beautiful loose peas [grin].

I picked the remaining heads of lettuce because I noticed the flavor was turning slightly sour from all of the heat we’ve had. The other night I made Daryle a salad with lettuce from the garden. I ran the faucet over the greens for a minute and figured all of the dirt and stuff would be down the drain. When we were sitting to dinner I heard a little scream…from Daryle! There, he pointed at the tiniest green worm on a leaf. Eck! Gross! But at least it wasn’t on my plate. :) Two minutes later I found a tiny black and hairy worm on my plate. YUCK! So I’ve got to warn you: When rinsing lettuce, you’ve got to attend to every single leaf; run water over it, spread its curls out, flip it over and do it all over again. I’m not kidding. Little bugs and worms hide in the spots you never see. I definitely wasted a lot of water cleaning the lettuce. But, at least I am 95 percent sure there aren’t any bugs or worms in my greens.

Spring, Green and Tiny Things

May 20, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Posted in dirt, gardening | 1 Comment
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It’s the time of the season
When the love runs high
In this time give it to me easy
And let me try with pleasured hands
To take you in the sun to promised lands
To show you everyone
It’s the time of the season for loving…
~Zombies, “Time of the Season”

I think I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again…I love dirt. Instead of moving the 12×4 foot raised garden bed that is kind of totally under a humongous ash tree (yes, last year I built the bed under a shady tree and didn’t realize that the canopy would have a negative effect on growing things!!!), I’m going to plant right in the ground in the sunniest part of the yard. I dug about two feet down and removed tons of debris from the dirt—bricks, pieces of cement, rocks, quartz and filled it with organic dirt that I had delivered from a nearby farm. Within the next two weeks I will plant a variety of heirloom tomato plants and a couple of pepper plants that I’ve had growing since March. I also plan to include a bunch of beets and carrots because I believe they grow well with tomatoes (they’re friends).

As far as what is going in the raised bed under the ash tree—I researched edible plants that do not need direct sunlight and found that most herbs will thrive happily. What music to my ears; I have been planning a medicinal herb garden for some time. In the bed, I planted cilantro and sage (above) and beets and chamomile (below). I also planted basil, parsley, dill, echinacea, onions, leeks, rainbow swiss chard and green beans. I guess you could call that area a medicinal herb garden with a vegetable twist!

Get a load of the lettuce and spinach: Above, before I picked it and below before I devoured it! I heard lettuce and spinach are difficult to grow in the DC climate because our springs are typically brief and the leafy greens prefer a slow, cool and wet spring. Since we’ve had a bit of that mixed with a smattering of heat the greens turned out fabulous, healthy and bountiful. Next year I will plant the entire raised bed with spinach and lettuce to have a whole season of greens.

I am perhaps the most excited about the pea pods that have sprouted. I planted the pea seeds on St. Patrick’s Day, and here we are nearly 60 days on the nose with tons of pods ready to be picked. The plants couldn’t have been easier to grow. They loved the cool weather but also soldiered on during the humid days to produce magnificent pods. Hurray for a great start to a hopefully healthy and abundant season of edibles.

Gardening: past + future

April 12, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Posted in gardening | 3 Comments
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When I planted my green onions last summer, I had no idea how long they would take to harvest. The package says 180 days, but these guys are more like 365! I’m amazed how the onions have survived our freezing winter piled with four feet of snow. They’re now just starting to go to seed so I’m picking them one-by-one as I see the flower in the center come up.

Every year I learn something new about what to expect with a garden. I didn’t realize that oregano [above] and chives [below] would come back. In mid-fall, both were dead with puny dried out sticks and now they are flourishing better than at the end of the summer!

It’s nice to have a few sprinkles of lush eatable greenery as I await the rest of the garden to grow. I feel like I am a teeny bit ahead of where I was last year. :)

This is the first year I planted pea seeds. I decided to grow them in several containers because I haven’t moved the raised bed to a sunnier spot in my yard. I think they’ll do fine in containers (I mean, I hope). Above are tiny pea plants. They are about two and a half inches tall and are ready to start climbing. Peas love cooler weather and do well in early spring. If all goes well, I’ll have a bunch of peas by early May.

Related Posts: How to Build a Raised Garden Bed, Vegetable Garden: Lessons I’ve Learned, Summer in the City


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