daidoji_gisei: (Kakita Hideshi)
Well. I had a follow-up blood test in July and my A1C came back in the normal range. It was at the very top of the normal range, but it still established that I can control my diabetes with a healthy eating plan and that was my goal. I admit August was kind of a bad month for me, foodwise, but I've stayed mostly on track. I don't know when my doctor wants to do another test, but hopefully I can assume enough virtue before then to stay healthy.

One of the things that makes August so hard is the let-down from Gencon. It's five days of people acting as if I was an interesting person who is worth spending time with......and then I go home to where I'm alone. I have a number of people in town who I would like to be in regular contact with, but only one of them thinks it's worth making the effort to stay in contact with me. I wish I knew what made me such a terrible person: then I could try to fix it.

I really, really need to devote myself to writing. Not only is it a hypothetical source of more money, it would keep me busy. Busy people have less time to mope about the fact they are going to die as a lonely old spinster.

My garden out back has been a semi-success. I never did manage to stake the tomato plants, so they are just snaking around on the ground. The yellow pear tomatoes are bearing LOTS of tomatoes; the beefsteak vines are less bountiful. My Anaheim peppers are bearing well, except most of the fruits start to develop the pepper version of blossom end rot as they ripen. Still withholding judgement on the bell peppers.

I am thinking that maybe I should skip getting a CSA next year. Robinette Farms has good quality produce, but it has too much of the things I'm not fond of (like cucumbers) and not enough of the things I do (like green beans). It's been this way two years running, so I guess this is a feature and not a bug.
daidoji_gisei: (Cornflower field)
It's a change of topic, at least?

I've gotten an email from Robinette Farms informing me that enrollment for this summer's CSA subscription is open for past customers. I have about a week to make up my mind whether to enroll again or not. On the one hand, I was satisfied with the amount and quality of vegetables I recieved last year. On the other hand, part of me knows that I could grow just as many vegetables myself for less money. But that takes time, and part of me wants to use time somewhere else. But if I did it myself there would be more of the vegetables I liked, and a complete absence of beets. I keep going in circles.

To make it all more complicated, there's the possibility of doing both. Then I could grow more of my favorites, and use the CSA share to fill in the rest. It would also give me space to experiment with long-season crops like dried beans or winter squash or even melons. Having a third option is not making my life simpler!

Sunday

May. 18th, 2014 08:32 pm
daidoji_gisei: (Cornflower field)
I got very little done today, but last week was harsh and Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest and I am not going to feel bad about resting.

I did spend about two hours in my garden, weeding, but doing things in the garden rarely feels like work to me. Which is good, because I still have a LOT of weeds to take care of. I have volunteer sunflowers in my garden (inherited from the previous tenant) and each year they attempt to make even more volunteer sunflowers, forcing me to do a lot of thinning. I could make my life easier by not letting any of them go to seed, but I like to leave a few for any winter-foraging birds that happen to like that style of seed.

Weeding by hand (as opposed to wacking things with a hoe) can be difficult, but it has its advantages. Today I discovered that some of last years cornflowers had reseeded themselves, so I'll be having some flowers soon. I also discovered mustard that I don't remember planting, and volunteer collards in the middle of my carrots. I'm going to transplant the collards that can be dug without harming the carrots, and use the rest as greens for a salad. Which I could do tomorrow, because I also discovered that my lettuce has gotten large enough that I can start harvesting a leaf here and there.

I have a huge amount of lambs quarter growing, but I left that unmolested for now. It's technically a weed, but its a highly edible one so I'll just harvest it in a few days and turn it into a mess of greens. And my broccoli is heading up, so soon I will be savoring that ultimate dinner treat: freshly cooked broccoli, anointed with butter. :)
daidoji_gisei: (Cornflower field)
Friday I got home from work and, after some delay (as in, I laid down for a nap) I went out and worked in my garden for a bit. I got the northern tip of it weeded (mostly) and planted a new round of spinach, lettuce, and turnips. The turnips are mostly for greens; with summer coming on I don't have high hopes of getting any good roots. But I have lots of seeds, and turnip greens are tasty.

Saturday I got dressed after breakfast and went out for more work. Normally I prefer to do garden work in the afternoon, but we had rain rolling in midmorning and if I was going to get any gardening done at all this weekend I would have to hustle. I weeded and turned over more of the garden, and got some lima beans and three kinds of snap beans planted before the rain showed up. Just in time: the first drops came down while I was still planting beans! I would have liked to get more work in, but at least everything got watered in well.

And maybe it's best that I didn't have time to put more seeds in the ground: I still need to make the final call on where my tomatoes, peppers and squash are going to go. One hill will go at the far south end, where the potatoes are now: as the squash grows bigger and starts encroaching on the potatoes I can harvest them. Not sure where anything else will go! I have more squash varieties than I have room, so some prioritizing is in order. Part of me is tempted to throw some seeds on the compost pile out back and see what happens.

Sunday the ground was wet, so I didn't even bother to pretend to work in the garden. It was cloudy until around 5 pm, and when the sun finally came out I grabbed some yarn and went to sit on the front steps of the porch. I sat there, crocheting and admiring my garden, for a long time.
daidoji_gisei: (Cornflower field)
The weekend is ending and my apartment is messier than when it started. I'm not pleased with this, though I'm not sure what I could have done differently.

I got a lot of laundry done on Saturday, but a good part of that day got eaten up by my trip across town to pick up my new glasses. It should have taken two hours less than it did, but Lincoln's reduced bus service on Saturdays can really mess you up. But I have my new prescription sunglasses now, along with (I blush to admit) some nice-looking carved wooden crochet hooks.

On Sunday my Big Thing was working in my garden. This year I have the goal of growing almost all of the vegetables I eat between Memorial Day and Labor Day, which means I need to not waste growing days. Today I got the garden tidied up a bit (thankfully, dead sunflowers are relatively easy to pull out of the ground) and then planted a lot of peas, broccoli, and potatoes. I was surprised by the number of potatoes, as I had only bought a couple of three different varieties, but once you have sliced the larger ones up it ends up being a bunch of potato starts. Oh, I also moved one of my miniature roses from the south end of the garden (where it keeps getting shaded out by the goldenrod) to the north end, where it joins my other miniature in my Mary garden. I'm not sure if I used the correct, professionally approved methods for moving a rose, but I figure mini roses are tough--it will probably pull through.

I didn't get any radishes or greens planted, but some of my kale and collards overwintered from last year, so I should get one last harvest there. And radishes and greens are quick to grow, so waiting a week or so isn't critical. And it's raining right now, with more to come later in the week, so the soil will be nice and moist when I do plant my seeds.

One thing I want to do differently than past years is make a dedicated effort to grow more flowers. This might seem counter-intuitive when I'm also trying to grow more veggies, but flowers make the whole garden nicer to look at, and if I stick mostly to edible flowers I can use them in salads.

Sapped

Sep. 18th, 2012 08:04 pm
daidoji_gisei: (Cornflower field)
Had a busy, strenuous day at work, followed by coming home and spending about two hours chopping weeks out of my garden and hauling their mortal remains to my compostish heap in the back yard. I'll still need to do some clean-up work tomorrow, but I've got the big stuff done now.

The effort made me reflect on how little I got done in my garden this year. Spring started out well, and then the heat and the drought showed up and I basically gave up. I go back and forth on how I should feel about this. On the one hand, I could have done all the extra work required to plant and grow vegetables this year. On the other hand, I have a full-time job and a writing gig on the side and housework still needs to get done. I never know if I should condem myself for being lazy, or for having unrealistic expectations of myself.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
First, some BPAL notes from the weekend:
Yggdrasil: smelled nice and piney in vitro, but on me it was somewhere between being lost in a forest and being drenched with Pinesol. Alas.
Nero: Love this stuff! Something resinous--rosemary or pine, I can't tell--with some citrus and other things I can't tease out. I tried to look up the scent notes on the BPAL site and discovered it appears to have been discontinued. Sob! I'll have to track down the scent notes somewhere and figure out if it has a reasonable substitute somewhere.
Maiden: a confused floral with a subdued carnation note. I am depressed that this one didn't work on me, because I really need (ok, want) a good carnation perfume and this one, with notes of white tea, carnation and Damask rose, sounded perfect on paper.

Meanwhile, today I managed to be even lazier than I was yesterday. Given how little I did yesterday I'm not sure how I managed this and still had a pulse, but whatever. My high point was cracking open my Latin textbook and restarting my study of that dead and noble language. When I started translating one of the reading passages I was cheered at how much I remembered of the vocabulary of the previous stages. I think I still need to be doing daily rounds of my flashcards, however. And as the stages roll on, I need to figure out a criteria for deciding when I know a word well enough that I can take its card out of the rotation. (Because honestly, pater, mater and canis are not difficult to remember.)

It was cloudy on and off all day without raining. I am very bitter about this. The only good thing coming out of my garden this year is a crop of volunteer sunflowers, which I left in place earlier when it became apparent that I wasn't going to be planting anything in their place. They are pretty and the birds are loving the seeds, so at least someone is getting food out of that land. I need to dig out my bird identification book to figure out what that cute little yellow-and-olive green bird I've been seeing is. Some kind of finch, I imagine, but after that I'm ignorant.
daidoji_gisei: (Shall bones live?)
The big thing happening right now is the heat. Well, and the drought. We haven't had rain for four weeks now, which is never a good thing and is especially bad when your area is entering its second week of 100+F daily high temperatures.

As I do not use air conditioning, this has been somewhat of a challenge. I find it relatively easy to keep comfortable when doing sedentary things (reading, writing, crocheting), but I have developed a severe disinclination to doing dishes. For some odd reason, standing around with my arms up to my elbows in hot water sounds unpleasant. I've taken to getting up an extra hour early in the morning so that I can get some stuff done. This kind of messes up my sleep schedule, so I am trying to compensate by taking a long nap when I get home from work in the afternoon. I don't think this is a long-term solution, but looking at the NWS website I see we have the high temps for at least another week. *sigh*

The heat has had the odd effect of making me feel better for not having planted as much summer-stuff in the garden as I had originally wanted: Keeping everything watered would have been very, very difficult. As it is I am trying to commit myself to saving the water from each and every clothes-washing load and using it to water the garden. As this requires carrying about 6 30# jugs of water down a flight of stairs and into the garden I'm not really happy about this. But what can you do?

Weirdest thing about the heat: I've been taking cool-water bathes in the evening to wash the sweat off and to cool down. When I get out of the tub and wander around the apartment the walls, when I touch them, are burning hot.
daidoji_gisei: (Cornflower field)
Today was sunny and the temps in the 70s today and allow me to tell those of you not from Nebraska that this is freakishly warm for the middle of March. However, it is nice and it makes thoughts of gardening all the more imperative because if this is when spring is going to start (instead of late April, the way God intended it), when will summer arrive?

So this morning I abandoned my dirty dishes, piles of laundry, and other assorted household tasks and hopped on a bus to Earl May. As I had hoped, they had more than just pansies for sale. After spending some time drooling over all the flowers they had available (all of the usual cool-weather suspects, plus totally inappropriate warm weather plants like marigolds and impatients) and the herbs I hit the vegetables and got down to business. Read more... )
daidoji_gisei: (Kakita Hideshi)
Sometime last week I undid a connection I had formed years ago. I had distanced myself a couple of months ago, when it was clear to me that the dividing issue wasn't going to go away, and then sometime last week it occurred to me that there was no reason not to take matters to their logical conclusion. After a few days of hemming and hawing I couldn't think of a reason not to--except the one that I might want to crawl back some day, which is unacceptable. The severing doesn't hurt, except for the knowledge that even six months ago such a thing was unimaginable.

Last week I got to see the layout of something I had written for an upcoming L5R rpg project. It was quite lovely! I won't say it made all the trouble I went through to get it done worthwhile, but it was a big step in that direction. Am now even more eager to see the whole thing published.

Sunday I went out to work in my garden; something that I'd been putting off for far too long. The whole garden is too large a project to tackle in an afternoon (or even a whole day), so I decided to start cleaning and planting at the south end and work my way north. After about 3 hours of work (which included stopping to dig a miniature rose thorn out of my finger and clean and bandage the wound) I had planted 2 kinds of radishes, 2 kinds of edible-podded peas, tatsoi, kale, mustard, arugula, lettuce, carrots, and swiss chard. I still have about three quarters of my garden left to plant, but staggering the planting will give me a more managable harvest. And more time to wrestle with the question of whether to grow potatoes or not. I've never done it before, and there is something intimidating about them.

Sunday was an idea day to plant because the weather was really pleasant and there was a near-certainty of rain on Monday. The National Weather Service did not fail me: it rained on Monday, it's raining now, and it might rain two more days this week. I'm not a huge fan of rain, except when it comes to my garden. I won't be able to do any digging until we have a few days of sun and the ground dries up: I should really use the time to pot my tomato seedlings into larger quarters. It will be a while before I can put them out in the ground, and I don't want my darlings to get rootbound.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
This week the daytime temps have been hovering in the seventies and the lows have only been in the 50s. I turned my heat off Tuesday and have been sleeping with a bedroom open to catch the air. The crocuses and daffodils are blooming, along with the foolish, foolish magnolias. Though truthfully I'm glad to see the magnolias now: by my reckoning this means they won't get caught by the Easter blizzard. (Ok, we don't always have a blizzard around Easter but having lived here all my life I think it is just easier to assume it.)

I keep saying I am going to get into the garden and start doing stuff and then not doing it. I think I am intimidated by the amount of things I didn't get done last fall. But it has to get done if I'm going to grow anything, and with the amount I've spent on seeds already I really need to grow some edibles! I need to start planting my cold-weather stuff immediately, if not sooner. I'm glad I started some cauliflower a few weeks ago; if the spring continues to be mild (and does not directly go to summer, do not pass go, do not collect 200 koku) I might even get a crop. It is supposed to be the most finicky of the brassicas, but it is so expensive in the store I decided to chance it.
daidoji_gisei: (Default)
My pens arrived today, which I think is fairly impressive when you consider that the company is located in San Jose, CA. I showed them to my coworker S, who I had discovered was another fountain pen user, and we spent a few pleasant moments trying them out. My first impressions are that the Platinum Preppy really is a great cheap pen, I prefer medium nibs to extra-fine, and that italic nibs freak me out. Italic nibs may be something I can come to terms with if I use one for awhile, however. S, who has done calligraphy, didn't seem to have any problems with it. After I have given them more use I'll write up some notes in a more organized fashion.

The weather has been alternating between 'pretty nice for February' and 'freakishly warm'. I was tempted to go plant spinach and kale yesterday and if I hadn't so much writing to do I might have followed through. As it is, if the first weekend in March is at all reasonable weather-wise I'll probably try it. I have lots of seed, after all.

I finally got a new baker hired this week; I'm hoping she lasts longer than the last one. (To be fair, the last one had to quit for reasons completely out of her control, but still.) One of my current bakers is going on vacation this week so even a partially-trained person will be hugely useful next week. Also I need to start planning for March, which will have the excitement of two days were the Deli and Bakery production area will be completely shut down while new equipment gets installed. That will be weird and I need to think about how best to prepare our customers for it. ....now that I think about it, we may only lose one day of bread production. Must follow this up tomorrow!
daidoji_gisei: (Cornflower field)
*(Actually it was a garden tour, but there are surprisingly few pop songs referencing gardens so I had to make do.)

I had a very enjoyable evening tonight with a small group of my co-workers. This is rather rare as I am usually socially uncomfortable with the people I work with, but we were all gardeners and this gave me an instant connection with them. We had gathered together for a garden tour organized by one of our number, a very energetic woman named Sherri. Earlier this summer she had gotten the idea of having a tour of employees' gardens, and this was the result.

There were only five of us so we piled into Sherri's car and drove around town together. This proved to be ideal as it maximized our chatting time, allowing everyone the chance to say nice things about the garden we had just visited. And every garden had something really neat about it, so this was easy. The employee community garden plot had really amazing cosmos. Everyone admired my wall of goldenrod and my brassica collection. Sandra's garden, which she shared with a number of other families on her block, was large and peaceful. Pam's garden was huge and had a large patch of volunteer skyscraping amaranth plants. And Sherri's garden had pet dinosaurs chickens.


I am glad I went, in spite of my doubts. I really enjoyed it.
daidoji_gisei: (Cooking)
My landlord got over today and looked at my fridge. He said the freezer was fine (which I knew) and the compressor seemed to be working fine so that the problem seems to be in getting the cold air into the fridge part. For investigating that he's going to need to shut it down, which means emptying all the stuff out of the freezer. Also, he can't get back to the project until next Monday. This would at first seem Really Bad, as it leaves me without a fridge for the next few days, but happily there is a work-around. The apartment downstairs is empty this week so I am going to use its refrigerator.

Having my refrigerated food downstairs might seem like an inconvenience, but I already go up and down stairs so many times in a day I don't think I'll notice it much. Instead I've chosen to regard this as a golden opportunity to take care of all the dill seeds that scattered around the bottom of my fridge that one time a pickle jar shattered.

My domestic woes were softened by my first bean harvest of the season. Last year I got no beans at all, so this was doubly nice. I had my second dinner with beans tonight, with enough left over to go with lunch tomorrow. Thus far I have been picking from my bush beans. My Kentucky Wonder poles have been been blooming heavily this week, so assuming the heat didn't freak them out too much (a sizable if, I admit) I should have beans next week from them. I've never grown pole beans before, so I am looking forward to seeing if they are as tasty as claimed.
daidoji_gisei: blooming tree branches against blue sky (Color of Sky)
I'm trying to keep up with my journal the best I can, but at the same time I've decided I need to not beat myself up over it. Having a large vegetable garden means I have like three jobs (baking, writing, gardening) and that really eats up a lot of the week. Later in the summer when I have most of the garden planted and all I have to do is weed, water and harvest, I should have more time, but until then I just need to do my best and not stress.

On the other hand, I really enjoy working in my garden and it is starting to produce lots of veggies. I made my first harvest of shelling peas today, and my second cutting of collards. I'm rapidly becoming a big fan of collards: everything I've read so far claims that if I keep them watered they will continue to produce all through the summer heat, and so far just four plants have produced enough greens for a week of lunches and some extra for the freezer. They are pretty tasty, though I admit I'm an easy sell on that: I have yet to eat a brassica that I didn't like.

The peach tree in the back yard died last week, a victim of two days of relentless winds. I got to it in time to gather a bunch of the leaves and so now have a batch of peach leaf wine brewing in my fridge. This is, I am told, an old-school aperitif wine from the south of France. It sounded weird and used stuff from my garden, so of course I had to try it. It also ties in with my recent revelation that you can make your own vermouth. I used to make my own liqueurs, but my interest waned when I realized that I really am not fond of very sweet drinks. Vermouth can be non-sweet or only slightly sweetened but still gives you the satisfaction of messing around with herbs and spices to make something drinkable.

Last week I signed up for the Lincoln City Library's summer reading program for adults. I got a coupon to a local licorice store for signing up, and there are some prize drawings for those who complete the program, but mostly I signed up for the fun of it. I loved summer reading programs when I was a child, so when I heard there was now an adult one I was all over it. I have two months to read four books. Normally this wouldn't be a challenge, but see: garden, above. Still, I've already gotten through one, a history book on the Battle of Trafalgar, by living dangerously and reading a library book in the bathtub. We'll see how this goes.
daidoji_gisei: Tarot Queen of Swords (Queen of Swords)
This has been a frustrating week. I've tried all week to get regular sleep, but I keep waking up feeling tired. I'm not sure if all of my dreams are the cause of this or another side effect of whatever is messing with me. I've also managed to repeatedly break all of my healthy-eating goals, sometimes all in one day. I have a number of large projects at work I am grappling with, I have fiction projects to do, my housework que is threatening to smother me, and I have a garden to care for. To top it all off, I have the (false?) belief that I could deal with all of this if I could just get some sleep.

On the positive side I'm starting to get a plentiful supply of veggies from my garden. I have been harvesting snow peas or sugar snap peas almost every night this week, and tomorrow I'll have my first broccoli head. At this point I should be able to get most of my veggies fresh from my garden, which is always a good thing.

Also on the good side, most of my beans that I planted last weekend are up now. Beans are quite amazing--when I went to work this morning there were only a few signs of growth in the patch of Dragon's Tongue, and the Cherokee Wax had nothing at all showing. When I came home, all of them had seedlings about two inches tall! It's easy to see where we got stories of magic bean stalks. My summer squashes are also poking up as well. As fast as zucchini grows I could be harvesting them by the 4th of July. That's a cheerful thought!
daidoji_gisei: (Cornflower field)
Saturday I spent about four hours working in my garden. I was pretty amazed, both because the time went so fast it really didn't feel like that long and because I didn't feel that tired when I was done. In retrospect I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the lack of tiredness: I frequently work five or six hour stretches at work and don't feel that tired.

My first big chore was to weed, weed, weed. The half of the garden that has always been mine wasn't in too bad of shape, as I've been weeding it for two years now, but the half my former neighbor was (allegedly) gardening in had pretty much been left to run riot the past few years. The section where I have lentils growing was especially bad, because I wasn't able to hoe between the plants the last time I was out weed-killing. So Saturday I got down on my knees (which is ok when you are on dirt, but not too great on concrete sidewalk) and carefully plucked out anything that wasn't a lentil plant. (I will note here that I'm feeling blue over my lentils right now. They are alive but they aren't doing anything, while the three pea varieties I planted at the same time are all flowering and setting pods. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, or if I'm doing wrong.) It was slow going, due to the feathery lentil leaves getting entangled in the weed stems and my desire not to uproot lentil by accident.

I was further slowed down by needing to sort the plucked weeds into two piles: 'future pot herbs' and 'future compost'. Most of my weeds, you see, are lambsquarter and lambsquarter, as every book on edible wild plants of North America will tell you, is an edible wild relative of spinach. (According to the internet, the species running rampant in my garden is grown as a vegetable crop in parts of India. It could be true!) Anyway, I've decided that as long as it's growing in my garden I should try to eat it. Try, I say, because while I will eat spinach its flavor is not one of my favorites so I might not take to the flavor of lambsquarter. On the other hand I know I can gather the stuff by the grocery-bag full in the back yard, and curry spices can hide a number of flavor defects. I have a saag recipe that is really heavy on the cumin and the first time I made it I ended up standing over the stove eating the stuff out of the pot it was so good.

I haven't tried eating it yet; though I have cleaned and blanched it. This is due to the fact that I also harvested my leaf mustard Saturday night and I've been eating it. (Even my capacity for eating leafy green veggies has its limits.)

In the course of my weeding I discovered three volunteer tomato plants. I'm leaving them in the ground for now because I'm curious to see what they are. I grew only open-pollinated tomatoes last year so they should breed true. I can make guesses based on their location, but I won't know for sure until they start setting fruit. I *think* I can spare the room to indulge my curiosity, and if I can't I'll rip them up when I need the space.

After all the weeding the planting went quickly. I had gotten one of my pole bean varieties, Kentucky Wonder, in the ground last week, so Saturday I wanted to plant some bush beans. I planted half the packet of my beloved Dragon's Tongue and all of the Cherokee Wax beans. I'm not a huge wax bean fan but the Cherokee Wax beans were an impulse buy based on the fact they are an old-school variety. (I can tell this because the beans are black: modern ones have white seeds.)

The last thing I planted was the Early Lady cowpeas, which are this year's Wild Experiment. Cowpeas are supposed to do well in high heat and drought, which is a winning combination in a Nebraska garden that's being hand-watered. The pods can be eaten young as snaps or you can let them develop and eat them as shellies or dried beans, and--YES, THERE'S MORE--the leaves can be eaten as a leafy green veggie. Why I have I never tried these before? I'm looking forward to seeing how they do. If I have anything resembling success I'll try anther variety next year: there's a variety called "Pink Eye Purple Hull" that looks very pretty. (My garden is in the front yard, so I like to chose things with an eye towards how they look. If I liked eggplants I would grow a lot of them, as they are very handsome plants.)

I still had some greens I wanted plant, but by then I was losing the light. Sunday was taken up with rain, computer wrangling, and graduation celebrations, so they are still holding. If we we escape any large-scale rains I will try to get them in later this week.
daidoji_gisei: (Cornflower field)
My clothes washer is one of those little jobbies that has one hose you hook up to your kitchen faucet to pour water in and another you put in the sink for the water to drain out of. The water that drains out is graywater, water that has been used for something and is no longer drinkable. I have never given it much thought, but over the winter I came across a mention of someone using it to water her garden with. This got me thinking about the water I was pouring down the drain from my laundry, and the fact that I was already hand-carrying my water, one watering can at a time, to water my own garden. (When I do water my garden, that is. Not having a hose and sprinkler has made me a big fan of dryland agriculture.)

My bakery gets oil in 35# jugs, which holds about 30 pounds of water. I rounded up 4 of them and tonight I started my experiment in irrigation. After two loads of laundry I have determined that at its maximum fill my washing machine holds about 90# of water, or approximately 11 gallons. This completely fills 3 jugs, though partially filling 4 jugs works a little better because they are easier to carry. (I guess I should mention here that I am on the second floor, so I need to carry the jugs out of my kitchen, down the stairs, and out to the garden.) If I continue with this I expect that I will build up those muscles even more, allowing me to carry the full ones with less strain.

It will be interesting to see if I stick with this. Using my graywater will allow me to water my garden more often and more deeply without increasing my water usage, surely a win-win. Also, I am pretty sure hauling around 30# of water counts as a core-strengthening exercise: another benefit.
daidoji_gisei: (Cornflower field)
My shoulders are sore! Last night I dug out a new garden bed, 12'X6', in the back yard. By hand! (I don't mean I clawed it out with my fingers, I mean I used a shovel instead of a rototiller.) When I started I wasn't sure I could get the whole bed done in one session, but once I started it wasn't as hard as I feared. A little soreness is worth the satisfaction of a hard task completed, but I'll admit I'll be happy when I can stop eating aspirin.

This was the breaking-of-ground and first-turning-of-earth. After I recover I am going to redig it to break up more of the clods and to fish out more of the clumps of grass mixed in. I also have some leaves saved from last fall that I want to dig in; I've discovered that moderate proportions of leaves will decompose quickly if you mix them directly into the soil. The city of Lincoln has free compost for people who can haul it away, but being carless that option isn't available to me. I have a compost heap going in the back yard, but it is a cold pile so I don't expect to get anything out of it before fall.

It is possible that I've bit off more than I can chew with this, given that I have a fairly large garden space in the front yard. But I want to grow more squash this year, and they take up space. I figure if I put some low-work long-season veggies in the back yard it shouldn't be too unmanageable. I am thinking winter squash and cowpeas, maybe a few tomatoes. I'm also thinking of getting some of that black fabricky stuff that keeps down weeds by cutting off their light, so as to reduce my weeding chores. Then again, if I grow squash the vines themselves should do a good job of that, so maybe I should hold off.

I need to to more planting in the front garden. The cabbage seedlings need to be thinned, I should seed some more kohlrabi, and my rat-tail radishes need planting. And I should really start some tomato plants; it is embarrassing to have a many tomato seeds on hand as I do and not have any seedlings yet. On the other hand, April has been really cool so it's not like I could have planted them out earlier. A more positive note: My lentils came up! They are all only like four inches tall (I am blaming the lack of sunlight due to clouds), but there are up and I can hardly wait for them to start doing something.
daidoji_gisei: (Cornflower field)
Thursday afternoon I came home from work absolutely exhausted: I had had four hours of sleep Wednesday night (having been out late at a bar drinking and listening to live music (which was great fun)) and then put in a full day of production in the bakery. Nevertheless, I put on some jeans, gathered up some seeds and tools and headed out to my garden to get some work done. After a number of warm, sunny, breezy days the ground was dry enough to work and the forecast called for rain this weekend so if I wanted to get my early spring veggies in I had to get moving.Read more... )

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