26 February 2011

Dreaming of Spring...

It's been a while since I posted - things have been crazy around here, but in a good way.  We've been doing some small improvements around the house that have been time consuming - preparing a playroom for the kids to set their projects up in, reorganizing the cupboards in the kitchen, moving three bookcases from the living room to the kitchen to make room for a used couch we found at a great price...lots and lots of changes this past week.  It's still crazy around here, but it's a great kind of crazy.

I'm also preparing for our spring planting - squeezing in a last little bit of research and ordering a few seeds to round out the garden.  As it ends up, we will have the following seeds to plant this spring:

a French Mesclun Salad Blend Seed Mixture - 14 varieties

Oregon Sugar Pod II (Snow Pea)

Blue Lake Stringless Beans

Golden Sweet Corn

Dark Green Zucchini
National Pickling Cucumber
Big Max Pumpkin
Sugar Pie Pumpkin

Tomato Family
Beefsteak Tomato
Roma Tomato

a mix of Grand Bell Peppers - including red, yellow, orange, green, white, purple, and chocolate
a mix of Hot Peppers - from mildly spicy to super hot

Root Veggies
Nantes Coreless Carrots
Danvers 126 Carrots

Italian Parsley

Walla Walla Onion
California White Garlic

Fort Laramie Strawberries
Crimson Sweet Watermelons

Mammoth Russian Sunflowers
Wildflower low growing mix - a blend of annuals and perennials that grow less than 16 inches high
Wildflower shade mix - a blend of annuals and perennials that only need 1-4 hours of sunlight daily

The boys are excited about their share of the gardening.  All three boys want to plant flowers, so each kid will get his own sunflower seeds to plant (probably three each for a total of nine sunflowers).

In our front yard, there is a large tree, right smack in the center of the yard.  Jonathan is going to outline a circle around the tree and fill that circle with flowers from the wildflower shade mix.  Then I am going to plant strawberries around the wildflowers for a pretty and productive plot.  The remaining shade mix is going to go on the north side of the house (which doesn't get a lot of sunlight).

Our driveway is flanked by the street by two large boulders, each set about two feet away from the driveway itself.  The area around the boulders is bare dirt, very unattractive!  So James and Jacob each picked a side of the driveway, and they are going to split the other wildflower mixture and plant around the boulders and up the driveway on either side.

I'll be the one doing most of the digging and soil loosening, but the boys will do the actual planting and watering of their flowers.  I think it's a simple project that will look great, and give the kids a sense of responsibility and pride in the property.  It will also be beneficial to the honey bees in the area (and since a lot of honeybee populations are dwindling, scientists have actually asked people to plant flowers this year to help the bees, so the boys will develop a sense of community as well as charity).

The veggie garden will be in the back yard, hidden from the street.  I plan to have three long raised beds in which to plant.  That's enough for starting out, don't you think?  After all, this is my first year gardening.

Our landlord is a truly awesome man for allowing all this gardening on his property.  He could have easily said no way to all this planting and harvesting, but instead he's being totally cool and allowing it, as long as we make it look pretty from the street.  That's a reasonable restriction and I have no problem with it. He's also been great with allowing us to foster animals in this house - again, he could have easily said no way.  Most landlords would freak out at the idea of a parade of animals in their homes, doing who-knows-what kind of damage - chewing damage, scratching damage, urine damage - but Mike is an awesome landlord.

So as a thank you to Mike, I spent a little bit extra and ordered an old-fashioned lilac tree.  I'll be planting it right next to the car port, in full view of the street, and it will remain there even after we move on.  I can't wait to show it to him - unfortunately, it won't arrive until early fall (since that's the best time to plant it).  But I'm still going to enjoy showing him his new lilac.  He totally deserves it!

I sure wish spring would hurry up and get here!

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