Monday, May 24, 2010

Passing the Torch

My grandmother is 82 and unfortunately struggling to find the energy to garden this year. Her breast cancer has regenerated in her spine and her lungs and the treatments have caused her to turn to strictly gardening in containers. For my birthday my grandmother ceremoniously passed the gardening torch to me.
box of grandma's seeds
This is her box of seeds. The containers are various jam jars, baby food jars, etc. that she cleaned out to reuse. My grandmother is a spectacular woman who was born the year the stock market crashed in a tiny town called Cow Creek, Kentucky. In 1950 she moved up to Michigan to find work and started working at the Willow Run assembly plant (the very same plant where the original "Rosie the Riveter" worked during WWII). But I digress...

The point is she came from very humble means and therefore learned to reuse and save everything and only take exactly what she needed. I know that some of these seeds are from a few years ago and so the germination rates are bound to be quite low, but every time something sprouts I will smile and think of my grandma. I can picture her in the garden diligently collecting seeds to save for the next year's garden.
It makes me sad to know that her garden of which I have such fond memories will be no more, but I'm proud to be continuing those traditions for her in her time of ill health. I will hopefully be bringing her a share of my fresh veggies this year.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Handed down/Gifted Items

When we were putting together our home we accepted anything free from anyone looking to downsize. Nevertheless we managed to end up with a few gaping holes in our collection and skant excess money to fill them. Enter wonderful people. Lizzie is a woman I volunteer with at a museum. She donated some lovely dishes to our home and a floor lamp for the living room with no lights in it.
new dinner plates
One of our pretty new dinner plates
gifted floor lamp
New floor lamp

It's always wonderful when someone offers me something I was going to have to buy. What makes it even more wonderful is when it's particularly beautiful and an antique. The lamp I acquired is originally from the 1930s and Lizzie just had it re-wired less than a year ago so it's charming and should work for a very long time.

That's not including the gifted items I've been able to add to my garden. That post will be next.

What do you have in your house that's gifted? Do you prefer to buy things new?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Failures and Triumphs

It's been 20 days with nary a word and I feel that breaking the silence is important.

The garden has been a sight for some triumphs and failures (yes, already!) The main failure being that the grass continues to wrap its slimy roots around my edibles. It's trying to conquer the corn and is gaining ground on my blueberries and raspberries. But enough about the enemy, let's talk about some of the success I've been having!

When I planted the 4 Pak Choi plants, two were thriving and two looked dead. I went ahead and planted the two dead looking ones in hopes that a good layer of compost and a little nurturing would bring them back to life. Frankenstein has his monster and these Pak Chois are mine.
pak choi
I literally did a happy dance in the garden when I saw this beautiful sight.

The Blue Corn and Broccoli both look pretty good as well.
blue corn

I noticed that some of the plants have a purplish tint to them. One of my favorite sources for gardening information, Chiots Run, said that this means the plants are lacking phosphorus. I will have to do some digging to see how I go about rectifying that. Any ideas?

The other success is that the chives I transplanted have started to flower. Call me strange, but I think chives are one of the most beautiful plants in the garden. I love the purple flowers and the mild onion smell and I put chives in everything I cook (okay, except pancakes) so it's always useful.
chive flower emerging

Finally, I will leave you with a moment of zen. As you know from previous posts I adopted two spirited (read: crazy!) kittens. I snapped this rare moment a couple days ago where they played so hard they just couldn't keep their eyes open anymore
a rare sight
In case you're wondering, that's a dining room chair they are crashing out on!

What are your successes in the garden so far this year? Anyone want to admit to a failure?