Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekend Warrior Progress

Josh's work is done!   Bromeliads repotted
I'd like to say I made a lot of progress, but it's just not true.  Mini gardener, Josh, stopped by on Saturday and lent his 3 year-old expertise and technique.   We managed to get a couple of bromeliads into some larger accommodations.  His system is well thought out and includes adding a bit of all-purpose time release fertilizer into the soil prior to adding the plant.  Josh made sure to tell me when it was time to get the fertilizer and add it to the soil.  He also does a nice pat down of the plant as he adds the final layers of soil once the plant is in plant explaining to you what he's doing all the while as he works.  : )  
South side bean plants
West side bean plants

I managed to thin out the bean seedlings down to a single seedling in each peat pot and moved each of the thinned bean seedling into permanent homes.  We're trying multiple locations on the lanai.  We're already seeing substantial differences among the different locations in the size of the plants.  If I had been thinking ahead, I would have done a better job of taking daily measurements and taken a baseline and measured amount of water.  You know, controlled the variables a bit better like a real scientist in a real experiment.  
Strawberry Jam
I've been making jam since... well, my jam book is from 1981.  This year I used new pots. Nothing went right.  The first batch was under-done.  How do I know?  It's not thick enough and will only be good to be used for cookies, crepes and pancakes.  The second batch was being watched by my helpful hubby and it boiled over, and turned the stove black and we spent hours cleaning the mess as well as burning the jam eventually.  The third batch, I cooked on lower heat (level 4) and still it has a slightly over-cooked scent to me.  The fourth bath, I cooked on heating level 2 and it turned out PERFECT.  My new pots and pans are really awesome, but .... they are really great heat conductors and I was so used to using the crappy heat conductors for so many years that it took me a while to adapt to good cookware.  I learned a few lessons.  Never double the recipe unless you use the recipe all the time and nothing is new.  New cookware changes preparation substantially sometimes.  Sometimes help that is offered, even from an adult, should graciously be tactfully be declined to keep marital bliss - especially when it makes your stove all dirty and you hate a dirty stove or makes the bottom of your new pots and pans black.  
Lace-Cap Hydrangea
So in summary, I still have a bunch of beans that need permanent homes, but I'm out of soil AGAIN.  Although I found a place to put the lavender using the Suncalc gadget, I did not plant it.  I managed to re-pot all of the bromeliads that needed new homes.  It looks like the Chinese Lilies have doubled this year and the Hydrangea is coming back nicely.  
Every day I walk the dog, there is a wonderful scent that finds its way to my nose along the breeze.  It comes up just as I come to the forest preserve area and I cannot find the source despite searching high and low.  The last two things I wanted to bring up today are a book recommendation: "Passalong Plants" by Steve Bender and Felder Rushing.  I purchased my copy used on and my copy was in great shape and worth every penny I paid and more.  It gives information about the plants and why they are special and provide a bit of love and humor at the same time.  Really a nice addition to your home library.  Finally, a fun activity for kids and adult gardener alike to do.  I found a cool link for creating seed bombs as a way to sharing seeds from your home garden.  This young lady gives good instructions with photos and it's a nice, original idea. 

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