Saturday, January 30, 2010

Garden Planning is Hard Work

I'm worn out from thinking, sketching, looking out the window, reading seed packets, thinking some more... you get the idea.  I'm trying to turn the garden thoughts in my head into an actual plan.  Last weekend I lost myself in the world of the Territorial Seeds website, for the first time ever, and on Sunday morning I had Julie review my selections.  After a few additions, we submitted the order, and the magical package arrived Thursday afternoon!

At the bottom of the pile you can see that they thoughtfully included a hard copy catalog, so I can peruse from the comfort of my living room chair.  They think of everything!

After pulling out the various packets, I began having what I've dubbed Gardener's Panic.  It's akin to Buyer's Remorse, but without any actual remorse.  It's just an overwhelming feeling of, "Oh god, what have I done?  Where am I going to plant all of these things?  When will I plant them?  What will I start inside and what will I direct sow?"  But this weekend I've begun tackling those questions head on, so I don't sink into an abyss of overwhelmed indecision.  I always feel better once I actually do something tangible rather than just rolling the questions and options over and over and over in my brain tumbler.  

So, what did we get?  I hear you thinking the question.  Here goes:

Seeds (mostly organic and/or heirloom):
Arcadia broccoli
Christmas basil
Black plum tomato
Boothby's blonde cucumbers
Carrots (tossed in by Territorial as a bonus)
Green ice lettuce
Green zebra tomato
Grow the Best Asparagus (book)
Guardsman onion (scallion style)
Ellagance purple lavender
Lady lavender
Lemon cucumber
Midnight ruffles lettuce
Royal burgundy bean
Silvery fir tree tomato
Creeping thyme

Live plants, shipping in warmer weather:
Lapins cherry tree
Purple passion asparagus crowns (25) 
Royalty raspberry plants (5)

Are you sharing my panic yet?  Have no fear, I've sketched out the start of a plan.  Five (maybe six) 3x8 raised beds along the side of the house, the raspberry bushes along the back wall, lavender along the front walk, some lettuce and broccoli under the living room window, cherry tree near the southern property line, behind the raised beds.  I'm also thinking of a raised bed island type garden in the front lawn for the lupine seeds I picked up last summer.  

With all these raised beds, I surfed around to price what it might cost to get some actual dirt with which to fill these yet-to-be-constructed beds, and after calculating the cubic yardage I'll likely require, found a place in the next town that seems reasonable, and will deliver what appears to be a nice loam-compost blend.  Julie asked if they would deliver it right into the raised beds, and when I told her that they would dump it in the driveway and then I'd spend the weekend hauling it to the beds in the wheelbarrow, her face alternated between horror and hysterics, but she finally settled on, "Oh, yuck!"

Still deciding what to do on the other side of the house and driveway.  One of last year's first-attempt gardens in the northeast corner is being handed over to the strawberries, which I transplanted from their containers in the fall.  It's also partial shade, so we'll see what happens there.  The other garden, right behind it, is being returned to lawn since it's what started my first property dispute with my neighbor, who feels that a corner of the garden is over the never-actually-marked property line.  

Julie's pushing for the flower garden around the mailbox, but that just seems so done to me.   Of course we'll have lots of container herbs on the back deck, for easy access from the kitchen, but the deck only gets a few hours of sun in the late morning and early afternoon.  I'm also thinking of either some large containers or small raised beds of herbs scattered alongside the house and driveway, and/or in little garden islands here and there.  Anything to reduce the lawn!  


Clearly I have more to ponder.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What To Do?

It's a cold Sunday in New England with nothing on the schedule.  There are many enticing options, however:

  • Catch up on TV and DVD's: American Idol, Caprica, Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice, BSG: The Plan, Star Trek VI
  • Bake something (or many things)
  • Transpose that googlemaps satellite shot of my yard into a template for garden planning
  • Actually do garden planning
  • Read some of the garden blogs I've recently started reading
  • Sift through the people I'm following on Twitter, to weed out the inactive ones or those that I just don't actually find as interesting as I had thought they might be
  • Pat my cat for hours on end (he requested that I add this to the list)
  • Play Wii Fit Plus (the healthy alternative to almost every other option on the list)
  • Order seeds and plant starts
  • Upload all the pictures that have accumulated on my cameras (iPhone and digital SLR)
  • Read some of the travel blogs I've been neglecting
  • Reorganize my office (who am I kidding?)
  • Read some of the books that are piling up next to my chair
So many choices.  I think a good place to start would be a nice cup of tea.  After all, it is a cold Sunday morning in New England.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Babka Success

The Babka Experiment was a success!  As noted in my previous (first) post, I had neither milk nor eggs, and it was just too freaking cold to go to the store, so I substituted what I had on hand on this day after returning from vacation: pumpkin spice soy milk and egg beaters.  The result: delicious babka that actually had no hints of pumpkin to it, or spice other than the designated cinnamon.  Click the shots below of the beginning and the finished product to see the full photo set.

Take Me to the River

I had a blog for several years, while I was in law school and after graduation.  I talked about life as a project manager by day/law student by night, about tv shows, movies, the world, etc.  But after a while I lost focus on it and drifted away.  It became a place where I would periodically link to flickr photo albums and occasionally tell an amusing story.

So I looked for something new.  I then decided to try a one year "try new stuff" project, where every day for a year I would have to try at least one new thing - a new food, a new activity, a new destination, etc.  It was fun for a bit, and I now am more likely to try out new things on a day to day basis (I can be a real creature of habit sometimes), but the blog itself was too limiting, and I stopped after 35 posts.

But I miss blogging.  What's a geek to do?  What she does best: ramble on about whatever happens to be on her mind at that moment.  It could be the planning for next year's garden, the latest episode of a show on SyFy, a tale from the road on a business trip or vacation, or the details on whatever fabulous thing is in progress in the kitchen.

Current items possibly coming soon:

  • Friday's episode of Dollhouse.  Saunders!  Bennett!  Boyd????  Eeek! 
  • The Vibram FiveFinger shoes that arrived this week.  Very cool
  • The get together later today with friends from... um... yeah - 30 or so years in the past.
  • The babka experiment.  
Let's just get started with the babka experiment now.  Jules and I just got back from vacation, so of course we have neither milk nor eggs.  I want to make a cinnamon babka, but the current temperature is -1 F outside (-18 C), so the thought of venturing out really isn't appealing to me at this particular moment. What I do have in the fridge are Egg Beaters and Pumpkin Spice soy milk.  A match made in heaven or a small slice of hell?  I'll let you know.