Garden Update

August 15, 2009
What I planted

What I planted

I committed to planting a garden this year in my quest for a Martha life. You might remember it didn’t start out so perfectly when I planted my seedlings (which I grew myself) and we got a late frost which wiped them all out. I replaced them with store bought plants. My tomatoes and peppers are continuing to grow, but aren’t ready for picking yet (no tomato blight in sight at this point). I’ll update everyone when we have some things ready for harvest.

I did add one interesting thing to the garden. I had an onion in my pantry that

What we got

What we got

was sprouting some green. Instead of throwing it out, we stuck it in the ground. It grew! And a few days ago, Dude Martha went out and dug a clump up for me (there’s one more clump out there still) when I ran out of onions and needed them for dinner. The clump had three small onions in it. I used one and have saved the others.  It was pretty exciting to use onions we grew ourselves. I didn’t notice any difference in taste, although this was a dish where the onions were only background.  It was quite fun to pull onions out of the ground after sticking some in on a whim. In fact, I’m amazed it grew since I don’t have much luck with gardens in general.

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Starting Over

May 17, 2009

garden deadLast weekend we planted the seedlings I had been growing in the house for over a month. And immediately we had a serious frost. Almost everything died.  I know Martha has all sorts of frost-prevention items – little paper hats she puts over things, etc. If I had known it was going to have  a frost I would have at least tossed a blanket over the garden, but I had no idea.

gardenreplantSo, yesterday we were at Walmart and I grabbed a few replacement plants so we could try again. I have to say this gardening thing is already quite discouraging!

It’s definitely much easier to buy the plants already started than to do it yourself from seeds – sorry Martha!

Gardening update

May 11, 2009

gardening1I’ve committed to spending more time on the gardens this year – flower and vegetable. Here is a before photo of a horrible disaster of a flower garden that has become overrun with weeds. It was just out of control. Now, I am sure Martha would be able to give me exact instructions about how to take control of it. Instead, we did what Martha most likely does – pay someone to do it for us!

Our lawn/garden guy came with a rototiller and tilled it and raked out the weeds, after we dug out the  plants we wanted to save. He mulched it and then we went and replanted the plants and bought a few more. I’m hopeful that it garden newwill look decent the rest of the year.

As for the vegetable garden, I started my seeds indoors about a month ago and this weekend we moved the plants outside. We dug up a small part of the yard, covered it with a biodegradable paper and put a fence around it (we have aggressive deer and rabbits).  We’ll see how it does. Part of our problem in the past has been that garden vegwe take very good care of it but then go on vacation at the end of July/beginning of August and it all goes to hell.

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Lilac Love

May 10, 2009

lilacHappy Mother’s Day to all the moms reading this. On Martha’s show Friday, she made an arrangement of lilacs using a bowl and a vase together (this is also in May Living, page 50). Our lilacs are just in bloom, so I decided to give this a try. Of course, it was complicated by several factors. First of all, I don’t have a pedestal bowl and a vase that matches it. I do not have floral tape. I am also not a very talented flower arranger. I tend to prefer to leave my flowers growing outside, where they last longer. If I do pick them, I tend to just stuff a few in a vase.

I used an actual snipper thing to cut them with instead of wrestling with scissors. I found a pink bowl and pink vase to use, but the bowl has no pedestal and the vase is not very tall, so it didn’t come out looking like Martha’s.

The best tip I picked up from Martha’s demo was that you are supposed to smash the ends of the flower stalk so it will last longer. I never knew that and in the past, my lilacs have never lasted more than a day or two. It will be interesting to see if they last longer this time.

I’m not really wild about my arrangement. It’s ok. I love the lilacs and will enjoy looking at them and smelling them though. While I was cutting them, I was thinking of my grandmother, who just passed away. I remember helping her cut them behind her house, and seeing her arrangement on her dining room table.

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Making a Martha Calendar

May 6, 2009

Lots of people are wild about Martha’s calendar, which has reappeared at the beginning of Martha Stewart Living. I have a calendar, but it’s just appointments and events – not household things. So, I’ve decided to follow Martha’s lead and make up a calendar for May. I’ve tried to think ahead and plan out what tasks will need doing when, but it’s hard to know. It will be interesting to see how closely I can stick to this.

F 5/1 House cleaning

Sat 5/2 garden clean up, clean garage, wash winter coat, walk dogs

Sun 5/3 seal deck, put away snowblower, walk dogs

Mon 5/4 morning walk, daughter’s prom dress fitting; buy Mother’s Day gifts

Tues 5/5 morning walk, webinar with one of my publishers

Wed 5/6 morning walk, son’s piano lesson, use new pet hair remover on furniture

Thurs 5/7 morning walk, phone interview, return items to store

Fri 5/8 daughter’s AP exam; house cleaning

Sat 5/9 clean porch furniture, plant vegetable seedlings in garden, put up awning, buy hanging plant baskets, buy new carpet for front porch, walk dogs

Sun 5/10 hang hanging plant baskets, cut lilacs,  Mother’s Day dinner with my parents, walk dogs

Mon 5/11 morning walk, son’s chorus concert

Tues 5/12 morning walk, daughter’s AP exam, dentist appointment

Wed 5/13 morning walk, son’s piano lesson, wash comforter

Thurs 5/14 morning walk, cook for tomorrow’s party

Fri 5/15 son’s dance and sleepover, daughter’s prom and post-prom party here, download Paypal reports, house cleaning

Sat 5/16 party clean up, plant herbs, walk dogs

Sun 5/17 replace basketball net backboard, buy perennials for new garden, walk dogs

Mon 5/18 morning walk, kids’ dentist appointment

Tues 5/19 morning walk, clean inside of dishwasher

Wed 5/20 morning walk, son’s piano lesson

Thurs 5/21 morning walk, clean out refrigerator

Fri 5/22 housecleaning, wash insides of wastebaskets around the house

Sat 5/23 clean windows,open pool, walk dogs

Sun 5/24 go to the lake

Mon 5/25 Memorial Day

Tues 5/26 morning walk, MSL Radio Morning Living appearance

Wed 5/27 morning walk, son’s piano lesson

Thurs 5/28 morning walk, son to camp with his class

Fri 5/29 house cleaning, make vet appointment

Sat 5/30 get new keys made, trim lilacs, walk dogs, clean behind beds

Sun 5/31 order new parts for grill, clean curio cabinet in bedroom, walk dogs

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Gardening Update

May 4, 2009

gardeningI have pledged to grow a vegetable garden this year, in my quest to be like Martha. Not having a very green thumb, it is a challenge. I started my seeds indoors as Martha instructed. They came up nicely. Since I fear it is still too soon to plant outdoors, I still have them inside. I planted a few more seeds, including pumpkins, which have taken off like crazy. The funny little patch of what looks like grass is watercress. I bought a pack of it at the store and it came with the roots intact, so  I thought I would stick it in and see if I could get it to grow.

Next weekend I think we will get these things in the ground and see what happens.

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Green Thumb?

April 11, 2009

In what will be a continuing series, I want to share with you my garden progress. When I was recently on Martha Stewart Radio, Morning Living, I mentioned that one of my big upcoming Martha projects is a garden. My father is a marvelous gardener and produces mass quantities of vegetables each summer, all summer. I love having fresh veggies in the garden, but Mr. MarthaandMe have never quite gotten the hang of it. When we lived at our previous house we tried to have a garden, but having a toddler and busy jobs meant we didn’t really tend to it well. After we had lived here for a few months, we attempted a garden. We grew some very nice pumpkins (on our pumpkin tree as we called it, since the the vine grew up into a tree!) and not much else. We just aren’t so good at regular watering and weeding.

greenhouse1We’ve made do with some tomatoes and peppers in pots and a tiny little herb garden since then. This year, I am going to try to live up to Martha’s expectations and have a somewhat real garden.

I got started by buying an indoor greenhouse (covered tray) and some seeds. I planted my seeds and lo and behold in about a week, things started to sprout! So far, so good. We’ll see what the rest of the season holds. greenhouse2(yes that appears to be mold growing with my plants – not really a good sign).

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A Year of Flowers

January 17, 2009

As I’ve mentioned before, the January issue of Martha Stewart Living really was a hit with me. There are just so many things in the issue that strike a chord or just work for me.

On page 88, there is a heart-stoppingly gorgeous section called A Year of Flowers, which shows a flower arrangement for each month of the year. I nearly keeled over with delight. For the past several years, for Christmas, I have asked for membership in one of those flower of the month clubs (but have never gotten it). I want the one that sends you a live flowering plant each month. The problem is they are really, really expensive – $500 a year and up. Eek.

I do occasionally treat myself to something I see at the grocery store. Last weekend I bought a tulip plant. In the spring I often haul home other flowering potted bulbs.

When I have fresh, live flowers in the house it makes me feel so cheerful. I would love to have one delivered to my doorstop every month to enjoy.

If anyone has a recommendation for which “club” to join, I would love to hear about it. Maybe next year I can talk Mr. MarthaAndMe into buying it for me! Or perhaps I will invest in it myself as a mental health necessity!

No Green Thumb

January 11, 2009

Martha, you’ve really got me this time. Pages 52-56 of January Living are all about diagnosing problems with houseplants. Oh boy, do I need this! Let me just say this is all a little embarrassing! My grandfather ran a very successful greenhouse business, now owned by my uncle. My father plants the world’s largest garden every summer, and my mom has a house filled with houseplants. Obviously, the green thumb gene was not passed along to me.

I have a long and troubled history with houseplants. I like having them very much – not only because they are pretty but because I firmly believe they are important for air quality. Sigh. Too bad I can’t keep them alive for anything.

Last year Mr. MarthaAndMe bought me a beautiful jasmine plant for my birthday (I actually told him I wanted a jade plant – hey, they both start with J’s I guess). It was dead within 6 months and never flowered again. A friend bought me an orchid for another birthday and I killed that one in a couple of months  – that also never flowered again. I used to have lots of houseplants, but I can’t seem to remember to water them and I never know how much light they need.

At this point I have 4 trusty houseplants, none of which are in the greatest condition.

Plant #1

Plant #1

Please observe specimen #1. I have no idea what this is called. It needed to be watered, which I did. I think this one falls under Martha’s “pot-bound” category. It needs a bigger pot, so I’ll put that on my to-do list. This plant has not changed in size since I got it,  I don’t think.

Plant #2

Plant #2

Plant #2 is a Christmas cactus which was started from a cutting from my mom’s plant. I have managed to keep it alive for many years, but have never been able to figure out how to make it flower. I know there’s something about putting it in a dark cool room for several months. I don’t have a room like that though. Martha has inspired me to read up on this and try to make it work for next Christmas.

Specimen #3

Specimen #3

Specimen #3 is another unidentified plant. This one has been hanging by a thread for years. It used to get really sick during the summer until I realized it didn’t really like a lot of light, so now I keep it in the living room, which is a darker room.  Earlier this fall I had a record 5 leaves on it, but now I’m down to 3, and one has collapsed.  It did need water, I’ll admit. After I watered it, the droopy stem stood back up. I wish I could get this grow more leaves though and be fuller.

Specimen #4

Specimen #4

Specimen #4 is my proudest achievement (which is totally embarrassing). This is an air fern. I bought it at Walmart one day on a whim. It has no soil and does not need to be watered.  Therein lies my success! I don’t have to do a darn thing to it. It’s in my office and I think it is fairly happy because the kids’ bathroom is right across the hall and so there is some moist air for it. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s still kicking. I’ve had it a few years.

Martha’s section on plants is a great guide and I’m going to be sure to hang on to it. Maybe it will even give me the courage to try some other plants. I’d love to have them, if only I could keep them alive!

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