Friday, June 28, 2019

Due to technical difficulties...

Garden Friday is taking the day off.
This computer stuff really throws me,
so I hope to be back next week.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Laundry Made Fun

A couple of weeks ago,
I was scanning some local ads on Next Door,
which is similar to Craig's List,
except that it contains items relevant to your immediate area.
It's fun once in a while to see what bargains might be out there,
or things that people are giving away that we might be able to repurpose.
It was quite surprising to find a patio set listed for $40,
so we went to see it and ended up purchasing it.
It looks brand new, 
and although I wasn't really thinking about buying deck furniture,
this just fell into our lap.
What does that have to do with laundry, you ask?
Bear with me...

 Well, one of the items on my wanna have list,
was a clothesline.
I had one in Florida, even though our HOA tried to keep us from having one.
(It's against the law to prohibit clotheslines.)
Until now, I've been making do here with one large drying rack,
setting it out on the deck to dry my clothes and linens.
Big K and I talked about how we could make a clothesline work out there,
so that I didn't have to go up and down the steps with a heavy basket of wet clothes.
We stumbled upon this folding clothesline.

One of the most appealing things about it
is the lack of packaging that came with it.
This paper, cardboard box and plastic wrapping paper
are all recyclable.  
How refreshing to have a minimal amount of packaging.

 Contained in the package is this spike which the user
can pound into the ground,
thereby eliminating the need for concrete.
It even comes with a rubber cap to place over the top
when the clothesline is removed for storage.
This prevents critters, dirt or rainwater from getting inside.
The spike just happens to fit in the grooves of our deck.

 The table and chairs I mentioned earlier?
The pole for the clothesline fits perfectly in the hole of the glass table.
Now I can use the clothesline right on the deck,
which is directly off the kitchen.
No need to rig something up or come up with some new idea 
about how to make it work in our application.
Don't you just love when things come together effortlessly?

The clothesline is retractable, so you can store it elsewhere
or purchase a vinyl cover if you'd rather leave it up.

 Another feature I love about this clothesline,
(or rotary dryer, as it's called by the company),
are the notched arms where hangers can be placed
to dry dresses, shirts or sweaters.

 There is plenty of room for a full load,
maybe even two at the same time.
This clothesline is the perfect addition to our homestead.
It makes me look forward to laundry day!

(I'm not compensated by this company,
I just like to keep the good stuff moving.)
where you can find out more about this amazing product.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Weekend Project

This past weekend, I did something I haven't done in years.
I had a sleepover! 
My bestie (and sister) lives in Concord, 
near Charlotte,
and we had a little project planned.

She's got the cutest lil' townhouse in a big subdivision.
Her backyard is more of a courtyard,
as she does not embrace her inner gardener.
Our job on Saturday was to refresh this walkway
(the grey slate stones are barely visible on the right).

One year, before we lived in NC,
we were up on vacation and staying with sister.
We actually put this pathway in for her during some down time.
Clearly, it needed some 

The weeds have been taking it over
and making it difficult to see the beautiful slate underneath.

These are but a fraction of the feed sacks I had on hand.
They have been used to make daisy totes,
but I have hung up my sewing needles for now,
so we found a new purpose for some of them.
It's all about usin' whatchya got.

The first task was to remove all of the slate
so that we started with a clear path.
Who needs the gym?

The feed sacks were overlapped to prevent weeds 
from growing back through the path.

These feed sacks are fairly thick and strong,
so we are hoping that weeds will not be able to find their way around them.
(We added weighted items to prevent the wind from disturbing them before the next step.)

A layer of brown paver sand was added on top of the sacks.
This provided a way to level out the walkway,
and acted as a base for the slate to nest into.

Using a rake and our hands,
we spread and smoothed the sand to cover the sacks.

The slate was then added right on top of the sand.
This time around, we left larger gaps between the stones.
The bonus in doing that meant that we have some leftover
for another project down the road.

The center part of this section was bermed with topsoil,
so that water will not collect in this area.
The dark topsoil was not covered in the brown sand.

After placing all of the slate on the pathway,
the grey paver sand was distributed over the stones.
We worked it in as best we could with a broom and a flat shovel.
The best tool for this job was a stiff broom,
which we didn't have on hand.
The grey paver sand also contained a lot of pebbles,
which helped to stabilize the walkway.

We raked the mulch up over the sides to cover any feed sacks that might be showing through.
Overall, it turned out better than we expected,
considering neither of us has much experience at this sort of thing.
The proof will be in the weed control it gives.
I'll be checking back with sister to see how good of a job it does.
If it works as well as I think it will,
we can start planning the next project!

"Real friendship, like real poetry,
is extremely rare-
and precious as a pearl."
~Tahar Ben Jelloun

Friday, June 21, 2019

Garden Friday

Welcome to Garden Friday,
which happens to fall on the first day of summer!
Between the veggie beds and the abundant blossoms,
there's plenty to share this week!

All of the garlic has been harvested and cured,
so I was able to make a braid for the kitchen.
Now I feel like we have a proper Italian cucina.

The variety that I ordered from Sow True Seed
was a breeze to grow and resulted in massive bulbs.
The two best will be saved for planting this fall for a late spring harvest next year.
It feels good knowing that we can cross garlic off of our grocery list.

Some of the beets were sampled this week.
The two varieties grown were Detroit Dark Red
and Golden Yellow.

I roasted them and ate them with my salads.
Absolutely mouth-watering!

 After poor results direct sowing in the straw bales,
I transplanted a few cucumbers that I had started in cell packs.
I'm hoping with a better start, they will soon take off.

 The okra also had trouble getting going in the raised rows,
so they were sown in cell trays and will be transplanted when they get a bit larger.
Hopefully, I'm not too late to get a decent harvest.

 Look how the tumeric has taken off with the onset of warmer temps.
I can't wait to take a taste of the leaves!
Tumeric is one of the best inflammatory fighters known.

 The October beans I got from Sigmon Nursery have done pretty well.
This is the first time I have grown these,
and I can't wait to see them growing on the arches.

 How thrilling it is to see the loofah finally 
beginning their ascent up the gazebo-like structure.
This fruit can be eaten when young,
and if left on the vine to dry,
it becomes the best exfoliator for your skin.


 The parsley had gone to seed a while back,
and I finally pulled it out of the raised bed
to make room for other things.
Look how thick the diameter of the stalks got to be!

 One lone cabbage (my first one ever!) awaits harvest.
I'm thinking slaw with carrots and a bit of red cabbage.

 The east side of the hugelkultur bed is full and lush
with lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, carrots, leeks and nasturtiums filling up the space.

 On the west side, newly-sown lettuce is just coming in,
with some kale and Swiss chard still holding on during the heat.


 Having had so much difficulty with germination this spring,
I decided not to chance it with the butternut squash.
This is the first time I am growing it,
so getting a good head start in cell packs seemed the way to go.

With that massive parsley gone,
the seedlings were dispersed throughout the bed.
I'm planning on building a trellis of some type
to support the vines.
Here, nasturtiums help with pest management
while adding a bit of perty to the bed.

 Another first for us is growing white sweet potatoes.
A neighbor gave me one to see if we could grow it.
I stuck the tater in water and the slips started popping up!

 Plenty of healthy roots should help them get a good hold under the soil.

This bed was topped off with good soil
and the slips were "slipped" right in!
Another trellis will be constructed for this crop,
as I like to keep the leaves of plants off of the ground.

It was so exciting to see flowers on the raspberry plants!
I've actually been snacking on ripened blueberries this week!
What a rush to be able to sneak those sweet treats that are home-grown!

 Along with all the goodies from the garden,
our eyes have feasted on so many wonderful blooms.



butterfly bush

zinnia about to open

front porch garden

dwarf bee balm

A few critters have been found on some of the flowers.
Having ordered a book from the library to help me,
I'm hoping to be able to identify some of these caterpillars.

On the rudebeckia, I spied this pug moth caterpillar.
So far, it doesn't look like it's doing much damage,
so we'll just study them and see what happens.

Nature has so many lessons for us.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Community Garden Workday for June (2019)

With sunny skies overhead on Saturday,
we had a productive workday at the Community Garden 
in Denver, North Carolina.
Our group gets together on the 3rd Saturday each month
to tend to the garden and enjoy fellowship.

The garden is bursting with color, texture and variety!
A handful of volunteers worked on a few specific tasks.
My first goal at these events, is to take pictures of what's growing.
Here's a look at the mid-June garden offerings.

The green beans look vibrant and healthy!
The crop is overtaking most of this bed.

This curly kale is spectacular!
It was so tempting to take a sampling,
but this bed is privately leased.
Folks from the community who may not have room to grow veg at home,
are able to rent beds in the community garden,
so that they can still enjoy freshly grown produce.

We were relieved to see how well the new irrigation system
is working.
It's taken some time,
but it seems that everything is getting watered evenly.

Flowers in a veggie garden are a good sign of things to come,

and this eggplant was ready for harvesting.
As a volunteer, I was able to take a few home
from one of the community beds.
It was grilled to perfection and every bite savored.

The okra along the perimeter fence
is starting to get some size to it.
No doubt these will be prolific producers,
providing those in need with ample food for their table.
Most of the crops in the community beds
are donated to the local food pantry.

It was wonderful to see the lavender doing so well.

Several types of squash are growing here,
including yellow summer and zucchini squash.

Oooops, this one got away.

The loofah is being grown in this corner bed
and will be used as part of a fundraiser for The Garden.
We have some growing at home that we will be able to donate as well.
It has recently taken off with the onset of summer-like heat.

Countless tomatoes could be found,
in all stages of ripeness.

Someone will be able to enjoy them right off the vine,
or collect them for freezing or canning.
Hoping I don't jinx anyone,
the fruit and foliage all look free from bug damage.

With a couple of us on weed duty,
we were able to tidy up almost all of the community boxes.
There will always be weeds,
we just stay at it each and every month.

Another group was laying out landscape fabric
in front of the tool shed.
This is an area where picnic tables occupy space for summer campers,
who participate in a number of activities.
Mulch was added on top of the fabric,
and we hope this will deter weeds in this area.
I'll get a picture of the finished project next month.

A gorgeous and gratifying morning's work.
It is so rewarding to spend time doing something for the greater good.
I really can't think of a better way to spend the day.

The East Lincoln Community Garden
is located at 1601 Forney Creek Pkwy
Denver, NC  28037