Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Let the Planting Begin!

My mom and I finally made it out to start planting our little patch of earth. You may remember that mama had already turned the whole thing over with her pick and we spread all of our additives over the top. Well, that was intended to be day one in a two or three day gardening blitz that would immediately result in a planted and germinating garden. What actually happened was that life had other plans. We ended up taking an unintentional week (or so) off, but now we're ready to hit the ground running!

It was time to spade over the entire patch (my mom and dad did that part), then rake it all relatively smooth (that was our contribution - Lily Ruth has her own rake!).

Since we had already plotted out the basics of our planting plan, we were ready to start planting tiny seeds!

My grandmother had noticed that the local bird population was VERY interested in all activities related to the raised beds. This set my mama to thinking... and worrying. Since she's already half convinced that none of our seeds will sprout (silly mama!) she set about devising some sort of covering to protect our tiny seeds from greedy bird beaks and scratchy bird toes. She and her friend Diane decided that cheesecloth was a good plan. It would let light and water in while allowing plenty of evaporation and discouraging avian foraging. After we planted our seeds, we cut the cheesecloth into strips - which is a lot like cutting nylon pantyhose (don't ask), and I wouldn't recommend it as a recreation activity - and covered each row. I think it's working!!!

The seedlings are from Diane's garden. There are lots of pepper plants and two white Italian eggplants. As far as seeds go, under the cheesecloth there are cucumbers (bottom row), two kinds of zucchini (next 2 rows), three kinds of bush beans (left side), two kinds of radishes (above the peppers), and two kinds of watermelons along the top. The plan is that the vines will begin to grow, and we will train them over the edge of the beds so that the melons will grow outside the bed and not hog all of the room :-P

My dad also knocked together another raised bed for the beautiful tomato seedlings that Diane gave us:

Ya'll we're going to have SO MUCH YUMMY STUFF!!! Even if only half of what we planted makes it, we're going to be overrun (in a very good way) with beautiful fresh food!

Speaking of beautiful fresh food, my mom made an incredible cold salad over the weekend. I want to share it with you, but it's not much of a recipe, it's more of a concept. Since I didn't make it myself, I don't have quantities. I'm not convinced that my mama would remember the quantities she used, because she cooks by feel rather than by cup. It drives my grandmother crazy. Grandmother cooks by the recipe - period. I fall somewhere in the middle, but more toward mama's end. If she remembers the quantities, I'll update the post. If she doesn't, I'll make it again later and post quantities then :-) I just want to jot this down before I forget because it was so yummy!

Linda's Quinoa Summer Salad

cooked quinoa
chopped radishes
chopped cucumber
thinly sliced green onions
petite peas
cubed avocado
orange and lemon zest
orange and lemon juice
olive oil
dijon mustard

Mix all salad ingredients - reserving avocado until just before serving. Whisk together dressing ingredients and mix into salad. Chill. Just before serving, cube and add avocado. Voila!


The rest of the weekend was similarly productive. We got both cars washed. Lily Ruth played with her water table and babbled happily. She thought it was a hoot to be in the front yard with her toys :-)

Daddy Don also mowed the grass. Lily Ruth is over the moon about the lush quality of the front and back yards! In her eyes, Daddy is even more of a hero for providing such a great playground just for her. He also put extensive amounts of time into the pool. It may even be ready for swimming by next weekend! Now I just need to get my buns in gear and clean up the landscaping around said pool so that we can navigate the perimeter. Right now, it's a bit of a jungle. Perfect for curious cats and dogs playing wilderness explorer, but not so great for toddlers or bare feet. I'm hoping that writing it down will be the impetus that I need to actually get it done... wish me luck :-P

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