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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Crocheting Summer Baby Blanket

Photo: Crocheted Summer Baby Blanket

I am crocheting a light, lacey crib blanket this summer.  I have been taking my time doing a little here and there, and I can see this becoming a regular thing because I find it so relaxing.

I am almost done with my first ball of LION BRAND Babysoft yarn in Pink Lemon, and I am about half way done with my project so I will probably end up using one or two more balls of yarn to create a 27" x 38" crib blanket with decorative edging.

For you crocheters or soon-to-be crocheters who like this pattern just look up the "Snapdragon Snitch" pattern from "63 Easy-to-crochet Pattern Stitches" by Leisure Arts (#3916), ISBN 1-60140-209-0.  It is one of my favorite crochet pattern books, and it only cost about $5.  Not only are the patterns beautiful, but the author also does a great job explaining how to create basic stitches and provides clear directions on how to create these patterns.  

Other Crochet Pattern Stitches Books by Leisure Arts:

63 More Easy-To-Crochet Pattern Stitches (#2146)

Leisure Arts-Easy-To-Crochet Pattern Stitches (#555)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fennel Seeds Ripening

Photo: Fennel Seeds Ripening

The fennel seeds are ripening.  Hopefully, this time I can harvest a good amount of fennel seeds before the birds make a snack out of them.  I am going to use the seeds to flavor meats and possibly make fennel tea.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Drought brings back memories of 1988 crop losses

Article Written By Christine Stebbins  | Reuters 
Just one year ago Jeff Scates saw the worst flooding on his southern Illinois farmland since 1937. Today, Scates is watching his corn fields shrivel from the driest season in 24 years.
"We've gone from one extreme to the other, from being flooded on three-quarters of the farm now to a drought," said Scates, 42, who with his family members farms 15,000 acres of corn, soybeans and other crops along the Kentucky-Indiana border where the Ohio and Wabash Rivers meet.
Scates said his corn is still in better shape than many fields of his neighbors, who farm sandier soils that do not retain moisture. Moisture is needed to develop a strong root system to sustain plants in the hottest months of July and August.
He says this growing season is reminiscent of the summer of 1988, when the central Corn Belt had significant crop losses. Field conditions were hot and dry early this spring, similar to what happened 24 years ago when local crops, especially corn, were disseminated by lack of summer rains.
"Clearly it's one of these nasty droughts. If it doesn't surpass 1988, it certainly is going to rival it or be among the so-called great droughts we've had in the past 30 years," said Bob Nielsen, extension agronomist at Purdue University, who recalled his time as a crop advisor in 1988 to Indiana farmers....

For Full Story, click here.


Photo: Chervil Seedlings

My chervil plant produced a bunch of seeds.  I just stripped them right into this area in the garden, and now I have a whole bunch of chervil seedlings.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

First Crop of Grapes

Photo: Grapes Developing on Vine

After three years of waiting, our grapevine has finally produced three bunches of grapes!  They have not fully matured yet, but I had to capture this moment before the birds start pecking at them.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Succulents in a Shell

Photo: Succulents in a Shell

My friend gave me this beautiful succulent arrangement that she made herself!  I love how she arranged the succulent cuttings in this large shell.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Compost Surprise

Photo: Strawberry Plant

Photo: Mystery Plant

I fertilize my plants weekly with compost tea (i.e., water mixed with finished compost).  I allow certain seeds to enter my compost bin, and as you can see some of these seeds have made a home in my garden.  

I identified the first one as a strawberry plant, which I will happily keep.  I am also going to keep the second set of plants just to see what it is.

Continuous Sunflower Blooms

Photo: Successive Plantings of Sunflowers

The sunflowers are blooming against the fence.  I used last year's harvest of sunflower seeds.  The new flowers are smaller in size, and it is probably due to lack of consistent watering and over crowding.  I just threw a bunch of seeds in a row and covered it with soil.

I actually prefer the smaller sunflower heads for floral arrangements.  I planted a new row of sunflowers right in front of the old one.   I am staggering the plantings so that I can have a wall of continuous blooms.

Harvesting Scallion or Green Onion Seeds

Photo: Last Season's Scallion Seeds Sprouting

Photo: Scallion or "Green Onion" Seed Head

Turn left over green onion stalks into a whole bed of scallions.  All you have to do is plant the unused scallions in the soil, and allow at least one stalk to thicken and flower.  The flower will eventually form seeds, which you will use to plant a new bed of green onions.  You can continue to take cuttings from the other scallions for cooking.  

You will know when the seeds are ready to be harvested when the stem of the plant turns yellow, and you may even see some of the black seeds ready to spill out.  

Cut the stem under the seed head during a dry time of the day.  To save the seeds all you need to do is shake the black seeds into a bag or shake the seeds directly into your garden bed.  The seeds should sprout within a week as long as you provide adequate water.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

Garden in a Bottle

Creating the garden
The first step in bottle gardening is to clean and wash the bottle thoroughly with running water and soap. Using a paper funnel made of newspaper, place a thin layer of charcoal, a layer of pebbles and then coarse as a drainage medium....

To learn more about how you can create your own garden in a bottle, click on the following link

Original Post: Manila Bulletin