Saturday, July 12, 2014
Friday, April 11, 2014
We have slushed and plowed our way through winter. As spring breaks on the horizon, our thoughts turn toward growing greenery outside, specifically the garden.Now is the time for planning.
In order to enjoy an early crop, as soon as the weather breaks, cool weather seeds like spinach and leaf lettuce can be planted. Stagger the sowing and you’ll have a steady stream of salad greens all summer into fall.
Other seeds can be started indoors as early as March so they will be strong enough for transplanting outdoors after the last frost. The most common seeds started are peppers and tomatoes.
If indoor space is not an issue, go to your local home and garden supply store and invest in a good starter soil mix with vermiculite and covered trays. Or buy dry peat pellets. They come in a kit or as refills and must be soaked in water before using. The kits come with clear lids which act as a greenhouse, keeping moisture contained for the seeds to germinate.
If indoor space is an issue, it’s best to purchase ground ready plants from nurseries or greenhouses.
Outdoors, like indoors also must be considered for the garden. The most important rule of thumb is NOT to ignore the sowing spacing requirements on the plant id tags. If it says eighteen inches apart, they mean it! When planted, the baby plants may look lost planted eighteen inches apart in rows 24 inches apart. But when full grown, they will fill the space and more.
Other factors to consider are sunlight, drainage, soil type and fertilizer.
If you don’t have a spacious yard, consider planting in containers or hanging planters. You’ve seen the infomercials for the upside down tomato planters. They also have the same container for peppers. Do you like strawberries? Get a few plants and make a hanging basket.
For obvious reasons, planting zucchini or pole beans on a patio just won’t work. For most vegetables, there are dwarf or bush varieties: Patio Tomatoes, bush beans, and some cucumbers. Leaf lettuce, spinach and green onions do well on patios.
One of the most creative planters I’ve seen was made out of section of (new and clean) aluminum gutters. This works ideally attached to a fence or the side of a garage. Chained together and it can hang under a patio roof. Measure the length of gutter you want. Securely attach the end pieces and drill drainage holes. Secure it to the fence or wall and you’re ready to go. If you want several layers, you’ll need a strong, but light weight chain. The shorter the gutter sections, the fewer supports you’ll need. Just be sure they are far enough apart (height wise) for the plants to grow unencumbered.
Should you make the gutter planter, just remember there are only a couple inches for the roots to grow. Leaf lettuce, baby spinach and green onions work great.
Starting the garden takes work, but the payoff is more than worth it when you can harvest a salad from your back yard.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Saturday, December 10, 2011
By now, everyone is caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season: shopping, baking, traveling… Whatever the time, writers still do what we do best. We write.
As writers, we are all about the words. If what we’ve penned is too hard or confusing to understand, our readers will by-pass us. The quiz below is a prime example of how we can over-write. Decipher the expanded Christmas carols and match them to their correct, more common titles.
Better yet, pour yourself a glass of eggnog and share the quiz with family and friends. I did NOT include the answers. If you want them, please email me.
1. Oh, member of the round table with missing areas
3. Vehicular homicide was committed on Dad's mom by a precipitous
4. Wanted in December: top forward
5. The apartment of two psychiatrists
6. The lad is a diminutive percussionist
7. Sir Lancelot with laryngitis
8. Decorate the entryways
9. Cup-shaped instruments fashioned of a whitish metallic element
10. Oh small
11. Far off in a haybin
12. We are Kong, Lear, and Nat Cole
13. Duodecimal enumeration of the passage of the yuletide season
14. Leave and broadcast from an elevation
15. Our fervent hope is that you thoroughly enjoy your yuletide season
16. Listen, the winged heavenly messengers are proclaiming tunefully
17. As the guardians of the woolly animals protected their charges in the dark hours
18. I beheld a trio of nautical vessels moving in this direction
19. Jubilation to the entire terrestrial globe
20. Do you perceive the same vibrations which stimulate my auditory sense organ?
21. A joyful song of reverence relative to hollow metallic vessels which vibrate and bring forth a ringing sound when struck
22. Parent was observed osculating a red-coated unshaven teamster
23. May the Deity bestow an absence of fatigue to mild male humans
24. Rose-colored uncouth dolf is aware of the nature of precipitation, darling
MATCH TO THE TITLES BELOW.
a. All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth
b. Away in a Manger
c. Carol of the Bells
d. Deck the Halls
e. Do You Hear What I Hear?
f. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
g. Go Tell It on the Mountain
h. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
i. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
j. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
k. I Saw Three Ships
m. Joy to the World
n. Little Drummer Boy
o. Oh Holy Night
p. Oh Little Town of
q. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
r. Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night
s. Silent Night
t. Silver Bells
u. The Nutcracker Suite
v. The Twelve Days of Christmas
w. We Three Kings
x. We Wish You a Merry Christmas