Thursday, June 2, 2011

Growin' Rowen

:-) I amuse myself with titles for these posts sometimes. :-)

The garden is coming along nicely. Dave and I are quickly ramping up our salad eating to keep up with the lettuce, spinach and green onions that are in full production. Speaking of, the green onions are a BIG success. They are so sweet and good, and haven't required any additional work on my part. The spacing seems right, they aren't looking too crowded, and I was able to pull out individual green onions without a whole row coming up. I was aiming for about an inch between them in the rows, and a couple of inches between rows. Tight spacing means we have a LOT of green onions, for a very small outlay of space. I will definitely be doing this again. I might even try it this fall if my leftover sets are still good.Above is what the garlic looked like a week ago, it's a bit more bedraggled looking now, as the wind has been gusting above 20mph almost every day since I took this picture. Garlic is pretty sturdy though, so I'm trusting it to handle the abuse.

Rowen has been learning the finer points of "stay on the path," a tough request when his crazy Momma only leaves about 8 inches for said path, then meanders it around corners to better accommodate the plants instead of the walker. :-D He's getting pretty good at it though.

The potatoes have sprouted, most of them. Yay! I'm anxiously waiting for signs of life from the middle row, but the front and back rows are mostly - partially up, so I'm hopeful that I didn't kill them all by putting them in before the last snow.

The beans have sprouted, including some of the runner beans that Rowen "helped" plant. The runner beans are entirely for the local pollinators. I'm rehabilitating some areas of the backyard from the damage the last owner left. The landlady didn't like the natural methods I was employing last year. (i.e. weeds, the neighbors complained, there was poison involved, it wasn't a good day.) So, this year I've planted tons of peas and beans in those places and I'm hoping that a bit of compost and some healthy growing things, will help them along. Next year, (if this year goes well) I'll think about planting food for us in those spots.

The cabbages are filling out nicely. We'll have 7 good sized plants this year, which makes me happy. True to my word, I gave them their own bed, with lots of space and light, so they'll hopefully do better than last year. I failed again at growing them from seed. All my little cabbage babies died in the trays. Oh well, there's always next year.

I have cucumber and black zuchinni seeds sprouted in hills on the East side of the garden. As well as a whole host of squash babies sprouting in the compost pile. :-D I may let a few of the volunteers there live, if only out of curiosity. Even though Dave might kill me. :-D

Right now Rowen doesn't seem to be interested in the the sprouted plant babies. I'm not sure he comprehends that those tiny green leaves are from the seeds that he helped put in the ground. It's a tough concept, and 2 is probably a bit early for it. So, we'll keep trying. Right now I mostly try to keep him from walking on them. He is very interested in tools. He sees me and Dave use tools, and we have a set of small plastic ones that he can use, but he totally knows the difference and it's increasingly hard to get him interested in the small plastic ones, when he knows that he wants the big serious ones. To this end, I'll usually let him help with the hoeing, which usually consists of me helping to hold the weight of it, while he furiously works to make it go up and down. He also gets to help push the mower over shorter grass, again with me or Dave doing most of the work. (It's a push-reel mower, don't call DHS on us.) Usually a few minutes of this and he'll decide he's helped enough and will let us take control back. I sometime have to catch myself, when I start to get irritated with the delays and interruptions, and I have to remind myself that this is early training and NOT a waste of my time. In ten years no one will remember if I got the side lawn totally mowed on Friday night, but Rowen will remember getting to help with the mowing, and it'll make transitioning that chore to his responsibility a bit easier.


Jon Lorisen said...

"It's a push-reel mower, don't call DHS on us"

- That was worth an official "lol"

I really hate lawns. I'm heavily allergic to cut grass and if I ever end up buying a house with a lawn, I look forward to the day I can pull it all up. Of course, I'll have to pay or beg someone to do it for me. That or borrow some MOPP gear!

We used to have a sort of lawn in a house we were living in a few years ago (company housing). I mowed two or three times a summer to keep the lawn/weeds a little under control. I remember going out one time and being all pleased at escaping the bugs; I wasn't even feeling that ill. Then I looked down and had one of those surreal moments "hey, I thought I was wearing a t-shirt?" My arms were so covered in black flies I actually thought they were sleeves. The swelling and welts took a long time to do down. That was the last time I ever mowed up here!!

Jennie said...

Ick Jon.
Yea, I am pretty fond of Iowa. We get enough cold weather to keep the bugs in check, without the crazy long winters and hordes of black flies that y'all seem to have.

If I owned this house I'd be tearing up the lawn in a heartbeat. We're renters so we have to be more discrete. So far the landlady hasn't noticed that all the gardens expand at a rate of 6 inches per year. :-D :-D

Jon Lorisen said...

You're putting in a lot of work for a rental, hopefully your landlady appreciates it - or at least keeps not noticing, lol.

Wow, cold enough to keep away the bugs but still a summer...sounds like real heaven. There's a lot of beautiful places to live in the U.S. but I couldn't really imagine leaving Canada. Not that the U.S. would want me anyway!

My Dad moved to Utah a few years ago and I am constantly fretting about it. The health insurance costs are high, took him a long time to find work (after a very long wait for his green card), the economic outlook appears poor - it all looks so gloomy from up here. We see too much of the doom and gloom though and not all the great things.

It's the health insurance that seems the worst to me. Even though he does have insurance, with all the copays, limitations, deductibles and crap, well, he's not getting any younger and a huge bill would wipe him out. We'd have to wheel him out of the hospital on a gurney and run for the border.

Jon Lorisen said...

I should mention the bugs aren't usually as bad as my little story indicates. Or at least, not that bad in town. This year has been excellent so far thanks to our June snowfall and continuing overnights of below freezing temperatures. WOOHOO!

Long term, I am now considering buying a yurt and moving to Iowa. Why a yurt? I have no idea, I just really like saying yurt.

Jennie said...

Yea, I am putting in a lot of work for the rental.
The way I figure it, just because I won't live here forever doesn't mean I should limit my gardening.

I think I might write a post about this. :-D

As for Iowa being heaven, well, it has it's downsides, most notably a slight dearth of arts and culture, and a willingness to destroy water/soil in the name of corn and soybeans and feedlots. C'est la vie, n'est pas?

You are welcome to come and visit anytime! Hubby and I have thought many a time about a trip up North.

Don't even get me started on health care.. that's a rant that doesn't stop. :-P

Funny you mention a yurt, one of my crazier friends had the idea to live in a yurt here in Iowa a few years ago. He found one he liked and could afford, but when he started digging into the ordinances for the county, he was going to have to put down a concrete slab for the yurt to rest on, and a few other really ridiculous requirements to keep it legal, and all of that upped the cost to the point that he couldn't do it. It was really regrettable.

Jon Lorisen said...

I've lived in company housing for 12 years. I couldn't afford to buy a home here or even rent one if it wasn't subsidised by the company, I pay a flat rate. I don't even know what this place rents for, the last place we were in was a dump in the bad part of town. Was big for here though, a 3-bedroom rowhouse and I think it was $2300+utilities. I believe rents have dropped now but they are still too much.

I have no major desire for home ownership. I refuse to get an enormous mortgage. A lot of headaches, a lot of money....but the freedom is a nice idea. I wanted to put in some eaves troughs for rain barrels and the real estate company flipped out about it. They even tried to make me take down a shed I put up at the last unit. If you saw the state of that place and what this town looked like, well, hitting the building with a wrecking ball would be an improvement yet they are worried about a shed?

Good for you, keeping up the gardening. That would be a great post, rental home gardening. I've been meaning to write about rental preps for a while but have nothing clear in my mind right now. So many things are all about getting your own bunker on junk land or about the suburban mcmansion prep. What about sustainable living from a rental?

LOL, I don't even remember what arts and culture are. The main source of entertainment here used to be bar close. People would actually load up the family and park across the street from the old dance bar (torn down now) Friday and Saturday night to watch the parking lot action. I have vague memories of live theatre...of the symphony...


I actually did see a play this decade, I saw a very entertaining production of Fiddler on the Roof in Salt Lake City about a year ago. Hopefully we can see something again this trip.

Yuck, feedlots.

Sometimes I think corn must be about the worst crop imaginable. Corn and cattle in places they should never be farmed/ranched have destroyed so much land it's unbelievable.

Parlez vous francais? Demenager (or is it emigre?) au Canada?

It's OK, most of us can only mangle a few words, we'll still let you in. All you need to know are the key phrases:

Ou est la salle de bains? (always important)

J'aime le hockey! (I hate hockey)

J'adore Don Cherry! (that idiot)

Ou est mon chien de traineau? (not sure if that was right)

I've actually been dogsledding. It's awesome.

Mon igloo est froid. (I have yet to be in one of those)

Americain biere est pour les mauviettes. (sorry, couldn't resist)

I'd love to come visit Iowa someday. I wish I could spend time every state, such a beautiful country, so much to see! I've only been to 10 or so and mostly just driving through on the way to Texas or Utah. I haven't travelled as much as I would like, so much to see in North America still let alone abroad. I've only been overseas once, spent an amazing couple of weeks in Japan. Fulfilled a childhood dream there, I could have spent months!

You should definitely come north. Go to the Yukon, beautiful area and a lot for tourists and visitors. I love Dawson City and Whitehorse. Have you been to Canada before?

Mental note: avoid health care, avoid health care, stop laughing about "socialist obamacare" aka bad 1990s republican health care plan that only appears socialist to...OK, stop right there...avoid health care...stop laughing about death panels...avoid health care...

I find it frightening that a large percentage of Americans consider Obama a Socialist.

A pad for a yurt!? That would totally defeat the purpose. I was actually half seriously looking at this company once, they claim to make all-weather yurts:

Cathryn said...

When your garlic dies then its ready to harvest! No worries if it isn't looking as good as it used to.

Jess said...

I read just a bit of your exchange here with Jon... and I have to comment on putting so much work into a rental. Of course, it is admirable. But even more so, it speaks to how ingrained gardening is in your blood. Some of us just MUST plant, improve the soil, put perennials in... even if we won't be there in a few years to see what happened...

Jon Lorisen said...

@Jess, thanks, I never thought of that. I admit it, I've never loved gardening so much that I had to do it. It's more forcing myself to do it because I think it is important.

Mama Bean said...

I enjoyed reading your comment-versation with Jon :) I lol'ed at "It's a push-reel mower, don't call DHS on us" as well! I lived in Iowa for three years and now am back in my home country of Canada, so it was a fun exchange to read :)

We are teaching our Bean about staying on the paths and using real tools and not stepping on the plants as well - it's a process! Definitely worth it.
I hope your rehabilitation with the peas and beans and composting works :)

The author said...

You have such fun comments on here! In the 2 rentals I had that had yards, I was the renter calling up saying, "Can I tear up some yard to garden?" To my surprise they said yes and it grew alot in the imperfect spaces. It's my dream to one day have all garden and no yard. It's just a dream, my hubby would never go for it. Your garden looks beautiful. :)

Shayne said...

Rowen is learning a lot from you letting him help. In a few years, he'll be picking out his own seeds and keeping track of his seedlings most anxiously.

We have a reel mower too. It's a great tool!

Kirsten said...

you are right - not a waste of time at all! sounds like he is learning some valuable lessons and creating some wonderful memories.

we are still trying to teach our 7yo to stay on the paths, lol. :)

Kindra said...

It's great that you are teaching Rowan about gardening at such a young age!