Little Baia’s Beginnings of Bottled Borders

The bordering of my raised beds has begun! Thanks to our St. Patty’s day party and our beer-loving friends we had an abundance of bottles to begin the borders. I know before I said I was going to use wine bottles, but I realized beer bottles would work just as well, and we come by those quite a bit more.

I have also made quite a bit of progress in the planting. The planting phase is almost complete. There is an herb square of lavender, cilantro, chives, parsley, thyme and rosemary. (pictured above)

Shown left is the “Italian” square: various tomatoes (cherry, roma, yellow pear) and a variety of basil (lemon, cinnamon, sweet, purple).

On the right is the Squash square: zucchini, cucumber  (from seeds), and Japanese eggplant.

And on the left there is the Salad square: lettuce, carrots, radishes, green beans.  This was all seeds, so nothing exciting to see yet, except one teeny tiny sprout. Scattered in among these squares are jalapeños, sweet mini peppers, called “yummy” peppers, and red chilies.

Still a lot to do….plant flowers, add mulch, build an entrance, paint boxes…But the time-crucial to-do’s are done and I can enjoy watering and nurturing those little sprouts that pop up!

Springyness

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Within just a few days of warm weather, everything is in bloom! My petunias are spilling over pots like crazy. The vinca vine is no longer content to hide in the corner, choosing instead to draw attention by its purple flowers. From the octopus agave shooting an insanely tall bloom into the air to my potted nasturtiums flaunting their edible orange flowers. The purple-leaf plum tree is displaying cherry blossom look-a-likes. Even our mulberry tree out front is giving us a peek of its leaves-to-be.

Little Baia

Here is my garden, or Little Baia, in phase two of its construction.  Zucchini, cucumber, carrots, lettuce, radishes, and green beans will be planted from seed. Tomatoes, peppers and various herbs will be transplanted in.  I started to plant some seeds today but the wind blew those plans away.

After the plants are in the ground, phase 3 can begin. I can work on the pretty things. I plan to have an arched entrance into this space. I also will move my large wood boxes (used for my previous gardening) into this space. I think a  bench would look nice in there too. And the final touches will be planting various perennial flowers.

Hooray for Little Baia!

Inspirational Seeds

When it comes to planting something new, I am not the most patient of gardeners. I rarely use seeds, choosing to buy transplant-readies instead.  However, after planting some sunflower and basil seeds, I am inspired to start from seed more in the future.

There is something magicalicious about tossing seeds into freshly turned dirt. There is therapy in raking the soil to expose its underbelly.  There is beauty in the random fashion seeds fall.  There is hope for their survival. There is excitement for what they will become.

When I plant a seed, I think a little of myself is planted along with it.

Inspired by Pythagoras

In high school, I earned mostly straight A’s. One exception was geometry. I struggled with that damn subject. Yesterday, geometry came back to haunt me. I needed to make a 4 foot square (but turned to look like a diamond) in the exact middle of a huge rectangle space. I tried and tried to get it centered, but each time I failed. Then I remembered there was a formula I knew, once upon a time, to find the diagonal of a square. I remembered that I sucked at geometry, I remembered that the formula had a’s b’s and c’s in it…. a + b = c? No, that’s not it… a + b = c/2? Nope. Finally, I gave in and called Phil who very gently and non-condescendingly figured it out for me using the correct Pythagorean theorem of a2 + b2 = c2 (he also had to tell me that’s what it’s called).  Then he even converted it into inches for me.  If only I had called him sooner. And then I was once again back on the inspiration train instead of the de-inspiration train (that’s an express).

So, as you can see, my little flagstone square turned out beautiful, and, *gasp, right in the middle of the space! I have never done anything of this sort before. I dug out the square, smoothed in the paving sand, arranged the stones, jumped on them real hard to test them out (that was not in the instructions….not that I was using instructions anyway).  I also put a few plants in there to grow in between the cracks. Up at the top corner is mint. Below that is a creeping phlox, and at the bottom is a creeping wire vine. Wee babes as this point, but they will grow quickly.

How is this a garden, you may wonder? It’s the center for my garden. On each side of the flagstone will be a 4×4 raised bed. I am going to make the borders for these out of empty wine bottles. So calling all winos out there….I need your empty bottles. If you’re not a wino, please start drinking wine.

Inspirations

just gotta smileSince the name of our blog is “InspiredMumblings”, I’m currently  inspired to mumble about my inspirations. And, I think to myself, what a witty theme to flavor my future blogs. Because, yes, I’m going to write more entries.

So, I’ll start with some of my inpirings from the last two months.

Veggies

I have a delightful crop of spinach, although I’m learning you need to plant a lot of it to have a constant supply. I also had one random head of romaine pop up.  Must have been leftover from my attempts last spring.

I also planted a red bell pepper, but have failed to see them reach the large sizes you are used too. While waiting for them to grow more, they end up wilting and dying. I let them just die, hoping they will drop seeds.

I recently bought a yellow pear tomato plant and have lots of greenies on there, so I’m excited for those. I have never tasted a yellow pear tomato (they are grape sized).

I highly recommend a lemon thyme plant. I do not like thyme, but I love this lemon thyme! Delightful to throw into almost any dish you cook! Which leads me to my next inspiration….

Cooking

I have this cookbook, The Naked Chef Takes Off, that I’ve had for years and have never used, mostly because of its daunting recipes and hard-to-find ingredients. However, I finally delved in and found the recipes not too daunting and the ingredients not too hard to find! Such endeavors have included:

Mary’s Saturday Soup: A soup with dumplings that included lamb, sweet potatoes, yams, butternut squash, carrots, coconut milk, okra and chilies! As he (Jamie Oliver) says, “scrummy”.

Pan-toasted almonds with a touch of chili and sea salt: Just what it says. Delightful, except I burned my mouth off with the red chilies. Should’ve seen that coming, since I do not handle spicy well.

Mozerella, prosciutto, and basil pizza: using a pre-made dough from Sunflower Market, fresh mozerella balls, and well, the other ingredients in the title….yum.

And finally… many various pasta recipes using pancetta, proscuitto, and pangritata. All delightful.

One more recipe from just good ol’ Betty Crocker – My brilliant version of chocolate chip muffins. I used 60% cocoa chips in the recipe. Then I took the cinnamon streusel topping from the blueberry muffin recipe and sprinkled that on top. The results? Addictive. I have now made two batches which I have consumed almost entirely by myself.

Bulbs:

For the first time I tried planting bulbs. Guess what are peeking their shoots out of the ground? Irises and daffodils! I currently have four blooming daffodils in a jar on my counter, cheering me up every time I look at them.

No iris blooms yet, but I’m waiting impatiently!!! I planted these bulbs in the fall, but I recently planted the rest of the bulbs into little containers and they are sprouting inch by inch. This was not planned, but will stagger my blooms well into the spring (I hope!).