Try as I might…

I cannot make spinach happy. I try sowing it in the fall with the chard and kale…nope. I try with the winter lettuce. I try with the spring beans. It doesn’t take. I still try, but have nearly started to think of spinach seeds as a soil amendment.

And then there’s this guy. This guy can came up in the shade of a Thai basil and I didn’t even notice him until the basil wilted in a freeze months ago. Since then he’s grown, greened up, and gained a richness to his sheen.

I last sowed spinach in this bed two autumns past.

And they say seeds don’t last long!

A royal surprise…

I’ve been waiting, less than patiently, for months. Any progress? Any change? ANYTHING?

Then, three days ago, DH calls to me from outside, “Honey, you need to come here!” (I can’t tell from his tone if he’s found something really cool in an on-purpose way, or something really cool in a strangely-unexpected way.) I go outside.

He’s not by the main garden bed. He’s not by the compost or pomegranate or mulberry. He’s back by the grills (yes, two) standing in a large puddle of water.

“Did something burst?” I ask.
“No no, I was just watering. Look over there,” he soothes with a nod to the back corner bed.

Before I’m even there I can see what it’s going to be… Broccoli peek

Singing with color, prancing in illuminated drops of water, the broccoli has made broccoli. Purple broccoli

Even the little runt of the bed is basking in the sunlight. Little broccoli

I hope they’ve survived the freezing rain we had yesterday under their blanket! Tomorrow will warm up enough to uncover them and survey the damage.

DH has been busy(/ier)

A bit ago, a house in our neighborhood got a new deck. Their old deck wasn’t so old, and yet was left completely disassembled on the curb for pick-up. Well, DH didn’t mind lending a hand to the collection crew that week and picked it up.

What does one do with old decking? Apparently, so many things.

Work station
You set up a work station in the beautiful weather.

You might even unmake my unsightly “compost bin” (also known as “that ring of fencing in the middle of the backyard held in place by two stumps.”) No worries. I can reuse the fencing as trellis later in the season.

Compost bin
And make a more incognito one…

And even turn the compost, fill the bin, water it, and top it with leaves!

I often say aloud in the real world how very lucky and spoiled I am, and I do mean it. In so many ways, I am spoiled rotten and ever so grateful for DH.

And then, he keeps going…
New garden bed

And going!
Second new garden bed

A new compost bin and two new garden beds…I am even more excited for spring than I was before. Especially since his construction came out a lot sturdier (and more square) than my lasagna bed I built. Now if only I could decide where to put the new beds, or if I’d remembered to bring home some cardboard…

Tools Needed:
Box of screws
Free decking
Measuring tape

Bill the Sunbird

Bill, the lime tree, comes inside each winter. Most years, he serves double duty as Christmas Tree and air freshener. This year my folks gifted us with a noble fir from their neck o’ the woods and Bill was off the hook.

He spends his winter days dropping leaves and making buds. I don’t know enough about lime trees to know if this is normal behavior or not, but it’s worked for him these past years. He’s a Persian Lime, so his fruit is less tart than some varieties, larger than store limes, and on occasion it is sweet enough to simply eat. Usually we relish his hard work by adding it to drinks (fresh juice, sparkling water) or squeezing it atop Pad Thai or grilled chicken.

He is still working on one final lime from the fall season, and has gone bananas (or would it be limes?) getting ready for this year.

Lime nectar

Each flower bud starts ever so shy and tiny and then swells like a popcorn kernel. Before bursting forth into a five-pointed snowy star, a single droplet of nectar forms to attract any willing pollinators.

The nectar shines in the sunlight with hope and promise.
Bill nectar

Although with no pollinators in the house, I’m not sure it’s a necessary function for harvest as he has already set a few dozen limes and more buds are breaking.

What, if anything, do you bring indoors for the winter months?


Folks are posting this week on the theme of beginnings. Anywhere their minds may wander from there is allowable. The word “beginning” sure lends itself to mind-wandering on my part…or perhaps that’s the ninja dance party in my belly these days causing the wandering…

It is the beginning of a new year, after all, and the beginning of a new season’s garden plotting. The mail box has shifted from holiday cards to seed catalogs. My drool-inducers have shifted from mac ‘n cheese to photograph after photograph of plant porn. (Ok, I lied, I will still drool over homemade mac n’ cheese…) My dining room table has let go of the wrapping paper and ribbon station and moved on to the inventorying of current stock.

The beginning ebbs and flows. Is the beginning the seed catalogs arriving? Or when I begin drafting on graph paper? Or when I pour the seed starter from the bag into the trays and smooth out the surface?

For today, let’s say the beginning is pulling out my seed stock and reacquainting myself with old favorites and rekindling excitement over new experiments to come.

Things I learned from this beginning? For still not liking to eat tomatoes (I try to like them every year, I do!) I sure have a lot of tomato seeds…*cough* twenty-three varieties…*cough*