Garden Gnome Ecosystems

Creating a sustainable system for gnomes to play in.


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Scenes from the First of May

We turned a page in the SCIC Global Action Calendar.

How ’bout a meat free Mother’s Day feast?

Spring arrived better than a month ago, right?

 

It snowed again yesterday.

At least there are signs of life inside:

The first seedlings for the windowsills. It’s a thicket of lettuce sprouts! Surely I’m not the only one who can’t be bothered to place every little lettuce seed into a perfectly spaced formation…

The first seedling for the garden! It’s a baby Roma!

Also, new critters arrived today.

Here is the worm house, awaiting their arrival:

I shredded the first 5 newspapers by hand.  And then my husband bought me a shredder.

The latest addition to our family of critters has arrived. They were wiggling away from the sun, sorry about the terrible photo.

Hopefully they survive…


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Tomatoes and Peppers

So, I started seeds yesterday. Two and a half weeks late. And then it snowed. Who wants to start seeds when there’s at least four feet of snow left in the garden and it’s still snowing?

tomato and pepper seeds

Seeds (cheap grocery store varieties, and one lovely locally grown heirloom variety), along with my compostable pots – a few peat pots and pellets (*cringe*) from a couple years ago, and my lazily peeled toilet paper rolls.

 

planted seeds, tucked in with my oddball recycling, and leveled with the latest issue of the Prairie Dog

Planted seeds, tucked in with my oddball recycling, and leveled with the latest issue of the Prairie Dog.  The last of my unsustainable peat pellets and pots.  From now on, it’s newspaper pots and toilet paper rolls.

They’re all fairly quick to mature, so given that they sprout, my cat doesn’t eat the seedlings, and they survive the transplanting and sub-par soil in my garden, I should be able to get a decent crop this year.  We’ll be overrun with tomatoes from family anyways, so I guess I shouldn’t worry too much. We’ll make salsa. Om nom nom salsa in the fall: the garden blog will come full circle.

basking in the warmth of a sunny window

Seeds basking in the warmth of a sunny window.

Did I mention that the sun finally came out in full force today, and I’m starting to find my sidewalk under the “we gave-up shoveling in Februaruy” snow?


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Macrame Plant Hanger

macrame plant hanger

Today was Seedy Saturday, here in my town, and I was out chatting with community members about the gardens I helped to run last summer, and trying to keep myself tied to my chair so as to avoid the temptation of tables full of local, organic, heirloom seeds. I succumbed and, bought a packet of black cherry tomato seeds.

black cherry seeds

Today was also delightfully warm. Sunny, melty, slushy, feels like spring, and it’s only March 2 kind-of-warm. Abandon plans for homework and housecleaning in order to dream about plants and make crafty plant hangers kind-of-warm.

I’d recently seen this on Pinterest, and decided that enough was enough, I needed to make something to hang plants in my sunny kitchen window. Did I mention that the sun was out today?

So, inspired by the pretty pink hanger, but lacking pink cord, and being too caught up in spring fever to try to dye the leftover clothesline I found in my junk drawer, I started in on a triple layer plant hanger.

Materials used:
approx. 20 feet of clothesline
3 small pots (3 or 4 inch)

Directions:
1. Cut four pieces of clothesline, in almost equal lengths, and fold them over to make 8 strands.

2. Tie an overhand knot to make a hanging loop at the top.
3. For each pot holder, tie four square knots (each using two strands), about 8 inches below the overhand knot.
4. Take one strand from two adjacent knots in the first level, and tie a square knot with them, a couple of inches below the first square knots. Repeat with remaining 6 strands.
5. 2-3 inches below the second row of knots, tie an overhand knot with all eight strands.

6. Repeat steps 2-5 for each tier you want to make.

The tutorial I was inspired by does a great job of visually explaining the method behind the alternating square knots, if a visual tutorial makes more sense to you. 🙂

Total cost: $0

The final product:

macrame plant hanger tassles


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Salsa and Jack the Cat

First post.  Let me introduce you to the cat, and the purpose of the blog.  I’ll be writing to track my success and failures, because I’ve failed again to keep a garden diary, and I just might do this if it yields a searchable catalogue of what to do right next year.

My first attempt at canning.  I canned salsa, with the help of Jack, the earless cat.  Or attempted to – the salsa is delicious, but the seals might not be quite right, so we’re eating 3 pints of salsa this week, and leaving one can out to test my seal.

We started with the recipe for Traditional Salsa from the Ball website, and followed it exactly.  The salsa simmered, the jars were hot, lids went on,and off again because we forgot to bubble the jars.  Back on with the lids – but I only cleaned the top edge of the jar, perhaps this is a problem – and into the the canner the jars went.  The salsa came out full of bubbles, with the solids jammed against the lid, and the liquid all at the bottom with a fine layer of solids at the bottom.  A quick google search says I might have let the salsa cool too much between the pot and the canner which broke down the pectin that holds it all together, and that’s why the food floated.  But bubbles?  Bubbles are scary.

At least it’s a high-acid food, and we won’t all die of botulism.