Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Time to share a secret plotted in my living room near the patio door with my houseplants. I'm growing organic celery. An experiment that if it works out will join the plotted garden outdoors in a planter. I love celery thanks to my mom who never used pesticides or insecticides and organic celery is so delicious like all organic food, puts the other stuff to shame. So I decided to try an experiment I stumbled upon on Pinterest and other places a few months ago.
Cutting off the stump of the celery about 3 to 4 inches, I placed it in a shallow plastic container with about 2 inches of water. Sat it as close to the patio door as I could to get as much light as possible. That was in March. These pictures are the growth since then. It bent toward the light. It started slow but as it got warmer outside it began to flourish.
From what I've learned, I can now put it in some soil. I'm going to use a planter and put it out on the patio--- not in the ground. But I think I'll wait until the danger of Frost is over outdoors. Since I'm not in Texas or other region with long warm seasons, I'll be watching this closely.
Celery loves water they say, is adverse to intense heat and drought conditions. They say it needs a long growing season. So I suppose a southern climate would be perfect. But it's an experiment so we'll see. Stay tuned. If it fails outdoors I could continue growing them in water. I don't know. Has anyone else tried this? Especially if you live in a similar growing zone as mine. Long cold snowy winters and short growing seasons.
Crunchy, soft-- instead of tough and stringy like the non-organic. It's Exactly the same as what I bought from the supermarket, just smaller. I snipped a tiny piece off today and tasted it. Couldn't help myself. It's delicious! I'll update you on the progress.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
May 7th - The Tulips are the only show in my little garden right now. I'm documenting the process. This is the other part I enjoy so much after all the dirty work of digging and planting (aching and pain) waiting and protecting them from squirrels. I removed the cage to see if the squirrel(s) would leave them alone now. So far so good. Only three blooms survived the squirrel(s). I really should have caged them earlier.
I need a Macro lens now. I'm beyond the kit lens of my newbie days. I'd also like to have a telephoto lens. Why? Some amazing birds, butterflies and other fauna come into my garden and just maybe they would allow me to take pictures if I didn't need to get so close as I do with the kit lens. The Macro Lens on the other hand would allow me to do close-up shoots of the blooms. As it stands now, I have to use certain settings and get really close to the subject to get a shot like this and still if I don't use a tripod they lose some of the sharpness and detail. By the time you download, edit, upload and post, a lot has been lost. And I'll tell you something else, I love Nikon products, but my next choice for a camera would be a Canon. More on that another day.
An overhead closeup reveals the color of the Tulip ready to burst open very soon now. Only three Tulips survived but I'm getting more this Summer. The prices go down after their blooming season is over.
I chose this Tulip to share because something has eaten through the leaf. Squirrels chomp on them and sometimes tear them, or maybe something else has attacked it. I don't know. Pest problems never cease. It's as much a part of gardening as sun and soil. Anyway I love the subtle colors like the maroon on the stem just below the bloom. As a flower photographer it's these details that attract me as much as the bloom.
There is a challenge in being a garden/flower photographer and a gardener, besides how expensive it can be. I find I have to be more organized and pay even more attention to my budget--like an accountant kind of attention.
One of my younger sisters (the baby in the family) has printed out a few of my photos (not posted on my blog) and framed them. She asked me why I'm not selling prints...or something!! She was so excited it threw me. I've focused so much on learning my craft and camera itself in order to get better at it and of course gardening, that I put THAT part of it away for now.
Running a business is future. On the surface it sounds great. But what you actually end up with are three different drains on your income, time and energy (Gardening, Photography and the business) also writing is time consuming whether you're good at it or not.
So until you can make a profit that becomes an income that will support you, one that you can live on (Yes, I'm stressing this) it's best to take your time. One thing I've learned from gardening all these years and previously owning a business is a basic lesson, when the time and season comes a garden blooms. You can't make it happen and sometimes things in a garden don't bloom at all or get killed off by something out of your control. It's the same with a business. Believe me business has not changed that much. Despite all the hype of social media as if it's an online gold rush. There are still basic elements to a successful business--especially since social media boomed. And in business, profit still rules. If there is no profit, there is no business. It's like having a baby. They take all you've got and some. Well that is another subject isn't it? But I can speak on it because I have to grown up beautiful sons. It's love and only love, that gets you through it.
Now I love an adventure too but I'm also old enough now to know an adventure can cost more than it's worth. So I haven't ruled out a business of some kind in the future (Been there done that already) and if I continue with photography, it will have to pay it's way at some point. It's far too expensive to categorize as a hobby. Photography is also a glutted market these days. I'm sure it's competing with gardening as the number one hobby.
I've had a vision for a photography business since I began but I believe in plotting a course even if it changes over time, or I decide to do something on a whim. Like a garden, there is a season and a time to every purpose. When that time comes, I'll know as surely as I know these Tulips are about to bloom. Until then I'm just going to be content and enjoy it. Contentment is highly underrated these days and it doesn't cost a dime out of your pocket to enjoy the benefits.
Monday, May 6, 2013
Are you keeping up with extreme weather and prophetic events? Being a believer in Yahshuah means for me at least, that I believe Scripture, and how close we are to His 2nd coming. Events around the Earth are happening so fast I can't keep up. I put this out there before: How can gardeners and farmers ignore the stuff happening across the Earth? Is it fear? Indifference? Afraid of losing an audience, popularity or marketing appeal? Or is it that it hasn't reached your door yet? Whatever it may be, I'm adding a label to my blog called extremeweather to archive some of these events. Extreme weather gardening and farming is here to stay. It has become the norm across the world. Scriptural end-time prophetic events that will not be ignored.
Here are YouTube links to four of the channels I keep up with. Caution: Not for the faint of heart:
(Photo: Shows the path of Hurricanes that form on the west coast of Africa coming across the Atlantic Ocean to the U.S., South America, The Islands and Canada. Not sure where I got this photo, sorry.)
Saturday, May 4, 2013
May 4th - The story of the Earth is a Garden story, but In the Inner city and urban areas in general, it can sometimes be difficult to appreciate. The buildings towering in downtown areas of large cities. Homes and apartment buildings, storefronts, crowded together. I love the city, the activity, the creative energy that goes on constantly. I live in a quieter place now and less expensive. But I'm originally from Chicago, IL. and I still miss living there.
People move fast across city streets and vehicles get stuck in traffic on city expressways. Public Transit during rush hours defy words. No time to think. Slowing down to appreciate the natural world seems almost forbidden. In cities, parks, gardens and other public places are designed into the planning to give people places to slow down, breath and think.They are almost always planned with landscapes of flowers, herbs, shrubs and trees, even with creeks where water is still and peaceful. To remember?
Our first dwelling was the Garden called Eden. It has not faded from our memory. It is estimated that there are 80 million gardeners in the U.S. alone and it is still the number one hobby. Someone remembers something wouldn't you say, even if it's subconscious?
And Elohim said, let the Earth bring forth Grass, the herb yielding seed... Genesis 1:11
In beginning Elohim CREATED the Heaven and the Earth
... בְּרֵאשִׁית (bereshit) Genesis 1:1
The word Genesis came from the Ancient Greeks and later the English translated the Bible from Greek into the English form. As they improved their Alphabet we have what we read today. But God spoke Creation into existence in an ancient Hebrew language.
Origins over time, like the geographical origin of plants became less important than the modern obsession of a godless world that would rather believe the nonsense of Evolution, where man is glorified more than His Creator.
When I took these pictures a couple of days ago, as with many I take of what is happening in my garden, I am awed by Creation, but more by the Creator. My ancestral history was replaced and re-cataloged as thoroughly as ancient plants were. The way back to my origin was hidden in a flurry of surnames given to us by foreigners who enslaved us, time replacing our language until we have no memory of it. Twisting of ancient history and suppression of the Truth of Creation is criminal.
Nonetheless the Truth can never be buried forever. It will always spring forth like the grass in Spring. The Elohim of all Creation made sure of that by sustaining the Bible through centuries of handling by foreign nations. We still have the Truth. Seed does not lie and soil will only hide the truth until it is time for seed to spring forth. Soil holds in it ancient truth that man cannot do away with (Though he tries). He tends to like his stories better than the Truth.
The essence of why I love gardening is surely wrapped in understanding the very Book He left us with, my history (and yours) in it---the Bible. Every blade of grass. Every seed flung far and wide by the wind. Every towering tree. Every bud and flower remind me where they came from and where I came from. Even a concrete sidewalk on an Inner city street, cannot keep a flower from finding a way to the surface.
In the book of Ezekiel The Creator speaks by Ezekiel to the literal land of Yisrael itself; It's mountains, hills and valleys concerning it's people scattered across the world.
Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus saith YAH Elohim, Behold I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because you have borne the shame of the heathen. Therefore thus saith YAH Elohim, I have lifted up my hand, surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame. But you, O mountains of Yisrael, you shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to My people of Yisrael; for they are soon to come. Ezekiel 36:1-8
And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced and are inhabited. Ezekiel 36:35
And a river went out of Eden to water the garden and from there it was parted and became four heads. Genesis 2:10
The heads of those Edenic rivers were/are located at ancient Havilah, Ethiopia (Cush), Hiddekel (Toward the east of Assyria) and the Euphrates. The most stunning part of this is that it is also the general region of the land promised to Abraham's descendants, His seed through Isaac and Jacob (Yisrael). Genesis 15:18
In the same day YAH made a covenant with Abram, saying, unto your seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river Euphrates...
Where people and things come from is essential. The very earth we all walk on has an ancient memory that it is currently going back to, leaving much of the world in fear, dazed and confused. Start at the beginning. That's where the Creator of Heaven and Earth started. And all the dumb stuff like fear and confusion dissipates replaced by understanding and the peace, only He can give.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
It's preparing to rain this afternoon sometime and through Saturday, so the sunlight was here and then gone. Had to take these before the rain gets here.
They're growing through the top of the cage. Now I know Tulips will thrive back here. Next I'm going to plant Daffodils around them. Squirrels don't care for Daffodils because they are poisonous for them. They generally dig up the bulbs which you can protect with a chicken wire cage until bloom. I've always wanted to grow Daffodils rather than Tulips. I'll see how growing both goes. I sectioned off a triangular part of the garden bed for them, almost one half of the plot. No, it won't be enough but in the case of these two, it can never be enough. I plan to grow other taller perennials in the rest of the bed.
I'm buying plants as I did the Tulips-- instead of bulbs. Tulips and Daffodils are perennial in the Midwest. If you can grow Tulips you can grow Daffodils.
They are both easy to grow in Midwest weather and climate because the plants originate and are indigenous to cold mountain regions of Iran, in North Africa and Asia. You may prefer bulbs but In this region it's not necessary. Warm or tropical climates, like Florida for example, generally choose bulbs. They don't have the cold winters that are necessary for Tulips and Daffodils and must use other means like refrigeration for the bulbs to winter over.
In cold regions like this you can buy blooming plants when they arrive in the nurseries or by catalog and put them straight in the ground to enjoy and leave them there. Just don't snip the leaves until the end of the summer when they turn yellow. Fall and Winter will do the rest.
I bought two plants late last Summer but forgot to cover the bulbs to keep the squirrels out. Nonetheless, I'm blessed. If all goes well this year there will be more next year and some Daffodils.
Because they need to be protected from little animals like squirrels who dig the bulbs and snap off the heads of the blooms, map out exactly where you want your Tulips and pencil in enough room for a protective cover like Chicken wire. If you choose Daffodils to plant with them remember they are both going to multiply so sketch the plot carefully. The covering also helps you remember where they're planted. Once the leaves die back there will be no visible signs of them in the soil. You don't want to accidentally dig the bulbs up.
At some point you may have to dig some of them up to put them elsewhere anyway as they spread. Neither plant is aggressive but they do some serious spreading out once established. Don't worry about it if you really want them. I'm excited and curious to see how it works out.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
April 28th - Last catch up post. I had to cage the Tulips to keep Squirrels [Rabbits?] out of them. Don't know which it was. They got to a few but you can see the growth since the first post when they were breaking ground two weeks ago. They joined the plotted garden last summer. Didn't do anything special to them. Just dug a hole and put the plants in. Squirrels tried to dig them up early Fall last year after the leaves died back, but ha ha, they lost.Wonderful thing about Tulips by the time the leaves fill out on the trees, they have received the light they need to bloom. Now I'm just hoping they do bloom.
I'll be working in this part of the garden today. This is how it looked on April 28th. Today I'm making changes in the bed to the left. Not much was back here but dirt when I moved in six years ago. Took awhile to decide the layout. Leaking gutters fill that path at the edge of the patio with rain water, which is why I raised the beds a bit. Along the brick wall is the rose garden. It receives the most Sun during the day. Still trying to get them to repair the gutters and eaves.
See the tree shadows? It's an Ash Tree at the south end (Yuk) it's a buggy thing. Another month or so the shadows will be afternoon shade. The limbs have crawled along the roof now. That's a shady spot under the Utility boxes where I moved the Impatiens to last year. Still haven't been to the nurseries to see if powdery mildew has kept them from stocking Impatiens.
The Ash has roots above ground larger than the size of my arm spreading into the garden. Along with the Pine on the left, nothing will grow there. There is also my neighbor's Silver Maple not seen in the photo, behind the Pine. It will be casting shadows too. The trees increase the bug and pest population. Good news? Also increases the bird population who eat bugs.
Since I rent I have to make sure not to make any permanent fixtures or additions to the property. The owner knows I created a garden back here. Legally that's important because whatever you put in the ground actually becomes his property. He owns the land. So when I move I can restore this to what it was before I moved in. Unless he's a jerk, there shouldn't be any problems. I could have created a potted garden but my garage is the only winter storage I have and it's on the other side of the building. Hauling pots after the season is over---not. I'm caught up for Spring. Off to do some digging. The Sun is out and the birds are singing. Hope you have a great day!
Monday, April 29, 2013
Curtis Mayfield - Here But I'm Gone
This may seem a departure from the usual content of my blog. Actually, it's a realistic addition. I've often noticed how different inner city gardeners are than say white or even Suburban. When anyone says urban it conjures up a diversity of people in my thoughts. But when you say inner-city, it means one thing--Black people or people of color.
We deal with many issues in our neighborhoods that are never seen on a tourist postcard. Family members who are drug addicts. Crime ridden-- or driven streets. Poverty. Yet we make a life and we tend gardens like everyone else. Some neighborhoods fare better than others.
In fact, we have a rich history of gardeners and gardens in inner cities that date back two to three Centuries. Unlike the history archives of white communities, these facts are almost impossible to find for many reasons. Loss of property, possessions, neighborhoods that became slums. Some areas bull dozed and forgotten. A list.
I was listening to Curtis Mayfield today and came to this song. A story though sad, many Black families in the inner city have lived. Many live in a war zone. An urban, inner-city war zone. A culture we did not create, but was created for us. A system in place even today and those who control it and keep it running deny it exists.
I don't think most who read this blog will even be able to relate. It's how we turn grief into poetry to make it bearable. You may find this song sad and depressing but it speaks to a reality we deal with every day on the other side of our pretty gardens. The Inner city has many beautiful neighborhoods, gorgeous gardens and people. In my day we were more like family. Today, this generation seems so unattached even to themselves.
My neck of the woods is becoming more urban and I see inner-city neighborhoods being created for people of color right before my eyes. Yes it's a whole other gardening world than the one you find online. In fact you won't find too many inner-city gardeners in those circles if any at all. We don't fit the correct profile.
Curtis Mayfield - called: The Poet, born and raised on the same Chicago streets that I was, unfortunately, got caught up in that culture. Sometimes I have to step away from my garden and remember the garden called people and the reality so many live with every day. I didn't get caught in it, but many of us have family members who were.
A long time friend of mine living in another city wrote me a letter some years ago and thanked me for not forgetting about him when he was incarcerated. He called himself -- "A damaged rose that grew through the concrete" and believed God sent me to help him get through that terrible time. He's doing well now. I thank God. That means a lot more to me.
Too many damaged roses are still trying to grow through concrete. They are forgotten like many of our neighborhoods, like the gardens that have disappeared and been erased from history. In the current scheme of urban gardening, ignored, because there are no profits to be made by including inner-city gardeners and gardens in their program. Most are afraid to enter and some who have, like to pretend they taught us how to garden. Interesting. I think our parents, grandparents and great grandparents would disagree.
Anyway, if you can't relate to this song it's okay, just click it off. I can't. I'm an inner-city sistah.
The lyrics to this song are posted in the description box at YouTube for those who are interested. Check it out. It's why Curtis Mayfield is known as THE POET. Chicago bred.