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Seedlings at Four Weeks

Athrun and I planted this years seedlings four weeks ago. I know it was a bit early for pretty much everything but the peas, but we’ve been having fun tending them. Since we have very limited space for planting, we only seeded one flat worth of vegetables for the year. We had 100% germination for every variety of plant except peas. Now, I have up to five seedlings when I really only have room one or two plants out of each variety. Some of the seedlings were getting so large that I have already put them in larger pots (I’m looking at you squash and cucumber). They seem to be thriving, I just hope they survive the move from pot to earth box. There is also the secret hope that I can somehow find room all of the seedlings to grown out on the balcony. Of course, then I have to contend with whether I will be able to get out there and water everything.


The start of this year’s yellow squash.


A jolly cucumber seedling. Last year, we were giving cucumbers away with only one giant plant. This year I have plans for at least two giant plants. The cucumber plant also kept producing through the six weeks we had at 100+ degrees when the tomatoes took a break.

My tomato seedlings are still rather small, therefore not pictured. I waited too long to thin them out. They are doing well, but they look small compared to the rest of the giant seedlings in the tray. (Also not pictured are peas, which are already outside and doing pretty well. Maybe because I am covering them with a blanket at night.)


I have to say that if it hadn’t been for Athrun, I probably wouldn’t have tried to go sunflowers in containers. Sunflowers are so lovely in the summer, and they can really be good bug deterrents, but they are just so darn big. Plus, flowers aren’t food. But, like every year, the balcony garden is one great big experiment. Imagining a row of giant sunflowers on my balcony in late summer gives me enough joy to try it out, even if it doesn’t happen.

And now for the plants that will likely prove the biggest container garden challenge.


This my friends is a cheerful little watermelon seedling. One of five cheerful little seedling full of sweet, refreshing, mouthwatering mid-summer potential. This little watermelon seedling is mocking me. It’s daring me to plant it in an earth box and train its vines to grow up while training it’s fruits to grow down. This will test my limits as a new gardener. This plant is telling me that it wants to grow and thrive, but if I don’t take care if just right it will mock me unceasingly until I can afford a house with a yard.

I saved my favorite seedling for last.

The pumpkins. I know I shouldn’t play favorites, but look at this gigantic plant!

When Athrun and I planted the tray a month ago, we opened our little packet of organic pumpkin seeds and there were three–THREE!–seeds inside. We both felt as though the seed company had pulled one over on us. I mean, have you ever pulled seeds out of pumpkin? There are only about a million! And here we had paid $3 for three seeds. We made little soil mounds in the box and planted our three seeds. And then waited. All the other seedlings were bouncing up out of the soil. We had a veritable tomato sprout forest (which I used a magnifying glass to thin), and the peas were getting too tall for our plant shelf.

Then, one week ago something started to pop out of the row marked “pumpkin”. It has been ONE WEEK since the pumpkins germinated. All three seeds are up and growing strong. These seedlings are just defiant. Unlike the watermelon, these guys are saying to me, “I am going to go grow no matter what you do to me.” And I can get behind that kind of attitude in a plant.

So far, everything but the peas are growing in the balcony window on a wire shelf. I need to prune my basil plant and chuck the oregano and start over. Athrun’s mint plant is full of new leaves, but needs a little cleaning up after the winter. The hardware store down the street had started setting up its garden center in the parking lot. That means it’s just about time to grab giant bags of potting soil and some fertilizer and replant the earth boxes, even if I have to move them in and out for a couple weeks. (Then I can also direct seed some spinach!) The trellis needs to go back up, because it’s been rolled up in the corner of the balcony all winter and it’s really starting to look sloppy to me. I want my clean, green balcony back.

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Autumnal Ennui

It is officially fall, even though in Kansas the temperatures are still nearing the 90’s during the day.

And believe it or not, I have been working!

But probably not as much as I should have.

I finished the wedding afghan, did a lot of reading, got over a cold (mostly) and just generally have felt rather low in energy. I used “ennui” in the title, but I did not really mean it. It sounded better than, “I have been really freakin’ worn out, and I am attempting to preserve my bandwidth, and I don’t want to stretch myself too thin right now.” I think working all the time might be apart of being a small business in the long run, and honestly, I prefer being busy. I like having a to-do list that is two miles long. I like checking everything off that list by the end of the day. But then I have to be practical about what I can get done in one day, considering that I basically have 2 full-time jobs already, on top of a family. I have finally realized that I can give myself a break. I an sit down and listen to Craflit (I started with Persuasion, my favorite Jane Austen), and work on plain-jane socks and it’s OK if that’s all the energy I have.

So, I have been spending a lot of time listening to Jane Austen and knitting socks out of mini mochi. They have beautiful color transitions, and it makes me want to knit and knit and knit to get to the next one. I might be going on to a sock knitting kick right now. I want to be knitting about six pairs of socks at a time. It doesn’t hurt that it’s getting to be sock-wearing season around here, or that I now have so much hand-dyed sock yarn, that I really could be working on six pairs of socks at once–though I might need to get some more needles.

My hand-dyed stash has become so large that it now has its very own bin. For the record, the hand-dyed stuff far outnumbers the commercially dyed stuff.( And the three sweaters worth of yarn I have doesn’t count, because those are all more-or-less works in progress.) Spinning adds to the hand-made stash as well. If you look at the above photo and notice the little pink ball of yarn, you will recognize my very own hand-spun. That’s right, my very first knittable hand-spun yarn. I made a cowl out of the rest, which I have yet to photograph, but it is awesome, believe me.

And just to prove that I have been doing a little dyeing at least:

Chestnut BFL with some Gunmetal Merino trying to muscle its way into the photo.

And a light, half turquoise, half chestnut in Merino, that I think will be beautifully obnoxious knit up into a pair of socks, and I can’t wait to get started on it. Most likely the next pair of plain-jane socks for myself. The pushy gunmetal will probably be socks for the boyfriend. Or the Chestnut BFL.

Someday, I might get some of these guys up for sale. Am I inspiring you to pick up the needles yet?

I think I am going to go work on making some yarn a nice pumpkinny orange.