Wednesday, March 28, 2012

... and the beanstalk

I'm slightly obsessed with the seed starts lately, so I thought I'd post a couple pictures. I keep moving the trays to the best patch of sun, the warmest corner of the room, outside if the weather permits, etc. While the other plants are more moderate in their growth, decorous even, the beans are going vegetably wild. There's even a broad bean that I planted in my previous post that has sprouted.

This was one of the first trays this morning, which isn't so remarkable (note, this is the back tray from the two pictured in last week's post, which is a neat contrast if one's of a mind to compare the two).

No, what's remarkable is this:

Look at that incredible burst of vigorous root growth! I'm clearly going to need to plant these outside soon. The broad beans (bush) have several sets of true leaves, and the green beans (pole) mostly have at least two if not four true leaves.

I've moved all the bean plants to the same tray, as well as the single pumpkin that sprouted. The herbs are slower going and none of my Genovese basil has sprouted, so after I plant the beans outside, I'm going to try starting another batch of herbs in the empty tray.

Moral of this story? If you like instant gratification, plant beans!  Especially broad beans!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Green thumb

I have an intermittently green thumb, which is to say that I can usually keep things alive until I forget to water them for three weeks. I have imbibed a lot of growing theory, however, and that's good for starting seeds, at least.

This also means I have a massive stash of old seeds from back when I pooh-poohed the fact that we live in the woods and that makes growing vegetables here something of an exercise in futility. Hey, hope springs eternal. It's been unseasonably warm this spring, so I've decided to try growing some things again. It's a mixture of new seeds, seeds gleaned from previous plantings, and old seeds that may no longer be viable.

I long ago invested in lots of expensive seed starting equipment, but this year I decided to go frugal. Because really, all one needs is some seed starting mix (or sphagnum moss) and something to put it in. And I don't see the point in spending lots of money on peat pots or buying a tool to make pots out of newspaper, when there is such a thing as origami. Yes, origami.  Specifically, this design of box made with a single sheet of newspaper cut to an 8.5in square, for a finished box that's a 2in open cube.

Fill the boxes with seed starting mix on a tray and water them well, plant the seeds and label them, and wait. That's what I did on the 12th, and this is what I have today.

That's Banquo horning in on the picture.  The bean seeds were in bad shape with mold and such, but they're leaping out of the moss mixture like they're turbocharged. Some of the basil has sprouted and so has the chervil. I've noticed a little bit of mold here and there, so I'm watering less in hopes that I don't get root rot. That's killed off my seedlings in the past and I'm going to be vigilant about it.

I take the trays out on the warm and sunny days both so the warmth from the sun can stimulate the seeds to sprouting, but also so the sun can hopefully keep the mold at bay. My labeling system leaves something to be desired, but I've repaired that for the second go around.

More under the cut, including progress pictures. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Hi everyone! I, uh, disappeared for a while, yes. I do that every winter and it's a no good, very bad sort of rut into which to fall that I really do need to stop. So this is me stopping! Or rather, starting something else. Also, I will be completing the December giveaway at some point soon. It's just hit a little behind the scenes speedbump, but it will come to fruition. And I will start up the giveaways again as soon as I get a bunch of other things done.

Also, in shop news. Once a year I have a sale, and I never quite know when it's going to be or how long it's going to be until right before it happens. This time around, it's right now. March 11-18th I'm offering up two different coupon codes so everyone has a choice for what works better.

Spring Forward Sale - March 11-18
code: SpringFling11 for 11% off your entire order.
code: SpringFlingShip for free shipping to anywhere in the world.

Why start it today? Because today is the start of Daylight Savings Time, and because it's my birthday and I lost an hour to DST. Also, because I need a kick in the pants and this is as good a thing as any. I promise to have my shop fully restocked before the end of the week so the sale is worthwhile. It helps me to have a deadline and a reason. Which is to say, it's about mojo.

Yesterday in the Ravelry forums where I spend my days, especially with my NerdWars team, there was a lot of talk about losing one's mojo, that impetus and skill and enthusiasm that keeps us moving forward in whatever we've chosen to do. It was knitting mojo or crafting mojo in general but it made me think of my work mojo, which typically wanders off in October and doesn't come back again until May. I can't let my work mojo wander away that long; it's a very "no good" thing.

This winter my knitting mojo has been strong thanks to NerdWars. In fact, in response to the conversation yesterday, I knit a Mojo....

It's a little drawstring amulet bag that just happens to have arms and legs (because it tends to wander away, you know) and eyes, and in this case knitting needles and a WIP. I haven't decided what to put in it yet, but it will eventually house some symbolic little talismans for me as it keeps me company on my desk.

More after the jump....