Thursday, May 31, 2012

it's overdue. (and this time it's not from the library)

it's officially overdue: an update on my little balcony garden. i've been a tiny bit encouraged (you'll see why just a tiny bit in a minute) this year. Last year I killed everything I tried growing. So far, all of my plants are still alive (that's always a good sign, right?) The only things I've been harvesting so far are some chives (I cut these alllll the time) and occasionally some basil, but since it's still so sparse I don't like to take too much. Oh and also I picked some lettuce once. (like in the pict. below)

this is my first pickings of my 4 lettuce plants. I didn't want to pick to much the first time (I wasn't even sure I was taking the leaves off properly) so these are the biggest leaves from 2 of the plants. The lettuce was very buttery and mild tasting-they didn't have that "dirt" taste you sometimes find on lettuce from the store.

 these are my lettuce plants today. they've grown a lot since I first got them and really filled out that planter. unfortunately they have been attacked by caspids. they're tiny green bugs and they're all over many of the leaves. I've been keeping it somewhat under control by spraying them with a mixture of softsoap and water, but they're not gone yet. (and truth be told I haven't sprayed them in about a week since the nozzle on my spray bottle has been clogged)  

here are my jalepeno plants. they have also grown so much since I first got them. they're really liking this sunny weather we finally have. after almost 2 weeks of overcasty-ness and rain, you can almost see them grow overnight. i'm not sure how many peppers will come from each plant, but we probably won't need a bucketful ;) 

this is my english lavender plant. i think it's probably my favorite. if you look closely you can see it's starting to show some purple on the top. so far, this is my only plant that has been bug free. it's my one consolation i shouldn't just give up on all my plants right now. I actually bought this plan at wal-mart and am very surprised with how well it's been doing. it was just a little scraggler when I got it a month or two ago.

I've figured out that the way for all my plants to get the most sunlight out of each day is to line them up in a row towards the front of the balcony. Unfortunately, it's impossible to take a picture of all my plants when they're like this. Here's the view from one side of the balcony. At the top of the picture is my lavender, followed by chives (hidden by the big basil pot), basil, mint, rosemary, and lettuce.

as you can see, my mint is also growing. unfortunately it had a bad case of 'the attack of the aphids' earlier this month and is slowly, but surely recovering.
For anyone interested, the mixture of soft soap + water in a spray bottle worked like magic on the aphids. like they were gone overnight! 

This picture is from the other side of the balcony and here you can see how my little basil seedlings are sprouting up next to the big basil. I'm guessing the seedlings won't grow into anything harvestable until July or August. 

Here's my little working corner of the balcony. My newly purchased watering can from Ikea (for $1!), some extra soil, and some pots. (oh and p.s. they strand of lights makes it so pretty out there at night!)

I do have something to say about the pots you plant in. I've noticed a recent trend in pots lately- especially the really pretty ones at Marshalls/TJ Maxx/ Home Depot. They have no drainage hole on the bottom! What in the world were they thinking when the made a pot with no drainage hole? Soil will easily become too saturated and drown most plants. I've tried a variety of different materials, glazed terra cotta, tin/aluminum, earthenware, plastic, etc. and I'd have to say from what  I've read and experimented with, the best way to go is always the plain, unglazed terra cotta. The terra cotta material allows the plants to breathe through the root section and also absorbs extra moisture that  you don't want lingering at the bottom of your pots. They may not be the prettiest, but they are the best. (and usually not too expensive!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

catching up....

you may notice that when I stop blogging for a week or more, I do a little "catch up" post. usually, when I don't blog for a week or more, that means life around here has been super, off-the-charts-busy. and so again it has been this time. wedding season has begun and as you may imagine, it keeps us musicians pretty busy. I think so far we have been to about 10 weddings. 
Here are some highlights from life lately. (notice I don't have my headache or tiredness pictured. those aren't really the greatest subjects to photograph. and who wants to remember those things anyway?)

I made burgers for the first time in a long time. This time around, I made a sort of mexican burger with ground turkey, pepper jack cheese, and corn and bean salsa with  red onion, jalepenos, garlic, lime juice and tomato (ps. did you know kidney beans and black beans are the most healthy of all the beans? true fact!).  Pretty yummy!

beautiful flowers from Karl for my birthday! I turned 26 on the 6th and promptly celebrated by being sick for an entire week and a half. :)

Karl graduated (for the 3rd time) this past weekend! Yay for being even more smart! boo for long ceremonies. 

Also this past Saturday I had a recital for my students. I was so proud of each student for all their hard work! With the exception of one major meltdown from a 5 year old (not in the picture) everything went smoothly. After the recital we had a potluck reception with lots of yummy food. (yay for not having to cook after a long day ;P )

so there are some highlights of the past week or so. I hope to get back to blogging regularly with some garden updates and recipes!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


i've never had my hair short before. i went for the plunge on monday and got most of it chopped off.
my new haircut is different and i'm not sure i'm quite adjusted to it yet.
but i do know one thing......
i miss my long hair already.
please grow back fast!

here's before the haircut:

and after:

which do you prefer? longer hair or shorter? the advantages to long hair are that you can do so many things- braids, buns, curls, etc..

oh and just because, this is a picture from my birthday. clearly i am excited.

happy thursday, folks.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

whhhaads up??? oh, i'm in my kitchen...

yesterday my kitchen was buuuuusy. i feel like i was in there for at least 12 hours and that yesterday was an entire week-long in one day. ever have one of those days? it was really tiring but immensely satisfying to have gotten so many things done. here are a few of my favorite things that i did yesterday:

i collected and cleaned some mint leaves to be dried for tea. now to grow lavender and blueberries. *sigh*

tried a new recipe for sandwich bread. do you know that store bought bread has a ridiculous amount of sodium in it? i looked at the pack of bagels we bought and one bagel has 600mg of sodium! 

tried a new recipe for cleaner. to make this orange oil cleaner, just put some orange peels in a glass jar and fill with vinegar. wait 2 weeks, take out the peels and pour into a spray bottle! you will have a wonderfully scented all purpose cleaner!
my mom used to clean with vinegar all the time- but straight from the bottle. even though our apartment would be clean, it would smell like salad dressing for hours. blegh! (sorry mom if you're reading this, but it's true!)

we had a coupon for crate and barrel so we picked up this awesome kitchen towel. we hung it up with tacks above our butler station. 

i also had a lot of fun making strawberry jam (recipe post coming soon- it's super delicious and you'll want to just eat it out of the jar with a spoon).

and in the afternoon, a mom who was coming to pick up her daughters from violin lessons spotted one of my headbands from my etsy shop and went crazy over them. she ended up buying $60 worth of headbands after she made me show her everything i made. 
not a bad way to end a violin lesson if you ask me ;)