Showing newest 10 of 13 posts from 04.07. Show older posts
Showing newest 10 of 13 posts from 04.07. Show older posts


garden sashay

Peas are nearly 100% germinated! I planted three additional pea seeds this weekend.
Beets are around 50% germinated and what a disappointment. The seeds had clumped together so I moved them apart knowing that they don't do well at all with root disturbance but they are totally fine!
Lettuces, Arugula and Radish are thriving.
o seedlings coming up strong.

- I have a random onion growing in my lettuce. I didn't even plant onions.
- Several of my tulips have been severed just below the bloom. Not a clean cut and the pathetic, once-beautiful bloom lies languishing on the hot soil. At first I though it was some little punk kid but it is so random and happened in my fenced-in backyard too.
- I had finally given up on growing astilbe as it was the most unproductive, sickly looking plant in my plot and I was unable to make them happy. So I pulled a dead plant last fall and angrily threw the dead root ball into the corner of my yard. I was cleaning up that corner yesterday and picked up the root ball to break it up into my compost and the freakin' astilbe was growing prolifically! Roots exposed to the sky all winter! So I put him back in the ground and now I know what to do next year.

It was a beautiful weekend in Missoula. Pushing eighty degrees, blue sky, animals frolicking in the back yard. I started to build a lean-to for garden equipment storage. I hope to finish it by tomorrow and will post pics.



I am not going to art school this fall and I am giving myself permission to mourn that loss. I know I have a lot of great things going, but it doesn't make it any less difficult to change directions. As my friend Jennifer would say, I have a hitch in my giddyup.

My man and I are pregnant and I am excited, sure, but I didn't pick this. And sometimes when things pick you, it takes a while to absorb. And I fully absorbed it yesterday when I saw the ultrasound and a tiny flashing light that I am told was the heartbeat. It wasn't an epic moment for me or it was...but not how it I am told is was going to be. It was really neat but not life changing. I felt simultaneous excitement, anxiety, love and loss.

So I am committed to not feeling how I am supposed to feel and just letting myself feel how I feel. And I feel a little sad that I can't move to Chicago. That I won't ever move there like I was planning: alone, wide-eyed, afraid and pulsing. Now I will move to Chicago after my husband is done with school and with a kid, a dog, two cats and a house full of stuff. It will be beautiful and perfect. Everything is different now.

And so here I am in this role of future mama and dealing with all that the universe is dealing me including tons of judgement surrounding my seeming choice to use my uterus instead of my brain.

To all you gardeners, runners, artists, moms, professionals: I declare that I choose both.


more seeds

I bought the rest (probably but you never know**) of my seeds for the edible garden:

Seeds of Change Nardello Heirloom Sweet Pepper*

High Mowing Seeds Scarlet Nantes Carrots

High Mowing Seeds California Wonder Sweet Bell Pepper*

Botanical Interests Genovese Italian Basil

Botanical Interests Purple Petra Basil

Seeds of Change Nantes Coreless Carrot

*planted indoors today
** I think I will have to buy:

Tangerine Pimento Sweet Pepper

Yellow Pear Cherry Tomato

Cosmonaut Volkov Tomato



I love the way dandelions look in the spring. They are so cute and compact and joyful in a sidewalk crack or the middle of boring lawn. They are pretty admirable too--they can survive in damn near every hardiness zone (kind of like cows), grow in any kind of soil and with any level of moisture, bloom prolifically even when you chop and chop, the seed heads are silvery and whimsical and the stem a beautiful beet red. And talk about survival of the fittest--why I'd wager to say that one dandelion gone to seed creates a dozen others. Dandelions are used for detox, pagan rituals, and immune support of the liver, digestion, joints, skin conditions, and even cancer.

Sure I am frustrated when they creep into my edible garden or take over the underground niches so my intentionally planted plants struggle against claustrophobia, but I say we embrace the dandelion (within reason.) Just check out the above photo...this guy was just hanging out in my boulevard. Learn to love the bright yellow as the very first spring bloom and then pull it up by the roots mercilessly before it goes to seed. Because, while adorable, they are invasive. As are many things in my life.


rainy day, new basement

It is finally raining today in Missoula. We haven't had much precipitation and as much as I have adored the sunny, too-hot-too-early weather, it just isn't right. I hope it dumps for at least a month.

The basement remodel is almost finished! My crafty husband did a smashing job. I don't have the way before pics I wish I had but picture this: grody, crumbling, concrete floor covered in asbestos linoleum, too-low ceilings with spider nests abundant, cheapo, fake wood paneled walls, dark, dark, dark everywhere.

We were really committed to minimizing our impact of throwing away and buying new (although that was very necessary in several cases.) We bought doors and jams from our local home resource center, painted our
exposed pipe to look like copper (it was raunchy old blackish pipe), cleaned the puhjesus out of the concrete floor and painted it, left beams exposed and bought old wood to frame around doors.


budding news

In the spring it is impossible to know what the fall will bring. With fertile soil and devotion, I nurture the blooms and growth taking place in the belly of my plot. Surprise is part of the fun. I have never been much of a planner…I mean, I think about the future—buying seeds and plants and mapping out my grand plan to accommodate for consistent harvest and color and making sure to keep myself busy all year.

In my clumsy life, the result is often different from the intention. I don’t always realize the consequence was so ideal, but eventually I understand that it shaped the gardener I am becoming.

So right now everything is budding and buoyant. Pics of what is blooming in my Missoula plot: forsythia; dandelion; vinca; peony; spurge.


dig these essential gardening tools

I used to have a gardening business called dig this chick...hence, the name of this blog. Folks are always asking me what tool to use for a project. There are a ton of not-so-great tools that are a waste of money and end up polluting the landfill and a ton of over-hyped tools that sure get the job done but are overkill.

This entry is about my faves.

5 gallon bucket with garden tool holder insert (LOVE THIS); I adore these Atlas gardening gloves and they are cheap! I have several pairs in different weights; bypass pruners, of course; this style of watering mechanism is perfect because you can regulate the flow and it is simple..won't clog or leak like the fancy ones; garden staples; don't know the technical name but I have two different styles--they are magic on weeds whose roots are wrapped around good guys; This one is a bit less aggressive; sturdy sturdy wheel barrow. I got this at Costco and saw that they are available again this year. The construction was a bitch and it really takes two peops, but it is so affordable and really great; tool belt! don't know how I survived so long without this; this rakey item would be better with longer fingers; the second example of the magic weeder; high quality shovel (don't go cheap here or you'll be sorry); garden scissors--invest in these puppies and they will last forever; this guy is quite possibly my favorite item for everything from tilling to burly weeding to tamping down soil. If you only buy one tool, buy this; sharpening stone for the tools; good ole rake--nothin' special--I got this at a garage sale for $1; cheap-o weeder; loppers; spading fork is ana amazing tool for tilling a new plot; skinny trowel with sturdy handle. tada.

Here is my carefully constructed essential backyard garden tool posse:


a life lesson from Alice the dog

Alice and I had a bunk run this morning. I felt slow and frankensteinish. Neither of us have been in good health; my ankle sprain and her I don't even know what. But she hasn't been eating which for a lab is like a gal suddenly loosing interest in shoes. I am trying not to be my usual canine hypochondriac by rushing her to the vet. The last two times I took her to the vet:

1. I was certain her tail was broken. It was pathetic and limp and if you gestured toward her rump she would cry. I googled this sort of thing and read that if her tail was broken and not immediately reset, it would stay that way forever and never wag again. I raced to Dr. Moore and it turns out that she has a sore ass. She had gone swimming in the Clark Fork and became afflicted with "swimmer's tail." Bill: $80.

2. She kept shaking her head and holding her left ear all funky. I googled this sort of thing and discovered that she could have an ear yeast infection. Then my brother's dog, Clyde, got this very thing and his ears were bleeding and he was in a lot of pain. I raced to Dr. Moore and Alice had a minor ear disturbance and was pretty much healthy. They trimmed her toenails. Bill: $90.

This morning, I fought the entire run. I only ran for 2o minutes and 13 seconds. That is the shortest distance I have ran in recent memory. I felt like I should go further or faster or something to make it feel more worth
while. Alice was not into it and just wanted to smell every freakin' blade of grass.

She had it all right. It wasn't about being a super star this morning. Alice just wanted to get out and attempt to be back in our usual routine. The sun was just peaking over Mt. Sentinel and the air was crisp and refreshing. To Alice, the run was about being with her mom and outside. I had my watch running and was annoyed every time she stopped in her regal stance to lift her chin and inhale. I would stop the time and impatiently wait eventually pulling the leash to get her moving again. I was hurrying to nowhere and not enjoying a single second of it. This is not why I run. According to Runner's World magazine, I am a running purist.

I could be moving to Chicago in August. I got in to grad school at SAIC. I get teary thinking about being without my man, my dog, my cats, my Missoula life. What a tragedy to hurry my runs with Alice. The reason I run is to be with Alice, to be with myself, to explore and observe, to feel my legs and my lungs working, to experience the post-run rush of taking on my day with an immediate sense of accomplishment. I will strive to remember all of this when I run with Alice.

photos: Alice wearing my Grizzly half-marathon medal, Alice before my wedding, Alice resting in the back yard,
Alice resting in her chair, Alice in the Bitterroot.


wax and wane

So, I have to admit I am a bit skeptical about the zodiac shaping fertility in my plot. But, to me, the moon thing totally makes sense. It is also really fun to think about our planet spinning in the sky and all of the water it contains tipping from one side to the other--like a Camelback on a curvy bike ride.
On March 27, 2007 10:14 PM
Jean said...

I have NEVER planted anything at night. I have stolen flowers from gardens at night, I admit.
Is the arugula supposed to grow better when planted at night? Aren't there other things that are supposed to be planted at night?
Let me know. I have many sleepless nights that could be put to good use. Like tonight. Here I'm reading this blog when I could be sowing seeds.

Jean, I did a bit of research on this question and while I cannot find anything that suggests what time of day seeds should be sown, I did find interesting info about gardening by the phases of the moon. Scroll to the bottom of any page in my blog to see the current moon.

According to Gardening by the Moon:

Gardening by the phases of the moon is a technique that can speed the germination of your seeds by working with the forces of nature.

Plants respond to the same gravitational pull of tides that affect the oceans, which alternately stimulates root and leaf growth. Seeds sprout more quickly, plants grow vigorously and at an optimum rate, harvests are larger and they don't go to seed as fast. This method has been practiced by many for hundreds of years, and is a perfect compliment to organic gardening because it is more effective in non-chemically treated soil.

National Geographic investigates this gardening trend in Age-Old Moon Gardening Growing in Popularity. The article refers to a 1995 experiment by researchers at the Agricultural Research Service's National Soil Tilth Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. One very exciting conclusion suggests that gardeners who till soil at the new moon will have greatly reduced weed seed germination.

Click here to learn about the phases of the moon and how it affects what you're putting in the earth
Click here to learn about how the astrological signs influence your yield

It is important to pay attention to natural cycles and work with them. This is sort of like feng shui. The concept may seem a bit too metro-hippy for many but at the core it is all about balance of good and bad (whether it is bugs or Qi) and the balance of texture, color and harvest time (whether it is drapery or root veggies.)


brand spankin' new art studio

OK, so I feel a bit obsessed with photographing my garden right now. Especially when I am supposed to be painting trim in our new studio that my crafty husband has been working on for months now. Full disclosure: this will be wandering yet visually stimulating entry.

That's my grandma's Singer sewing machine that is not only adorable and carries great meaning to me, but sews beautifully. Although I may not be qualified to make that statement since I really only sew curtains, pillowcases, pet beds and other rectangular objects. A note about the floor: as we are finishing our studio on a shoestring, I peeled up the asbestos tile, scraped the hell (six hours worth of scraping hell followed by a stiff martini. ok, two stiff martinis) out of that raunchy black glue and then sealed with an acrylic poly. It was easy, cheap and I love how it refers to the history of the house. I am really happy with the results.

On to the garden! Today I planted Botanical Interests Cherry Belle Radish. They are supposedly ready in 24 days! That means radishes on May 2! I like veggies that are all about business. I also planted Seeds of Change heirloom Tigerella maters in pots.

From top to bottom, left to right:
Euonymus Colorata (Purple Leaf Wintercreeper)--this plant is amazing. It is an evergreen as well as thrives in shade and drought. It does so well in Montana. Although the description states that the blooms are insignificant, I find them to be lovely; rhubarb; Sam bud on the yellow adirondack; arugula; peas;
coreopsis (I think).

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