Clearance Bin Rain Gauge

I always cruise the clearance bins of whatever stores I happen to be in… you have to know which dark back hallway leading to a break room they stick it in at most grocery stores, and the selection is usually just a dented can of peas and carrots and a whole box of some dubious-sounding product that didn’t fly off the shelves the way the marketing department had hoped (Ginger-Mango Habañero Ketchup! Vegan Mayonnaise!)

Lowes is clearing out the stuff that didn’t sell very well this year, and one thing they had that I fell for was a rain gauge. It was only 98 cents, and ever since I’ve installed it the kids have been obsessed with checking how much it rains. It’s frozen right now, so I’m assuming it’s expanded a little past the actual rain we’ve had, but it’s been at least an inch and a half over the last week or so. We’ve had a wet winter (hence a flooded basement a month or so ago), so now at least we can track exactly how much water is falling. I think we’ll empty it every month, and maybe make a little chart. Teach those kids the scientific method, you know?

Our new $0.98 rain gauge from Lowes.


Egyptian Walking Onions Revisited

About a year ago I got some Egyptian Walking Onions from a generous (or maybe over-run) gardener down in Skyway. They are a pretty curious plant, producing Dr. Seuss-like forms when they first bud, and by the end of the year, they have burst into pods of onion “seeds”. I harvested all of these and am going to try planting some over the winter to see how they do (ignoring all the dire warnings of impending heavy snow). I’ll save the rest for spring, and probably have plenty to share, so let me know if you want to give them a try.

In addition to the seeds (that can’t be the right term…), the stalks of onions are ready to harvest. The bulbs below the dirt are like a cross between a shallot and a leek. I think the key with thes e onions is to pull them all out every year, and plant them again the next year. Otherwise, it sounds like the patch can get pretty choked with them.

Written by dan in: Garden,Weather | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Vacationing on a Farm (in Hawaii)

Dispatches from Paradise Volume 1

We’re spending a couple weeks in Hawaii doing a housing exchange (not to brag). Word is that it’s still pouring in Seattle, so we’re not missing much, and I’m not worried about the garden burning up. Naturally, my first question upon arriving here in Maui and seeing the red clay soil was, “I wonder how well you can compost here.” It seemed like the natural solution to the hard, arid soil, but that’s just me, I suppose.

We are staying in a house with a big lot (over an acre, I’d guess.) And a view of the ocean (not to brag.) There isn’t much in they way of gardens here (besides a pot of basil on the deck) but it has two things going for it in the farm department:

1. Fruit trees – Tangerine, banana and papaya trees on the premises. We’ve had a few tangerines so far, and there are some ripe papayas that apparently we can pick with a bamboo trimmer. (They’re pretty far up in the tree).

2. Livestock – There is a flock of 10 or 12 chickens, from a couple months old to laying hens. Plus, the big bonus, 2 sheep that look like goats. They are a little bit too friendly at times (see the photo below; they think they own the table on the deck.) Our morning routine consists of feeding the sheep (Robbie is kind of getting the hang of it), letting the chickens out to forage, and refreshing their water.


Starting from Seeds – Progress Report

We started a bunch of seeds way back in January, getting things going on the kitchen counter, and then moving them to the back porch. They stalled out on the back porch, so we moved them to the portable greenhouse hoping that some warmth would perk things up. You’ll see a photo from 3 weeks ago, and bunch from today, and you can indeed see that despite the miserable weather here in Seattle, the plants are thriving in there. Plus, the lettuce that Hannah and I planted awhile back is ready to start eating… starting with a salad or three from thinning the rows. (Look at how small the lettuce is in the background of the first picture).

A bunch of the plants are in pots made from newspaper (thanks ReadyMade magazine) and ready for the seedling exchange I’m going to in a few weeks. We have tons of tomatoes, peppers, and squash, along with a couple different kinds of cucumbers and some swiss chard; way more than we have room for.

{ 2 posts today because I always get excited when I see we’re being linked from somewhere… thanks to Trudy’s friend Emily for finding this one from Apartment Therapy’s Re-Nest. Onward and upward! }


What’s sprouting in the garden

It’s still technically winter, but the cherry blossoms have blossomed and it feels like an early spring. We have started some seeds inside, and some of the plants that were dormant are emerging from colder months. In order, below are photos of Swiss Chard and Pea starts inside, garlic coming up (planted in late December), rhubarb, and the new Egyptian Walking Onions.

Written by dan in: Food,Garden,Weather | Tags: , , , | No Comments

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