Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Planning

Lately I have been having lots of fun taking care of (by that I mean giving light water mists to) my wall aerium, by FloraGrubb.  I absolutely love having these little dirt-less creatures living on my wall and once it warms up a little, I am surely going to by purchasing more!

I have also become enamored by the idea of fruit trees - both indoors and out, in containers and in the ground.  Because, why buy a tree that doesn't also produce delicious and healthy fruit?  It's a little difficult to cultivate fruit trees in Virginia, but I feel that my constant internet research is sure to lead me on a successful journey.  I am starting with a key lime tree, indoors, because citrus trees appear to be lower maintenance than many others.  But I would love to also have a fig tree, and perhaps a bush nectarine?  They are quite beautiful.

And finally, despite the severely cold winter we have here already, when it comes to my outside garden, my planning goggles have already been adjusted, placed securely on my head, and are ready for use!

Next spring, I plan to keep the planting contained to the "bush" variety.  small.  short.  sweet.  I find that the larger varieties of vegetables really aren't the happiest campers in a container.  My list:

Miniature Chocolate Bell Peppers
Czech's Bush Tomatoes
Miniature White Cucumbers
Minnesota Midget Cantalopes
Tom Thumb Sweet Peas

I wasn't kidding!  All courtesy of

Meanwhile - we have been really really enjoying our weekly CSA share from the virginia green grocer.  the amount of cabbage recipes I have had to drum up has been interesting, but I can tell you - there is nothing more delicious than organic, freshly picked sliced carrots with a yogurt/onion dip after a long days work!

Happy Holidays and thanks for tuning in!


Friday, September 17, 2010

green things (sort of)

from the garden, there was lots and lots of basil. it started to go to seed, so i finally got around to picking it for pesto.

basil for pesto

then the last things in the herb pot (it is the end of the season for many things), were these two green onions. but, i guess they are also kind of purple.


they will go well sprinkled on top of anything.  like tomatoes. 

though these now appear brown, let me assure you! they are fried GREEN tomatoes. (a roma fell off the vine before it had a chance to ripen.) now, I must sit and wait - patiently - for Jesse to come home so we can share them.

fried green tomatoes


Tuesday, August 10, 2010



dried lavender

mmmm ... basil and dried lavender in the living room today.  I was pruning my garden when I realized that the ton of basil growing would look quite fabulous as part of the flower arrangements for the wedding.  I am doing my own flowers, and I think I will stuff some of these leaves in here and there.  Brown seeds and all.

pictures hanging


I am enjoying this cloth bunting much on our art wall.  It inspired me to make some bunting for the photobooth.  I mean, if you didn't know it was a photobooth before, hopefully "say cheese" gets the point across!!  I think I am obsessing a bit too much over the photobooth.  Come on wedding - get here already!


Saturday, August 7, 2010

invitations and weevils


I forgot that I haven't shared our wedding invitations here on the blog.  We were early birds and sent them out way back when - in early June for a September wedding!  I worked very closely with ellothere to create the perfect image.  And when I say worked closely, I mean that over the span of a month we e-mailed back and forth with my 100 million edits and suggestions, and Maddy's many upbeat and helpful responses, along with lots of different versions of the image.  I just wanted the invitations to really imbue our vision of Old Town, Alexandria, our beloved place of residence.  And we were very happy with the results!  You can view a different version that ellothere later created here

wedding map

On that note, we also commissioned this lovely map of Old Town with suggestions of sites to see, places to eat, and things to do, from the wonderfully talented Laura of Wonderland Papers.  She came up with the perfect little map for us, and we were so pleased to send it to our guests so that they might plan their stay.  And, you can see a slightly different version in her shop here.


Next, I wanted to share our solution to the many little ones who might be making it down the aisle on the big day (six little nieces and a nephew all under the age of 7 ... we will see how that one goes.)  Instead of flowers, I picked up these glittery wands from the dairygodmother, a wonderful frozen custard and gourmet popsicle shop in neighboring Del Ray.  I figured, they are gender friendly, any little kid would love them, and they can keep them later!  I love checking tasks off the never ending wedding list.

pepper weevils

Ok, now on to the garden, at long last!  Soo ... the topic today will be pepper weevils.  greedy little creatures are they!  I have yet to see one, as they feed at night.  But such perfect half circles they chomp from the leaves!  There seems to be little out there on the interweb as to what to do when infested with weevils (I kind of like the name though, I must admit.)  But I do NOT like the possibility that they may have laid eggs in my beloved peppers ...  So, I sprayed the leaves heavily with a dishwasher detergent/water mix one night, and although that caused the leaves to turn a tad brown, there seems to be much less weevil activity lately.

I have also read that adding nematodes to the soil can do wonders in getting rid off any weevil larva that may be in the soil.  I think that I will use nematodes next year, as they are great for many different pest defenses.

green peppers growing strong

And look how many delightful peppers there are growing!  Are you to tell me horrid weevils are eating these from the inside?  I so hope not.  But I will keep you updated ... come harvest!  (crossing my fingers).


Saturday, July 31, 2010

photobooth and tomatillos


We are having a photobooth at our wedding! I am excited of the prospect, and lots of work has gone into planning the whole thing out. I have the signs done, and I pleased with the results - rustic-y yet instructive, you might say. I also love the props that I ordered form MaroDesigns, especially the monocle.  There will be other elements as well, but I will leave those as a surprise.  I know photobooths are pretty big in the blog world, so if anyone has any ideas for me (its still a work in progress) I would love to hear.  Especially - the back drop ... ?


In the garden, tomatillos are flowering!  I must say, tomatillos are definitely as hardy as promised on the seed package.  Even with little care, (I didn't have much faith they would grow), and having to share a pot with the very aggressive mint, the plant has grown quite strong. I think the purple and yellow flower is quite surprisingly pretty.

I also wanted to mention a great program that we just used to recycle our old yoga mats, called, fittingly, recycle your mat. you mail your old mats to the company, where they will be either re-used or recycled, and in return you receive a 20% discount from Manduka, the maker of the awe inspiring Black Mat Pro!  Now, equipped with our new black mats, we will surely rise to yoga stardom (or so may happen only in our minds.  but, in yogi fashion, I say that is just as ok as the real thing, right?)  I find the Manduka mats are a tad on the heavy side (8 pounds!), but so sturdy and cushy, a far better mat than the many I have had before. 


Friday, July 23, 2010

how to make a chuppah

For our wedding, we decided to make our own chuppah, or, Jewish wedding canopy. In so doing, we decided to make it a free-standing one, the sort of chuppah that is carried down the aisle and held above us, rather than the stationary kind. For one, it seemed that with the stationary kind, we would need to pour cement into flower pots to hold it up, and that would be heavy, and so my arms hurt just thinking about it. Then, I chanced upon this lovely wedding for inspiration.  That is exactly it!  I exclaimed, a light structure with a beautiful fabric that is easily transported to our wedding site.

First, we purchased about a 6 feet x 6 feet piece of fabric from Ikea.  Then, I promptly sent it up to my very skilled sister to hem the sides and place grommets in the corners.

chuppah 5

Once I received the fabric back in the mail, we went to our local hardware store and purchased 7 foot wooden poles from the crown molding section.

chuppah 3

A very pleasant employee helped us figure out how to screw in the "thing-a-ma-dings" into the tops of the wooden poles (first hammer them in slightly, then start to screw them at least until they stay in, and then use this pulley system with a nail to screw them in all the way.)  (this was not the easiest step, as that wood was hard hard.)

chuppah 2

then, because I love the rustic look of twine and it will be a design theme throughout the wedding, I decided to get a thick sturdy twine, and tie it around the grommet and screw twice, tying a double bow.

chuppah 4

Lastly, I just needed some friends to come over and help us hold it up so that I could snap a photo of the finished chuppah.  Luckily, tonight they did, so here it is!

chuppah 1

Yay.  So simple and light weight.  I am thinking of starting a chuppah rental business ... i think it could be lucrative, no?  but then again, I'd have to make so many more chuppahs ...


Sunday, July 18, 2010

what's doin in the garden

First, my wedding hair - or at least, my wedding hair band! i love love it! (got it here.) oh, and kitty seems to like it too ...

now, the garden:

christmas lima beans

I planted a Christmas lima bean and it took off like crazy. Apparently, beans are very resilient and strong creatures. these beans i left on the vine for far too long and they got a little tough, so I braised them with other veggies, like leeks, carrots, and onions.  next time? i will pluck them when they are young.  plus, leaving them on the vine causes the plant to stop producing beans. new ones are already forming though!

yellow pepper still green

My yellow pepper plant is by far the happiest plant on my balcony this season. It is strong and big and keeps on growing. that makes me happy.

garlic greens

i planted two garlic cloves last week, ones that had already begun to sprout in the refrigerator. Plant them with the skins still on, with the green part facing upwards. in one week, i already have these garlic greens! yummmmy (they will be). they seem to be the kind of crop that one could plant anywhere in the garden as they don't take up much root space.  plus, they can keep many kinds of critters away.


the tomatillos are growing over the side of balcony. from just a tiny seed this large plant has sprouted. with little buds forming. will i be making salsa sometime soon? not if they are like my tomato plants!

tomato plant

lots of greenery, and yellow flowers, but not a tomato in sight. why? most likely because it has consistently been over 90 degrees day and night this summer. the heat is making the tomatoes go into survival mode. well, i have trimmed many of the "suckers" off the stems, and fed them a little bit of epsom salts (supposedly good phosphorus for fruit to circumvent all the nitrogen i have given them for the leaves via plant food). so, maybe in the fall i will get some tomatoes. probably by then.

(oh, and yes, i did ask for green toenail polish at this morning's pedicure - to match the garden of course!)

green onions

and, lastly, these green onions have been great. they grow relatively slowly, but are so easy to pluck and chop up into a salad or as garnish to an omelet!


Saturday, July 10, 2010

juicy juicy watemelon

watermelon 2

watermelon 1

watermelon 3

this morning it was raining.  I woke up and went to look at the garden.

the watermelon had split open.  i noticed.

it's split! i panic to myself.  running inside, I knew I had to act fast.  I pulled on Jesse's too large flip flops, grabbed the kitchen shears, and jumped the railing.  (the watermelon was growing on the other side, and could not be pulled through.)  But, anything to save the precious fruit.  Landing on top of the roof of Whole Foods, I cut it from the vine and pulled myself back over.  with lots of my yoga strength. (someone sitting in a car in the next door parking lot froze and looked up at me.)

Once inside, the internet research began.  Well, yes, it seems a split watermelon is quite alright to enjoy (says at least one person on a gardening message board.)  And, someone else states, it may have split due to too much water or too much heat, or that is was over ripe.  Over ripe?  But it is still mostly white inside.  Mostly white!  At long last

I tasted it.  Sweet, watery, juicy.

Well, maybe that's ok, then.  The white.  If it tastes good ...

Next year I will fertilize it properly to produce a sweeter taste.  But for now, I bite in.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

bugs, bugs, and more bugs

cucumbers before the beetles


nasturtiums 1

eating beans

Bugs bugs bugs is right!  I can not tell you, my lovely readers, how sad and stricken I have been these past few weeks - to see my cucumber plant succumb to bacterial wilt, and have to be dug up, and said good bye to suddenly and without much warning.  Where to begin ...

Well, let's just say that when your lovely, luscious, large cucumber leaves begin to wilt unexpectedly - you most likely are afflicted with the dreaded cucumber beetle!  Oh those beetles, I want to kill them so! (seriously, and I am a pacifist.)  At first, I could not see them, and so I thought all of my internet research was written by a bunch of incorrect willies - but alas, when I dug the plant up for disposal, they all came marching proudly up the sides of the pot without a care in the world, looking for lunch.  And then - they had the audacity to begin attacking the squash plant.  Well, I can say I successfully beat them off (for now, finally) - and this is how, and this is what to do in the future -

1. squash the beetles when you see them.
2. spray the plant with a neem oil based spray, or if not, then an organic insect killer.

and for next year:

3. mulch the top of the soil to deter egg laying.
4. use floating row covers in the early stages prior to flowering.
5. choose cucumber varieties that are not as susceptible to the beetle, or choose a sweeter variety.
6. plant around the cucumber species that deter the beetle, like radishes.

How these little guys even got to my balcony garden is a question in itself - after all, my balcony is located many feet above the Whole Foods Market loading dock, without a garden or green patch of land within sight...  hmmm...

Well, oh well.  This is why I am a trial-and-error gardener after all, to learn and better myself for next harvest.  Which is why I highly recommend this wonderful book that I am reading for those container gardeners out there - a bible of sorts in my eyes.  for next year and the year after and after that.

next up - the tomato, pepper, and bean harvest.  And after that? well, the fall and winter garden of course!


Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July

beach 1
beach 2
beach 3
beach 4

We had a very nice time at my parent's beach house, petting Maya and dipping our toes in the ocean. Swimming, miniature golf, eating crabs. Happy 4th!

(thanks Jennifer, for the iphone collage idea! (and for generally be super inspiring and creative)).


Saturday, June 26, 2010

cool as a ...

cucumber sliced

cucumber sliced 2

For me, lately, with my mind's eye always visualizing what there is to be done with my garden, often day dreaming about my garden next season, next year, and what that will be and why - it all comes down to.  there is nothing more lovely than. 

biting into a fresh, cool cucumber.  straight from the source.