Carrot Pot

Carrots are in the top five of my favorite vegetables to eat and my number one favorite to grow. There is something so satisfying about harvesting them, sort of the same feeling as opening a birthday present. I never know the size, flavor or even color of the carrot when I start to pull, so it is always a surprise. I’ve been growing them in garden beds for six years now. The first year they were horrible, only about an inch long, furry and with a strong bitter flavor. Each year they have been getting a little better as the garden’s soil quality has improved, but I will never have smooth, long store bought looking carrots in garden beds at this house, because there is just too much clay.
Here are a few of 2012’s best carrots. carrot

They were a respectable size and the flavor was phenomenal, very sweet and more carroty than you get at the store. Some are a little furry and some were oddly shaped as you can see. Over all these made me happy and I plan to grow more in the garden beds hoping for similar results.

This year I am also going to try growing some in a pot and I figured if I am going to have containers in the garden, they might as well be pretty. It is now rather obvious what should be growing in this one. Carrot and Bunny pot

Painting pots is harder in my opinion than canvas (not that I am an expert on either), the top is bigger than the bottom and the whole thing is round of course, not to mention that the smooth surface of the terra cotta does not want to hold onto the paint. I sealed this pot and did two base coats of white acrylic before I started the painting itself. I started on it yesterday afternoon and it took about 3 hours or so of active work start to finish.

Having a little art in my garden will certainly brighten things up and make it more fun.

Now I have to sift some compost and mix it with peat moss, sand and potash to fill up the and then add the carrot seeds. I have 4 varieties and a mix this year. Since the rabbit is sort of anime I think I will put Asian varieties in the pot, Shin Kuroda and a long thin Japanese Imperial type disappointingly called tendersweet.

I will let you know how the carrots turn out in a few months.

Here is an informative site Carrot Museum if you want to learn everything there is to know about carrots.

Peach Blossoms

I know I said the next one would be happy. Sorry, I lied. This one is not happy, but I think it is sort of fun at least.

I am killing two birds with one stone today.  Who throws stones at birds? Seems like a rather silly way to get dinner. Anyway…The story below was written both for Trifecta and inspired by the peach blossoms that are stubbornly blooming in my garden, even though I begged them not to.  They are so lovely and charming that I can’t help but take joy from them.  But they are also fleeting and delicate.  This weekend there might be a frost, and if there is, all of the flowers will wither and die overnight.  If not, they will stay a short spell longer gracing my garden for few weeks before floating away to make room for summer’s peaches.  I enjoy the fragile blossoms while they last, but I adore peaches. I appreciate that something so striking can be transformed into something delicious and that not everything that is lovely is just for looking at. Beautiful and practical is the best of both worlds.

Peach Flower

Then again, some plants are not very pretty at all and they make great fruits or vegetables.  Beauty is not everything, and when it fades, which it will, I hope that I have plenty of canned peaches to last me through the winter.

Stepmother’s Toast

“A fairy tale is a story, a pretty vintage lie handed down from mother to daughter across the generations.  As we grow up, the lies slough away, washed off our brains by science, reason, and experience.  No 100-foot tall beanstalk could support its own weight. Clouds are puffy water, unsuitable foundation for a giant’s castle.  Horses are noble creatures; we can’t blame them for lacking the whimsy to evolve a single golden horn.   Fairies don’t flutter by on gossamer wings, nor do wicked witches sell produce door-to-door in this age of grocery stores and farmer’s markets. There are no magic lamps with jinn in residence or talking animals, unless you count the brutish groomsmen.

Why do we insist on holding out for Prince Charming, doing our best to freeze our bodies with creams and botox, so when he finally comes to rescue us, our skin is smooth and our cheeks blush prettily at his chaste true love’s kiss.

By the way, you look lovely, my dear, fresh as a peach blossom.

Many cling to fantasy, unwilling or unable to doctor their expectations with a pinch of reality, a dash of practicality.  They try every magic they possess to find and capture, or if all else fails, create their prince.  He is kind, manly, strong, gentle, clean, yet unafraid to get his hands dirty.  He will stand up for you, but never stand up to you.  He loves what you love, is respected by his peers, successful in business, and must make an excellent father, to raise the pretty princesses and handsome princes you spawn.

Then some minor thing goes wrong, an errant sock, less than convincing interest in rose gardening, an unslain spider. You start to question.  Is this really my soulmate?

Each mundane day the magic will erode, slowly turning your prince into a frog.

Anyway, I wish the beautiful couple happiness, of course cursed to be temporary.  Please enjoy the open bar my husband is paying for.”

Moonflower

This is the first year I have ever grown these, in fact I don’t think I have ever seen them in real life before.  They looked so pretty in the gardening catalog. I needed them to be mine.  They bloom every night just around sunset and stay open all night.  On nights with a lot of moon they look romantic and magical.  The smell is soft and delicate, and reminds me a little of suntan lotion and walking on the beach.  They are going to be a regular feature in my garden in the coming years.

Flower Power

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When I first started gardening seriously I was not very nice to flowers.   I was in fact almost offended by them, the way I still am with grass.  If I talked about flowers at all it would have been to say they are a waste of space and that only flowers that are beneficial companion plants are allowed in my garden.   I had marigolds and of course anything that made a flower in order to grow the veggie or fruit, and that was about it.   But over time that changed.   I realized that those strawberry flowers and peach blossoms made me happy.  Not just because they were the harbinger of delicious noms to come, but because they were lovely all on their own.

A few years ago I threw a few handfuls of beneficial insect attracting wildflower seeds into a little unused space in the front yard.  My stated reason would have been to get more good helpful insects to increase the food production, but there was more to it than that.  I wanted flowers.  When they came up and I saw the little buds forming I was so excited.  I had no idea what flowers were in the mix.  Would this new one be pink, blue or purple? Would it be a single flower, or a cluster of little ones?  Would it have a nice smell?

I have never been one to be given or go buy cut flowers.  It always seemed like a waste of money, but I admit I like to stop and look at them in the flower part of the store.  Flower arrangements were a decadent thing that I just could not have in my life.  But that all changed as those wildflowers started to bloom.   It was like a magic trick, this one part of my yard was a joy for the senses; a riot of colors and shapes, a busy buzzing blur of bees and butterflies, and a delicate blend of new smells.

That is when I realized flowers are a perfectly reasonable crop for a hard-working homesteader.  They might not feed my tummy, but they feed another part of me that is just as in need of nourishment.