Gentle Reminder: It's Paperwhite Season

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Just my friendly yearly reminder that if you want paperwhites for Christmas, now is the time to get them started.  This year, I planted mine in a baking dish half filled with pebbles, then disguised it all with some mossy-grass and a basket.  I hope it will be all kinds of pretty once my bulbs bloom, although it is kind of a PITA to monitor the water level right now.  Ah well, totally worth it! 

Here's the full schpeel on how to plant paperwhites if you're a newbie, and here's a little paperwhite science experiment I tried a few years ago (with some success) if you're up for such things.  

Garlic's in the Ground, Bring it On Winter

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Just in time, I think, we planted garlic this weekend.  I ordered bulbs from Seed Savers, and set the delivery date for the first week of October--usually the perfect time to hit that "after the first light frost" window that Seed Savers recommends.

While we technically haven't had a frost yet, it's definitely been chilly.  And the prickling of my cold little nose is making me a little afraid that instead of a "light frost" we're going to just get a plain old freeze that's going to last until March.

I'm totally OK with that.  I still fondly remember the year that it snowed on Halloween, and didn't melt until Valentine's Day.  It would absolutely make my year if this winter could be like that, as long as my yarn and wine stashes don't run out.  (Chances = slim.)

And as long as I was able to get the garlic in the ground first, which is now safely taken care of.

(From left to right above, the varieties I planted are "Broadleaf Czech", "Russian Giant", "Samarkand [Persian Star]", and "German Extra Hardy".  For some garlic planting how-to, check out "How to Grow Great Garlic" from Author Mom with Dogs.)

Bits In the Garden

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(Clockwise from top left.)

:: A mysterious little pod flower that I haven't quite gotten the chance to track down the name of yet.

:: One little pumpkin that survived the bugs and is trying to turn orange.

:: Garlic chive blossoms that--although they're too small to really photograph well en masse--are teaming with honey bees every afternoon.

:: Peppers on peppers!  Now I just need one or two hot days so they'll turn the color they're supposed to and I can pick them.

And Thanks For All the Herbs

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As with most people who live in a house after someone else has, we are occasionally...perplexed at some of the choices the previous owners of our house made.  But I bless them every day for the herb garden.  Even though we have plans to rearrange it a bit next year, it's just been wonderful.

Pictured above (clockwise from top) we have sage, oregano, lavender, garlic chives, and tarragon--all of which are now happily drying and freezing for later use.  (The tomatoes, sadly, were snatched by the Wee Welshman in a moment of my inattentiveness.  Let that be a lesson to you all--at first it's cute when your puppy likes to "eat his vegetables", but when he starts to eat your vegetables it's less so!)

It's Like Halloween in August

IMG_5772 It's been unseasonably wonderful here these past few weeks.  Eighty degrees with a nice breeze during the day, chilly enough for a light sweater at night--so not like normal end-of-July, beginning-of-August, melt-you-into-puddles Kansas weather.

And then, the one little pumpkin I've been able to save from the squash bugs finally ripened up enough to pick.  I'm not quite ready for pumpkin risotto, so into the freezer he went.  But the smell as I was cutting him up, and the squishiness of pumpkin goo in my fingers, brought on thoughts of Fall and leaves and popcorn balls like nobody's business!

I thought about roasting his seeds as a pre-pre-Halloween treat, but I decided that--as the only pumpkin to survive the squash bugs--his genes are too valuable for that.  I saved them for next year's planting instead.

If I can't wipe the squash bugs out, I'll breed them out!