Custom Seed Packet & Holder Giveaway!

Attention savvy gardeners!  Visit us on Facebook and hit “like” for your chance to earn one of these adorable seed packet holders. 

Your choice of design, as well as a set of 15 custom seed saving packets, compliments of BloominThyme —  http://www.facebook.com/bloominthyme

Don’t save seeds?  No problem.  Use these containers to hold paper napkins or plastic utensils on the picnic table, or perhaps envelopes on your desk.  How about the perfect unique gift for that gardener friend? Or win one for the kids!  These holders are a great way to get the youngsters excited about gardening. 

Already “like” us?  Thanks!  You’ll be automatically entered to win.  When we reach 75 likes, one random winner will be drawn.  At a 100, a second will be chosen.  So enter early and increase your chances of winning.

Then, stay-tuned for more giveaways as well as gardening made easy — BloominThyme…your “cliff” notes to gardening!

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Worm Poop a.k.a Worm Castings

The art of vermiculture.  Yes, you heard it here first.  We have begun worm composting! 

Because we can’t wait until spring to get into garden mode, we’ve decided to get a jump-start — and what better way than with worms?  Okay, my daughter would have something to say about this, but my son?  He’s all for it!  I mean, what boy doesn’t like worms?  In fact, he treated me to a dissertation on the subject as we drove home from school.  He and his young friends, it turns out, are well-versed in the subject.  Found a mound of the wrigglys beneath an old tree on the playground.

Well, hold the cabbage!  Did I hear you say you have worms at school?   Then why aren’t they in the garden?  These babies make the golden goose look like an ugly duck.  *QUACK*   We need worms and lots of them!  Actually, we need their poop.

Loaded with nitrogen, worm poop (worm castings for you scientific types) is an excellent organic fertilizer.  And I should know.   The students at school threw handfuls of it in their garden when we first planted and I’m not ashamed to admit, their tomatoes and peppers completely outshone mine at home.  Kids.   Go figure.   Next time I won’t be so quick to advise caution and restraint in the “worm poop throw” event.

So lesson learned (and what better place than among fellow students), I’ve decided an endeavor in the worm poop business would be a good idea.  My garden needs all the help it can get frankly, and I’m open to suggestion.  After a few clicks online, I found out how to make my own worm poop lodge.  Rest comfy, my sweets, and eat to your heart’s content.  The bathroom’s down the hall to the left.  Don’t worry about the mess.  I’ll get it.  Wink, wink.  (They have no idea what I’m up to, I’m sure of it!)

We bought the bin; your standard 78 qt. plastic variety.  With the help of my husband, we drilled holes across the top, sides and bottom (about 1/16″ to 1/8″ should do — any bigger and your worms may find themselves an escape route!). 

Then filled it with shredded newspaper, about 2/3 full.  Next, we moistened the paper.  Not too much.  Apparently worms are finicky and like it damp, but not too damp.  Think damp sponge.  Roll of the eyes here.   They remind me why I don’t have a cat, though I will indulge them.  After all, I do have ulterior motives.

Fortunate enough to secure our worms (must be red worms or Eisenia foetida) from a local angler shop, run by an experienced angler, I was informed that worms like peanut hulls and eggshells, coffee grinds and banana peels.  Wonderful!  I just happen to have some old peanuts leftover from last summer.  Eggshells? 

Not on your life.  Those are going to my tomatoes this spring.  Coffee grinds and bananas are all theirs.   Generous to a fault, aren’t I?

And since we want them to make healthy poop, we threw in a few old lettuce stalks from our fall garden.  Adds to the “nitrogen” factor.  (We’re always thinking!)

Then the worms.  Rather than purchase the pound I originally intended, our new angler friend suggested I go with these two smaller containers.  Seems worms multiply at alarming rates — not surprising when he explained that each worm comes equipped with both male and female attributes.  Easy mixing

He was also kind enough to show us the adult worm’s egg sack.  Clearly identifiable on the upper body, this sack is supposed to “migrate” down toward the tail (do worms have tails?) and then off the body where the eggs “hatch.”   He said we can expect as many as a 100 babies per adult!  For those of you interested in full details, check out this link.

Quickly calculating the numbers in my head, I nodded.  “You’re right.  We’ll go with the two small tubs.” 

My son did the honors.  He is the resident expert on worms and all things fishing so it seemed a natural fit when gardens and fishing cross, right?  Gently, he sprinkled them out into their new home.    Aw…look at those little pumpkins.   Aren’t they adorable?

In worm terms they’re cute.  Amazingly beautiful, actually, when you consider their production capacity!  And we are interested in production.

Can’t wait.  In fact, we’ve checked on them three times already.  Impatient bunch.  A good thing we did, because we discovered a few had crawled up near the lid.  On their way out?

Hope not.  And I hope the holes don’t prove too big.  Eagerly opening our bin to find no worms?  That’ll be a sad day.  Shudder the thought.

Quality Time in the Garden

“Mom, I brought snacks.”

Lifting my head from my tilling work of the potato row, I smiled at my son.  “Really?  What’d you bring?”

“Pistachios.  Do you like pistachios?”

“Sure do.”

Passing me, he promptly dropped to the ground and wrestled to open the canister (our fall purchase from his sister the Girl Scout).  “Can I have some of your water?” he asked.

“By all means.  We can share.  Your pistachios for my water.”

“Um-hm.” 

Returning to my task of tilling dirt for the addition of our compost–the compost he was supposed to be shoveling into the row but had since abandoned, I noted, “So I gather you’re on break?”

“No, I’m not on break.”

This gave me pause.  “No?”

“No, I’m just eating pistachios.”

“But you’re not working.  That’s what we call it when you stop to eat.  It’s called a break.”

Adamantly, he shook his head to the contrary. 

“Do you intend to shovel and pop nut shells at the same time then?”

“No.  I’m just eating them.”  He looked up.  “Want some?”

Giving in to the futility of the conversation block, I replied, “Sure.”

He reached up and plopped an already shelled nut into my mouth.  That is good.  Straightening, my lower back screaming tight, I decided break or no break, this was as good a time as any to sit down and eat nuts.  I lowered myself down to the ground next to him and stuck my hand out. 

He deposited another already shelled nut into my hand.  “Here ya go,” he said — service with a smile.

“Thanks.”   Running through half the can, we talked about nothing in particular, content with our simple enjoyment of tossing shells over the potato row (they are biodegradable after all, and it was fun to aim for the variety of holes in the dirt).  

“He throws, he hits–scores!”  My son cheers.  “And the crowd goes wild!”

I’ve heard this chant before, though I can’t place my finger on exactly where, and delight in his gardening-turned-sports-drama.   No TV, no DS, no itouch…just us, hanging out in the garden on break (or whatever he thinks we’re doing). 

It was nice.  Easy, simple.  Just plain old-fashioned nice.  Looking at him, the shells piling up, I asked, “Can I have a kiss?”

Without hesitation, he leaned over and planted one smack dab on my lips.  I smiled.  “Thanks.”

I don’t receive too many of those anymore, not with him growing up so fast, his self-conscious awareness as his buddies look on… 

And I miss them.  I miss him.  No longer as exciting as an afternoon on the playground with his friends, a play over with his neighbors, an afternoon of football and chips with his dad, I take what I can get.  I’m sensible.  I accept the changes. 

Later, when the game ends and he snuggles up close to me on the sofa, I remind him one day he’ll whisk me across the dance floor when he’s taller than me–

–to which he responds with a shy yet delighted roll of his eyes.   “Mom…”

I grinned and gave him a squeeze.  “Sorry.”  But that’s the way we moms roll.

Kids Say the Darndest Things

My kids have completely different styles when it comes to weeding the garden.  My daughter gets in, gets out — quick as she can.  The girl means business when it comes to weeds and she doesn’t like to waste her valuable free-time dawdling among the weeds!

My son, on the other hand, lingers.  He daydreams. 

Dawdles.  It’s not his thing, he says. 

Mine either.

He doesn’t prefer to weed.

Me neither.

So while in the garden recently, my daughter long gone, the dog uninterested in sitting with us out in the full heat of the sun (spoiled boy decided a swim in the pool would be a better use of his time!), I once again noticed my son idling amongst the rows.  He wasn’t pulling anything free from the ground.  Translated:  he wasn’t weeding.

Pausing from my task of planting garlic bulbs, I calmly asked him, “What are you doing?”

“Enjoying life.”

I raised a brow.   Really, now.   “Enjoying life, are you?”

“Yes.  I’m building an arena.”

Wondering if I heard him correctly, I repeated, “Building an arena?”

“Yep.  And these are my lights.”   He looked over at me with clear invitation in his eyes.    “Wanna see?”

Of course I did, so I rose from my spot and joined him along his row. 

“See.  There’s the arena and here’s my light.”   He bent a twig-like hay strand with his fingers to simulate a street light.   “This is the light part and this is its post.”

“Ah….”   Peering down into his creation, I said, “Looks good.  Who’s it for?”

“Ants.”

I chuckled.  “Do ants enjoy going to the arena?”

“Oh, sure.  And here’s their door where they enter.” 

Sure enough, there was a hole opening in the ground forming a tunnel for the ants to enter.  I nodded.  “Perfect.”

And it was.  Creative and wonderful, it was an awesome rendition of his current priority:  sports.  Returning to my row, I pondered over his imagination.  Never short on ideas, I thought, kids sure can create anything out of nothing.  Which is a good thing.  Even better, I liked that he thought to consider a break from his chores to simply “enjoy life.”  I think it says a lot about his state of mind, his outlook and for that, I’m proud of him.

A little while later, I noticed he still had yet to weed.  Almost finished with my business in the garden, I knew he wasn’t going to take kindly to sitting out in the garden alone — weeding —  so I nudged him a bit.   “How are you doing?”

“Not great.”

“No?  What happened to enjoying life?”

“I still have to weed.”

“Yes, you do, but it’s not that much.  You can manage.”

He tossed a hay twig to the ground.  “It’s not fair.  You try to enjoy life, but it comes right back at you!”

I laughed.  Such observation from a seven-year-old!  “You’re right.  It does, doesn’t it?”  I shook my head at his wisdom.  When it comes to the “weeds” of life, it most certainly seems to — until you fully adjust your attitude cap;  a feat he’s still working to master.

“What the heck–why even try to enjoy it then?”

“It’s all about attitude.  Enjoy what you’re doing, whatever it is.”

He huffed in disagreement.  “I’m gonna go throw the football with Dad.”

“Yes you are — right after you finish weeding.”

And such goes life.  Despite his every effort to the contrary, my son learned it’s not all fun and games.  There are parts of life that feel like work, no matter how hard you try to make them feel like play.  But we push through.  We persevere. 

As a mother, it’s reassuring to know we’re not only growing vegetables out here in the garden, but building character to boot.

You Won’t Believe What Mandie Did

I’m still in shock myself.  Stunned.  Yes, I know her life’s in disarray at the moment.  She’s not living in her house, the ceiling is under repair, but THIS?  How could she?

Yep.  That’s her planter’s box, once filled with a wild tangle of sweet potato it’s now barren.   Sure vines were mussed, the yard unkept…

But to pull them all out?  That’s akin to pulling one’s hair out! 

“There were no sweet potatoes, anyway.”

“They take time!  Come October/November you would have had plenty of potatoes!”

“Ah, whatever.  I pulled them all out.”

“Why didn’t you call me?  I could have talked you through this!”  Why would you do it unless

You’re really in distress.  Which gave me pause.  Tearing open her computer case, whipping it free…  I could see.  Yes.  I’m afraid so.  It was the reality of no time, no energy.  Stress reared its ugly head and she yanked her vines free in vicarious delight. 

Something I can understand.  Mandie’s under a bit of stress right now and who can blame her?  Under the circumstance, I might do the same.  (Okay, maybe that’s a tad extreme.  I mean, I’m the woman who collects compost while away from home just to feed my plants–save the earth!)  But life is life and everyone’s is different.  I haven’t been driven from my home.  I don’t work in an office.  I have time.  She doesn’t.

So despite the evidence of potatoes in progress, she has foregone the harvest. 

But take heart — there’s good news!  She hasn’t forsaken the dream!  When her life returns to normal and she’s back and settled, she WANTS to try again!  Can you think of a better testament to the joy of gardening?

Hmph.  I’m hard-pressed on that count.

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