Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I have a new baby!

Whoa! I shouldn't say such things - I almost gave MYSELF a mini panic attack. What I mean is, I've created a new site called Wai Sek that I wanted to introduce to you. Wai sek is a little Cantonese phrase that makes me laugh (it's not truly funny - but I think it's funny). My mom has this cabinet that is always stocked with good snacks. The first order of business when anyone in my family goes to her house is to go stand in front of the open cabinet, just scanning around for something to eat. I thought it was an appropriate title for a site that I hope will be a resource for everything that has to do with Asian food. There will be recipes, an insider's guide to eating out at specialty restaurants, a photo gallery of cool Asian food related sights, a Q&A section about anything related to Asian food, and some garden photos (of course). I'd be thrilled if you could take a look, possibly share with friends who might be interested, and if appropriate, CONTRIBUTE to the site.

And just so you know I'm not just busy nursing my new baby - you'll see my little seedling operation up above. I thought I'd widen the angle so you can see my pitiful but incredibly special, but sparsely-flowered Christmas cactus that I've posted about before, the basket on the right filled with my Keurig k-cups (favorite invention of all time), and behind all the clutter, Shockti-Taka's (our pet sugar glider) cage.

Also, spring blooms and other signs of life...

In the vegetable gardens, garlic and strawberries greening up with life and strength, and a few spears of asparagus ready for picking (more for garnishing than eating at this point!).

COMING SOON - on April 30th, we will begin the Garden to Table Challenge! Read here about the Winter Edition. Where will you find inspiration this season???

Friday, March 25, 2011

Oh deer!

I mean, I get it...but I don't really get it. The hosta is green, lush, healthy, probably has a healthy dose of Sluggo around it...but I don't know. I'm thinking that if there needs to be so much pest protection around it - it kinda takes away from the beauty of the plant.

I try not to be too judgmental. I've written several posts now about how gardening is a subjective art, but yet I did happen to collect all these photos on separate jog-bys throughout the year. The garden above - huge and so pretty with the tall lilies. I was sad to see the entire garden area surrounded by stakes and netting.

The shade garden above was really really pretty. Really. The cell phone photo does it no justice. It dipped down several feet from the sidewalk and was quite a hidden gem. This is in a very wooded area and we do have lots of deer. I'm sure there are issues and I'm sure the gardener was fed up with her garden being the local salad bar. But ugh...the netting...

Above, a perfectly manicured lawn, perfectly kept garden, and perfectly straight (and very tall, I'd say!) stakes.

I don't know. I obviously have no solutions. Look at my hosta above. Look at my day lilies below. These guys were new planted the previous fall. There were swollen buds about to open and I said to my family each day, "Keep your eyeballs on that - it's going to be gorgeous!" But guess what? My family never got to see them at all last year. And guess what? New growth this year has been mowed to the ground. Actually, for a few minutes, I suspected that the annoying kids nearby had cut them down just to spite me because they looked cut with scissors (a curmudgeonly thing to think, huh?).

And guess what? I forgot about these day lilies below on the other side of the garden. I only found them when...

...I found the poopies a couple feet away from them. The nerve. This guy stood 3 feet from my house, eating my day lilies and pooping on my lawn. Probably at the same time.

Oh deer! This dope (see his head?) in my neighbor's yard showed up at the wrong house, nothing but lawn and a big old evergreen there, dummy.

What I have noticed is that my hellebores are absolutely gorgeous and everything behind them is fine. I've read that deer will avoid crossing over plants they dislike, and I think it's true. Perhaps instead of a netting and stake barrier, it might be useful to try edging a garden with plants that deer are averse to. There's got to be a solution somewhere between Fort Knox and The Greenish Thumb all-you-can-eat (and my dad's method of stakes with bars of blue-green Zest soap hanging from them is not what I'm talking about!).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mud pie season begins today

I love it - the patio is littered with plastic cups, bowls, knives, and garden forks, watering cans, and spray bottles. All evidence that a 6 year old had hours of independent fun while mom got to sow spring veggie seeds.

Tucked into the garden today: baby corn, gai lan (Chinese broccoli), bok choy, atomic red carrots, chantenay carrots, sugar snaps, snow peas, and a lively red spring lettuce mix. French filet beans, edamame, bolita beans, black-eyed peas, red raspberries, and blue potatoes need to go in the ground later. Signs of life in the vegetable garden: yellow raspberries, asparagus, chard, rhubarb, strawberry, and the garlic growing like gangbusters. Around June 15, I'll be harvesting inchelium, early red, ajo rojo, and elephant varieties. Herbs are poking through and greening up: mint (grown in a pot in the ground), thyme, oregano, and I don't think the parsley ever stopped growing all winter. It's now lush and gorgeous.

Indoors - my tiny little orchid that I bought on a whim last year is actually in bloom! These pretty flowers have been open for probably a month. It's shaken my orchid-killer rep and moves me to lovingly care for the orchids I got for free at the National Museum of Natural History's Orchid Show (still running if you're near the DC area).

By the vents and on the heating pads are seeds started last night. Come summer, I will be harvesting: tomatillo, charentais melon, tomatoes (hillbilly, Cherokee purple, isis candy cherry), peppers (ancho, cayenne, jalapeno, habanero), watermelon, and basil.

And my favorite early spring sight - hellebores. How did you spend YOUR first day of mud pie season?

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