A garden is the best alternative therapy.

There’s a chill in the air, but working in the sun sure feels good.  The ground is wet and soft from rain, which makes weed pulling all the easier.  Now, if I could just get rid of this kink in my back … and get over this cedar fever.  Ugh.

I ran out to Home Depot this morning to pick up a couple fluorescent strip lights to hang in the garage.  I picked up two units, each with (2) 48-inch bulbs for a total output of 11,000 lumens.  I mounted them from the ceiling using S-hooks and chain.  I have them hanging about 3 inches above the seedlings that have sprouted up.  Right now, I have a half-dozen of each:  Cal Wonder orange bell pepper, Ring-O-Fire cayenne pepper, Cosmo Savoy lettuce, Red Sail lettuce, and Buttercrunch seeds that have mostly germinated.  I’ also have a half dozen Mexican Mint Marigold and half dozen Bloomsdale spinach sown in their individual cells.   I picked up some alyssum and verbena seeds as well.  The temperature is right for them to be sown, so I’ll make quick work of that this afternoon.  I want to do some landscaping in the backyard, putting in some in-ground flower beds.  Last year I pulled a huge pile of large quartz rock out from around a couple of trees in the front yard and will use that to edge the beds.  I also plan to put in a gravel path and some stones in the highly trafficked areas.  I’ll transplant the Alyssum and Verbena when the beds are ready and the weather is right, but I also want to pick up more plants and flowers to bring butterflies and bees to the garden.   They’ll love the wildflowers, no doubt, but I want to draw them through the yard with Lantana, Black-Eyed Susans, Butterfly Weed, Cuphea, a carpet of white Alyssum and splashes of mixed verbena.   There may even be room for some varieties of sage, mixed in with Tuscan rosemary and a covering of creeping thyme.  The sunniest part of the yard I plan to grow some sunflowers.   So many plans, so little time…

Because the last few times I went looking for them and they were all sold out, I went ahead and purchased several stacks of paper pots and a big bag of organic Jiffy Mix.   I also picked up some organic Blood Meal for my spinach.

I don’t have much in the way of updates for the garden this weekend, but I did snap a few pics.  Of the nine broccoli plants I have growing, only three of them are producing crowns, the largest of which is right at an inch wide.

Broccoli flower, the largest of three

The carrots are growing fatter and I’ve noticed that the greens (carrot, spinach, lettuce) have really perked up this week.  I think the bat guano and fish emulsion really made a difference.

The carrots continue to develop. We'll enjoy another harvest any day.

As I was comparing pictures, I started looking back at pictures of the plants when I first transplanted.    I thought I’d include some before and after shots.

Carrots 11/7

Carrots 1/30

Spinach 11/27

Spinach 1/30

Broccoli 10/30

Broccoli 1/30

Mint 10/16

Mint 1/30

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