~* April 2011 Food Growing Mamas*~ - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 76 Old 04-01-2011, 09:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I can't believe its April already.  Sprouts are coming up in the garden.  I planted lots of greens and started some herbs and calendula is coming up already too.  They loved all the rain we just got, though I wasn't too keen on all the low temps, but its looking good from here on out.treehugger.gif

 

I will get some pictures here in the next few days.


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#2 of 76 Old 04-01-2011, 11:25 PM
 
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Hi!  Joining the party.  treehugger.gif

 

I have a big project which is ongoing but slow and a current project which is moving fast.  The big one is our acreage which is growing fruit trees and other things but my current project is my backyard in the 'burbs.  I am putting weed mat on the bed that has been self seeding basil and tomatoes for a while because although I love weeds usually (edible, help to shade plants in the heat of subtropics here)  it was so neglected, grass had crept in and it's just a mess.

 

So in an effort not to tamper with the beautiful soil ecology of that bed, I've cut the weeds back, not pulled them.  I have my weed mat to smother the lot and will put on top of that a thin line of compost, chook poo, my new seedlings and then mulch like mad with lucern!  

 

The back bed now has sorrel, gotu kola, capsicums, lettuce and silverbeet - and some self-sown melon or squash of some sort.  I have seedlings ready for the weedy front bed of spinach, carrots, watermelon, shallots, radish, okra and goodness knows what, I just went crazy - all from organic heritage seed.

 

I broke my foot three days ago and although I tried to get in the garden, it was an epic fail.  It feels better now so tomorrow I'm in there with the weed mat.  

 

My other project is bag compost!  I have a collection of kitchen scraps to put in a garbage bag with garden clippings and will sit it in the sun to rot down.  Apparently in a few weeks it should stop stinking when I open it and it will be compost.  

 

Out of frustration of not being in the garden, I am here instead to write about it.  lol.gif

 

Tag.


Hunger is political.  Wherever there is widespread hunger, it is because people with guns are preventing other people from bringing in food.  
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#3 of 76 Old 04-01-2011, 11:27 PM
 
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I'm in Oz, btw, so it is autumn here, sub tropics so still hot most days.  It will cool over April.


Hunger is political.  Wherever there is widespread hunger, it is because people with guns are preventing other people from bringing in food.  
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#4 of 76 Old 04-03-2011, 11:14 AM
 
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can I join in? 

 

My garden isn't really started yet this year; I need to do some prep work still.  I've gotta get out and turn my compost pile, spread it on one of my beds, rake back the chunks so I can start this year's pile, dig it in, etc.  I wish I had room for several rotating piles but oh well.  I also need to finish putting up the more permanent fence and get the gate out.  

 

I have 2 new beds I am digging this year too.  One 4x5 and one 3x6.  The 4x5 is going to be lettuces and onions so I really need to get on it.  Soon.

 

I am planning to start my tomatoes, peppers and pumpkins here in a couple of weeks after I get back from a trip.  

 

This year I am planning to grow kale, beets, sweet corn and pumpkins for the first time, along with broccoli, bok choi, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, onions, lettuces, spinach, arugula, peas, runner beans, cucumbers, zucchini, basil, marigolds, and nasturtiums.  

 

 

 

 

   


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#5 of 76 Old 04-03-2011, 01:22 PM
 
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We're in the North East which has been blanketed with a good half a foot of snow again :( But the warm sun seems to be melting it. I planted my tomato seedlings in the middle of the April Fools day blizzard!! :) Black Cherries, Ananas Noire, and Delicious. My seedlings are doing well. Broccoli is big, and the mini bell peppers are getting there. My hot chinese peppers just sprouted after about 2 weeks in the yogurt maker. And I have bunches of little snapdragons coming along. They are probably my favorite summer flowers. At this point I'm not sure when I am going to put the broccoli/lettuce/spinach/peas into the ground. I was thinking mid April but this weather is so strange! Right now we are still collecting and boiling down sap. I love the smell and the moisture in the air!
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#6 of 76 Old 04-03-2011, 07:08 PM
 
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Blech. 
So incredibly behind. 
I have asparagus crowns in seed starting mix in the garage because I can't get outside yet (between torrential downpour, barfing and the nasty week-long ick and hubby out of town), but did get some seeds started last week or whenever it was.  My Purple Russians came up something fierce, and are trying to get all leggy.  Guess it's time to clear off a shelf in the pantry for the timed lights vs. just sitting on a desk in the homeschool room with indirect light.  ;)

I need to can up some bacon and finish clearing up the random frozen fruits (I think there's cherries, raspberries and strawberries in there - little bits from end of season/harvests).  I think a seedless raspberry/strawberry jam would make me happy...  Need to get things ready to go again for the year.  Would be nice to be slightly more organized pantry/canning wise this year.


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#7 of 76 Old 04-04-2011, 12:00 PM
 
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The weather here has been great for the last week, after torrential rains in the previous weeks, so the garden is finally getting some attention. We have a tiny yard so at this point we are doing the yearly negoiation to determine how many tomato plants we can cram into our space. We put in three new raised beds (they are small, maybe 2.5X2.5) and are hoping that eases the crunch a bit.

I have sprouted tomatoes that are ready to be hardened off (Amish Paste, San Marzano, Big Rainbow, Sioux, Turkish Monastery Stripe, Hillybilly, Coer di Bour, and Black Brandywine) and a whole flat of peppers and eggplant that refuse to sprout.

Right now we have lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, kale, chard and a bunch of herbs growing. We are probably going to plant tomatoes next weekend joy.gif. Our peas all got munched so that was an epic fail...I am bummed about that as they were so good last year. Oh well, I'll try again next year.

On the subject of compost, do any of you know a good/safe way to compost in a small yard that has a propensity for rats? I have not put in a pile because I don't want to attract any more rattus rattus than I already have, but for all I know they're not even interested in compost. Any idea?
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#8 of 76 Old 04-05-2011, 06:12 AM
 
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Chamomile- I would use a tumbler if there was a rat issue. I don't have any experience with rats and quite frankly I would like to keep it that way.  lol.

 

My expensive heirloom tomato seeds have FINALLY sprouted!  It's been almost a month!  I thought they were surely goners.  I guess not!  I have to buy some more pepper seeds today though because none of my peppers came up (I saved seeds from last year).  Those probably had the death gene though so it was more of an experiment.

 

Does anyone have raspberry or blackberry bushes?  I bought some plants and it says they "may" be trellised.  So I'm wondering if I should have a trellis for them or not.  I'm putting them kind of up next to my house on the south side so they can get full sun all day.  I wonder how much they will grow this year or if I could just wait until next year to buy trellises...

 

Time to go give my plants some fake sunlight and fresh water!


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#9 of 76 Old 04-05-2011, 06:42 AM
 
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It's still too early for me to plant here and I just don't have a place for seeds inside.  So we're waiting. My strawberry plants are looking really good though so that makes me very happy! 

 

I think I've figured out everything I want to plant this year so now I just have to wait on the weather.

 

 

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#10 of 76 Old 04-05-2011, 08:21 AM
 
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I need to find some sort of potting soil mixture so that I can start my tomatoes, peppers and melons indoors. We had a good amount of snow on April 1st but it's been raining since noon yesterday. Snow is starting to disappear in the front yard but I'm sure there's still a good foot or two in the garden. 


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#11 of 76 Old 04-05-2011, 08:42 AM
 
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I came to try and summon up some motivation. I'm seriously lagging behind on seed starting and planting this year. I haven't even started tomatoes and I know the farmers are hardening theirs off!  My peas were all eaten, even the sweet peas were pecked to death.  We've been enjoying beet greens and mache all winter from one of our covered beds. I managed to harvest one.single. head of cabbage which was terrific and made me even more sad the goats got into the garden and got the rest.  I have kale (goats keep getting it so we haven't been able to enjoy it as much as they have), broccoli, herbs,carrtos, leeks, onions, various berries, artichokes, and celery in and growing.  The garden is a disaster right now with a bunch of stuff to tidy up and a million bits of toys and hand trowels and little holes from kids and gophers throughout.  My fava beans are all falling over, perhaps time to pull them out since they've had a great run.  My biggest obstacles this year will be protecting everything from migratory birds, chickens, goats, children, and the occasional deer.  Sounds exhausting.  I need to summon some oomph and start to face this season!  Oy.


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#12 of 76 Old 04-05-2011, 05:11 PM
 
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Quote:

 

Does anyone have raspberry or blackberry bushes?  I bought some plants and it says they "may" be trellised.  So I'm wondering if I should have a trellis for them or not.  I'm putting them kind of up next to my house on the south side so they can get full sun all day.  I wonder how much they will grow this year or if I could just wait until next year to buy trellises...

 

 


I have both and trellis blackberries but not raspberries.  I didn't trellis the blackberries the first year.  I think mine are a semi upright variety with thorns(Illini), so they needed it.  

 

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#13 of 76 Old 04-05-2011, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuburbanHippie View Post

Does anyone have raspberry or blackberry bushes?  I bought some plants and it says they "may" be trellised.  So I'm wondering if I should have a trellis for them or not.  I'm putting them kind of up next to my house on the south side so they can get full sun all day.  I wonder how much they will grow this year or if I could just wait until next year to buy trellises...

 



We have raspberry bushes here.  I don't have a "trellis", but we do give the bushes support.  We (and I assume there are better ways) have a T-post on each end of each row.  We wind heavy string back and forth between the posts.  As the bushes grow, I adjust where the branches are so that they have support.  I don't know that they would behave like a vine.

 

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#14 of 76 Old 04-06-2011, 08:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuburbanHippie View Post

 

Does anyone have raspberry or blackberry bushes?  I bought some plants and it says they "may" be trellised.  So I'm wondering if I should have a trellis for them or not.  I'm putting them kind of up next to my house on the south side so they can get full sun all day.  I wonder how much they will grow this year or if I could just wait until next year to buy trellises...

 

Trellising blackberries will make them easier to harvest and keep your vines off the ground which is good to do for several reasons such as keeping the vines from growing roots where ever they touch the ground, keeping them free of disease such as septoria esp since the canes which grow this year are what will fruit next year, and help little feet not get pokied :) It's easier to see which canes to take out  (you'd remove the previous year's growth at the end of the current growing season), and they may grow more than you think they will and let me tell ya they are NOT FUN to mess with once all long and rambling all over.    I have golden raspberries in addition to the blackberries, but they are upright growing and don't need trellising, just a bit of support.


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#15 of 76 Old 04-06-2011, 09:52 AM
 
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Thanks for the help!  Now I have another project for DH this weekend.  lol.gif


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#16 of 76 Old 04-08-2011, 11:27 AM
 
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Erin – wow you have some serious critter munching going on! You can buy netting to go over seedlings that protect from birds and other small munchers. And if you have goats I would consider putting some fencing around the garden. Or maybe you already have fencing it just needs some goat proofing….

 

Our yard looks like a disaster too. We had a large tree come down a year ago and we’re still processing it into fire wood. Somehow this caused us to ignore the rest of our yard. Toys, debris, broken stuff – all over. I’d like to go a yard clean up adventure like they do a beach clean up at the coast. Give everyone in the family a bag and send them to the farthest corner and we all work our way back to the center. Prizes for the most collected?

 

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#17 of 76 Old 04-08-2011, 11:41 AM
 
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And so yeah we are behind as well but this year I started the ball rolling earlier so we’re just behind, not completely utterly behind LOL In past years the garden didn’t go in until 4th of July weekend!

 

We have old wood fencing to build 3  4x6 raised beds this year – giving us 5 total. DH has really put this off and finally promised to make this week so we could haul soil in this weekend. He has been sick all week. I feel bad but it’s hard to not be @%!*# when you suggested he build them in February so they’d be ready in March…

 

I’ve already planted the original 2 beds and this weekend I am getting some indoor starts for summer veg planted. And dealing with the major grass growth and weeds in 2 row beds we’ll be using for squash. The soil is so wet they should dig up easily.

 

The mud situation is very annoying in our yard. It seems anywhere we walk there is no grass, just mud to slip on. Especially near the garden beds.

 

And to keep DH and I on some kind of track with the garden and revamping (ie: cleaning up) our back yard – I am making a grand To Do List. It’s scary. Real scary. Hahahaha

 

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#18 of 76 Old 04-08-2011, 12:07 PM
 
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Well I planted my basil starts outside today. It's probably way too early (and its cold today) but oh well. They needed to get out of their sprouting pots. At least I cloched them (with last year's plastic Starbucks cups! I look like I'm trying to grow a Starbucks). We'll see if they make it. I'm ramping up to plant the tomatoes too. Next weekend I think. Once that happens it go for the year! I'm excited.

I also scored a great composter from Costco. It's the barrel type that PP suggested, and as I have wanted a composter for years I am really stoked. Now I can let go of my lingering resentment that the city is getting all of our garden waste! We're putting the kabash on that this weekend smile.gif.
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#19 of 76 Old 04-08-2011, 01:00 PM
 
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I started tomatoes, peppers, watermelon (cold climate/short growing season type) and various flowers inside today. I feel like I'm a bit late with it but considering we still have a good foot or so of snow in the garden and our last frost date is June 1st, I'm not that far off. I want to try planting some early crops this year; kale, peas, lettuce etc. 


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#20 of 76 Old 04-08-2011, 02:29 PM
 
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I started tomatoes, peppers, watermelon (cold climate/short growing season type) and various flowers inside today. I feel like I'm a bit late with it but considering we still have a good foot or so of snow in the garden and our last frost date is June 1st, I'm not that far off. I want to try planting some early crops this year; kale, peas, lettuce etc. 



I think this was the perfect time for you to start your seeds.  It gives you a good 2 months of inside growing, which is optimal. 


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#21 of 76 Old 04-09-2011, 07:13 AM
 
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I am in the deep South, so on a way different schedule than most. Right now I have tomatoes, beans, and peppers just starting to fruit, potatoes in full leaf, and my first summer squash almost ready. I still have some kale hanging on from winter. At this time of year it doesn't rain much here, and I have to water daily. It can already get quite hot. Spring is high-maintenance here, but if we're lucky we'll get some good veg in before the summer just gets too hot and buggy. By August I am usually just growing black-eyed peas and maybe some straggling tomatoes and peppers.

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#22 of 76 Old 04-09-2011, 07:17 AM
 
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I have not put in a pile because I don't want to attract any more rattus rattus than I already have, but for all I know they're not even interested in compost. Any idea?

Oh no--they like compost, sad to say. Ask me how I know. wink1.gif You need a tumbler or something with a closed bottom.

Speaking of compost, I bought a compost aerator from Gardener's Supply Co and I am SO geeked out on it. We have always had issues with our compost taking forever to rot and being stinky. Upping the brown matter helped some, but not enough. The aerator is making a HUGE difference. The composts actually steams when I turn it with it. I can tell it's breaking down MUCH faster,

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#23 of 76 Old 04-09-2011, 09:30 PM
 
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Quote:
I have not put in a pile because I don't want to attract any more rattus rattus than I already have, but for all I know they're not even interested in compost. Any idea?

Oh no--they like compost, sad to say. Ask me how I know. wink1.gif You need a tumbler or something with a closed bottom.

Speaking of compost, I bought a compost aerator from Gardener's Supply Co and I am SO geeked out on it. We have always had issues with our compost taking forever to rot and being stinky. Upping the brown matter helped some, but not enough. The aerator is making a HUGE difference. The composts actually steams when I turn it with it. I can tell it's breaking down MUCH faster,

Haha, do I really want to know how you know? We did go with a tumbler composter and put it together today. It took forever to assemble (and required a drill...which we did not possess..but we do now!) and now its in place a ready to fill. I love the fact that I can now look out the kitchen window and see our cool new garden toy.

I also repotted all the baby tomatoes into dixie cups and planted the best looking of 'em into the ground. Those snails better leave them alone or I'll have a fit! So its officially garden season here...the-tomatoes-have-been-planted! But I have soooooooo many extras. So many lol.gif. Any local folks need some nice heirloom tomatoes??

And of course a fitting end to the day...my cat leaping the back fence with a mouth full of live mouse. Ugggg...stay out of my composter mouse. And don't tell your rat friends about it either!
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#24 of 76 Old 04-11-2011, 05:37 PM
 
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Question for someone with chives experience. I have had chives come in a couple years now, and I never let them flower (I chop and eat everything that comes up!). If I let it flower, will it grow as vigorously this season? Or more? I'm clueless.

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#25 of 76 Old 04-12-2011, 12:33 PM
 
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RosieL, the flowers won't hurt your plants. And you can eat them! Your chives will self seed if you let the flowers mature. I usually let them mature and pick the flower heads off before they drop seed so I can save the seed and give it away or plant it exactly where I want it to grow.

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#26 of 76 Old 04-12-2011, 01:10 PM
 
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Question for someone with chives experience. I have had chives come in a couple years now, and I never let them flower (I chop and eat everything that comes up!). If I let it flower, will it grow as vigorously this season? Or more? I'm clueless.

If you let them flower and dry up, you'll have chive seeds for years.  Which isn't a bad thing.  Or if you accidentally knock over a seed head, you'll have chives coming out of your ears nearby there.  I probably had several hundred little chive seedlings last year that I thought were grass until I took a closer look.  Heh.  Anyway, when they set seed they concentrate on that so you won't be getting as many fresh cuttings, but even here in my chilly zone 5 my chives start sending up new shoots by the end of the season so I can start grabbing little cuttings when I want.  My chives have always grown vigorously - they don't know any different.  I've hacked them up and dug them up to transplant or divide and give to folks, and oof.  I started off with one little 4" pot, and now have at least a dozen plants almost a square foot big scattered around the yard.  I like hard-to-kill plants.  :D


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#27 of 76 Old 04-12-2011, 06:23 PM
 
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Thanks shaywyn and lmonter! I appreciate the advice. I will collect seeds this year I think. I was scared to reduce production in my little herb barrel right outside my kitchen. 


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#28 of 76 Old 04-13-2011, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been planting away, tomatoes, basil and onions are coming up so far.  I just was in the garden thinning my cold crops and I'm going to seed some more this afternoon, everything is coming up, though I'm sad only 2 or 3 snap peas have come up, I think the birds had something to do with that.  So nice to be outside.


Cathy toddler.gifMama to James(6)coolshine.gifand Maggie Mae (1)luxlove.gif Wife to Daveguitar.gif

And 3rdtri.gif with #3 bigeyes.gif Due in August 2013!!!

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#29 of 76 Old 04-13-2011, 05:43 PM
 
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I planted my basil and tomato starts this week, and the garden is starting to actually look like a garden. The sunflowers are also starting to come up and have not yet been discovered by the snails (dare I hope they won't be?). We had lovely sunflowers last year, and I used seeds I saved from those guys so I am glad to see them starting to sprout.

On the down side I just got notice from my landlord that they are planning to spray insecticide all over my yard. Basically on everything green. I'm so mad right now I'm shaking.
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#30 of 76 Old 04-14-2011, 01:23 AM
 
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Jumping in to gardening via containers... Hoping we can get some good results despite what's likely a late start (we're near Houston, so it's already in the 80s during the day). I need to go get more pots to get going. So far, strawberries are potted and everything else (all starts) is waiting for their permanent homes. I really hope this is a successful venture! fingersx.gif

HeatherB ~ mama to 3 wonderful boys:  reading.gif 03/02; modifiedartist.gif09/04; sleepytime.gif 09/07 - and Eliana, babygirl.gif 11/13/10!  
Founder of Houston Birth Alternatives: Be Informed, Encouraged, Supported birth support group and aspiring midwife.

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