Sunday, April 26, 2009

Garden 2009

Okay, what we've all been waiting for, me included.

Garden, 2009 summer edition.

Well last year i did not have the heart to post pictures of the flood plane it became after my bright idea to dig the ground up and take most of the earth out and create a big hole in the yard and call it a garden. Funny how that can cause a place to collect water and not drain well. And then, guess what. Well, a weed jungle took over and with my limited time I was not able to vanquish the weeds in the 15 x 14 area. It seemed like every day when I would weed for an hour, I would go back out and the area I had not weeded would have grown over.

Then it rained for two weeks straight, and I could not weed, and the rain beat my plants to death, and the weeds took over, and I was done.

But, look on the bright side. It's a new dawn, a new day. I have new ideas this year. I have a new plan. Live and learn. Take a lick and keep on ticking. So this is how we started.

#1: fill the low spots back in with dirt. We did that.
#2: While waiting for planting, keep weeds from growing. Plan for this was to put weed-stop plastic over the garden, as a preventive measure. Gardening books, sites, and the manufacturer of the plastic assured me that if we put this plastic down, and used stakes to secure it, it would a) prevent any weeds from growing b/c they couldn't grow high enough, and b) create so much heat they would die.

Well, behold the results of the use of "Weed-Stop" plastic:

As you can see, the weeds have grown so profusely under this covering that they are actually spilling out between the overlapped sections. Furthermore, they are lifting up the plastic itself. Finally, you can't see this, but they are pulling up the stakes used to secure the plastic.

I pulled the plastic up when it got around time to plant, to find this disappointment:

Basically a garden of weeds! yay! So, first things, first, a plan for these weeds. My dad's suggestion was to get out the hoe and start weeding. I, however, knew that there was no time in my schedule for a weeding assignment of these proportions. I went to the Lowe's and looked into their weed solutions. They have two: one is called Preen, and is granules you can put into your veggie garden once your plants are already established and growing. That's because it prevents weeds (and other plants) from growing.

The other solution is RoundUp. You can spray it on live plants and it kills them - to the root system - in a week. It says it is safe to use in vegetable gardens b/c it only kills the plant you spray it on. What about poisoning soil you have not planted yet, though? I asked the garden center guys, and they said wait a good three weeks before planting. So, here's what the weeds looked like three weeks after I sprayed them with RoundUp:

Take a goooooood look at that. Now isn't that pretty? Heck yeah, RoundUp. Forget you, Weed-Stop plastic. RoundUp has a pleasant coconut smell that reminds me of sunscreen at the beach.

So, today was planting day! I did not start seeds indoors this year. No way. I waited and bought plants at the store for transplanting, and did seeds straight into the ground for the rest.

We carefully planned out how we would plant the garden in rows, etc. by using vines to represent rows, and putting the seed packets at the end, as you can see:

Here are some of the transplanted plants:

That's a row of tomatoes, and off to the right are two bell peppers (red and orange). The tomatoes are a big heirloom yellow one called Mr. Stripey, a Big Bush hybrid, and a cherry tomato. The farthest plant is a jalapeno pepper plant. Mr. Stripey is below, pre-transplant:

I kept a few plants in containers. One of them is a tomato plant, b/c I cannot live without tomatoes and I want to be on the safe side. This tomato plant is called "Early Girl" and it bears fruit much earlier than the others, a month earlier. In the other two pots are dill, and cilantro, the two herbs which infect everything around them - so I figured they would be good candidates for containers. The cilantro was a transplant but the dill is seeds.

I planted other herbs in the garden, though. There are three herb plants at the end of the lettuce rows: a tarragon plant, a rosemary plant, and a lavendar plant:

They mark rows of leaf lettuce (bibb lettuce), mesclun greens, and arugula, and then there is an unmarked row of sorrel (a spicy lemony green).

Here is the entire garden in its present glory:

In addition to the lettuces, tomatoes, and peppers, there are the herbs mentioned, as well as a row of zucchini, bush beans, sugar snap peas, and two rows of basil.

Can't wait!!!

Another NY trip

We went back up to NY, well the Mr. and I went there for the first time together. It was really fun and was the first vacation we have taken together since being married. Whoo-hoo, alone time!!

It was so much fun!! We took the bus up there and round trip tickets are only $42.00 per person! The trip is about 4 hours but a little bit longer on Fridays when you hit traffic (about five hours if I'm being honest.) On Monday when we returned it was a four hour trip. The bus was great, it had wireless internet, it was clean, free bottled water, and showed a movie. Plus my best friend was beside me. :) The company is called DC2NY.

Well we stayed in a hotel that we got a deal on from Travelzoo Top 20, a weekly email subscription service I get with travel deals that are really useful. The hotel was called Shelburne Murray Hill and was in the Murray Hill section (also fondly known as "Curry Hill" for its great Indian Food!) The hotel was very nice, recently renovated, but weirdly, we did not spend much time there. Normally we like to spend a lot of time relaxing in the hotel.

The first thing we did was go up on the Empire State Building to kill some time. At night, we went to see Mary Poppins on Broadway - we cannot recommend this show enough for adults or kids. It's co-produced by Disney and the sets were mind-blowing, not to mention the talent on this show. We walked everywhere and met my friend N, who was still living there, for Chinese Hot Pot dinner/lunch. Warning, too many chilis in this bowl!!! I don't know what's happened to me lately but I can't handle the chilis like I used to! This is a big bowl of broth and then you order all the different foods you want to put in there to simmer/boil - then you all dip in, pull it out, and eat them. Sort of like fondue:

Annnnd, we went over to Rockefeller Center, and watched people ice skating, but did not do so ourselves . . .

And went all the way to Brooklyn to have what is considered the "best" pizza in the city, from a place called Grimaldi's. Now, this place is in competition with a spot called Lombardi's so we will have to try that place next time. Personally i loved the spot in Little Italy we went last time. And Little Italy, although touristy with all the street cafes, etc., would be a great place to have a meal outdoors, touristy though it is. What can i say, i am a sucker. BUT, Grimaldi's can turn out some slices. The line was down the block and we just got in it b/c we knew something good was inside. I watched them making the pies and they weren't making them like i had ever seen a pizza made. The crust was a little juicy when ours came out but it was wonderful.

All in all, we missed a few things I would have loved. We didn't lay around in Central Park b/c it was too cold. And did not make it back to the National museum, a lot of things in which I wanted to share with the Mister. But we did get foodstuffs from Little Italy to bring home - 20 yr old balsamic vinegar and dry sausages which we have already dipped into. Not to mention an eclair which i stuffed into my face on the spot and risotto balls they heated up for us in the deli which we ate as a snack. AND we brought home a heavy bag of NY bagels which we are still munching on the weekends!


Inaugural Ball

Yes it has been awhile, but life has been busy! For me and for the good old USA. One good thing about living up here is that I get to do a lot of cool things that just weren't available in the places I lived previously, such as Florida, California, or my hometown Atlanta.

For instance, when history was made and Barack Obama was sworn in as President, everyone in the country wanted to be part of the party. But my husband actually got tickets to one of the balls - the Commander-in-Chief's ball, in fact. We got all fancied up and hightailed it down there to see Mr. "O'Biden" (as Sarah Pailin calls him) and Mr. President himself greet us and greet the troops on a big screen.

We were close, very close. You can see in these photos. Their speeches were good. Bon Jovi sang. So did Jordin Sparks. I think she was on American Idol or something. I did not take her photo because my morning show plays this one song by her every day at the same time and I wasn't going anywhere near the stage b/c I can't stand that song.

I present to you our new Vice President, smiling like a million bucks:

And the new Mr. President:

So close, I could have thrown a shoe. Now that's access!

The Commander in Chief came out with Michele and they danced together. They also danced with the two luckiest enlisted people in the armed forces. Don't get too familiar, buddy!! ha ha.